Why is the subject of
salvation prior to the Cross even important to us? In a
pluralistic society and world where moral relativism is promoted
and enforced by religions that either pre-date Jesus or that
claim some common ancestry with Christianity (e.g. Judaism and
Islam), it is important for the Christian believer to understand
and be able to articulate a response that establishes the
consistency of the salvation plan throughout the entirety of
that the Old Testament and even the Synoptic Gospel accounts do
not contain a clear set of instructions regarding how to be
saved has been the basis for soteriological confusion and
error. In the Old Testament, we find no clear statement
regarding the means of salvation such as we do in the following
Ephesians 2:8-9 – 8 For by grace
you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves,
it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, that
no one should boast.
– 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is
eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
– 5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in
righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of
regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.
How did people come to faith prior to the Cross? Were they
saved by offering animal sacrifices? Were they saved by just
being good people (i.e. works)?
Did people simply look forward to the Cross as we look back to
If so, when did OT people first become aware of the Cross?
What is your support for your view of how people were saved?
Before we develop the Biblical support for this
position, let’s first take a panoramic look at a sample of some
of the more interesting events in pre-Biblical and post-Biblical
history that relate to this issue.
Oral tradition was easily manipulated and distorted
through Satanic deception. Examples include:
Gilgamesh – an
ancient Flood epic originally authored by the ancient Sumerians,
a people whose capital stood on the site of Ur. Hittites and
Egyptians translated it into their own tongues, and cuneiform
tablets discovered by the Nile still clearly show the marks in
red ink opposite those parts which the Egyptian scribes found
difficult to translate. It’s written form possibly dates back
to Hammurabi, the 6th king of the 1st
Babylonian dynasty which lasted from ca. 1830 – 1530 B.C.
Ennuma Elish –
the Babylonian story of creation which featured the god Merodach
also referred to as Bel on occasion although there was a
difference. The patron god of Babylon was Bel (Jer 51:44) and
Marduk (Merodach) was the head of the Babylonian pantheon. Bel
was referred to as Marduk though for the most part. As a
sun-god, his festival was celebrated in the spring at the
beginning of the year, since the sun’s rays were then most
potent in reviving nature. The Babylonians exalted him to the
head of their pantheon shortly after 2000 B.C. The Enuma Elish
indicates that Marduk was elevated to this position because of
his slaying of Tiamat, the goddess of chaos.
Worship of the
moon god (Nannar) and moon goddess (Nin-Gal) prevalent in
Conflict – the explanation for the purpose of human
history. God’s purpose for the creation of man is vitally
related to events that had occurred in eternity past as
referenced in such passages as Isaiah 14:12-15 and Ezekiel
28:12b-19. These events led to the creation of an inferior
creature (man) so that the inferior creature might provide
evidence in Lucifer’s appeal trial to his sentence of eternal
separation from God. I have found various components of the
doctrine of the angelic conflict in the writings of several
men. I have arrived at my position on the subject as a result
of filtering the views of the following men:
Showers, What On Earth Is God Doing? Satan’s Conflict With
God (Neptune, New Jersey: Loizeaux Brothers, Inc., 1973);
Barnhouse, The Invisible War (Grand Rapids, Michigan:
Zondervan Publishing House, 1965);
Lewis S. Chafer,
Satan, His Motives and Methods (Grand Rapids, Michigan:
Kregel Publications, 1990);
Ellisen, Biography of a Great Planet (Wheaton, Illinois:
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1975);
Lewis S. Chafer,
Systematic Theology (Dallas, Texas: Dallas Seminary
Press, 1947), Volume II, 78-81, 85, 100-101, 103-104, 108, 110,
After the Fall of man in the
Garden, Lucifer gained dominion over this earth from man for the
primary purpose of destroying the evidence (i.e. human history)
that God intended to use to rebut Lucifer’s objection to God’s
sentence of the Lake of Fire and eternal separation from Him.
The final execution of the
sentence that was pronounced at the time of Lucifer’s fall in
eternity past is to occur after God has accomplished His purpose
in human history, i.e. provide evidence through a lower creature
that God’s essence attributes function in a unified and
harmonious manner. Lucifer’s challenge (and the challenge of
millions of other creatures) that God is not a God of love and
is unfair is totally without basis. In eternity future when
there is only positive volition in God’s kingdom, human history
will serve as evidence to God’s redeemed creatures that God is
The first 1500 to 2000 years
of human history
- By the point in human
history that Abram arrived on the scene in Genesis 12 (ca. 2200
B.C.), Satan had executed his desire to destroy the evidence
(i.e. human history) and challenge God’s authority with some
degree of success. We do not have a blow-by-blow description of
the events of those early years of human history nor do we know
exactly how many years had passed; however, we can surmise the
trend by examining some of the known facts from Scripture and
extra-Biblical sources. Satan was very active in the exercise
of his dominion over the earth and its inhabitants. For
Genesis 3 – The Fall of Man and the Promise (3:15)
– Satan wrests dominion of the earth from man by enticing man to
disobey God. The bait that Satan uses is an appeal to become
like God (Ge 3:1-5). God demonstrates His love for the inferior
creature man by giving a prophecy of Satan’s doom and of the
Redeemer to be born (Gen 3:14-15 cf. Isa 53:4-6, 10-12; Jn
Genesis 4 – Corruption and increasing evil
– Cain murders Abel – a Satanically inspired effort to prevent
the Redeemer from coming (Ge 4:1-8 cf. Jn 8:44; 1 Jn 3:10-12)
Proliferation of evil
– Lamech’s flagrant disregard of God’s pattern of one man and
one woman (Ge 4:19 cf. 2:24; Matt 19:4-6) plus his arrogant
boasting in regard to the murder of a man (Ge 4:23) reflected a
evil pattern of behavior that was becoming more prevalent in
Genesis 6 – The earth becomes filled with violence
and corruption (Ge 6:11, 13)
and man’s thinking was only evil continually (Ge 6:5). The
human race had even become contaminated through copulation
between fallen angelic beings and the “daughters of men” (Ge
6:1-2; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6). This was followed by the judgment
of the Flood recorded in Genesis 6-9.
Genesis 10 & 11
– Deification of Man –
In contrast to God’s command to “fill the earth,” Satan inspired
man to remain congregated in one area in an obvious attempt to
spread apostasy faster. Satan provided a symbol of unity for
the human race and a common project which would unite their
efforts at “making a name for themselves” (i.e. the Tower of
Babel). The Satanic inspiration for this effort is obvious –
they desired to not be scattered (Ge 11:4). This was Satan’s
first effort at a one-world religion and as is characteristic of
all false religions, man is deified (Ge 3:5, 22 cf. 11:4). The
leader of this effort was apparently Nimrod
whose name is related to the
Hebrew word for “rebel.”
He was a tyrannical ruler, a mighty hunter, and the founder of
several powerful cities that eventually became centers of power
for Israel’s enemies. These cities were concentrated in the
area of Mesopotamia or the plain of Shinar, where the attempt at
unification and one-world religion was concentrated (Ge 10:8-12
cf. 11:2, 5-8).
God countered Satan’s efforts to increase apostasy through a
one-world religious system opposed to God. God simply confused
their ability to communicate by introducing multiple languages.
More Specificity Regarding the Redeemer
– The repetitive cycle of degeneracy in the human race after
each judgment of God (e.g. the curse at the Fall of man, the
Flood, the Tower of Babel) exhibited the effectiveness of Satan
at blinding the inferior creature, man, to the truth. God
needed to establish a new race and nation of people who would be
His Own and who would preserve His revelation to man. God found
a man who would heed His call. That man was Abram who lived in
the land of Ur of the Chaldeans (Ge 11:31). The Redeemer, first
promised in Genesis 3:15, would come through Abram’s line of
descent (Matt 1:1; Lu 3:23-24)
By the time Abram arrived on the scene of human
history, wickedness had spread over the earth. Satan had
distorted the oral tradition of Truth that was being preserved
by a few into false religions that were counterfeits to the
Truth. Even Abram’s father was an idolator (Josh 24:2). Rather
than destroying the wicked as before (i.e. the Flood), God chose
Abram out of a land of idolatry through whom He would establish
a theocracy and accomplish His redemptive purpose. (God’s
omniscience foresaw the positive volition which would manifest
itself in Abram’s life as God progressively and iteratively
revealed His sovereign will and purpose. God’s omniscient
foreknowledge of Abram’s positive decisions became the basis of
God’s choice in time).
God needed to separate Abram from his family and
environment. God gave Abram a threefold command to accomplish
this separation: 1) leave his country; 2) leave his father’s
house; and 3) leave his relatives (Ge 12:1).
Biblical Support – Salvation
Prior to Written Scripture
can develop an argument from Scripture that supports the
position that man was saved by faith alone in Christ alone prior
to the written Word when we examine what Moses had to say about
early human history.
Passages Which Evidence an Oral Tradition During
the Pre-Canon Era of Human History:
– “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between
your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you
shall bruise him on the heel.”
This verse on its own doesn’t contain enough
information for Adam and Eve to be saved.
It says nothing about believing in Christ and
nothing about their eternal destiny.
Yahweh must have given Adam and Eve more verbal
information about the Coming “Seed” and the plan of eternal
Support for this position – God rejected man’s
efforts at covering sin (Ge 3:7) and provided a covering through
the skin of an animal – the first death in Scripture (Ge 3:21).
Genesis 4:4 – “And Abel, on his
part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of
the fat portions.”
How did Abel know to sacrifice the firstlings
of his flock?
What does this passage indicate about the means of
Genesis 7:2 – “You shall take
with you of every clean animal by sevens, a male and his female;
and of the animals that are not clean two, a male and his
Genesis 8:20-21a – “Then Noah
built an altar to the
Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every
clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21
And the Lord
smelled the soothing aroma”
How did Noah know which animals were clean
How did Noah know the manner in which to present
the sacrifices to the Lord – “burnt offerings?”
Genesis 14:18 – 18 And
Melchizedek king of Salem brought
out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. 19 And
he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram of God Most High,
Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 And blessed be God Most High,
Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him
a tenth of all.
How was Melchizedek a priest even before the Law
had been given?
How did Abram know to offer tithes (a tenth) to
support the priest?
Melchizedek becomes a type of Jesus Christ (Heb
7:1, 2, 4)
Genesis 49:8-10 – “8
“Judah, your brothers shall
praise you; Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
Your father’s sons shall bow down to you. 9 “Judah is a
lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He
couches, he lies down as a lion, And as a lion, who dares rouse
him up? 10 “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the
ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes,
And to him shall be the obedience of
Jacob spoke under the inspiration of the Holy
Spirit as he prophesied and blessed his sons while on his
There is further specificity in this passage of
the lineage of the Promised Redeemer – the tribe of Judah
Judah, representative of the coming Messiah, is
portrayed in a conquering role – “Your hand shall be on the neck
of your enemies” and “to him shall be the obedience of the
The scepter is another symbol of royalty
Many ancient sources including the Targum (the
Aramaic translation of the Old Testament) interpret “Shiloh as a
title for the Messiah
Interpretive Issue: Did Judah’s lordship
come to an end with the Babylonian captivity so that the scepter
did depart from Judah?
The reference to the scepter did
not necessarily refer to the rule of Judah, but probably
referred to its existence as a tribe. The genealogy of Jesus
given by Matthew is first class evidence that the royal stock
Job 19:25-26 – 25 “And as for me,
I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His
stand on the earth. 26 Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet
from my flesh I shall see God.”
How did Job, a contemporary of Jacob or perhaps
even Abraham, understand these truths regarding the Second
Advent of the Messiah and of the resurrection?
While we must be careful not to carry this point
too far, Job provides us with a basis to conclude that there is
possibly much that was understood by the early Patriarchs and
passed down through the generations by oral tradition that is
not recorded in Scripture, yet served as an undercurrent for
that which was recorded in Scripture, e.g. an understanding of
the angelic conflict. (See Job 1:6-12; 2:1-10)
Passages Which Evidence an Oral Tradition During the Pre-Canon
Era of Human History:
Jude 14-15a – 14 And about these
[false teachers] also Enoch, in the seventh generation
from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came
with many thousands of His holy ones, 15 to execute judgment
If Enoch prophesied these advanced truths about
the Second Coming of the Lord, it is reasonable to believe that
He also revealed basic truths about the means of salvation
through faith in Him and His work.
Hebrews 2:2-3 – 2 For if
the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and
every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense,
3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After
it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to
us by those who heard.”
Here, we have an allusion to angels being used as
Biblical Support – Salvation Message in the Old Testament
the Old Testament, we find pieces of information about a coming
Redeemer as we’ve seen above. Early history recorded in the
Bible gives us some evidence that there was a faith in Yahweh
for salvation or deliverance even though the message was never
clearly articulated in Scripture. It is certainly implied.
That message of salvation or deliverance eventually began to be
associated with Jewish aspirations for national deliverance the
more that the nation Israel and the Jewish people suffered
(usually discipline) and were offered encouragement by the
prophets. Consider the following passages.
– “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near; A
star shall come forth from
Jacob, And a scepter
shall rise from Israel, And shall crush through the forehead of
Moab, And tear down all the sons of Sheth. 18 “And Edom shall
be a possession, Seir, its enemies, also shall be a possession,
while Israel performs valiantly. 19 “One from Jacob shall
have dominion, And shall destroy the remnant from the city.”
20 And he looked at Amalek and took up his discourse and said,
“Amalek was the first of the nations, but his end shall be
provides evidence of an understanding of Messianic expectations
corresponding to Israel’s entry into the Promised Land (ca. 1406
there is evidence of Messianic hope and a strong connection to
the prophetic passages of Genesis 3:15 (the seed of the woman)
and Genesis 49:8-10 (Jacob’s prophetic blessing of Judah), there
is no explanation of the mechanics of salvation
journeyed toward the land of promise, they were refused passage
through the land of the Edom and Amorite territory.
Sihon, King of the Amorites in battle.
Og, the king of Bashan whose territory was further north, but
east of the Sea of Galilee.
controlled virtually all the land to the east of the Jordan
river that lay between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea.
was quite disturbing to one of the other kings of the Trans-jordan,
Balak, king of Moab.
Balak was so
disturbed that he solicited the services of Balaam, a
seer/diviner from Mesopotamia.
From the vantage
point of a mountain peak, Balaam repeatedly tried to pronounce
Balaam was from
Pethor, a city on the Euphrates river and was possibly not very
far from Mari, a city that was discovered in 1933 in the
In the 1933
discovery, a large number of cuneiform tablets were unearthed
and revealed the existence of a complex cult of prophets and
seers whose activities were very similar to Balaam.
In 1967, a
discovery was made in Jordan of an eighth century B.C.
inscription of prophecies of Balaam. This discovery of an
eighth century B.C. inscription of this pagan prophet is
testimony to his renown even centuries after his death.
specialized in animal divination whereby the entrails of animals
were inspected to determine the will of the gods.
even studied the movements of animals and birds in order to
determine if they might constitute a sign from the gods or even
influence the gods.
If Balaam could
influence the “god” of Israel, then he might reverse Israel’s
blessing into a curse and destroy them.
Balaam became an
unwilling agent that God used to produce some of the most
wonderful prophecies of the glorious future of Israel.
During his trip
by donkey to Moab, Balaam encountered the Angel of the Lord and
even witnessed his donkey speak.
Angel allowed Balaam to pass, but only after warning him that he
was to speak only the word that Yahweh would tell him (22:35).
prophecy primarily revolved around a “star” and a “scepter” that
would originate in Israel in the future. In the poetic
structure of the passage, the star and scepter are in parallel
construction, thus both refer to royalty.
to God’s pronouncement of blessing upon Abraham and his
descendants in Genesis 12 to include a blessing upon those who
bless you and a cursing upon those who curse you (Ge 12:2-3 cf.
Num 24:9) is unmistakable.
of this prophecy to that of Jacob in Genesis 49:10 that a ruler
over Israel would come from Judah is unmistakable.
among the nations is unique (23:7-10) and it has ultimate
fulfillment in the “latter days” (24:14) of her history when she
is delivered by her Ruler and Deliverer (24:15-19).
The pagan Balaam
had a vision of the coming of the Hebrew Messiah, the Lord Jesus
Christ. His vision was of Christ conquering His enemies to
establish the Messianic kingdom. All the nations that had
resisted God’s work through Israel would come under the curse
they unwittingly embraced.
Deuteronomy 18:15 – The Lord
Your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your
midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, according to all
you desired of the Lord your God in Horeb in the day of the
assembly, saying, “Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord
my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.”
doesn’t explain the mechanics of salvation either although in a
general way it carried Messianic hope. (See Peter’s application
to Jesus in Acts 3:22-26)
Psalm 2:7-9 - 7 “I will surely
tell of the decree of the
Lord: He said to
Me, ‘Thou art My Son, Today I have begotten Thee. 8 ‘Ask of Me,
and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance, And the
very ends of the earth as Thy possession. 9 ‘Thou shalt
break them with a rod of iron, Thou shalt shatter them like
This Psalm is a
Royal Psalm in which David exhorts the pagan nations to abandon
their rebellious plans against the Lord and to submit to the
authority of the Son whom God had ordained to rule the nations
Psalm 2 has been
described as a “war chant as forces are mustered together for
the impending battle of Armageddon.”
remainder of Israel’s history, “each descendant of David would
be adopted by God according to the words of the covenant: ‘I
will be his Father, and he shall be My son.’”
“We may presume
that these words were used by the priests as each new king was
crowned as the successor of David. As an adoptive ‘son’ of God,
the king was God’s regent on earth, marked out to mediate the
divine will among his subjects.’”
king to David would be ushered into office with the words of
Psalm 2:7 included in his anointing – “you are my son, today I
have begotten you.”
This would serve
as a reminder to each king of his divinely appointed
A thousand years
after David’s promise, a line that was never lacking in a male
descendant, David’s greatest son arrives on the scene.
does not marry and has no descendant, but He succeeds Himself.
It contains the
ideal that was set before each of these kings – live as the Son
of God and His regent upon this earth.
importantly, it contains the specific prophecy of the coming
rule of the King Jesus.
However, it does
not provide us with the mechanics of salvation.
– “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me? Far from My
deliverance are the words of my groaning.”
Psalm 22:6-8 - 6 But I am a
worm, and not a man, A reproach of men, and despised by the
people. 7 All who see me sneer at me; They separate with the
lip, they wag the head, saying, 8 “Commit yourself
to the Lord;
let Him deliver him; Let Him rescue him, because He delights in
- 14 I am poured out like water, And all my bones are out of
My heart is like wax; It is
melted within me. 15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
And my tongue cleaves to my jaws; And Thou dost lay me in the
dust of death. 16 For dogs have surrounded me; A band of
evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet.
17 I can count all my bones.
They look, they stare at me; 18 They
divide my garments among them, And for my clothing they cast
In this Psalm, David is inspired by the Holy
Spirit to record the distress of his physical suffering and the
Lord’s deliverance with words that describe the suffering that
Jesus (David’s ultimate descendant) experienced upon the Cross.
The Psalm is clearly Messianic since the writer to
the Hebrews quoted Psalm 22:22 in Hebrews 2:12 as the words of
The omniscient Holy Spirit Who inspired David to
use these words knew that they would be the very words that
Jesus would utter as He cried out to God on the Cross as
recorded in Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34
Is Psalm 22 indeed prophetic? If so, did David
realize the prophetic nature of what he wrote? Is what David
wrote limited to or extended beyond his own experience?
Some have claimed that the early church merely saw
the connection and incorporated Psalm 22 into the passion story.
It is unlikely that Psalm 22 refers to some
otherwise unrecorded incident in David’s life based upon David’s
stature in the Old Testament and the grave nature of the
experience he described.
David clearly transcends his own experiences in
the last section of the psalm (verses 22-31) by stating that all
the earth would praise God for what He had done.
1 Peter 1:10-12 seems to indicate that the
prophets who predicted the sufferings of Christ were aware that
they were doing so.
Both Peter and Jesus quote Psalm 110:1 in a manner
that clearly indicates that David knew he was prophesying (see
Acts 2:34-35; Matt. 22:44; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:42-43).
David as a prophet per Acts 2:30 is one of the
first in a series of prophets to prophesy in detail about the
future theocratic kingdom ruled by his Messianic descendant.
Later prophets would expound in greater detail
regarding this Messianic kingdom mostly as an encouragement to
those who would survive the judgment that they foretold.
After the departure of the Shekinah Glory from the
temple described by Ezekiel (Ezekiel 8:4; 9:3; 10:4; 10:18;
11:22, 23) and the beginning of the time of Gentile domination
over Israel, a major theme of the prophets message was the
future theocratic kingdom.
Even though this passage is VERY Messianic, it
does not provide the mechanics of salvation.
Psalm 110:1-7 – 1 The Lord says
to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a
footstool for Your feet.” 2 The Lord will stretch forth
Your strong scepter from Zion, saying, “Rule in the midst of
Your enemies.” 3 Your people will volunteer freely in the
day of Your power; in holy array, from the womb of the dawn,
Your youth are to You as the dew. 4 The Lord has sworn and will
not change His mind, “You are a priest forever according to
the order of Melchizedek.” 5 The Lord is at Your right
hand; He will shatter kings in the day of His wrath. 6 He will
judge among the nations, He will fill them with corpses, He will
shatter the chief men over a broad country. 7 He will drink
from the brook by the wayside. Therefore He will lift up His
David, writing in approximately 1000 B.C., is
privileged to be given access through the Holy Spirit to divine
communication in eternity past regarding an event that was yet
future to David.
Although this Psalm pictures the victorious
Messiah at what we now to be His 2nd Advent, there is
no clear explanation of the mechanics of salvation
Isaiah 53:11 – “My righteous
Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their
Again, this is certainly prophetic of the Messiah,
but it doesn’t tell people what they had to do to be justified.
Micah 4:1-5 – Now it shall come
to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house
shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be
exalted above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it. Many
nations shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the
mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will
teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.” For out of
Zion the law shall go forth, and the word of the Lord from
Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke
strong nations afar off; they shall beat their swords into
plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall
not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war
anymore. But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his
fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of
the Lord of hosts has spoken. For all people walk each in the
name of his god, but we will walk in the name of the Lord our
God forever and ever.
Certainly, this is a passage of hope for the
nation, Israel, the Jewish race and even Gentiles; however, it
doesn’t address how the reader was to be saved while he/she
waited upon that day to come.
Jeremiah 31:34 – “And they shall
not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother,
saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the
greatest of them,” declares the
Lord, “for I will
forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
While Jeremiah speaks of knowing the Lord and
forgiveness of sins, he doesn’t mention how to experience these
Ezekiel 36:26-28 – Moreover, I
will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I
will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a
heart of flesh. 27 “And I will put My Spirit within you and
cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to
observe My ordinances. 28 “And you will live in the land that I
gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will
be your God.
Ezekiel speaks of a spiritual birth, but he
doesn’t mention how to experience this new birth.
Daniel 7:13-14 – I was watching
in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of
Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was
given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples,
nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an
everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom
the one which shall not be destroyed.
Daniel 7:27 – Then the kingdom
and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole
heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most
High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions
shall serve and obey Him.
VERY Messianic passages, but again, no clear
explanation of the mechanics of salvation
Zechariah 12:10 – And I will pour
on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the
Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom
they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for
his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a
Zechariah 14:9 – And the Lord
shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be –
“the Lord is one,” and His name is one.
Zechariah 14:20 – In that day
“HOLINESS TO THE LORD” shall be engraved on the bells of the
horses. The pots in the Lord’s house shall be like the bowls
before the altar. Yes, every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall
be holiness to the Lord of hosts. In that day there shall no
longer be a Canaanite [merchandisers] in the house of the Lord
Again, very Messianic passages, but no explanation
of the mechanics of salvation
Note: Jewish commentators often explain is
passage as a reference to Jews killed in the defense of
Jerusalem during the Babylonian siege. The Talmud interprets
this phrase as a reference to the Messiah who will be pierced in
Malachi 4:5-6a – Behold, I will
send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and
dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of the
fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their
Very Messianic, but no explanation of the
mechanics of salvation
Last book of the Old Testament
New Testament Clarifies the Picture of Salvation in Pre-Canon &
While there may be no specific Old Testament passage that
clearly details the salvation gospel in the pre-Canon period of
human history, the New Testament indicates that an oral
tradition existed. God expected the Rabbis and other
religious leaders in Israel to lead His flock to the
truth and not spiritual destruction through their distorted
tradition and commentaries.
John 3:5-7 – Jesus answered,
“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and
the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is
born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit
is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, You must be born
John 3:9 – Nicodemus answered and
said to Him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered and said
to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these
things?” [Nicodemus didn’t know, but God expected him to know.
How? The Old Testament and oral tradition.]
John 10:11 – I am the good
shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.
Acts 8:32, 35 – 32 The place in
the Scripture which he [the Ethiopian eunuch] read was
this: “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and as a lamb
before its shearer is silent, so He opened not His mouth.” 35
Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture
preached Jesus to him.
New Testament indicates that prophets witness to the fact that
salvation was through the name of Christ, the Messiah. Peter
refers to the prophets who wrote about Christ.
Acts 10:43 – To Him, all the
prophets witness that, though His name, whoever believes in Him
will receive remission of sins.
Evidently, much of what the prophets proclaimed was not recorded
in Scripture. For example, while Enoch is mentioned in Genesis,
we would not know that he prophesied of Christ unless Jude had
told us. And we would not know that Moses “considered the
reproach of Christ” unless the writer of Hebrews told us. We
would also not know that Abraham rejoiced to see Jesus’ day
unless John told us.
Hebrews 11:24-26 – By faith
Moses, when he became of age refused to be called the son of
Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with
the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,
esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the
treasures in Egypt, for he looked to the reward. [Not only
did Moses believe in Christ, but living 1400 to 1500 years
before Jesus, he understood God’s truth concerning discipleship
John 5:46 – For if you believed
Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. [May be
a reference to Deuteronomy 18:15]
John 8:56 – Your father Abraham
rejoiced to see My day and he saw it and was glad.
Paul affirms that salvation was by grace through faith in the
coming Redeemer and uses Abraham as an example.
Romans 4:3, 5 – Abraham believed
God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness…But to him
who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly,
his faith is accounted for righteousness.
New Testament indicates that this plan of salvation existed even
prior to the creation of man. Christ’s death was as good as an
established fact even prior to the world was created.
Revelation 13:8 – “…the Lamb
slain from the foundation of the world.”
Isaiah 53:6 – “the Lord has laid
on Him the iniquity of us all.” [Isaiah writes in the past
tense some 800 years before Jesus died.]
God’s plan of salvation has always been the same from eternity
past to eternity future. It has never been on the basis of
animal sacrifices (Heb 10:4) or by works or keeping the Law (Isa
64:6; Rom 3:20).
Hebrews 10:4 – For it is not
possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sin.
Isaiah 64:6a – But we are all
like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like
Romans 3:20a – Therefore by the
deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight.
we accomplish our purpose in this study?