And behold, the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake; and the rocks were rent; and the tombs were opened; and many bodies of the saints that had fallen asleep were raised; and coming forth out of the tombs after his resurrection they entered into the holy city and appeared unto many.
Now the centurion, and they that were with him watching Jesus, when they saw the earthquake, and the things that were done, feared exceedingly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.Matthew 27:51-54 ASV
THE RESURRECTION OF THE SAINTS
Emil Von Ludwig’s blasphemous biography of Christ, The Son of Man, contains a vigorous denial that any such thing as this could have taken place, based entirely upon the paucity of reference to it in the gospel narratives.
Only Matthew recorded it.
In the summary below, it will be further emphasized that so little reference to these wonders was a natural consequence of the greater wonder of the resurrection of Christ in which they were swallowed up and overshadowed.
The unaided mind of man finds this event a matter of the very greatest curiosity; and it may be certain that if men, unaided by the Holy Spirit, had written the New Testament, we should have had volumes about those risen saints and what they did and the complications they encountered on such an astounding occurrence as their returning from the dead.
By the suffrages of universal scholarship – and in some instances reluctant suffrages – these words are not an interpolation, but a part of the genuine words of the Bible.
And if there be in all the world a document more absolutely historical than the Bible, it is yet to be discovered.
There are eight resurrections recorded in Scripture, besides the resurrection of Christ which is uniquely different.
The other seven are:
(1) son of the widow of Sarepta (1 Kings 17)
(2) son of the Shunamite (2 Kings 4)
(3) the man raised by the bones of Elijah (2 Kings 13)
(4) daughter of Jairus (Matthew 9)
(5) son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7)
(6) Lazarus (John 11)
(7) Dorcas (Acts 9:41). One might also include Eutychus (Acts 20:9).
The resurrection of the saints (above) would thus make nine in all, besides that of Christ.
The meaning of this amazing event is:
(1) that Christ is the true Redeemer and Lord of all men;
(2) as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22).
(3) Christ has the keys of death and of the grave (Revelation 1:18);
(4) Christ’s work on the cross was the center and climax of his saving mission to man.
All our salvation and our only hope of eternal life find their fountainhead in him and in his death upon the cross.
All questions relative to how those risen saints were recognized, what they did, what they ate, what became of them afterwards, etc., remain unanswered from the sacred page; and no expositor should intrude where the inspired evangelists have purposefully covered with silence those facts which, however they might stimulate or satisfy man’s curiosity, could not possibly add to the knowledge which is necessary to the salvation of the soul.
The seven miracles, the six treated here and the greater one, Christ’s resurrection, are actually one, knit together in absolute unity.
That they comprise the number seven, a sacred or perfect number in the thinking of the Hebrews, is of deep interest.
The honeycomb, the snowflake, the carbon and other crystals, all exhibit this “footprint” of the Eternal.
Appropriately, therefore, these miracles arrange themselves in this strange universal pattern, two from above, two from beneath, and two from the surface of the earth, to form one perfect support for the greater miracle they surround, identify, support, and confirm.
As for the cavil that very little emphasis is placed upon them in the New Testament, it is a positive fact such is in keeping with human nature and common practice to this very day.
Why have so few people ever heard of those great mountains, none of which is less than 21,000 feet high, and some of which are 27,000 feet in altitude?
They are overshadowed and minimized by the greater Mount Everest which towers above them and of which they are merely the adjacent and supporting peaks.
Similarly, those mighty “Foothills of Calvary” which we have noted here are overshadowed and cast into the background by the far greater wonder of that highest peak of all, the resurrection of Christ.
1. Christ’s resurrection
2. The darkness
3. The ripping of the veil
4. Resurrection of saints
5. Undisturbed grave clothes
6. Opening of the grave of the righteous
7. The earthquake