Were people saved in different ways at different times throughout history?

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People were saved by redemption through the Son at all times, in all places. A key verse… Isn't this interesting? We remember the "I am" statement of Jesus in John 8:58, "Before Abraham was, I am." But two verses before that, he states to the Jews, "Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day. He saw it and was glad." And I thought to myself, in what sense did Abraham see the day of Christ and rejoice at seeing his day — implied there — "of Messiah?" Well, in Genesis 12, we all know Abraham is called by God. And what happens? He sets up an altar of sacrifice to the Lord. Now, let's put those two together. All through Genesis, after Genesis 12, we have "Abraham set up an altar," "And Abraham set up an altar of sacrifice." Well, to whom was he looking? In the words of our Master, our Lord, "Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day. He saw it and was glad." Abraham was saved by looking to the coming Messiah through the sacrificial system that he set up by God's leading. And just as in the New Testament, we have the outreach, the out-breaking of Jesus' ministry into the others, aside from the fold of the Jews, out-breaking into other nations. But we also have that in the Old Testament. The story of Ruth is a classic example of someone, how someone outside the fold can be included in the redemption of Yahweh in the Old Testament. So, my answer to "has redemption always followed the same rules through the Son?" Yes, through all times and all cultures. Before the incarnation of Christ, it was looking to the Messiah through the sacrificial system. And other people, other nations, were welcomed — through the example of Ruth, for example — to come in and say, "My God will be your God."

Answer by Dr Steven Tsoukalas

Dr. Steven Tsoukalas is Professor and Department Chair of Apologetics and World Religions at Emmaus Biblical Seminary in Haiti, and formerly taught Wesley Biblical Seminary.