Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #10 Matthew 27:51-54 – Temple Curtain Torn in Earthquake
|| Mark 15:38, 39; Luke 23:47
MT27:51 Now the curtain of the Sanctuary was torn in two from the top down. The earth was shaken and rocks were cracked open. MT27:52 The tombs were opened and many dead bodies of [ancient] saints were raised and became visible. MT27:53 And persons left the tombs and entered the holy city. MT27:54 But the centurion and those observing Jesus, having experienced the earthquake and the other things happening, became very frightened. They said, “Surely this person was a Son of God!”
 Curtain of the Sanctuary was torn in two: Between the Most Holy and the Holy of Herod’s temple was a curtain protecting the inner sanctuary. The Greek for “sanctuary” (or, Divine Habitat) is NAOU (Research NAOS). Many see this as God’s judgment on the Temple while others see it pointing to the way to heaven being opened. Compare Hebrews 9:3 and Hebrews 10:20. Both Mark 15:38 and Luke 23:45 mention the event.
 Many dead bodies of [ancient] saints were raised: Or, KJV: the graves were opened; and many of the bodies of the saints which slept arose; BER: bodies of the buried saints arose. Note that neither Mark nor Luke mention this while recording the earthquake and rending of the Sanctuary curtain. Some understand this to refer to a resurrection of the godly men of old. Nothing is reported elsewhere on such an idea. It is more likely that the earthquake cracked open ancient rock tombs spilling and exposing the dead. Jesus is described as “the firstborn of the dead” and he was yet to be resurrected Sunday morning (Colossians 1:18; Revelation 1:5). Compare 1 Corinthians 15:20-23.
 Persons left the tombs: Part of the crowd of pilgrims trying to get back into Jerusalem before the Sabbath began at sundown. Luke 23:48 adds, “And all the crowds that were gathered together there for this spectacle, when they beheld the things that occurred, began to return (to Jerusalem).” As these persons returned they observed the corpses exposed by the earthquake.
 A Son of God: The Greek is THEOU HUIOS or NASB: a Son of God. Luke 23:47 adds, “The army officer began to glorify God, saying: ‘Really this man was righteous.’”
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