Did Abraham and other OT saints go to heaven?

Question: Did Abraham and other Old Testament saints go to heaven, or since they lived before the sacrifice of Christ, will they be given a second chance during the Tribulation?

Answer: Romans 3:23-26 answers this question for us. Paul says that the redemption provided by faith in Christ’s sacrifice proved God’s justice in “forebearing” the sins of those who believed before Christ came. Though they offered animal sacrifices in obedience to God’s command and provision for forgiveness, animal sacrifices could not really take away sin (Hebrews 10:4). So God’s forgiveness of their sins was based on the anticipated sacrifice of Christ, the perfect sacrifice.

As to whether these saints are now in heaven, see Did Jesus Visit Hell.

Hebrews 9:27 makes it clear that once a person dies they face the judgment of God as to their eternal destiny. The Old Testament believers were saved, granted eternal life, and are now in the presence of God. They do not need to be given a second chance during the Tribulation. No one who dies gets a second chance. You must make your decision for Christ on this side of death.

Randall Johnson

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2 thoughts on “Did Abraham and other OT saints go to heaven?

  1. I am studying Romans, and verses 5:13-14 has me stumped in relation to your response. I believe that OT believers such as Noah and Abraham were saved by their belief and righteousness and scripture supports this. But what of the “average guy” prior to the law being given to Moses? Were those folks condemned to hell because of Adams sin? Thanks in advance for helping me understand this.

    • Romans 5:13,14 says, “For sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.”

      The penalty of sin is death. But if there is no law I should not be guilty of sin and therefore not have to suffer death. And yet, everyone from Adam until the law came with Moses, died. This means they and we were all guilty of breaking a known law, in this case, the law God gave Adam not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We are guilty of Adam’s sin! He was our representative before God. This means everyone born into Adam’s family, and that is everyone, suffers this penalty. Everyone needs salvation. Jesus provided that salvation and God, in His forbearance, gave it prior to the cross in anticipation of the atonement Jesus would make.

      Paul argues in Romans 4 that Abraham was not justified (saved, forgiven) by works of righteousness but by faith. He trusted the promise of God and it was credited to him as righteousness. If he was saved at all by works of righteousness, he would have something to boast about. But he doesn’t and neither do we.

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