Marriage in Heaven?

cake wedding love

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Reading the Word

Matthew 22:23–33 (ESV)

23 The same day Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question, 24 saying, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.’ 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no offspring left his wife to his brother. 26 So too the second and third, down to the seventh. 27 After them all, the woman died. 28 In the resurrection, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her.”

29 But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 31 And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: 32 ‘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.” 33 And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching.

Parallel Texts: Mark 12:18-27; Luke 20:27-40

Understanding and Applying the Word

The Sadducees were religious leaders who denied that there would be a resurrection of the dead. They were at odds with the Pharisees, who did believe in a future resurrection. So, the Sadducees approached Jesus to ask him about this topic. In order to make their point on the ridiculousness of a future resurrection, they framed their question in a far-fetched manner. Suppose there was a woman who had been married seven times to seven brothers. She remarried each time her husband died to arrive at the seven marriages. When the future resurrection of the dead takes place, who will be her husband?

This seems like a good question on the surface. It may even seem to point out the silliness of belief in a future resurrection. However, the Sadducees were wrong about both the resurrection and marriage in the eternal state. Jesus acknowledged that there will be a resurrection of the dead, but there will be no marriage.

I often get questions about this teaching of Jesus. Many are disappointed to hear that there will be no marriage in the new heavens and new earth. I am always reminded of C. S. Lewis’ comments on this:

I think our present outlook might be like that of a small boy who, on being told that the sexual act was the highest bodily pleasure should immediately ask whether you ate chocolates at the same time. On receiving the answer ‘No’, he might regard the absence of chocolates as the chief characteristic of sexuality. In vain would you tell him that the reason why lovers in their carnal raptures don’t bother about chocolates is that they have something better to think of. The boy knows chocolate: he does not know the positive thing that excludes it. We are in the same position. We know the sexual life; we do not know, except in glimpses, the other thing which, in Heaven, will leave no room for it.

There will be no marriage, but we can trust that there is something even better. There is a future resurrection for all believers. Our bodies will raised and fit for an eternal existence with our Lord in a new creation (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:50-55; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17). What a wonderful day that will be!

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God’s Dwelling Place

Southwest Corner of the Temple Mount

Southwest corner of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Reading the Word

Psalm 132:1–10 (ESV)

1 Remember, O LORD, in David’s favor,
all the hardships he endured,
2 how he swore to the LORD
and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob,
3 “I will not enter my house
or get into my bed,
4 I will not give sleep to my eyes
or slumber to my eyelids,
5 until I find a place for the LORD,
a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”

6 Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah;
we found it in the fields of Jaar.
7 “Let us go to his dwelling place;
let us worship at his footstool!”

8 Arise, O LORD, and go to your resting place,
you and the ark of your might.
9 Let your priests be clothed with righteousness,
and let your saints shout for joy.
10 For the sake of your servant David,
do not turn away the face of your anointed one.

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm speaks of David’s desire to build a temple for God’s dwelling place among the people of Israel. You can read more about this in 2 Samuel 7. The reason David wanted to build such a temple and was willing to put forth the effort to do so was because he wanted God to be near. David desired to dwell in the presence of the Lord.

Like David, we too desire to dwell in the presence of the Lord. However, we do not go to a temple to visit God. That was a temporary arrangement that has been superseded through the work of Jesus Christ in his life, death, and resurrection. Through Jesus, we have direct and immediate access to God the Father. So, we are always in the presence of God in a way that believers in the Old Testament never experienced.

Yet, we still long for more. We long for the day when we will dwell with God and know him face-to-face. That day is still future. The Book of Revelation tells us that one day God will create a new heaven and new earth where he will dwell with his people for all eternity. In Christ, we have immediate access to God today. And, in Christ, we have the promise of dwelling in his presence forever!

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The Blessed

boy wearing green crew neck shirt jumping from black stone on seashore

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Reading the Word

Psalm 128:1–6 (ESV)

1 Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD,
who walks in his ways!
2 You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.

3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
around your table.
4 Behold, thus shall the man be blessed
who fears the LORD.

5 The LORD bless you from Zion!
May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life!
6 May you see your children’s children!
Peace be upon Israel!

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm tells us that the one who fears the Lord is blessed. To “fear” God is to understand who we are in relation to him. He is our Creator, the one who sustains us, and the one who is Judge over all. We are called to live in obedience and will one day give an account before the Lord.

The psalm describes blessing as prospering in our work, being fruitful in our families, and living long lives. This is wonderful! However, when we consider what we read elsewhere in Scripture (e.g. Psalm 127), we know that this psalm is not offering a guarantee of such blessing. We are sinful and our lives are filled with disobedience, wrong thoughts and feelings, and improper motives. We do not fear the Lord as we ought. The blessings that we receive are by God’s grace.

We also must remember that we live in a sinful world where things often seem unfair. Those who are good struggle and those who are wicked seem to prosper (read Ecclesiastes for reflection on this truth). In the end, we must realize that the great blessings, prosperity, and peace that we long for will not be realized until we are with Christ in the new heaven and new earth. In the new creation there will be no sin, the wicked will be judged, and God’s people will experience true blessing and fellowship with the Lord. What a day that will be!

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

Salvation Is Near

2 Peter 313 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 85:9–13 (ESV)

9 Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land. 10 Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other. 11 Faithfulness springs up from the ground, and righteousness looks down from the sky. 12 Yes, the Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase. 13 Righteousness will go before him and make his footsteps a way.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Righteous is near to those who fear God. Through this salvation there is restoration. Verses 9-13 describe the restoration that is pictured throughout the Bible. It will be characterized by the steadfast love of God and the faithfulness of his people. It will be a time of righteousness and peace. God, in his goodness, is will restore the land.

In the Book of Revelation, the eternal state is described as a new creation where sin and the curse of Genesis 3 have been finally dealt with and eliminated. In the new world there is no more pain or suffering or death. Instead, there is righteousness and peace and life eternal. This is the hope of the gospel and the what salvation is about. One day, all who fear the Lord will dwell in his presence in the new world.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

Our Inheritance

2 Peter 313 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 69:34–36 (ESV)

34 Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and everything that moves in them. 35 For God will save Zion and build up the cities of Judah, and people shall dwell there and possess it; 36 the offspring of his servants shall inherit it, and those who love his name shall dwell in it.

Understanding and Applying the Word

When we come to the end of this psalm, David calls on all of creation to sing praises to God. Why? Because God’s salvation belongs to all who love His name.

The offspring of God, those who love His name, will inherit the earth. They will dwell in it. Jesus tells us that the meek will inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5). Paul tells us that all of creation waits for its redemption (Romans 8:18-25). Peter says that the hope of Christians is in a new heaven and a new earth (2 Peter 3:13). And in Revelation 21:1-4, we get a glimpse of the eternal state as God dwells with His people in a new heaven and a new earth where there is no mourning or crying or pain anymore. Sin and evil have been judged and are no more.

God’s salvation is cosmic. One day He will remove sin from His good creation and restore things to the way they should be. Let us praise Him as we look forward to that day!

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!