Who Moved The Stone
The pain and the sorrow these women were experiencing is unimaginable. Certainly they weren't expecting anything other than a tomb guarded by Roman soldiers. We read in the gospels, that the women were discussing among themselves, "Who will we get to roll away the stone for us?" Consequently, an empty tomb was the farthest thing from their minds. When they arrived at the tomb and found the stone rolled away, they looked inside and found no body. What a shock that must have been! They must have thought, "Great! They've killed him, and now they've taken the body."
Who Moved the Stone
Next, they would have to move a stone weighing approximately one and a half to two tons, without disturbing or being noticed by four sleeping and twelve fully awake soldiers. It was also a capital crime to break the Roman seal that was certainly placed on the tomb. Who broke this seal? The guards? Not at the risk of death. The disciples? Impossible. This seal was guarded with the utmost care. To propose that all the guards were sleeping is also unreasonable. It was a death penalty offense to sleep when you were on guard as a Roman soldier. In fact, a Roman soldier would lose his life if an object he was guarding was stolen or removed. Consequently, they took their work very seriously. They did not sleep on duty.
The early Christian church, within less than a decade of its inception, suffered some of the most horrible persecution ever recorded by history. Within a generation of the discovery of the empty tomb, tens of thousands of Christians were burned at the stake, crucified, stoned, eaten by wild beasts, beheaded, boiled in oil and even cooked alive in large metal pans. All this for the belief that Jesus of Nazareth had risen from the dead.
Joseph of Arimathea was a rich man, a member of the council of the Sanhedrin and a secret disciple of Jesus of Nazareth. After the crucifixion, Joseph obtained the body by permission of Pontius Pilate, and buried Jesus in his new family tomb. According to some scholars, Joseph came to the tomb sometime between midnight and sunrise on Sunday, broke the Roman seal then moved the stone and took the body to a more permanent resting place.
On the other hand, if Joseph of Arimathea had made a perfectly legitimate removal of the body (say to avoid a popular uprising) then we know that other people had to assist him. In order to move a one to two ton stone and carry the body to another location, he would need at least three or four helpers, all of whom would have known the location of the body. These individuals could have provided the information and engendered great favor in the eyes of the council. For these reasons, the theory carries little weight and leaves the skeptic in want of a better scheme.
The first century church was a thorn in the side of the Sanhedrin as well as the Roman empire. Consequently, the early Christians were initially persecuted by the Sanhedrin and eventually by the Romans themselves. Despite this fact, some have actually proposed that the authorities of either Jerusalem or Rome moved the body of Jesus.
In the nineteenth century a German rationalist named Venturini developed the idea that Jesus did not die on the cross. Venturini proposed that Jesus simply fainted, or swooned, and was taken down from the cross alive, only to revive in the cold dark tomb. After awakening he unwrapped himself, moved a one to two ton stone, slipped by the Roman soldiers, returned to his disciples and convinced them that he had been resurrected.
We know from Roman history that victims of crucifixion were routinely beaten with a Roman cat-o'-nine tails as many as forty times before the actual crucifixion. This device was a whip with long leather strips in which were imbedded glass, stone and lead chips. This whip had the effect of tearing off the skin and exposing the subcutaneous fat and muscle layers. Such a wound would result in large quantities of blood and fluid loss. If skin grafting and antibiotics are not immediately administered, such a wound would result in infection, dehydration and death within a 2-3 days. Obviously, no such treatment was available to Jesus. The New Testament account does not tell us how many stripes Jesus received from the Roman whip. However, there is no reason to expect that Jesus received anything less than a customary whipping. With the whipping injuries alone, Jesus would have been so weak that moving the stone would have been virtually impossible. The beating from a cat-o'-nine tails by itself caused many people to die.
After Jesus was sentenced to death and crucified, he was buried in a tomb arranged by Joseph of Arimathea. The story of Jesus seemed to be over however when Mary Magdalene and other women in Jesus' close circle came to pay a final homage to him at his tomb on Sunday, they discovered that the tomb was empty. The large stone had been moved from the front of the cave that was serving as his tomb. They saw a man inside the tomb who was holding what appeared to be Jesus' burial garments.
Morison, as said before, connects a lot of dots and speculates about what happened and why. He provides some scenarios as to who that man was and how that large stone was moved. However, the events of those four days will be open to speculation forever and will largely remain a mystery since there is no definitive way to prove what really happened.
Moving the stone. Frank Morison entitled his compelling account of the evidence, Who Moved the Stone? That question must have baffled those who wanted to believe that the disciples had stolen the body. A stone weighing between one-and-a-half to two tons had been removed. Matthew said that a large stone was "rolled ... in front of the entrance to the tomb." The Greek verb "to roll" is kulio. In his account of the position of the stone after the Resurrection, Mark had to use a preposition with the verb. In Greek, as in English, to change the direction of a verb or to intensify it, a preposition is added. Mark added the preposition ana, which means "up" or "upward."Mark's word, onokulio, can mean "to roll something up a slope or incline." Luke adds to the picture by adding a different preposition, apo, which means "a distance from." So the stone was not just moved! It was moved up a slope, for a distance.
John (chapter 20) uses a different Greek verb, aim, which means "to pick something up and carry it away." Even had the soldiers been sleeping, they would have had to have been deaf not to have heard a stone of that size being moved in that way.
Three theories have been advanced to "explain" the Resurrection: the removal theory, the wrong-tomb theory, and the swoon theory. None of them stands up to inquiry. The removal theory suggests that the body of Jesus was removed. If either the Jewish or the Roman authorities had removed and reburied the body of Jesus, all they had to do in the ensuing days and years to quash Christianity was to say, "We gave orders to remove the body," and then to show where His body had been buried or disposed of. That action was not taken.
In an action of tort by an administrator for the death of the plaintiff's intestate, there was uncontradicted evidence that the intestate, a truck driver, in accordance with instructions of his employer delivered a load of crushed stone and then went to the defendant's coal yard for a load of coal; that there an employee of the defendant requested him to help move a coal conveyer, which was a heavy machine containing an endless belt driven by electricity; and that the intestate and the employee, upon taking hold of the conveyer, were killed by a shock caused by electric current passing through the conveyer from a cut in the insulation of a wire connected therewith. There was no evidence of express authority to the defendant's employee to ask assistance of the intestate nor of any practice or custom for waiting drivers, not employed by the defendant, to assist the defendant's employees in the loading of their trucks or in the handling of loading appliances. It was agreed that no wilful, wanton or reckless misconduct on the part of the defendant contributed to the accident. Held, that
was, in substance, as follows: Coulombe and Thomas on Saturday, July 28, 1928, were employed by one Pallott as drivers of trucks; and bad received orders that, after delivering their loads of crushed stone at the destination in Lowell, they should proceed to the coal yard of the defendant, obtain loads of coal and take them to Pallotta at Dracut. Accordingly, between half past nine and ten o'clock in the forenoon, they arrived at the coal yard where they found no one at hand to serve them; but, on their calling, one Heald, an employee of the defendant, came toward them, and asked them to come and help him move the conveyor (a machine used in loading coal). They went with him. Coulombe and Thomas grasped the wheels, Heald stood by the foot. The three moved the conveyor, and fell dead. This conveyor was made of iron. It was twenty-one feet long, weighed about fifteen hundred pounds, and was mounted on two wheels. An endless rubber belt with transverse rubber cleats was moved by endless chains driven by electricity transmitted from a main through an armored cable from plug-in boxes distributed about the coal yard, to a switch box in the iron frame of the conveyor. The conveyor had been used that morning in loading four trucks from a coal pile in the yard; and the supervisor of receipt and delivery of coal, whose duty it was to care for it, finding it so situated that the cable was extended to nearly its full length, had forbidden Heald, who attended to loading, to move it further from the plug-in box, lest the strain should pull out the plug and delay work. Nothing in its working had indicated any defect in conveyor or wiring that morning. It had been in use for about ten years, without complaint. It had been inspected two months before the accident by State inspectors who made no report of any defect. The supervisor could not state when he had last examined it. He had put a rope upon it to hold up the cable so that it should not chafe upon the sharp edges,of the switch box. This rope had become somewhat worn. After the accident, examination showed a cut through the insulation of a wire between the cable and the switch gear operating the endless cable, near 041b061a72