The Graves Were Opened and the Saints Arose, Matthew 27:52-53

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Hard Verses Episode 5: The Graves Were Opened and the Saints Arose (Matthew 27:52-53).

Wanted to thank Miriam for the suggestion. She had posted on social media the suggestion.  Her post came up first.

The Problem.

Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, truly this was the Son of God. (Matthew 27:50-54 KJV).

  1. At the time of Jesus’ death there are several things that occur.
    1. Darkness over the land.
    2. The veil of the temple was torn into.
    3. The earthquake.
    4. The rocks broke.
    5. The graves were opened.
    6. Many bodies of the dead saints arose.
    7. They came out of the graves after His resurrections.
    8. They then went into Jerusalem and appeared unto many.
  2. The centurion and those that were with him that were…
    1. Watching Jesus.
    2. Saw the earthquake.
    3. Saw other “things that were done.
    4. Feared greatly.
    5. Saying truly this was the Son of God.
  • What makes this difficult?
    1. Were there really dead saints that arose?
    2. Were they Old Testament saints or those contemporary to Jesus that had recently died?
    3. The centurion would not have seen the rent in the Temple.
    4. The earthquake and the renting of the rocks would have been on Friday while the resurrection of the dead saints would have had to be after the resurrection of Jesus on Sunday since He is the first fruits of the resurrection of the dead (cf. 1 Cor. 15:20; Rev. 1:5; Acts 26:23; Col. 1:15; James 1:18).
    5. Is there any historical evidence of this occurrence outside of scripture?

The Solution.

There has to be more than just the witnessing of the earthquake and the renting rocks by the centurion.  “…when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done…”

  1. What does this timeline look like? The centurion and those with him witnessed these events.
    1. What are these events that they saw?
      1. The darkness.
      2. The earthquakes.
      3. The rending of the rocks.
      4. The divine meekness of this crucified man.
      5. Heard His last words (Father forgive them).
      6. The raising of resuscitated saints (not likely).
    2. What would they not have seen?
      1. The renting of the temple veil.
      2. The raising of resurrected saints.
      3. Them coming to Jerusalem.
    3. Could this be a resuscitation instead of a resurrection?
    4. The historicity is good according to many that knew the eyewitnesses (taken from Geisler).
      1. The book itself (Matthew) claims to be an historical account.
      2. Many of the occurrences of Matthew are known to be historical from several sources even secular sources.
  • The events were part of a section of scripture clearly historical in nature (the crucifixion, death, burial, etc.).
  1. Looking back at writers shortly after the Bible of “Church Fathers,” speak of Matthew’s account of the raising of the saints at the resurrection of Christ as an historical event (See Geisler article).
  2. The alleged confusion of early writers concerning this section of scripture, is not ambiguous as far as the historicity is concerned.
    1. There are those early writers that debate whether they rose at the death of Christ or at His resurrection.
    2. There was dispute as to what the centurion actually witnessed.
    3. None of the writers disputed whether it was historically accurate.
  3. The saints were probably those contemporary with Jesus or they would not have been recognized.

 

 

The lesson for us today.

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What you listener should do next.

The links to the articles are here (read it, it is excellent):

   http://defendinginerrancy.com/early-fathers-resurrection-saints/

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