April 24, 2017
Matthew 27:50-53; Isaiah 65:20
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Now, to fully understand this blog concerning Two More Righteous Resurrections – II, you should also read Friday’s blog, Two More Righteous Resurrections – I. This is a continuation of a speculative subject! We began to investigate…
• Matthew 27:50-53 – “Jesus, when he had cried out again with a loud voice, yielded up His spirit. And, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.”
…and we started to deal with the questions, Was this a ‘mortal’ resurrection – where these ones raised would die again in the future? Or was this a resurrection unto glorified bodies – like Jesus’ glorified body, designed to live forever? We also looked at Ephesians 4:8 through 10 where Paul reflects on the three days between Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection. He quotes David’s Psalm 68, where he states in verse 8, “When He [Jesus] ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.”
Captivity captive – the best explanation of the meaning of this phrase is that those who were held captive by the enemy are now released because the enemy has been defeated! And the Victor, Jesus – having ‘captured’ them, leads the “captive” out of “captivity”!
To further understand all this, we have to look at Luke 16:22 through 24:
So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s
bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in
Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his
bosom. Then he cried and said, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and
send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my
tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.”
Hades is the waiting place of the dead – both unrighteous and righteous! But according to Luke 16:26, Abraham told the rich man, “…between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.” So there was a righteous Hades, and an unrighteous Hades! And they were separated by an impassable great gulf !
But we learn in II Corinthians 5:6 and 8: “…we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord…[and] to be absent from the body…[is] to be present with the Lord.” Considering the idea of where Hades is in Luke 16 compared to where the righteous go immediately upon death according to II Corinthians 5 – we have to assume that the part of Hades that is sometimes called “Abraham’s bosom” or “paradise”, has been transferred from being across the great gulf from unrighteous Hades to the current location of being in the presence of Jesus Christ! And He is at the Father’s right hand! (See Colossians 3:1).
Putting this all together:
✞ If those referred to in Matthew 27:50 through 53 were raised immortal from the dead at the time of Jesus’ death on the cross, they probably went into the holy city and appeared to many for only the three days that Jesus was in the grave!
✞ I f they were raised as mortals, they could have lived out the remainder of their mortal lives on earth until they died.
✞ Or, if mortal, they could have been a preview of the Rapture (see I Corinthians 15:47-54; I Thessalonians 4:13-17), having been transformed to physical immortality, and taken to heaven when Jesus went there!
When did Jesus go to heaven? The first time He went after His resurrection was not at His ascension from Bethany (see Luke 24:50) 40 days after resurrection (see Acts 1:3). The Lord told Mary Magdalene in John 20:17:
Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to
My brethren and say to them, “I am ascending to My Father and your
Father, and to My God and your God.”
It is thought by many theologians that at that time Jesus took the blood of His sacrifice to present before the Father as full payment for sin! (Study Hebrews 9:11-15, 24-28; 10:19-22). Then He returned to earth for His forty-day resurrection ministry.
If those who were raised from death and went into the holy city and appeared to many were resurrected either in mortal or immortal bodies, it could be at this time they were taken to heaven!
• The other Righteous Resurrection may be hinted at in Isaiah 65:20:
No more shall an infant from there live but a few days, nor an old man
who has not fulfilled his days; for the child shall die one hundred years
old, but the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed.
Very briefly, Isaiah here is describing the Millennial reign of Christ! The implication of “…the child shall die one hundred years old…” points to the fact that there will be death (as well as birth) during the Millenium! If someone righteous dies during the Millenium, then that one would have to be raised from death to spend eternity with Jesus in the New Jerusalem! (See Revelation 21:1-3).
Hence (possibly) Two More Righteous Resurrections!