What would a person back in the olden biblical days have had to do to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, before the Messiah had come to earth?
Again, to know the truth on this the Bible is the only source that will give us the right answers. First of all let us dismiss the rumour that all will be saved.
Rom 10:1-2 “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.” NIV Paul had a longing to see all Israelites being saved.
Weren’t they saved? Didn’t they have the oracles of God and the Ten Commandments? Yes, they did. Weren’t they the ones who were offering sacrifices to the Lord? Read God’s reaction towards them: Isa 1:13 “Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations – I cannot bear your evil assemblies.” NIV
If your heart is not right with God and if you do not have a closer relationship with your Father, all that you do for religious reasons are worthless in God’s eyes. Salvation is not in what you do, but in what you let God do in your life.
If the apostle Paul desired his people to be saved, how could they be saved? What is the way to salvation?
Jesus answered this question when Thomas questioned Him about it:
John 14:6-7 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” NIV
But isn’t there another way to obtain salvation?
Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” NIV
What about works? Wouldn’t that qualify someone for heaven?
Eph 2:8-9 8 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.” NIV
It is clear from all these texts that salvation comes from God, not us. It is by His grace that we are saved. How? John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” NIV This is real love, divine love. This salvation is only available if you accept Jesus into your heart.
Rom 10:9-10 “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” NIV
How can anyone on this planet be saved?
John 3:17-18 “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” NIV
Does this mean anyone will be saved? No, only those who accept God’s grace.
John 3:18-19 “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” NIV
Why can’t we be saved by our own efforts?
Rom 3:10-12 “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” NIV
What is the consequence of our sins?
Rom 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” NIV
If we depend on ourselves for salvation we are heading for trouble. Death is our ultimate destination. However it is still not too late to accept God’s grace and invite Jesus into your heart. Salvation is only obtainable through Jesus Christ. Why don’t you accept Him now by answering His call at http://www.answers2prayer.org/saviours_call.html . He wants you to be His friend. Will you let Him? Rom 3:23-24 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” NIV
Now what about those who lived under the Old covenant? Could they be saved and if yes, how so?
The Book of Hebrews will shed some light on this:
Heb 11:13-16 “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country-a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” NIV
Were some people saved in the Old Covenant? Absolutely! Many were saved! How? Through works? No! By faith! Absolutely! Although they did not receive what was promised, they saw it from a distance and believed. What promise are we talking about here? The promise they believed in was given by God to Adam and Eve, minutes after they had sinned: Gen 3:15 “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” NIV This is the promise of the upcoming Messiah who will crush the serpent, the devil under his feet. Hope was given to our forefathers, a hope that is portrayed throughout the Old Testament. Blood sacrifices, Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac, the living waters in the dessert… all of these were reminder of the soon to come fulfillment of that promise. Those who believed that promise and clung to it, were saved.
Heb 9:26-28 “But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” NIV
What about God’s law in the Old Covenant?
Rom 10:4 “For Christ is the end of the Law [the limit at which it ceases to be, for the Law leads up to Him Who is the fulfillment of its types, and in Him the purpose which it was designed to accomplish is fulfilled. That is, the purpose of the Law is fulfilled in Him] as the means of righteousness (right relationship to God) for everyone who trusts in and adheres to and relies on Him.” AMP
Gal 3:24-25 “So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.” NIV
All the laws were pointing towards Jesus as well. The whole Old Covenant was proclaiming that one day the Messiah would appear and He is the One who would bring us salvation. How much more blessed are we who have been able to witness the death and resurrection of the Messiah. We are able to witness this, although it happened 2000 years ago, because Jesus lives in us! He is alive in us! 1 John 4:13-16 “We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.” NIV
Now what about those who nowadays have not heard yet about Jesus Christ? Isn’t it our task to share the Good News with them?
The apostle had the same concern and this why he urged the following: Rom 10:14-15 “But how are people to call upon Him Whom they have not believed [in Whom they have no faith, on Whom they have no reliance]? And how are they to believe in Him [adhere to, trust in, and rely upon Him] of Whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? And how can men [be expected to] preach unless they are sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings! [How welcome is the coming of those who preach the good news of His good things!]” [Isa 52:7.] AMP
Jesus even encouraged us to be His messengers in the dying world:
Matt 28:18-20 “Jesus approached and, breaking the silence, said to them, All authority (all power of rule) in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go then and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all the days ( perpetually, uniformly, and on every occasion), to the [very] close and consummation of the age.” AMP
Stand up and touch someone. We are the light bearers in this dark world. Let us proclaim that salvation has come. Inner peace is available to those who trust the Lord. Reconciliation and eternal life had been made available though Jesus Christ. Hallelujah!
P. S. God’s majesty has been proclaimed since the creation of the world. No one has any excuses. God has reached out to them personally, but not everyone listened to His voice! Rom 1:20-26 “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator-who is forever praised. Amen. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts.” NIV
Good question! God has made every provision for man to inherit the kingdom of God right from creation. He dealt with man according to laws. These laws were given to Moses in order to guide the people of God. It was not in the plan of God that any should perish and that was why there was a provision of laws governing the affairs of man before Christ.
If you go through the book of Exodus 20:1-17 you will see the Ten Commandments that was given to Moses for the Israelites to obey. The laws were sufficient for them at that time.
CONDITIONS FOR BLESSING HIS PEOPLE
“There shall ye law up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house and when thou walket by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou riest up. And thou salt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates: For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the LORD your God, to walk in His way, and to cleave unto him; Then will the LORD drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves”
The blessings of protection, prosperity and eternity were all packed up in the law that Moses delivered to God’s people. There were compasses through which they were judged. Conversely, the same would be the yardstick through which they would be judged in heaven.
GOD WAS REVIVING HIS PEOPLE WITH HIS LAW IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
“Revive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth, and lay up his words in thine heart.
Constantly there were revivals created by God to redeem His people by His spirit inside them. Therefore no one had an excuse to give for not obeying the Lord His God up to a good measure.
Romans 2:12. 15 “For as many as have sinned without the law shall also perish without the law; and as many as have sinned under the law shall be judged by the law”
15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness with it and their reasoning one with the other, accusing or even excusing them.
16 In the day when God judges the secrets of men according to the Gospel. (KJV Version)
You see, in the above contexts, man’s conscience corresponds with the God-created humans nature and enables man to know what God justifies and what He condemns.
There is hope for as many as would live by the commandment of God in the Old Testament. However, I will want you to appreciate the work of the cross. Jesus Christ died in your place so that you will not die again. No sacrifice, no rituals are expected before you can approach the throne of mercy. In the Old Testament, when one sins, there are prices you have to pay before you can get out of sins. In the present dispensation of grace, the blood of Jesus has been made a sacrifice once and for all. As many as believe Him to them gave He power to become the sons of God.
Romans 10:11 “For the scripture saith whosever believeth on him shall not be damned. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”.
Can you see that? Have you life eternal? Do you want to get saved from your sins now? Today is the day of salvation – tomorrow may be too late for you!
Please click on the appropriate place on our web page and you will find rest for your soul.
God bless you!
Rev Debo Adeyemo
Here is how I believe this happened, based on Scripture. All quotations are from the Contemporary English Version of the Bible.
We know that a person can only receive salvation by Jesus Christ, not by any denomination, or by their works. “‘I am the way, the truth, and the life!’ Jesus answered. ‘Without me, no one can go to the Father.'” (John 14:6), and “Only Jesus has the power to save! His name is the only one in all the world that can save anyone” (Acts 4:12) But how do we apply this to those who lived hundreds or thousands of years before Jesus’ incarnation? Are they in hell, or did God’s grace save those who responded to Him in faith?
People have had knowledge of God since creation. However, even though the existence of God was made obvious in His creation, human sinfulness became a problem, and people started practicing idolatry and immoral acts as a result of their rebellion. (see Romans 1:18-32) A person who has clear knowledge of God, but willingly turns against Him will not be saved. This was true then, and is true now.
However, many people prior to the beginning of the Church, such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, Rahab, and King David believed and were rewarded for their faith. I recommend reading all of Hebrews 11 for a better understanding of this. Another example is the thief crucified alongside Jesus who repented (Luke 23:39-43) What happened when a righteous person living prior to Jesus’ sacrifice died? I know that some who are reading this may accept the doctrine of “soul sleep” and disagree with the following interpretation. However, I feel the following verses explain the state of the dead in Old Testament times, and whether this was changed by Jesus’ sacrifice at Calvary.
Under the Old Covenant, the dead were believed to go to a place called sheol or hades to await the final judgment. However, Jesus’ death on the cross opened heaven to all who believe in Him. Please consider the following: Many were raised when Jesus died on the cross, and ascended into heaven (the holy city) at His resurrection. “Graves opened, and many of God’s people were raised to life. They left their graves, and after Jesus had risen to life, they went into the holy city, where they were seen by many people.” (Matthew 27:52-53)
The following verse is used to justify the belief that Jesus raised the righteous that were in sheol. “As the Scriptures say, ‘When he went up to the highest place, he lead away many prisoners and gave gifts to the people.” (Ephesians 4:8) The people of faith mentioned in Hebrews 1 are called a cloud of witnesses. “Such a large crowd of witnesses is all around us! So we must get rid of anything that slows us down, especially the sin that just won’t let us go. And we must be determined to run the race that is ahead of us.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
In light of this, I believe that the righteous before the time of Christ were saved the way that we are now-by faith. They did not have the Gospel message as we know it, but they responded by faith to what had been revealed to them. If you haven’t received Christ, or have fallen away from Him, I invite you to answer the Savior’s Call found at this link: http://www.answers2prayer.org/saviours_call.html We’ll be glad to pray for you and help answer any questions you have about your new faith. God bless.
In His love from your sister in Christ,
Very Simple! Micah 6:6-8 tells us: With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with their God. That is all they need do before Christ came to earth. MAY ALL BE BLESSED!
To inherit the Kingdom of Heaven before Jesus, one still had to have a personal relationship with God, only God’s Spirit did not dwell inside the human body then. David is the best example of this. He was not caught up in the religiosity of the sacrificial system. Instead, he chased after God and fully depended on God. He looked forward to Christ by trusting the Father’s every plan. This included the plan of salvation. When Christ died, he went into Hades to bring out David and all those who did not know the name of Jesus. This includes Moses, Abraham and Noah etc. Now there is no longer a need for a waiting place for the dead. Now, we can know the plan of salvation. Do you actually know Jesus or do you know about Him. Intellectual knowledge alone will not rescue you from sin, Satan or self.
The answer to this question is simple – nothing. Then as now, salvation is by God’s grace through faith.
The OT saints who lived before the law and during the law looked forward to the coming of the Messiah – Jesus, the Christ, as we know Him – just as we look back to when He came. Hebrews Chapter 11 – the hall of Faith – explains this in great detail and much better than I could. Their faith in God and His coming Messiah was counted to them as righteousness, just as our faith allows us to count Jesus’ righteousness as our own.
The book of Galatians clearly tells us that no one is justified by the law, or keeping any set of rules, or doing any works. In Chap 2, vss. 8-9 it says “By grace are you saved through faith, in that, not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one can boast.” In other words, works and religion don’t save – a relationship does. These OT men and women, through their faith in the coming Savior, had a living, loving relationship with the God of the Universe, and we have the same kind of faith relationship with Him looking back at what Jesus accomplished through His life, death, burial, and resurrection. Singing for the Audience of One.
The same as us, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and keep His Commandments. John 14:15
Noah was saved by grace. Genesis 6:8
Abraham spoke one- on -one with The LORD when He made a covenant with him to love the Lord and keep His Commandments. Genesis 15:16 and again when he was 99 years old. Genesis 17:4-8 and again under the oaks at Mamre -Genesis 18:1.when the Lord appeared to him and outlined His plans to destroy Sodom & Gomorrah.
Abraham prophetically told Isaac that “the Lord will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering!” in response to Isaac ‘s question about the sacrifice for the altar Abraham was building. God provided a male lamb to die in Isaac’s stead, and He provided a male lamb to die in our stead, Jesus the Lamb of God. Genesis 22:8-13
Jacob saw Jesus at the top of the ladder and the angels going up and down, taking messages between him and the Lord. Genesis 28:12-18 Jacob wrestled with Jesus from dark till dawn and Jesus changed his name to Israel’ for you have striven with God and prevailed.”
‘The Rock” symbolized Jesus. He died once for all and Moses struck the Rock twice in anger so he was denied entrance to the Promised Land. Jesus was ‘the Water of Life’ that gushed from the rock.1 Corinthians 10:4.He was symbolized in the Manna, and the unleavened bread.John6:41.He was the Passover Lamb John 1:36 He symbolized the serpent on the pole, which was lifted up that all might look and live. John 3:14 He was there at Creation, and nothing was created without Him. John 1:1-3.He was in the Pillar of Cloud by day and the Pillar of Fire by night. Exodus 13:21
Daniel was protected by the Lord in the lions’ den. Daniel 6:22.Jesus walked with Shadrach, Meshach and Adebnego in the fiery furnace Daniel 3:25 Hebrews 11,credits all the Old Testament heroes with Faith. They were saved no differently to us, the God of the Old Testament is also the God of the New Testament. The animal sacrifices pointed forward to the Cross, they looked by faith for a Saviour to come, We look back to the Cross and accept Jesus sacrifice on our behalf. Since He gave His life once for all, it is wrong to make animal sacrifices now, The blood of bulls and goats cannot save anyone, the people were supposed to see in them their need of a Saviour and they pointed forward to Jesus death on the Cross
No man has seen the Father at any time. John 14:1-14 so all sightings of the Lord in the Old Testament were of Jesus. Their names are interchangeable Isaiah 9:6 . If we had been born into the family of Adam and Eve, or Noah, or Joseph we would worship the Lord exactly as we do today.” I am the Lord I change not” Malachi 3:6
Adam loved the Lord and kept His 10 Commandments, he was a Sabbathkeeper. So was Noah, Moses, Abraham, Jesus, the Apostles and all the disciples, We can’t do better than follow their example. Revelation speaks in several places of a remnant who love the Lord and keep His Commandments. Revelation 12:17,Revelation 14:12; A remnant is a piece of cloth, what is left from the bolt. It looks exactly like the original cloth, but it is the last piece. God’s remnant church looks no different from His Church at Creation. God bless,
The same thing we have to do today, live by faith, believing in the promise. It’s the same promise we have today; we’re also waiting on Jesus to come. But make no mistakes; we have the revealed testimonies and a greater hope because we have witness the sacrifice. We will be held to greater standards.
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. Romans 12:3
But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. Luke 12:48
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. Romans 1:17
Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, Romans 4:16
And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Acts 17:30
God bless you all! Yvonne
The book of Ecclesiastics tells us to fear God and keep his commandments. So for somebody of old time to really make heaven he need to keep the law of the lord in his heart that he might not sin against him and to hearken unto his commandments.