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Only Matthew records this incident that is connected with the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. “Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many” (Matthew 27:51-53). It should be noted that while the graves were opened at the time of Christ’s death, the resurrected saints did not rise till after Jesus arose (Matthew 27:53).
The Psalmist in the Old Testament prophesied saying, “Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men” (Psalms 68:18). The psalmist employs the figure of a conquering monarch (Christ) ascending victoriously to heaven, with a multitude of captives. These saints came forth with Jesus, immortalized, and later ascended with Him to heaven. How appropriate that Christ should bring forth with Him from the grave some of the captives whom Satan had held in the prison house of death.
And Paul in the New Testament in Ephesians 4:8 refers to those held captive by death who were raised with Christ at His resurrection (Matt. 27:51–53) saying, “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.” The chain of death had been broken; the captives of Satan had been captured by the power of Christ.
In His service,