By Dr. Lawrence Butler, The Bridge Church, Pembroke.
As we read the stories presented by Matthew, Mark and Luke, it is obvious that there are details that differ from author to author. The location of the angels, the position of the angels and the message of the angels are presented from different perspectives.
First – The first appearance of the angel who rolled the stone away was not to the women nor to the disciples. Listen to the words of Matthew: (Mat 28:3,4) “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.”
The first to see the angel were the keepers, and they fainted away. Where did the ladies see the angel(s)?
Matthew doesn’t specify, but Mark and Luke clearly say it occurred inside the sepulchre.
The position of the angel(s) – Matthew doesn’t mention any position of the angel, but Mark clearly states he was sitting. Luke tells us he (they) was standing. Please understand that the original stated position was not necessarily the only one that occurred. By that I mean, the angel could have been sitting and then stood. The word translated “stood” can also mean “present.” At any rate, he could have been sitting and then arose when the women entered since he was waiting on them anyway.
The number of angel(s) – How many were present at the grave? Was it one or two? Matthew and Mark only list one angel, but Luke informs us that there were two. How do we reconcile this? Probably Matthew and Mark only referenced the one who spoke.
Remember the demoniacs who were delivered? There were two men from Gadara who were healed according to Matthew 8:28-34, but only one given in Mark 5:1-20 and Luke 8:26-39.
Probably one was reported because only one is viewed as speaking. The same thing happened with the blind men. Matthew (20:29-34) quickly establishes the fact there were two healed one day, while Mark (10:4652) and Luke (18:35-43) speak of only one. Again, the outspoken one receives the acknowledgment, but two were healed. There is no disagreement between the scriptures, just different ways of reporting the incident. There were two angels present, but only one spoke.
There was no need for two to deliver the message.
Were these angels?
Matthew (28:5) specifically called the one who spoke to the women an “angel.”
However, Mark called him a “young man” (28:5) while Luke said “two men stood by them” (24:4). “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Heb. 13:2).