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. Matthew 28:1
The first Easter service was a gloomy one, shrouded in grief and doubt for the disciples. They wanted to complete the burial ceremonies that had been interrupted because of the nearness of the Sabbath. They did not realize that henceforth the Sabbath of the Old Testament would be a thing of the past. All things had become new, old things had passed away.
The purpose of their coming to the grave was to embalm the body of Jesus so as to keep it from corruption as long as possible. In Oriental lands such a process of deterioration is very rapid, as we can learn from the account of Lazarus’ resurrection (see John 11:39).
The curse of sin included the ominous “Dust thou art and to dust thou shalt return.” The continual fulfillment of that malediction leaves no doubt as to its veracity. The disciples acted in complete accordance with that fact.
But David long before had spoken prophetical! y of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, knowing that God had sworn with him an oath. Of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, Christ would be raised to sit on his throne. Said David: “Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” David’s grave is “with us until this day” and the disciples reasoned that the history of Jesus’ sepulchre would be no different. The sands of time had been dribbling away for a long time; they could not comprehend that the dawn of heaven had broken.
Of the first Adam it was said: “To dust thou shalt return,” but the second Adam saw no corruption. By the sin of one death entered into the world and reigned over all, but by the righteousness of One life reigned once again. The wages of sin were collected to the full by Jesus Christ and his exaltation begins immediately after his death, No return to dust, no corruption for the Holy One.
Now the first Adam, the federal head of the Covenant of Works was replaced by the second Adam, the federal head of the Covenant of Grace.
The second Adam had moved into the second Paradise where the tree of knowledge of good and evil is no more found, where only the tree of life is seen, on either side of the river of life, proceeding out of the throne of God.
Behold, he maketh all things new. The Head being in that Paradise, he now makes it His business to draw the members of the body unto himself, by the means of grace. Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.
Angels take their place at the empty grave, informing the disciples of the radical change that has , taken place. Angels once were appointed to keep men away from the tree of life; now as the ministers of those that are called to God’s eternal glory, they have their places at the 12 gates of the new Jerusalem. In the midst of that Paradise of God is the tree of life. “To him that overcometh, will I give to eat thereof” (Rev. 2:7).
Thus, on that eventful morning, “as it began to dawn,” our status as Paradise children was made secure. Jesus Christ entered into the rest that was promised to Adam and his offspring, but which they forfeited forever. Jesus Christ became the first born of the dead and the first among many brethren to enter into the joy of the Lord.
Thus our resurrection is absolutely sure, for where the Head is, there the body must go. The Church militant became on that firsL Easter day the Church victorious. The shadows have disappeared…then ,it began to dawn. A new life has begun, the years are from that time on counted as years of our Lord. The Sabbath of the first Adam was old and ready to be put away. The sabbath of the second Adam has begun as a prelude to the eternal rest remaining as an inheritance for the people of God.
In terms of the Heidelberg Catechism, death is now the turnstile through which we enter into that haven of rest.
Easter is the feast of the roads that lead up on high and we are getting closer and closer to the end. The sands of time are running out and the full manifestation of the sons of God is at hand. Every Sabbath is a memorial to the Resurrection and every celebration of the Resurrection, whether weekly or yearly brings us closer to the New Heaven and the New Earth.
We write Easter, 1953 A.D.
On the first Easter it began to dawn, as the disciples came to see the grave, in more than one way. They were told of the dawn of heaven by the angels: “Fear not, he is not here, he is risen.” Then it truly began to dawn. Ever since that light of heaven shines with increasing brightness as the years move on, until the marching Church of Christ shall be the Church at rest in the city that “has no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God lightens it and the Lamb is the light thereof” (Rev. 21:23).