Home » The Passover that Changed the World Part 3 by Rabbi Baruch

The Passover that Changed the World Part 3 by Rabbi Baruch

Conflict #12 Was the stone removed before or after the women arrived?

This is an example of individuals making an assertion based upon a cursory reading of the texts. All the Gospels except Matthew make it most clear that the stone was removed prior to the women’s arrival to the tomb. The question is, does Matthew clearly state that the stone was not remove until after the women arrive at the tomb?

The answer is no! The relevant verse reads,

oye de sabbatwn, th epifwskoush eiV mian sabbatwn, hlqen mariam h magdalhnh kai h allh maria qewrhsai ton tafon.

“And at the end of the Shabbat, as it began to dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came and the other Mary to see the tomb” Mt.28:1

This verse is used by the Gospel writer to set the stage for explaining the events at the tomb. The reader learns the following information:

-Shabbat was over

-It was the first day of the week and morning light was approaching

-Mary Magdalene came and the other Mary to “see the tomb”.

It is obvious that these women did not just come to see the tomb, but they had a greater purpose. It is clear from the other Gospels they had come to finish the process of burying Yeshua. Matthew does not mention anything about the spices or ointment that the women had brought.

Matthew was inspired to write about the condition of the tomb at the time the women arrived. The confusion stems from the fact that most translators fail to place the proper emphasis on this fact. Matthew continues in the next three verses in order to explain what had taken place.

kai idou seismoV egeneto megaV: aggeloV gar kuriou katabaV ex ouranou kai proselqwn apekulisen ton liqon kai ekaqhto epanw autou. hn de h eidea autou wV astraph kai to enduma autou leukon wV ciwn. apo de tou fobou autou eseisqhsan oi throunteV kai egenhqhsan wV nekroi.

“And behold a great earthquake happened: for an angel of the L-rd (had) descended out of heaven and having come, he removed the stone and was sitting upon it. And his appearance was as star and his garment was white as snow. And from the fear of him the ones guarding (the tomb) were caused to shake and they appeared as dead.” Mt.28:2-4

Matthew states the women had arrived at the tomb and then he inserts what had happen that caused the tomb to be in the condition in which the women found it, i.e. the angel had come and remove the large stone. The verbs that are used in these verses are in the past tense. This fact offers further proof that the activity of the angel was already completed when the women arrived.

It must be pointed out that at no time do any of the Gospels state that the women saw or interacted with the guards mentioned in the fourth verse. Apparently they had already departed. In the next verse Matthew wrote,

apokriqeiV de o aggeloV eipen taiV gunaixin, mh fobeisqe umeiV, oida gar oti ihsoun ton estaurwmenon zhteite:

“And the angel responded and said to the women, you shall not fear, for I know that Yeshua, the one crucified are you seeking.” Mt.28:5

A common mistake that translators and interpreters make in regard to this passage is assuming that the angel responded to the women with the words “you shall not fear” because of the earthquake which had just witnessed. This is not the case. The fear was due to seeing the angel.

Hence, all Gospels reveal that the stone was rolled away from the tomb prior to the arrival of the women to the tomb.

Conflict #13 This section will continue our focus on what the women encountered at the Tomb. There are apparent conflicts with whether there were one or two angels; and if it was an angel (angels) at all or an ordinary young man (men). It will also be discussed whether this encounter took place (inside or outside the tomb) and was the angel (angels) or young man (men) sitting or standing?

First, there are several accounts in the Bible where at one time angels are reported as angels and other times they are reported as men. In the book of Genesis we read about three “men” that appeared before Abraham,

וַיִּשָּׂא עֵינָיו, וַיַּרְא, וְהִנֵּה שְׁלֹשָׁה אֲנָשִׁים, נִצָּבִים עָלָיו; וַיַּרְא, וַיָּרָץ לִקְרָאתָם מִפֶּתַח הָאֹהֶל, וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ, אָרְצָה.

“And he lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold, there were three men standing over him. And he saw and ran to meet them from the door of his tent, he bowed towards the ground. Gen. 18:2

In the next chapter two of the men depart from Abraham and they are not called men, but angels,

וַיָּבֹאוּ שְׁנֵי הַמַּלְאָכִים סְדֹמָה, בָּעֶרֶב, וְלוֹט, יֹשֵׁב בְּשַׁעַר-סְדֹם; וַיַּרְא-לוֹט וַיָּקָם לִקְרָאתָם, וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ אַפַּיִם אָרְצָה.

“And the two angels came to Sodom in the evening and Lot was sitting at the gate of Sodom; and Lot looked and rose up (in order to) to meet them, he bowed his face (nostrils) to the ground.” Gen. 19:1

Therefore, whether the Gospels describe what the women saw as angels or men is not critical to this discussion. The reality is that only angels were present, but some of the women describe the angels as men. Hence there is no conflict in a person describing something as he perceived it to be.

In order to properly understand the events at the tomb that morning one must carefully study exactly what the Gospel accounts say and how they say it.

The Gospel of John only reports Mary Magdalene visiting the tomb and states it was still dark. John informs us that Mary saw the tomb was open and immediately ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple, whom Yeshua loved. She tells them that “they have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not where they had laid Him” (Jn.22:1-2).

If one takes John’s account at face value it can only be reconciled with the other Gospel accounts if Mary Magdalene came to the tomb alone that morning, before any of the other women. The clue that helps to confirm this is that John states it was still dark and lists no other visitors accompanying her.

John tells us that after Mary informed Peter and the other disciple they immediately ran to the tomb. The other disciple outran Peter and arrived at the tomb first, but did not enter the tomb. Peter, arriving shortly thereafter, did in fact enter the tomb. John reports that Peter saw the linen garments. It is clear that John emphasizes these linen garments. When the other disciple finally entered the tomb, John writes that he “saw and believed”. What was John referring to when he says that the other disciple saw and believed? John informs the reader that the other disciple observed an additional garment which was folded and it was setting separate from the rest of the linen garments. John tells us that this garment had been around the head of Yeshua,

kai to soudarion, o hn epi thV kefalhV autou, ou meta twn oqoniwn keimenon alla cwriV entetuligmenon eiV ena topon.

“And the garment that was upon His head was not placed with the (other) linen garments, but separate having been folded in one place” Jn.22:7

It was a tradition for religious Jews to be buried with their talit (prayer shawl) wrapped around their heads with the tassels *having been removed. When the other disciple saw how the garment, which had been around Yeshua’s head was folded and set aside from the other burial garments, this disciple knew that a religious Jew had been in the tomb. Who did this disciple think the religious Jew was? Yeshua! Yeshua folded the talit and treated it with the proper respect so to serve as a sign to those who would visit the empty tomb and clue them on what had happened.


Continuing in John’s account, he reports Mary Magdalene weeping outside the tomb and looking inside and seeing two angels sitting. When did this occur? It is very likely that after informing Peter and the other disciple about the tomb being opened and seeing both of them immediately rush to the tomb that she also returned to the tomb. Remember that she had already ran from the tomb to where Peter and the other disciple were staying and therefore was slower arriving to the tomb the second time. When she arrived there, Peter and the other disciple had been and already departed. The fact that Peter and the other disciple had departed before Mary Magdalene returned to the tomb is supported by the verse,

aphlqon oun palin proV autouV oi maqhtai.

Then departed back again to their own residence, the disciples. Jn.20:10

The Greek text emphasizes the disciples’ go away from the tomb back to where they were staying in Jerusalem. The translation provided is most awkward to demonstrate how the Greek clues the reader that Peter and the other disciple were not present when Mary Magdalene returned to the tomb.

It has already been stated that the women had prepared spices and ointment after seeing how Joseph and Nicodemus had hurriedly buried Yeshua shortly before Shabbat law went into effect on the first day of Unleavened Bread. The women had agreed to meet at the tomb after the seventh day Shabbat early in the morning.

The confusion arises from the Gospel accounts when one assumes that all the women had come to the tomb together in a group . This is not supported in the Gospels’ accounts. Carefully consider Matthew’s account of the resurrection,

oye de sabbatwn, th epifwskoush eiV mian sabbatwn, hlqen mariam h magdalhnh kai h allh maria qewrhsai ton tafon.

“And at the end of the Shabbat, as it began to dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came and the other Mary to see the tomb” Mt.28:1

At first glance there seems to be nothing unique about these words in this verse until one examines what is said about the arrival of Mary Magdalene to the tomb. The verb that is used is in the singular hlqen . The problem is that the text says that Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to the tomb. The construction of the Greek informs the reader that Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and the other Mary was also present, but makes it very clear that the women did not come together. The fact the Mary Magdalene is mentioned first and the verb which is used “came” only modifies Mary Magdalene clues the reader that it was in fact Mary Magdalene who arrived first and then the other Mary later.

Although Matthew does not specifically mention any other women present at the tomb, the failure to do so does not necessary mean that there weren’t other women there. Mark and Luke do in fact state that other women were at the tomb (see Mk 16:1 and Luke 24:1, 10). It is likely that there was an agreement to meet at the tomb early on the first day of the week and the women who lodged in Jerusalem at different places arrived to the tomb separately. Mary Magdalene was the first to arrive (while it was still dark) and seeing the tomb open she ran to Peter and the other disciple and then followed them back to the tomb.

It was during her second visit that other women started to arrive at the tomb. The Synoptic Gospels focus in on the time when Mary Magdalene arrived the second time and the other women came. It is during this time that accounts of angels are reported. Although the Gospels describe these angelic accounts collectively, there could have been an individualist aspect to them. That is, individual women may have experienced something different than what other women experienced.

If the women arrived at different times to the tomb and gazed in the tomb and / or entered the tomb they may have had different experiences (saw different things). Each Gospel account may list only one account and attribute it generally to “the women” when in fact there were several such experiences. Once again the Holy Spirit inspired the author to record the event that would convey the theological objective of that particular Gospel.

What the women saw:

In continuing the discussion of what the women saw, Matthew tells of how the women were told by an angel that Yeshua was not there, but has risen from the dead. Then the angel showed them the place where He laid. Finally the angel commands the women to depart and tell the disciples all they had seen and heard. The women depart to tell the disciples, but they encounter Yeshua (Mt.28:9). Upon seeing Him they worshipped Him and held His feet.

Critics have said that there several conflicts in this account. Notice that the women held Yeshua’s feet, while John says Yeshua told Mary Magdalene not to touch Him (Jn.20:17). Is this a conflict? Not at all; this is an example of two separate accounts.

The mistake that many interpreters make is asserting that John’s account is the same event to which Matthew is referring. This apparent conflict can easily be solved by the information that Mark’s Gospel provides.

Mark states that when the group of women enter the tomb and see a young man sitting on the right side clothed in white they were afraid (Mk.16:5). This young man tells them not to be afraid and that Yeshua has risen. Then he instructs the women to go and tell the disciples and Peter, to go to Galilee and there they shall see Him (Mk. 16:6-7).

Matthew then informs us whereas the women depart to carry out the command tell the disciples they encounter Yeshua,

wV de eporeuonto apaggeilai toiV maqhtaiV autou * kai idou ihsouV uphnthsen autaiV legwn, cairete. ai de proselqousai ekrathsan autou touV podaV kai prosekunhsan autw. tote legei autaiV o ihsouV, mh fobeisqe: upagete apaggeilate toiV adelfoiV mou ina apelqwsin eiV thn galilaian, kakei me oyontai.

“And as they were going to tell His Disciples * , (and) behold Yeshua met them saying, ‘Rejoice’. And approaching holding his feet and they worshipped Him. Then Yeshua said to them, “Do not fear”: you go and tell My brothers (disciples) in order they should go into the Galilee, there also they should see Me.” Mt.28:9-10

Returning to Mark’s account, a critical piece of information is provided. Mark tells the reader that the women’s encounter with Yeshua, was not the first such encounter. Mark clearly says that the first encounter was with Mary Magdalene alone and that she went and told others who had been with Him.

anastaV de prwi prwth sabbatou efanh prwton maria th magdalhnh, par hV ekbeblhkei epta daimonia. ekeinh oreuqeisa aphggeilen toiV met autou genomenoiV penqousi kai klaiousin:

“And after rising early the first day of the week He manifested first to Mary Magdalene, from whom He cast seven devils. From there she came and announced to those who had been with Him as they mourned and wept.” Mk.16:9-10

Mark confirms that Yeshua appeared to Mary Magdalene first and separately from the women who responded to the command to go and tell the disciples and encountered Yeshua on their way (Mt.28:5-10). This being the case, Mark provides some key information in solving the apparent conflict concerning the angels.

John’s Gospel records that after telling Peter and the disciple whom Yeshua loved about the open tomb, Mary Magdalene returned to the tomb. It was at this time that John reveals the following information,

maria de eisthkei proV tw mnhmeiw exw klaiousa. wV oun eklaien parekuyen eiV to mnhmeion, kai qewrei duo aggelouV en leukoiV kaqezomenouV, ena proV th kefalh kai ena proV toiV posin, opou ekeito to swma tou ihsou. kai legousin auth ekeinoi, gunai, ti klaieiV; legei autoiV oti hran ton kurion mou, kai ouk oida pou eqhkan auton. tauta eipousa estrafh eiV ta opisw, kai qewrei ton ihsoun estwta, kai ouk hdei oti ihsouV estin. legei auth ihsouV, gunai, ti klaieiV; tina zhteiV; ekeinh dokousa oti o khpouroV estin legei autw, kurie, ei su ebastasaV auton, eipe moi pou eqhkaV auton, kagw auton arw. legei auth ihsouV, mariam. strafeisa ekeinh legei autw ebraisti, rabbouni {o legetai didaskale}. legei auth ihsouV, mh mou aptou, oupw gar anabebhka proV ton patera: poreuou de proV touV adelfouV mou kai eipe autoiV, anabainw proV ton patera mou kai patera umwn kai qeon mou kai qeon umwn. ercetai mariam h magdalhnh aggellousa toiV maqhtaiV oti ewraka ton kurion, kai tauta eipen auth.

“And Mary stood before the tomb, outside weeping, and as she cried she entered into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet where the body of Yeshua was laid. And they say to her in that place, woman why do you cry? She says to them because they have taken my Lord, and I do not know where they laid Him. Having said these things she turned backwards and she saw Yeshua standing, and she did know that it was Yeshua. Yeshua says to her, ‘woman why do you cry’? ‘Whom are you seeking’? She supposing He is the gardener, says to Him, ‘Sir, if you took Him away, tell me where you have laid Him and I will take Him.’ Yeshua says to her, ‘Mary’. She turned saying to Him, ‘Rabboni {that is to say, Teacher}. Yeshua says to her, ‘do not touch me’ for I have not yet ascended to the Father: and to My brethren (disciples) go and say to them, I ascend to My Father and your (plural) Father; and My G-d and your (plural) G-d’. Mary Magdalene coming and proclaiming to the disciples that she had seen the L-rd, and these things He spoke unto her.” Jn.22:11-18

There are many significant factors which are revealed in this passage. First, where was Mary Magdalene when she saw the two angels? Most translators render the first part of this passage in a manner that would lead the reader to conclude that Mary was outside the tomb looking in but had not in fact entered the tomb. For example the King James Version writes,

“But Mary stood without (outside) at the sepulcher weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulcher.” Jn.20:11

Such a rendering demonstrates an improper understanding of the Greek word parekuyen . Although many lexicons render this word as “stooping down” or “looking in intently”, this does not fit the context for other places that this word appears in the New Testament. Consider the following examples,

“But whosoever parakuyaV into the perfect law of liberty, and continues…” James 1:25

It is clear that rendering the word as “stooped down” does not really fit the context. The phrase, “looked intently” is better, but the actual intent of James is to say that “whosoever enters into the perfect law of liberty and continues…” There are no benefits in just “looking intently” into something, rather one benefits when he makes the commitment, i.e. enters into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it.

Peter writes,

“…which the angels desire parakuyai .” 1Pe. 1:12

This passage is discussing the glory that salvation brings. Angels are not a candidate for salvation. Those angels who are fallen are lost and those who remained faithful will continue in their present state. However individuals who are redeemed by the grace of G-d and experience salvation have the promise of the glory of G-d being bestowed upon them. The implication of this is that man in his redeemed state will rise above the angels. This is what Peter is speaking about and he ends the verse with the statement that the angels desire not just to “see” this, for they will see this event, rather they desire to “enter into” this state as well.

Hence, Mary did not just “look into” the tomb. She entered into the tomb and beheld the two angels. Why is this so important? Because Mark and Luke clearly write that the encounter with the angel(s) or man (men) took place in the tomb. What about Matthew?

Remember that Matthew begins his account of that morning by stating that Mary Magdalene came and the other Mary to see the tomb (Mt.28:1). It has already been pointed out that the verb that is used in this verse is singular and only modifies Mary Magdalene. Technically this verse does not say that either Mary Magdalene or the other Mary had arrived at the tomb. The verse only implies that journey to the tomb had started. The emphasis of this verse is not where were the women, but why did their journey begin? The answer is clearly stated, in order “to see the tomb”. Once again it must be stressed that Matthew is informing the reader to the condition of the tomb. It is the next few verses (see Mt.28:2-4) that reveals what had in fact happened. Matthew states what all the other Gospels reveal, that all the women were shocked with the fact that the tomb was opened and concerned that someone had taken Yeshua’s body.

Jewish law requires a proper burial according to a set of specific standards. The women are told not to fear by the angel. This fear was not generated by the appearance of the angel, but the women’s concern that Yeshua’s body had been removed and He would not receive the proper burial.

Careful study of Matthew shows that his Gospel is the least detailed in regard to the women’s experience at the tomb. Matthew chooses to summarize a few major points which the other Gospel writers describe in greater detail. Matthew does, however, provide several details that the other Gospels do not include. This is simply another example of how the four Gospels work together to tell a “greater revelation” of truth than one Gospel alone could accomplish.

Matthew’s account is unique in that it is the only Gospel that reveals the following:

-tells how the stone was removed from the tomb (see Mt.28:2-4)

-speaks about the guards who watch the tomb (see Mt.28:4, 11-15)

When Matthew writes his account of that morning he does so summarizing major events. He is not clear in regard to how much time elapsed between these events. For example informing that the guards who were assigned to secure the tomb shook in fear at the appearance of the angel who removed the tomb and the earthquake that accompanied his action, the reader does not know much time passed before the women arrived. Although Matthew reports that after the angel completed his work he sat on the stone, one does not know for certain that the angel was still setting on the stone when the women arrived.

Remember that many women came to the tomb that morning and the accounts that the Gospels report are different because these accounts may in fact be reporting different experiences by different women. Consider what Luke writes in summarizing the women’s visit to the tomb,

alla kai gunaikeV tineV ex hmwn exesthsan hmaV: genomenai orqrinai epi to mnhmeion kai mh eurousai to swma autou hlqon legousai kai optasian aggelwn ewrakenai, oi legousin auton zhn. kai aphlqon tineV twn sun hmin epi to mnhmeion, kai euron outwV kaqwV kai ai gunaikeV eipon, auton de ouk eidon.

“But also certain women from us astonished us: after being early at the tomb and did not find His body, they came and said also a vision of angels they had seen, saying (the angels) He is alive. And certain of those who were with us departed to the tomb and found this just as the women had said, but Him (Yeshua) they did not see.” Lk.24:22-24

These verses do in fact confirm the fact that many women visited the tomb. That Yeshua appeared to some and not to others. This being the case, it quite easy to explain the “so called” conflicts that some people have accuse the New Testament of containing.

This study will now examine the conflict surrounding the angels.

List of conflicts :

-Matthew has one angel.

-Mark has one young man sitting on the right side.

-Luke has two men standing witnessed by women. Luke only informs us that Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary (either the mother or wife) of James were among the women who told the events at the tomb to the disciples. Luke does not specify who among the women saw the two men standing and heard the proclamation that Yeshua had risen. Nor does he specify exactly what time this vision took place. Hence, Luke’s Gospel cannot be used to offer testimony in regard to any conflicting information about the visit to tomb as it relates to this issue. The reason for this is that the account Luke provides may not be in regard to any of the experiences that the other Gospels address.

-John has two angels sitting witnessed by Mary Magdalene.

It has already been pointed out (see pages 25-26 of this study) that the Bible does speak of angels as men at times. The reason for this is that sometimes the Bible is speaking from the perspective of those who are witnessing the angelic occurrence and the witnesses are simply not aware that what they are seeing are in fact angels. There is no problem with this as the writer of the book of Hebrews reveals,

“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for some have entertained angels and were not aware of it” (see Hebrews 13:2).

In examining this issue in closer detail one can also conclude that Mark’s account of the women seeing two young men sitting on the right side is not in conflict with John’s account. This view can be supported in two ways. First, Mark states that the women say a young man sitting on the right side, while John states the there two angels sitting, one at the head and one at the foot. The fact that Mark choose to focus in on just one of the men / angels does not mean that the other was not there.

Even though G-d inspired the Bible to be written, it is clear that the writers of Scripture did in fact rely on various sources. One such source is eye witnesses. It could very well be that a group of women crowded into the tomb and reported to the four Gospel writers exactly what they saw. Perhaps the one(s) who reported to Mark did not see both young men sitting on the place where the body of Yeshua laid. Perhaps the one(s) who reported to Mark had her or their vision obscured by the fact that there was a group of women in small quarters and each woman would not have had the same vantage point.

If one were considering the Gospel accounts as testimony in a court of law it would be pointed out that there is no conflict between witnesses when one says he saw one suspect and another witness who reports two suspects. Any lawyer would ask the witness who says he only saw one suspect, “Is it possible that there was an addition suspect present that you did not see?” If the first witness said, “No, there is absolutely no possibility that there was an additional suspect present” then there is a conflict. But if the witness responds, “I only saw one, but I suppose there is a possibility that other suspects were present and I did not see them”. The testimony of the witness who testified that there were two suspects is not impeached.

The second way that one can state that there is no conflict between Mark’s account and John’s account is based on the fact that Mark tells us that that the women who met Yeshua as they departed to tell the disciples were not the first to met Yeshua. Rather Mark tells us that Mary Magdalene first saw Yeshua (see Mk.16:8-10). When this is compared to John’s account the reader is informed that Mary Magdalene turned away from the two angels she saw Yeshua. Hence it is reasonable to conclude that Mark’s account of the women’s vision in the tomb is not the same event to which John’s Gospels is referring.

This study has shown that there are no conflicts in regard to Mark’s, Luke’s, or John’s accounts of the vision the angel(s). In regard to Matthew’s Gospel it has already been stated on page 32 that his Gospel is the least detailed in regard to the women’s experience at the tomb. Matthew chooses to summarize a few major points which the other Gospel writers describe in greater detail. Matthew does however provide several details that the other Gospels do not include. With this in mind, it could very well be that some of the women did in fact see the angel sitting on the rock and heard his invitation to enter the tomb, while the other Gospels report about what the women saw inside the tomb. This possibility will be reexamined in the next conflict.

In summary of the “angelic” conflict one can accurately state the following:

– Many different women visited the empty tomb that morning – Different experience were recorded by the Gospels

Conflicts present themselves only when one incorrectly views the accounts as revealing one event in the following manner:

– All the women travel to the tomb together

All women entered the tomb together

– All women had to have the same experience

The Gospels do not affirm such conditions.

Conflict #14 What did the angels say to the women?

There are those scholars who allow for the possibility of multiply experiences at the tomb that morning, but still state that there are inconsistencies in the content of the angelic instruction.

What was actually said by the angel(s)?

Matthew 28:7

kai tacu poreuqeisai eipate toiV maqhtaiV autou oti hgerqh apo twn nekrwn, kai idou proagei umaV eiV thn galilaian, ekei auton oyesqe: idou eipon umin.

“And quickly go tell to His disciples that He has been raised from the dead, and behold, He goes before you into the Galilee, there you shall see Him: behold I have told you.

Mark 16:6-7

o de legei autaiV, mh ekqambeisqe: ihsoun zhteite ton nazarhnon ton estaurwmenon: hgerqh, ouk estin wde: ide o topoV opou eqhkan auton. alla upagete eipate toiV maqhtaiV autou kai tw petrw oti proagei umaV eiV thn galilaian: ekei auton oyesqe, kaqwV eipen umin.

“And he says to them, ‘Do not fear: Yeshua of Nazareth you seek, having been crucified has been raised, He is not here. Look at the place He laid. But go say to His disciples and to Peter that He goes before you into the Galilee, there you shall see Him, just as He said to you’.”

Luke 24:5b-7

…eipan proV autaV, ti zhteite ton zwnta meta twn nekrwn; ouk estin wde, alla hgerqh. mnhsqhte wV elalhsen umin eti wn en th galilaia, legwn ton uion tou anqrwpou oti dei paradoqhnai eiV ceiraV anqrwpwn amartwlwn kai staurwqhnai kai th trith hmera anasthnai.

“…they said to them, ‘Why do you seek the Living among the dead? He is not here, but He has been raised. Remember how He spoke to you while He was in the Galilee saying of the Son of Man that it was necessary to be delivered into the hand of sinful men and to be crucified and on the third day to rise.”

Before turning to John’s account, this study will first examine the Synoptic Gospels.

Although Matthew, Mark, and Luke each contain slightly different information there is nothing that is contradictive in their accounts. Those who present conflicts usually state that in Matthew and Mark the disciples are instructed to go to Galilee and later on in Luke they are instructed to remain in Jerusalem. The apparent conflict is only present if one is not well acquainted with the New Testament. Rabbi Tovia Singer who has already been mentioned in this study states,

“In Luke’s story (24:5-7), the women are specifically not instructed to go to the Galilee, but to ‘Stay in Jerusalem’ (24:49)

kai [idou] egw apostellw thn epaggelian tou patroV mou ef umaV: umeiV de kaqisate en th polei ewV ou endushsqe ex uyouV dunamin.

“And behold, I am sending the promise of the My Father upon you: but you remain in the city ( Jerusalem) until you be clothed from the highest heaven with power” Lk.24:9

First of all the angels never instruct the disciples to go to Galilee, only that Yeshua will go there before them and they shall see Him there. Secondly, the account in Luke when Yeshua commands the disciple (not the angels) to remain in Jerusalem is given at a later period. It is given after the disciples have in fact been in the Galilee and have returned to Jerusalem to observe the festival of Shavuot (Pentecost). How is this known? John’s Gospel tells of Yeshua meeting the disciples along the Sea of Tiberias ( Sea of Galilee) and showing Himself to them (see Jn.21). It is after this appearance that the passage in Luke takes place (Lk.24:49-53). Can one be sure this is the proper chronological order? Absolutely, because in this section of Luke, when Yeshua commands the disciples to remain in Jerusalem is on the very day that He ascended into the heavens.

“And it came to pass, while He (Yeshua) blessed them, He departed from them, and was carried up into heaven.” Lk.24:51

This took place on the fortieth day after His resurrection. Hence Yeshua did in fact go before the disciples into the Galilee and the disciples did in fact see Him there exactly as the angels had promised. Because Yeshua commanded the disciples to stay in Jerusalem for Pentecost after these things were fulfilled is no conflict at all.

Therefore, when Rabbi Singer boldly states,

“Luke’s post-resurrection tale does not permit any of his followers to leave Jerusalem because Luke must have the apostles stay in Jerusalem for Pentecost.”

He totally ignores the account in John 21 and the fact forty days had expired between the angels’ statement to the disciples and Yeshua’s command to them. He also ignores Mark 16:16 which says,

“Then the eleven disciples went away into the Galilee, into a mountain where Yeshua had appointed them.”

John’s Gospel is not problematic at all, because John has the angels speaking different words than the Synoptic Gospels. Once again John is revealing a different event all together. John first speaks of Mary Magdalene coming to the tomb early, while it was still dark. She sees that the tomb has been opened and runs to Peter and the other disciple Yeshua loved. It is only upon her return to the tomb that she encounters two angels. There is nothing whatsoever contradictive in what they say to Mary from that recorded in the Synoptic Gospels. However is Mary’s conversation with the angels different? Yes, and for good reason, it a different conversation altogether.

Critics have pointed out that it is Yeshua who reveals the resurrection to Mary Magdalene and not the angels as the Synoptic Gospels state. This is simply not the case. The Synoptic Gospels emphasize a few of the women who came to the tomb that morning by name, but in regard to the angelic experience in the tomb, one cannot be sure which of the women were present and actually witnessed the particular vision that is recorded. Hence, Mary Magdalene may not have been in the tomb with the women who heard the angels speak. This strongly supported in Mark’s Gospel who informs the reader that Mary Magdalene had a different experience than the rest of the women (see Mk.16:9-10).

In summary, there are not any conflicts in the angelic proclamation to the women.