Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | April 30, 2021

Crucifixion Miracle 6: Tombs Opened & Saints Raised

(3 Minute Read. 30Apr2021)

Christ at the Cross
by Bronzino ~1545

This Easter season I have been studying the Seven Crucifixion Miracles that occurred while Jesus hung on the cross.

Here are the Seven Crucifixion Miracles reported in the Gospels:
1. Thief on the cross saved.
2. Darkness covered the land for three hours from noon to three.
3. Jesus voluntarily gave up His spirit of His own accord.
4. Temple veil torn in two from top to bottom.
5. Earthquake and rocks split.
6. Tombs opened and dead raised to life.
7. Roman Centurion and his soldiers converted.
(Matthew 27:38-54; Luke 23:39-47;
Mark 15:33-39; John 19:28-30

The preceding articles,
Crucifixion Miracle 1: Thief Saved,
Crucifixion Miracle 2: Darkness Noon to Three,
Crucifixion Miracle 3: Jesus Gave Up His Spirit,
Crucifixion Miracle 4: Temple Veil Torn in Two, and
Crucifixion Miracle 5: Earthquake & Rocks Split
covered the first five Crucifixion Miracles. This blog article covers the sixth Crucifixion Miracle from the above list.

Crucifixion Miracle 6: Tombs Opened and Saints Raised to Life

Suppose you were in the local mall and saw people whose funeral you had attended walking around. What would you think? Wouldn’t it stun you? Wouldn’t it make you wonder what was going on?

This is what happened in Jerusalem almost 2000 years ago. At the death of Jesus of Nazareth on the cross, tombs were opened and raised saints were seen walking in Jerusalem following His resurrection.
The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. (Matthew 27:52-53)

This alone certainly distinguishes Christ’s death from any other death in history. Can you imagine the stir it would have created in Jerusalem and throughout Israel?

No doubt the earthquake and splitting of rocks at Jesus’ death were the agency through which tombs were physically opened. But only the miraculous power of the Great Creator could re-animate the deceased individuals.

Matthew was not alone in recording this historically unique accompaniment to Jesus’ death. Extra-Biblical sources also report the resurrection of dead people at His passing. Ignatius, Irenaeus, Cyril of Jerusalem, Tertullian, Hippolytus, and Clement of Alexandria all mention it in their writings.

One especially interesting reference is the letter Pontius Pilate wrote to the Roman emperor Tiberius Caesar. Justin Martyr (~100–~165 AD) quotes from Pilate’s letter:
“And when he had been crucified, there was darkness over the whole earth, the sun having been completely hidden, and the heaven appearing dark though it was day, so that the stars appeared, but had at the same time their brightness darkened, as I suppose your reverence is not ignorant of, because in all the world they lighted lamps from the sixth hour until evening. And the moon, being like blood, did not shine the whole night, and yet she happened to be at the full. . . And there were seen in that terror dead men raised up, as the Jews that saw them said.”
(Report of Pilate, p. 229-230)

Pilate’s mention of “terror” at seeing dead raised is a mark of truth, for such would certainly have terrified people throughout Jerusalem.

The resurrection of dead saints to life in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago was another clear message that Jesus conquered sin and death through His sacrificial death for sin and His resurrection.
Who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 1:4)

Questions to Ponder

1. If you were alive at the Crucifixion, would seeing dead people raised have focused your attention on what Jesus’ death signified?
2. Have you claimed the atonement for your sin that Jesus offers?
   (John 3:16-18)

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria. Alere Flammam Veritatis.

Read the prequels:
Crucifixion Miracles
Crucifixion Miracle 1: Thief Saved
Crucifixion Miracle 2: Darkness Noon to Three
Crucifixion Miracle 3: Jesus Gave Up His Spirit
Crucifixion Miracle 4: Temple Veil Torn in Two
Crucifixion Miracle 5: Earthquake & Rocks Split

Read the sequel:
Crucifixion Miracle 7: Roman Soldiers Converted

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Friday April 30, 2021 A.D.

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. (Romans 6:3-5 ESV)

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  1. My good friend, Dr.William Pelletier, Keep up the Great Work!  Your Ph.D. chemist (from GA. Tech)  brother in Christ, John J. Walker Stay in our home sometime when you are down this way!  Or at least, stop by to say hello.  I was given a Ph.D. from the little trade school in Organic Chemistry (many years ago)


    • Thanks for the encouragement, John, and for your invitation, and for reading the Bible-Science Guy Blog. I appreciate your friendship.


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