Matt 27:52, 53 is a much debated passage. Here is my translation starting in V51:
And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn from above to below in two; and the earth was shaken; and the rocks were split;
and the tombs were opened; and many bodies of the saints having fallen asleep were raised; and having gone out from the
tombs after the resurrection of Him they entered the Holy
City and they appeared to many.
Notice the simple structure of what Matthew is saying - when Jesus died the following seven events occurred:
- the curtain of the temple was torn from above to below in two
- the earth was shaken
- the rocks were split
- the tombs were opened
- many bodies of the saints having fallen asleep were raised
- having gone out from the tombs after the resurrection of Him they entered the Holy City
- they appeared to many
Note further, the V54 breaks this sequence as it begins with a different conjunction back at the time of the death of Christ with a remark from the guarding centurion.
Now, there is nothing in the sequence about how much time elapses between each of these seven events where it is a few seconds or days. However, we can note a few clues:
- the sequence of seven events does reference the resurrection morning, days later
- an earthquake occurred on resurrection morning, Matt 28:2. That is, were there two earthquakes (one on Friday and another Sunday morning) or just one?
There have been essentially three interpretations of Matt 27:51-53 & 28:1, 2 -
(A) Events 1-5 occurred almost immediately after Jesus death with events 6 & 7 on Sunday morning following Jesus' resurrection and the second earthquake of Matt 28:2. On this interpretation, event 6 would be punctuated as follows: "having gone out from the tombs, [ie on Friday] after the resurrection of Him [on Sunday] they entered the Holy City"
(B) Events 1-4 occurred in the hours following Jesus death with events 5-7 occurring on resurrection morning following Jesus' resurrection and the second earthquake of Matt 28:2
(C) Event 1 occurred immediately following Jesus death on Friday, with events 2-7 occurring on resurrection morning following Jesus' resurrection and the only earthquake of Matt 28:2. That is there is only one earthquake and Matt 27:51 and 28:2 are the same earthquake.
Interpreters are divided and I will not clutter this site with numerous and differing views - I leave that to the reader. Suffice to say here that a reasonable case can be made for each of these (there may be more) as the grammar is consistent with all three interpretations. That is, any one of them is equally possible both semantically and grammatically.
Put another way, there is nothing there that makes each of these seven events follow immediately after the previous one - it is only a sequence and no time is implied. All that is certain is these seven events occurred in that order. For example, events 4 and 5 may be separated by more than 24 hours, as could events 5 and 6.
It is possible that the repeated use of καί (= "and") could, in this sequence be translated by "then" without changing the meaning at all.