This is unique to Matthew, since the other 3 gospels do not mention anything about tombs, bodies, or saints being raised. However, Matthew clearly said that the tombs were also opened (καὶ τὰ μνημεῖα ἀνεῴχθησαν), so that many bodies of the holy saints, who had fallen asleep (καὶ πολλὰ σώματα τῶν κεκοιμημένων ἁγίων), arose or were raised up (ἠγέρθησαν). It was the general Jewish expectation that at the end times, the Day of Yahweh, that the dead would rise, especially among the Pharisees. The holy ones or saints were the righteous ones who had died before Jesus.
Matthew is the only one who had this warning against the many Pharisees (δὲ πολλοὺς τῶν Φαρισαίων) and the many Sadducees (καὶ Σαδδουκαίων) who were coming to be baptized by John (ἐρχομένους ἐπὶ τὸ βάπτισμα εἶπεν αὐτοῖς). Unlike Mark, Matthew described John as critical of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The Pharisees followed the Law of Moses, but with a number of oral traditions. This, they might be considered proto-Rabbis. The Sadducees were priestly, tied to the Temple and ritual purifications. They were less concerned about oral traditions. There may have been about 6.000 in each group. John the Baptist, as presented by Matthew, was against both groups, so that he may have favored the ascetic Essenes, who were another small group of Jews. John told them that they were like a group of vipers (Γεννήματα ἐχιδνῶν,) who would kill young people. They should be warned to flee from the wrath to come (τίς ὑπέδειξεν ὑμῖν φυγεῖν ἀπὸ τῆς μελλούσης ὀργῆς). This might be allusion to the prophet Amos, chapter 5:18-20. Amos saw the day of Yahweh as an angry day of judgment.
The day of Yahweh would be a fiery hot day. The wicked ones would burn up as if they were in an oven. All the arrogant and evildoers would be like stubble for the fire that would burn all of them up. Yahweh of hosts was going to leave these wicked people without roots or branches. Thus, the idea that God will come with fire has its biblical origins here.
On this coming day, Yahweh was going to shield Jerusalem from all attacks. The weakest among them would be like King David. The house of David would be like God, with the angel of Yahweh leading it. Yahweh was going to destroy every country that tried to go against Jerusalem. This was a very strong defense of the city of Jerusalem and the Davidic royalty, on the day of Yahweh.
Yahweh gave them one last chance to convert to him. He wanted this shameless country to gather together to seek him. If they did not, they would be driven away like useless chaff. If they did not, the anger of Yahweh would come upon them on the day of his wrath. The humble or the poor of the land should seek Yahweh. All they had to do was to follow his commandments. They had to seek righteousness and humility. Then perhaps, on the day of Yahweh’s wrath, they would be hidden or stored away from his anger. There still was a chance for these righteous humble poor people.
Yahweh was clear about the consequences on the Day of Yahweh. A cry would come from the north Fish Gate and the Second Quarter of Jerusalem, probably the entrance and the market place of business near this gate. The Jerusalem traders may have sold fish there. The northern hills around Jerusalem would also cry out, as would the wailing people of Mortal, those in the valley. They would all wail and cry because of the lack of commerce. All the traders would die. Anyone involved with the weighing of silver would be wiped out.
Obadiah warned that the day of Yahweh, as in the prophet Amos, was coming to all the countries, since it was near. As they have done, so it shall be done to them, since their deeds would return to their own head.
Amos reminded them that on the day of Yahweh, the good looking young men and women would faint from thirst. Their hope from their local gods would be useless, whether it was Ashimah in Samaria, the far northern territory of Dan or the far southern place of Beer-sheba. They would all fall, never to rise again.