Sunday, October 17, 2010


I received the following question on my post TEN QUESTIONS ANSWERED: “What happened to all of the souls that lived and died before Jesus? Was just wondering .. are they just s____ out of luck?”
I gave a brief reply: “Good question. Briefly the answer is no. I’ll try to post a fuller answer in a few days. I’m out of pocket right now.”

Well, it’s been over a week, so I think I better sit down and come up with a “a fuller answer.”

Salvation – a right relationship with God – has always been based on the work of Jesus Christ and appropriated by faith, even before He was born and died and rose.

1 John 2:2, “And He (Jesus Christ) is the propitiation for our sins and not for ours alone, but for all the world.” The word “propitiation” means the sacrifice that satisfies the anger of God. If Christ’s sacrifice was enough for the whole world, that would include those born before He made the sacrifice as well as those in the future.

In Romans 4:3, Paul quoted from Genesis 13:6, “What does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness (right standing with God).’”

The Old Testament is filled with examples of men and women of faith, even though other expressions may have been used.

     “Then they began to call on the name of the LORD” (Genesis 4:26).
     “And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him” (Genesis 5:24).
     “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8).

The 11th chapter of Hebrews in the New Testament lists over a dozen persons of faith of the Old Testament, male and female, Jew and Gentile (non-Jew).

Early in his letter to the Romans, Paul speaks of what is known as natural revelation:

     “… because that which is known about God is evident among them (humankind), for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world, His invisible characteristics have been clearly seen, being understood through the things He made, that is, His eternal power and divine nature” (1:19, 20).

There is, and always has been, a revelation of God in nature, both before and after Christ. However, Paul says that this leaves humankind “without any excuse … because they didn’t glorify Him as God, or give Him thanks” (1:20, 21)

So I’d have to say that, as I understand the Scriptures, the only persons who are “s____ out of luck” are those who haven’t responded in faith to the God who has revealed Himself in nature, in the Scriptures and in His Son.


Anonymous said...

Everyone who died in the old testament went to Hades. Luke 16: 24-26 shows how the faithful were separated from the sinners by a great chasm so that one could not cross from one side to the other. However, the scripture clearly mentions in multiple places that in between the time Jesus died on the cross to the time when he rose again, he preached in Hades. Those who chose to believe, were given eternal life. This act is justified when Jesus obtained control of the Key of Hades. Here is a link that talks a little more about it (i skimmed this page)

Bill Ball said...


I agree with most of the material in your comment. Hades, of course, is the Greek word found in the New Testament and Septuagint, as a translation of the Hebrew word Sheol.

However, you seem to imply that Jesus' preaching in Hades between His death and resurrection (1 Peter 3:18-20)) was to give to those in Hades a second chance to believe. I find this taught nowhere in the Scriptures.

Tulip said...

Just stumbled across your page (and my toe doth throb!). I get so excited when I see a question posed and then answered with direct scripture. It makes me want to read more and therefore you've earned another follower : )