The Pharisees believed in the resurrection of the dead, basing their conclusion upon the words of the prophets. They feared that Jesus might arise from the dead. They knew they were guilty of having him put to death and they hoped that would be the end of him. “Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.” (Matthew 27:62-64) When the Roman governor heard their request he granted them a Roman guard, saying to them: “Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.”—Matthew 27;65,66.
The Lord Jehovah must have held these Pharisees in derision, who presumed by having the stone sealed and a Roman guard placed at the entrance that they could prevent his bringing Jesus out of the tomb. God could have easily resurrected the Lord without removing the stone. He chose, however, to do the latter. And in addition to raising up Jesus as a divine being, he also removed the body in his own good way and to his own good place, that it might not see corruption, even as he had promised.—Psalm 16:10.
This Roman guard kept a close vigil over the tomb during Friday night, Saturday and Saturday night; and early Sunday morning the angel of the Lord appeared and rolled back the stone. The keepers testified that the countenance of the angel was like lightning and his raiment as white as snow, and these watchmen did shake because of fear.
The sabbath day now ended, the dawn of the first day of the week being here, the faithful women were the first ones to start for the tomb. “In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. 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. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.”—Matthew 28:1-10.