What happened to those who died before Jesus?
What happened to the people who died before the arrival of Jesus Christ. Were they judged and went to heaven or hell?
Well, so much can be said here. There are some common misconceptions of Christian doctrine that affect how many perceive ideas about salvation and heaven and hell.
No one is in heaven right now (except Jesus, and maybe a few exceptions). Generally however, we do not die and go to heaven (or hell). The kingdom of heaven is a present state of spiritual consciousness that is available to those who worship God in Spirit and Truth. Those who seek “first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” are transformed from earthly minded to spiritually minded, and thereby begin to walk after the Lord with Jesus as the ruler of our hearts rather than being bound to Satan who is the prince of this world. In that sense, we do “die and go to heaven.” We die to self and to this earth and are “raised in newness of Christ.” That is the process of salvation — being freed from this present wicked world through the power of Jesus and being brought into His kingdom. We are told that the kingdom of heaven is “at hand.” That is what this means. It does not mean we make a one time declaration of faith then continue living like the rest of the world. We are promised a new nature that comes from a new heart — a new spirit by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Those who are faithful subjects in the kingdom while they yet live in this world will be raised from the dead at Christ’s coming and granted entrance into the kingdom that will come to earth during the thousand-year reign of Jesus on this present earth. “The rest of the dead live not again until the thousand years are finished,” then they are judged “according to the book of Life.” Those who are dead now currently “sleep in Christ” if they are Christians. Otherwise, they are simply dead and will be partakers of the lake of fire which is the “second death.” Unless God is merciful towards them.
Inserted* After this, there is a new heavens and new earth, and those who remained faithful to the Lord will live with Him forever.
So, what happened to those who died before Christ? Well, if they are Jews who God was pleased with who kept His laws, He might raise them and grant them eternal life, or He might judge them and throw them in the lake of fire. That is His judgement, we cannot know. I do know that God creates some to be His sons and others are created to raise up the sons, then as from dust they came, to dust the return. God does not love everyone, but He is good to everyone in allowing them to live in the first place.
Here are some posts you might find useful:
Die and “Go to Heaven” https://kindlingtruth.com/2017/08/24/die-and-go-to-heaven/
The Sacrifice of Jesus and the Restoration of Mankind https://kindlingtruth.com/2017/06/18/the-sacrifice-of-jesus-and-the-restoration-of-mankind/
Jesus Promises Perfection https://kindlingtruth.com/2017/07/16/jesus-promises-perfection/
God’s Predetermined Will for the Election of His Children in Christ https://kindlingtruth.com/2017/07/23/gods-predetermined-will-for-the-election-of-his-children-in-christ/
The Gospel of the Kingdom At Hand https://kindlingtruth.com/2017/11/19/audio-recording-2-the-gospel-of-the-kingdom-at-hand/
I understand this might raise a lot of questions. There are a lot of wrong teachings out there that we have been conditioned to believe about salvation, heaven, and hell — and these teachings keep people bound to this world rather than finding the freedom promised through Jesus.