They Will be Like the Angels in Heaven

We are continuing our meditation from yesterday on the topic of Jesus’ words in Luke, chapter 20, where Jesus was talking about the eternal state. To the Sadducees who had scoffed at the thought of a resurrection of the dead, He had four thoughts for them. We looked at the first one yesterday, we’ll look at the second and third today. Here’s what He said:

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.” (Luke 20:34-38).

2) The Lord speaks of the resurrection as a fact (v. 35), and although the Sadducees only use the five books of Moses, Christ used those books to prove the patriarchs are very much alive at the time He spoke these words, they are at the present time with the Lord. Jesus stated to them, “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” (vv. 37-38). When God spoke those words to Moses, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had been dead for more than 400 years. The Lord reminded the Sadducees that God didn’t say, “I was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but they were very much alive after they had passed from this world, and He used the present tense to speak of them.

The Sadducees could see no evidence of resurrection in the five books of Moses, but they had a moment of revelation at the insight of Jesus. After this debate, no one dared to ask Jesus any more questions. His arguments were causing the religious leaders to question their own beliefs and they were not successful in swaying the crowd away from Jesus.

3) There is no death in the eternal state, for those who are considered worthy will be like the angels (Verse 36). If we are to be like the angels, what does that mean? Angels are trusted with great power. When the Assyrians attacked Jerusalem, King Hezekiah of Israel cried out to the Lord to deliver Jerusalem. God sent one angel. The power of one angel was enough to defeat a whole army!

36Then the angel of the LORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! (Isaiah 37:36).

The word angel literally means messenger. They were described as having a brilliant appearance. Often, the reaction when people encountered them in Scripture was to be afraid and to fall to the ground (Daniel 10:5-9). Meeting an angel is overwhelming to our physical state. We could say much about the holiness, power, and character of the angels, but suffice it to say that the believer in Christ, if he is to be like the angels, will be an awesome personality that will radiate the likeness of the Lord. Paul the Apostle told the Corinthian Church that God’s people would be “sown in weakness” but “raised in power” (I Corinthians 15:43). We are told in the book of Daniel the prophet, that those who are counted worthy, or wise, will radiate light when the end shall come and the dead are raised:

2Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. 3Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever (Daniel 12:2-3).

I don’t know about you, but I want that! Are you helping those around you to come to receive the righteousness of Christ? If you are, then you are wise!

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

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

[1] https://bible.org/seriespage/3-sadducees

Called to be Married to Christ

The Person of Jesus is the Great Shepherd of the sheep who wanders over the hillsides to find the one lamb that becomes conscious of being a long way from the Shepherd of the flock (Luke 15:4). He knows and calls His people by name. Over a long period of time, He has gone to great lengths to show man his need of a Savior from sin. God’s plan called for the most loving thing that anyone could ever do for his or her beloved. He died for them to set them free from sin. This act of love brings about the strongest, most powerful thing in the universe—the power of love, agapé love. This kind of love is self-sacrificing and brings about a love response from the one who receives such grace. God has sent His Son into the world to win and woo His bride to Himself, especially those who are far away from Him and wandering near wolves. To show us just how special we are to Him, Paul the apostle, in writing to the church, the people of God at Corinth, deliberately speaks of those who are born-again believers as being prepared for a wedding with Christ Himself:

I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him (2 Corinthians 11:2).

The God of all creation wants us home and in a marriage covenant with His Son, the Lord Jesus. A wedding ceremony between a man and woman is just a picture of what God in Christ has done for His Church, the people called into a marriage relationship with Jesus. Paul the Apostle sees the ministry that God gave him as one who prepares the bride of Christ so that she may be pure and spotless for her wedding. No matter what you have done and no matter where you have been, the Bridegroom can make you clean or has made you clean, pure and spotless. If you are a Christian, you have been clothed with a robe of purity and righteousness that He bought for you at Calvary’s cross. He is calling for His bride to come home. Paul is not alone in using this analogy of a marriage relationship. The prophet Isaiah, also speaking under the inspiration of the Spirit, wrote:

As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you (Isaiah 62:5).

When you think of a wedding ceremony between a man and woman, of what traditions can you think of that perhaps symbolizes and represents the relationship between God and His church? One of the first things that speak of this heavenly union in a wedding ceremony, is that of the bride leaving her father and mother and the new couple becoming one with her betrothed. Paul the apostle writes in another letter about becoming one with Christ when he writes about marriage:

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery — but I am talking about Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:31-32).

Paul is speaking on two levels, about a man and his wife’s relationship but also about the heavenly union between Christ and His bride, the Church. How wonderful it is for our heavenly Bridegroom to call us into union with Himself. How loved we are!

Taken from the series Insights into Eternity found in the middle column. Click on the study The Wedding of the Lamb. Keith Thomas