We had a good discussion during our time of Nosh after service.
Sherri had a question from a friend regarding the people resurrected with Yeshua at His first coming, whether they received new bodies at that resurrection and where did the go?
Mat 27:51 And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split.
Mat 27:52 The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;
Mat 27:53 and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many.
In our discussion, I felt that they received their resurrected Bodies and went to the Heavenly Jerusalem (or Heaven being the typical term used) with Yeshua, or the place where those who have gone before us await the New Millennium and rule and reign of Messiah Yeshua, but I wanted to do some more research anyway.
Here are 2 scholarly opinions, and they both have their good points.
Opinion #1 – Arnold Fruchtenbaum – Messianic Bible Study Collection
b. The Resurrection of Many Saints
A second thing that occurred on this occasion was the resurrection of many of the saints who had recently died. While they did not come out of the tombs until after the Messiah’s own Resurrection, they were resurrected at the time of His death. This clear wording is sometimes missed and it is often taught that the resurrection of these saints occurred after Messiah’s Resurrection. But that is not the way the passage reads.
In verse 52, when Jesus died two things happened. First, the tombs were opened. Many of the tombs opened up as a result of the earthquake. Secondly, many bodies of the saints that had fallen asleep were raised. At that point, many were resurrected from the dead. Verse 53 states that they did not come out of the opened tombs until after his resurrection and then went into Jerusalem and were seen by many.
Some have interpreted this verse as recording the resurrection of the Old Testament saints, but that cannot be. There cannot be a resurrection to eternity before the Messiah’s own Resurrection. According to 1 Corinthians 15:20–24, Jesus is the first-fruits of the eternal resurrection. But these saints were resurrected at the point of Messiah’s death. This is not a resurrection of Old Testament saints into eternal life and existence, but, as with all previous resurrections, this was only a restoration back to natural life. These are just some of the saints who had recently died and then were resurrected by a restoration back to natural life, not a resurrection to eternal life.
The difference is that if one is raised from the dead into resurrection life, he will live from then on physically forever. So far, only Jesus has received this type of resurrection. The kind of resurrection being spoken of in this passage is a resurrection back to natural life, which means that these people would die again later.
Opinion #3 Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary
And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose — These sleeping saints (see on 1Th_4:14) were Old Testament believers, who - according to the usual punctuation in our version - were quickened into resurrection life at the moment of their Lord’s death, but lay in their graves till His resurrection, when they came forth. But it is far more natural, as we think, and consonant with other Scriptures, to understand that only the graves were opened, probably by the earthquake, at our Lord’s death, and this only in preparation for the subsequent exit of those who slept in them, when the Spirit of life should enter into them from their risen Lord, and along with Him they should come forth, trophies of His victory over the grave. Thus, in the opening of the graves at the moment of the Redeemer’s expiring, there was a glorious symbolical proclamation that the death which had just taken place had “swallowed up death in victory”; and whereas the saints that slept in them were awakened only by their risen Lord, to accompany Him out of the tomb, it was fitting that “the Prince of Life ... should be the First that should rise from the dead” (Act_26:23; 1Co_15:20, 1Co_15:23; Col_1:18; Rev_1:5).
Opinion #4 – John Wesley Commentary
Some of the tombs were shattered and laid open by the earthquake, and while they continued unclosed (and they must have stood open all the Sabbath, seeing the law would not allow any attempt to close them) many bodies of holy men were raised, (perhaps Simeon, Zacharias, John the Baptist, and others who had believed in Christ, and were known to many in Jerusalem,) And coming out of the tombs after his resurrection, went into the holy city (Jerusalem) and appeared to many - Who had probably known them before: God hereby signifying, that Christ had conquered death, and would raise all his saints in due season.
Opinion #5 – Scofield Commentary
That these bodies returned to their graves is not said and may not be inferred. The wave-sheaf (Lev_23:10-12) typifies the resurrection of Christ, but a sheaf implies plurality. It was a single "corn of wheat" that fell into the ground in the crucifixion and entombment of Christ (Joh_12:24); it was a sheaf which came forth in resurrection. The inference is that these saints, with the spirits of "just men made perfect" (Heb_12:23) from Paradise, went with Jesus (Eph_4:8-10) into heaven.
Opinion #6 - Bible Archeology Website
(This is a Christian perspective)
What Happened to these Resurrected Saints?
There are three possibilities as to what happened to these resurrected saints. First, they are still alive today. I have lived in Jerusalem, on and off, for more than thirty years. I’ve met a lot of people in that city. I even met some people who thought they were Jesus, or Elijah, or John the Baptist, but I have never met anybody that was 2,000 years old. So I think we can safely assume that they are not alive today.
The second possibility is that they died again. We have no Scriptural warrant for this claim, nor are there any Jewish or Church traditions that states they died again. So I think we can dismiss this idea.
The third possibility, and the one I believe is correct, is that they ascended into Heaven with the Lord Jesus forty days after His, and their, resurrection (Cambron 1973:57, 146-147, 334). Let’s examine the account of the ascension of the Lord Jesus to Heaven. After the Lord Jesus gives another commission to His disciples for world evangelism (Acts 1:8), Luke records:
Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven’ (Acts 1:9-11).
There are several things to notice in this passage. First, “a cloud” received Him out of their sight. Most commentators would state that when Jesus ascended, He disappeared into a cloud, a vaporous mass. But Dr. Luke may be using this word in another way. When the Apostle Paul describes the return of the Lord Jesus in the air for His saints, what has been called the Rapture of the Church, he states: “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” (1 Thess. 4:17). It is important to note that in the Greek text, there is no definite article before “clouds.” So the text should state that the living saints shall be caught up “in clouds” to meet the Lord Jesus in the air. At the Rapture there would be a cloud of saints over North America, a cloud over Europe, a cloud over South America, Asia and Africa.
I believe that Dr. Luke is using the words “cloud” in this manner, as a collection of saints. Thus, the cloud that received the Lord Jesus above the Mount of Olives was a cloud of the saints that were resurrected in Jerusalem when the Lord Jesus was resurrected. This was the first fruits of a greater harvest to come and the prophetic point of the Feast of the LORD. The Israelites were to bring the first fruits of the barley harvest to the Temple and the priest would wave the omer (sheaf) before the LORD and acknowledge His provision for the harvest and trust Him for the full harvest in the months to come. In the prophetic analogy, the priest would not wave one stalk [Jesus] before the LORD, but rather, a sheaf [Jesus and the Jerusalem saints that were resurrected at the same time that He was]. Thus, this fulfilled the prophetic aspect of the Feast of Firstfruits and what Paul wrote, “Christ, risen from the dead, has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
Notice also the words of the two men in white apparel, most likely angelic beings. They said: “This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into Heaven.” When the Lord Jesus returns to earth with His saints at His revelation as the King of kings, and Lord of lords, the Apostle John states that “He is coming with clouds [of saints], and every eye shall see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen” (Rev. 1:9; cf. Rev. 19:11-16).
The prophet Zechariah predicted that the Messiah would return to the Mount of Olives with all His saints (Zech. 14:4-5). The words of the two angels were that the Lord Jesus would return the same way He left. He will one day visibly return to the Mount of Olive with His saints. If he returns with saints, then He must have left with saints as well! The saints that He left with were those resurrected from the graves around Jerusalem at His resurrection, but one day He will return to earth with more than just these resurrected Jerusalem saints. He will have all His Church saints, those who have trusted Him as their Savior, from Pentecost to the Rapture, with Him as well (cf. John 5:25-29).
(We do not necessarily agree with their view of the Rapture, we do know that we will be caught up as told in 1 Thess. 4:17, but only God knows when)
I thought it was interesting regarding their interpretation of “Cloud” when Yeshua ascended into heaven refers to all of those who were resurrected with him at that time, which were the Tenach saints/Believers who were waiting in Sheol until the Resurrection and had looked forward to Messiah.
Mat_24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Mat_26:64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
Mar_13:26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.
Mar_14:62 And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
1Th_4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Could the “Clouds” refer to all the saints that went before us and us when we are caught up to meet Him at His return?
Also Paul uses the term “A great cloud of witnesses”, so this interpretation makes sense because upon His return, He will be returning with those who have gone before us! So in this case cloud could be a idiom for people, just like trees and sea represent people at times in scripture as well?
Heb 12:1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
Heb 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God
Isa 60:8 "Who are these who fly like a cloud And like the doves to their lattices?
Eze 38:9 "You will go up, you will come like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your troops, and many peoples with you."
Eze 38:16 and you will come up against My people Israel like a cloud to cover the land. It shall come about in the last days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me when I am sanctified through you before their eyes, O Gog."
Cloud can also represent the Presence of God, His Glory!
Exo_24:18 And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.
Exo_34:5 And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.
Exo_40:34 Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
Exo_40:35 And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
Interpretation always depends on the context and also
כּבד / כּבוד
1) glory, honour, glorious, abundance
1a) abundance, riches
1b) honour, splendour, glory
1c) honour, dignity
1d) honour, reputation
1e) honour, reverence, glory
Part of Speech: noun masculine
1) cloud, cloudy, cloud-mass
1a) cloud-mass (of theophanic cloud)
`anan (H6051), "cloud; fog; storm cloud; smoke." Cognates of this word appear in Aramaic and Arabic. Its 87 appearances are scattered throughout the biblical material.
The word commonly means "cloud mass." `Anan is used especially of the "cloud mass" that evidenced the special presence of God: "And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way..."(Exo_13:21). In Exo_34:5, this presence is represented by `anan only: "And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him [Moses] there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord."
When the ark of the covenant was brought into the holy place, "The cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord" (1Ki_8:10-11). Thus the "cloud" evidenced the presence of God's glory. So the psalmist wrote that God was surrounded by "clouds and darkness" (Psa_97:2); God appears as the controller and sovereign of nature. This description is somewhat parallel to the descriptions of Baal, the lord of the storm and god of nature set forth in Ugaritic mythology. The "cloud" is a sign and figure of "divine protection" (Isa_4:5) and serves as a barrier hiding the fullness of divine holiness and glory, as well as barring sinful man's approach to God (Lam_3:44). Man's relationship to God, therefore, is God-initiated and God-sustained, not humanly initiated or humanly sustained.
In its first biblical occurrence, `anan is used in conjunction with God's sign that He would never again destroy the earth by a flood: "I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth" (Gen_9:13). Elsewhere, the transitory quality of a cloud is used to symbolize the loyalty (Hos_6:4) and existence of Israel (Hos_13:3). In Isa_44:22, God says that after proper punishment He will wipe out, "as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins...."
`Anan can mean "storm cloud" and is used to symbolize "an invading force": "Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee" (Eze_38:9; cf. Jer_4:13). In Job_26:8, the storm cloud is said to be God's: "He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them." In several passages, the thick storm cloud and the darkness accompanying it are symbols of "gloom" (Eze_30:18) and/or "divine judgment" (Eze_30:3).
`Anan can represent the "smoke" arising from burning incense: "And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not..." (Lev_16:13). This "cloud of smoke" may represent the covering between God's presence (above the mercy seat) and sinful man. If so, it probably also symbolizes the "divine glory." On the other hand, many scholars feel it represents the human prayers offered up to God.
You never know where a question will lead to and what you will learn!
Shalom In Yeshua