Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Echos of the Great Earthquake?

In Matthew's gospel, we are treated to the only direct account of a remarkable resurrection:
Matthew 27:51-53
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; and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.
We don't have any other direct accounts of this resurrection, leading some to doubt that it happened.

But I wonder whether we may have some indirect evidence - some echos, as it were, in this passage:
2 Timothy 2:18
Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
Isn't the great earthquake resurrection the most obvious candidate for this belief? After all, if a significant number of people rose from the dead at the same time, that might appear to be a big enough miracle that people might forsake any expectation of a general resurrection. And what alternative basis could there be? A limitation of the resurrection to Jesus himself? A fulfillment of the resurrection in Tabitha and Eutychus or Lazaraus? It's hard to understand this "resurrection is past already" hyper-preterism (so to speak) aside from the great earthquake resurrection.

Still, I have to acknowledge that as fun as this explanation may be, it is just speculation. I don't know the basis for the false claim that the resurrection is already past - I just know that the claim is false. The resurrection, both of the just and the unjust is still to come.


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