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Thread: Matt 27:51 ???? "the holy people who had died that were raised to life"

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    Matt 27:51 ???? "the holy people who had died that were raised to life"

    How could these "many holy people" be "raised to life" at the time of Jesus' death? How could they be raised to life before Jesus? The scripture goes on to say they came out of the tombs, after Jesus' resurrection, so I'm confused.

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    From the commentaries I have read, opinions differ, but I tend to agree with David Guzik:
    Graves were opened: This is one of the strangest passages in the Gospel of Matthew. We don’t know about this event from any other source, and Matthew doesn’t tell us very much. So we really don’t know what this was all about, but apparently these resuscitated saints died again, because they were raised from the dead in the sense that Lazarus was.

    In Christ,
    Jen

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    This would have been real hard for religious pirates that crucified Christ to explain. Mat 27:52 the graves were opened and the bodies of many saints that slept were raised. vs 53 and came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared to many.

    Scofield reference notes offers the following: Although the graves were opened at the time of Christs death (vv50-51) the bodies did not rise until "after His resurrection" (vs53) Christ is the first born from among the dead (Col 1:18; Rev 1:5)and "the first fruits of them who slept" (1Cor 15:20) It is not said that these bodies returned to their graves. The wave sheaf (Lev 23:10-12) typlifies the resurrection of Christ, but would appear from the symbol used that plurality is implied. It was a single "corn of wheat" that fell into the ground in the crucifixion and entombment of Christ (John 12:24); it was a sheaf which came forth in resurrection. The inference is that these saints went with the risen Christ into heaven.

    Gonna keep this one in the cooker a while longer. Interesting very interesting.

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    Roge

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    It can't be true that they were raised with immortal bodies because Paul says this:

    1 Cor 15
    20But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
    22For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
    23But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.

    Paul said Christ was the firstfruits, which means He was the first to be raised unto immortality with an immortal body. At His coming those who are Christ's will also be raised with an immortal body. If those who were raised in Matthew 27:52-53 were raised with immortal bodies, then I'm sure Paul would have mentioned it, but he didn't. He says that the dead will be raised and we will all be changed at the last trumpet (1 Cor 15:51-52). I believe that would include those who were raised from the dead around the time of His death and resurrection. I believe their resurrection was like the resurrection of Lazarus, who was not raised with an immortal body and died again later (poor guy had to die twice).

  5. #5
    Got this from ESV Study Bible.

    "Matt. 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 (Acts 1:1–11)."

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    I don't see where the scripture says new resurrected bodies. It only says they were raised to life and came out of the tombs. I would have to agree with John146 that these were not immortal bodies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John146 View Post
    It can't be true that they were raised with immortal bodies because Paul says this:

    1 Cor 15
    20But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
    22For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
    23But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.

    Paul said Christ was the firstfruits, which means He was the first to be raised unto immortality with an immortal body. At His coming those who are Christ's will also be raised with an immortal body. If those who were raised in Matthew 27:52-53 were raised with immortal bodies, then I'm sure Paul would have mentioned it, but he didn't. He says that the dead will be raised and we will all be changed at the last trumpet (1 Cor 15:51-52). I believe that would include those who were raised from the dead around the time of His death and resurrection. I believe their resurrection was like the resurrection of Lazarus, who was not raised with an immortal body and died again later (poor guy had to die twice).

    Excellent post! I agree!
    Many appear Righteous and Just because they say 'yes' to Jesus Christ , yet they don't do His Will.
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by John146 View Post
    It can't be true that they were raised with immortal bodies because Paul says this:

    1 Cor 15
    20But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
    22For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
    23But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.

    Paul said Christ was the firstfruits, which means He was the first to be raised unto immortality with an immortal body. At His coming those who are Christ's will also be raised with an immortal body. If those who were raised in Matthew 27:52-53 were raised with immortal bodies, then I'm sure Paul would have mentioned it, but he didn't. He says that the dead will be raised and we will all be changed at the last trumpet (1 Cor 15:51-52). I believe that would include those who were raised from the dead around the time of His death and resurrection. I believe their resurrection was like the resurrection of Lazarus, who was not raised with an immortal body and died again later (poor guy had to die twice).
    Hi Eric,

    Had you ever considered that perhaps these are those OT saints who died in faith awaiting for fulfillment of the promise of His first coming? Since these could not go into heaven (spiritually) until Christ first went there to prepare a place for them...they waited in the grave until Christ "ascended up on high, he led captivity captive" (Eph 4:8).

    Could the bodies of the saints be spiritual and not physical bodies that will be resurrected at the last day? Could "went into the holy city, and appeared unto many" be speaking of the "holy city, new Jerusalem" that comes down from God out of heaven at the last day? Those who saw them could be the heavenly host?

    Mt 27:52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
    Mt 27:53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

    Re 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

    Have you ever considered that Rev 7 and the sealing of the 144,000 is giving spiritual life to those OT saints who had died in faith before the HS was poured out at Pentecost? These were perhaps waiting in the grave until Christ went to heaven and sent His Spirit to give Spiritual life to His elect? Could this be what their sealing symbolizes?

    It would be Christ the firstfruits of those that slept, or those who had died in faith waiting for His coming?

    1Co 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

    Could Rev 7 be showing those who had died in faith before the cross (firstfruits = 144,000) being spiritually resurrected and then Rev 14 be showing the same OT saints (firstfruits), only here they are before the throne in heaven with the Father's name written in their foreheads?

    Anyway this is pretty much how I have come to understand firstfruits...what say you?

    Many Blessings,
    RW

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    Quote Originally Posted by RogerW View Post
    Hi Eric,

    Had you ever considered that perhaps these are those OT saints who died in faith awaiting for fulfillment of the promise of His first coming?
    Of course they were OT saints. The NT time didn't officially begin until Christ's death and resurrection.

    Since these could not go into heaven (spiritually) until Christ first went there to prepare a place for them...they waited in the grave until Christ "ascended up on high, he led captivity captive" (Eph 4:8).
    Sure.

    Could the bodies of the saints be spiritual and not physical bodies that will be resurrected at the last day?
    I don't believe so. I believe their bodies were physically resurrected and that they went and physically appeared to people in Jerusalem.

    Their bodeies Could "went into the holy city, and appeared unto many" be speaking of the "holy city, new Jerusalem" that comes down from God out of heaven at the last day? Those who saw them could be the heavenly host?

    Mt 27:52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
    Mt 27:53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

    Re 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
    We all go into the holy city, new Jerusalem, in a spiritual sense when we're saved. Read Hebrews 12:18-22. So, I don't think Matt 27:52-53 has anything to do with that. I believe they were physically resurrected like Lazarus and physically went into Jerusalem.

    Have you ever considered that Rev 7 and the sealing of the 144,000 is giving spiritual life to those OT saints who had died in faith before the HS was poured out at Pentecost? These were perhaps waiting in the grave until Christ went to heaven and sent His Spirit to give Spiritual life to His elect? Could this be what their sealing symbolizes?

    It would be Christ the firstfruits of those that slept, or those who had died in faith waiting for His coming?

    1Co 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

    Could Rev 7 be showing those who had died in faith before the cross (firstfruits = 144,000) being spiritually resurrected and then Rev 14 be showing the same OT saints (firstfruits), only here they are before the throne in heaven with the Father's name written in their foreheads?
    52And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
    53And came out of the graves
    after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

    The resurrection mentioned in Matthew 27:52-53 required the graves to be opened. What are in the graves, people's souls or physical bodies? Their physical bodies, right? This is clearly speaking of only a physical resurrection, IMO. I don't believe it has any direct relation to Revelation 7.

    Anyway this is pretty much how I have come to understand firstfruits...what say you?

    Many Blessings,
    RW
    I currently associate the firstfruits of the 12 tribes of Israel mentioned in Rev. 7 and 14 with what I read in the book of James.

    James 1
    1James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
    18Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

    I see the firstfruits as being the first of a kind. The OT saints are certainly in Christ but the first Christians that put their faith in Christ before the gospel went out to the Gentiles were a kind of firstfruits in that they were the first to put their faith in Christ when He came to the earth. James includes himself in that group. They have been redeemed from the earth and are now in heaven with the Lord. If the OT saints are included as part of that group, I could certainly see that as a valid possibility. But I certainly don't think James and the other early believers would not be part of that group.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by John146 View Post
    I don't believe so. I believe their bodies were physically resurrected and that they went and physically appeared to people in Jerusalem.

    We all go into the holy city, new Jerusalem, in a spiritual sense when we're saved. Read Hebrews 12:18-22. So, I don't think Matt 27:52-53 has anything to do with that. I believe they were physically resurrected like Lazarus and physically went into Jerusalem.
    Hi Eric,

    There is that argument to be made. However there is no confirmation by anyone living at that time that these OT saints were physically seen in Jerusalem. I know it's always suspect to argue from silence, but there is also a question to be asked regarding what "holy city"? Jerusalem was called the holy city prior to the cross, but after the cross should we continue to refer to Jerusalem as the "holy city", since Christ said, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate"? I think a case can be made for "holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband" (Rev 21:2).


    Quote Originally Posted by John146 View Post
    52And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
    53And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

    The resurrection mentioned in Matthew 27:52-53 required the graves to be opened. What are in the graves, people's souls or physical bodies? Their physical bodies, right? This is clearly speaking of only a physical resurrection, IMO. I don't believe it has any direct relation to Revelation 7.
    The graves being opened is proof that the grave could not hold them because Christ had defeated death. What does Lazarus and the rich man show us?

    I believe the prophet Isaiah may be prophesying about this very time. He speaks of the lofty city being judged, and how His people have waited for this judgment. He likens it to a woman with child giving birth, much like we read in Rev 12 when Christ is born. The dead shall not live, they are deceased and will rise no more. But to those who wait in the grave for Him, they will arise, awake and sing (much like we read in Rev 14 where the firstfruits sing a new song).

    Isa 26:5 For he bringeth down them that dwell on high; the lofty city, he layeth it low; he layeth it low, even to the ground; he bringeth it even to the dust.

    Isa 26:8 Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee.
    Isa 26:9 With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

    Isa 26:14 They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish.

    Isa 26:17 Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in thy sight, O LORD.

    Isa 26:19 Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.

    1Th 5:10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

    Quote Originally Posted by John146 View Post
    I currently associate the firstfruits of the 12 tribes of Israel mentioned in Rev. 7 and 14 with what I read in the book of James.

    James 1
    1James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
    18Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

    I see the firstfruits as being the first of a kind. The OT saints are certainly in Christ but the first Christians that put their faith in Christ before the gospel went out to the Gentiles were a kind of firstfruits in that they were the first to put their faith in Christ when He came to the earth. James includes himself in that group. They have been redeemed from the earth and are now in heaven with the Lord. If the OT saints are included as part of that group, I could certainly see that as a valid possibility. But I certainly don't think James and the other early believers would not be part of that group.
    I don't really think this explains what James means when he says, "we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures". Firstfruits means a beginning of sacrifice. The Hebrew word translated firstfruits is re'shiyth - the first, in place, time, order or rank (specifically, a firstfruit):--beginning, chief(-est), first(-fruits, part, time), principal thing.

    Jer 2:3 Israel was holiness unto the LORD, and the firstfruits of his increase: all that devour him shall offend; evil shall come upon them, saith the LORD.

    I believe James is speaking of the Jews as "a kind of firstfruits", not specifically the first century Christian Jews, who are the firstfruits of the Spirit after Pentecost, but OT Jews, who died in faith awaiting the promise of His coming.

    Re'shiyth is in Gen 1:1 is translated "In the beginning".

    Many Blessings,
    RW

  11. #11
    John 5:25 tells this same story and goes into how only Jesus was given life in Himself.

  12. #12
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    Hello LaurieF

    Good question and I want to give my humble opinion.
    I think RogerW is close to the meaning of these verses. I would like to add a little to what he said.

    Matthew 27:51.
    At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.
    Matthew 27:52. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.
    Matthew 27:53. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people

    The key word is "holy city." These people appeared after Jesus' resurrection. It could not have been the physical city of Jerusalem because any physical thing that was once holy ceased to be .

    Col 2:14.
    having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.

    I think it was some type of resurrection occurred here.....perhaps of the soul. The earthquake could have caused some of the literally opened graves, so that should explain that. Yet, if you dug up the OT saint's remains, I'm sure you would either find bones or dust. So I'll admit, it is a strange occurrence.

    This occurrence would have been headline news. I think if OT saints (the elect) would have physically been resurrected, we would have some kind of writings either in the NT or from the early church fathers.....and we don't.

    It seems the following verses explain what is going on.

    Hebrews 11:39 T
    hese (OT saints) were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.
    Hebrews 11:40. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

    Concerning the above verses, The OT saints didn't obtain perfection until Jesus was resurrected. We as Christians obtain perfection when we become Christians.

    OTHER PASSAGES THAT SEEM TO POINT TOWARD SOME TYPE OF RESURRECTION.

    1. Judgment scene in Daniel 7.

    Daniel 7:10
    A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him.Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened


    The above describes a judgment scene, yet other events are to occur in the rest of Dan 7 telling us this is not the end of the world Judgment Day.

    2. Daniel 12
    . The chapter starts out with a resurrection scene, but as the chapter proceeds, it tells about other events ie.
    A. "Power of the holy people broken." Happened when Jesus became sin.
    B. "Many will be purified and made spotless." describes a Christian.
    C. 1335 - 1290 = 45. I know that days don't exactly match, but they
    are close enough.

    3. Olivet Discourse.
    Matthew 24:30.
    "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.


    The key word is "they." If this was the final Judgment Day, why didn't Jesus tell His audience that "you will see the Son of Man...."

    My opinion why..... is.... that neither His immediate audience nor did any flesh and blood witness this resurrection. Now, at the final resurrection, everybody will witness.

    4. Saints in Revelation.

    Revelation 7:13.
    3Then one of the elders asked me, "These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?"
    Revelation 7:14. I answered, "Sir, you know."
    And he said, "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
    Revelation 7:15. Therefore, "they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them


    The ones in the white robes were the OT saints who were resurrected. I also might add that the "Tribulation" occurred in the spiritual world during the Passion period.

    Again, this is my opinion.

    ___________________________________________
    I'm just a nobody telling everybody about somebody who can save anybody

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by sudds View Post


    Revelation 7:13. 3Then one of the elders asked me, "These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?"
    Revelation 7:14. I answered, "Sir, you know."
    And he said, "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
    Revelation 7:15. Therefore, "they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them


    The ones in the white robes were the OT saints who were resurrected. I also might add that the "Tribulation" occurred in the spiritual world during the Passion period.

    Again, this is my opinion.
    Greetings Sudds,

    Thanks for weighing in. It's always encouraging when other believers arrive at the same or similar opinion...it's never good to be an island unto yourself.

    What I see in Rev 7 is a depiction of two separate groups of people. I see "the remnant" or "firstfruits" or "144,000" as symbolizing OT Jews who died in faith waiting for Christ's coming. I see the whole scene from Rev 7:1-8 as a picture of the beginning of the NT church in history. I believe the angels holding back the wind from the four corners of the earth, and the blowing wind depicting Pentecost when the Spirit (wind) comes as "a rushing mighty wind". The angel ascending from the east with the seal of God is Christ giving spiritual life to the OT Jews who died in faith. And the four angels (messengers of God) who are given to hurt the earth depict the gospel message going forth unto all the world as a mighty sword.

    Then in vs 8 John sees another scene. This is a picture of the great multitude that no man can number from all nations, kindreds, people and tongues who come out of great tribulation (Pentecost forward or the whole NT church era) as the redeemed of the Lord. These have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, indicating they lived and died after the cross.

    I think many miss the significance of this chapter. This chapter shows us the strength of Christ and the great difference His sacrificial offering brings to mankind. Prior to Christ first advent very few (144,000/remnant) had been saved, but then when Christ establishes His church in time through the power of His Word and Spirit, so many come into His kingdom that the number cannot be counted by any man.

    Anyway, this is how I have come to understand this. Thanks again for sharing your opinion.

    Many Blessings,
    RW

  14. #14
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    I'm happy to end up here.....


    Dueteronomy 29:29
    "The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

    "the secret things which belong not to us; we must not covet to be wise above what is written. The relating of this matter so briefly, is a plain intimation to us, that we must not look that way for a confirmation of our faith; we have a more sure word of prophecy." Matthew Henry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RogerW View Post
    Hi Eric,

    Had you ever considered that perhaps these are those OT saints who died in faith awaiting for fulfillment of the promise of His first coming? Since these could not go into heaven (spiritually) until Christ first went there to prepare a place for them...they waited in the grave until Christ "ascended up on high, he led captivity captive" (Eph 4:8).


    Could the bodies of the saints be spiritual and not physical bodies that will be resurrected at the last day? Could "went into the holy city, and appeared unto many" be speaking of the "holy city, new Jerusalem" that comes down from God out of heaven at the last day? Those who saw them could be the heavenly host?



    Mt 27:52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
    Mt 27:53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

    Re 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

    Have you ever considered that Rev 7 and the sealing of the 144,000 is giving spiritual life to those OT saints who had died in faith before the HS was poured out at Pentecost? These were perhaps waiting in the grave until Christ went to heaven and sent His Spirit to give Spiritual life to His elect? Could this be what their sealing symbolizes?

    It would be Christ the firstfruits of those that slept, or those who had died in faith waiting for His coming?

    1Co 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

    Could Rev 7 be showing those who had died in faith before the cross (firstfruits = 144,000) being spiritually resurrected and then Rev 14 be showing the same OT saints (firstfruits), only here they are before the throne in heaven with the Father's name written in their foreheads?

    Anyway this is pretty much how I have come to understand firstfruits...what say you?

    Many Blessings,
    RW
    What would this promise be? This is speaking of the OT saints.


    Hebrews 11:39-40 ( KJV )
    And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
    God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

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