Bible Answer

Explain the resurrections at Jesus’ death?

In Matthew 27, we hear of saints raised from the tombs at the moment of Jesus' death. Was this the moment Old Testament saints were released from Abaraham's Bosom in Sheol or something else?

In Matthew 27, we read about miracles that accompanied the moment of Jesus' death:

Matt. 27:50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 
Matt. 27:51 And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. 
Matt. 27:52 The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 
Matt. 27:53 and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. 

The people raised from the tombs at Jesus' death were Old Testament saints, Jews who believed in Jesus Christ as Messiah prior to His death. Following Jesus’ death, some of the tombs in Jerusalem were “opened” by God, and the bodies that had been buried in those particular tombs were raised.

This was a resurrection, but the individuals did not receive new, eternal bodies. They were returned to their original bodies for a temporary time. These resurrections were similar to one Jesus performed on Lazarus in John 11. At some point thereafter, these saints died again just as Lazarus did. They were allowed a brief time to live again on earth so their resurrection could serve as a testimony to Jesus’ claims. 

These people raised at Jesus’ death were not the “captives” set free from Abraham’s Bosom, as described by Paul in Ephesians 4. The moment Paul describes happend three days after Jesus' death. When Jesus died He descended into Sheol and spent three days in the holding place of the dead.

At His resurrection on the third day, Jesus departed Sheol and brought with him the souls of those Old Testament saints who died in faith awaiting Jesus’ appearing. The souls of these saints were not resurrected into bodies but only taken to Heaven. Even today, all Old testament saints remain without bodies waiting for their resurrection at Jesus’ Second Coming. 

So the people who were resurrected at the moment of Jesus’ death in Matthew 27 were souls brought up from Sheol and returned to their original bodies. God’s purpose in raising these bodies was so they could provide a testimony to Jesus as Messiah. Therefore, it was necessary that these people be recently deceased individuals who would be easily recognized by their families, so that when they reappeared in the city, their families would recognize them and authenticate the miracle. 

Those who were raised in this way had to die (again) at some point and were buried (again). After they died, their souls went to be with Christ in Heaven since it was no longer necessary to spend time in Sheol.