|Victoria & Albert Museum|
The angel rolling away the stone from the sepulchre
Within the sepulcher where the body of Jesus was lain, transformation took place. Blake interest was in the process through which the spirit was freed from the body which had encumbered it. The goal was to see the new spiritual man emerging from the tomb in which it had been enclosed.
Assistance from above was needed for release to occur. Angels were sent to remove the garment which Jesus wore in the world of matter. An angel also removed the stone which secured the body in a prison of law which had been provided as the pedagogue until man could live in the liberty of the spirit.
The apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians of the dichotomy between living under the liberty of faith, or under the dominance the law. Jesus introduced the reign of faith, and its incipience can be represented by the removal of the stone blocking the exit from the grave.
 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus
Blake sets this picture within the sepulcher rather than in the garden where Mary first encountered and recognized the risen Christ. Angels are removing from the body of Jesus the linen cloth which will remain behind when Jesus is adorned with the glory of his new spiritual body. The stone which is removed from the entrance to the sepulcher is a rectangular, finished stone to indicate that it is the stone on which the law was written. The angel took it away because it blocked the door to the abundant life in the spirit.
In esoteric teaching truth which is codified and hardened becomes an impediment to spiritual growth. To reach a higher level of truth, rigid, literal truth must be transcended, making way for the mind to be receptive to perceiving the infinite.
Four Zoas, Night IX, PAGE 117, (E 386) " VALA Night the Ninth Being The Last Judgment And Los & Enitharmon builded Jerusalem weeping Over the Sepulcher & over the Crucified body Which to their Phantom Eyes appear'd still in the Sepulcher But Jesus stood beside them in the Spirit Separating Their Spirit from their body. Terrified at Non Existence For such they deemd the death of the body. Los his vegetable hands Outstretchd his right hand branching out in fibrous Strength Siezd the Sun. His left hand like dark roots coverd the Moon And tore them down cracking the heavens across from immense to immense Then fell the fires of Eternity with loud & shrill Sound of Loud Trumpet thundering along from heaven to heaven A mighty sound articulate Awake ye dead & come To judgment from the four winds Awake & Come away Folding like scrolls of the Enormous volume of Heaven & Earth" Everlasting Gospel, (E 522) "My Sin thou hast forgiven me Canst thou forgive my Blasphemy Canst thou return to this dark Hell And in my burning bosom dwell And canst thou Die that I may live And canst thou Pity & forgive Then Rolld the shadowy Man away From the Limbs of Jesus to make them his prey An Ever devouring appetite Glittering with festering Venoms bright Crying Crucify this cause of distress Who dont keep the secrets of Holiness All Mental Powers by Diseases we bind But he heals the Deaf & the Dumb & the Blind Whom God has afflicted for Secret Ends He comforts & Heals & calls them Friends But when Jesus was Crucified Then was perfected his glittring pride In three Nights he devourd his prey And still he devours the Body of Clay For Dust & Clay is the Serpents meat Which never was made for Man to Eat"Mark 15
 Joseph of Arimathaea, and honourable counseller, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.
 And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead.
 And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.
 And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre.
 And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid.
 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.
 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.
 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.
 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.
 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,
 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.
 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.
 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.
 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.
 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,
 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.
 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
2ND Corinthians 3
 Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you?
 Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:
 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
 And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:
 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;
 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:
 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?
 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.
 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.
 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Maurice Nicoll in his book The New Man taught of the process of transition as man develops psychologically:
"Stone represents the most external and literal form of esoteric Truth. It represents esoteric Truth in its most inflexible sense. The commandments were written on tables of stone.
It must be understood that Truth about a higher evolution must rest upon a firm basis, for those incapable of seeing any deeper meaning."
"What they taught a man was that he was an individual—that is, unique—who could reach this higher state of himself and that this was his real meaning and that this only could satisfy him most deeply. They began with teaching this Truth—or knowledge of this special Truth—but they led to something else. They led from Truth to a definite state of a man where he acted no longer from the Truth that brought him up to this level, but from the level itself. This was sometimes called Good. All Truth must lead to some good state as its goal.
This was the idea belonging to the term "vineyard". Wine was produced. A man began to act from Good, not Truth, thus becoming a New Man."