What happens to the people in the Old Testament that died before Jesus?
Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
How does this affect righteous people in the Old Testament such as Enoch, Noah and Abraham who died long before Jesus was born?
These ancient worthies, as we often call them, did not go to heaven to be with the Father, even though they are included in the Book of Hebrews (chapter 11) as great examples of faith. They could not enter heaven since the ransom for Adam and his race (the death and resurrection of Jesus) had not yet been paid.
Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:13, “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.”
The “no one” includes everyone who ever lived prior to Jesus’ death and everyone now who has not given up his will and accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. God’s plan includes an earthly resurrection as well as a heavenly one. So, Enoch, Noah, Moses, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, David, etc. will not only have an earthly resurrection, but they will have a “better” resurrection in that they will be in positions of leadership on earth just as the heavenly class will be ruling from above.
“These [the ancient faithful ones] were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:39)
To learn more about salvation listen to, “Did Jesus Really Die For Everyone?”