Note: All Scripture quotations found in this article are from the text of the Authorized King James Version of the Bible.
In the past I have done articles on how salvation is different for the Old Testament Jews, Christians, Tribulation Saints, Millennium Saints and etc. It puzzles me why Dispensationalism is so hard to believe for some people when the saints in the Old and New Testament did not even go to the same places when they died.
The Old Testament saint's soul did not go to the third heaven, rather they went to Abraham's Bosom, which is also called Paradise sometimes in the Bible. Their souls did not go to the third heaven until Jesus Christ came to bring them up to heaven after His death (1 Peter 4:6). He led captivity captive meaning He took the Old Testament saints up because their salvation was complete when Jesus died.
Ephesians 4:8 "Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men."
Luke 16:22 "And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 26: And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence."
Abraham's Bosom was located across from Hell in the center of the earth and this is known because the rich man saw Lazarus in Abraham's Bosom across from him while he was in Hell. We know that Abraham's Bosom and Hell were in the center of the earth because the Bible says that Hell is in the heart of the earth (Ephesians 4:9).
Matthew 12:40 "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."
As Christians, our soul goes directly to to the third heaven since our sins are completely cleared by the Blood of Christ already. The Old Testament saints could not go directly to the third heaven because their animals sacrifices did not take away sin, only cover it (Hebrews 10:4). Now Paradise is located in the third heaven (Revelation 2:7, 22:2). Paul said that once we die, we will be with the Lord and the Lord is currently located in the third heaven.
2 Corinthians 5:6 "Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:"
Philippians 1:21 "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. 23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:"
Finally, notice that we call the heaven where God is the third heaven (2 Cor. 12:2). It is called the third heaven in scripture because there are three heavens according to the Bible.
The first heaven is the sky where the clouds are located.
Job 35:5 "Look unto the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds which are higher than thou."
The second heaven is outer space where the stars, sun and moon are located.
Genesis 1:14 "And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: 15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. 16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. 17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, 18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good."
The third heaven as we said before is where God himself is located.
Psalms 148:1 "Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights. 2 Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts."