Sounds as if you are fairly well set in your view, TrevorL, so I doubt what I write would change that.
What you have written, though, does not address why the Apostle Paul spoke about that particular part of the saints being “present with the Lord”, once it was absent from the body in II Cor. 5:6-9. What is that particular part, except for the spirit which departs the body at death? The “spirit which returns to God that gave it”?
Didn’t Christ debate this point about the continual living state of the righteous with His peers, when He said in Matt. 22:31-32 that God is not the God of the dead, but of the LIVING? If God at the burning bush told Moses that He was then presently the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, then He was tacitly arguing for the continual living existence of the souls of all these patriarchs at that time. In other words, their immortal souls were all living, even though their bodies were dead and resting in the grave, awaiting the bodily resurrection.
Christ is the one described as being the ONLY ONE having immortality (I Tim. 6:16), but anyone “IN Christ” also has that immortality of Christ imputed to their spirits. Something that does NOT describe the spirits of the ungodly.
There WAS a particular transition point in time, however, when those living spirits of all the righteous were given admittance to heaven and God’s presence, instead of being retained in Paradise. I believe this transition point was after Christ’s resurrection-day ascension, when God made Christ our heavenly high priest by accepting His blood sacrifice on heaven’s mercy seat.
This transition point of when the immortal spirits of the righteous were given admittance to heaven in AD 33 was spoken of in Rev. 14:13. The context (v. 14-16) was speaking of the one like the Son of Man with a single crown (of His newly-established high priesthood) harvesting that dried harvest from the earth (the Matthew 27: 52-53 resurrected saints raised with Christ).
John repeats the words given him from heaven saying, “Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord FROM HENCEFORTH” (meaning this AD 33 resurrection harvest by the crowned Son of Man is the transition point), “Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.”
Follow them where? I believe it means that their works followed the spirits of the righteous with them to heaven, with Christ’s imputed righteousness as the ultimate high priest making these works - as well as the spirits of the saints - acceptable in God’s presence.
“FROM HENCEFORTH”, (ever since AD 33 and Christ taking the spirits of the righteous with Him out of Paradise to heaven), the spirits of those “dead that died in the Lord” were then blessed, and continue to be blessed by going directly to heaven at death instead of waiting in Paradise. Once in heaven’s realm, these righteous immortal spirits awaited the bodily resurrection in AD 70, and since that year, the immortal spirits of the righteous dead now in heaven await the final third resurrection in our future.
As I said, though, Christ the church’s own bridegroom is not content with only the spirits of the righteous in his presence. He designed for their resurrected bodies to be made incorruptible as well so that they could “BEHOLD HIS GLORY” with their own resurrected eyes.
John 17:24 speaks of Christ’s earnest desire for this full reunion of body and spirit in His presence in heaven. He prayed at the Last Supper, “ Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may BEHOLD MY GLORY, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.”
Bodily, Christ’s glorified, resurrected form is present now in heaven. Wherever He is, there is where the resurrected saints are supposed to be in His presence, in full face-to-face fellowship. Nothing less than this completes our full salvation inheritance.
Not your typical explanation, I know...