Bible Questions and Answers

Browse all the questions that have been asked at and see their answers, read the most recent questions and answers, or have a look at some prepared questions and answers on key Bible themes.

Can you explain Matthew 27:51-53? What are the implications of the event described in this passage?

Matthew 27:51-53 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, 52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.

The veil of the Temple between the Holy and Most Holy place - where God dwelt above the mercy seat between the cherubims - signified that the way into God’s presence was restricted. The High Priest was permitted entrance within the veil just once each year on the day of atonement. Because the blood of animals could never take away sin, this was repeated every year as a pattern of the one to come, whom both the sacrifice and High Priest represented. By Christ’s death the way into God’s presence was opened up and the Law of Moses with the ritual sacrifices was fulfilled and ended.

The writer to the Hebrews explains:

Hebrews 9:6-12 Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services. 7 But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance; 8 the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing. 9 It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience 10 concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation. 11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

The veil of the Temple also represented the flesh of Christ – his body given in sacrifice, which gives the faithful access to God in prayer through him.

Hebrews 10:19-22 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21 And having an high priest over the house of God; 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

Christ’s sacrifice made possible the promised resurrection from the dead for the faithful of all ages. The resurrection of the faithful to eternal life will not happen until Christ returns to establish the kingdom of God. I think from the description that the dead who rose at the earthquake following Christ’s death were faithful Jews who had recently died and could be recognised by their families. Their resurrection would have been like that of Lazarus – a temporary extension of life because the kingdom of God and their eternal inheritance will not be established until Christ returns. Their resurrection was the sign to the faithful who understood God’s purpose that Christ’s sacrifice had made their future resurrection not only possible but certain.

It served to underline Martha’s conversation with Jesus concerning Lazarus:

John 11:24,25 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.

Paul assures us that Jesus was the first to be raised from the dead to eternal life and that the faithful will be raised from the dead when Christ returns.

1 Corinthians 15:20-23 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.

I hope you find this helpful.

God bless,