Who was resurrected at the same time as Jesus?
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The book of Matthew records several very interesting events that occurred right after Jesus' death that are often overlooked by students of the Bible. What these events reveal about how God is working out his salvation plan for mankind is nothing less than profound.
The gospels record that the last thing Jesus did on the cross (at about 3 p.m.) was cry out that he was giving his spirit to God the Father (see Luke 23:46, Matthew 27:50). What immediately followed his death, recorded in three of the gospels (Luke being the exception), was something only the hand of God could have performed.
51. And suddenly the veil of the temple was ripped in two from top to bottom . . . (Matthew 27:50 - 53)
The veil mentioned in the gospels hung on the outside of Jerusalem's temple at the entrance to what is referred to as the 'Holy Place.' The veil was positioned in front of two huge brass doors which opened to the first part of the Holy Place that was directly in front of the 'Holy of Holies.' These massive doors were only opened once a day to allow a priest to burn incense on the incense altar. The only other time entrance to this area was allowed was on the Day of Atonement, when the High Priest went into the Holy of Holies to sprinkle blood on the mercy seat.
The veil that covered the entrance to the most holy location in the entire temple was not the kind of curtain or thin veil we might think of today. It was at least 30 by 60 foot big (9.1 by 18.2 meters) with a thickness of between 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 centimeters)!
The miraculous tearing of the veil showed that Christ's atoning death for the sins of mankind made possible, for the first time, DIRECT access to God the Father. As incredible as this is, there was still MORE that occurred that was truly amazing!
Matthew is the ONLY Gospel that records what happened AFTER the temple's veil was rent in two. First, a massive EARTHQUAKE powerful enough to shake Jerusalem and split rocks struck (Matthew 27:51). Matthew then writes the following.