The Bible goes into great detail to describe the documented ways that Jesus’s tomb was protected. This protection was done to ensure that the disciples would not steal His body, and the details were shared in the Bible so that it could not be claimed that the Resurrection was a lie. As you learn more about the Resurrection of Christ, rejoice that Easter is coming, and we are saved by the son of God!
According to Matthew 27:66, there was a large stone in front of the tomb. It was a typical practice to roll big stones against tombs; they weighed between 1 and 2 tons, or about the weight of a midsize car.
Jesus’s grave site was set on an incline, meaning the tomb was easy to cover by rolling the stone downhill — but not easy to uncover. It took several men to roll these stones back up the incline.
In Isaiah 53:9, Isaiah prophesied about a rich man’s grave, and John 19:41 states that Jesus was buried in a “new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid.” Jews used family tombs for generations; hardly anyone was ever buried in a new tomb. We know that Jesus was buried in the tomb of a very rich man (Joseph of Arimathea), and because He was poor, without Joseph’s tomb, He would have been thrown into a common grave with other criminals. If this had happened, it could have been claimed that it was not His body missing, but another.
Most tombs were dug out of the ground, meaning that grave robbers could easily dig into them and steal gold or riches. All four Gospels are careful to note that His tomb was “hewn out of rock” rather than dug out of the ground. Not only would have that been expensive, but it means that it was a solid tomb with one entrance and one exit. Disciples could not have dug a tunnel to steal His body.
The Roman seal was placed to seal His grave. It signified that the tomb was occupied and demonstrated the power of Rome. The seal was a soft, moldable substance, likely clay, that was imprinted with the Roman imperial seal and attached to the stone with a rope. Breaking the seal was automatic death by crucifixion — but you’d have to get past the guards to get to the seal.
Matthew 27 tells us that a Roman Guard unit — typically consisting of four soldiers — was stationed at the tomb. The Roman army was highly-skilled, and their protocol was severe. These four soldiers changed every four hours and had very strict rules, but most notably was that falling asleep on the job resulted in death. In Matthew 28, we read that when an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, “the guards were so afraid… that they shook and became like dead men;” they did not simply fall asleep.
In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul mentions that Jesus appeared to over 500 witnesses at once after He was raised from the dead, stating that nearly all of them were still alive and could be questioned.
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