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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

THERE WILL BE NO MARRIAGE IN HEAVEN

Matt 22:23-28 The same day came to Him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked Him, saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. And last of all the woman died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven, for they all had her? (Also See Matt: 22:29-33; Mark 12:18-27; Luke 20:27-40)

The sects of the Pharisees and the Herodians attempted, but failed, to entangle (entrap) Jesus with their questions regarding the payment of taxes levied against the Jewish people by the Roman government. It seems that immediately another sect, the Sadducees, began to do the same thing. Although these sects often disagreed and contended with each other over spiritual matters, yet they were united in their effort to find sufficient blasphemous teaching and actions of Jesus to have Him tried in courts of law, be declared guilty of actions worthy of capital punishment, and put to death. All three gospel writers that recorded this event tell us that this Jewish sect contend that there is no resurrection. New Testament scriptures assured us of this on a number of occasions, including the fact that it brought division between the Pharisees and the Sadducees (Acts 23:7-8). Also, Peter and John, at the instigation of the Sadducees, were arrested and detained in prison for preaching through Jesus the resurrection from the dead (Acts 4:1-3). This disbelief in the resurrection led these Sadducees to ask Jesus a question that they thought would lead Him to speaking blasphemously against God and the laws under which He governed the Jewish nation.

The question is rather lengthy but should be studied before considering Jesus' answer. Quoting Moses' writing in Deuteronomy 25:5-6, the Sadducees' questioning statement was: If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. Moses gave this law of God, regarding marriage to a widow, in order to perpetuate and maintain the existence of all tribes of Israel. What continues is the speculation of the Sadducees with a fictitious theory that they thought would make the doctrine of the resurrection impossible. With this fabricated story, they hoped to find fault with Jesus' teaching. First they stated a supposition, making it as difficult to understand as possible, then followed it with their question. Their story goes that there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. And last of all the woman died also. There was a way available, although very shameful, whereby each brother could have refused. However their story, whether real or not, indicates that each brother rightly accepted the role of begetting a family unto his brother.

This being the case, they asked this question of Jesus. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven, for they all had her? The first striking thought is that human beings, with limited earthly knowledge, are not capable of understanding things of a spiritual nature known only to our Creator. No doubt these Sadducees thought it impossible for a place where souls could exist and where there would be so much confusion about marriage and remarriage due to the death of the husband. This is one reason they believed there would be no resurrection after the death of the physical body of mankind.

Jesus corrects their misinterpretation of God's word in verses 29-33 that follow the lesson text. Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. At this time in biblical history, the scriptures, referred to here, could only mean the Old Testament word of God. Jesus is telling these Sadducees, as well as us who are privileged to read them today, that existence in heaven will not be the same as it is known as it is while living on earth. Just as it was with these Sadducees, ignorance of God's will inevitably produce human errors of judgment. To surmise that it will be the same, ignores the wisdom of God and replaces it with the worldly wisdom of mankind. The simplest reason tells us that marriage in heaven between a man and a woman is a false doctrine. Marriage was designed by God in order to inhabit and fill the earth with His human creation, not only to reproduce in kind in order to replace the men and women that died, but also to expand, fill the earth, and rule God's creation over the entire universe as we know it. However, in heaven we know that there will be no weariness, pain, sickness, or death. Therefore, in heaven there is no need for God's earthly design for marriage.

Not only did this Jewish sect err in their failure to understand God's word, but by denying the resurrection, they erred in realizing the power of God. One cannot understand, believe, and accept the power demonstrated by God in the creation of mankind and the universe they inhabit, and yet deny God's omnipotent power to raise the souls of those He created. John, the apostle that was privileged to look into heaven and speak with the Son of God, confirmed the resurrection of all mankind. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (John 5:28-29).

Because of their erring, human wisdom, the Sadducees were given the truth regarding the resurrection. He told them that in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. Since there will be no fleshly ties, such as marriage, does not deny the existence of spiritual relationships and personal communication in our final resting place in heaven. God's obedient children will be raised from death and transformed into a heavenly being like that of angels. These angelic beings must also be like our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus, because the apostle John also tells us that it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear (Jesus second coming), we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is (1 John 3:2).

Continuing the lesson text found in verses 31-33, Jesus gives these Sadducees these words of wisdom that should have led them to a better understanding of the resurrection of mankind. First of all we must understand that this Jewish sect admitted their complete belief and acceptance of Moses - both his writings and his prophecies. Therefore, Jesus quotes these words of God, which he recorded. From the burning bush, God spoke these words to Moses: I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob (Exod. 3:6b). God did not tell Moses that He "was" the God of their forefathers, but said that "I am" their God. This fact should have assured them, and assures us today, that, although these patriarchs had departed the earth in death, yet they were still in existence at the time He spoke these words to Moses. If they truly accepted and believed the teachings of Moses, they should have understood, accepted, and believed that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had been spiritually resurrected by God and were now in His presence.

Indeed, God is not the God of the dead, but of the living (Vs. 32b). The last verse in this lesson says: And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at His doctrine (Vs. 33). Here we are not told for sure whether these Sadducees were astonished, affected, or changed by the teaching of Jesus. We are told that when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at His doctrine. As it was in this instance, the truths found in God's word are often understood and firmly planted in those having open and receptive hearts, however the hardhearted gainsayers, that oppose and deny Him, are exposed as unbelievers.