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We see at Matt 27: 64-66 the Chief Priests and Pharisees getting permission to secure the tomb of Jesus :

"....Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead,’ and the last deception would be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.” So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone. ""

In the account of Mark at 16:1-4, we get the narration of women disciples visiting the tomb of Jesus :

"When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back"

There is no mention of the `seal'which the High Priests and Pharisees put on the tomb of Jesus , in Mark's account which only mentions the large stone. One therefore, is left to presume that what Matthew meant by ``seal' is only the large stone which was guarded by soldiers, and that the preceding day of Resurrection having been the Sabbath day, nobody would have moved the stone in order to anoint the body of Jesus. My question therefore, is: How does the Catholic Church narrate the seal which was put on the tomb of Jesus ?

  • Can a massive boulder be displaced without automatically breaking the seal in the process ? – Lucian Apr 27 at 13:34
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How does the Catholic Church narrate the seal which was put on the tomb of Jesus?

The Catholic Church, like many other denominations, relies on archeological evidence to explain this matter.

Jewish Tomb

The stone itself sealed the tomb!

Mark 15:46 reads, “Then Joseph bought a linen cloth, and taking down the body, wrapped it in the linen cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a stone against the door of the tomb” (NRSV). The Greek verb used in the last sentence of this passage is proskulisas. Von Wahlde says, “This is a combination of pros (meaning ‘toward’) and the past participle of kulio (meaning ‘to roll or roll along’).”

Mark 16:3 describes the scene on Easter Sunday when Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome visit Jesus’ tomb: “They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’” The Greek word for “roll away” is apekulisen, which von Wahlde explains is “a combination of ap’ (meaning ‘away’) and … yes, kulio (meaning ‘to roll’).”

The Gospels of Matthew and Luke use similar compounds of the verb kulio. Thus, all of these accounts imply that the stone sealing Jesus’ tomb was rolled. - How Was Jesus’ Tomb Sealed?

More information about this topic is available with the following articles:

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  • +1 Great pictures of two ways to seal the tomb (cork-shaped or disc-shaped+stopper) adding real-life concreteness to the gospel narrative ! – GratefulDisciple Apr 27 at 16:32
  • A seal is used to ensure that no one else has tampered with the bond. For instance, Government officers seal the envelopes containing secret documents , with wax seal or paper seal , over and above the tape or adhesive applied to the opening of the envelope for fastening it. For that matter a seal can also be made of fragile material like wax on which an impression of authority is made. There is a possibility that the High Priests did put such a seal on the stone which blocked the entrance to the tomb of Jesus. – Kadalikatt Joseph Sibichan Apr 28 at 4:05
  • @KadalikattJosephSibichan The stone is the seal! – Ken Graham Apr 28 at 4:19
  • Permit me to put in a small observation. Mtt 28:2 says: "And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. " The stone lid (shaped after the cover of a manhole) in the picture does not fit into the narration of angel sitting on the stone. Does it ? I prefer to believe that the stone was spherical in shape, allowing someone to sit on it. As for the apprehension of the Chief Priests that Jesus'disciples would steal His body way, they knew that the ``fishermen'' were able to roll away the stone ! – Kadalikatt Joseph Sibichan Apr 28 at 5:13
  • Matthew 28:12-13 says: " When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ ". If the Chief Priests bribed the soldiers after the Resurrection, they had had the intuition that Jesus's disciples too were able to bribe them ! The seal would therefore, be a safeguard against the disciples appearing on the Sabbath Day, bribing the soldiers , rolling the stone away and stealing the body. Hope, I am not complicating it ! – Kadalikatt Joseph Sibichan Apr 28 at 5:31

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