The Resurrection and the Life

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

One day a group of the Sadducees (religious leaders) came to Jesus taunting, “that there is no resurrection” (Matthew 22:23ff), yet they purposed a hypothetical question about resurrection in an ill attempt to debase Jesus. They told him the story of a woman who ended up marrying seven brothers; after one died she married the next one and on down the line, but the men kept dying and so she kept on marrying until she finally died herself. They then wanted Jesus to explain whose wife was she to be in the resurrection, hoping to make a fool of Jesus in front of a crowd because they did not believe that a resurrection was possible. The Sadducees were attempting to downgrade the value of the Scriptures they disapproved of, and yet they were so-called very pious men.

Jesus first addresses the Sadducees’ doubts about the resurrection, saying, “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God” (Matthew 22:29). The word not in the Greek Text is used subjectively, meaning that they did not “wish” to understand the Scriptures nor the power of God, and thus, this is why they err. Jesus’ expeditious confrontation in front of the multitude embarrassed the Sadducees as Jesus “had put the Sadducees to silence” (Matthew 22:34). Perhaps this was why they were so “sad-you-see.”

According to the Bible only “a fool” would deny God (Psalms 14:1, 53:1). This is the err of fools, plain and simple.

Jesus further corrects the Sadducees:

Matthew 22:30:
For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in Heaven.

In the Book of Acts 23:8 it says: “For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angels, nor spirit.” Denial of resurrection, angels, and spirit was the core foundation of their belief system, rather than on anything truly spiritual.

In Matthew (above), Jesus said that those in the resurrection would be as the angels of God in heaven, which the Sadducees did not believe existed. Angels according to Psalms 104:4 are spirit, something the Sadducees also did not believe existed either. The Sadducees were a microcosm of unbelief and, in fact, against everything that was truly spiritual, godly, and consequently everything Jesus stood for as the Savior of mankind.

It should be noted that Jesus was speaking to those of the Nation of Israel, and so in the resurrection of Israel they neither marry, nor are given in marriage. But for us, the Christian believers in this age of grace, we are the sons and daughters of God, and if we are married in this life, then when Christ returns we will stay married in the next life. Angels are servants of God, as Israel will be in the next life. But when we become saved we are born again and are the sons and daughters of God now and forever, and the married children of God will eternally be “heirs together of the grace of {eternal} life” (I Peter 3:7)!

Jesus continues:

Matthew 22:31-32:
-31: But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,
-32: I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.

If God is the God of the living (and He is), then this can only mean that the dead must live again in order that He may continue to be their God. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all had this hope of living again in (and because of) their future resurrection. God had promised them a future life in the Promised Land, the land in which they were actually buried in after their death. God promised them each an inheritance in that land, Abraham in Genesis 13:15, Isaac in Genesis 26:3, and Jacob in Genesis 28:13.

If we were to read carefully in the Book of Genesis, we would see that none of them ever acquired this Promised Land, so should we conclude that God’s Word is in error as the Sadducees believed? No, there must be a resurrection in order for them to receive their promised inheritance. “These all died in faith {believing faith}, not having received the promises {of the Promised Land}, but having seen them afar off {in their resurrected future}, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them {in the hope of their mind}, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth {in their lifetime on earth before the resurrection}” (Hebrews 11:13).

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were all buried in Canaan (Genesis 49:29-30, 50:13, Canaan is the land that would be known as the land of Israel). They all believed in their hearts that at some future time they would rise to literally inherit the Promised Land. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob wanted to rise up at the place God promised them and is why they were buried in that land, for they knew that what God promised them, He was also able to perform (Romans 4:20-21), and as common sense ordains they are not yet living there, hence it is still a future event. This is why Jesus said, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day {for Jesus was his hope of resurrection}: and saw it {as a future reality}, and was glad {in his heart}” (John 8:56). Note that Abraham was glad “past tense,” but Jesus did not say that Abraham IS GLAD “present tense,” because he still needs to be resurrected.

Isaac in his day also saw his future, “Accounting that God was able to raise him {Isaac} up, even from the dead” (Hebrews 11:19).

Jacob also believed this when he explained his hope of resurrection to his son Joseph at the end of his earthly life:

Genesis 48:3-4:
-3: And Jacob said unto Joseph, God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me,
-4: And said unto me, Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make thee a multitude of people; and will give this land to thy seed {to Israel} after thee for an everlasting possession {and you cannot have an everlasting possession without resurrection and eternal life}.

The resurrection of the human body for the Nation of Israel will be their true anticipated inheritance! They will receive this inheritance, and it will be enjoyed through an eternal lifetime on the Promised Land, lived and enjoyed on the new earth.