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 Jesus was buried to await being resurrected, however, something happened that only the hand of God could perform.
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 and the Holy Place. The veil itself was at least 30 by 60 foot big (9.1 by 18.2 meters) and had a thickness of between 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 centimeters)!
The miraculous tearing of the veil showed that the atoning death of Jesus, for the sins of mankind, made possible direct access to God the Father. The book of Matthew then records that a massive EARTHQUAKE, powerful enough to shake Jerusalem and split rocks, occurred (Matthew 27:51). He then states the following miracle took place.
And the tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had died arose. And AFTER His resurrection, they came out of the tombs and entered into the holy city, and appeared to many (Matthew 27:52 - 53).
The Bible clearly states that the graves of many dead saints opened after Jesus died. Then, after he was resurrected, they were not only brought back to a physical life but also showed themselves ALIVE to family, friends and others in Jerusalem! Why, however, did God do this?
Waved before God
Though resurrected near sunset on Saturday, Jesus did not present himself to God the Father until sometime after his appearance to Mary Magdalene early Sunday morning (John 20:17). This corresponds exactly to the ancient ceremony God commanded the Israelites to perform called the waving of the sheaf or wave sheaf (see Leviticus 23:10 - 11).
Every year the firstfruits of the spring harvest were waved before God as an offering. Jesus, as the "first of the firstfruits" (1Corinthians 15:20, 23) fulfilled the symbolism of the wave sheaf by 'waving' or presenting himself before God in heaven as the first to be spiritually resurrected from the dead.
Jesus represented those who will be in the first resurrection of the dead. Those physically raised after him and 'waved' before both God and Jerusalem represent another or second resurrection from the dead. This resurrection, also called God's great white throne judgment, is for those who never received a full opportunity at salvation (Revelation 20:4 - 5).