WHO MOVED THE STONE?
"WHO MOVED THE STONE?" or "who ROLLED away the stone?" (Mark 16:3) is a question which has worried theologians for the past two thousand years. Mr Frank Morison, a prominent Bible scholar, tried to nail down this ghost(s) in a book bearing the same title as this tract. Between 1930 and 1975 his book has gone through ELEVEN editions. Through all his 192 pages of conjectures he failed to answer ,"WHO MOVED THE STONE?" (Faber and Faber, London).
On page 89 of his book, he writes, "We are left, therefore, with the problem of the vacant tomb unsolved" and proceeds to advance SIX hypotheses, very nearly knocking the proverbial nail on the head with his FIRST supposition, i.e. "THAT JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA SECRETLY REMOVED THE BODY TO A MORE SUITABLE RESTING PLACE". After confessing that this Joseph "might himself have removed it for private reasons to another place, is one which seems to carry considerable weight" (italics mine), he hurriedly disposes this hypothesis on the flimsiest ground.
As you read on, dear reader, I trust that you as well as Mr Morison will have a satisfactory answer to this problem.
Let us begin at the beginning of this problem.
It was Sunday morning, according to the Bible, the first day of the week, when Mary Magdalene went to the tomb of Jesus (John 20:1). The first question that bedevils the mind is:-
Q1: WHY DID SHE GO TO THE TOMB?
Q2: DO JEWS MASSAGE DEAD BODIES AFTER THREE
Q3: DO MUSLIMS MASSAGE DEAD BODIES AFTER THREE
Q4: DO CHRISTIANS MASSAGE DEAD BODIES AFTER THREE
It is common knowledge that within three hours after death, rigor mortis sets in - the breaking up of the body cells - the hardening of the body. In three days the corpse starts rotting from within. If we massage such a rotting body, it will fall to pieces.
Q5: DOES IT MAKE SENSE THAT MARY MAGDALENE WANTS TO
MASSAGE A ROTTING DEAD BODY AFTER THREE DAYS?
When Mary of Magdala reached the tomb, she found that the stone had already been rolled away, and the winding sheets bundled on the ledge within the sepulchre. The question now arises:
Q6: WHY WAS THE STONE REMOVED, AND WHY WERE THE
WINDING SHEETS FOUND UNWOUND?
While the poor, dejected Mary was investigating the sepulchre, Jesus was watching her from the vicinity. Not from heaven, but from terra firma, from mother earth. We must remember that this tomb was a privately owned property belonging to his "secret disciple" Joseph of Arimathea - who was a very rich, influential Jew, and one who could afford to have carved a big roomy chamber, out of a rock which according to Jim Bishop (a Christian scholar of note) was 5 feet wide by 7 feet high by 15 feet deep with a ledge or ledges inside. Around this tomb was this "secret disciple's" own vegetable garden. It is hardly expected of any Jew or Gentile to grow vegetables 5 miles out of town for other peoples' sheep and goats to graze upon! Surely, this husbandman must have provided his labourers with the gardeners' quarters to protect his own interests, and perhaps he also had his 'country home' around the place where he could relax with his family during the weekends.
Q7: DOSEN'T HE KNOW? WHY DOES HE ASK SUCH A SEEMINGLY
08: WHY DID SHE THINK THAT HE (JESUS) WAS A GARDENER?
DO RESURRECTED BODIES LOOK LIKE GARDENERS?
Q9: WHY WAS HE DISGUISED AS A GARDENER?
Q10: WHY WAS HE AFRAID OF THE JEWS?
The learned men of the Jews came to Jesus with a poser, a riddle. They said that there was a woman who had seven husbands in turn. "in the resurrection therefore whose wife shall she be of the seven? For they all had her." (Matthew 22:28). Jesus could have brushed off the Jews with some curt retort because here was another of their tricks to catch him out. Instead, he has enshrined for us the dearest statement in the Bible regarding the resurrected soul. He said, "Neither shall they die any more, for they are equal unto the angels, and the children of God, for such are the children of the resurrection" (Luke 20:36).
"NEITHER SHALL THEY DIE ANYMORE" - that they will be immortalised. They will not be subjected to death a SECOND time. No more hunger and thirst. No more fatigue or physical dangers. Because the resurrected body will be 'angelised' - spiritualised - they will become like spirit creatures, they will become SPIRITS.
Mary Magdalene was not looking for a spirit. She, taking the disguised Jesus to be a gardener, says, "Sir, if you have taken HIM hence, tell me where have you LAID him..." (John 20:15). Note, she is searching for HIM and not IT - a dead body. Further, she wants to know as to where they had LAID him, not as to where they had BURIED him? So that, "I might take HIM away." (John 20:15).
Q11: WHAT DOES SHE WANT TO DO WITH A DECOMPOSING
Q12: HOW CAN SHE ALONE CARRY A DEAD BODY?
She was looking for a Jesus who was very much alive, a Jesus she could hold by the hand and take him home for rest, relaxation and recuperation, "so that, I might take him away".
The joke that Jesus was playing on this woman had gone too far. During the whole course of the dialogue between Mary and Jesus, she did not suspect in the least that she was actually talking to her Master. She had failed to see through the gardener's DISGUISE. Jesus must have been laughing under his breath. He could suppress it no longer. "M·A·R·Y!" he uttered. Only one word, but it was enough. This one word "Mary!" did, all that the exchange of words failed to do. It enabled Mary to recognise Jesus. Everyone has his own unique and peculiar way of calling his or her near one or dear one. It was not the mere sound of the name, but the way he must have deliberately intoned it that made Mary to respond - "Master!, Master!" She lunged forward to grab her spiritual master, to pay her respects and to give reverence.
The Muslims, when they meet their learned men, or respected elders or saintly people, hold such person's right hand in the palm of their own hands and fondly kiss the back of the respected one's hand. The Frenchman kisses the cheeks to show respect and the Arab kisses the neck. Mary the Jewess would have done what any Muslim might have done under similar circumstances.
Q13: I SAY - WHY NOT?
Q14: IS SHE BLIND?
It is a sad fact of history that though the Christian Bible is an Eastern Book, full of eastern metaphors and similes, like - "Let the dead bury their dead" (Matthew 8:22) or "Seeing they see not and hearing they hear not" (Matthew 13:13), all the commentators of the Bible have come from the West. The Western World is made to see a Jewish Book, written by the Jews for a Jewish audience, through Greek and Western glasses. An Eastern book ought to be read as an Easterner would read and understand it. All the problems would then be solved.
The difficulty lies not only in apprehending the correct meaning of the Jewish expressions, but Christendom is so programmed that Christians of every race and language group are made to understand the passages differently or opposite to their literal connotations. I will give examples of this anomaly in Lesson No. 3 under the heading "RESURRECTION OR RESUSCITATION?" In that booklet, I will also endeavour to answer the problem as to why one woman - Mary Magdalene - was not AFRAID when she recognised the DISGUISED Jesus yet ten brave men (the Disciples of Jesus) were PETRIFIED on recognising their Master in that 'upper-room', after his alleged passion.
As to the original question of this pamphlet - "WHO MOVED THE STONE?" the answer is so simple and so natural that one is at a loss to understand how this problem has eluded Christian scholars of the highest eminence.
The answer to the question, "WHO ROLLED THE STONE INTO PLACE?" is the answer to the title of this tract. "... and HE (Joseph of Arimathea) rolled a stone against the door of the tomb" (Mark 15:46). St. Mark is here supported word by word by St. Matthew who in Chapter 27 and verses 60 states that "... HE (Joseph of Arimathea) rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and departed". If this ONE man alone could move the stone into place as witnessed by Matthew and Mark, then let me be more generous in adding the name of the other faithful 'secret disciple' - NICODEMUS. It was JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA and NICODEMUS, the two stalwarts who did not leave the Master in the lurch when he was most in need. These two had given to Jesus a Jewish burial (?) bath, and wound the sheets with the "aloes and myrrh", and temporarily moved the stone into place, if at all; they were the same two real friends who REMOVED THE STONE, and took their shocked Master soon after dark, that same Friday night to a more congenial place in the immediate vicinity for treatment. Reasoning even on the Biblical narration, Jesus was A-L-I-V-E! He had escaped death by the skin of his teeth, as he himself had fortold. Write for your FREE copy of "WHAT WAS THE SIGN OF JONAH?", as well as for a detailed account of the alleged "crucifixon", under the heading, "CRUCIFIXION or CRUCI-FICTION?"
Those of you who have already mastered Lesson No. 1 from the booklet "WHAT WAS THE SIGN OF JONAH?" will now do well to memorise the following verses for your Lesson No. 2.
The Muslim reader of this and other allied tracts may be tempted to ask, "Do we Muslims need to use the Bible to get at the Truth of God?"
The answer is an emphatic NO!
1) Sin is not inherited.
These doctrines are expounded in the most unambigious terms in the Holy Qur'an. Why, then, must the Muslim adduce the Christian Scriptures to prove his point of view? This is because we are dealing with a mind which has been programmed from childhood to accept dogmas without reasoning. Today, the Christian is groping for the Truth. He is asking questions which he did not dare to ask a few centuries ago.
a) IS JESUS GOD?
It is the duty of the Muslim to help his Christian brethren, "The Ahle-Kitab", i.e. "THE PEOPLE OF THE BOOK" - as they are respectfully addressed in the pages of the Holy Qur'an, in freeing them from the shackles that bind their thinking for the past two thousand years. It instructs us:
Ye are the best Of Peoples, evolved For mankind, Enjoining what is right, Forbidding what is wrong, And believing in God, If only the People of the Book Had faith, it were best For them: among them Are some who have faith, But most of them Are perverted transgressors.Holy Qur'an 3: 110
In this treatise and others, we have used the Christians' own book of authority, the BIBLE, and his own logic, to refute his claims. This is the system which Allah Subha nahu Wa Ta'aala uses when reasoning with His creatures.
The Holy Qur'an commands the Muslim to demand from the Jews and the Christians their authority for their fanciful claims that "SALVATION" is exclusively their right.
It says: "Produce your proof if ye are truthful." Holy Qur'an 2:111
The Christian has already reproduced the Bible in over a thousand languages and broadcasts it to the four corners of the globe, terrifying the nations of the world to accept the "BLOOD OF THE LAMB", that Christ died for the sins of mankind, that he (Jesus) is the only saviour. All this is against the clear evidence of his own Holy Book.
We must free him (the Christian) from his illusions, and there is no better way than to use his own evidence, his own logic, to refute his claims.
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