When was it easier to get to heaven?

Under the OT covenant - or under the NT covenant?


I would have to say NT, as you could not get into Heaven until after Jesus’s sacrifice! :smiley:

This. Heaven’s gates were not opened until Christ’s death and resurrection.

But if this were so, how was Christ transfigured on the mountaintop, before His death, talking with Moses and Elijah?

I read this passage in Fulton Sheen’s book “The Life of Christ” last night, and it resonated with me for perhaps the first time, and this was the question I asked, too.

Thanks for the replies.

First - to the matter of the transfiguration.
Many years ago i was taught that those who died in God’s grace under the Old covenant went to an abode of the dead which was neither heaven or hell. After Jesus death on the cross, He went there and judged these. Those who accepted Him went to heaven, those who rejected Him went to hell. So - Moses and Elijah were present in this abode - at peace for surely these men were in God’s grace.

As to the matter of the gates of heaven being closed.
I don’t really think that this addresses my question here. Consider Jesus’ conversation with the rich young man in Mt 19:16-22. When asked what was necessary, Jesus replied “keep the commandments” and if the young man had not pursued the matter, there it would have remained.

But now consider the Sermon on the mount where Jesus not only teaches the commandments but expands upon them - at least expands on the understandings of the listeners. Look at what Jesus says here.
“You have heard it said…” This is what the Jews had been taught. Things like love your neighbor but hate your enemy, do not commit (physically) adultery, do not kill etc. But Jesus doesn’t leave it at that…He goes on to say…
“But I say to you…” And expands on the commandments
Thou shall not Kill becomes thou shall not become angry.
Thou shall not commit adultery becomes thou shall not look lustfully at a woman
An eye for an eye becomes do not resist one who is evil.
Love your neighbor and hate your enemy becomes love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…

Thus - under the Old covenant, if a Jew hated their enemy with a blood lust, or looked at a woman with desire, or became angry - but did not kill, that person was not sinning and would not be judged as sinning when Jesus came to judge those in Hades and bring the OT saints to heaven.

So this is the thinking that lead me to ask the question…Was it easier to get into heaven under the rules of the old covenant or under the new covenant?


Thanks for clearing that up. I’d actually forgotten that tradition.



Trick question! :stuck_out_tongue:

We know that all who are saved are saved through Christ – even retroactively. So we can factor that out of the equation as the Paschal sacrifice applies to us all.

In one sense, it is easier under the New Covenant as we have access to the graces of the sacraments – something our forefathers in the faith did not have. We also have access to the words and example of Jesus and the guidance of the Church.

However, unto whom much is given, much is expected. As we have been given much, much is expected. So perhaps the bar is set a little higher for those under the New Covenant. In which case, it might all even out.

That would be my theologically unsophisticated guess. I wouldn’t think God would penalize people just for when they lived. But I could be wrong.

But the transfiguration was before Jesus died, not after.

Original sin stained us until the Savior came.

Is that the answer ?

See reply number 6…


Starting with the eleventh chapter of Leviticus, the prescriptions God gave the Israelites were exceedingly strict, and I doubt many of us could live with them today. Many were given as a protection from disease, banning certain animals and fish from their diets.

Other laws, once broken, were met with terrible penalties. Check Lev. 20:9, “Anyone who curses his father or mother shall be put to death.” Kids today are seriously disrespectful to parents.

How about Lev. 25:36 forbidding the charge of interest to fellow countrymen?
Think about the impurity assigned to women with menstrual periods and childbirth, and the prohibition of touching a dead person. Many such laws would be a burden to those living in the NT era. Remember the vision of St. Peter in Acts 10? He was instructed by God that He had cleansed many of the prohibitions regarding food that were in place during the OT.

Numbers 5:7
They shall confess their sin, and restore the principal itself, and the fifth part over and above, to him against whom they have sinned. This reminds me of Zaccheus who told Jesus he restored fourfold everything that he had taken unlawfully. The duty of restitution still holds in the NT, but it is not quite as severe.

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