There is a Scripture that records a strange event post-the resurrection of Jesus. So strange that a number of commentators suggest it was symbolic / theological not an actual event in space-time. I beg to disagree.
Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many (Matt. 27:50-53).
It takes place in two steps. Tombs were opened at the moment of death. The realm of the dead is manifestly being impacted at that moment. Something happening visibly with the tombs and probably something happening invisibly to sheol / hades. Then after the resurrection of Jesus there was a resurrection, ahead of schedule(!), for those whose tombs had been made visible. Those saints, in resurrected form, appear to many in the city. The language and the timing of the events indicate to me that we are to read it as a literal occurrence, that was verifiable through eye-witnesses. The language is no different to that of the resurrection of Jesus, who appeared to many eye-witnesses.
A time warp? I think so. It seems to me that the resurrection of the dead is a future event, one that takes place when Jesus returns. Those who are dead rise, and come with the Lord and we are bodily transformed at that time, the time of the parousia. Yet here are saints in Matthew’s account who are raised – and it would seem raised (as per Jesus with resurrected bodies) not simply resuscitated (as per Lazarus, raised to die again). One of the the major future events happening out of time sequence… says a lot about the resurrection of Jesus. (Maybe an implication here such as what I wrote yesterday; the clock no longer being the instrument that tells the time, but people conversing together?)
I have very little idea what happens to those who have died; or to put it another way as to where they are / what is their state. I do know they are secure in the Lord, and the text I am considering suggests that I think there are some big surprises in it all. After all if time was disturbed (understatement!!) it is not likely we can work it all out, and along the way experiences that do not fit neatly with biblical material – after all this Scripture just does not fit well… maybe the other writers decided to stay well clear of recording this event for that reason!