May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you His favor and give you His peace. Numbers 6:24-26
Brothers and sisters . . . Be joyful and happy. Grow to maturity in Christ. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet each other warmly with Christian love. . . . May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
2 Corinthians 13:11-12, 14
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18 Then Jesus was approached by some Sadducees — religious leaders who say there is no resurrection from the dead. They posed this question: 19 “Teacher, Moses gave us a law that if a man dies, leaving a wife without children, his brother should marry the widow and have a child who will carry on the brother’s name. 20 Well, suppose there were seven brothers. The oldest one married and then died without children. 21 So the second brother married the widow, but he also died without children. Then the third brother married her. 22 This continued with all seven of them, and still there were no children. Last of all, the woman also died. 23 So tell us, whose wife will she be in the resurrection? For all seven were married to her.” 24 Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you do not know the Scriptures, and you do not know the power of God. 25For when the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage. In this respect they will be like the angels in heaven. 26 “But now, as to whether the dead will be raised — have you not ever read about this in the writings of Moses, in the story of the burning bush? Long after Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had died, God said to Moses, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 27 So He is the God of the living, not the dead. You have made a serious error.” Mark 12:18-27 (NLT)
After the Pharisees and Herodians failed to entrap Jesus with their tax question, the Sadducees questioned Jesus about the resurrection (Mark 12:18; see also Matthew 22:23; Luke 20:27). The Sadducees were wealthy and sophisticated Jewish religious leaders who believed there was no resurrection from the dead (Mark 12:18; see also Matthew 22:23; Luke 20:27). Not only did the Sadducees believe there was no resurrection, they also did not believe in future punishment and reward or the existence of angels and spirits (Acts 23:8). The Sadducees only upheld the written Pentateuch (Genesis — Deuteronomy) and they believed the written Pentateuch had no direct and exact teaching about the resurrection, future judgement, and angels (Acts 23:8; see also Acts 4:1-2). However, the Pharisees, another Jewish religious group, believed in the life after death, resurrection, final judgment, angels, and spirits (Acts 23:8). The Pharisees upheld not only the written Pentateuch (Genesis — Deuteronomy) but also the oral traditions of the elders that interpreted the Pentateuch.
The Sadducees asked Jesus: “Teacher, Moses gave us a law that when a man dies without children, the man’s brother should marry his widow and have children in his brother’s name” (Mark 12:19, TLB; see also Matthew 22:24; Luke 20:28, quoting Deuteronomy 25:5-10). So, the Sadducees proceed to say there were seven brothers and the oldest married a woman and died, and left no children (Mark 12:20; see also Matthew 22:25; Luke 20:29). Next, the second brother married the widow, but soon he died too and left no children. Then the next brother married her and died without children (Mark 12:21; see also Matthew 22:26; Luke 20:30). This continued until all seven brothers died, and still there were no children conceived by the woman (Mark 12:22 see also Matthew 22:26; Luke 20:31). Finally, the woman died too (Mark 12:22; see also Matthew 22:27; Luke 20:32). Then, the Sadducees asked Jesus, “In the resurrection, whose wife will she be, for she had been the wife of all seven brothers?” (Mark 12:23, TLB; see also Matthew 22:28; Luke 20:33).
With their line of questioning, the Sadducees wanted to make a mockery of not only Jesus but also their enemies, the Pharisees, regarding the levirate marriage. According to Old Testament law, when a man died without a male child, his brother had to marry the widow and produce children to care for the widow and allow the family line to continue (Deuteronomy 25:5-10; see also Genesis 38:8-10; Ruth 4:1-12). However, many biblical scholars believe the Jewish people rarely performed this marriage law. The Sadducees (who had no belief of the resurrection and the afterlife) tried to trip Jesus up on this question with a fictitious example of the “levirate marriage,” but Jesus saw through the Sadducees’ scheme.
Jesus said to the Sadducees, “Your trouble is that you do not know the Scriptures and do not know the power of God” (Mark 12:24, TLB see also Matthew 22:29). The true and living God is all-powerful and He has the power and sufficiency to raise the dead (e.g., see Luke 24:6-7; John 5:21; Acts 2:24; Romans 8:11; 2 Corinthians 1:9). Furthermore, Jesus said, “For when these seven brothers and the woman rise from the dead, they will not be married — they will be like the angels” (Mark 12:25, TLB see also Matthew 22:30; Luke 20:36). In the resurrection, men and women will not marry because there is no married state and no death in the after-life. In the resurrection, resurrected saints relationship change and we will be as angels (see also 1 Corinthians 15:35-50). In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus replied to the Sadducees, “Marriage is for people here on earth. But in the age to come, those worthy of being raised from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage and they will never die again” (Luke 20:34-36, NLT).
Then Jesus taught the Sadducees and said, “But now as to whether there will be a resurrection — have you never read in the book of Exodus about Moses and the burning bush? God said to Moses, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and I am the God of Isaac, and I am the God of Jacob’ (Mark 12:26, TLB; see also Matthew 22:31-32; Luke 20:37, referencing Exodus 3:6). Jesus goes on to say, “The living God is God of the living, not the dead. You are way, way off base” (Mark 12:27, MSG; see also Matthew 22:32; Luke 20:38). Luke’s Gospel also added that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are alive with God (Luke 20:38). Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were alive with God when God spoke those words to Moses (see Exodus 3:6, 15-16). God did not tell Moses that He was (past tense) the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Instead, God said to Moses, “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Exodus 3:6). Therefore, Jesus taught that the Sadducees had overlooked Exodus 3:6 because the Pentateuch teaches that there is life after death. All true believers of Jesus will enjoy the resurrection and eternal life with God (e.g., see Romans 6:5; 1 Corinthians 6:14; 1 Corinthians 15:22).
Matthew’s Gospel added that when the crowds heard Jesus’ response on the resurrection, they were astounded at Jesus’ teaching (Matthew 22:33). Luke’s Gospel said that some of the religious teachers of the law who were listening to Jesus’ response to the Sadducees said, “Well said, Teacher!” (Luke 20:39, NLT). “No one dared to ask Him (Jesus) any more questions” (Luke 20:40, NLT). The Sadducees thought that they were smart, but Jesus soon revealed He is smarter (Matthew 22:31-33).
Many people have questioned the afterlife. In Jesus’ day, the Sadducees and many others denied the resurrection from the dead (e.g., see Acts 4:1-4; Acts 17:18). Doubters of the afterlife continue among many groups today (among them Black Muslims, Buddhists, Marxist, and most atheists). For the Apostle Paul, he saw the issue of the resurrection the most important issue for the church. According to the Apostle Paul, “For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless” (1 Corinthians 15:13-14, NLT). The Apostle Paul was a Pharisee (Acts 26:5; Philippians 3:5) and he believed in the resurrection of the dead, final judgment, angels, and spirits (see Acts 23:6-8; Acts 24:15-21). In his New Testament writings, the Apostle Paul revealed how Jesus finally conquered death (1 Corinthians 15).
Apostle Paul: 3 I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. 4 He was buried, and He was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. . . . 12 But tell me this—since we preach that Christ rose from the dead, why are some of you saying there will be no resurrection of the dead? 13 For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. 15 And we apostles would all be lying about God—for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. But that cannot be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. 16 And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. 18 In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! 19 And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. 20 But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died. 21 So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another Man. 22 Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. . . . 45 The Scriptures tell us, “The first man, Adam, became a living person.” But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit. . . . 57 But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, 12-22, 45, 57-58 (NLT)
Life Application Study Bible (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub., 2005).
New Student Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992).
Ryrie Study Bible (Chicago, IL: Moody, 1995).
The Apologetics Study Bible: Understanding Why You Believe (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2012).
Zondervan NIV Study Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008).
Loyd, Melton, Ph.D., Professor of New Testament (Due West, SC: Erskine Theological Seminary, 2015).
Wiersbe, Warren W. Bible Exposition Commentary – New Testament (Victor Books, 1989).