Page 34 - A True Gospel Chronology from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection
P. 34

 great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone from the door and sat upon it. And his countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow. And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead.
If Matthew's account was all we had, we would have to assume that all of these events occurred while the women were at the tomb. However, this is not likely, and improbable. More will be said on this momentarily.
The phrase, 'in the end of the Sabbath,' is the Greek, opse de sabbaton. This means in the evening of or late on the Sabbath. In his Word Pictures, A.T. Robertson clearly states,
"This careful chronological statement according to Jewish days clearly means that before the Sabbath was over, that is, before six p.m., this visit by the women was made to see the sepulchre." (p. 240)
He also points out that the phrase, as it began to dawn toward the first of the week, points not to the sun rising on the first day of the week, but signifies the dawning of the twenty-four-hour day, beginning at sunset. It is the same word used in Luke 23:54 to denote the beginning of a sabbath, as the burial was taking place. It is a phrase used to mark the beginning of the Jewish day, at sunset.
A better translation perhaps for Matt. 28:1, would be, "Late on the Sabbath, as the first of the week was commencing.” The American Standard Version (ASV) is the only version I could find that translates this phrase properly, as “Now late on the sabbath day.”
Matthew tends in his resurrection report, to compress events and time together so that the real distinctions of time are clouded. Edersheim makes note of this tendency when he says,
"Not only St. Matthew, but also St. Luke, so compresses the narrative that ‘the distinction of points of time' is almost effaced.”14
What can you say, the guy gets excited!
14 Edersheim, Life and Times, 901
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