Do Jews Go to Heaven?

Posted on January 8, 2019

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By David Ettinger

Uncomfortable Topic
For many Christians, the topic of the Jewish people going to Heaven is an uncomfortable one. Yet, the question is legitimate: Do Jews go to Heaven?

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Unfortunately, many Christians don’t know how to reply, though the answer is rather simple. Sadly, as a Jewish believer in Christ for more than 30 years, I have only been asked this question once, but I wish I had been asked this more often. The Bible speaks clearly on the issue, and it should be viewed by believers as an opportunity for Gospel-sharing rather than as a cause for discomfort.

So, let’s briefly examine the issue and determine the best way to respond to the question: Do Jews go to Heaven?

Salvation Facts
If you are ever asked this question, it is important to know your “salvation facts.” The first thing you need to know is that salvation – that is, eternal life with God when this life is over – is found exclusively in the Person of Jesus Christ.

In John 14:6, Jesus proclaims: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” No explanation needed; Jesus expressed Himself precisely, and there can be no mistaking His message. This truth is affirmed in Acts 4:12, where the apostle Peter avers: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Again, no explanation needed; the truth is comprehensible as can be.

Romans

The second thing you need to know is that having understood this truth, an individual must acknowledge and accept it. In Romans 10:9, the apostle Paul affirms: “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” In Acts 16:31, Paul says: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” Again, no explanation needed, but one thing to consider is that all four verses make no reference to a specific people group, race, or religion: salvation is in Christ, and it is on an individual basis.

All Israel Will Be Saved?
The most confusion among Christians regarding the issue of the salvation of the Jewish people concerns Romans 11:25-26, where Paul writes: “I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved” (italics added).

Chapters 9 through 11 of the Book of Romans concern the Jewish people. In Chapters 1 through 8, Paul argues that salvation is by faith alone, apart from the Law of Moses. However, the Jews of the time countered, “But God gave us the Law and for centuries demanded we live by it. Paul, how can you possibly tell us now that the Law is of no account? Your Gospel is heretical.”

In reply, Paul lays out a brilliant argument regarding the relationship of the Jewish people (“Israel”) and God. The key, as Paul explains, is that among the Jewish people, there is a “remnant” (Romans 9:27; 11:5) who are “chosen by grace” (11:5), and “only the remnant will be saved” (9:27).

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When will this occur? The issue is complex, but judicious Bible study reveals that the time when “all Israel [i.e., the “remnant”] will be saved” (11:26) will occur at the very end of the age at Christ’s return. The Jewish remnant will be those who accept Christ as their Lord and Savior; this verse clearly does not reference every Jewish person who has ever lived.

The Bottom Line
Having stated the means by which human beings are saved, and discounted the “exemption clause” for the “elect” Jewish people, we can now intelligently answer the question: “Do Jews go to Heaven?”

In a way, it’s a trick question; one that cannot be answered by a “yes” or “no.” In fact, the same applies to the questions: “Do all Muslims go to Heaven? Do all Hindus go to Heaven? Do all church-attenders go to Heaven?” Outside of the appointed time at the end of the age when the “remnant” of Israel will be saved, there is no such thing as “group salvation.” Salvation is individual, hence the reason why a husband can be saved and his wife unsaved; parents can be saved and their children unsaved.

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If you are asked, “Do Jews go to Heaven?” this is how you should reply. “Salvation is on an individual basis. If a specific Jewish individual has accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior, she will go to Heaven; if she has rejected Christ, she will spend eternity separated from God.” The same applies to Muslims, Hindus, Jehovah’s Witness, Mormons, and every other “group” you can think of. Salvation is in Christ alone, and is attained exclusively on an individual basis.

So, do Jews go to Heaven? Some do, some don’t. Does an individual Jew accept Christ as his Lord and Savior? If so, then yes, this individual Jew is going to Heaven. What about the Jews – or Muslims, or JWs, or Mormons – as a whole, as a collective? Collective salvation does not exist.

But to all individuals, the gracious cry goes forth: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved”!

Read my testimony, “From Judaism to Christ”

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