Let’s read Matthew 27:50-53, “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 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.”  What a remarkable event!  It appears that at the moment of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, the veil of the temple was torn, there was an earthquake, the rocks broke in two, and many graves were open.  What incredible things happened at the moment of Christ’s death!

The veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom.  The direction of the tear is so important.  It was torn from the TOP to the BOTTOM.  This illustrates the fact that no man tore this veil, but the Lord Himself tore it.  The purpose of the veil was to prevent anyone from going into the holiest of holies, where the Lord dwelt among His people.  The High Priest was the only one permitted to go inside the holiest of holies.  He could enter once per year.  The reason for the tearing of the temple veil was to show that the distance between God and man had been removed through the sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Through Christ, we now have “boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.” (Hebrews 10:19).

There was an earthquake where rocks were broken.  We have no idea about the reach of this event…how far it extended or how severe the damage it caused.  However, the reason for the quake and the rocks being broke can be found by reading Psalm 18:7, “Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth.”  God’s wrath that day was manifested in His harsh judgment of His Son for our sins.  Romans 8:32 tells us that God “spared not his own Son.”  God literally exhausted His wrath upon His own dear Son as He paid the sin debt we owed.

Graves were opened.  Probably as a result of the earthquake, many graves opened.  Now, let’s carefully observe exactly what happened according to verse 53.  “Many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves AFTER HIS RESURRECTION.”  Although the graves seemed to have been opened at the death of the Lord Jesus, it was only after the Lord’s resurrection that the bodies of these saints awoke and were resurrected.  This certainly corresponds with what we are told in 1 Corinthians 15:20, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.”

After their resurrection, these resurrected saints “went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.”  They arose, went into Jerusalem and were seen by many people, making their resurrection an undeniable fact.  Beyond this, we do not know for certain what happened to these people.

Some believe that when the Lord Jesus ascended to Heaven in Acts 1:9, these saints went with Him.  Some believe that these saints lived out the rest of their lives and died again.  I suppose there is merit in both of these thoughts.  Some have said that since Hebrews 9:27 tells us that “it is appointed unto men once to die,” these people could not have died again.  However, we need to realize that this could be an exception to this rule.  I’m sure we all realize that not everyone will die for at the Rapture many will be taken to Heaven without the experience of death.   Whatever happened to these saints, we see that there was plenty of visible proof to all in that city of the power, love, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  (371.4)