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consiglieri

Matthew 22 Indicates Jesus Taught Marriage In Heaven

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It is frequently remarked that marriage in heaven is not taught in the Bible. I think we have a strong indication in Matthew 22 that Jesus taught exactly that.

I am referring to the story where the Sadducees came to Jesus and gave him the hypothetical about the woman "with" them who had seven husbands and all of them died, then asked the question as to who she would be married to in the resurrection.

Jesus responds that she would be married to none of them because there is no marrying or giving in marriage in heaven. I will give the text below.

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I think the key point lies in the phrase, "Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God." No where in the setup that the pharisee's gave implied eternal marriage (because they erred and did not know the gospel). Eternal marriage is only possible through temple ordinances.

Without sealing, that marriage would not continue. Therefore Jesus gave them the only logical answer based on their scenario.

Other faiths then draw assumptions that Christ meant that for every marriage; however, they too err in their assumptions.

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Wow another door is opened in my mind.

Thanks :P<_<

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I think the key point lies in the phrase, "Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God."

This is an important point. Why does Jesus tell the Sadducees that they are wrong because they don't know the scriptures nor the power of God?

One view could say that Jesus is reprimanding them here about their lack of belief in the resurrection, which the scriptures that the Sadducees did not accept (everything other than the Torah) teach, but which the Torah does not explicitly affirm.

The other view would be that Jesus is telling them relating to marriage in heaven that they do not know the scriptures nor the power of God. In other words, what "power of God" would it require for people to not be married in heaven?

It would seem that the only reason for a "power of God" to be required would be for the purpose of uniting people in marriage in heaven.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection. They were staunch opponents of the Pharisees, who agreed with Jesus that "at the time of the end" the dead would be raised. The Pharisees disagreed as to precisely what the resurrection would entail. For example, some later rabbis taught that the dead would be raised with clothes on (Babylonian Talmud, San. 90B) and with the same physical defects they had in this life (ibid., San. 91B, though these would afterward be healed). They apparently felt that life in the resurrection would be much like the present life, with the exception of Israel's total hegemony over the nations. They may, in fact, have even expected they would eventually die again. This view may be presumed in the Sadduccees' question. Another school, which was strongly dependent on Enochic literature, held that resurrected people would be glorified like the angels, and that even heaven and earth would pass away in a great apocalypse and be recreated. This very other-worldly sort of perspective is the one we most often find in Essenism and the New Testament.

The Pharisees-- even those who held the second view I described above-- probably just assumed that marriage would continue after the resurrection. It was, after all, a very sacred institution for Jews in the first century. It was something of a moral mandate, in fact (except for certain ascetics, like the Essenes, Banus, John, and probably also Jesus). The Sadducees who approached Jesus had probably already used this question on the Pharisees with satisfying results. No doubt they thought themselves very clever. They certainly did not expect Jesus' answer:

Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven." (Mt. 22:29-30)

In understanding the meaning of Jesus' statement, it is helpful to view it against the backdrop of Enochic literature. I will cite from the following article:

'Those Who Have Not Defiled Themselves with Women' : Revelation 14:4 and the Book of Enoch By: Olson, D. C., Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 59(3, 1997)492-510

The full text is available through ATLA.

Olson writes,

The relevant section of the BW [book of Watchers], chaps. 6-19, tells the famous tale of the angelic "sons of God" who commingle with the "daughters of men" before the flood and produce monstrous offspring (cf. Gen 6:1-4). For this crime they are condemned by God and bound in pits of the earth to await future judgment.

The language of six pertinent passages is striking: These angels "took for themselves wives from all whom they chose; and they began to cohabit with them and to defile themselves with them" (1 Enoch 7:1).[18] This crime is reported to God by the holy angels: "they cohabited with the daughters of the men of the earth, and had intercourse with them, and they were defiled by the females" (1 Enoch 9::P. Shortly after this, God instructs the archangel Michael concerning the leader of the angelic rebellion and his followers "who, with him, were united with the daughters of men, to defile themselves with them" (1 Enoch 10:11). Again, shortly after this, in language even closer to Rev 14:4, Enoch himself is instructed to go and announce doom to these fallen angels, these "watchers of heaven who have left the high heaven and the holy, eternal Sanctuary and have defiled themselves with women; and they themselves do as the children of earth do, and have taken to themselves wives" (1 Enoch 12:4). Later still, God explains in detail to Enoch the nature of the Watchers' crime:

Go and say to the watchers of heaven who have sent you to intercede on their behalf: "It is you who should be petitioning on behalf of men, and not men on your behalf. Why have you left the high heaven and the eternal Holy One, and lain with women, and defiled yourselves with the daughters of men and taken to yourselves wives, and acted like the children of earth and begotten giants for sons? But you were holy, spirits that live forever, yet you defiled yourselves with the blood of women, and have begotten (children) by the blood of flesh; and you lusted after the daughters of men and have produced flesh and blood, just as they do who die and perish. It was for this reason I gave them females that they might impregnate them and thus produce children by them, that pregnancy should never fail them upon the earth. But as for you, you formerly were spirits that live for ever and do not die for all generations for ever. And for this reason I did not provide wives for you, because for celestial spirits heaven is their dwellingplace." (1 Enoch 15:2-7; our emphasis)

In other words, the angels are intended ever to remain virgins!

...

According to the Synoptics, Jesus himself, in a teaching which appears to lean heavily on exactly the same argument advanced in 1 Enoch 15:2-7, remarks that

the sons of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are accounted worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, and they cannot die any more, because they are equal to angels (*[This character cannot be represente into ASCII text.]) and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. (Luke 20:34-36, RSV)

As in the BW, marriage is forbidden to the angels because, being immortal, they have no need to propagate their species. It is possible that Jesus' remark about those who have "made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven" (Matt 19:12) relies on a similar logical connection: that there are a few who are called to live a celibate lifestyle in anticipation of the kingdom of heaven, where immortality--angelic status--makes marriage obsolete.[29] In both of these Synoptic texts, however, little detail is given. Some kind of future angelic life for God's people is spoken of, and this life is apparently free of sexual activity, but the subject is dropped almost as soon as it is raised.

Olson also discusses other biblical passages, especially one in Revelation, that depend on the same Enochian logic.

-CK

P.S. - I think your OP is correct as to the nature of the "trap": "under the terms of the hypothetical, he would have to respond that the woman had seven husbands. This would probably be considered anathema to his audience, and a ripe subject for ridicule."

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I remember the subject coming up a couple months back...and I find it fascinating. The blatant question is, "Why the question at all?" Where did it come from? If it wasn't of Christian origin, it doesn't make up a lot of sense to bring it up. The idea came from somewhere, and it certainly wasn't the Jews nor Romans.

PacMan

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The idea came from somewhere, and it certainly wasn't the Jews nor Romans.

Why "certainly" not the Jews? See my post above. It was a perfectly reasonable assumption from a Jewish perspective, especially one (like the Sadducees') not steeped in ascetic/Enochian tradition like the Essenes and Christians were. Nevertheless, Jesus rejects the assumption.

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My View:

Many of Christ's comments were directed toard the group he was speaking to. I have too much to do right now to type this out in detail with references, but this was a subject for a lecture I attended the other day.

Bottom line: Christ was telling the Sudducees in not the nicest way "What does it matter? You err, you don't understand the scriptures. Where you are going, it won't even matter if there is a possibility for marriage." After this he then talks about the ressurection.

Just a thought.

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A second note I meant to include. This would wok fine with your comments CK on the Angels, as the LDS theology is such that those who are in the Terestial or Telestial will be without marriage. Accordingly, those who don't accept eternal marriage are referred to as "Angels" having no increase and are neither married nor given in marriage. If you can't accept a principle of heaven, then don't worry, you won't have to deal with it.

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I think Pac Man has a valid point. This story doesn't make a whole lot of sense, unless there was already some existing belief that marriage continued in the resurrection. In other words, if the Sadducees already knew that no one believed in marriage after death, their question would be silly and pointless.

I have a somewhat different take on this whole thing. My take is positioned on the following factors:

1- The Book of Tobit

2 - The Sadducees didn't like Jesus or the Pharisees

3 - The Pharisees didn't like Jesus or the Sadducees

4 - The true doctrine of Eternal Marriage had not been widely taught

5 - The Pharisees believed that marriage continued in the resurrection.

6 - Levirate marriage allowed a man to have more than one wife, but not a woman to have more than one husband.

7 - The Sadducees and the Pharisees were both present when this exchange took place.

8 - With all this in mind, Christ's response makes sense and is rather brilliant

Le me see if I can now tie all this together. The Sadducees seemed to have taken their hypothetical situation from the Book of Tobit. It is interesting to note that in the Book of Tobit, Sara, who was married to seven men, never consummated any of these marriages, which meant that she was never considered to be legally married to any of them:

Tobit 3:8

Because that she had been married to seven husbands, whom Asmodeus the evil spirit had killed, before they had lain with her. Dost thou not know, said they, that thou hast strangled thine husbands? thou hast had already seven husbands, neither wast thou named after any of them.

The Sadducees not only ignored this part of the story, but they also ignored the eighth marriage, which was to Tobias, which was not only consummated, but according to the angel Raphael, fore-ordained:

Tobit 6:17

And the devil shall smell it, and flee away, and never come again any more: but when thou shalt come to her, rise up both of you, and pray to God which is merciful, who will have pity on you, and save you: fear not, for she is appointed unto thee from the beginning; and thou shalt preserve her, and she shall go with thee. Moreover I suppose that she shall bear thee children. Now when Tobias had heard these things, he loved her, and his heart was effectually joined to her.

This would explain why the Savior responded the way He did, "Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God."

I believe that the Sadducees question was a swipe at both Jesus and the Pharisees. I believe that there was some knowledge of Jesus having privately taught of marriage after death and the Sadducees were trying to get Jesus to side with the Pharisees, and mock them both by inferring that if marriage continued in the resurrection, Sarah would have to be married to seven men, which was completely contrary to all Jewish law. The Pharisees did believe that marriage continued in the Resurrection, but their belief was different than what Christ would have taught His followers. Christ's teachings on eternal marriage were not for the masses at the time, but I believe they were taught privately. It was one of the mysteries as Paul alludes to in Ephesians 5 (The Greek word for Mystery being, "musterion", meaning, "a secret or "mystery" through the idea of silence imposed by initiation into religious rites"):

31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

So, Christ's response is brilliant. He does not have to take any sides. He points out the Sadducees ignorance and at the same time refuted the Pharisees incorrect understanding of marriage after death without having to expound on the true doctrine, which would have been akin to casting pearls before swine. His answer was absolutely accurate. None of these men who were married to Sara would have been married to her in the Resurrection, because they were never officially married to her in life, whereas, Tobias was, which part of the story was not mentioned by the Sadducees. In addition, He never says there would not be marriage in the resurrection, only that men would not get married, and women would not be given in marriage, in the resurrection. This is very different than marriage continuing into the resurrection.

In this context, the whole scene makes sense. I have seen numerous attempts by non LDS to explain this, but never has it made any real sense, they always left me scratching my head.

T-Shirt

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My View:

Many of Christ's comments were directed toard the group he was speaking to. I have too much to do right now to type this out in detail with references, but this was a subject for a lecture I attended the other day.

Bottom line: Christ was telling the Sudducees in not the nicest way "What does it matter? You err, you don't understand the scriptures. Where you are going, it won't even matter if there is a possibility for marriage." After this he then talks about the ressurection.

Just a thought.

The Lukan version does not allow this interpretation:

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

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Four things...

1. Jesus was speaking to a group of "Sadducees" who did not believe in the resurestion. Therefore would not have taken part in any ordinance concerning marriage beyond the grave. Note that in the opening question they said "one of our brethern, married a wife"

2. "Ye do err not knowing the scriptures"...note evidence of lost scripture, there is no scripture in OT that discusses this issue.

3. If there were no marriage in heaven...Jesus would have just said "NO". The reason they were asking is because there was teaching concerning such and they disagreed with it!

4. JS revelation on ""Celestial Marriage" is in perfect harmony with Christ's...Those who do not enter into it become "ministering angels"...See D&C 132:16.

Pa Pa :P

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Lukan as in from the Gospel of Luke?

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CaliforniaKid,

First off, let me say that I don't really see any contradictions in your reading. I think that is one possibility.

On the other hand, let me point out that our reading of the Lukan version is also coherent. We believe that *everyone* is resurrected (good or bad) and so in verse 35, it isn't the "resurrection from the dead" which is the defining characteristic but "worthy to obtain that world." We believe in multiple spheres/kingdoms, and that those who are "equal unto the angels" are not in the highest such kingdom (see Hebrews for further scriptural justification that Christ and the celestial saints will be made higher than the angels).

Hope this helps,

Zeta-Flux

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Hi Matt,

Yes: Luke 20:35.

Zeta Flux:

The fact that Luke speaks of those who will be counted worthy of taking part in the resurrection of the dead implies that not everyone will be so counted. I don't know about you, but the way I read the New Testament is that there are two resurrections: one at the beginning of "that age" (the millennium) and then another general resurrection after the millennium. In the first resurrection the "martyrs" or righteous ones are raised, whereas in the general resurrection everyone is raised and subjected to judgment.

-CK

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Foks, T-Shirt made a substantive post which was not addressed.

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CaliforniaKid,

I don't dispute that that is one possible reading. In fact, it closely mirrors our belief. The only difference is that we believe there is further differentiation in the two resurrections (morning and afternoon of the first resurrection, celestial vs. terrestrial vs. telestial vs. sons of perdition, and that sort of thing). In our belief system, we believe that very righteous people will come forth in the first resurrection, and be made equal to the angels, but there is another class of people who will be worthy of even greater blessings. They will sit in God's throne, and be joint heirs with Christ.

It boils down to how one reads "equal" in the phrase "equal to the angels." From our point of view, angels are resurrected people. From the evangelial point of view, they are an entirely separate creation. From your point of view "equal" would mean in regards to specific characteristics (being immortal, not able to die, etc...). In our view, "equal" would mean given the angelic calling/responsibility--i.e. actually being made an angel.

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The way my heretical mind sees it is Ephesians 5:31 states that a man and a woman become one flesh, and as such they shall be resurrected as one flesh. It is true that no one will marry or be given into marriage in the resurrection, but prior to the resurrection â??â?¦whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heavenâ? (Matt. 16: 19).

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Steuss,

Part of the trouble with that suggestion is that it requires that Jesus totally dodged the question. The same goes for T-Shirt's post. Another problematic element is that while "marry" is an active verb, "be given in marriage" can include both a passvie and stative sense. A passive sense would mean that after the resurrection no one will give them in marriage. A stative sense would mean that they will not [continue to] be given in marriage.

Zeta Flux,

Your view might be tenable if "equal to the angels" was part of the subject of Jesus' statement. We find it, however, in the predicate. In other words, Jesus says that "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, for they shall be like [or equal to] the angels." He does not say "Those who shall be like [or equal to] the angels will neither marry nor be given in marriage."

-CK

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Steuss,

Part of the trouble with that suggestion is that it requires that Jesus totally dodged the question. The same goes for T-Shirt's post.

To an extent, I agree. However, I think the Matthew 7:6 provides justification for such a "dodge."

Another problematic element is that while "marry" is an active verb, "be given in marriage" can include both a passvie and stative sense. A passive sense would mean that after the resurrection no one will give them in marriage. A stative sense would mean that they will not [continue to] be given in marriage.

Do you happen to have an NT concordance (or anyone else)? I only have an OT one. I'm wondering what is entailed by â??gamizontai.â?

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To an extent, I agree. However, I think the Matthew 7:6 provides justification for such a "dodge."

Matthew 7:6 justifies a refusal to answer, but does it justify playing word games or giving a non-answer? It seems pretty clear to me in the context of Matthew 22 and Luke 20 that Jesus was giving a fairly straightforward answer to their question. In fact, he even gave a straightforward answer to the question behind the question. What's more, I think the Enochian context I provided is very important evidence in favor of the kind of straightforward reading I am proposing.

Do you happen to have an NT concordance (or anyone else)? I only have an OT one. I'm wondering what is entailed by â??gamizontai.â?

If you mean a lexicon, I like the convenience of the ones on crosswalk.com. If necessary I can look it up in the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, but those entries are lengthy and I'd have to boot up my mom's computer to do it. http://bible.crosswalk.com/Lexicons/

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CaliforniaKid,

I'm not following your logic here. Are you arguing that I'm trying to state the converse of what Jesus said? I am not (although I do believe there is modern revelation giving a partial converse). I am saying that my reading is that they cannot die nor marry *because* they are made like the angels. For others, who are not made like the angels, it might be possible to marry.

I view the Matthew and Luke scriptures as two descriptions of the same event. I don't believe either necessarily represents exactly what Jesus said (or even meant), but the way I read the Matthew account, Jesus is limiting His statement to apply to the people in the story given by the Sadducees (and people like them). The people in the story have lived worthy of the first resurrection (or at least, that seems to be implied), but not exaltation (one of the "mysteries" T-shirt mentioned).

Best,

Zeta-Flux

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Matthew 7:6 justifies a refusal to answer, but does it justify playing word games or giving a non-answer? It seems pretty clear to me in the context of Matthew 22 and Luke 20 that Jesus was giving a fairly straightforward answer to their question. In fact, he even gave a straightforward answer to the question behind the question.

Actually, you make a really good point here, and I evidently need to rethink my position. It does seem that Christ did give an answer, now we just have to figure out what that answer truly was.

What's more, I think the Enochian context I provided is very important evidence in favor of the kind of straightforward reading I am proposing.

I admittedly didnâ??t read much of your post (#5) which was rude of me, but my brain is still recovering from vacation mode. I have copied the post and printed it out to read through tonight after my brain has recovered a bit more. I apologize for not reading it yet, and perhaps I should wait before commenting any further until Iâ??ve taken a thoughtful gander.

If you mean a lexicon, I like the convenience of the ones on crosswalk.com. If necessary I can look it up in the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, but those entries are lengthy and I'd have to boot up my mom's computer to do it. http://bible.crosswalk.com/Lexicons/

Thank you CK, I appreciate it. It didnâ??t pull up any entries for â??gamizontai.â? I was able to find an entry at biblemaster.com though. According to their entry, it is a verb, and derived from the same word that â??gamousinâ? is derived from. This almost appears to me to be Greek middle voice in this verse, and nothing more than a reiteration of the first part of the verse. I guess it all comes down to what â??scripturesâ? and â??power of G-dâ? they didnâ??t understand.

Once again, sorry for not reading your entire post yet. Hopefully you will spare me from your wrath...

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Two points that always fascinate me when this topic is discussed:

Point One: Will couples be married in the afterlife?

When this scripture about eternal marriage is brought up on the board, protestant, evangelical, and Catholic posters will almost all say that Christ was not talking about eternal marriage and that the LDS are wrong in their interpretation.

However...

If you talk to your average protestant, evangelical, or Catholic neighbors and ask them if they feel that they will be together as a couple (still married) or separated in the afterlife they will almost all state that they will still be together.

So which is it? What do protestants, evangelicals, and Catholics believe on this subject? Together or apart? If together, what is the problem with the LDS interpretation of this scripture?

Point Two: Bind on earth, bound in heaven

The good doctor makes an excellent point. What power were the apostles given and what were they "binding on earth" that would later be "bound in heaven?"

I'm guessing a Catholic would respond that the sacraments would be bound on earth and would later be bound in heaven and I'm okay with that answer mostly.

How about the protestants and evangelicals? What were the apostles binding?

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Zeta Flux,

My point is that Jesus offers no such qualification. Or, in other words, he does not limit himself to the people in the story. To the contrary, he makes his comments apply to all "those who are counted worthy of partaking in that age and in the resurrection from the dead." This entire category of people is said to become "like the angels." Your reading seems to me to require that we add an additional qualifier, either by limiting ourselves to Sadducees who manage to attain salvation or by moving "be like the angels" from the predicate to the subject of the sentence.

Thank you CK, I appreciate it. It didnâ??t pull up any entries for â??gamizontai.â? I was able to find an entry at biblemaster.com though. According to their entry, it is a verb, and derived from the same word that â??gamousinâ? is derived from. This almost appears to me to be Greek middle voice in this verse, and nothing more than a reiteration of the first part of the verse. I guess it all comes down to what â??scripturesâ? and â??power of G-dâ? they didnâ??t understand.

Once again, sorry for not reading your entire post yet. Hopefully you will spare me from your wrath...

Herr Doktor,

I shall try to hold my wrath in abeyance for the time being, though it taxeth my soul greatly. :P

The middle and passive voices are identical in form. Since the middle voice is generally reflexive, and that option doesn't work in this case, I'd say it would have to be passive voice (as it is translated in English translations like the KJV).

I am of the opinion that the reference to the "scriptures" and "the power of God" was primarily referring to the issue of the resurrection. Immediately after making this accusation, Jesus quotes the Old Testament to the effect that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the God of the living, not the dead. As for power, God has power even over death and is therefore perfectly capable of reviving his people.

Kawikadave,

Most evangelicals believe that we will be together in heaven, but not necessarily in terms of a marriage relationship. Many evangelicals, in fact, envision heaven as a more abstract plane of existence than the present one where "marriage" is actually an unnecessarily limiting category. I certainly can't pontificate, though, on what heaven will be like (if in fact there is a heaven to speak of). All I can do is offer a straightforward interpretation of this Jesus-saying, which certainly seems to me to say that the institution of marriage will not persist in the afterlife.

In Matthew, the church's power to bind and loose is granted in the context of excommunication. So, presumably, that is at least one thing that could be bound or loosed: people can be bound up to eternal life, or loosed to the buffetings of Satan. However, I believe that the church's power is much broader than that. The church "bound" the biblical canon, for example. And I argued in a recent thread that it could lose (loose?) the ordinance of baptism in favor of a more culturally relevant initiation rite (if it so chose). There is some question in my mind as to the extent to which this power holds in cases of unrighteous dominion, but I do think that God honors prayerful decisions that are made in good conscience by Christian congregations.

-CK

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