Salvation for All

What happens to the souls that died before Jesus Christ was born died the redemption of our sins, will they have the opportunity for salvation or have they already received it or will they have a second chance for redemption as implied in Revelations?

While in bible study, this question was asked and there were three possible difference references, one from Romans chapters 1 &2, regarding the conscience. There was the other 2, offering that the opportunity was originally done by Christ himself (during the 3 day period of time when Jesus was in the tomb & traveled to redeem the dead) and finally from Revelations. Can you provide any comments and references? Have a blessed day!

Thank you for your question. It’s a difficult one, and I hope that I have an answer that satisfies you.

All believers are saved by grace through faith, through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Old Testament saints were saved by looking forward in time, via prophecy, to the cross. New Testament saints are saved by looking back in time at what has already occurred on the cross.

Apparently, when the Old Testament saints encountered death, their souls were not taken directly to heaven, as is now the case with New Testament believers. Instead, the Old Testament believers were taken to a place called ‘paradise’ (Luke 23:43, 2 Corinthians 12:4, Revelation 2:7), or ‘Abraham’s bosom’ (Luke 16:22-23). Then, upon the event of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, these Old Testament saints were
resurrected. Today, now that Christ’s resurrection has already occurred, when Christians die, we are taken directly to heaven.

This also seems to explain the difficult passage in Matthew 27:52 where “the saints rose from their graves and appeared to many…” Apparently they were resurrected from ‘paradise,’ or ‘Abraham’s bosom’ and taken to heaven by the Resurrected Christ (Eph. 4:8-9).

Incidentally, in the story of the rich man and Lazarus, Luke 16:23 refers to a place called “hades,” which is where the rich man was. This seems to be the “opposite” of the place of “paradise” where Lazarus was. This would imply that, in Old Testament times, those who died were taken to one of these temporary chambers, awaiting their transition: either from paradise to heaven; or from hades to hell. This probably also explains the origin of the (somewhat distorted) Catholic doctrine of purgatory, which would equate to Hades in this case.



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