is it your understanding that any person dead before Jesus' death does not fit into either class, therefore never recieves salvation?
No, I'm not saying that at all. Sorry if I've given that impression. I know that the JW's teach that these ones will be resurrected, have the opportunity to catch up (i.e. Learn about Christ and all the things that have happened since they died) and ultimately attain salvation too.
I'm saying that (In JW theology) those who have died before Christ's death do not experience either of the two salvations the Bible describes for Christians.
For example, JW's do not believe that those who have died before Christ go to heaven. I'm sure you've heard the JW interpretation of this reference to John the baptist: "..a person that is a lesser one in the kingdom of heavens is greater than he is."
In the JW belief system, what other hope do Chrstians have besides going to heaven? The only other salvation held out to Christians is surviving the great tribulation.
If the JW's believe that the Bible holds out any other hope to faithful Christians beside these two, give me scriptures, give me references in JW literature. I'd truly like to know.