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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : Why Was The Stone Rolled Away? » Why Was The Stone Rolled Away?

Why Was The Stone Rolled Away?

Don - April 9, 2007

Easter, what a glorious celebration. Going over the events of the death and resurrection brought a question to my mind.
Why was the stone rolled away from the tomb when Mary came?

Since Christ’s body wasn’t resurrected yet, did He need the stone moved so he could get out? Being who who is couldn’t he have just “poofed” and gone anywhere, through anything?

I would think that it would have made a greater impact for the soldier to have come and rolled the stone away themselves and along with Mary discoverd the tomb empty.

Just a thought? Anyone else every thought of this, or is it just my quirky mind?


  1. I’ve thought about this myself as well…

    You say, however, that Christ’s body wasn’t resurrected yet… As I understand it, He was resurrected after three days – days according the Jewish calendar, whereas in our reckoning it would be about a day and a half, as he died in the afternoon, then a full day passed, and then the following morning (1.5 days later) is when he resurrected. And that’s when Mary and others came to see the empty tomb. So I’m not sure what you mean when you say that His body wasn’t resurrected yet? Can you elaborate?

    Comment by Connor — April 9, 2007 @ 2:42 pm

  2. Never in my life had this question occured to me, and then last night, as I was reading the story of the Resurrection to my children, one of them (4 years old) asked the same question you just asked. And then I see it on the blog here. Go figure!

    Comment by Ben — April 9, 2007 @ 2:53 pm

  3. Why would the soldiers move the stone?

    Comment by Bret — April 9, 2007 @ 3:17 pm

  4. Connor, I understand that when Mary saw Him in the garden He said not to “touch” “hold” him for he had not ascended to his father yet. I assume (I easily could be wrong) that his resurrection wasn’t “complete” until he ascended. He didn’t want Mary to “not feel” his spirit body. But maybe that’s not the reason, maybe he had already resurrected. So then the question is when did the actual resurrection take place, before or after Mary and the gang came.

    Comment by Don Clifton — April 9, 2007 @ 3:50 pm

  5. Bret, didn’t you watch the movie? Mary and her group came and asked them to roll away the stone so they could finish preparing the body.

    Comment by Don Clifton — April 9, 2007 @ 3:52 pm

  6. Don,

    The more correct translation of that phrase, as I understand it, is “embrace be not” instead of “touch me not”. The Lord had already resurrected, and no doubt Mary was hugging him and sobbing on his shoulder, prompting him to suggest that she needed to let him be about his other business. If you look in the footnote it shows the JST translation which renders it “hold me not”, implying the same thing.

    Christ had already resurrected, but had important business to take care of and so He told Mary to let go of him.

    Comment by Connor — April 9, 2007 @ 7:47 pm

  7. Er, that should be “embrace me not”, not ‘be’. Whoopsies.

    Comment by Connor — April 9, 2007 @ 9:48 pm

  8. The great stone was rolled back and the inside of the sepulcher exposed to view, so that those who came could see for themselves that the Lord’s body was no longer there; it was not necessary to open the portal in order to afford an exit to the resurrected Christ. In His immortalized state he appeared in and disappeared from closed rooms. A resurrected body, though of tangible substance, and possessing all the organs of the mortal tabernacle, is not bound to earth by gravitation, nor can it be hindered in its movements by material barriers. To us who conceive of motion only in the directions incident to the three dimensions of space, the passing of a solid, such as a living body of flesh and bones, through stone walls, is necessarily incomprehensible. But that resurrected beings move in accordance with laws making such passage possible and to them natural, is evidenced not only by the instance of the risen Christ, but by the movements of other resurrected personages. Thus, in September, 1823, Moroni, the Nephite prophet who had died about 400 A.D., appeared to Joseph Smith in his chamber, three times during one night, coming and going without hindrance incident to walls or roof . . . .

    Jesus The Christ
    , James E. Talmage, Chapter 37, note 1 end of chapter.

    Comment by Guy Murray — April 10, 2007 @ 8:51 pm

  9. Connor – What do you mean “…As I understand it, He was resurrected after three days – days according [to] the Jewish calendar, whereas in our reckoning it would be about a day and a half…”?
    The Jewish calendar has 24 hours in a day (they refer to it as night and day) and our modern calendar has 24 hours in a day (referred to as day and night).
    If you accept the traditional interpretation of a Friday (Sixth Day) crucifixion, entombment shortly before the weekly Sabbath began at Friday’s sundown (the beginning of the Seventh Day known as the weekly Sabbath Day) and a resurrection on Sunday morning (First day at sunrise) then one would rightly calculate a day and a half in either calendar. The Jews would never consider Friday at sundown to Sunday at sunrise, three days.
    So where do you get this idea of Jesus being resurrected after three days? Probably from Matt. 12: 40
    For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. According to either ancient Jewish reckoning or modern day reckoning a traditional Friday to Sunday interpretation of the crucifixion comes up to a day and a half. So how can this impasse be resolved? Actually it’s quiet simple, if one is familiar with Jewish Sabbaths and festivals.
    It is well known that our modern day Saturday (Saturn’s Day) which today begins at 12 midnight Saturday morning) is part of the Jewish Sabbath which begins Friday at sundown and lasts approximately 24 hours until Saturday evening at sundown. What is not so well known outside of Jewish culture, but which is a fact never the less, is that there are several special Sabbaths throughout the year. One such Sabbath began the week of the crucifixion on Wednesday at sundown and concluded Thursday at sundown. With that bit of knowledge one can now accurately calculate how Jesus was in fact three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
    Christ was crucified on Wednesday afternoon. Just prior to sundown on Wednesday, the beginning of the special Sabbath, called the preparation day or Passover (John 19:42), Joseph of Arimathea, with permission from the Roman authorities, took the body of Christ down from the cross and laid Christ in Joseph’s own personal sepulcher. The clock now begins to tick.
    Mary and the others could do nothing on the special Sabbath (Wednesday night and Thursday day) while it was a Sabbath. Friday morning Mary went and secured the oils and spices needful for a proper burial and then again on Friday at sundown Mary and the others would again have to stop their preparations because the weekly Sabbath began; Friday at sundown until Saturday at sundown. So the first time Mary could attend to the proper burial of her Lord would be Saturday after sundown. How many days have passed?
    Wednesday at sundown to Thursday at sundown, the first night and day and the special Sabbath. Thursday at sundown to Friday at sundown, the second night and day, and a day in which Mary could work. Friday at sundown to Saturday at sundown, the third night and day and the weekly Sabbath. Thus the prophesy in Matt 12:40 was fulfilled, for the Savior was three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Rushing to the sepulcher early Saturday evening, following the weekly Sabbath, Mary found the tomb empty of the body of her Lord. He was resurrected.

    Comment by depaul — April 11, 2007 @ 8:58 am

  10. Depaul:

    I first heard this explanation on G.T. Armstrong’s “The World Tomorrow” many years ago and have always found it the best explanation. But I also support the bible’s statement that Mary came just before sunrise on Sunday to the tomb. Jesus could have arisen anytime – no one was there to see the actual event – so this could have taken place from Saturday evening on to fulfill the prophesy.

    Comment by larryco_ — April 11, 2007 @ 11:53 am

  11. Larryco wrote
    …Jesus could have arisen anytime – no one was there to see the actual event – so this could have taken place from Saturday evening on to fulfill the prophesy.

    If he was three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (which Matthew testifies to) Jesus would have had to have come forth sometime around sunset Saturday evening, otherwise he would have been 4 nights in the heart of the earth and the prophesy would fail, wouldn’t you agree?

    And I don’t believe there is a scripture that declares “Mary came just before sunrise on Sunday to the tomb.” If you have a reference I’d love to take a look at it.

    Comment by DePaul — April 11, 2007 @ 1:41 pm

  12. “And upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices…It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of Jesus. Luke 24: 1,10

    Comment by larryco_ — April 12, 2007 @ 2:42 pm

  13. Or maybe it was just a cultural thing. Although Mexicans (and Brazilians, and lots of other people) have the same calendar as us, a week for them is 8 days. Two weeks are 15 days. Three weeks are 22 days. Etc.

    It’s called counting inclusively.

    The explanation of a Wednesday crucifiction and a second (Thursday) sabbath of passover on the year he died sounds like it was invented by a Christian apologist trying to make sure everything said by Jesus was word-for-word accurate with how we, in our culture, think.

    Furthermore, J. K. Fotheringham, in 1934, did some astronomical calculations of the position of the moon between AD 27 – 34 and found that 14 Nisan, the preparation for the passover, the day that Jesus died, never occured on a Wednesday during those years.

    And, by the way, according to the Gospel of John (John 19:31), Passover was on the Sabbath (the normal Saturday kind, hence the “high day”, or special sabbath) in the year Jesus died.

    Comment by Jason — April 12, 2007 @ 4:13 pm

  14. For what it is worth:

    Why should the stone at the mouth of the grave of Jesus be rolled away? That the Saviour might walk out. The graves of the Saint[s] will, upon the same principle, be opened to follow the pattern, that the Saints may come up out of their graves. It was necessary that the door of th sepulchre should be opened by the rolling away of the stone that the Saviour might walk out, or escape from his grave. (The Teachings of President Brigham Young pg. 248)

    Comment by Jacob J — April 21, 2007 @ 8:20 pm

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