Where are the rightous who have died from the time of Adam? Are they in heaven? Are they still in the grave?
When God made Adam he was made ‘a living soul’.
Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
1 Corinthians 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul...
He was given one commandment to keep and the penalty for disobedience was death.
Genesis 2:17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."
Adam disobeyed and was sentenced to death.
Genesis 3:19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return."
Genesis 5:5 So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years; and he died.
Disobedience to God is called sin.
Adam, created as a living soul, died and became a dead soul. God’s law is that the soul who sins dies.
Ezekiel 18:4 Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die.
Ezekiel 18:20 The soul who sins shall die...
From this we learn that we do not possess a soul which continues in a conscious existence after death.
The soul is the ‘whole being’.
When we are placed in the grave our soul is placed in the grave.
Psalms 89:48 What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave?
In death we are unconscious.
Ecclesiastes 9:5 For the living know that they will die; But the dead know nothing, And they have no more reward, For the memory of them is forgotten.
Psalms 146:4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.
Psalms 6:5 For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?
Death is likened to sleep:
1 Kings 2:10 So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David.
Acts 7:60 And he (Stephen) kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
We all experience the unconsciousness of sleep. We have no sense of the passage of time.
Because Adam disobeyed God, he brought sin and death upon himself and all his descendants. All sin and all die.
Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
So far we have learned that the Bible teaches that we all sin and die and that in death we remain unconscious; which is no surprise because our faculties cease to function. God, in his love for his creation has provided a way of escape from sin and death. He promised in the curse upon the serpent that a seed of the woman would bruise the head of the serpent.
Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Properly understood it meant that God would provide a male, born of a woman without input on the part of a man, who would conquer sin (represented by the serpent) and thus make a way of escape from the power of the grave. What God required from men and women was that they believe his promise and try to live their lives by his commandments. In other words, to have faith in God’s promise and live faithful lives.
In brief, the promised seed of the woman is Jesus Christ, conceived in the womb of Mary by the power of God. He lived a sinless life (overcame sin in himself) and gave his life in sacrifice for the faithful of all ages. After his resurrection he ascended to heaven, there to remain until the time appointed by God for him to return to raise the faithful of all ages, give them eternal life and establish the kingdom of God on earth.
The beginning of the kingdom of God will be a 1000-year reign over the mortal population of the earth. At the end of this time there will be a second resurrection and final judgment. The wicked will perish forever and God will live in and with his faithful people forever.
Jesus was the first to be raised from the dead to eternal life.
Paul writes to the Corinthians:
1 Corinthians 15:20-28 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign (the millennial reign) till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 27 For "He has put all things under His feet." But when He says "all things are put under Him," it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. 28 Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.
This is the declared purpose of God.
2 Peter 1:4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
The faithful of old do not receive their reward without us.
Hebrews 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
Hebrews 11:40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
In conclusion, the righteous of old. who lived and died before Christ, remain unconscious in the grave, along with the faithful who have died since Christ, all awaiting the day of his return to raise them from the dead.
John 5: 28,29 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
This will be the fulfilment of Daniel’s prophecy:
Daniel 12:1-3 At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book. 2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever.
I hope you find this helpful.