An elderly couple were killed in a car accident. They got to heaven and Peter gave them a tour, “Here is your oceanside condo, over there are the tennis courts, swimming pool, and two golf courses. If you get hungry, just stop by any of the many gourmet restaurants located throughout the area.” Doggone it, Mary,” the old man hissed when Peter walked off, “we could have been here ten years ago if you hadn’t heard about all that stupid oat bran, wheat germ, and low-fat diets!”
Mark 12:23-27 (TNIV)
23 At the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?” 24 Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? 25 When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 26 Now about the dead rising—have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!”
For those who are new to the story: The Sadducees are trying to trick Jesus with words. They don’t believe in life after death (the resurrection), so they ask Jesus a trick question about the resurrection. They also don’t believe in angels.
In the answer that Jesus gives to this preposterous question posed by the Sadducees, we will get a small glimpse of the eternal aspects of heaven.
If you have ever heard that there will no sex in heaven, this indeed is the verse that this thought came from. Many assume that since Jesus is telling us that we will neither marry nor be given to marriage that there must not be any sex. I would point out that He doesn’t say that we won’t recognize our spouses, just that there is no need for marriage at that point. Jesus simply says that we will neither marry nor be given to marriage in the hereafter. Personally, I believe that the eternal heaven will be one long and never ending blissful moment!
I read it best put like this:
“At its very best, sexual activity creates a great sense of oneness between lovers, a superb moment of intense intimacy, and wonderful physical feelings. Lovers wish their excitement would last and last, but too quickly life returns to normal.
People who ponder eternity (and who doesn’t?) are right to hope that the freedom, intensity, and intimacy they experience now will be transformed, expanded, and made utterly glorious in new life with God in heaven, where joys last and last, and never grow old. We don’t know what God has planned for us, but we trust in his love. We believe that the beauty and excitement we feel now is not a trick, but a foretaste of an even better experience.
In heaven, our relationship with all our brothers and sisters will be so intense, so filled with love, that earthly marital bliss will seem shallow by comparison. Heaven will be a wonderful place for you. Trust Jesus fully to lead you there.”
Okay, let’s get back to the reply that Jesus provides the Sadducees in the form of a question, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? “:
1. Jesus informs them that they do not know the Scriptures as well as they think they do (even though they limit themselves to only the first five books of Moses!).
Exodus 3:6 (TNIV, God is speaking)
“I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.”……
Look closely: At the moment in time that God is telling this to Moses, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are dead. Yet God refers to them in the present tense. Otherwise, God would have said, “I was”. Indeed, God has a continuing relationship with these men…….because of the truth of the resurrection (life after death).
2. Jesus points out that they are limiting God’s power, that they don’t know the power of God!
Next, Jesus points out that there indeed will be a resurrection into a life beyond this life, (Verse 26, “Now about the dead rising–“) and points out in verse 27 that indeed….and this is what I think is most important………….in fact, take this next statement to the bank because it is valuable to take to heart, to ponder, and to LIVE out every day: “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”
As we live daily in relationship with God, as we live in the kingdom of heaven, with God as our father and Jesus as our king, right here on this earth……….we are assured that not only will that relationship with God, indeed, with Jesus, extend into eternity…..our relationship will become stronger and more beautiful than we can humanly imagine!
That….I can take to the bank!