Q. My question is, how were Gentiles saved before Christ? and how did they receive the message of who God is if God worked through the Jews? In Eph 2:13 what is it referring to? It confused me because it appears to indicate that the Gentiles were not offered salvation previously.
A. God chose the Jewish people to inform the world about Him in Old Testament times, just like He has chosen the Church in our time. However Romans 1:20 tells us that anyone looking at the creation should realize there’s a God, so men are without excuse. And Psalm 19 says that the heavens reveal the Glory of God. I think this is a reference to the Gospel story being “written in the stars” from the earliest times.
It’s also important to remember that at the beginning, everyone on Earth believed in God and so knowledge of Him is present even in the histories of those who subsequently rejected Him. For instance, the letters of the original Chinese alphabet tell the creation story. He promised that anyone could find Him, if they sought Him with all their heart.
In Ephesians 2:13 Paul wrote that because of the Lord’s death, all people have equal access to the presence of God, whereas before, the Jewish people could come closer than the Gentiles because of the Temple. But even the Jews had to use a priest as a go-between. In Christ anyone, Jew or Gentile, can now approach God directly.