I had a great question asked of me after the service today. This is one of two great questions...
This is not an easy question because I have always believed that God is a merciful God and his grace extends further than I could ever imagine, or our finite minds could imagine (See Romans 11:33-36). So with any question regarding a persons salvation whether they be Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Mormon, or atheist, we must tread lightly and not try to play or be or know God's mind. When people die and have not professed Christ as Lord; in any tangible or visible way, I am often asked this question. But, we need to answer this question based on what we do know, based on history (scripture) and faith.
You need to check out Romans chapters 9-11 for answers to this question. Paul in the beginning of this chapter is in anguish over his people, the Israelite, Jewish people, that they have not believed in the Messiah, Jesus. Paul being a devout Jew was zapped by God on the Road to Damascus in Acts 9, and saw Jesus as the Risen Messiah. Paul did not become a Christian at that moment, he experienced the full expression of Judaism and became a follower of Jesus, he now followed the Messiah, the one he had been waiting for, the one revealed in the Hebrew scriptures, the one he had been persecuting. He wanted so badly for his own people to know this Messiah, because at this point many Jews did not in the Jesus movement.
Paul knew that Israel was still God's chosen people. The problem was that even within this people many did not follow God. Even within his own people they refused to believe in the Messiah, Jesus.
Romans 10:1-4 is the key for us. Even though Jews were devout for God, they refused to believe in Jesus, in his righteousness, they were still trying to find a different way. Paul then makes it clear that if they confess with their mouths and believe in their hearts that Jesus is Lord, they will be saved as well (9).
So do Jews go to heaven when they die? Yes, if they believe that the Messiah Jesus is the fulfilment of their faith. Do Mormons go to heaven, Buddhists, Muslims, yes, if they believe that Jesus is Lord of all. God can even show himself to these religions because his love is that great, and he desires to save and reveal truth to all man.
Lastly, don't give up our Jewish friends. Read chapter 11:25-36. God is still saving many Jewish people, and showing them the fullness of their faith, the Messiah Jesus. They are still his chosen people and many will see and believe. Love our Jewish heritage, love our Jewish neighbors, that is the best thing we can do as disciples of Jesus.
Please respond with clarification or any questions you may have for me.