Monday, December 16, 2013

Two Angels Sitting in the Empty Tomb


I was reading in John 20 about the resurrection and the disciples’ discovery that Jesus’ body was gone and I ran across this detail:
11 ¶But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,
12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. (John 20:11-12)
This detail about the angels sitting one at the head and one at the feet seemed very odd to me.  They seemed too far apart.  Wouldn't you imagine these angels would be more likely to sit together?  It terms of body language it makes it seem as if they don’t like each other.  But it would be strange for two angelic messengers to be sent who didn’t like each other, right?

In the process of reading about others have wrote about this chapter, I ran across a wonderful insight on this from the blog “Jesus is Lord!” in the post “A Study of John20:1-23.”   It connected the angels’ positions at the head and foot with the positions of the cherubim on the mercy seat of the ark of the ark of the covenant in the temple, the detail of which, as we know, were given by revelation to Moses in Exodus 25:
18 And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat.
19 And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof….
21 And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. (Exodux 25:18-19, 21)
When I read this, I thought, Oh that’s interesting; the angels were imitating the cherubim on the mercy seat! 

And then I thought, Wait a second! No!  The cherubim on the mercy seat were meant to testify and prefigure the angels sitting in the empty tomb!  And I realized that Heavenly Father had meant for the construction of the ark of the covenant with the cherubim’s positions to testify of Christ’s resurrection and his empty tomb so many years ahead of time.  And the instructions to put the testimonies given in the ark teach us that we need to put our faith in Christ and His resurrection.



Ramona Gordy said...

That is awesome Michaela. I wrote a post on my blog about Mary Magdalene and I believe I was inspired by something you wrote about. John is the only gospel that notes this "configuration", and I remember reading it a few times and wondering, what was the point? And then I could "see" it. The cherubim on the ark, and the symbolism of the ark representing an aspect of the Savior. What a break through for me.
Merry Christmas

Michaela Stephens said...

Don't you love those breakthroughs? I love that Heavenly Father gives answers when we search and ask.

Unknown said...

When I read the two angels at bothe ends of Jesus the ark of the covenant came to mind the way it was built. Wow