The Salvation Of Believing Israelites Prior To The Incarnation Of Christ -- By: Sidney D. Dyer

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 14:1 (Spring 2001)
Article: The Salvation Of Believing Israelites Prior To The Incarnation Of Christ
Author: Sidney D. Dyer

The Salvation Of Believing
Israelites Prior To The
Incarnation Of Christ

Sidney D. Dyer

Associate Professor of Greek and New Testament
Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Greenville, South Carolina

Editor’s note: The views of the author are not in all cases those of JOTGES. However there is much excellent and original material in this article. Dr. Dyer gives us much to think about.

I. Introduction

The title of Walter Kaiser’s book Toward Rediscovering the Old Testament shows that there is a tendency to neglect the first three fourths of the Bible.1 Kaiser’s book appeared back in 1987. The propensity to give greater attention to the last fourth of the Bible is still with us today. A contributing factor is undoubtedly a misunderstanding concerning the salvation of believing Israelites prior to Christ coming in the flesh. Demonstrating the unity of salvation before and after the incarnation facilitates a better appreciation for and usefulness of the Old Testament.

There has always been only one way of salvation. Both covenant theologians and dispensationalists agree on this point. Both explain that throughout the history of mankind salvation has been by grace through faith. There is, of course, disagreement on specific points.2 In this article I will argue that believers before the incarnation of Christ heard the same gospel, looked to the same Savior, were members of the same Church, and enjoyed the same blessings of salvation that believers do today.

II. They Heard the Same Gospel

The gospel existed before Jesus’ birth. Revelation 14:6 contains the expression “the everlasting gospel.” Some argue that the absence of the article in the Greek means that John is not referring to the gospel, but to a gospel. Paul, however, refers to the gospel without the article in Romans 1:1. Some have also argued that the content of the everlasting gospel is given in 14:7 where men are commanded to fear, give glory to, and worship God because the hour of His judgment has come. It would seem better, however, as Ladd does, to understand that the angel had the everlasting gospel of which the content of v 7 is a part.3 Two other texts support the idea that the gospel in Rev 14:6 is eterna...

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