New Defender's Study Bible Notes
27:52 saints which slept arose. Not only had “the light of the world gone out” but also the earth’s great foundation Rock had been smitten (Exodus 17:6). The veil had been rent and the graves of the saints were opened. The saints whose bodies were raised could only have been the men and women who had died in faith before the first coming of Christ. Until Christ set them free, their souls had been resting in that division of Hades called “Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16:22). However, when “He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive” after He had “descended first into the lower parts of the earth” (Ephesians 4:8-9).
27:53 after his resurrection. The Old Testament saints could only receive their glorified resurrection bodies after Christ had been raised, for Christ must “become the firstfruits of them that slept” (I Corinthians 15:20). Although this is apparently the only specific reference to the resurrection of these pre-Christian-era believers, no other interpretation seems plausible. Evidently their new bodies were seen by people on the earth during the brief period between Christ’s resurrection and His initial ascent to heaven (John 20:17).