Here is #18 of 31 Questions in 31 Days! To learn more about this 31 Day series, just search “31 Questions” in the search bar above or click here!
Q: Did Jews born before Jesus go to heaven?
The question above rightly assumes that no one has ever been “saved” through observance of the law of Moses. The scriptures say almost the exact same words in Romans 3:20, “Therefore no one will be declared righteous by the works of the law…”
However, as the apostle Paul continues in the Romans 4, he says that Abraham and, in fact, everyone who has ever been “declared righteous” or “justified” (these are some of Paul’s ways of talking about “salvation” or “assurance of going to heaven” in Romans) has such assurance “through faith”.
Faith is and always has been the basis for a right relationship with God. As Paul writes in Romans 4:5, “However, to the one who trusts God, who justifies the ungodly, their faith will be credited to them as righteousness.”
So then, heaven–or more precisely, a right relationship with God–would have been available to people before Jesus came. Jesus’ coming, then, was the fulfillment of what those in the Old Testament were trusting God for. The benefits of his death on the cross, then, are extended to all who put their faith in God, regardless of their place in history.
Check out more posts from the 31 Questions series on subjects as varied as marijuana, infidelity, 666, the eternal destiny of children who die, dealing with discouragement, cremation, co-habitation, baptism, suicide, prayer, the origins of scripture, hell, work, the third heaven, tithing, and even speaking in tongues!