The same day Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.’ Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no offspring left his wife to his brother. So too the second and third, down to the seventh. After them all, the woman died. In the resurrection, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her.” But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.” And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching.
(Matthew 22:23-33 ESV)
Yesterday we saw the Sadducees attempt to make Jesus look foolish in front of a crowd of people at the Temple by posing a question to Him that they believed discredited the idea of life after death. Jesus told them were wrong. Today He explains a bit about heaven.
We don’t know a lot about what heaven will be like but we do know some things. We know, for example, that there will no pain or suffering there [Revelation 21:4]. We also know some of the physical characteristics [Revelation 21:10-27] including the fact that there will be no such thing as night nor will there be a sun [Revelation 22:5].
We also learn today that there will be no marriage in heaven. Marriage is an earthly institution meant to represent God’s eternal family on earth. In this regard we will be like angels. Note that we don’t become angels, as some believe. We remain human.
When God created human beings He created males and females and put some of His characteristics into each [Genesis 1:27]. This is (one reason) why marriage is to be between one male and one female. When they are joined together as husband and wife they form a representation of God. And their family (once they have children) forms an earthly representation of God’s eternal family.
Since there will be no marriage in heaven we can infer that there will also be no procreation or sexual activity in heaven. All the people who will ever be created will come into existence on earth. People in heaven will belong to God’s eternal family and, hence, there will be no more need for human-based families which exist, among other reasons, for the purpose of creating more people.
Muslims and Mormons believe heaven will be a sexual paradise. That is incorrect, as Jesus’ tells us. Some claim they don’t want to go heaven if there isn’t any sex. But such a claim is based on the faulty premise that sex (or anything of this earth) is better than what awaits in heaven. Frankly, even the most enjoyable things of this earth will be easily forgotten in heaven.
We also learn from this passage that people retain their identity in heaven. Jesus quotes God’s words to Moses at the burning bush [Exodus 3:1-6] in which He stated that He is the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. When God spoke these words to Moses these three patriarchs of Judaism had been dead for at least two hundred years. Yet they still existed and were called by their earthly names (notice the verb tense is in the present). Jesus used this example to show the Sadducees that their opinion that there is not life after death was wrong.
We also saw confirmation of this during Jesus’ transfiguration when Moses and Elijah, who had both been dead for thousands of years, showed up [Matthew 17:1-3].
Once conceived everyone lives forever. Our bodies die but our existence remains. God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. He did not make us for the purpose of dying. He made so that we could permanently live.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.