What happened to the resurrected saints mentioned in Matthew 27:52-53?

Why did God raise dead Christians from their graves at the time of Jesus Christ's crucifixion and resurrection? What happened to these saints?


Matthew:27:51-53 tells us what happened right after Jesus Christ died: "Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many."

This resurrection of several believers was one of the phenomena accompanying the resurrection of Jesus Christ to underscore that monumental event. These saints came back to physical life. (In the Bible, the word saints means those who are sanctified or set apart as holy, meaning all of God's true followers.) We know from such scriptures as 1 Thessalonians:4:15-17 and 1 Corinthians:15:51-52 that God has resurrected no one to eternal life as an immortal spirit yet—except Christ.

For example, 1 Thessalonians:4:15-17 says: "For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord."

These references teach us that God will change the righteous dead along with living Christians to immortal beings when Jesus Christ returns.

After God brought the people mentioned in Matthew:27:52-53 back to life, they undoubtedly went back to their homes, where many acquaintances saw them. It's hard to imagine how utterly startling such an experience would be for their relatives and friends!

The Bible says nothing further about these people God resurrected at Christ's death, leaving us to conclude that they eventually died (again) and their families buried them (again). Along with all other saints who died, they await in their graves their resurrection to spirit life.


lbamusic's picture

"The Bible says nothing further about these people God resurrected at Christ's death, leaving us to conclude that they eventually died (again) and their families buried them (again). Along with all other saints who died, they await in their graves their resurrection to spirit life."

I would not conclude that "...they eventually died (again) and their families buried them (again)...." Hebrews makes it clear that men only die once, and then the judgement.....

Hebrews 9:27
"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:"

My guess is those resurrected saints were either raptured when the Son of man came in his kingdom - Matthew 16:28 - "Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom."

Or perhaps they are still on the earth in their resurrected bodies awaiting Christ's future return.

Larry Walker

Larry Walker's picture

I am writing in response to the point made regarding those who were resurrected at Christ's death,that suggests that they did not die again because Hebrews 9:27 says "it is appointed to men to die once."

This passage states a general rule, not necessarily a limitation on how often a person can die. Lazarus is another example.

On another point, Matthew 16:28 was not an actual event of Jesus coming into His Kingdom. The parable of the pounds (Luke 19) clearly teaches that the Kingdom was not going to be established at that time. The so-called "transfiguration" was merely a vision, as verse 9 clearly states, "Matthew 17:9 Now as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, "Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead."

To suggest that they are still on earth "in their resurrected bodies" cannot be supported scripturally.


Yahuwnathan's picture

Perhaps they visited family for three days while Messiah was in the tomb, then after Messiah resurrected, He presented them to the Father in heaven as a first fruits offering.


SeeekingTruth's picture

'RE: Matthew:27:52
We are told that the saints came out of their graves after His resurrection.


skypea's picture

it seems more likely that they were ressurected after Christ's ressurecxtion. Walking around town for a time, and then leaving for heaven with Jesus in a glorified state.

Sabrina Peabody

Sabrina Peabody's picture

Skypea, why would God resurrect them to human form just to have them fly up in glorified form? Is that what happened to Lazarus? Wouldn't he have stayed and lived out the rest of his life on earth before he died (again)?

There are some really good resources on the resurrections and their purpose in God's plan of salvation that I find helpful on this site. Enter "resurrection" into the search at the top and you will see a bunch of articles. The following one is very helpful:

The Resurrection: God's Promise of Life after Death -


KARS's picture

Does not the scriptures say that Jesus Christ is the first fruits of the resurrection? So how can these people be ancient without looking like the men before the flood. Were not these men hundreds of years old; like Methusalah?

Malachi 3_16-18

Malachi 3_16-18's picture

Hi skypea,

There is no mention in the Bible of these saints going to heaven after being resurrected physically. As Sabrina states, why would they be resurrected to physical life, only to necessitate immediately or shortly thereafter transforming them to immortality to be with Jesus and the Father?

There were other physical resurrections to life, even prior to Christ’s resurrection - as far back as the Old Testament, in fact. These instances include a young boy who died and was brought back to life through Elisha (2 Kings:4:19-37), and a dead man who was revived when his body touched the bones of Elisha in the prophet’s sepulcher (2 Kings:13:21). If these individuals in the Old Testament had also gone to heaven to be with God upon their resurrections, then why would Jesus much later on state that no man has ascended to heaven (John:3:13)? Every faithful Christian will be resurrected to spirit life in his/her own order: Christ the first of the firstfruits, and after that, those saints in the graves who yet await their resurrection (1 Cor:15:20, 23).

So we must conclude that they lived out the rest of their newly-resurrected physical lives, whether it was days, months or years, and then would have died at some point and been buried, to await the resurrection to spirit life upon the return of Jesus Christ (Dan:12:1-3, 1 Cor:15:50-53).

Cottagiri Titus

Cottagiri Titus's picture

I had this same questions for years. But due to curiosity and opening my mind and heart to God, he showed me that, through Bible evidences, those saints went to heaven with Jesus and they are the twenty four elders sitting around the throne of God as John saw the vision in Revelation. And they are looking at the heavenly records written in the book of life and in other books about the dead and the living participating in final judgement.

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