Q. I’ve just been reading in Matthew 27:52-53 where it says that at the time of Jesus’ death, there was an earthquake and the “bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life”. It says that they “came out of their tombs and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people”…I’m just wondering who these ‘holy people’ were likely to be and where did they go? Did they ‘hang around’ town until Jesus came back to life and then go into heaven with him or did they die again and go back to their tombs?
A. The holy people Matthew referred to are those from Old Testament times who died believing that a Redeemer would one day come to pay the penalty for their sins. They couldn’t get into heaven yet because the Redeemer’s blood hadn’t been shed. So they went to a place called Paradise to await Him. When Jesus died He went to Paradise (Luke 23:43) and released them. When He ascended into heaven they went with Him, because having died for their sins, He had opened heaven’s gate to them and all believers from that time on.