Whose wife will she be in heaven?
In Matthew 22:23-33 Jesus is being questioned by the Sanhedrin about a woman who had been married to seven brothers. The questioners wanted to know whose wife she would be in Heaven? “Jesus answered and said to them ‘You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.’” (Verse 29)
Was there an Old Testament verse to which Jesus was alluding that the Sanhedrin should have known about?
The Sadducees were one of the groups questioning Jesus. They did not believe in the resurrection. They believed that only the first five books of the Old Testament—the Books of Moses—were canonical and the other books were just nice writings. Since they did not study these books, they were unfamiliar with various verses throughout the Old Testament that alluded to the resurrection.
For example, Psalm 49:15 states, “But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself.”
Daniel 12:2 emphatically states, “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake.” At the end of the Book of Daniel, God tells him, “You will rest, and then at the end of the days, you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.” (Daniel 12:13)
Also 1 Samuel 2:6 (from Hannah’s prayer) states, “The LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up.” Job also knew of the resurrection. “If you would only hide me in the grave . . . If only you would set a time and remember me! If a man dies, will he live again? . . . I will wait for my renewal to come.” (Job 14:13-14)
The Sadducees wanted to entrap Jesus so they asked him a facetious question regarding a fictitious woman who had seven husbands. They wanted to know whose wife she would be at the resurrection of the dead on earth. (We believe they were not referring to the spiritual resurrection in heaven.)
Jesus answered, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.” (Matthew 22:29) What Jesus was expressing was they did not understand the scriptural teaching respecting such questions, and they were ignoring in their question the great Divine power that, at resurrection time, will be exercised and will straighten out all the difficulties of the situation posed.
We believe that the earthly resurrection (lifting up to perfection) will be a gradual work covering a period of a thousand years (known as the Millennium). Our Lord’s answer steps right over this Judgment period. Instead he shows how it will be in the everlasting future, which stretches out beyond the Millennium, and to which the Millennial Age serves but as a gateway, to admit the willing and worthy, and to cut off the disobedient. The parallel account is found in Luke 20:27-40.
Here in Verse 35 Jesus says, “They which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world (age) and the resurrection (lifted up to perfection), neither marry or are given in marriage.” It is evident from a close examination that our Lord refers to a period after the world has been tried.
Our Lord ends by saying, “But 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.’ He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” (Luke 20:37-38)
Here our Lord suggests that this statement by God is proof that the dead are to be raised because God would surely not refer to beings totally and forever blotted out of existence. The argument of Jesus is logical, that when God thus spoke of those who had been dead for centuries it implied their resurrection at some future time because God would not declare himself to be God of those who were out of existence. As is noted in the Luke account, some of the teachers of the law responded, “Well said, Teacher!” (Luke 20:39)
To learn more about the resurrection on heaven and earth listen to, “Are Jesus’ Ransom and Our Salvation the Same?”