Many believers were resurrected when Jesus died
but their bodies were not transformed or taken up into heaven.
By Craig C. White
Matthew 27:50-54 says that many believers rose from the dead at Jesus’ death. However I don’t think that these people represent Old Testament believers. I think that the believers who were raised from the dead were people who had recently died. They were witnesses to the Jews of the deity of Jesus Christ and his power over death. They were raised like Lazarus. Their bodies were not transformed into everlasting bodies. Even though they were raised from the dead; like Lazarus they eventually died.
Matthew 27:50-54 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; 52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. 54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.
There is no mention in Matthew chapter 27 about these people being bodily transformed or physically taken. They are not Old Testament believers but they are Jews who were alive to hear Jesus’ message and believe. So what about the Old Testament believers? I think that Jesus took the souls of the Old Testament believers with him at his ascension but their bodies are still in the ground.
Ephesians 4:8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
Here is the verse that most leads me to believe that the resurrection of Old Testament believers will happen in the future. It is the last verse in the book of Daniel. Daniel will rest until he stands in his God given portion of land in Israel at the time of the end.
Daniel 12:13 But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.
Also Hosea seems to say that when Jesus comes at his second coming he will restore peace and security to Israel in two days and then resurrect the Old Testament believers on the third day.
Hosea 6:2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
The Prophet Daniel talks about events that will happen at the time of the Tribulation and Jesus Christ’s second coming. I think that the Old Testament believers will be raised from the dead and physically transformed shortly after Jesus returns to vanquish Israel’s enemies. At that time there will be no need of a Rapture because Jesus will be present on the earth. The Old Testament Jewish believers will live with Jesus Christ on earth.
The Bible also tells us that God will turn the rivers into roadways in order to provide a pathway for the Jews who have been dispersed throughout the Middle East to return to Israel. So obviously the Old Testament Jewish believers have not and will not be taken up into heaven bodily.
Isa 11:11-12 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. 12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
Note: In Isaiah 11:11-12 above, these are nations that took Israelis captive, Assyria is northern Iraq, Egypt is the Sinai peninsula, Pathros is upper Egypt, Cush is Sudan, Elam is Iran (Remember some Jews remained under captivity after Babylon was conquered by the Medes and Persians; including Daniel the prophet.), Shinar is southern Iraq (Babylon), and Hamath is a major city in Syria.
Isa 11:15-16 And the LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod. 16 And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.
The Old Testament Jewish believers will be raised after Jesus returns to stay. God bless you as you celebrate resurrection day!