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Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Risen Saints (Mt. 27.52-53).pdf

The Risen Saints (Mt. 27.52-53).pdf

THE RISEN SAINTS!

Mt. 27:52 And the graves were 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.

Every time there was a Biblical account of someone being raised from the

dead, it was testimony to the fact God is the Source of life and He has the

ability to give life to whom He wills, - even after death. He restored life …

o to the son of the widow of Zarephath (Elijah, I Kings 17:17-24)

o to the son of the Shunamite woman (Elisha, II Kings 4:18-37)

o to the man raised out of Elisha’s grave (II Kings 13:20-21,

20 And

Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the

land at the coming in of the year. 21 And it came to pass, as they were burying

a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the

sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones

of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet.)

o to the widow of Nain’s son (Lk. 7:11-17)

o to the daughter of Jairus (Lk. 8:52-56)

o to Lazarus (Jn. 11)

o to Tabitha (Peter raised her from the dead in Joppa, Acts 9:36-43)

o to Eutychus (Acts 20:7-12)

o to Jesus (Mk. 16:1-8).

o … And there is another instance … Mt. 27:50 Jesus, when he had cried

again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 51 And, behold, the veil of the

temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake,

and the rocks rent; 52 And the graves were 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.

What happens the moment you die? … Your soul immediately enters the

presence of God in Heaven,

II Cor. 5:8 absent from the body, and … present with the

Lord. It does not enter any transient form such as reincarnation, or an

intermediary purgatory, neither does the soul remain asleep in the grave

(‘soul-sleep’) … At the very moment of death, the soul of the believer

consciously departs from the body … for the soul does not die but passes

immediately into Heaven, hence eternal life from the very moment you first

believed and placed your trust in Christ, Ps. 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall

follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Jesus taught this same truth, Mt. 22:31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead,

have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, 32 I am the God of

Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead,

but of the living. … And these words only have meaning when we understand

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that the souls of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were consciously living in the

presence of God.

So, to return to our subject verses … what is the significance of those who

were raised to life following Christ’s resurrection? … Mt. 27:50 Jesus, when he

had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 51 And, behold, the veil of the

temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the

rocks rent; 52 And the graves were 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. …

Since God alone has the power over death, He alone can raise the dead to new

life,

I Cor. 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? ...

57 But

thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. …

Therefore, the resurrection is the evidence of the victory every believer is

confident of because Jesus, - the Son of God, the Second Person of the

Godhead, - has conquered death by Himself rising from the dead. Then, in

support of the Christian’s promised resurrection, Paul wrote,

I Cor. 15:13 if there

be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14 And if Christ be not risen,

then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15 Yea, and we are found false

witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he

raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16 For if the dead rise not, then is not

Christ raised: 17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19 If in this life only

we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. If we did not have, and if

we did not believe in, the doctrine of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus we

would have no resurrection to look forward to! We would be no different to

any other religion.

And there can be no true Christianity without a living Christ, in the same way

there can be no true Christianity without a Christ Who died on the cross, to be

raised and resurrected from death! If Christ did not die and rise again, our’s is

a false and a hopeless religion … but He did die, and He did rise again from

the dead because His Father used His power over death to bring His dead Son

back to life. … Jesus died, and Jesus rose again! …

The resurrection of Christ is a non-negotiable doctrine that every born-again

believer must believe, without exception and without controversy. It is a

fundamental doctrine of Biblical Christianity! No true believer can say Jesus

‘swooned’ on the cross, or ‘fainted’, or ‘fell into a coma’ … and then He

revived and ‘came round again’. … It is impossible for a true child of God to

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believe anything other than Jesus Christ literally died on the cross, was

literally laid out dead on the slab in the sepulchre, and rose again literally from

the tomb on the third day. … And we must emphasise how important these

great truths are for they underpin our hope of resurrection.

So, after the resurrection of the Saviour, 52 the graves were opened; and many

bodies of the saints which slept arose.

53 … and went into the holy city, and appeared

unto many. These were not spirits or souls or ghosts or apparitions or angels

that appeared unto many in Jerusalem, but actual bodies of former human

servants of God who had died during the Old Testament and the interTestamental

period. This was a real resurrection of real bodies of ‘many’ real

saints!

Who were they? We are not told who they were, but we are told who they

were not. Their changed bodies came up from out of their graves so, therefore,

Enoch was not one of them (Gen. 5:24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not;

for God took him), and neither was Elijah (II Kings 2:11 And it came to pass, as they

[Elijah and Elisha] still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of

fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a

whirlwind into heaven.) … And the souls of the resurrected saints came from the

presence of God because that is where they had gone when they had died …

and they put on their glorified bodies prepared for them when they came out of

the graves (… obviously, their old bodies were long-since decayed). This was

a real literal and physical resurrection … and if anyone cannot believe that,

they are going to have great difficulty believing the great momentous event

when Christ returns with and for His Church … when I Thess. 4:16 the Lord

himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and

with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.

Now, because this event of the saints being resurrected in Jerusalem is only

recorded in Matthew’s Gospel, - which was directed primarily towards the

Jews, - certain commentators cast doubt on this event. … They would dismiss

it as a kind of myth or legend that Matthew interposed to encourage the

believers in Jerusalem and Judea. In other words, Matthew ‘slipped it in’ …

but when you think like that, it means you have scant regard for the Divine

inspiration and authorship of Scripture.

God’s Word is absolute truth throughout … and we have no authority to

dismiss God’s Word, for II Tim. 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God …

Ps. 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect …

119:140 Thy word is very pure …

160 Thy

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word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth

for ever.

So, if God says it in His Word, we must believe it … 52 the graves were opened;

and many bodies of the saints which slept arose.

53 … and went into the holy city, and

appeared unto many. … Who were the resurrected saints that appeared? … It

would be very likely they had lived and died in the vicinity of Jerusalem and

the temple. I would imagine old Simeon and Anna and some of their fellowbelievers

who looked for redemption in Jerusalem would have been prime

candidates to have been among the risen saints.

And the purpose of the resurrection of the many saints was to testify to the

believers in Jerusalem who had heard about the death of Jesus, that He had

risen again, “We are living because He is living! … He has risen!” They went

into the holy city, and appeared unto many (Mt. 27:53) and their whole

conversation would have been about the risen Christ Who defeated death …

for Himself, and for them. That was the purpose for the resurrected saints

being there at that time … What a privilege to have had such guests in your

home, or as they spoke with you in the streets about the good news Christ was

alive! … And it is also interesting to note that none of the Gospel writers

indicated Jesus appeared to anyone else other than believers in the forty days

between His resurrection and His ascension. … And it would have been the

same with the ‘many’ who had risen for they had only one message on their

lips to tell the seedling Church, “Jesus is alive!” … Notice too, in the

narratives we have in the Gospels, neither Jesus nor these saints spoke of the

resurrection to the unsaved, only the saved!

And with that same message, they went into the holy city of Jerusalem and

demonstrated to the believer’s the victory of Christ’s perfect sacrifice over

death, sin, and the grave … and how they were privileged to be part of that

resurrection. … By the way, that resurrection is merely a ‘taster’ for the

resurrection when Christ returns I Thess. 4:17 For if we believe that Jesus died and

rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this

we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the

coming of the Lord shall not [precede] them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself

shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the

trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and

remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air

… That is when all the saints of every generation, - to whom the righteousness

of Christ has been imputed for their salvation, - will join to be with Him, and

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so shall we ever be with the Lord. … Some will come with Him from Heaven,

while others will rise from the earth to meet Him in the clouds.

And the saints who were resurrected following Christ’s resurrection appeared

to many in Jerusalem, as indeed the Lord Jesus also appeared unto many, for

Paul wrote,

I Cor. 15:3 I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how

that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and

that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5 And that he was seen of

Cephas, then of the twelve: 6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren

… Christ appeared first, and then the resurrected saints appeared … in that

order … for as Paul explained,

I Cor. 15:20 now is Christ risen from the dead, and

become the firstfruits of them that slept. … They did not go into the city until

Jesus had risen and appeared to His disciples. He was the ‘firstfruits’ of the

resurrection. … They were not resurrected at Christ’s death, but they were

resurrected after His resurrection.

Following their testimony to the resurrection and glory of Christ, their work

had been completed, and the resurrected saints were replaced by the apostles

on the Day of Pentecost, and thereafter, for the resurrection of Christ became

their message, Acts 3:14 ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer

to be granted unto you; 15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from

the dead; whereof we are witnesses.

What then happened to those resurrected saints? Where did they go? … Well,

we are not told. However, they did not remain on earth, or go back to their

family homes and pick up where they left off before they died … They did not

go through the whole human cycle of dying again, for it is appointed unto men

once to die (Heb. 9:27). So, they did not die! What must have happened to them

then was, they, - like the Saviour, - were received up into glory (I Tim. 3:15). …

Just like the Lord Jesus from the Mount of Olives, they were taken up again

into Heaven (cf. Acts 1:11).

Those same saints who were resurrected after Jesus rose from the dead are

coming back again with the Lord when He returns the second time,

Jude 14 And

Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord

cometh with ten thousands of his saints. And they will reign with Him, Eph. 1:10

That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all

things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him … Rev.

20:6 they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand

years. We are reigning with Him now, - yes, because He Rev. 1:6 hath made us

kings and priests unto God and his Father, - but also, when the Lord Jesus returns,

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the same saints, - with all the company of Heaven, and all the redeemed who

have been ‘grafted into the olive tree’ (Rom. 11), - will proclaim the glory of

God and His Son, and Is. 11:9 the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD,

as the waters cover the sea … Rev. 5:10 … we shall reign on the earth.

So when the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, it

is also a foreshadowing of that great day when Christ returns and calls all of

His people, - right across the world, - unto Himself, I Thess. 4:17 and so shall we

ever be with the Lord. And He will come to reign as King on this earth, for Is. 9:6

the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful,

Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the

increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David,

and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it.

Following on from that, the first heaven and the first earth will ultimately pass

away (Rev. 21:1), -

II Peter 3:10 … with a great noise, and the elements shall melt

with fervent heat, - and then there will be an unprecedented display of God’s

glory when we shall see Him descending from Heaven, - just as He did in the

wilderness of Sinai … but even greater for the presence of His shekinah glory

is coming to be with His people forever in the new heaven and the new earth,

Rev. 21:3 … Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them,

and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death

… and there will be no more resurrection for all the saved will have already

been gathered in … and raised to everlasting life with Christ.

That is the blessed hope to which every believing child of God is looking

forward. God showed us a fleeting glimpse of the raised saints in Mt.

27:52,53 … The next time it happens, though, it will be even greater for we

shall be there too, … I Jn. 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not

yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like

him; for we shall see him as he is. Amen.