Q. You stated that Jesus brought with him out of ‘paradise’ the old testament saints after he had been there for the three days. If I’m correct, Jesus did not ascend into heaven to be with the father right away because he was still here revealing himself to others for a number of days. If the old testament saints were brought out of paradise but hadn’t yet ascended to heaven with Jesus, where were they during this time?
A. The Bible doesn’t come right out and say how all this happened but does offer us some clues. On the morning Jesus came out of the tomb Mary found Him there and apparently embraced Him. Jesus asked her not to hold on to Him because He had not yet returned to His Father (John 20:17).
In Hebrews 9:11-12 we read that Jesus went into the heavenly tabernacle with His own blood. Many scholars believe He was acting as our High priest, sprinkling His blood in the Most Holy place in Heaven. By doing so, He was opening Heaven to believers for the first time. They speculate He asked Mary not to hold Him because He was on His way there.
Matt. 27:52-53 reveals that when Jesus died the bodies of many holy people from the past were raised to life and after the resurrection went into the Holy City and appeared to many people.
In Ephesians 4:8 Paul wrote that when Jesus ascended on high He led captives in His train.
Put these all together and it appears Jesus could have taken them with Him as early as that first Sunday Morning and opened heaven’s gates for them by sprinkling His blood in the Most Holy place there, or as late as 40 days later when He ascended. Or He could have taken them sometime in between since we don’t know for sure that He remained on Earth for every minute of the 40 days after His resurrection.