Salvation - OT vs NT

What are the similarities and differences
between Salvation in the Old Testament
and Salvation in the New Testament?


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As Jesus had not redeemed the world yet in the OT I don’t think the souls of the righteous in the OT entered heaven as we knew it just yet- they were in a good place though. Scripture mentions “Abraham’s bosom”…

The Old Testament saints were kept in the underworld known as “Sheol”. Christ, when He died, entered Sheol and brought them to heaven.

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That’s right. I think this is the place referred to by the bosom of Abraham


From the perspective of Judaism and the Hebrew Scriptures, salvation is meant in terms of salvation of the Jewish people from their enemies due to G-d’s protection. It is not meant as personal salvation in heaven. Not that the Hebrews or present-day Jews do not believe in the spiritual salvation of the individual’s soul, but it was not and is not focused on in Judaism. The Law (Torah) is meant as a guiding light that teaches how to live a moral and meaningful live on Earth according to one’s interpretation of the will of G-d; it was not and is not presently meant as a way to achieve personal salvation. The concept of salvation, according to Christian teaching, is not part of Jewish theology.


Meltzer, this makes me curious. How do Jews view individual salvation in the afterlife? I know it’s not a focus, but there has to be some teaching. What’s the point of saving the Jewish people in the world if they’re just going to die without obtaining eternal salvation?

(I read this and it sound contentious, I really don’t mean it to be.)

Psalm 50 [lxx]
“Restore unto me the Joy of Thy Salvation…
And renew a right spirit within me…”

Is there an experiential difference
between the two in this life?


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Jews vary in their beliefs about individual salvation in the afterlife, and they are permitted to have different beliefs because the Law does not specify about what happens after we die. In general, though, I would say that Jews are taught to trust that G-d will take care of the afterlife as He sees fit according to His justice and mercy, and it is our job to take care of this life by making it a good one and doing our share to make the world a better place (known as “tikkun olam”).


Thanks for the lesson ^^

(Once again, that is meant sincerely, and not snarkily…)

Is Salvation only found in the afterlife?


Is Salvation here and now in this life?

“Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand!”


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No need to apologize. I didn’t take it as anything but an honest question.


I think for most Christians, salvation is largely used in referring to the afterlife. But I believe that some Quakers interpret it as a continuous renewal of the spirit in the present life.


From a Christian perspective, final salvation can only take place in the after life. Before that, we can always commit sins, including mortal sin.

It’s only once we’re dead that our wills become fixed, and therefore we can be permanently saved or damned.

Now, we can definitely start experiencing salvation on Earth if we live according to God’s will and avoid sin. We just aren’t saved in the absolute sense until we are judged by God.

I like the saying:

We have been saved, we are being saved, and we will be saved. It’s all part of the same process.

The EOC places the Salvation of God in this life, here and now…

[Joh 6:50]
This is the bread
which cometh down from heaven,
that a man may eat thereof,
and not die.

What are we saved FROM?

I am looking for the RCC’s teaching on the differences and similarities of God’s Salvation in the Old Testament compared with God’s Salvation in the New Testament…


I was not aware of this belief by the Eastern Orthodox Church. It seems to be a fundamental difference from the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching.

What are we saved from is a question that might be posed by those of the Jewish faith. But for most Christians, I think the answer is that we are saved from the (mortal) sins we commit in addition to original sin. Do the Orthodox believe in original sin?

Well, we believe in God! :slight_smile:

We understand original sin differently…

And we understand Salvation is from death, like the Jews…

Just not physical death in this life…

We embrace the death this world offers…

Overcome in each person’s soul…

And ymmv, and will…

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What I was taught about salvation in the OT matches what @meltzerboy2 said in his post #5. The Hebrew word for salvation is yeshuah ( יְשׁוּעָה ), the same as the name Jesus. In the OT it is used primarily in the sense of rescue or deliverance in this world, not in the afterlife. It often refers to the deliverance of the nation of Israel from its oppressors, as for example in 1 Sam 14:45, where Jonathan has led the army to a great victory over the Philistines and is then acclaimed by the soldiers for having achieved “salvation in Israel.” Similarly, it can also refer to the salvation or protection of an individual who is threatened by personal enemies, as in Psalm 27:1, “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?” It can also mean simply material welfare or prosperity. Job, for example, recalls a time when “the friendship of God was upon my tent,” whereas now he has been reduced to poverty and has lost his yeshuah (Job 30:15).

In the Nabre Bible, yeshuah is translated as “victory” in the first case, as “salvation” in the second, and as “well-being” in the third.


Just an aside, talking about Jewish people

Jesus was a JEW in the flesh. Obviously so were His parents and extended family. Jews are great on keeping track of lineage, here are 2 accounts of Jesus lineage in the flesh.


I bring this up to extend the idea of what Jews understood about salvation, when considering what Jesus taught

Both covenants still require man to be righteous, to be who he was created to be. But under the Old Covenant man was still in a state of spiritual separation from God, otherwise known as “Original Sin”, and man was told how he was to behave; he was given the Law IOW. The Law or commandments tell us what justice or righteousness “looks like” for a human. Man failed consistently under this covenant-and the centuries-long relationship between God and His chosen people, with this failure to live up to His standards, was later understood by Christians to be a learning experience, as all of this life is meant to be in one manner or another. We learned from it that man cannot fulfill the Law on his own because even if we were to appear perfect on the outside, the inside must be pure beforehand in order for righteousness to be real. We don’t need to demonstrate our obedience or righteousness first of all, as if that’s even possible, rather we need to be reconciled with God first of all, in order to be authentically obedient. IOW man needs God, ‘Apart from whom we can do nothing’ to paraphrase John 15:5. God, alone, can justify man-can make us just.

So Jesus came, when the time was ripe, when humankind was barely ready to receive it, to reconcile man with God by fully revealing His true nature and will. Everything Jesus said and did revealed the true “face” of God, so that we may know Him, and so believe in Him and enter communion with Him as is the right order of things for man. Adam had broke this relationship by his act of disobedience, and won death for man.
"Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." John 17:3

So a more direct and immediate “knowledge of God” comes with the New Covenant:
"No longer will each man teach his neighbor or his brother,
saying, ‘Know the LORD,’
because they will all know Me,
from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD." Jer 31:34

With relationship established, God can do a work in us:
"I will put My law in their minds
and inscribe it on their hearts.
And I will be their God,
and they will be My people." Jer 31:32

God can finally accomplish what we cannot do on our own. And the name or definition of the righteousness that He means to give us as we participate in His work is love, the reflection of His own image, that fulfills the Law by its nature (ref Rom 13:10). And this is why the Church can teach, quoting St John Cross of the regarding our “particular judgment”:
"At the evening of life, we shall be judged on our love." (CCC 1022)

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