All people must stand before God in final judgment before Heaven or Hell

Published 8:40 am Friday, July 26, 2019

Q. What happened to those who died before the death of Christ? Did they all go to Hell?
A. As we study the Bible we find that throughout mankind’s history there have been three dispensations. The First was the patriarchal Age, the second was the Mosaical Age and the third is the present age or the Christian Age. All men who lived prior to the present age and the death of Jesus were accountable to the specific laws they lived under.
Under the Patriarchal and the Mosaical ages there were many different laws specific to those individuals. We find in Genesis 46:1 that men offered sacrifices to God. “And Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac” Genesis 46:1 KJV. In Hebrews 9 and 10 we find that animal sacrifices were offered to God during the observance of the Old Law/Mosaical. Under the Law of Moses the sins of the people were moved forward year by year until the Christ came and then through His perfect sacrifice their sins were forgiven once and for all (Hebrews 9:15). As we consider all things together it is easy to see that the blood of Jesus flows both backwards and forwards to cover the sins of all people who yield obediently to the commands of God during the dispensation under which they lived.
So the simple answer to the second part of the question is that not all men who died before the Christ are destined for the eternal place we refer to as Hell. However, all who die before the second coming of Christ enter into the Hadean realm. Jesus teaches such in (Luke 16:19ff). There Jesus shows that the righteous go to Abraham’s bosom (Luke 17:22). Other verses teach that this place is referred to as Paradise (Luke 23:42; 2 Cor. 2:4). Paradise is not heaven but rather a place of rest for departed souls of the righteous. On the other hand, Jesus shows that the wicked went to a place of torment (Luke 16:23-24). The hell mentioned here is from the Greek word (Hades). Hades from the Greek is simply the place for all departed souls. While the rich man and Lazarus were both in the Hadean realm it is easy to see that they were in different parts of the Hadean realm. Lazarus was comforted in Abraham’s bosom while the rich man was in torment.
So we see that no man is yet in the eternal place referred to as Hell; rather all those who have died remain in the Hadean Realm. When Jesus returns, all people there will be called from the Hadean Realm to stand final judgment before God (2 Cor. 15:1ff; 1 Thess. 4:13ff).
(Questions and Answers is provided by Tony Hoss, Minister of Centerview Church of Christ, Elizabethton.)

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