After physical death, the consciousness leaves the body and the earth-plane (the lowest of the seven realms) and will naturally gravitate upward on to the plane and level of awareness that that consciousness has evolved to. Your purgatory (the Etheric Plane), referenced in your biblical text, is the first and lowest of these nonphysical realms. It is here where consciousness waits for its next incarnation or some kind of understanding to come into its being, so it can progress upward to the next higher plane or back downward into the physical system. The realm just above the Etheric Plane is the Astral Plane, and it is the heaven that these ancient biblical writers talked about. Here, on the Astral Plane, energy, feelings, emotions flow very freely. It is indeed a realm of desire and of getting everything that you want — especially if you’ve lived a physical existence denying yourself or being denied the comforts of existence, as many of these ancients did.
However, these two realms are merely the beginning of the pile — so to speak. When these concepts were given to humanity, the bulk of the species was unable to fathom much more than the in-between state — where the spirit went to reflect and wait — and a heaven — a blissful, fun, play-like environment. However, humanity is increasingly evolving and the heaven of the past is no longer the heaven of today. Many of your kind already gravitate to the astral plane and are quite comfortable there. But, as they are learning, you can only take so much bliss, fun, and frolicking. Consciousness possesses an innate drive to strive upward and to continue to develop its innate abilities. The next two realms, which are called the Lower and Upper Mental Planes, satisfy this need very well and are the new heavens for your species.
The next higher plane and level of awareness is the plane of Spirit. It is from this realm that the masters descended and had their psychological awareness on — even while they were physically manifested. They used their connection, to this plane, to draw down the teachings that humanity needed to evolve itself and get passed being trapped by the Etheric Plane’s alluring physical-like nature. You see! Your species was caught in a never ending cycle of birth, death, and rebirth through reincarnation and had forgot the way out of the system. These great teachers and masters came down into the physical plane and system in the hope of showing you the way.
The physical system, for the most part, is meant as a teaching place or preparation for emerging consciousness, so that it can learn how to handle the awesome creative power that it possesses. Once consciousness learns all there is to know about its creative potential and power, it can leave the seven-level system and move on — and back — to divinity. Divinity, of course, is the highest level and plane of awareness and it is here on this plane and awareness that consciousness leaves the last of its human qualities behind and moves out of the physical- like system entirely.