I have read enough explanations to the question "what would happen to people who have never heard the Gospel?" But there were people even before Jesus was born. What happened to people (gentiles) other than the Israelites who were living during the old testament times? On what basis would they be judged?
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Acts 17:30. "In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent". In every dispensation, if people remain faithful to the light so revealed, God is faithful and gracious. He will not exact that which was not available. "But now He commands all people everywhere to repent". Their ignorance is not OUR excuse. We now know. We must repent.
In the Old Testament, blood sacrifices were necessary to honor and worship God. Cain refused to give a blood sacrifice. Able did provide such a sacrifice. By doing so, Able was credited with being righteous, since he followed God's requirements. Cain willfully ignored God's demands. Imagine this: God spoke to both men, personally! They heard God's voice, heard Adam's instructions, yet Cain refused to honor God. So, people in the OT were judged on whether or not they carried out God's instructions, which they all knew. Most chose to ignore. JUST LIKE TODAY. Look at Abraham. The Bible tells us this: Genesis 15:6 says that Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Abraham left his country believing that God had a better plan for him. He was saved because of His faith, even though Jesus was some 2000 years in the future. GOD IS, AND REMAINS, SO MERCIFUL.
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