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

You are here

What happened to the resurrected saints mentioned in Matthew 27


Login or Create an Account

With a UCG.org account you will be able to save items to read and study later!

Sign In | Sign Up


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.


  • truuthseakur

    This is 1 of those scriptures that believers have many different theories on.
    I remember showing this verse to a fellow believer not long after I discovered it
    (We were both new believers). When he read it, his eyes bugged out. I liked
    what Nick had to say but I'm not completely sold. Will we ever know with certainty?
    Rightly understanding this is not necessary to salvation.
    1 thing I have always wondered: have they remained on earth for all these years
    filling some role in other believers' (peoples) lives given to them by God?
    The author of the article makes a seemingly good case from scripture but,
    these people having died again is hard for me to accept. If having a perfect
    interpretation of the scriptures is necessary to salvation - I'm in a world of hurt.
    I think we all are. Many Blessings to all & thanks for letting me share.

  • harpgirl

    Please direct me to one scripture where Christ even remotely mentions the event of a "rapture." And, one scripture where Christ called His believers, Christians. Not anyone else, just Christ, our Saviour. He directed His Apostles to make "disciples" of men, and Christ is Jewiish, not Christian. Other than the unbelieving society of that time who labeled believers as Christians, where does Christ call us that.

  • Giuseppe

    The Lord bless us,
    Sorry, I am a Christian saved by grace and today I found myself reading your comments regarding Matthew 27: 52.53 and I wanted to give my contribution in what is written in verse 52 and 53 of chapter 27. Excuse my English that I learned at school 50 years ago, will surely be broken ... I am Italian but I live in Germany. Then:
    52 the tombs opened and many bodies of the saints, who slept, rose again; 53 and, having come out of the tombs, after his resurrection, they entered the holy city and appeared to many.
    They rose from the dead but waited for the resurrection of Jesus to be able to go to the holy Jerusalem, then to the Jerusalem that will come down from heaven.
    If they were saints, then they had the Holy Spirit, David said he had it and pleaded with God not to take it away. these Saints have already enjoyed the rapture, surely the elders who saw John in revelation, were some of these Saints.

  • Lodge

    My brother this so true what you said . There's no place on earth is holy except in heaven. Why would God allow the saints alone to be risen and not everyone else , God would not put His saint in problems of life to do it all over again knowingly they might sin and lost their way. That it is good to read our Bible and allow the Holy Spirit to lead.

  • peachy

    I maybe wrong but this is how I see it, these many saints that was raised after Jesus was resurrected is the 144,000 Jews in Rev 7:3-8 and Rev 14 :1-5. Why? These 144,000 Jews were sealed before the return of Jesus. if they are still alive at that time , why do they need to be sealed again ? As we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior we received the Holy Spirit and that is our sealed, Ephesians1:13 are they going to accept Jesus only before Jesus returns? that doesn’t make sense. I believed that they lived and died before Jesus was resurrected and that is why they need to be sealed, , because during the time they died they don’t received the Holy Spirit .because we Christians received the Holy Spirit only after Jesus returns to the father. John16:7. They go wherever Jesus go, and Jesus has to return to Earth and that is why they need to be sealed. because they are also returning to Earth with Jesus, They are called the firstfruits to God and to the lamb, Rev.14:4 then they should be resurrected or raptured before the resurrection or rapture in Jesus return. but I can’t find that in the bible except the resurrection of the many saints in Matthew 27:51-52 .

  • peachy

    There is no mention in the bible that these saints that was raised after Jesus was resurrected , lived and died again so we should not conclude that this happens . The graves were opened during the time Jesus died. but these many saints were not raised yet until after Jesus was resurrected because Jesus is the firstfuits to the dead. 1 Corinthians 15 :20 and the firstborn from the dead that in all things he might have the pre/eminence Colossians 1:18. 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 only tells us that the resurrection will happen first before the rapture. and Colossians 15: 51-52 only tells us about the rapture in the coming of Jesus. so there is nothing mentioned both in these verses anything connected to the resurrected saints in Matthew 27:51-52 .

  • Jlemuel

    The events happened afterHis resarrection

  • Mike Haynes

    The article above seems to imply that this event occurred at the time of Jesus death. However, vs 53 clearly states that this event occurred "after His resurrection. is a big difference. At His death would pinpoint a specific time for this event. After His resurrection however could cover the time from His resurrection up to the time of His return ( which seems to be the case ). There is nothing in the scriptures or historical records that support this being a past event. There is much support in scripture for this event occurring at the return of Christ. Like many prophetic scriptures this is an "insert" scripture, placed here because Christ death and resurrection makes possible the future resurrection of His saints at His return. I would encourage you to examine the events surrounding Christ return and compare them to this passage.

  • Gataheart

    I would discern that since all is in 'Past Tense' ie: "were raised ..coming out ..they went into ..and appeared ..When the centurion saw ..what took place ... "
    Context is absolute in terms as to having been there and then eyewitnessed.

  • Mike Haynes

    Thank you for the response. In response I would suggest that 'Past Tense' is irrelevant if the passage is indeed prophetic and an insert as I suggest. Please note Rom 4:17..."God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were." It is common for God to use the past tense in prophecy because His prophecy is sure. My point is that this resurrection is not supported by anyone other than Matthew. Such an occurrence would surely be collaborated by others I would think? The phrase "appeared to many" suggest it was no secret thing. Yet no mention is made of this resurrection in any other passage or historical record. We do know that the saints will be resurrected at Christ return and will go into the holy city and appear to many. Therefore it seems far more likely that Matthew was recording a future event under God's inspiration.

  • Janlzoel

    You must remember two stories and comments Jesus made. 1. Jesus told the parable of the rich man and the beggar. The beggar was being comforted in the bosum of Abraham. The rich man was separated from the begar by a great gulf. Also Jesus told the thief on the cross that that very day he would be with Jesus in paradise. Paradise is a different place from heaven. At death the body returns to the dust from the ground and the spirit returns to God who gave it. You can't contradict Our Holy Savior when He told the thief on the cross that today you will be with me in paradise. If the thief died and went to sleep as has been said then that is calling those passages referenced above lies.

  • Mike Haynes

    You must also remember that the original language in which the scripture you refer to had no punctuation. Simply by changing the location of a comma you can see how Jesus words take on an entirely different meaning, Example: I tell you today, you shall be with me in paradise. Adding or changing punctuation does not contradict Jesus words...it merely calls into question the choices of those who translated those words into our language. That is why the bible in it's entirety should be considered. One single scripture cannot be used to contradict the entirety of scripture. In the above example the comma placement is very critical to a clear understanding. The comma emphasizes the day in which Jesus spoke these words, not the timing of when the thief would join Him in paradise. Other scriptures reveal the timing in which others will join Jesus in paradise.

  • Nrobertson1007

    Or is the holy city Jerusalem? Or Israel?

  • Nrobertson1007

    How are we to conclude that they lived and then died again. It clearly says they were taken to the Holy City I’m assuming at the gates of heaven to await the day when Christ returns then the gates will be open for the saints. That makes more since.

    “And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.”
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭27:53-54‬ ‭KJV‬‬

  • Jlemuel

    True, Jerusalem is the Holy City on earth despite the pending judgement fortold by the Lord. Clearly the centurian believed when he saw the events following the ressarection., but the opposite order, how did the centurian enter and see the ripped curtain in the Holy place, the rent stones opened the graves at the resurrection. What are your thoughts

  • NickR

    Jesus has to fulfil the 7 feats of the Lord. After He completed Passover once and for all it was the day of first fruits. On this day (After Passover), the high priest would come before God with an offering of the first fruits of the harvest.

    The harvest in this case is the resurrection. When the woman went to touch Jesus He told her not to because He had not been to the father.

    Then He disappears. This on the day of first fruits.

    On the day Jesus rose many many people seen other people that had rose from the graves as the bible tells us. These were the first fruits of the resurrection that on the day of first fruits, Jesus presented to the father as an offering. They are the 24 elders.

    Jesus had to fulfil the feats of first fruits what do you think He took to God... seeds? Fruit from a tree? Potatoes? No He took the first fruits of His resurrection.

    Besides that no redeemed person aka christian is in heaven and no sinner is in hell because judgement has not been given yet.

    Only the 24 elders were taken.

  • Tholp1

    The Son of man has to return “the second time” to recover the dead in Christ and resurrect them. Not on his “first coming”. The Bible says that the second coming will occur after a string of horrifying events never seen before in our world. There will be great famines, lots of war and international disasters. There would have been be noticeable signs in the stars, the moon and the sun. Then he would return a “Second Time” to collect his saints. It seems like none of these events happened before those people were brought out of their graves in Matthew 27:52-53.

    Jesus also said that ‘he was the only one who has ascended into heaven”(John 3:13). If the people in Matthew 27:52 - 53 went to heaven, then this scripture could not be true. Jesus would have been a liar. But he isn’t a liar. He is the only one that went to heaven. Just like he said he would. People just don’t seem to take Christ at his word.

    This is why we come to the conclusion that these people remained on earth and did not go to heaven.

  • Skip Miller

    Hello Nick, Did you mean feasts instead of feats in your first sentence?
    The fulfillment of "first fruits" is very important. Good point. But I don't quite see where the 24 Elders come into the picture (at this particular time.) Perhaps you could explain. And I do really like you concluding thought, "no redeemed person ... in heaven ... judgment has not been given."

  • Rapture1

    The scriptures over very clear. When we are out of our body, our soul either go to Heaven immediately if you are a believer or to Hell if you are not. When Lazarus died, the angels carried him to Abraham's Bosom. He could see and talk to the Rich Man who was across the Great Gulf and in torment and pain as he began his eternal judgement in Hell. Look in the Book of Revelation when the souls of those who were killed during the 7 years of Jacob's Trouble (The Tribulation), were under the Alter of God. They were talking to Jesus and Jesus was talking to them. The asked how long was it going to be before He avenged their death and Jesus replied that they had to rest a little longer until their fellow breather were killed as they were. They were not just waiting in a deep sleep in the grave. When the Rapture happens, Jesus will bring the souls of those who had died with Him and Jesus will call their glorified bodies up from the grave to reunited with their souls in the clouds. Then those who are alive, will be translated like Enoch was in Genesis and Join Jesus in the clouds. Scripture is clear on this so we should not contradict the Word of God.

  • Motorsports

    are those under the alter maybe those that will live on the earth as we do today marrying breeding etel during the 1000 years reign but with no satan or demons until the end of the 1000 years when the satan will be released again..just saying

  • Join the conversation!

    Log in or register to post comments