Q. If the “eternal”part of us goes to be with the Lord at death,what happened to the “eternal”part of those who died before Jesus did?
A. Since the dawn of the age of man, the eternal part of everyone who died in faith of a coming redeemer, who would save them from the penalty of their sins, went to a place of comfort to await His coming. They will all be resurrected at the time of the 2nd Coming. At various places in the Bible this place is called Sheol, Paradise, or Abraham’s bosom.
The oldest book of the Bible, written long before any of the others, confirms this.
I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes–I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! (Job 19:25-27).