What sort of Resurrection was Lazarus?

When Lazarus was raised from the dead, was it just human or a glorified resurrection, as in did he come back from the dead but in a glorified sense and then get assumed into heaven? Or was his rising like a literal he came back to life and went back to work on Monday sort of deal?
I only ask because his rising was different than the examples in other places in the Bible except for Christ himself in that he was in the tomb more than three days which in Jewish belief the soul completely leaves the body at this point. Plus if his body already began decomposing wouldn’t this cause issues for him just waking up and being alive again?
Is it possible he was raised in a different sense then just a guy being brought to life? I mean we see him at the banquet that same night but after that you never hear about him again, and one would assume after his experience he would have become a stronger disciple in faith than any others up until the Resurrection of Christ… This just came into my mind today and I thought I’d ask opinions.

Lazarus went on to die a natural death, even after being raised to life by Christ. I would have to say that he was in his human body rather than glorified, as the glorified body is a permanent state. And, note how Jesus was not recognized in His glorified body, even by those who spent the last three years with Him.


Lazarus was raised from the dead, but did not come back with a glorified body (as Christ did after His resurrection).

Lazarus eventually died, however Christ once resurrected will never die again He came back in a glorified state.

There was something hauntingly mysterious about Jesus’ appearances after his Resurrection. The Gospels give testimony that Jesus did indeed return to life on Easter Sunday, but to a life that was much different. It is the same Jesus, but now he appears suddenly inside the upper chamber, “the doors being shut” (Jn 20:19). We do not really know what the qualities of the resurrected body are, but from the Gospel accounts it does seem that Jesus’ body possesses power over material things in a way that is beyond our experience and knowledge.


People had already been raised from the dead in the Old Testament and went back to their lives. People have been miraculously risen from the dead over the centuries.

Jesus was resurrected in his glorified body, surpassing the glory of Adam before the Fall. This was unique and it was a promise for the early Church of the life to come.

1 Like

Jesus obviously waited the three days to make a point. The Scripture makes clear that he knew Lazarus had died but did not rush immediately to the grave, instead waiting until the three days had passed. In other words he made sure Lazarus was definitely dead, including according to Jewish belief, before he made this miracle.

God in the person of Jesus raised a man from the dead, and you don’t think God in the person of Jesus could also fully restore a human body back from any state of decomposition it might have been in? Jesus cured people and restored their bodies back to functional all the time.


We do not know for sure, Scripture is silent.

Regardless of Scripture, I do not think it is Church teaching that Lazarus was either raised in glorified form or was assumed into heaven.
There is no doctrinal basis for saying either thing, and we do not rely solely on Scripture.

1 Like

I have never read a definitive Church teaching either way.

It’s rather a serious matter to claim someone might be assumed bodily into Heaven other than Mary, and in some Eastern traditions, Elijah and Enoch. It presumes that the person was sinless enough that their body was not consigned to decay or depending on who is teaching, didn’t even suffer bodily death. Moreover, Lazarus was never even in Heaven while he was dead. It wasn’t open to him. He would have been in the Limbo of the Fathers.

There is no tradition of Lazarus being so assumed, and no suggestion that his being raised from the dead was different from any of the other people Jesus raised from the dead except that Lazarus had been dead for a long time. The Church certainly doesn’t teach that everybody Jesus raised from the dead was walking around glorified or was assumed into Heaven. It would take away very much from the doctrine of the Assumption.

1 Like

I don’t think Enoch and Elijah being assumed are eastern in belief only. It says it right in scripture both were taken into heaven.
Some thought Christ was Elijah because Elijah traditionally will come back from heaven before the messianic age. Hence why John the Baptist was linked to Elijah.

You are correct about Scripture. The Latin Church doesn’t focus as much on those two as the Byzantine Catholic Church does. I am not sure why that is. But there is a scriptural basis for thinking both of them may have been assumed into Heaven.

1 Like

I wonder more about where Lazarus was for those three days…

1 Like

Lazarus was revivified:

A quick course on terminology: resuscitation, revivification, resurrection . Resuscitation is a technique performed by first-responders, preferably within four minutes before the onset of brain damage. Before people knew what resuscitation was and how to do it, it must have looked miraculous. It really is a medical procedure.

Revivification is a miracle. A revivified human is raised from the dead, healed of whatever killed them, and healed of decomposition since death. Thus a person could be dead for four hours, four days, or for four thousand years and still be revivified. This miracle appears over ten times in the Bible. See 1 Kings 17:17-24; 2 Kings 4:18-37; 2 Kings 13:20-21; Ezek. 37:1-14; Matt. 10:8; Matt. 11:5; Matt. 27:52-53; Acts 9:36-42; Acts 20:9-12, Hebr. 11:35 . Three famous revivifications performed by Jesus are for the widow of Nain’s son ( Luke 7:12-16 ); the daughter of Jairus ( Matt. 9:18-19, 23-25; Mark 5:22-24, 35-43; Luke 8:41-42, 49-56 ); and Lazarus of Bethany ( John 11:1-44, 12:1-2, 9-11 ).

As we see, the majority of Biblical miracles of raising the dead are revivifications. Someday, every soul will experience something very different: resurrection.

Resurrection is a miracle. It happened first with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He rose from the dead in a resurrection body and resurrection nature: a forever-body and a forever-nature. This is why Col. 1:18, Rev. 1:5, Psa. 89:27 calls Christ the first-born of the dead: He was the first resurrected human. Death no longer has dominion over Him ( Rom. 6:9 ). Those who are resuscitated or revivified remain mortals in mortal bodies. They will live out their lives and die. When we are resurrected, we will never die again.)

By the way, a sci-fi novel called A Kiss Before the Apocalypse (by Thomas E. Snegowski) briefly explores what would happen if Lazarus had been Resurrected. He receives his forever-body (or the author’s fictional version thereof). However, since Christ had not yet died for our sins and Christ had not yet been Resurrected for our salvation, Lazarus did not yet have a forever-nature fit for Heaven. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the novel makes Lazarus the “Wandering Jew” … but he couldn’t get a forever-nature until the General Resurrection, when Christ returns. It actually ends badly for him.

So, yes, you wouldn’t want to mix forms in matters of life and afterlife.

[EDIT: @Sundiver, I think we cross-posted! :slight_smile: )


A Jesuit priest, I knew in the 80’s, told me that there is a legend of Lazarus still walking the earth today. He has to walk the earth until the second coming. I think it is a only a legend. But, it is interesting.

1 Like

This is great info. I’m going to look into the bible quotes. I have never really made the distinction between resurrection and revivification.

I thought that was Cain?

Reminds me of the old paperback series Casca: The Eternal Mercenary …

I don’t know. It’s all totally obscure.

Is that a good series? Is it about living forever? That is one of my favorite sci fi concepts along with time travel.


At the risk of a thread derail or inciting heresy…yeah…it really was…You can just read this and see how many sci-fi movies ripped off the idea in various ways…it has been a looooong time since I read them…but what is cool is you can find the pulp paperbacks from the 70’s and 80’s on Ebay cheap…I am a sucker for that stuff…if you like alternate history stuff it is for you.

Casca was first introduced in Casca 1: The Eternal Mercenary . Little is known about his early life, although vague clues are given in various books in the series. He spent most of his adult life serving the Roman empire in the Legions, and there are some scraps of information about his family. He grew up in the hill country of Etruria, now known as Tuscany, to the north of Rome. The village name was Falerno. When he was a child, he saw the 10th Legion march through his village en route to Gaul. His uncle, Tontine, enlisted into the army under Julius Caesar. His family died of plague and the young Casca burned the family home afterward. He enlisted into the 7th Legion at either Messilia or Livorno. His first battle under the eagle of the 7th was on the German border against the Suevii when 15,000 tribesmen attacked them at dawn. Only 300 made it back into the forests of Germania. He joined the 10th Legion and was sent to Jerusalem where he was assigned to the execution detail for three prisoners, amongst whom was Jesus.

At Golgotha, Casca stabbed Jesus with his spear, in an attempt to relieve Jesus of his pain and suffering. Jesus condemned Casca by saying, “Soldier, you are content with what you are. Then that you shall remain until we meet again. As I go now to My Father, you must one day come to Me.” As Jesus died, blood from his wound trickled down Casca’s spear and onto his hand, and Casca unknowingly tasted it after wiping sweat from his mouth, causing his body to convulse in pain. Casca did not initially understand what was happening to him until he was condemned to work in labor mines over a 30-year period. There he slowly discovered that he does not age and cannot be killed or seriously wounded. He learned that he is immortal, although he can feel all pain inflicted on his person. While his wounds heal completely, his body accumulates countless scars over the centuries.

Casca possesses an affinity for spoken languages. He can master most languages that he encounters, including their dialects, colloquialisms, and sub-tongues. Casca is also superbly skilled in edged weapons. He was first trained as a Roman Legionnaire with the Gladius Iberius sword. He later improved those skills as a Gladiator in the Circus Maximus

1 Like
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.