The next morning started early for the guards posted at the tomb. Shortly before the first tinges of gray began appearing in the eastern sky, at that time of morning that always is the blackest, a low rumble grew into a violent earthquake, throwing the guards into a frightened confusion of groggy disarray. One frightened guard fell face first on the ground and cried out in fear; the three others struggled to their feet and clung to each other for support. Suddenly, a flashing light descended from the heavens, until it rested on the tomb stone and bathed it in a blinding brilliance.
Instantly, a radiant figure appeared in front of them, and ignoring their presence, walked to the tombstone. As they looked on in disbelief, the heavenly person lightly touched the stone, and it immediately began to roll away from the entrance of the tomb. As it did so, the man of heaven flashed like lightning and waved his snowy white garments at the onlooking guards.
It was too much for them to bear. They staggered and fell, and remained motionless, like men who had fallen dead in their tracks. At that moment, the light of heaven descended on the place and filled the innermost recesses of the tomb. As it did, the body of Jesus was engulfed by the light, and in a flash the tomb clothes were left empty of the body they had covered. And the light receded back into the sky.
After several minutes, the guards recovered and struggled to their knees. As they did, they noticed the angel seated on the stone, surveying them calmly in his radiance. Fear stuck in their throats. At last, the captain of the guard croaked out, "Have mercy on us!" "Mercy you have, if only you choose to receive it," spoke the heavenly being. "Go now, and share what has been."
The guards staggered to their feet and ran. As they did, the first rays of sunlight broke over the horizon.