Matthew 28:5—Why does Matthew say there was only one angel at the tomb when John says there were two?

Problem: Matthew 28:5 refers to the “angel” at the tomb after Jesus’ resurrection, and yet John says there were “two angels” there (John 20:12)?

Solution: Matthew does not say there was only one angel. John says there were two, and wherever there are two there is always one; it never fails! The critic has to add the word “only” to Matthew’s account in order to make it contradictory. But in this case, the problem is not with what the Bible actually says, but with what the critic adds to it.

Matthew probably focuses on the one who spoke and “said to the women, `Do not be afraid’ ” (Matt. 28:5). John referred to how many angels they saw; “and she saw two angels” (John 20:12).

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.