After Jesus died and the tombs were opened, where did the bodies of those in the tombs go? Were they glorified? Did they go to heaven or live out their lives all over again?




Answer is, we just don’t know.

Not only Scripture but history are silent on this event.



I thought the Church might have an opinion.


I forget the scripture reference now, but I think I’ve read about this before. Let’s say maybe 200 people came out of their tombs. They went on like Lazarus to live normal lives, but of course they all eventually did die again as did Lazarus.

That is how I remember reading about it from a reputable commentary but it has been awhile since I read about this.


I just read something that says the Greek word egel’ro doesnt always mean resurrection. It can also mean “lift out” of a pit or “get up” from the ground.

So Scripture may be describing corpses coming up out of the ground, exposed to the people.


So! Now, we are talking about zombies then.


No, according to what read, they remained dead. Of course, I found me the theory on Yahoo so I take it with a grain of salt.


Since its only in the one gospel and not mentioned anywhere else, could it be false?


Faith!! :tsktsk:

My Navarre Commentary states that St. Augustine, Jerome, and Thomas Aquinas favored the explanation that I mentioned above.

More than that, however, it does not say. :shrug:


Ok, so the ECFs believed in it and wrote about it?


Well, those three did, in any case.

If it is in scripture, then it is true.

Jesus raised Lazarus who had been dead for 4 days I think it was, it should not be too difficult to raise many who had been dead even longer if God wishes to as a sign. Right?

The commentary actually says there were 3 different possible explanations of this occurrence which were proposed by the great Church writers.

But the three I mentioned favored the one particular view which seems most reasonable.


I wonder if there’s anything else written about this from non Christian sources? Thought I might’ve read something about that. Anyone know?


I’m certain there is, but it must be noted that the Early Church Fathers did not always agree with each other.


It also said fhat those who entered the holy city must refer to persons who visited the tombs and brought the news to Jerusalem.


Yeah, but Augustine thought that God didn’t grant the fullness of heaven to unbaptized babies, and Aquinas held to the (mistaken) notions of the day regarding human fetal development. In other words, they weren’t infallible. Where the Church holds up their assertions, we claim infallibility … to the Church’s declarations. Otherwise, we read Augustine’s, Jerome’s, and Aquinas’ statements, and realize that – without Church doctrinal teaching holding them up – they’re non-doctrinal statements.

In other words, Augustine, Jerome, and Aquinas offer opinions – which should be given respect – but don’t, in and of themselves, necessarily speak doctrinal truth. :shrug:


No. We’re talking about bodies that were brought to the surface by the earthquake. :wink:

(At least, that’s the assertion some scholars – and not just Yahoo posters – make. There are certain ambiguities in the description – wide enough to drive a truck through! – that it’s not unreasonable to interpret the text in a way that doesn’t require an understanding that massive amounts of dead people came to life and strolled around Jerusalem…)


What do you think Scripture means when it talks about the bodies entering the city and appearing to many?


The verse is worded so vaguely that it’s difficult to interpret it in a definitive way.

On one hand, we might take it completely literally: people were resurrected on Good Friday, and then, after staying in their tombs for three days, they walked into Jerusalem on Easter Sunday (or later), and many people saw them.

On the other hand, we might take it in a less fantastic way: on Good Friday, as a result of the earthquake, bodies and/or bones were lifted to the surface. Following Jesus’ resurrection, these ‘saints’ who had been awaiting their savior were able to ascend to the ‘holy city’ of God; subsequently, there were visions of the saints by people still on earth.

The former interpretation raises some questions that are very difficult to answer: did these resurrected people just lay in their graves for three days? Why isn’t there any other testimony to this miraculous event?

The latter interpretation tends to grate on some peoples’ nerves, since it seems to take the ‘oomph’ out of Matthew’s description.

The Church – wisely, IMHO – doesn’t provide a particular interpretation of these verses, thus allowing us some latitude to ponder what they mean…


I don’t understand the last sentence. Their bodies rose to heaven or…what? :confused:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.