Q. Re: Matt. 27:52-53. I have been puzzling about these verses for a while now. From the context, it seems that many saints arose from the dead at the time of Jesus’ death on the cross, although it says in verse 53 that they only came out of the tombs after His resurrection. Did they in fact arise from the dead at the time of Jesus’ death? What happened to these resurrected saints afterwards? Did they die again? Can you help me understand this?
A. What we have here is a translation issue. Some translations give the impression that the dead rose and came out of their graves at the time of the Lord’s death, and then went into the Holy City after the resurrection. But the King James simply says the dead rose and came out of their graves after the resurrection and went into the Holy City.
I think this is a case where the King James translation makes more sense. Otherwise where were the risen dead during the three days between the crucifixion and the resurrection?
We’re not told specifically what happened to the risen dead, but Ephesians 4:8 gives us a hint that when the Lord ascended into Heaven He took them with Him.
I think these Old Testament Saints fulfilled the “wave offering” part of the Feast of First Fruits observance. Sample sheaves of newly ripened grain were brought into the Temple and dedicated to the Lord before the general harvest began (Lev. 23:9-14). As that was happening in the Temple, the wave offering of the first resurrection was being brought into the Holy City.