Wave Offering. Follow Up

Q.  Am I right that those who were raised from the grave at the time of Jesus’ death like Lazarus were not raised to immortal bodies but would die again? If not, please explain.

A.  All we know for certain about those who were resurrected at the time of the Lord’s death is contained in Matt. 27:52-53.  The event is not mentioned anywhere else.   But from this account we can see that they weren’t seen by anyone until after the Lord’s resurrection.  The earliest that could have been is on  Resurrection Morning when the wave offering of the harvest was being brought into the Temple.  As far as I know, there’s no mention of anything they said or did, as there likely would have been if they spent any time there. After all nothing on this scale had never happened before and their testimony would have been invaluable to the early Church as well as to Israel.

The simplest explanation is that they were quickly taken either to Heaven or back to Paradise. They could have gone to Heaven with Jesus when He took His blood to sprinkle on the altar there. Comparing John 20:17 and Hebrews 9:11-12 gives us a hint that He did this on Resurrection day.  Or the Lord could have sent them back to paradise to await His Ascension forty days later. Ephesians 4:8 says when He ascended He led captives in His train, but we don’t know for sure which one Paul was referring to.  It does appear that the Gates of Heaven were not opened to believers until after the Lord had performed His final act as our High Priest by sprinkling His blood on the altar there.

So the view that they fulfilled the wave offering is based on primarily on circumstance.  It’s hard for me to see any other purpose for them. The Lord’s resurrection is called the First Fruits of those who have fallen asleep (1 Cor. 15:20), and the wave offering is part of the First Fruits ceremony.  As for their form, we’re only told that they appeared to many people in Jerusalem.  To me that means they had some kind of physical presence, at least during the time they were there.

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