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consiglieri

Matthew 22 Indicates Jesus Taught Marriage In Heaven

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William,

In Judaism, of course, there weren't very many single people. Most Jews considered it a moral mandate to be married by 18 (though there were also ascetic sects like the Essenes and ascetic prophets like John, Banus, and Jesus). But I imagine that in the view of the conservative Pharisees, for whom births and deaths would continue after the resurrection, probably marriages would continue to be performed also. So any single people would have an opportunity to marry there.

I doubt any Pharisees were teaching explicitly about marriage in the resurrection. There's certainly no evidence of an explicit teaching. But the assumption that it would continue, I think, underlies the Sadducees' question. I don't see any reason why such an assumption wouldn't have been only natural for anyone in that era.

-CK

I agree the assumption would underlie the Sadducees' question. Also the assumption is that a man would only have one wife at a time? Or is that a non -sequitur? Elkanah had two simultaneous wives, and of course the Kings (David & Solomon) had multiple simultaneous wives. Jacob did as well (no pun intended).

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I agree the assumption would underlie the Sadducees' question. Also the assumption is that a man would only have one wife at a time? Or is that a non -sequitur? Elkanah had two simultaneous wives, and of course the Kings (David & Solomon) had multiple simultaneous wives. Jacob did as well (no pun intended).

Hi William,

Some Jews of this period practiced ploygamy, but if I'm not mistaken monogamy was the norm for most Jews of this period. Although polygamy was practiced by many OT figures, a number of passages imply problems for it (Gen. 16:4-6, Gen 30:14-16, 1 Sam. 1:6-8, Lev. 18:18, Deut 21:15-17, Ex 21:10). The later prophets teach monogamy as an ideal (Is. 50:1, Jer 2:2, Ez 16:8, Prov 12:4, 18:22, 19:14, 31:10-31, Ps. 128:3). Already by the fifth century, some Jewish marriage contracts at Elephantine forbid the husband to take another wife. The Talmud sends mixed messages about polygamy. The Qumran community downright forbids it, and considers it sexual sin. A mandate for monogamy appears to be presumed in Jesus' condemnation of divorce (Mt. 19, Mk 10). David Instone-Brewer has shown that Genesis 1:27 and 2:24, to which Jesus appeals here, were very commonly adduced to prove that "twain (and only twain) shall become one flesh." In fact, Instone-Brewer considers Jesus' argument an "abbreviated version" of the Qumran Damascus Document's polemic against mainstream religious leaders (Pharisees and Sadducees) who practiced polygamy. Both Jesus and the DD use the same introductory phrase, "at the beginning of creation," followed by the same OT prooftext. If Jesus was actively preaching against polygamy, as Instone-Brewer argues, then the Sadducees' trap make even more sense than if the Sadducees were just assuming a common understanding.

-CK

Instone-Brewer article: www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/Tyndale/PDF%20files/Monogamy.pdf

Damascus Document

They are ensnared by two: by fornication, taking two wives during their lifetimes; but the foundation of the

creation is, "Male and female created He them." And they who came into the Ark, "Two and two went into the Ark" As to the prince it is written, "He shall not multiply wives unto himself."

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Consig,

Do you think this change in Luke could have been a concession to burgeoning asceticism?

I wouldn't call it a concession. Luke was probably Greek, and as a doctor would have been well-educated. I can only speculate as to his knowledge of Stoic philosophy, but that must be acknowledged as a possible influence for him. Or perhaps Essene converts to Christianity brought their celibate ideals with them. But as I noted before, asceticism emerges in Christianity very early, and appears to be woven even into some of Jesus' own mandates (not to mention the example of his [probably] celibate life). "Concession" makes it sound like Luke was making this change grudgingly, to appease the values of his culture. Rather, I think he really understood Jesus' comments to have actually been ascetic in nature. You will recall that Matthew, in 19:12, has Jesus saying that some have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven and that whoever can accept this should accept it. Presuming Luke had access to the source material from which Matthew drew this statement (and/or that Luke was raised in a community that remembered this and other statements made by Jesus), it would have been quite natural for him to read this passage as Jesus' abolishing the institution of marriage in the afterlife. Jesus' entire lifestyle-- like that of John the Baptist-- was a rejection of worldly pursuits (including even family ties) and can therefore be classed as ascetic.

-CK

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I've never really followed the scripture in Matt. 19 about eunuchs. There are too many issues relating to some of the wording. Also, it hasn't really sat well with me well that Jesus would espouse monogomy via Adam and Eve yet also espouse (as a higher ideal) complete abstinence.

By the way CK, can you find another source (as a second witness) to back up your interpretation of "marriage" as meaning the "state of marriage" rather than the act of marriage? I've been trying to contact my friend who knows Greek, but haven't been able to. I googled the passage, and came across both points of view, so am uncertain which to believe.

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By the way CK, can you find another source (as a second witness) to back up your interpretation of "marriage" as meaning the "state of marriage" rather than the act of marriage? I've been trying to contact my friend who knows Greek, but haven't been able to. I googled the passage, and came across both points of view, so am uncertain which to believe.

Hi Zeta,

Just to clarify, I suspect it includes both the act and the state. In other words, it disallows both carry-over marriages and new marriage unions.

By "second witness," what do you mean? Like a secondary source that interprets it the way I do? Or an ancient interpreter? Or what?

-CK

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A modern source would be fine. Something which deals with this issue specifically, in the greek.

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William,

Also the assumption is that a man would only have one wife at a time?

Sorry; in my hurry to reply yesterday I failed to realize that this is backwards. In the Sadducees' scenario, the woman would have multiple husbands. Thus the problem is not polygamy, but polyandry (which in Jewish tradition is pretty much unheard of, as far as I know).

Hi Zeta,

I just finished researching your question in three directions:

1) I looked into about twenty commentaries to see how they approach Luke 20:35 (including four word studies),

2) I dug into a couple basic texts on Greek Grammar to see what they says about the present aspect (unfortunately I have no advanced texts on Greek Grammar), and

3) I looked in the Early Church Fathers to see how they interpret Luke 20:35 and its parallel in Matthew 22.

The result was a huge quantity of information, must of it unfortunately not specific enough to be really helpful. Rather than just post a large quantity of undigested material, I will try to summarize what the texts said point-by-point, and to provide only very abbreviated quotations. You are welcome to request more detailed references on any one point you might have questions about.

1) The modern commentaries do not even consider the possibility that Jesus might be making a distinction between "marriage" the noun and "marry" the verb, nor do they admit of any kind of problematic sentence construction here. The IVP Bible Backgrounds Commentary is pretty typical: "Jewish people widely agreed that angels did not procreate (they did not need to replenish their numbers, because they did not die, and also because, in some other traditions, God regularly created new angels), nor did they normally eat or drink." The Bible Knowledge commentary adds, "Jesus did not say that resurrected people become angels. His point was that they, like angels, will be immortal. Thus there will be no further need for procreation, and the marriage relationship will not be necessary." The other commentaries all pretty much seem to be in agreement on this point; they focus in on the significance of Luke's comment that "they can no longer die" as the rationale for the obsolescence of marriage. As I noted in post #5, this is also the rationale for angels' celibacy in the Book of Enoch. Matthew Henry thinks that Jesus' main theme here is that-- compared to the present age-- "The world to come is quite another thing."

2) One grammar made some suggestions about how to translate the present aspect. Applying them to the present passage might render it this way: "Those who are counted worthy of that age and of the resurrection from the dead will neither be marrying nor be being given in marriage." If translated this way, it would refer to the ongoing process of marrying and being given in marriage; the idea being, I suppose, that the resurrection will not just be life-as-usual. I shall discontinue my argument from the Greek, but will just add that, whatever else we can say about it, the Greek certainly isn't an obstacle to interpreting this passage as a straightforward answer to the Sadducees' question.

3) The early church fathers are concerned with different issues than we are, but still make some enlightening comments. The Marcionites, like the apologists on this thread, wanted to make Jesus's answer a non-answer. (The Marcionites, of course, did this in a different way and for different reasons that are not really relevant here.) Tertullian rails against them:

The question therefore was, to which husband must she be reckoned to belong in the resurrection? This, (observe,) was the gist of the inquiry, this was the sum and substance of the dispute. And to it Christ was obliged to return a direct answer. He had nobody to fear; that it should seem advisable for Him either to evade their questions, or to make them the occasion of indirectly mooting a subject which He was not in the habit of teaching publicly at any other time....

If, then, the meaning of the answer must not turn on any other point than on the proposed question, and since the question proposed is fully understood from this sense of the answer, then the Lord's reply admits of no other interpretation than that by which the question is clearly understood. You have both the time in which marriage is permitted, and the time in which it is said to be unsuitable, laid before you, not on their own account, but in consequence of an inquiry about the resurrection....

Now, if you make Christ answer questions which were not submitted to Him, you, in fact, represent Him as having been unable to solve the points on which He was really consulted, and entrapped of course by the cunning of the Sadducees....

He had simply declared the non-existence of that to which the question related.

Tertullian's point perfectly fits our discussion, and is similar to a point I have made here several times.

Jerome lays out the Sadducees' question: they assume there would be marriage in the resurrection, which would mean the woman would have seven husbands, from which absurdity they deduce that there is no resurrection.

Origen concludes that Jesus' teaching was that "there is no marriage in heaven but that those who are risen from the dead are like the angels in heaven."

An anonymous, incomplete work on Matthew says, "Idiots! They thought that this world was like the next. In this world because we die, so there too we die since we are born. Hence we take wives... Therefore remove the necessity of death and the usefulness of being born will be found superfluous. Remove the utility of being born and the reason for marriage is explained." The same work says, "when we marry, because animals have this in common with us, we profess ourselves to be animals. So when we live chastely, because it is outside of our nature, we escape the nature of our flesh and become coequals with the angels." Augustine makes a similar argument, asserting that the Sadducees "had crude, fleshly ideas about the state of humanity after the resurrection." He also adds, "We have heard from the Lord that we rise again to the life of angels. In his own resurrection, he has shown us in what specific form we are to rise again."

Cyril of Alexandria says that "the children of this world that lead worldly, fleshly lives full of fleshly lust marry and are married for the procreation of children... [we] certainly will be raised far aove the life which people lead in this world."

Clement of Alexandria says that Jesus "is not rejecting marriage but is purging the expectation of physical desire in the resurrection."

Cyprian tells the virgins, "What we shall be, you have already begun to be. You already have in this world the glory of the resurrection... While you remain chaste and virgins, you are equal to the angels of God."

-CK

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CaliforniaKid,

Thanks for doing that. While I don't necessarily agree with the logic put forth in the quotations, I appreciate the view they present and the weight they add to your position.

Best wishes,

Zeta-Flux

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Cyril of Alexandria says that "the children of this world that lead worldly, fleshly lives full of fleshly lust marry and are married for the procreation of children... [we] certainly will be raised far aove the life which people lead in this world."

Clement of Alexandria says that Jesus "is not rejecting marriage but is purging the expectation of physical desire in the resurrection."

Cyprian tells the virgins, "What we shall be, you have already begun to be. You already have in this world the glory of the resurrection... While you remain chaste and virgins, you are equal to the angels of God."

-CK

It would beg the question of why we call God our Father. Is He married? Where did our spirits come from?

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