Jesus and the Eternal State

We are continuing our meditation on the last week before the crucifixion of Christ from Luke’s Gospel (Scroll down for yesterday’s meditation). The Jewish elite that had control (Matthew 23:2) were very angry at Jesus when He upset the money-changers tables in the temple courts. They felt they had to undermine Christ’s spiritual authority by attacking His teaching. After using a simple coin to illustrate giving to Caesar what was his, and to God what was God’s (Luke 20:25), the Sadducees could not remain quiet about a future accountability. Jesus’ ideas of the Kingdom of God and an accountability in eternity were unacceptable to them. Now, it was their turn to try to discredit Christ. They prided themselves as being more intellectual and superior in their understanding. The pro-Roman Sadducees were a small aristocratic group that held sway over the Sanhedrin, the Jewish eldership that comprised the seventy elders and law makers of Israel.

It is thought that the name Sadducee comes from the name “Zadok,” the High Priest at the time of David and Solomon. Other scholars believe that the name Sadducee comes from the Hebrew word saddiq, translated into English as “righteous ones” (saddiqim is the plural).[1] They approached Messiah with their carefully prepared question. It was a hypothetical situation that, in their minds, proved that there could be no resurrection. They considered the idea of a bodily resurrection too ridiculous to be true.

27Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus with a question. 28“Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and have children for his brother. 29Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman and died childless. 30The second 31and then the third married her, and in the same way the seven died, leaving no children. 32Finally, the woman died too. 33Now then, at the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?” 34Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, 36and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection. 37But in the account of the bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 38He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” 39Some of the teachers of the law responded, “Well said, teacher!” 40And no one dared to ask him any more questions (Luke 20:27-40).

We may live in a physical world, but we are spiritual beings having a human experience. The Sadducees rejected the idea of eternity and heaven. They also rejected belief in angels, spirits, and the resurrection of the dead (Acts 23:8). They only believed in the physical world. They regarded such a question as the kind of thing that made belief in the resurrection of the body a preposterous idea. Furthermore, they could see no evidence of an afterlife in the five books of Moses, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. They were comfortable in their worldview, and Jesus’ teachings challenged their thinking. The Lord replied to the Sadducees with four different thoughts. We will look at just the first one today.

1) There will be no marriage in the eternal state for the believer. “But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage” (Luke 20:35). There will be no need for a covenant of marriage in the eternal state. Our covenant this side of eternity is “till death do us part,” but there is no death in the eternal state. The Lord gave us a covenant of marriage as a means of procreation and a means of filling the earth, but eternity is not populated in the same way. The only way to get there is for a person to receive the gift of eternal life through the substitutional death of God’s Son in full payment for our debt of sin. Have you received the gift of God—new life in Christ? (Romans 6:23).

Taken from the series on the Gospel of Luke, found in the middle column near to the top. To view, click here. Click on study 54. Luke 20:20-47. Questions About Eternity. Keith Thomas


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