I can’t seem to find any information on this, any comments or
suggestions? What happened to the people in Matthew 27:52-53? The tombs
broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to
life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went
into the holy city and appeared to many people.

I am afraid that this is one question on which I cannot be
much help. It is true that Matthew chapter twenty-seven records some
interesting events surrounding the death of Jesus. It is also true that
the other gospels do not mention some of these things, including the
apparent resurrection of a number of people at the time of the death of
Jesus. The simple fact (at least as far as I know, and you may want to do
some more of your own research) is that we do not have any other
historical record of these events. It should not surprise us that history
external to the Bible does not record these events. Historical records of
the first century from this rather obscure corner of the Roman Empire are
somewhat sparse (with the exception of the writings of Jewish historian
Josephus, who does not mention this particular event).

Bottom line, we do not know what happened to those “many holy
people who had died and were raised to life.” (Matthew 27:52). Based on
the clear evidence that Matthew was an accurate recorder of what happened
at that time, and on the fact that he was an eye-witness of the events, I
am forced to simply accept Matthew at his word. He certainly had no
reason to lie about these events, as thousands who were also eye-witnesses
to the events were still alive when Matthew wrote.

Because we have no other record of the events, one is left to
speculate about who these people were and what happened after they were
raised upon the death of Jesus. I will share my opinion, but you should
take this for what it is worth. For myself, I assume that these were
particularly “holy” (using the terminology from Matthew) Jews who had been
buried in the Jerusalem area whom God chose to resurrect at that time in
order to bear witness to the spiritual significance of the death of
Jesus. I would assume that these were in spiritual bodies, not their
actual raised physical bodies. Presumably their bodies had decomposed
long before. 1 Corinthians 15:50-54 describes us leaving our perishable
physical bodies and being raised in changed, imperishable bodies. This is
the kind of body Jesus was raised in. I would assume that the resurrected
holy people mentioned by Matthew were of this sort, and that these people
simply disappeared from Jerusalem very soon after appearing.

You ask a very interesting question, but this is one we should
probably simply admit we do not have sufficient information, either in the
Bible or external to it to make authoritative statements about what
happened to these resurrected saints.

John Oakes

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