Were All People Condemned to Hell if They Lived & Died Before the Resurrection of Jesus?

Long ago when I was an agnostic Jew living in Manhattan, I always thought that Christian beliefs were harsh, narrow minded, and morally inferior to my own. Like me of old, there are many today who still feel the same way I once did. So this blog is for you and your born again friends who may soon be talking with you!

One big question that skeptics ask a lot is “Why would God condemn millions of people to Hell simply because they lived at the wrong time? And it’s a fair question.

Now here’s the answer. God wouldn’t. And God didn’t! But don’t take my word for it. Christians look to the Bible as the source of God’s word. So we need to see what the Bible says about the matter.

In John 14:6, Jesus says: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” So without knowing more, it would seem that everyone who lived before the time of Jesus was in serious trouble!

But Scripture says outright that at least some people who lived long before the resurrection are now in Heaven!

In Matt 8:10-12, for example, Jesus marvels at the faith of a centurion. He then adds “I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of Heaven.” As we know, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lived almost 2 millennia before the birth of Jesus.

Likewise, there’s the account of Enoch in Genesis 5:22-24 and Hebrews 11:5.

Scripture says that “Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters…Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.”

If this still seems a bit murky, Hebrews 11:5 further explains that “By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: ‘He could not be found, because God had taken him away.’ For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.

Clearly, God is not sending people to Hell who please Him! So here we have at least 4 examples of people who died before Jesus’ time on Earth and who still went to be with God. But it gets better. For we must not forget who was with Jesus at the transfiguration.

Matt:17:1-4 explains that after taking Peter, James and John to the mountain just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.” Moses and Elijah had both died many centuries earlier, but here they were with Jesus on the mountain! So is it likely that they made this guest appearance, just so they could talk to Jesus and then be cast back to Hell? No it isn’t. The more logical inference is that for centuries they had already been dwelling with God in Heaven.

So the Bible shows clearly that people were not condemned to Hell simply based on the time when they were born.

Does This Mean I Can Reject Jesus?
No. It means that God has provided a way for everyone to know Him. For Abraham and those before the resurrection, God, who stands outside of time, used the resurrection to save people both before and after Jesus lived, preached, died and returned. However, for those of us who’ve heard of Jesus, we are all held accountable for what we know.

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1 comment

  1. Youbmake a very good point about God. He lives outside of time, saving people before the time of Christ through the resurrection. I never thought of that.

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