How were people saved in the Old Testament? More specifically, how were people saved from say Adam to the giving of the Law?

We know that before the Law, God used men to speak his word, such as Enoch:

Jude 14-15
14. And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,
15. To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

Now that must have been some smoking hot sermon, but it doesn’t really say how people were supposed to get saved.

How were people saved from the giving of the Law until Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection? How were people saved during Christ’s ministry, since technically the Law of Moses was still in force, but Christ also seemed to have had the authority to forgive sins at his discretion?

How will people be saved during the tribulation period? How will people be saved during the millennial reign of Christ?

Thank you for having this question and answer section.

Michael answers:

Old Testament saints were saved on credit. Their sins were covered by animal blood but not removed (Hebrews 10:4). When O.T. saints died they did not go to heaven. They went into the bottomless pit in a special reserved place called “paradise” or “Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 23:43; Ephesians 4:8-10 with Psalm 63:9). It was on the opposite side of the pit from, and within sight of, the suffering damned (Luke 16:22-26). When Jesus was resurrected, atonement was complete and now applicable to those whose sin had been covered but not removed (Romans 3:25). So he was then justified in saving them (Romans 3:26), and so raised the O.T. saints (Matthew 27:52), and moved paradise to a heavenly place (2 Corinthians 12:4).

Jesus’ descent into hell (Acts 2:27), the heart of the earth (Psalms 55:15; Amos 9:2), was not to complete suffering but to complete the human experience, just as his entire life was part of the human experience (Hebrews 2:17). Again, the participation in the human experience has nothing to do with redemption, but everything to do with his qualifying to be a faithful and merciful high priest and the first born among many brethren (Colossians 1:18). Jesus became the overcoming man and as such had to experience the full grip of death (Hebrews 2:9) to make his resurrection an experience that had implications for us.

Jews are not saved by works during the tribulation, but works are required by those who believe. They, like all Old Testament persons, are not regenerated, born again, as is a New Testament saint. The tribulation saints will believe the everlasting gospel and obey God by repenting from sins and being faithful to him in rejecting the mark of the beast until death, and thus will be saved after they “endure unto the end.” All salvation in any dispensation is by the grace of God, but tribulation salvation requires continual faithfulness until death. It is not a certain level of goodness that God requires but rather complete faithfulness to God in regard to the mark of the beast.