The first witnesses

And, behold, there was a 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. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men…

…Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done.

(Matthew 28:2-4, 11)

Regarding the soldiers posted to guard the tomb of Jesus, firstly they felt a great earthquake. Not a mild one, a great one. Everything shook, including them. Next, they saw a great angel come down, and this scared them to the extent that they shook and fainted, and fell down on the ground paralyzed with fear.

The angel flashed and shone like lightning. The guards saw him roll the stone away and then sit upon that stone. Why did he sit upon the stone? To watch Jesus walk out of the tomb, obviously.

Jesus walked out. The angel sat on the stone watching. The guards were watching, albeit pinned to the ground, still paralyzed with fear. Then, Jesus was gone.

With only an empty tomb left to guard, the guards then went to see the chief priests, and told them what they saw happen. These unbelievers were the first witnesses and heralds of Jesus resurrection. The chief priests knew they were telling the truth, and yet their hearts were so hardened they tried to keep His resurrection a secret, even though they knew it to be true. And the soldiers were still totally unrepentant even after seeing the angel and seeing the Lord Jesus walk out of the tomb.

And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.
(Matthew 28:12-15)

So, these guys saw the resurrection happen with their own eyes and still did not believe.

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