So, I think what's crucial is that we not believe that anyone can be saved without Christ (not in the sense that if a Muslim youth is killed by a roadside bomb at the age of 9, never having heard the name of Jesus, he's going to Hell, but that if he is saved, it is because Christ has mercy on him), or that there is any Truth that He does not reveal. I'm all for learning about Cicero and Plato, because I believe it to be important that we understand how the Fathers appealed to certain precepts and principles that non-believers can appreciate in order to draw them in. But where these authors depart from the living God of Israel, there's no independent truth source that we can validate them by reference to. They're wrong. There's no Truth "out there" to which God's people have no access.
Acceptance of non-Christians into Heaven: An often preached message by conservative Protestants is that the only way to be saved and attain Heaven after death is to repent of one's sins and trust Jesus as Lord and Savior. One corollary of this view is that only those persons who hear the Gospel and accept it will spend eternity in Heaven. However Romans 2:14-16 delivers a different and contrasting message. Paul writes:
"For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another; In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel."
Paul is here discussing those individuals who have not heard Jewish and Christian teachings. They were in the majority of the world's population in Paul's time and remain so today. Paul said that God has given them the knowledge of right and wrong. Their response to God's moral implanting will be reviewed on Judgment Day. They may be saved and attain heaven if they responded morally while living on Earth.
We can find Christ in Jewish literature:
The Angel Metatron
In the article on the Trinity, we have seen that there are several passages in the OT which indicate that the One God reveals Himself as a communion of (three) persons. The medieval Zohar and other mystical writers speak even more explicitly of this "mystery of three" in the godhead, where the "Middle Spirit" is the eternal Word of God who already existed before creation, the Angel of God and mediator between heaven and earth called "Metatron," who emanated from God - yet is none other than YHWH Himself!
"The middle pillar is 'Metatron.'" (Zohar, vol. 3, p. 227)
"The great and exalted name speaks to Moses and tells him to come up to YHWH, He is Metatron, sometimes called by the name YHWH." (Rabbi Menahem of Rekanati, p. 145)
"Who is the way to the tree of life? It is Metatron… Metatron is called "the Angel of God"… every petition and plea brought before the King must go through Metatron… Metatron is the emissary responsible for everything that is sent from heaven to this world, or from this world to heaven…" (Tamtsit haZohar, vol. 2, Ex., col. 51)
The garment of El Shaddai is Metatron. (Zohar, vol. 3, p. 231)
"There is a man who is angel and Metatron. He is a man in the image of the Holy One, blessed be He. And He is the emanation from Him, for He is YHWH, and about Him it cannot be said that He was created, formed, or made, but that He emanated from God." (Tikunei haZohar, chap. 67, p. 130)
The Son of God
The kabbalists called the second sphere by the name 'Metatron,' who is the name down below of the Son of YHWH. (Sefer Yetsirah, p. 85). This reminds us Psalm 2, which explicitly speaks of God's Son who is the Lord's "Anointed One" or Messiah:
Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against His Messiah... I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession..." Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (Ps 2:7-9, 12)
As seen in the article on the Messiah in the Tanakh, the midrash, Rashi, Ibn Ezra, and the Talmud (Sukka 52a) associate this "Son" with the Messiah:
"Serve the Lord, about the Lord… and kiss the Son, about the Messiah." (Ibn Ezra on Ps 2)
The Zohar even appends to the description of the Son ("bar") a trinitarian statement mentioning the Holy One, His Son, and the Divine Presence (the Shekhinah):
"You are the good shepherd; of you it is said, 'Kiss the Son.' You are great here below, the teacher of Israel, the Lord of the serving angels, the son of the Most High, the son of the Holy One, blessed is He, and his Shekhinah." (Zohar, part III, p. 307, Amsterdam edition)
"For He is the middle pillar in the Godhead, and He is the Son of God." (Zohar, Genesis, p. 16)
God said: "Faithful shepherd! You are truly my Son, the Shekhinah. Great dignitaries and angels, kiss the Son! Rise, all of you, kiss Him and welcome Him as King and Lord!" (Zohar, vol. 3, p. 281)
Furthermore, there are interesting similarities between Christ and Krishna, including their names:
Despite their differences, Hinduism and Christianity have great similarities. And this is particularly prominent in the case of the life and teachings of the two central figures of these world religions — Christ and Krishna.
Similarities in just the names of 'Christ' and 'Krishna' have enough fuel for the curious mind to prod into the proposition that they were indeed one and the same person. Although there is little historical evidence, it is hard to ignore a host of likenesses between Jesus Christ and Lord Krishna. Analyze this!
Both are believed to be sons of God, since they were divinely conceived
The birth of both Jesus of Nazareth and Krishna of Dwarka and their God-designed missions were foretold
Both were born at unusual places — Christ in a lowly manger and Krishna in a prison cell
Both were divinely saved from death pronouncements
Evil forces pursued both Christ and Krishna in vain
Christ is often depicted as a shepherd; Krishna was a cowherd
Both appeared at a critical time when their respective countries were in a torpid state
Both died of wounds caused by sharp weapons — Christ by nails and Krishna by an arrow
The teachings of both are very similar — both emphasize love and peace
Krishna was often shown as having a dark blue complexion — a color close to that of Christ Consciousness
Similarity in Names
Christ comes from the Greek word 'Christos', which means "the anointed one". Again, the word 'Krishna' in Greek is the same as 'Christos'. A colloquial Bengali rendering of Krishna is 'Kristo', which is the same as the Spanish for Christ — 'Cristo'.
The father of the Krishna Consciousness Movement AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupadaonce remarked: "When an Indian person calls on Krishna, he often says, Krsta. Krsta is a Sanskrit word meaning attraction. So when we address God as Christ, Krsta, or Krishna we indicate the same all-attractive Supreme Personality of Godhead. When Jesus said, 'Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be Thy name', the name of God was Krsta or Krishna."
Prabhupada further says: "'Christ' is another way of saying Krsta and Krsta is another way of pronouncing Krishna, the name of God…the general name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose specific name is Krishna. Therefore whether you call God 'Christ', 'Krsta', or 'Krishna', ultimately you are addressing the same Supreme Personality of Godhead…Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said: namnam akari bahu-dha nija-sarva-saktis. (God has millions of names, and because there is no difference between God's name and Himself, each one of these names has the same potency as God.)"
God or Man?
According to Hindu mythology, Krishna was born on earth so that the balance of good in the world could be restored. But, there are many conflicting theories regarding his Godhood. Although, Krishna's story depicts him as the ultimate Lord of the Universe, whether Krishna himself is God or man is still a contentious matter in Hinduism.
Hindus believe that Jesus, like Lord Krishna, is just another avatar of the Divine, who came down to show humanity in the righteous way of life. This is another point where Krishna resembles Christ, a figure who is both "fully human and fully divine."
Krishna and Jesus were both saviors of mankind and avatars of God who have returned to earth at an especially critical time in the lives of their people. They were the incarnates of the Divine Being Himself in human form to teach human beings divine love, divine power, divine wisdom, and lead the benighted world towards the light of God.
Similarity in Teachings
These two most admired of religious icons also claim to hold the completeness of their religions by themselves. It's interesting to note how alike each one spoke in the Bhagavad Gita and the Holy Bible about the righteous way of life.
Lord Krishna says in the Gita: "Whenever, O Arjuna, righteousness declines and unrighteousness prevails, my body assumes human form and lives as a human being." He also says, "In order to protect the righteousness and also to punish the wicked, I incarnate myself on this earth from time to time." Similarly, Jesus said: "If God were your Father, ye would love me; for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of Myself but He sent me."
At many places in the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna said about His oneness with God: "I am the way, come to Me…Neither the multitude of gods, nor great sages know my origin, for I am the source of all the gods and great sages." In the Holy Bible, Jesus also utters the same in his Gospels: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well…"
Krishna advises all men to continue working for the welfare of the state all through the life: "That man attains peace who lives devoid of longing, free from all desires and without the feeling of 'I' and 'mine'. This is the Brahman state…" Jesus too ensures man, "Him that overcometh 'I' will make a pillar in the temple of my God and he shall go no more out."
Lord Krishna urged his disciples to follow the art of scientific control of the senses. An expert yogi can withdraw his mind from old temptations of the material world and can unite his mental energy with the joy of inner ecstasy or samadhi. "When the yogi like a tortoise withdrawing its limbs, can fully retire its senses from the objects of perception, his wisdom manifests steadiness". Christ too delivered a similar directive: "But though, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thy shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."
Krishna stressed the idea of the grace of God in the Gita: "I am the origin of everything, and everything arises out of Me…". Similarly, Jesus said: "I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger and he that believeth in me shall never thirst."