Who was resurrected
The Gospels record several interesting events that happened not only near the death of Jesus but also around the time he was resurrected from the dead. What these events reveal about how God is working out his salvation plan for mankind is nothing less than profound.
The gospels state that the last thing Jesus did on the cross (at about 3 p.m.) was cry out that he was giving his spirit to the Father (see Luke 23:46, Matthew 27:50). Before he was buried to await being resurrected, however, something happened that only the hand of God could perform.
51. And suddenly the veil of the temple was ripped in two from top to bottom . . . (Matthew 27:51)
The veil mentioned in the gospels that tore when Jesus died hung between the Holy of Holies (also called the Most Holy Place) and the Holy Place. The Holy Place in the temple contained a candlestick (lampstand), the golden altar of incense, and the table of shewbread. The Holy of Holies housed the Ark of the Covenant with its mercy seat on top. The only person allowed to enter the Holy of Holies was the High Priest on the Day of Atonement.
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. 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 tore in two. First, a massive EARTHQUAKE powerful enough to shake Jerusalem and split rocks struck (Matthew 27:51). Matthew then writes the following.
52. And the tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had died arose. 53. And AFTER His resurrection, they came out of the tombs and entered into the holy city, and appeared to many.