Matthew 27:51-53 - many bodies of the saints which slept arose - 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 - seen of above five hundred brethren at once

Steven Avery


Steven Avery
Luis D. Mendoza-Perez

Matthew 27:51-53 (AV)
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; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

About the Craig Evans excerpt, which is in English here:

There is lots of Ante-Nicene support for this event.
This is from LaParola which uses e-catena.

Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians:
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.

Epistle of Ignatius to the Trallians:
By those in heaven I mean such as are possessed of incorporeal natures; by those on earth, the Jews and Romans, and such persons as were present at that time when the Lord was crucified; and by those under the earth, the multitude that arose along with the Lord. For says the Scripture, "Many bodies of the saints that slept arose,"

Excerpt on Edessa from the History of the Church:
and raised up the dead, and descended alone, and ascended with a great multitude to His Father.
Fragments from the Lost Writings of Irenaeus:
This event was also an indication of the fact, that when the holy soul of Christ descended [to Hades], many souls ascended and were seen in their bodies.

Hippolytus Refutation of All Heresies Book V:
because there is not in you the living man. And again he exclaims, "The dead shall start forth from the graves,"

Origen Commentary on Matthew Book XII:
meaning of the letter, Moses and Elijah, having appeared in glory and talked with Jesus, went away to the place from which they had come, perhaps to communicate the words which Jesus spake with them, to those who were to be benefited by Him, almost immediately, namely, at the time of the passion, when many bodies of the saints that had fallen asleep, their tombs being opened, were to go to the city which is truly holy-not the Jerusalem which Jesus wept over-and there appear unto many.

Gospel of Nicodemus II The Descent of Christ into Hell:
Joseph says: And why do you wonder that Jesus has risen? But it is wonderful that He has not risen alone, but that He has also raised many others of the dead who have appeared in Jerusalem to many.[1]


John Gill

And the graves were opened
Which were near the city of Jerusalem: this was a proof of Christ's power over death and the grave, by dying; when he through death, destroyed him that had the power of it, and abolished death itself; and became the plague of death and the destruction of the grave, taking into his hands the keys of hell and death:

and many bodies of saints which slept, arose:
not that they arose at the time of Christ's death: the graves were opened then, when the earth quaked, and the rocks were rent; but the bodies of the saints did not arise, till after Christ was risen, as appears from the following verse; but because the other event now happened, they are both recorded here: these were saints, and such as slept in Jesus; and of whom he is the first fruits that now rose; and not all, but many of them, as pledges of the future resurrection, and for the confirmation of Christ's, and the accomplishment of a prophecy in ( Isaiah 26:19 ) . And they rose in the same bodies in which they before lived, otherwise they could not be called their bodies, or known by those to whom they appeared: but who they were is not to be known; some have thought them to be the ancient patriarchs, as Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob In the Septuagint on ( Job 42:17 ) , Job is said to be one of them, and a tradition is there recorded, which runs thus:

``it is written, that he rose with whom the Lord rose.''
But it should seem rather, that they were some later saints, such as Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, John the Baptist himself, good old Simeon, Joseph the husband of Mary, and others, well known to persons now alive. Some think they were such, as had been martyrs in the cause of religion; and so the Persic version renders the words, "and the bodies of many saints who suffered martyrdom, rose out of the graves"
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Steven Avery

1 Corinthians 15:3-8 (AV)
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

John Gill
1 Corinthians 15:6
After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
After that he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once,.... Not at, or near Jerusalem, for the number of the disciples that were together there, made but about an hundred and twenty, Acts 1:15 but in Galilee, where Christ, in the days of his flesh, had most chiefly conversed, most frequently preached and wrought his miracles, and where the number of his disciples and followers were very large: here he promised his disciples to go before them, and show himself to them after his resurrection, as he accordingly did, Matthew 26:32. And this being signified by the apostles to the brethren there, it is no wonder that there was such a number of them gathered on that occasion:
of whom the greater part remain unto this present; and so might be personally applied unto for the truth of this, was it necessary; it being but about five or six and twenty years ago at the writing of this epistle:

and some were fallen asleep; were dead, as it might be reasonably thought there were among so many, and in such a length of time; though doubtless these had surviving friends, relations, and acquaintance, to whom they had communicated this important case, and who were ready to attest what they had heard them in the most solemn manner declare.
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