Q. Since the only way to eternal life is through Christ, how is it possible for the Old Testament saints and adopted foreigners to be saved since they have already died? Did Christ preach the gospel to them during the time He physically died, and from there take the souls to heaven? If that’s the case, will they never get to experience the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises for the nation of Israel (eg. The Millennium).
If Christ preached the gospel to even the souls in Hades, how does it bode for those who are in the other side of Hades…that is, the side of Torments? Even if they heard it and believed the gospel (which I’m thinking they most desperately would believe now) they wouldn’t get the opportunity to choose anymore. So how could one side (Paradise) get the opportunity to hear the gospel and choose, while the other (Torments) had to listen and despair?
A. Since the beginning of time there has only been one way to salvation and that’s by accepting the Lord’s death as payment in full for our sins. It’s what’s meant be the phrase “slain from the creation of the world” in Rev. 13:8. Before the first man was created, Jesus agreed to die for our sins. The differences between Old and New Testaments is that they were looking forward to a Messiah who’s name they might not have known, and we look back to one whose name we do know.
During their times they knew that the sacrifices they performed were only setting their sins aside until their redeemer came. The regular appearances by God in their midst helped keep their faith strong, and when they died they went to Paradise to await Him. They didn’t need to have the Gospel preached to them, because they already knew it from Genesis 3, Genesis 22-24, Isaiah 53 and many other places in the Old Testament.
I believe that when Jesus went to Paradise He told them that their faith had been justified, His blood had been shed, and He was taking them with Him to Heaven in spirit form to await their resurrection bodies. When He went to Torments, He said they that should have listened to all the prophets and had no one to blame but themselves.