What Happened to the Saints Who Were Resurrected After Christ’s Resurrection?

Question from a reader:

Matthew 27:52-53 talks about how upon Jesus' death and resurrection, many bodies were raised (those of the pre-Pentecost saints who had "fallen asleep"), and these people appeared to many. Were these in their resurrection bodies (like Jesus' resurrected body)? And if so, did He take them with Him when He ascended to Heaven?

Answer from Eternal Perspective Ministries:

That passage is a fascinating one, isn’t it? See this article by John Piper.

Though the answer differs from Piper’s, here is what the ESV Study Bible says:

27:52-53 saints who had fallen asleep. Probably pious OT figures and godly intertestamental Jews, reembodied to witness to the new order of things that was now in the process of dawning. This shows that the resurrection of people who died looking forward to the Messiah depends on Christ’s actual death and resurrection, just as does the future resurrection of Jesus’ disciples today. Coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city. Matthew apparently jumps ahead here (treating materials topically, as he often does) and begins to speak of events that would happen after the resurrection. The wording suggests that these saints were not merely brought back to life (like Lazarus; John 11:44) but were “raised” (Matt. 27:52) with new, resurrection bodies, a foretaste of what would happen to all believers at Christ’s return. No other historical information about this event has been found, but it is natural to suppose that if they had resurrection bodies, they would not have died again. They may have been taken up to heaven at or after Jesus’ ascension.

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