Tombs were opened

Matthew 27:52..53


  We read in some translations of the Scriptures, that when Jesus died, “the sepulchers were opened, and many bodies of the sanctified who have been asleep arose. And having come forth out of the sepulchers after his resurrection they entered into the holy city and appeared to many”. And also the memorial tombs were opened, and many bodies of the holy ones that had fallen asleep were raised up, (and persons coming out of the memorial tombs after his being raised up entered into the holy city) and they became visible to many people”. (Matthew 27:52, 53) But is this really what Matthew wrote?

  Jesus was not resurrected until the third day after his death and Mathew is speaking of the very moment in which he died. In that moment a great earthquake shook the mountain and fragmented the mass of rock, the landslide that this produced made the tombs fall apart, and lifted up the corpses out of the hole they were, scattering them over the ground. This event is similar to another not so distant in time, which happened in in Sonson, Colombia, in 1962, when due to a violent earthquake, some 200 bodies were thrown to the surface and were scattered on the ground. (“El Tiempo”, Bogotá (Colombia), July 31, 1962)


  The translations of Matthew's report about these events have caused confusion and controversy because they might imply, and there are people who believe it, that some righteous men who were dead came back to life. However, a careful translation demonstrates that these verses do not speak of a rebirth to life, but of the removal of bodies to the surface. The word that is translated as “resurrection” does not explicitly means this, it means to rise or to take up, besides the Greek word “αὐτοῦ” or “autou” which means “that place” is confused by the translators with the very similar word “αὐτόν or “auton” which means “one self” or “alone”. (The Analytical Greek Lexicon, Samuel Baxter and Sons Limited, London. And Dictionaire Grec Français. A. Bailly. Paris) The right translation of these words makes the verse easy to understand

  Now, this is the word by word translation:



καὶ    τὰ    μνημεῖα   ἀνεῴχθησαν    καὶ    πολλὰ     σώματα     τῶν

And    the       tombs           were opened        and        many           bodies         of the


   κεκοιμημένων        ἁγίων                   ἠγέρθησαν,

    sleeping in death,        the worthy,            were displaced upward,



καὶ        ἐξελθόντες       ἐκ      τῶν     μνημείων.    μετὰ       τὴν

and         were scattered        out         the            tombs.           After,        those


  ἔγερσιν      αὐτοῦ     εἰσῆλθον  εἰς  τὴν

  going out        that place      entered       in    the


ἁγίαν    πόλιν   καὶ      ἐνεφανίσθησαν     πολλοῖς.

 Holy          City       and           they informed             the many.


And this is the summary of what happened:

27 Then the governor's soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorian along with the crowd...

31 after they mocked him stripped him of the mantle and dressed him in his own clothes and led to his crucifixion...

46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried in a loud voice, saying: “Eli, Eli, lima sabachthani?”

47 Some of those who stood there, when they heard it said: “This man calls for Elijah”...

49 the rest said: “Let him be; let's see if Elijah comes to save him...

50 And Jesus cried again with a loud voice and yielded the spirit.

51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, the earth trembled and the rock mass was broken,

52 then the graves were opened and many bodies of those who slept in death, the worthy ones, were displaced upward, (Who was considered unworthy was thrown into the Gehenna Valley, where he was burnt)

53 and were scattered outside tombs. Afterwards, those who left that place entered the Holy City and reported it to many.

  So the people who were on mount Golgotha, the Roman soldiers and many onlookers, as well as some disciples and family members of Jesus, entered Jerusalem and reported the things happened after Jesus death, and also the scattering of the corpses.


  Perhaps some people may associate the things then happened to these words of Jesus: “Verily, verily, I say: The time comes, we are in it, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who listen will live; for as the Father has life in himself, he also has given to the Son to have life in himself and given him authority to judge, because he is a son of man. Do not marvel at this because the time comes that all those in the graves shall hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to a resurrection of life, (not a resurrection to death after a few years) and those who have practiced evil, to a resurrection of trial”. (John 5:25-29)

  However it is clear that Jesus was here referring to the resurrection of the last day. When Jesus speaks of the dead listening to the voice of the Son of God, he speaks of humanity, because the fact of living some few years and then die and disappear, does not mean to have life. God sent forth a redeemer to give men the opportunity of a life without death, since at the sight of God, all humanity is dead. This is why Jesus spoke like this to one of the disciples, he told him:  “Follow me”, and when “he replied: Let me go first and bury my father”, he told him “Let the dead bury their dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God”. (Luke 9:59...60)