Refreshment in Refuge
by Gina Burgess
Were the OT saints that came out of their graves after Jesus died on the cross and after He rose from the dead in glorified bodies or were they visible spirit bodies ... ghosts? Look at Matthew 27:51-53
Matthew 27:51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, 52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
If they were spirits, or “ghosts” then how could there have been so many witnesses to their "bodies being raised"? There is only one recorded account of a spirit without a body being raised and that is Samuel called up by Saul through the medium at En Dor. Samuel prophesied what would happen to Saul and admonished him for disobeying the Lord and seeking out the medium and trying to communicate with the dead. This is highly unusual because look at the medium's reaction! She screeches like a banshee! These OT Saints are not in Spiritual Bodies because that is exactly what God forbids and calls abhorrent.
If they were glorified, then humans could see them. If they were raised similar to Lazarus’ raising (John 11) or the widow’s son (Luke 7:12-16), humans could see them, and they would live and die again, which is a strong possibility. Matthew doesn’t explain how they were raised, and what kind of bodies... but, there are some things we can infer from other parts of the Bible.
Matthew is careful to record they came out of their graves after Jesus was resurrected from the dead.
I think they had their glorified bodies and that means there are at least 2First Resurrections. Jesus was firstfruits, then the OT saints, next will be the dead in Christ at the Rapture. Paul talks about that twice, I think. First in Corinthians 15 then again in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
As I understand it, at death our souls leave our body and Jesus meets us or perhaps angels escort us (Luke 16) to heaven. Then when it's Time and God says, "Go get Your Bride, Son." All the souls will accompany Jesus. Re: 1 Thessalonians 4:14 -- "even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus." That Greek word translated “in a moment of time” is atomos and is a negative particle. It means a piece of time that cannot be divided. In that piece of time the bodies of the souls will rise and be changed into incorruptible bodies -- New Temples, if you will, for the souls to inhabit. And in another piece of time that cannot be divided, the human Christians alive in Christ will be changed into their glorified bodies and we will meet Him in the air and will always be with the Lord.
Then next will be those that died during the Great Tribulation. Recall, the souls under the altar that cry out for vengeance from God because of their beheadings... "How long, oh Lord? Then they were given white robes and told a little while longer."
According to my count, we have 3 resurrections of the First Resurrection kind or type of resurrection.
If you look at it any other way, those OT saints walking around Jerusalem in front of countless witnesses that recognized them for who they were, sort of sits out there around Pluto with no organized explanation and certainly not Biblical. Unless you have a better explanation?
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She is the author of several books including: When Christians Hurt Christians, The Crowns of the Believers and others available in online bookstores. She authors several columns, using her God-given talent to shine a light in a dark world. You can browse her blog at Refreshment In Refuge.
If you'd like to take a look at some Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction book reviews before the books hit the book store shelves, check out Gina's book reviews at Upon Reflection
Gina is a partner and COO of Common Sense Marketing Strategies, LLC that owns Authors Community and eBookChristian.com
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