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Ray wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • How did people get into Heaven before Jesus was born?

Ray

  { How did people get into Heaven before Jesus was born? }

Mike replied:

Hi Ray,

Thanks for the question.

They didn't!

The Catechism explains the part of our Creed that states: "He descended into Hell" as follows:

Paragraph 1. Christ Descended into Hell

632 The frequent New Testament affirmations that Jesus was "raised from the dead" presuppose that the crucified one sojourned in the realm of the dead prior to his resurrection. (Acts 3:15; Romans 8:11; 1 Corinthians 15:20; cf. Hebrews 13:20) This was the first meaning given in the apostolic preaching to Christ's descent into hell: that Jesus, like all men, experienced death and in his soul joined the others in the realm of the dead. But he descended there as Savior, proclaiming the Good News to the spirits imprisoned there. (1 Peter 3:18-19.)

633 Scripture calls the abode of the dead, to which the dead Christ went down, "hell" - Sheol in Hebrew or Hades in Greek - because those who are there are deprived of the vision of God. (cf. Philippians 2:10; Acts 2:24; Revelation 1:18; Ephesians 4:9; Psalms 6:6; 88:11-13.) Such is the case for all the dead, whether evil or righteous, while they await the Redeemer: which does not mean that their lot is identical, as Jesus shows through the parable of the poor man Lazarus who was received into "Abraham's bosom": (cf. Psalm 89:49; 1 Samuel 28:19; Ezekiel 32:17-32; Luke 16:22-26.) "It is precisely these holy souls, who awaited their Savior in Abraham's bosom, whom Christ the Lord delivered when he descended into hell." Jesus did not descend into hell to deliver the damned, nor to destroy the hell of damnation, but to free the just who had gone before him. (Matthew 27:52-53)

Earlier in the Catechism it also says:

61 The patriarchs, prophets and certain other Old Testament figures have been and always will be honored as saints in all the Church's liturgical traditions.

Here a related posting:

Hope this helps,

Mike

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