Q. The Old Testament saints were set free from Abraham’s bosom and then went up to paradise when Jesus went to the center of the earth for 3 days. However, they will not get their bodies until after the Great Tribulation ends. So the Church saints (and angels) will ride back with Jesus at the 2nd Coming but the O.T. souls have to wait until the battle is over. Right? If yes, do they have to wait to get their spiritual bodies because they are connected to the 70th week by being Jewish?
A. We’ve got a little confusion of terms here, so let’s begin by straightening them out. The Hebrew word for the place the spirits of dead people went is Sheol, sometimes translated “the abode of the dead”. Those who died in faith were said to be comforted there by Abraham while they waited for the crucifixion to open Heaven’s gates for them. This is where the name Abraham’s bosom comes from. The Greek name for Sheol is Hades, and Abraham’s bosom was called Paradise by the Greeks.
Jesus told one of the men being crucified with Him they’d be together in Paradise before the day was over (Luke 23:43). After His Resurrection, he took the spirits of the believing dead from Paradise to Heaven to be with Him there (Ephes. 4:8).
I don’t subscribe to the notion that the Church will “ride back with Jesus” at the Second Coming. The group riding with Jesus is called “the armies of heaven” in Rev. 19:14. This title is never used of the church. In my opinion it refers to warrior angels. The Church will reappear when the New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven in Rev. 21:2.
The term resurrection means to regain a physical body, which for Old Testament believers will take place at the end of the Great Tribulation (Daniel 12:1-2). Tribulation martyrs will get their new bodies at the same time (Rev. 20:4)
Only the Church will go in the rapture, and when we do, believers who have died during the Church age will receive their new physical bodies (1 Thes. 4:16). Ours will be transformed from mortal to immortal at that time (1 Cor. 15:51-52). This will take place before the End Times judgments begin (Romans 5:9, 1 Thes. 1:10, 1 Thes. 5:9, Rev. 3:10).