The Most Embarrassing Passage in the Bible (Follow-up)

I have been searching the web for some time to find a reasonable, or at least, representative argument for the literal interpretation to this passage.  (If you do not know what I’m talking about, read the previous article.)  I ran across an article that at least tried to make a rational case.  It is somewhat long.  you can read it in its entirety at:

http://www.reformedonline.com/view/reformedonline/21%20The%20Earthquake%20and%20the%20Tombs%20Opened.htm

Here is an excerpt that I found to be representative of the argument:

If these resurrected-glorified believers did appear to all, whether Christian or non-Christian, it would have caused widespread astonishment in the population and severe panic among the leadership. A reading of the early history of the church in Jerusalem in the book of Acts gives the distinct impression that the resurrection saints were not seen by unbelievers. If they had, it would have figured into the discussions of the Sanhedrin on how to stop this new, vibrant movement.

The writer believes that the risen saints only appeared to believers.  He acknowledges that much would have been made of it had the general public been aware of it.  God wanted to keep it a secret.  Therefore, only believers were worthy of the greatest sign ever performed.  God didn’t actually want unbelievers to come to faith as a result of seeing the risen lord, or the risen multitude of local saints.

As bad as this explanation seems, it is actually worse when examined more closely.  Even if god only wanted believers to see the evidence of the resurrection, assuming all these newly risen people could hide from non-believers, there is the problem of the opened, empty tombs.  If one empty tomb is supposed to be evidence of a risen Jesus, what were the locals to make of whole graveyards of empty tombs?  All those graves that were burst open in the quake, someone would have noticed that.  Assuming these tombs stayed empty, they should have been testimony to the event for a long time afterward.  Don’t tell me only believers noticed all those empty tombs and chose not to report them.

As for only appearing to believers, where are the stories?  Why does this event only get two verses from one writer in the entire bible?  Why are not the believers sharing this victory story among other believers?  Why does this story begin and end with Matthew in an off-hand mention?

I will leave it there.  I look forward to better explanations.

David Johnson

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