Urantia Book readers know the answer to this question: Who Really Rolled the Stone Away? by Kevin Porter; those who rely only on the Bible have been scratching their heads for a long time to figure it out, but they cannot be faulted, since that is all the world has had until now.
See our blog below, where we discuss what really happened that resurrection morning, but first, here's a taste of the article. And by the way, it is a good article, complete with information about how tombs were constructed in Jesus' time, and what a task it would have been for even a group of humans to do it...
"Have you ever really sat down and thought through who rolled away the large stone sealing the tomb of Jesus? Christian apologist Lee Strobel, whose newly-revised New York Times bestseller The Case for Christ was released recently, walks readers through his investigation about this question.
"After Strobel applied his investigatory skills, what does Strobel believe for sure?
"His opinion on the stone and the tomb seems to somewhat lean towards one theory — perhaps one of the few times that Strobel has not arrived at a decisive answer.
"He tells The Christian Post, 'I think the example of the angel at the tomb is a good one. I don't think we have good evidence in terms of who it was who actually rolled the stone away.' "
"The former journalist concludes that the Bible is a mystery that may never be fully understood."
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Read the real story
Up until the times of The Urantia Book, the issue of who rolled the stone away may have been a mystery, but since its arrival, there is no question about how this feat was accomplished. It happened during the time between Jesus burial in the tomb and after the time that the archangels requested custody of the material body of Jesus, but before the arrival of the women on that Sunday morning. From The Urantia Book:
After the chief of archangels had been granted this request, he summoned to his assistance many of his fellows, together with a numerous host of the representatives of all orders of celestial personalities, and then, with the aid of the Urantia midwayers, proceeded to take possession of Jesus' physical body. This body of death was a purely material creation; it was physical and literal; it could not be removed from the tomb as the morontia form of the resurrection had been able to escape the sealed sepulchre. By the aid of certain morontia auxiliary personalities, the morontia form can be made at one time as of the spirit so that it can become indifferent to ordinary matter, while at another time it can become discernible and contactable to material beings, such as the mortals of the realm.
ED. NOTE: "Morontia" is a newly coined word, revealed through The Urantia Book. Morontia is a state that is between the purely physical and the purely spiritual - a sort of interim place of trasition between the two. Read more about morontia material.
As they made ready to remove the body of Jesus from the tomb preparatory to according it the dignified and reverent disposal of near-instantaneous dissolution, it was assigned the secondary Urantia midwayers to roll away the stones from the entrance of the tomb. The larger of these two stones was a huge circular affair, much like a millstone, and it moved in a groove chiseled out of the rock, so that it could be rolled back and forth to open or close the tomb. When the watching Jewish guards and the Roman soldiers, in the dim light of the morning, saw this huge stone begin to roll away from the entrance of the tomb, apparently of its own accord—without any visible means to account for such motion—they were seized with fear and panic, and they fled in haste from the scene. The Jews fled to their homes, afterward going back to report these doings to their captain at the temple. The Romans fled to the fortress of Antonia and reported what they had seen to the centurion as soon as he arrived on duty.
The Jewish leaders began the sordid business of supposedly getting rid of Jesus by offering bribes to the traitorous Judas, and now, when confronted with this embarrassing situation, instead of thinking of punishing the guards who deserted their post, they resorted to bribing these guards and the Roman soldiers. They paid each of these twenty men a sum of money and instructed them to say to all: "While we slept during the nighttime, his disciples came upon us and took away the body." And the Jewish leaders made solemn promises to the soldiers to defend them before Pilate in case it should ever come to the governor's knowledge that they had accepted a bribe.
The Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus has been based on the fact of the "empty tomb." It was indeed a fact that the tomb was empty, but this is not the truth of the resurrection. The tomb was truly empty when the first believers arrived, and this fact, associated with that of the undoubted resurrection of the Master, led to the formulation of a belief which was not true: the teaching that the material and mortal body of Jesus was raised from the grave. Truth having to do with spiritual realities and eternal values cannot always be built up by a combination of apparent facts. Although individual facts may be materially true, it does not follow that the association of a group of facts must necessarily lead to truthful spiritual conclusions.
The tomb of Joseph was empty, not because the body of Jesus had been rehabilitated or resurrected, but because the celestial hosts had been granted their request to afford it a special and unique dissolution, a return of the "dust to dust," without the intervention of the delays of time and without the operation of the ordinary and visible processes of mortal decay and material corruption.
The mortal remains of Jesus underwent the same natural process of elemental disintegration as characterizes all human bodies on earth except that, in point of time, this natural mode of dissolution was greatly accelerated, hastened to that point where it became well-nigh instantaneous.
The true evidences of the resurrection of Michael are spiritual in nature, albeit this teaching is corroborated by the testimony of many mortals of the realm who met, recognized, and communed with the resurrected morontia Master. He became a part of the personal experience of almost one thousand human beings before he finally took leave of Urantia.
Click to read this complete section about the Material Body of Jesus
The Urantia Book restates the events of Jesus' life as they happened
This request of the angels should make sense to anyone who might suspect what a universally important event the resurrection of Jesus was - not just for human beings but also for the vast hosts of celestial personalities who had followed the Master's entire life. Even though Jesus' material body was no longer useful, it was a disagreeable thought to the celestials that his body should be permitted to molder and disintegrate over months and years of time. Accordingly, they were permitted -and able - to accelerate time so that his body was instantaneously dissolved.
The form in which Jesus resurrected was his spirit form - the same kind of form that all human beings will receive upon arrival in the Father's mansion worlds. And this is precisely why Mary Magdalene and many others who saw the resurrected Jesus did not immediately recognize him; he was changed from the way he looked in his physical form. But as soon as he spoke, those who knew him recognized him immediately because his personality was the same.
Again, this is a good example of how The Urantia Book informs and updates our understanding of Jesus' life, teachings, and resurrection. The Holy Week stories are among some of the best, the most thrilling, the saddest, most horrifying ... and yet the most inspiring of all the stories presented of Jesus' amazing life. See all of those Holy Week stories (beginning with Sunday and Monday) HERE.
And for the most complete story, see PART IV of the Urantia Book.