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1 Corinthians

Jesus' death; Earthquake; tombs break open; Jesus' burial

[27:51] ... and the earth did quake; and the rocks were rent; [52a] and the tombs were opened;




[15:3] For I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; [4a] and that he was buried;

Just after the Sabbath had ended (=Saturday evening). Spices purchased.


[16:1] And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, that they might come and anoint him.

[Reference to the spices in 24:1]



Sunday, early morning. Mary Magdalene starts her journey before sunrise; but as a group, they reach the tomb after sunrise. Luke mentions all the women; the other accounts mention only selected individuals. See Note 1.

[28:1] Now late on the sabbath day, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.

[2] And very early on the first day of the week, they come to the tomb when the sun was risen.

[24:1] But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came unto the tomb, bringing the spices which they had prepared. [See v. 10 for the number of women.]

[20:1a] Now on the first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, while it was yet dark, unto the tomb,


Before the women arrive: The resurrection; the earthquake; the guards see an angel. See Notes 2 & 3.

[2] And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled away the stone, and sat upon it. [3] His appearance was as lightning, and his raiment white as snow: [4] and for fear of him the watchers did quake, and became as dead men.

[v. 9a] Now when he was risen early on the first day of the week, ...



[4b] and that he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures;

Holy people (whose tombs broke open during the previous earthquake) come back to life and appear to some people. See Notes 4, 5 & 6.

[27:52b] and many bodies of the saints that had fallen asleep were raised; [53] and coming forth out of the tombs after his resurrection they entered into the holy city and appeared unto many.






1) Altogether, a minimum of 5 women made this first visit to the tomb: Mary Magdalene (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1; Luke 24:10; and John 20:1), Mary the mother of James and Joses (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1; and Luke 24:10), Joanna (Luke 24:10) and at least two more women ("others" in Luke 24:10). One of these "others" was probably Salome, who was with the women the previous evening, when they bought the spices (Mark 16:1).

2) In the Bible, angels are described as looking like men, not like women (or children) with wings.

3) The guards probably left the scene before the women arrived. There is no further mention of them at the tomb.

4) The appearance of the resurrected holy people to various individuals probably occurred throughout the day and (maybe) in the days that followed.

5) Most likely, this event would have created no more of a sensation than when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. A person can become so hard-hearted that nothing impresses him. When Lazarus was raised from the dead, the religious leaders weren't impressed - instead, they didn't like it and wanted to kill him! (John 12:10)

6) No further details are given about these people. If they came back to life with "mortal" bodies (like they had before they died), they would have lived and eventually died, the way people normally live and die. If they came back with immortal "resurrection bodies," there is no reason they would have stayed (or even wanted to stay) on earth longer than they had to - just enough time to accomplish their mission. (Compare with Paul's attitude, in Philippians 1:21-23.) If this second scenario were the case, they might have remained on earth for just a short time, or until the time of Jesus' ascension. In either case, the fact that their bodies were raised to life could be considered a sign that Jesus' resurrection also included his body.

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Translation: The Holy Bible, 1901 American Standard Version, public domain.

Outline: Dennis Hinks © 1999