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Matthew 22 Indicates Jesus Taught Marriage In Heaven


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#1 consiglieri

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 08:40 AM

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.


23 �¶ The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him,
24 Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
25 Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother:
26 Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh.
27 And last of all the woman died also.
28 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.
29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.
30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.
31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,
32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.
33 And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.


Critics frequently use this passage to argue that the LDS teaching of marriage in heaven is false.

LDS, on the other hand, are quick to note that Jesus is apparently restricting his teaching in this regard to the people mentioned in the hypothetical (which echoes Sarah's misadventures in Tobit chapter 3); and that as to the Sadducees, this is true; that it is not a blanket pronouncement, but restricted to the example before him.

What I would like to suggest is that this passage indicates that Jesus did teach marriage in heaven and that the Sadducees knew it.

This passage comes in a series of three "traps" that were laid for Jesus by his opponents in the Jewish leadership.

The first trap had to do with asking if it was proper to pay tax to Caesar; the third trap had to do with asking what is the greatest commandment in the law.

It is important to note that neither in the first nor the third trap does Jesus answer the question; at least not in the terms of the question that is proposed. (To the first, he says to pay to Caesar what is Caesar's and to pay unto God what is God's; an interesting extra-biblical agrapha adds, "and pay to me what is mine." To the third, he does not give one commandment that is most important, but adds a second to his answer.)

I think the critical question relating to the passage under consideration is, "What was the trap?"

If we read it at face value, there is no trap, and it is rather a pointless question. In other words, if Jesus did not teach any form of marriage in heaven, why would this question be considered to have the possibility of trapping Jesus in any way?

I believe the trap would be that, if Jesus were teaching marriage in heaven, that 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.

But once again, the question asked by the Sadducees makes sense only if we presuppose that Jesus was teaching some form of marriage in heaven, and that the Sadducees knew he was teaching it.

Any thoughts?

All the Best!

--Consiglieri
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#2 StriplingWarrior

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 08:49 AM

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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#3 Hammer

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 08:55 AM

Wow another door is opened in my mind.

Thanks :P <_<
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THE BOOK OF MORMON
CHAPTER 8
The Lamanites seek out and destroy the Nephitesâ??The Book of Mormon shall come forth by the power of Godâ??Woes pronounced upon those who breathe out wrath and strife against the work of the Lordâ??The Nephite record shall come forth in a day of wickedness, degeneracy, and apostasy.



D&C 29: 11
11 For I will reveal myself from heaven with power and great glory, with all the hosts thereof, and dwell in righteousness with men on earth a thousand years, and the wicked shall not stand.

#4 consiglieri

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 09:02 AM

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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#5 Chris Smith

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 09:13 AM

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."

Edited by CaliforniaKid, 29 May 2007 - 09:18 AM.

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#6 PacMan

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 10:04 AM

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.

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#7 Chris Smith

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 10:09 AM

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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#8 Matthew J. Tandy

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 10:18 AM

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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#9 Matthew J. Tandy

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 10:20 AM

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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#10 T-Shirt

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 10:23 AM

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

Edited by T-Shirt, 29 May 2007 - 10:25 AM.

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#11 Chris Smith

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 10:41 AM

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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#12 Pa Pa

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 11:08 AM

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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#13 Matthew J. Tandy

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 11:23 AM

Lukan as in from the Gospel of Luke?
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#14 Zeta-Flux

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 11:26 AM

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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#15 Chris Smith

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 12:08 PM

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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#16 Log

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 12:12 PM

Foks, T-Shirt made a substantive post which was not addressed.
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#17 Zeta-Flux

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 12:21 PM

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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#18 Doctor Steuss

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 12:26 PM

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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#19 Chris Smith

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 12:52 PM

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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#20 Doctor Steuss

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 01:13 PM

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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