OT Salvation

I’m trying to develop a thought, sort of thinking out blog, about repentance and salvation in the OT as compared with the NT, particular the distinction under the Mosaic Law as compared with now. There are some huge differences.

As I was trying to explain in my posts about repentance, people were not told to individually repent for their sins. Repent is used for being sad but only two or three times in relation to turning from sin. When the Law tells people to turn, it addresses it to the Nation, not the individual.

This got me to thinking further, what did a guy under the Mosaic Law think of when he thought of salvation? Did he even consider personal salvation? A brief glimpse through the concordance for “saved” and “salvation” show that these are used primarily in relation to the nation not the person.

Again, individual people were saved (see Isaiah 45:22 but also notice it sums it up in 45:25 that it’s all about the Nation), but the large extent of the salvation message was to the Nation.

Consider also–God’s Spirit indwelt the tabernacle in the Nation not the individual body of each Israelite. Salvation did not consist of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit for the believer.

I would enjoy your feedback on this partial, incoherent thought but also know there is more coming as I develop this thought.

4 thoughts on “OT Salvation”

  1. The part about the Holy Spirit is definitely true. The OT speaks of the Holy Spirit coming and going from people (e.g. Samson, Saul, also read Psalm 51).

    I imagine when an Israelite heard “salvation,” he thought of it the way we would think of it outside a religious context–being rescued. God “saved” the nation (and individuals, according to the Psalms) from its enemies.

    Is salvation purely individual even now? No man is an island unto himself…we’re all part of the church, not just a collection of individual Christians. It’s the church–not the individual–that’s the body of Christ and bride of Christ. And the church–as well as the individual (1 Corinthians 6:19)–is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). I guess the point I’m making is that the concept of corporate salvation is still present, though it isn’t related to material blessings anymore. (Why would we want those when we can get something much better?)

  2. The big difference is that the NT conception of corporate salvation is that it is not tied to a land, a government, a race and in fact, there is now no difference between jew and gentile, male female, bond or free. We’re all one in Christ. OT salvation was corporate in that they were viewed as a nation in comparison to other nations. I see your point but there is still a big difference.

  3. I think the concept of corporate salvation in the NT is only different from the OT in measure. For instance, there is a land promise in the NT . Paul even writes in Romans 4 that the land promise to Abraham wasn’t simply Israel, but the world (Romans 4:13). It is also a government – the Kingdom of God. And even Isaiah said that Israel was to be a “light unto the Gentiles (nations),” which suggests to me that OT Israel misunderstood what it meant to be Israel. In fact, we find a good number of Gentiles playing a significant role in the history of Israel and the ancestry of the Messiah (Ruth and Rahab, for example).

    It seems to me that Paul’s argument in Romans (and especially ch. 4 where he, for all practical purposes, calls Abraham the father not only of believing Jews but believing Gentiles as well – as Abraham was originally from Ur (Babylon) himself.

    I say all of that to say that I think the corporate nature of salvation in the New Testament is grossly overlooked and the dichotomy between the Old and New is overestimated.

    Just my .02

  4. Thanks for your .02, allow me to give you some change! I don’t think we have any promise of the world as NT believers. In fact, the NT says we are strangers and pilgrims here, not potential folks at home. Our citizenship is in heaven. Think on things above not on things of this world. A soldier of Christ does not entangle himself with the affairs of this world. I can’t see how that would make any sense if our goal was to get the earth. Israel, through following their King, will receive the adoration of the world, that is how the promise of the world fits in with them. I think you have .01 left! Thanks again!

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