Matthew 27:52-53 states, “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.”
There are various biblical accounts of people that were resurrected. In I Kings 17:17-24, Elijah is instrumental in resurrecting a widow’s son. In Luke 7:11-17, Christ resurrects a widow’s son. In Acts 20:9-10, the apostle Paul is used to resurrect a young man. There were multiple resurrections at the time of Christ’s Resurrection. One may wonder why.
Unlike the previous singular resurrections, this one entailed many. Christ’s Resurrection was unique and of exceptional importance. God chose to accompany this event with another great miracle, the resurrection of about 500 saints.
Similarly, when the Holy Spirit was given to a multitude for the first time, God displayed great wonders such as the tongues of fire, the sound of a rushing wind and speaking in tongues (Acts 2:1-4). The giving of the Law on Mount Sinai was also accompanied by great and terrifying wonders (Hebrews 12:18-21).
Were the saints of Matthew 27 resurrected to eternal life at that time? The two resurrection chapters, I Corinthians 15:50-53 and I Thessalonians 4:13-17, describe the resurrection to eternal life. It is set at a particular time—Christ’s Second Coming. This precludes any other resurrection to eternal life. Therefore, we can safely conclude that the resurrection in Matthew 27 was merely a resurrection to physical life—and these saints did die again and are awaiting the resurrection in the same way as all other faithful saints who are asleep.
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