what do you read at Matthew 27:52,53 ?

by evergreen 28 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • evergreen

    Reading my Bible daily ,i am enjoying what i read, especially not having to constantly refer to WT literature all the time .But simply reading what is in black and white in the holy scriptures.

    I came across this portion of scripture at Matthew 27:52,53

    And the memorial tombs were opened and many bodies of the holy ones that had fallen asleep were raised up,(and persons,coming out from among the memorial tombs after his being raised up,entered into the holy city,)and they became visible to many people.

    Two things that come to my mind from this portion of scripture

    1/ Dead people are raised ie holy ones.

    The society says that these were bodies that became visible that fell out from the tombs because of the earthquake ??

    2/ It says that they were raised up after his being raised .

    What comes to my mind here is what ties in with what Jesus said in his final words when speaking to God. Into your hands i commend my spirit.Which would indicate that he was giving up his spirit at the moment of death (the society say it is his life force).His body being raised after the 3rd day so that the human eye could literally see proof that he had been raised.

    This portion of scripture has certainly made me think over the last few weeks.What do you think? What do you see when you read this scripture?

  • kwintestal

    I just read this in a different version of the Bible, I guess it's the King James or something like that, and it says:

    52 And the graves wre opened: and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many,

    When I look at verse 50 it states:

    50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

    Possibly, does when he "yielded up the ghost", does that refer to "his resurrection", in which case when the "bodies of the saints which slept arose" they were resurrected with Jesus going to heaven.


  • kwintestal

    Upon thinking more about this, doesn't the WTS teach that only those who partake of the emblems of the bread and wine go to heaven? This plainly states that those who died prior to Jesus' death arose, and walked into the "holy city". Would this holy city be Jerusalem, or heavens? If so, how does the WTS right this flaw in their understanding?


  • Will Power
    Will Power

    To expand a bit on this verse....

    According to the Gospel of Matthew, some strange things happened when Jesus died. Each event tells something about Jesus. The darkness (27.45) and the earthquake(51) show that all creation was aware that something significant had happened, s new age was dawning. The splitting of the temple veil (51) which is the barrier that separated the holiest part of the temple (where God was thought to dwell) from the rest of the temple area, symbolizes that now God would be directly accessible to the people. And what do the dead saints who came out of their tombs to walk in the city symbolize: The are the fulfillment of Ezekiel's vision (Ez 37) The dried bones had come to life - God had triumphed over death

    Matt 27.45-54

    Youth study bible

  • gumby

    Wanna know what I think? I think it was an added scripture by the church to give creedence to their godman. Nowhere in the epistles is this event EVER mentioned, nor any other of Jesus miracles or earthly life. I'm sure Josephus would have made mention of this event had dead people appeared to the living.

    Where did these resurrected go AFTER they were raised...besides the city? Did they live out their days and continue on as they did when they were living? Imagine.....a whole graveyard of holy ones now alive and well and not one historian tells of the event. I wonder if the obituaries in the "Palestinian Daily News" said something like...." 56 year old Shaheem jah Rammah dies a second time. Contributions can be made to the Pharisee's and Sadducee's fund.


  • BluesBrother

    I will side with Gumby on this one. It reads just like some of those texts that have been shown to be interpolations to the original text . I accept that I have no proof of this, but after years of suppressing doubts about dub teachings, I am learning to trust my gut feelings .

    Incidentally, the large print NWT Bible carries the footnote to vs 53 ."'They' , not referring to the bodies" The NWT is the only translation that I found (I did a a quick internet search of other transations) which says that "Persons coming out from among the memorial tombs entered into the holy city"

  • Narkissos

    I doubt this is a late addition because it is a very embarrassing text to the later church: this narrative is actually very seldom quoted as it was completely unbelievable (even for believers!) and doesn't fit into the main scenario of events as later established (the resurrection of the ancient holy ones is described as a past event whereas it is usually expected as future). The impossible WT reading is but one example of the many ways later Christians have tried to explain it away. I would rather see this text as one of the earliest extant expressions of the tradition about Jesus descending to the Hades and setting the dead free. Perhaps one early addition to it is the clause "after his resurrection" (using the substantive egersis, which does not appear anywhere else in the NT) which is quite awkward in the phrase and may have been added to harmonize the narrative with the later notion that Jesus had to be "firstborn" or "firstfruits" of the dead.

    A similar tradition seems to be echoed by Ignatius in Magnesians 9:

    If, therefore, those who were brought up in the ancient order of things have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord's Day, on which also our life has sprung up again by Him and by His death--whom some deny, by which mystery we have obtained faith, and therefore endure, that we may be found the disciples of Jesus Christ, our only Master--how shall we be able to live apart from Him, whose disciples the prophets themselves in the Spirit did wait for Him as their Teacher? And therefore He whom they rightly waited for, being come, raised them from the dead.
  • Leolaia

    From an earlier post of mine:

    The interesting thing is that the statement in Matthew directly contradicts Paul's doctrine on the resurrection. 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 states: "But Christ has in fact been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep. Death came through one man and in the same way the resurrection of the dead has come through one man. Just as all men die in Adam, so all men will be brought to life in Christ; but all of them in their proper order: Christ as the first-fruits and then, after the coming of Christ, those who belong to him." Matthew 27:51-52, by stating that "the bodies of many holy men rose from the dead" at the same time the veil in the Temple was rent, suggests that the resurrection of the righteous happened before Jesus was resurrected -- in fact, at the very moment he died. Here the "proper order" is reversed. Paul believes that "all who have fallen asleep", "all [who] die in Adam" (whom he equates with those "dead in Christ," since they have been redeemed by Him) would rise at Christ's return. This is the same view expressed in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, where those "dead in Christ" (presumably all who have been redeemed by Christ) "will be the first to rise" at Christ's second coming. 2 Timothy 2:18 (of the Paulinist school) specifically refutes the notion that "the resurrection has already taken place."

    So what's the deal with Matthew's narrative? It is important to note that this story about the holy ones rising from the dead was a Matthean addition to the original Markan account. This story is absent in Mark 15:38, and it doesn't appear in the Lukan version of the account (Luke 23:45). In fact, other early gospels based on the same crucifixion narrative also omit any mention of this resurrection but mention the splitting of the temple veil (cf. Gospel of Peter 5:15-20; Gospel of the Nazoreans, Fr. 21, 36; Acts of Pilate 11:1-3). Now this in itself is quite remarkable since the resurrection of the holy ones would have been an awesome event, even more so than the tear in the temple veil, yet it is nowhere mentioned by Mark, Luke, John, or any other gospel except of Matthew and later versions of Matthew.

    Furthermore, it is fairly certain that the account in Matthew has been altered in its wording. The biggest problem are the words "after his resurrection", which -- most bizarrely -- delays the appearance of those resurrected for three days (Matthew 27:53). This totally defeats the whole purpose of having them raised when Jesus dies on the cross as something that led the centurion to confess Jesus as the Son of God (Matthew 27:54). The centurion certainly could not have been awed by their resurrection if the resurrected dead did not leave their tombs! The delay however does bring the canonical account into line (partially) with Pauline theology, which proclaims Jesus as the "first fruits" of the resurrection. For Paul, the "saints" could not arise before Jesus himself has risen. Yet the gloss fails to bring Matthew fully into line with Pauline theology since the bodily resurrection of the righteous dead still takes place before Jesus.

    There is actual textual evidence that the text in Matthew has been altered. One of its earliest witnesses was the Diatesseron, a gospel harmony produced by Tatian at the end of the 2nd century. This harmony was in turn based on the one produced by Justin Martyr several decades earlier. The Pepysian Harmony and the Ephrem Commentary both attest the Diatessaron reading as follows:

    And with that, the veil that hung in the temple before the high altar burst in two pieces, the earth quaked, and the stones burst, and the dead men arose out of their graves. And entering the holy city, they appeared to many. And the centurion and those with him, who stood facing Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, and said with awe, "Truly this was the Son of God!"

    Here the gloss does not appear and the appearance of the risen dead in Jerusalem occurs at the same time as Jesus' death and was witnessed by the centurion. This reading makes better sense with the context. It also lacks the greater detail of the canonical account in this passage -- all of which is theologically loaded: "bodies" (more specific and agreeing with Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:35-44), "of saints" (certainly superior to the mere "dead" of the Diatessaron, and therefore more developed, and also Pauline), "who had fallen asleep" (again a more elegant description, and again used by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:20 and 1 Thessalonians 4:14). All this suggests that the Diatessaron's reading is earlier and preserves a more primitive version of the text than does the canonical text, which has been revised to bring it into conformity with Pauline theology.

    So what we have here is a geniunely independent account in Matthew, and one that presents a different theory of the resurrection than that of Paul.

  • Greenpalmtreestillmine

    Hi Evergreen,

    I believe there is a connection here with the resurrection of Lazarus, John 11:23-25:

    "Jesus said to her, 'Your brother will rise again.' Martha said to him, 'I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day." Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die."

    I believe the ones raised were those who during Jesus life had put faith in him but who had died. Their resurrection would not be like the resurrection to eternal life because the time for that had not yet come. But the Christ at his own resurrection made good on his promises to "those who believe in me, even though they die, will live."

    Many of the events in Jesus life are not mentioned in the Epistles so the fact that this event is not either does not make it any less believable. It must be remembered that Jesus had already raised several people during his ministry so while it may seem strange to us that so little is recorded about this, to the disciples, the greatest event of all time was the raising of the one who had the power to raise us all.

    Faith and love for God and fellow was all that Jesus asked of them and they loved him to the full.

    These are my beliefs concerning Matthew 27:52,53.


  • Narkissos
    I believe the ones raised were those who during Jesus life had put faith in him but who had died.

    Would there have been "many" such people buried near Jerusalem, in view of the brevity of Jesus' ministry which was mostly in Galilee according to Matthew?

    Why would have they been called "saints"? (If we retain Paul's definition of the term the "saints" or "holy ones" are such through the Holy Spirit as a consequence of Christ's death and resurrection.)

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