Jesus managed to escape the guards

The tomb was guarded by temple guards, not Roman soldiers.

One critic says that Christians “transform temple guard to soldiers, and make these soldiers into Roman soldiers. Then fill pages expounding the efficiency of the Roman military machine; that it can never be caught napping or caught off-guard!”

The implication is that if the people guarding the tomb were temple guards, it would be easier for Jesus to escape.

I do not know how Deedat came to the conclusion that the guard placed at the tomb were temple guards. The records cannot be clearer that the guards placed at the tomb were soldiers.

(Mat 27:65)  “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.”

(Mat 28:2-4)  There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. {3} His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. {4} The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

(Mat 28:11-15)  While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. {12} When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, {13} telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ {14} If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” {15} So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

The guards were soldiers. And they were Roman soldiers. The Greek word used was “stratiotes”, the same word used in the following instances and many others.

(Acts 28:16)  When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him.

(Mat 27:27)  Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him.

So it is true that the guards were Roman soldiers. And it is also true that the Roman soldiers were well trained; how else could the Roman empire be so vast and powerful. Therefore, it is illogical to think that Jesus’ disciples could have staged a rescue despite of the guardianship of those soldiers, especially when the records tell us that clearly that it did not happen that way.

It is easy to roll away the stone to let Jesus escape.

Historians have exaggerated the fact that it takes 20 men to roll over the stone covering the tomb of Jesus. The Bible said that only one man could roll away the stone.

Matthew 27:60 and placed it in his own new tomb that he (ie Joseph of Arimathea) had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.

Joseph of Arimathea alone, rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb. If one man can put it in place, why couldn’t his disciples have gone to the tomb to rescue him?

The tombs in those times had a trough along the opening and the stone was held at the side of the opening by a block. In other words, anyone could simply pull the block and let the stone roll down the front to lodge itself against the entrance of the tomb. However, it would take many men to roll up the stone weighing 1.5 to 2 tons up the trough to open the tomb.

Mark 16:4 says that the stone had been rolled away. The Greek word used was “apokulio” which means “rolled some distance away from.” In John 20:2, it says that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. This time the Greek word used was “airo” which means “to pick something up and carry it away”. Thus, we note the stone was not only moved, it was literally taken some distance away from the tomb.

Even if one does not think it would take 20 men, it would still require several men. And even if it takes only 3 to 4 men to roll over the stone, could this have been done without waking any one of the soldiers (if we assume for argument’s sake that they were asleep and we know they were not because of their strict discipline and training).

The stone was rolled away and the burial cloths were unwound proving that Jesus did not die.

John 20:1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.

John 20:6-7 Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, {7} as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen.

Why was the stone covering the tomb removed if the resurrect­ed body can walk pass it? (John 20:1) And why were the winding sheets covering Jesus’ body unwound? (John 20:6,7)

Firstly, the tomb was not rolled away so that Jesus could come out. It was rolled away so that people could go in and see for themselves that indeed Jesus had risen from the dead and He is no longer in the tomb. The new Jesus they saw was not an impostor or an identical twin. In John 20:8, we read that the disciple of Jesus went into the tomb, saw that it was empty and believed.

Secondly, the cloths wrapped around Jesus was not unwound so that he could come out. John 20:6,7 said that the body cloths was lying there and the napkin around the head was folded up, apart from the body cloths. Now this verse has been misunderstood by many because of its English translation. The confusion arises because of the word “folded”, which caused many to think that the linen cloths were actually unwound so that Jesus could come out and then folded. However, a careful examination of the word rules out this interpretation.

The word translated “fold­ed” actually means “wrapped”. It is the same word used in Luke 23:53 when Joseph “wrapped” Jesus’ body in linen cloth before burying him. Thus Jn 20:6-7 did not say that the napkin around Jesus’ head had been unwound. The verse says that “the cloth was folded (literally, wrapped) up by itself, separate from the linen”. In other words, it was in that same “wrapped up” state except that now the flesh has disappeared. We were also told that the napkin was apart from the linen cloths. This is in line with what we know that the Jews used a separate piece of cloth to wrap the head. That was why the napkin covering Jesus’ head was in that same “wrapped up” state but separate from the linen cloths. Thus Jesus came out of his grave clothes without disarranging them at all.

Jesus’ body was placed in a secret tomb so that his disciples can attend to his wounds.

After the body was handed over to Joseph of Arimathea, it was immediately removed to a secret place of burial, a sepulchre with enough room not only for Jesus but also for two of his attendants to sit and take care of him.

Nowhere does the Bible say that Jesus would be placed in a secret tomb. In fact, so many people went to the tomb that it could not possibly have been in secret.

(Mark 15:46-47)  So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. {47} Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid.

Not only that, the guards were just outside the tomb, guarding it against intruders.

(Mat 27:64-66)  So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” {65} “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” {66} So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.

Could Joseph and Nicodemus have rescued Jesus? Could these two learned men have staged a rescue? Could anyone have staged a rescue from the well-trained guards? Even if your answer to all these questions is yes, you would have to invent a story that has never been told in history, and against the historical records that we have. Why resort to an explanation that is historically unsubstantiated and logically impossible?

Pilate may have collaborated to save Jesus.

Pilate’s wife was strongly averse to her husband passing judgment against Jesus because of a dream she had the night before Jesus’ trial which led her to believe that Jesus was absolutely innocent. Pilate agreed with her and made a show of absolving himself of the responsibility of his condemnation of Jesus.

When Pilate saw that he was getting no where, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. `I am innocent of this man’s blood,’ he said. `it is your responsibility!’ (Matt 27:15-17)

Therefore, Pilate was reluctant to have Jesus killed. He was also surprised that Jesus was dead so soon. Yet he conceded to the request to release the body despite doubtful reports of Jesus’ death.

These show that it is possible for Pilate to have collaborated with the Jews to rescue Jesus.

There is no dispute that Pilate was reluctant to have Jesus crucified. But history tells us that despite his reluctance, Pilate did it to appease the Jews who wanted Jesus to die for blasphemy.

The suggestion that Pilate instructed his guards to cooperate with Joseph and Nicodemus is not found anywhere in the Bible or other historical records.

It is highly unlikely that Pilate would allow anyone to get Jesus out of the tomb because he was dead afraid that his followers would claim that Jesus had risen from the dead.

(Mat 27:62-65)  The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. {63} “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ {64} So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” {65} “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.”

It is also impossible for Pilate to have collaborated even if he wanted to because so many people verified that Jesus died including the Roman centurion, Joseph of Arithmathea as well as all the eyewitnesses.