I was reading your answer to the question about if anyone was saved before
Jesus came. I wanted to ask an additional question: Do you know any
scriptures which contain hints from the OT and NT of people getting
accepted to Heaven based on their acts of faith? Also I read the Douglas
Jacoby answer to a similar question of this kind, and he said Moses,
Elijah, the prophets, etc., would be saved through Jesus’ sacrifice, are
there any scriptural proof of that?

I would begin by looking at Revelation 13:8, which talks about “the book
of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the
world.” From this passage, I see that from God’s perspective, Jesus has
been slain on the cross for our sins since the creation of the world. The
only way any one ever has been or ever will be forgiven of their sins is
through the blood of Jesus. Is anyone saved by their acts of faith alone,
without the blood of Jesus? No. Does the blood of Jesus even apply to
those who lived before Jesus was crucified? The answer is yes. Yes for
whom? Yes for those who, like Abraham, “believed God, and it was credited
to him as righteousness.” The key which will open heaven always has been
and always will be faith in God on our part, as evidenced by acts of
righteousness which reflects that faith. This faith, of course, is only
made affective through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

Is there any difference between those who lived after the death of Jesus
and those who lived before? Yes, absolutley. We have the opportunity to
repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus for forgiveness of sins and to
receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:36-38). This is a deposit,
guaranteeing what is our inheritance in Jesus Christ (Eph 1:13,14). We
have a solid foundation. We have a confidence which our brothers under the
Old Covenant did not have. We have a sure hope of heaven. Abraham, David,
Elijah, Moses, Joshua, and a host of other unknown faithful Jews did not
have such an assurance. Under the Law of Moses, they were reminded of this
on a regular basis as they made sacrifices at the Tabernacle or in the
Temple. However, we know that some of them will be with us in heaven.
Matthew 17:1-4 certainly seems to imply Moses and Elijah will make it.
Genesis 5:19-24 would lead one to assume that Enoch will be in heaven,
especially in view of Hebrews 11:5. A number of passages in the Psalms
seem to imply the possibility of salvation. Examples would include Psalms
51:2, 12, Ps 32:2. Psalms 103:12 talks about God removing our sins “as far
as the East is from the West.” One of the best I can think of is in Daniel
12:10, which clearly implies that many of the Jews in the time between the
Testaments will be forgiven. “Many will be purified, made spotless and
refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked.” In the context, this
passage is discussing the persecutions of the Jews under Antiochus
Epiphanes in 167-164 BC. I am sure that if you began reading the Old
Testament with your question in mind, you could find other hints of
forgiveness of sins through faith and acts of righteousness in the Old
Testament. Remember, though, that all forgiveness of sins is based,
ultimately, on the blood of the Lamb who has been slain since the
foundation of the world.

John Oakes, PhD

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