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I believe some prophets of God, such as Moses and Elijah, are in heaven, yet they lived and died before Christ came. How is this possible? What does this mean for the other Jewish people?

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Moses and Elijah were at the transfiguration. I'd say they made it into heaven. (See Luke 9:27-36) –  unregistered-matthew7.7 Aug 30 '12 at 21:14
    
do you mean pre-Christ, or post-Christ? –  warren Aug 30 '12 at 22:09
    
Christians understand that the savior/Messiah who was foretold throughout OT times was also the savior of those who lived during OT times, not just now. Who saved people before ~33AD? –  Caleb Aug 30 '12 at 22:18
    
@warren That presupposes dispensationalism :) –  Affable Geek Aug 31 '12 at 0:51
    
@MaryGrace - This is related to a significant debate that Paul addresses in Romans 9 & 10. Those two chapters are probably your best bet for diving an answer - but remember that for Jews at the time, there was debate about life after death all together. The Saducees, for example, would have thought the whole idea nonsensical. Still, Romans 9 - 10 gets to the heart of what benefit the Jews have in relation to the promises of God. –  Affable Geek Aug 31 '12 at 0:52

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The basic answer is that there is no difference. Old Testament people, Jew or Gentile, who believed in a coming Messiah were saved. Old Testament people who did not have faith were not saved. There is no difference. They are saved 'looking forward' to Messiah. We are saved 'looking back' to Messiah. His actual coming into time to complete his work was not required to be saved by faith in it because since God exists out of time, all that he planned was from eternity and effectual for salvation before he came. God saw Christ as being crucified before the creation of the world in the sense that whatever He planned in time is as creation as history.

All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast--all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world. (NIV Revelation 13:8)

But some might say, how did Abraham know about the Messiah. Well originally Messiah ws promised to Adam and Eve. God spoke to the serpent in front of them saying:

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel. (NIV Genesis 3:15)

Later this promised seed from the woman, was promised to be the seed of Abraham, and Abraham had great faith in Messiah as he and his wife was beyond child bearing years. God said that this Messiah would cause all nations to obtain blessing from God, not just to his biological children:

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (NIV Genesis 12:1-4)

We know for sure that Abraham has faith in Messiah. Even Jesus declared it:

Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad. (NIV John 8:56)

So you see both Jew and Gentile, before and after Christ, can be saved by simple faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins. Any humble person who acknowledge their need of forgiveness and hopes in Messiah will be saved and is a child of Abraham having the same faith as he had.

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Faith in God has always been God's method of salvation, to Jew and Gentile: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, 'The righteous shall live by faith' (Rom. 1:16-17).” –  Steve Apr 27 at 18:26

The answer to this question is yes, this is one of Gods great and wonderful mystery's.In the book of Romans 11:25-29 it says I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved. As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for Gods gifts and his call are irrevocable. So basically God has hardened the hearts of the Jews to not except Jesus as there Savior, until all the people who are not Jews, Gentiles or Christians, except Jesus as there Savior that are going to.

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It seems the question is specifically asking about Moses and Elijah and Jews who preceded Christ. –  Narnian Apr 28 at 17:31

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