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27. Then came to him certain of the Sadducees, which deny that there is any resurrection; and they asked him,
28. Saying, Master, Moses wrote unto us, If any man's brother die, having a wife, and he die without children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
29. There were therefore seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and died without children.
30. And the second took her to wife, and he died childless.
31. And the third took her; and in like manner the seven also: and they left no children, and died.
32. Last of all the woman died also.
33. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife of them is she? for seven had her to wife.
34. And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage:
35. But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:
36. Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.
37. Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
38. For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.
The Sadducees played an important role in the religious life of the people of Israel in the time of Jesus. They were in charge of the temple and its worship. We have seen before the temple was big money-making business for the Jews and in particular, the high priest who was a Sadducee and the Sadducees who were in charge. They did not want anything to disturb what they were doing and the tremendous amount of revenue they took in in the temple. Anything that came by way of doctrine or any kind of popular individual, a leader or special teacher or even a prophet who would speak that would be somewhat contrary or capture the attention of the people, they frowned upon that person and sought right away to move him out of the picture as quickly as possible because they didn’t want any threat to their system to institutionalize religion as they had it fixed. They were always sending out groups of people like a posse to trap Jesus. They had people who were experts at asking questions and doing religious argument in order to trap people.
They thought they had Jesus on many occasions but we know from the study of the gospels that He was able to answer anything they brought to Him. On this day they thought surely they would get Him all tangled up. He won’t be able to answer this question about the resurrection. So they presented this outlandish example, whether it really happened or not is questionable. They made it about as impossible as you could make it. They told Jesus here was a man who had six brothers. There were seven of them all together and one of them married and he died before they had any children. You know Moses said that the woman should marry a brother or at least a brother should marry this woman and raise up offspring so as to further the name of the brother. Then they went on to say that this happened again and again and again seven times. The men died. She finally died, too. But they asked “Whose wife shall she be in the resurrection?’ Well, when Jesus deals with this same question in the book of Matthew, the first thing he answers is not included in our report here in Luke. I want to mention that. Jesus says to them a powerful statement and Matthew recorded it. He said ‘You do err. You make a big mistake by not knowing two things: by not knowing the Scriptures, and you are supposed to know them all, nor the power of God.’ That is a big charge that Jesus is leveling against the religious leaders. How would you like it if somebody said to you ‘You’ve been a Christian a long time and you don’t know the Scriptures and you don’t know the power of God.’ How would you like it if they came to the leaders of the church and said ‘You’re doing wrong because you don’t know the Scriptures and you don’t know the power of God.’?
We’ve had a challenge or two like that here at North Cleveland. We’ve had one particular woman for certain that she came to me and said ‘The whole Church of God is doing Satan worship. Ray Hughes is the ring leader of it.’ She was accusing us all of worshipping the devil. There are charges leveled a lot of times to try to trap and ensnare and twist and turn the Scriptures. Jesus said to them if you really knew the Scriptures that you claim to know and that you are supposed to be involved in you would know that the Scriptures plainly teach something about life after death and something about life beyond this world and the reality that is involved with life after death when people go to be with the Lord like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. You would understand. You should know this. If you knew the power of God, you just don’t know the power of God. You don’t know the Word of God nor the power of God when you come into contact with it. Now that is really gross religious ignorance for people who claim to be leaders. They don’t know the Scriptures and they don’t know the power of God. Yet they carry forth with all the religious paraphernalia of the temple because it rakes in millions of dollars, so to speak from the people who come from all over the world to offer sacrifices. They couldn’t claim to be a non-profit in that day. Here in our text Luke includes some other things that Jesus said that go a little bit further and a little bit different from the way that Matthew said it, so let’s just follow the Scriptures to see the truths that Jesus brought forth in regard to this question in answering the question.
First of all, after making sure that they understand that what they are asking is a foolish question that is brought out of error and ignorance of the Word and of the power of God, Jesus says the children of this world, the people of this age they marry and give in marriage. Of course, the Scripture has made that as plain as could be. It’s an institution of God. Marriage and the home and having children is something that God has set up and blessed and sanctified in this world. We thank God for that and we thank God also in these days that voices are being lifted against the forces that would endeavor to tear this down and take it away as God intended. You and I are being faced every day in our country and indeed, around the world with people who would like to destroy this.
Jesus said that the people of this world, the generation of this world, the children of this world of this life, of the physical life here on earth, they marry and are given in marriage. But in that world, the world to come, the world that is beyond this life, He said they do not marry, neither are they given in marriage. He is saying that the fleshly physical aspects of life on this earth that we place such a premium on are not top priority in the world to come. The whole spiritual reality of our existence with God comes to its fullest understand. That is difficult for us to understand in this world. As you know, the Mormons teach eternal marriages, that whoever you marry here, you will be married to in heaven and you will just go on and carry on that marriage and that relationship through eternity. The Bible doesn’t exactly teach that. Jesus doesn’t teach that. He says in that world, they don’t marry and they are not given in marriage. But then He says neither do they die any more. The fact is, He says they can’t die any more. It seems to me that that is one of the greatest truths that we could latch onto and understand. We are all of this world. We have entered into a world where there is trouble and sorrow and sickness and death and dying and all these things. We are part of a natural fleshly world where all these things take place. We are part of it. We cannot escape it. Sometimes we question and wonder why God heals somebody and not somebody else. You can’t answer those questions. There are just some questions that I don’t think you can really answer, and I don’t think it does a lot of good for us preachers to try to gloss it over. We try to ignore the fact that people have deep questions and there are sorrows and there are real questions as to what is happening to them and why. There are just some things that we have to say this came about not because of who we are or what we have done or what we didn’t do, but it is just part of the world that we have inherited by being born into this world. Something will take us out of here unless the Lord comes and He takes us out. This world is not our home and that is a hard lesson to learn. It is very difficult for us to accept. We do everything we can to stay here for the most part, because there is so much of this life that is wonderful and worth living for and brings great joy and great happiness.
So Jesus says they can’t die anymore. We will no longer be in an environment or in a situation or in a world and He called it that world where there is death. Isn’t that a marvelous thing? No more death! You can’t die anymore! He literally says it; you can’t die. Neither can they die anymore, Jesus said. He should know, don’t you think? And we should pay attention to what He says. Death is gone. The resurrection really swallows up death once and for all for the saints of God and the people of God and there is never any threat, never any fear of death. We may have fear of dying here. We may be anxious sometimes when we are really sick and we face death’s door. There are people in this house the death angel has been by your and somehow by the mercies of God you didn’t go at that time. The time comes when people can’t die anymore. Thank God.
Then he said something that is hard to understand. He said they will be equal to the angels. The Matthew version says they will be as the angels. To “be like” and to “be as” the angels is to be equal to the angels. They are talking about being equal to the angels in the sense of never dying and in the sense of spiritual existence with God worshipping Him. They won’t have to be like angels to fight the forces of evil. That will all be over. They won’t have to perform the ministry of angels and be equal to angels in preaching the gospel because by that time, the angels will have preached the gospel throughout the earth in the great tribulation. The saints of God won’t have to even worry about preaching the gospel anymore, but be as angels and equal to the angels because they will never die anymore and there will always be eternal life.
Sometimes I wish that I could come to understand better and comprehend eternal life. I could think of life after death, but I can’t comprehend eternity. If you could explain it, I wish you would talk to me. I’d like to sit and listen to you. I know what the Bible says and I know the different kinds of arguments that attempt to explain eternity and the only way we can figure it is somehow in relationship to what we know as time. But see, the Bible says that God dwells, He inhabits eternity. He is from everlasting to everlasting. With God it is always now! He sees the ending of our time from the beginning and He knows the whole thing. Beyond that, eternity, who can comprehend it?
Paul says ear has not heard, eye has not seen neither has it entered into the heart of man the things that God has in store for His people. But he adds a beautiful line there. But it has been revealed to us by His Spirit. The only way you can really begin to comprehend such a subject as the resurrection and life after death is through the revelation of the Holy Spirit helping us to grasp the teachings of the Word of God. Ah, the wisdom of God. In no way can the wisdom of this world compare with it. Paul would say the world through world’s wisdom, meaning philosophy knew not God. That is not the way you come to understand God. It has to be done by the Spirit and accepted by faith and just simply accepts what the Word of God says.
I’m glad that the Word of God teaches it and the Word of God says that eternity and eternal life and never being able to die is a reality in the future for those who have put their trust and faith in Jesus Christ the Lord. And then He says another thing. He said they will be the children of God. That is a great subject in itself. The children, the people of God will be known then as His children. We’ll be coming into our Father’s house. Jesus referred to it like that. In my Father’s house are many mansions or dwelling places. He said ‘If it wasn’t so I would tell you. I would really tell you about it clearly but I’m telling you that God has prepared a place for you and I am going to prepare a place for you.’
I love the gospel of John in those areas where he is giving us this gospel for troubled hearts. There are four questions by four disciples. All of the questions have to do with seeing and the spiritual reality and wishing to be with Jesus and understanding. Jesus says the way that you understand this is that you believe in God and you believe in Me and you believe in a place called heaven that I’m going to prepare a place for you and believe that I’m coming back to receive you unto Myself. Oh Lord, help us to get a little more enthusiastic and a little more excited about the coming of the Lord and the end of this life here. Because then we are going to the Father’s house because we will be the children of God. In this world we live as the children of God by new birth, but then the Father’s children with no chance of separation or parting or death anymore.
Then Jesus uses a beautiful illustration as He closes these statements. He says the dead are raised even Moses showed at the bush when he called the Lord the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. He is saying that Moses had this experience when God spoke to him of understanding that God is the living God, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob and what Jesus is saying is that they are all living with Him. God is not the God of the dead. He does not rule and reign over the dead. He is saying that people who die in the Lord are living and they go on and live with the Lord and wait for the time of the resurrection. That is a great time and event and day. Jesus said I am the resurrection. It is a person as well who comes to bring eternal everlasting life at the resurrection. But He is saying by this that people who die physically, they go on and are with the Lord and God is the God of the living, not of the dead. God is not, in a sense, busy looking over the dead. He sees the spiritual reality of people as they are who are with Him and He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and many, many, many saints that have gone on to be with Him through the centuries.
The Bible is filled with many passages that talk about life after death and especially they talk about the resurrection. I’m going to say also that the testimonies of individual people give testimony to the fact that there is a reality beyond the grave. Would you testify and respond how many of you know of testimonies of people in their dying moments let it be known that they were seeing something beautiful or wonderful or there was no fear or worry about death? Would you raise your hand as a testimony? Oh, I wish you would look! All over this house! Thank God. Thank God.
I’m glad that Jesus was, out of His teaching, let us know that God is the God of the living, meaning that everyone in Him who dies and goes on is alive somewhere. That brings up that awful question of us being weaned away from this fleshly tabernacle we live in. That’s what Paul calls it, a tabernacle or a tent. He refers to the body when he said we know that if this earthly tabernacle, the house that we live in, if it were dissolved we have a building of God reserved for us in heaven. I like that concept because you are trading a tent for a building that God has prepared. The life there is as much different and as much greater as living here in a tent or in a nice home. Oh thank God that one day we will just fold up the tent, move out and go on to the building that He has prepared.
The hope of eternal life and the hope of the resurrection. Wouldn’t it be something if we knew when it’s going to take place? Wouldn’t it be something if we knew when the Lord was coming? We don’t know when, but we know He is!
Would you stand to your feet please?
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