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Oct 8, 2011

71 Was there an angel sitting outside the tomb

The Gospel of Matthew says an angel came down and rolled the stone away from the entrance of the tomb where they had buried Jesus, and then the angel sat on the stone. This happened as the women arrived. The angel spoke to them, saying Jesus had been raised.  

But the Gospel of Mark says the stone was already rolled away. No angel talked to them outside. They looked in, where an angel inside said Jesus had been raised. 

Thus Matthew says there was an angel sitting outside the tomb. I ask what happened to the other one inside?

Matthew 28:1 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 2 Suddenly there was a violent earthquake; an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled the stone away, and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. ... 5 The angel spoke to the women, "You must not be afraid," he said. "I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead.’ ... Now I have told you.” 8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 

The Gospel of Mark says just one angel was there; a young man wearing a white robe was inside 

Mark 16:2 Very early on Sunday morning, at sunrise, they went to the tomb. 3 On the way they said to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?" (It was a very large stone.) 4 Then they looked up and saw that the stone had already been rolled back. 5 So they entered the tomb, where they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe--and they were alarmed. 6 "Don't be alarmed," he said. "I know you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is not here--he has been raised! Look, here is the place where he was placed. ... 8 So they went out and ran from the tomb, distressed and terrified. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. 

It sounds to me as if the authors had heard different rumors of Jesus' resurrection.

Presumably they took their time and remembered everything they could before writing anything down. But the one author says one thing and the other one says a different thing. What is more, it's impossible to harmonize the accounts. 

Further, Matthew says the women ran away and told the disciples what they had seen. But Mark says the women ran away afraid and didn’t tell anyone. 

Recap: The reports can't match up. Today's apologists redo the story trying to bring the one account in line with the other. But in the end, they try in vain. 

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