Please help us share God's truths and hope in Christ.

To answer this, we must define what we mean by “saved.”  

Under the New Covenant, we define being saved as being born again  (John 3:3, 7; 1 Pet 1:23), having our sins washed away by the blood of Jesus, and being given eternal life.  That happens the moment Jesus saves a repentant sinner. (Read: What is eternal security/assurance of salvation?)

Under the Old Covenant, people were saved by grace, through faith, just as we are, but the atonement for their sins was by the blood of animals. While they may have been washed clean when they made sacrifices, it didn’t last. Animal blood could never be sufficient to fully atone for human sin (Read  Why Did It Need to Be a Human-Blood Atonement?). Therefore, animal sacrifices had to be done continually.  Furthermore, there’s no evidence that people under the Old Covenant were born again, i.e. regenerated (made alive) by the Holy Spirit.

So the question is, when did they receive the gift of eternal life?  To answer this, let’s first consider God’s covenants.

The Covenants God Made Before the Cross

God made seven covenants with man before the New Covenant in Jesus. 

  1. Adamic Covenant (Gen 3:15-19)
  2. Noahic Covenant (Gen 9:9-16) 
  3. Abrahamic Covenant (Gen 12:1-3) 
  4. Mosaic Covenant (Ex  24:7-8, chapters 19-24; )
  5. Levitic Covenant, (2 Sam 7:8,  Num 25:12-13, Mal 2:4-5)
  6. Davidic Covenant.  (2 Sam 7:16, 2 Sam 23:5, 2 Chr 13:5)
  7. Messianic/New Covenant (Jer 31:31-34; Isa 42:6)

The Adamic and Noahic Covenants

The Adamic Covenant included the promise of a rescuer to come, who would be the seed of the woman and would conquer the serpent’s seed (Gen 3:15).

The Noahic Covenant was God’s promise never again to judge man’s sins with total destruction by flood waters.

While God made the Adamic and Noahic Covenants with man, they were not made with the house of Israel. Those covenants were with all mankind.  A promised Redeemer would come to all the world (John 3:16), and God’s mercy in judging the world of sin was promised (Gen 9:15).

While these two covenants were made with all mankind, the following five covenants were made with the House of Israel alone.

The Abrahamic Covenant

Israel “began” with the call of Abram (later renamed Abraham). When God called him out of the world (Ur of the Chaldees, Gen 12:1), God made a covenant with him that included three promises.  God said,

  1. I will make of you a great nation (Gen 12:2, 15:14). 2.
  2. I will show you a land (Gen 12:1,13:15, 15:18). And
  3. I will bless you and make your name great, and you shall be a blessing  (Gen 12:3).

None of those promises were about the salvation of the soul.

The Mosaic and Levitic Covenants

These covenants dealt with how God’s people were to live, governed by the moral and civil laws,  and how they could atone for their sins as instructed in the ceremonial law. They were given “works” to do that would atone for their past sins (animal sacrifice).  But their sacrifices did not atone for future sins, so they were continual.

The Davidic Covenant

God’s covenant with David established him as King of Israel and promised all succeeding kings would come through his line. (2 Sam 7:12-19; 23:5; 2 Chron 13:5)

This covenant was not about the salvation of individual souls.  Rather if was about establishing the royal line to rule the nation and bring forth the Messiah.

The Messianic/New Covenant

This covenant was prophesied through the prophet Jeremiah. It promised a new kingdom where all would know the Lord.

Jer 31:31-32  “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. 

Jer 31:33-34 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.  No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

While this covenant was made with Israel, they have not yet received it. But in the tribulation, the Seventieth Week of Daniel, believing Israel will recognize Jesus as their promised Messiah –the Rescuer who was promised in the Garden,  the King promised to come from the Davidic line, and the perfect human sacrifice that could fully atone for sins past, present, and future. Then, God will fulfill his covenantal promises.  Jesus will return and set up His kingdom of righteousness on earth with Israel as the lead nation and His Bride (the Church) reigning with Him.

Salvation Before the Cross

With that brief overview of God’s covenants, let’s note that none of the covenants Israel lived under promised eternal life at death.  The people of Israel understood there would be life beyond the grave (Job 19:26-27, Ps 23:4,6, 2 Sam 12:23), but very little about it was revealed to them.

So how, and especially when, were ancient people saved?

First, understand that before the cross, the words “saved” and “salvation” had a meaning of “delivered” or “deliverance.”  Those words do not suggest that God declared people to be justified by grace through a profession of faith, as we think of the words “saved” and “salvation.”  Animal blood could never fully atone for man’s sins, so Israel’s sacrifices could not justify them once and for all time. 

But under the New Covenant, we have the complete and final atonement of Jesus’ blood (Heb 7:26-27, Heb 9:12, 10:10).  We are washed clean of alour sins — past, present, and future, by Jesus’ blood (Rev 1:5).  And thereby, based on Jesus’ atonement not our works, God declares us to be justified (Rom 4:25) fully and permanently.  Read:The Gift of Salvation: Justification & Imputation (Imputed Righteousness)

Not Righteous by Sacrificial Works

No one is ever justified by their works, not even the sacrificial work of making atonement under the Old Covenant. Paul wrote, “for if righteousness comes by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Gal 2:21). God declared them righteous because of their faith.  And that faith was demonstrated when they believed and obeyed God.   This is seen in God’s declaration about Abraham being righteous.

Gen 15:6  And [Abraham] believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness
Rom 4:3  For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

What was counted as righteousness to Abraham?  It was that he believed in God and that he believed God.  God judges the heart, and He knew Abraham had faith. Therefore, He accounted it (his faith) to him as righteousness.

The Faith of Noah, Daniel, and Job

Two of these men lived before the nation of Israel was established — Job and Noah. Daniel, of course, was an Israelite. But the Bible tells us that all three were declared righteous based on their faith; and that their faith delivered their own souls — not any works they did:

Ezek 14:14  Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD.

Noah’s faith was demonstrated when he built the ark as God commanded. Daniel’s faith was demonstrated in the lion’s den and his faithfulness to seek God.  And Job’s faith was demonstrated in the tribulations he endured. All three believed and trusted God, and it was counted to them as righteousness.

While God declared all three righteous based on their faith (believing God), their faith and God’s declaration of their righteousness did not deliver them from the burden of ceremonial laws, including sacrifices.  They all had to live by their own faith. (Read Why “his faith” in Habakkuk 2:4).

****Righteousness vs. Justification

Under the Old Covenant, being declared righteous because of believing God was not the same as the New Covenant’s being declared justified by the grace of God through faith in Jesus. Under the New Covenant, a forgiven sinner is:

  • washed clean by the Lord’s blood. (Rev 1:5)
  • baptized with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5),
  • regenerated by the Holy Spirit (Eph 2:5),
  • given the gift of eternal life (Rom 6:23),
  • imputed the righteousness of Christ  2 Cor 5:21),
  • declared justified by God (Rom 5:1), and
  • sealed unto the day of redemption (Eph 4:30).

We say the person is redeemed (Gal 3:13), saved (Rom 5:9), born again (1 Pet 1:23), a new creation (2 Cor 5:17), a child of God (Rom 8:16, Gal 3:26), a joint heir with Christ (Rom 8:17) — a Christian (Acts 11:26).

As Christians, our souls have been made alive (regenerated).  We have received the imputed righteousness of Christ at the moment of our justification. making us positionally and permanently worthy (justified) in God’s eyes.  Abraham, and all others before the cross, did not have that kind of justification. They had God’s declaration of their righteousness based on their faith and demonstrated by their works. Our righteousness is Christ’s given to us, based on our faith in HIS works.

By Faith

Hebrews 11:2 says,  “by [faith] the elders obtained a good report.”  A good report of what?  Of living by their faith. (Read Why “his faith” in Habakkuk 2:4).

Hebrews 11 gives examples of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the prophets, and others living by faith (Heb 11:4-39).

We are also told ….”these all died in faith…”  (Heb 11:13)

That’s The Answer   

The Old Covenant faithful persevered to the end, and when they died, they “died in faith,  by God’s grace through their faith, they were delivered into their eternal rest, the place of comfort — Abraham’s Bosom.  There, they waited until Jesus came, made the final and complete sacrifice for sins, and opened the way to Heaven.  (Read: Where did OT Saints go at death? Abraham’s Bosom? Where was that?)

In Summary:

Before the Cross, when were people saved, and when were they delivered into their eternal rest?

When they died in faith! (Heb 11:13)

After the cross, when are people saved and delivered into their eternal rest?

At the moment of salvation, a forgiven and regenerated soul enters into Christ’s eternal rest. (John 3:7)

Because Jesus lived and died for us:

  • our past, present, and future sins are forgiven;
  • the way to Heaven has been opened for us;
  • the righteousness of Christ has been imputed to us;
  • our citizenship is now in Heaven;
  • we have already passed from death to eternal life
  • and it’s all guaranteed by our faithful God (we are sealed)!

This is the “great salvation” that Hebrews says was “first… spoken by the Lord,” and then “confirmed unto us by them [the disciples] that heard him” (Heb 2:3).

Our salvation is greater than that of old– because…

  • Jesus is better than the angels, the prophets, and Moses (Heb 1:4-14, 1:1-3, 3:1-5).
  • His priesthood is better than Aaron’s (Heb 5:1-10).
  • The New Covenant in His blood is better than the Old Covenant in animal blood (Heb 7:26-27) because atonement was final in pure human blood.
  • Jesus lived a sinless, righteous human life, fulfilling the demands of the Old Covenant Laws (Mat 5:17)
  • And He gives His righteousness to all who come to Him in faith (1 Cor 1:30, 2 Cor 5:21).

Therefore, we can “stand fast in the liberty by which Christ has made us free” (Gal 5:1). Always tell others of your GREAT SALVATION, which can be theirs if they put their faith in Jesus.

Further reading:  What are the Doctrines of Imputed, Infused, and Imparted Righteousness?
<*}}}><

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Jesus is the Reason this Ministry Exists

At  Reasons for Hope* Jesus, we are committed to equipping, encouraging, and empowering Christians to know Jesus better, love Him more, and share their faith. We also reach the lost through our Salvation Page. 

With your support, we can continue to provide valuable resources and engaging content.  Please join us in our mission by donating today. Your generous contribution helps us expand our outreach of sharing biblical truths and hope in Jesus.  Thank you for your kindness and for being an integral part of our mission.

 donate
Reasons for Hope*Jesus is a 501c3 Ministry
Use a Credit Card or PayPal for safe, secure giving.

*******
*******

***A Hidden Message in Psalm 23?***  

Hidden in the six verses of Psalm 23 are 11 names for Jesus.  When you subscribe to our newsletter, we’ll send you The Names of God in Psalm 23 PDF that reveals all 11 names and Scripture verses of comfort and hope (link will be sent in your confirmation email).

A Room with a View of Eternity—The Last Will & Testament of Jesus Christ   Take a seat at the Master's table. Learn about the riches He gives to all who are His. This book will bless and encourage you, give you hope, and help you live in the joy of your salvation and the riches of Christ that are yours.

The Top Ten Got Questions? in 2023 

  1. The Meaning of NUMBERS in the Bible?
  2. Was Jesus CRUCIFIED on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday?
  3. How was Jesus Like a Worm? What’s the CRIMSON (OR SCARLET) WORM in Psalm 22?
  4. How are the Shepherd’s ROD and STAFF Different?
  5. How long did JOB SUFFER?
  6. What is the Significance of the Wise Men's THREE GIFTS? And were they kings?
  7. Did The Wise Men Arrive 12 DAYS AFTER JESUS’ BIRTH? Or Was It Much Later?
  8. Jesus’ Last Days TIMELINE: the Cross and the Resurrection
  9. The Meaning of COLORS in the Bible?
  10. Did Jesus Fight Satan to Take Back the KEYS of Death and Hell?

There is much to be learned from those who have gone before us in the faith.  Check out our Cloud of Witnesses category that features the words of departed saints who are now with the Lord in glory.  Their words equip and encourage us even to this day.  Take a few minutes to hear...

  1. ONLY ONE LIFE, Twill Soon Be Past – by C.T. Studd (1860 – 1931)
  2. “The Love of God is Greater Far” by Frederick M. Lehman (1917)
  3. Prayers from Billy Graham
  4. Who Was Robert Robinson? What’s the Story Behind “Come Thou Fount”
  5. “Immanuel” — A Poem by Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)
  6. Who Am I? A Poem by Deitrich Bonhoeffer (1905-1945)
  7. Understanding the Everlasting Arms of God, by J.R. Miller (1840–1912)
  8. 24 Reasons Why I Love America, by John Wayne (1907-1979)
  9. Give Me Perpetual Broken-heartedness (from The Valley of Vision)
  10. Abide with Me, by James Smith, 1859

This remains one of our most popular pages viewed.

Reasons for Hope* Jesus video banner

TOP TEN Videos from Reasons for Hope* Jesus
  1. Memorial Day BAGPIPES TRIBUTE: Amazing Grace 
  2. RISE AND SHINE and Give God the Glory, Glory!
  3. WERE YOU THERE When They Crucified My Lord?
  4. PAUL HARVEY: THE BIRDCAGE
  5. PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: A SOLDIER'S PLEDGE
  6. Hark! the Herald Angels Sing -- CHARLIE BROWN Christmas
  7. JOHN WAYNE ~ WHY I LOVE AMERICA
  8. Jimmy Stewart - Nativity Scene Prayer: Mr. Krueger's Christmas
  9. THE LEGEND OF THE CANDY CANE - A Christmas Story to Share 
  10. Not by Might, Not by Power, But BY MY SPIRIT says the Lord (Zechariah 4:6)

*****************

*******

Jesus is the Reason this Ministry Exists

At  Reasons for Hope* Jesus, we are committed to equipping, encouraging, and empowering Christians to know Jesus better, love Him more, and share their faith. We also reach the lost through our Salvation Page. 

With your support, we can continue to provide valuable resources and engaging content.  Please join us in our mission by donating today. Your generous contribution helps us expand our outreach of sharing biblical truths and hope in Jesus.  Thank you for your kindness and for being an integral part of our mission.

 donate
Reasons for Hope*Jesus is a 501c3 Ministry
Use a Credit Card or PayPal for safe, secure giving.

*******
*******

***A Hidden Message in Psalm 23?***  

Hidden in the six verses of Psalm 23 are 11 names for Jesus.  When you subscribe to our newsletter, we’ll send you The Names of God in Psalm 23 PDF that reveals all 11 names and Scripture verses of comfort and hope (link will be sent in your confirmation email).

A Room with a View of Eternity—The Last Will & Testament of Jesus Christ   Take a seat at the Master's table. Learn about the riches He gives to all who are His. This book will bless and encourage you, give you hope, and help you live in the joy of your salvation and the riches of Christ that are yours.

The Top Ten Got Questions? in 2023 

  1. The Meaning of NUMBERS in the Bible?
  2. Was Jesus CRUCIFIED on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday?
  3. How was Jesus Like a Worm? What’s the CRIMSON (OR SCARLET) WORM in Psalm 22?
  4. How are the Shepherd’s ROD and STAFF Different?
  5. How long did JOB SUFFER?
  6. What is the Significance of the Wise Men's THREE GIFTS? And were they kings?
  7. Did The Wise Men Arrive 12 DAYS AFTER JESUS’ BIRTH? Or Was It Much Later?
  8. Jesus’ Last Days TIMELINE: the Cross and the Resurrection
  9. The Meaning of COLORS in the Bible?
  10. Did Jesus Fight Satan to Take Back the KEYS of Death and Hell?

There is much to be learned from those who have gone before us in the faith.  Check out our Cloud of Witnesses category that features the words of departed saints who are now with the Lord in glory.  Their words equip and encourage us even to this day.  Take a few minutes to hear...

  1. ONLY ONE LIFE, Twill Soon Be Past – by C.T. Studd (1860 – 1931)
  2. “The Love of God is Greater Far” by Frederick M. Lehman (1917)
  3. Prayers from Billy Graham
  4. Who Was Robert Robinson? What’s the Story Behind “Come Thou Fount”
  5. “Immanuel” — A Poem by Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)
  6. Who Am I? A Poem by Deitrich Bonhoeffer (1905-1945)
  7. Understanding the Everlasting Arms of God, by J.R. Miller (1840–1912)
  8. 24 Reasons Why I Love America, by John Wayne (1907-1979)
  9. Give Me Perpetual Broken-heartedness (from The Valley of Vision)
  10. Abide with Me, by James Smith, 1859

This remains one of our most popular pages viewed.

Reasons for Hope* Jesus video banner

TOP TEN Videos from Reasons for Hope* Jesus
  1. Memorial Day BAGPIPES TRIBUTE: Amazing Grace 
  2. RISE AND SHINE and Give God the Glory, Glory!
  3. WERE YOU THERE When They Crucified My Lord?
  4. PAUL HARVEY: THE BIRDCAGE
  5. PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: A SOLDIER'S PLEDGE
  6. Hark! the Herald Angels Sing -- CHARLIE BROWN Christmas
  7. JOHN WAYNE ~ WHY I LOVE AMERICA
  8. Jimmy Stewart - Nativity Scene Prayer: Mr. Krueger's Christmas
  9. THE LEGEND OF THE CANDY CANE - A Christmas Story to Share 
  10. Not by Might, Not by Power, But BY MY SPIRIT says the Lord (Zechariah 4:6)

*****************

Please help us share God's truths and hope in Christ.

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