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What happened to the resurrected saints who visited Jerusalem?
If someone gets sick, is it because they sinned?

What's with the fish?

What happened to the resurrected saints who visited Jerusalem?
Mt 27.50-53

Question
Glen writes - I just read your site on "Salvation before the Crucifixion," and I have some questions you may be able to answer.
Editor- Further down, I'll give you a link to the page Glen refers to.

What actually happened to the Old Testament Saints who were seen in Jerusalem after Jesus was crucified?

In the Bible it says many (not all) were seen when Christ died on the cross. Did they actually become
resurrected from the dead and ascended into heaven with a resurrected body like a body that we will have when the Rapture comes?

Are they already in heaven? I know their spirit is in heaven but did their bodies return to the grave or did they go to heaven with their spirit? Please send any references with your opinions.
  And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 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.
Mt 27.50-53

Biblebell's reply

  • The quoted verses describe certain events that took place at the time that Jesus died on the cross, and also afterward when He was resurrected.
  • There is NO OTHER Bible passage that describes these same exact events.
  • Accordingly, I can only offer my OPINIONS in seeking to answer Glen's questions.

Notice that the visible appearance of resurrected saints was not the only sign described by these verses.

 

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold...

  • the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom
  • the earth quaked, and the rocks were split
  • the graves were opened
  • 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.

Mt 27.50-53

Spectacular signs from God
There were FOUR incredibly amazing fantastic events that took place after Jesus died on the cross...

  • #1- The immense, thick veil of the temple was torn in two, from TOP to bottom. Not from bottom to top, by the hands of man. But from top to bottom, by the hands of God!
  Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom
Mt 27.51a
  • #2- The earth quaked. God shook the earth with such terrible force that great rocks split asunder.
  ...and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split
Mt 27.51b
  • #3- Burial sites -- tombs & graves -- were ripped open. The Bible does NOT say that the opening of tombs was limited to only a few. In my OPINION, there was a general disturbance of all the tombs & cemeteries throughout the environs of Jerusalem.
  ...and the graves were opened
Mt 27.52a
  • #4- Many saints were resurrected. Moreover, those resurrected saints did NOT immediately ascend to heaven, but rather went into Jerusalem and visibly appeared to many people.
  ...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.
Mt 27.52b-53

Why did God cause these miraculous signs to take place? The verse alongside provides a strong clue to the answer. Namely, God sent these signs to the people of Jerusalem so as...

  • To prove that the person they had crucified was truly the Son of God.
  • To validate that atonement for sin had been offered [by Jesus] and accepted [by the Father], once for all.
  • To demonstrate that death and the grave CANNOT imprison God's people.
  • To signify that The Way to heaven, previously behind a veil, was now open to "whosoever believeth."
  So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, "Truly this was the Son of God!"
Mt 27.54

Conclusions

  • As explained in the study that Glen referred to, I hold the view that the general resurrection of Old Testament saints took place after Jesus was crucified, while He was three days and nights in the tomb.
  • God sent some of those resurrected saints on a temporary visit to Jerusalem, as a testimony and *vanguard* for the resurrected Jesus. They are now in Heaven. Halleluyah!
   
Postscript
It never ceases to amaze me that, despite the many infallible proofs which God gave the people of Jerusalem, only a small percentage of them believed.

If I had lived in those days, and was visited by one of my dead family members -- young again, and in the prime of life -- I'm 99.999% certain that I would have BELIEVED!

Given such evidence, would YOU have believed?

DO you believe now?



As promised, here's a link to the study referred to by Glen...
Salvation BEFORE the Crucifixion of Jesus
  [In Luke chapter 16 Jesus describes a conversation that took place between spirits of 3 dead person in Hades. Those persons were God's people, Abraham & Lazarus, and an unbelieving rich man. What follows is part of what they said...]
The rich man said, "I beg you, father Abraham, send Lazarus to my father's house, for I have five brothers. Let Lazarus warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment."

Abraham replied, "They have Moses and the Prophets. Let them listen to them."

"No they won't, father Abraham," the rich man said. "But if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent."

Abraham said, "If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead." Luke 16.27-31
     

If someone gets sick, is it because they sinned?

A user of our search engine posed an unspoken question. Here's a bit of background...

  • If you use our search engine, we don't know who you are, but we DO know what information you were seeking.
  • Our searching visitor tried to locate an explanation of John 5.14, which is quoted alongside.
  • He or she didn't find an answer on our site.
  • This brief essay seeks to remedy that defect.
  Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you."
John 5.14

Background
John 5.14 relates to a man who had an infirmity for 38 years. The nature of his infirmity is not known.

  • This sick person was waiting by the Bethesda pool, hoping to be healed by an angel.
  • Jesus saw the man and healed him. Afterwards, the man returned to thank Jesus, at which time Jesus said (in part), "Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you."
  • Because of what Jesus said, it seems apparent that the man's sickness resulted from his own personal sin.
  • For example, as a youth the man may have been involved in fornication; and thereby he became afflicted with syphilis -- a common disease in those days.
   

We don't know the exact information that our visitor was seeking, but we will assume it was the following...

  • "If someone gets sick, is it because they sinned?"
   

Our answer to the above question is:
"Yes and No"

Yes!

  • The existence of sin in the world is the root cause of ALL sickness.
  • Every disease and disability -- even death itself -- ensues from Adam's original sin, as shown by the verse quoted alongside.
  Therefore, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.
Rom 5.12

No!

  • INDIVIDUAL sin is not necessarily the reason that a specific illness afflicts a specific person.
  • Jesus clearly explains this fact in the verses quoted alongside.
  Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"

Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.
John 9.1-3

For example, consider the case of a baby who, at birth, is found to be afflicted by the AIDS virus. Is sin the cause? No and Yes...

No!

  • Obviously, this newborn child has never sinned.
  • Therefore, affliction by AIDS couldn't be the result of an individual sin by this baby.

Yes!

  • The fact that AIDS (or any other disease) even exists at all is because... sin EXISTS.
  • Somebody GAVE the deadly virus to that little child, and that someone was most definitely not God.
  • The author of that baby's affliction is sin -- NOT the baby's sin, but the sin of all the world.
 

In summary, here are three Bible facts...

  • Sin can definitely make you sick, even unto death.
  • Not all sickness ensues from personal sin.
  • The presence of sin in the world is the ONE reason why sickness even exists.

What's with the fish?

Pug asks - What is the significance of the fish symbol on Christian bumper stickers?  

Christian "folklore" gives us the following story...

  • In the years following the ascension of the resurrected Jesus to heaven, the Christian church grew rapidly.
  • Christians soon found themselves to be the subjects of persecution by both the Romans and the Jews.
  • In many locales, it became dangerous to be known as a Christian.
  • Thus, when two strangers met and thought maybe they were fellow believers, one of them would draw, on the ground, the upper half of the fish symbol.
  • If the other person was a Christian, he or she would add the bottom half of the fish.
  • In other words, the fish was like a password (or so the story goes).
   

Whether or not the preceding tale is true, we do know the reason WHY the fish symbol came into use within Christianity.

  • It comes from the Greek word IXOYE.
  • IXOYE is the Greek word ichthus, pronounced ikh-thoos' -- the Greek word for "fish."

The individual letters I, X, O, Y, E, are the first letters of five Greek words as follows...

  • I - iota, the first letter in the Greek word Iesous, meaning Jesus
  • X - chi, the first letter in the Greek word Christos, meaning Christ
  • O - theta, the first letter in the Greek word Theos, meaning God
  • Y - upsilon, the first letter in the Greek word Huios, meaning Son
  • E - sigma, the first letter in the Greek word Soter, meaning Savior

Thus ichthus, meaning "fish," is an acronym from Greek words meaning...

Jesus Christ - God, Son, Savior

   

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