(First published in newsletter # 4 in 1993)
MAT 27:50 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.
We felt it was a distinct possibility that Abraham and those buried in the cave were among those resurrected with Christ. The site of the cave is certainly within walking distance of Jerusalem as it is 19 or 20 miles away. No one could doubt that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would certainly qualify as “saints”. Could they have been commanded to life when Christ arose? There is a verse in the Bible which may reflect the fact that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are already in Heaven when the righteous arrive with Christ:
MAT 8:11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.
This verse almost sounds like they will be there waiting for the righteous to arrive, similar to the verse about Christ sitting down with His Father, who is waiting for Him:
HEB 1:3 …, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:
Of course, the Jewish legends are completely silent on events connected with Christ. The Bible is very clear on the fact that the priests and rulers tried to cover up the true events of Christ and His resurrection, so there would be no Jewish records of these resurrected saints. And supposing Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were among those resurrected, what happened to these risen saints? Did they go back into their graves when Christ ascended to heaven? NO- they were taken to Heaven:
EPH 4:8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
This verse clearly refers to an event which occurred when Christ ascended– not when He died on the cross, nor did it occur when Christ arose (which was when the saints came also out of their graves). The event which is spoken of as occurring “when He ascended up on high” was the physical fulfillment of His promise- the assurance of eternal life for man was proven when He took back with Him to heaven the saints who arose with their glorified bodies when He arose.
This had been foretold by Isaiah hundreds of years earlier:
ISA 26:19 Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
God the Father, in addition to resurrecting Christ, provided extraordinary evidence that Christ’s Sacrifice was accepted! He resurrected a group of saints as proof! The death of Christ, the great, final Sacrifice, took place on that cross almost 2,000 years ago and until He died, man was without hope:
1CO 15:17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
Paul made it clear that if Christ had not arisen, we would all be lost. Until then, Satan had legal claim over all those who lived on this planet, as all had sinned. Remember how he contended over the body of Moses?
JUD 1:9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.
Satan had legal right to the body of Moses at that time- notice, he isn’t told that he has no claim over Moses, but simply that the Lord is over-ruling him in this case- “The Lord rebuke thee”.
But, after Christ died, things changed- Satan no longer could protest that all men were his legal captive. Christ had paid the price. Between Christ’s death and His resurrection, something happened which ratified the covenant- His Blood fell on the Mercy Seat. His Father saw that the offering was perfect in every way and also that it was presented to Him in a manner that was consistent with His requirements. It was accepted! Christ was resurrected and a group of saints also came out of their graves! And although we do not know who they were, it would seem that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would certainly be worthy candidates- these men through whom the promise was actually given- those who had participated in the blood sacrifices in faith of the coming redeemer.
The absence of the bones is a very important evidence. Both the heathens and the believers of God placed a tremendous importance on the sacredness of a person’s grave. They went to great lengths to preserve all graves. It was simply taboo to disturb a grave among all peoples and beliefs. This cave was not disturbed, as far as we can tell.
We cannot help but be of the thought that the discovery of the cave is associated with the Ark because of the way the cave was brought to Ron’s attention while working on the Ark- the man who told Ron about the cave is the man who entered the chamber where the Ark is back in 1982. The family wanted Ron to examine the area of the cave because of supernatural occurrences that they had seen- the “fire” which left no traces when they went to take a closer look. Strange events- yes, but we do know that the cave meets the criteria to be the authentic site. We know it contains the proper number of crypts. We know there is evidence that the cave was cracked open by an earthquake. And we know that those crypts are empty.
To Abraham had been given the knowledge of the coming Redeemer, Christ:
JOH 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
The only man called in the Bible, “the Friend of God”, Abraham was a special person in the history of God’s people: J
AM 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
And we will never know for sure if they were resurrected until we get to Heaven. But the subject of the resurrected saints was recorded in the Bible by Inspiration, so it is a subject worthy of our study and understanding. God is drawing attention to great Truths which have been overlooked for many years- subjects which focus on the mysteries of eternal life and the complete accuracy of His Holy Word.
This planet is very quickly becoming unfit to live in. We have the Word of Christ that those who love Him will be persecuted and perhaps even killed for their faith:
JOH 15:20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you;
But we can endure all things because we have the assurance of eternal life through Him and with Him, as Paul so forcefully states:
ROM 8:36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.