How could the Old Testament saints go to heaven when Jesus had not yet died for their sin?
This is actually a second part of the question asked last Friday. (You can link to that here.) As the enquirer put it, “Before Jesus paid our sin debt and made a way to heaven for us, where did people go when they died? How could they go to heaven, if they were not covered by the Blood?”
Sometimes when you are watching a TV program you see a preview of the show in ads through the week. Suppose you watch the show and perhaps midway into its plot it appears that one particular character may have died. But you know that cannot be the case because there is yet a scene which you saw in the preview but have not yet seen in the program where this character is still alive.
God sees all of human history in this way… not as unfolding linearly in time as we experience it, but as a complete canvass. We move through this canvass like a tiny spot lit by a penlight, but God sees the whole of the painting at once!
When Moses asked God Whom he should say sent him to deliver his people from slavery the Lord answered “I Am Who I Am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I Am has sent me to you.’” (Exod. 3:13-15). Jesus similarly identified Himself, “Before Abraham was, I am” He said (John 8:58). The author of Hebrews further states, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Heb. 13:8).
God us not merely unending, He is eternal… timeless. Just as He exists in all places, so He exists in all times. In fact, time was also a part of creation, “…and there was evening and there was morning — the first day.” (Gen. 1:5).
Our finite minds and time-bound awareness make this concept very difficult to understand. But Paul reminds us, “…Now I know in part; then I shall know fully…” (1 Cor. 13:12). Jesus may have had our limitations in mind too when He said, “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.” (John 16:12).
Scripture also gives us this curious insight: Looking far into the future… into the goings on in heaven, on earth, and on into eternity, John writes by revelation of the end times and eternal kingdom of God. He speaks of “the Lamb’s book of life” wherein are written the names of all who have put their faith in Christ. He writes, “…the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.” (Rev. 13:8).
What an amazing thing! From God’s perspective Jesus Christ made the way to heaven possible even before the first man was created! It is faith in Him that saves … forward looking faith or backward looking faith, but both looking at the One same Christ, the Messiah, our Redeemer, Saviour, and Lord.
Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.