Vol. 12 No. 4 April 2010
The Stone Was Rolled Away
Jesus was buried in a rock tomb. These tombs were carved out of the solid rock. A stone was carved and positioned in front of the tomb. This stone was allowed to roll down an incline to seal the tomb once a body had been placed inside. It is believed that the stone used for Jesus’ tomb was very large. In Matthew 27:60, we are told it was large. Mark 16 tells us the same thing. One of the ancient manuscripts of the Bible, the Bezae manuscript, adds that ‘20 men could not roll it away.’ It has been estimated that such a large stone would have weighed as much as 1.5 to 2 tons.
In Matthew 27, it is said that a ‘large stone was rolled against the entrance of the tomb.’ The Greek word for ‘roll’ is kulio, which means ‘to roll.’ In Mark 16, Mark used the same root word but added a preposition to explain the position of the stone after the resurrection. He used anakulio, which means to ‘roll something up a slope or an incline.’ Thus, we can conclude that the stone had to go up an incline to be rolled away from the opening of the tomb.
Luke used the term apokulio, which means to roll the object away from another in the sense of ‘seperation’ or ‘a distance from it.’ The indication is that the stone was rolled away from the entrance so far it was away from the tomb itself. The stone had been rolled uphill (the incline necessary for the stone to be rolled into position to seal the tomb). In John 20, a different Greek word, airo, is used which means to ‘pick something up and carry it away. The stone was not even in the proper position to be used to seal a tomb. It had been moved away from the tomb.
All of this means that it would have required a great force to move the stone away from the entrance to Jesus’ tomb. If followers of Jesus had attempted to move it, it would have required many men. Surely, such a large number of individuals straining to move the stone would have caused enough noise to alert Roman guards, and not only were they accused of stealing the body, but it is stated that they moved the large stone completely away from the tomb.
This is just one way that the Bible tells us that Jesus’ body was not stolen. Jesus rose from the dead. The stone was moved away from the tomb with miraculous power. You can use this information to answer anyone who tries to tell you that Jesus did not rise from the dead.
I am thankful that we have a wonderful God. I am thankful that Jesus was willing to die and rise from the dead so that we can have hope of living in heaven. Study your Bible. Obey what God wants you to do, and if any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you.
The hope for the long anticipated Promised Land flowing with milk and honey was finally realized. Ending the forty-year-long trek in the wilderness, the Israelites crossed the Jordan River and headed toward Jericho (Numbers 20:21-21:3). The bitter experience with Edom’s refusal to allow them passage through their borders was now behind them.
Moses and Aaron had been gathered to their people rather than enter with Israel into Canaan because of the incident at Meribah (Numbers 20:10-11, 13). Aaron was stripped of his priestly garments and his son Eleazar took his place. Moses and Aaron died, and God himself buried Moses (Deuteronomy 34:5-6; Numbers 20:25-28). “And Israel vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou wilt indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities” (Numbers 21:2). God’s promise of victory over their enemies was conditional on keeping themselves from the accursed thing.
We remember the account of the men going to spy out the land and how Rahab hid them rather than betray God’s people to the enemy. Because of her faith in God, they made a covenant to take her and her family out of Jericho before destroying it utterly (Joshua 2:18-20; 6:17). Before the battle, God had instructed the Israelites to march around the city once each day for six days and finally march around the city seven times on the seventh day before blowing the trumpets for battle (Joshua 6:3-20). Their obedience brought down the walls, and every person and animal in Jericho was destroyed. The Israelites understood Jericho was to be burnt with fire.
If the story had ended as it began, there would have been no trouble to record, but of course Israel did not keep its part of the covenant. Joshua 7:1 records, “But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against the children of Israel.” God had specifically warned all Israel: “And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it” (Joshua 6:18).
Achan apparently had no faith in God’s warning. God testified that “Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff (Joshua 7:11). Achan coveted the spoil after the battle of Jericho, when God had said explicitly that the silver and gold was His (Joshua 6:19).
Nobody suspected anything was wrong until the battle at the city of Ai. Following that resounding defeat, they cast lots to see who among the people had sinned. When the lot finally fell on Achan, Joshua encouraged him to give God the glory by telling the truth. From his own mouth, Achan testified to what happened. “When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it” (Joshua 7:21).
Achan’s name means trouble. The son of Carmi of the tribe of Judah, Achan unintentionally brought about the Israelites’ defeat at Ai (Joshua 7:1, 18-24). He is called Achar in 1 Chronicles 2:7, and described as the “troubler of Israel, who transgressed in the accursed thing.” What a shameful heritage to leave his family just because he did not overcome his greed for gain!
[“…O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens” (Ezra 9:6). “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD” (Jeremiah 6:15; 8:12). We, too, have arrived at a time when we (Christians, too) ought of be “ashamed and blush to lift up” our faces to God because of sins in our lives and in the lives of our families. Yet, we (Christians, too) commit abominations and our children commit abominations, and we do not understand the nature of our shameful, family heritage. We need to learn the weight of shame and learn to blush once more. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]