Q&A: Old Testament Believers

Old Testament Believers

Question

When Moses died, where did he go, since Jesus Christ had not yet come?

Answer

When Old Testament believers (such as Moses) died, they went to heaven even though Jesus had not yet come. Before the foundation of the world, the Father had covenanted with the Son that the Son would die for the sins of believers. Therefore, the forgiveness Christ purchased by his death was certain. Because it was certain, it was available to Old Testament believers.

One reason we know this is true is that even in the Old Testament God forgave people's sins (e.g. Exod. 34:7; Lev. 4:20,26,31,35; 5:10,13,16,18; 6:7; 19:22; Num. 14:19; 15:25,26,28; Deut. 21:8). As we learn in Hebrews 9-10 (e.g. 10:11; etc.), the sacrifices in the Old Testament did not themselves provide forgiveness. Rather, they pointed to the sacrifice that Christ would offer. Thus, the forgiveness received in the Old Testament was based on Christ's atonement. Even though he had not yet come, the fact that he had covenanted to come was sufficient to merit salvation "on credit," so to speak.

Another reason we know that Old Testament saints went to heaven is that we have examples of this, such as Elijah (2 Kings 2:11).

Answer by Ra McLaughlin

Ra McLaughlin is Vice President of Finance and Administration at Third Millennium Ministries.