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“… JESUS SAID TO THEM

,
“THE CHILDREN OF THIS
AGE MARRY AND ARE
GIVEN IN MARRIAGE; BUT
THOSE WHO ARE DEEMED
WORTHY TO ATTAIN TO THE
COMING AGE AND TO THE
RESURRECTION OF THE
DEAD
NEITHER MARRY NOR ARE
GIVEN IN MARRIAGE. THEY
CAN NO LONGER DIE, FOR
THEY ARE LIKE ANGELS;
AND THEY ARE THE
CHILDREN OF GOD
BECAUSE THEY ARE THE
ONES WHO WILL RISE”.
LUKE 20:34-36
WE TEND TO PUT
SADDUCEES AND
PHARISEES TOGETHER
AS OPPONENTS OF
JESUS, BUT THE TWO
GROUPS ARE QUITE
DIFFERENT:
SADDUCEES ARE MEMBERS AND
SUPPORTERS OF THE HIGH-
PRIESTLY FAMILY AND TEND TO
BE WEALTHY AND POLITICALLY
WELL CONNECTED. THEY
ACCEPT ONLY THE TORAH AS
AUTHORITATIVE SCRIPTURE,
GIVING THE WRITINGS OF
THE PROPHETS A LOWER
PLACE IN THEIR SYSTEM
AND REJECTING ORAL
TRADITION ALTOGETHER.
THEY REJECT THE IDEA OF
RESURRECTION, BECAUSE
IT IS NOT FOUND IN THE
TORAH.
PHARISEES ARE MORE
RELIGIOUS AND LESS
POLITICAL. THEY ACCEPT BOTH
TORAH AND PROPHETS AS
AUTHORITATIVE SCRIPTURE,
AND RELY
HEAVILY ON ORAL
TRADITION TO
UNDERSTAND SCRIPTURE.
THEY BELIEVE IN
RESURRECTION, A
CONCEPT NOT FULLY
DEVELOPED IN THE OLD
TESTAMENT AND NOT
MENTIONED IN THE TORAH.
IN ANCIENT TIMES, PEOPLE
ASSUMED THAT THEY
WOULD LIVE ON THROUGH
THEIR CHILDREN BASED
FROM GOD’S PROMISE TO
JACOB THAT HIS SEED
WOULD BE LIKE THE DUST
OF THE EARTH (GENESIS
28:14).
AS TIME PASSED, THE
JEWISH PEOPLE
DEVELOPED A BELIEF IN
RESURRECTION, IN PART,
BECAUSE THEY BELIEVED
THAT GOD WOULD
VINDICATE GOOD MEN
AND WOMEN.
THE WORD RESURRECTION
DOES NOT APPEAR IN THE OLD
TESTAMENT, BUT EZEKIEL
CHAPTER 37 TELLS OF DRY
BONES RISING TO LIFE.
IN VERSE 9, WE FIND THE
FOLLOWING;

“…THUS SAYS THE LORD
GOD: FROM THE FOUR
WINDS COME, O BREATH,
AND BREATHE INTO
THESE SLAIN THAT THEY
MAY COME TO LIFE.”
BREATH COMES THE HEBREW
WORD RÛAH . RÛAH IS
RENDERED “SPIRIT,” A
POWERFUL FORCE THAT
CREATES, ENERGY THAT
QUICKENS AND ENLIVENS,
GOD’S BREATH OF LIFE GIVEN
TO US. HE IS THE RUAH!
CHRISTIANS OFTEN FAIL TO
DISTINGUISH BETWEEN
RESURRECTION (GOD
RAISES A PERSON FROM
THE DEAD AFTER A PERIOD
OF TIME) AND IMMORTALITY
(LIFE CONTINUES AFTER
DEATH WITH NO LAPSE OF
TIME).
THE NEW TESTAMENT
TEACHES THAT JESUS
WAS RAISED FROM THE
DEAD
(MATTHEW 28:6; MARK 16:6:
LUKE 24:5; JOHN 20:1-18)
AND THAT THOSE WHO
BELIEVE IN CHRIST WILL BE
RAISED LIKE HIM IN A
GENERAL RESURRECTION AT
THE END OF TIME (ROMANS
8:11; 1 CORINTHIANS 6:14;
15:12-57; 2 CORINTHIANS
4:14; ETC.).
BELIEF IN THE
RESURRECTION IS AN
ESSENTIAL TENET OF THE
CHRISTIAN FAITH. PAUL
SAYS, “IF CHRIST HAS NOT
BEEN RAISED, THEN OUR
PREACHING IS IN VAIN,
AND YOUR FAITH ALSO IS
IN VAIN” (1 CORINTHIANS
15:14).
THE GREEKS COULD NEVER
ACCEPT THE RESURRECTION
OF THE PHYSICAL BODY,
BECAUSE THE IDEAL, FROM
THEIR PERSPECTIVE, WAS A
SPIRIT FREED FROM THE
PHYSICAL BODY.
THE GREEK
UNDERSTANDING OF
IMMORTALITY, THEN, IS
INCOMPATIBLE WITH
THE CHRISTIAN
UNDERSTANDING OF
RESURRECTION, WHERE
BODY AND SOUL ARE
BOUND TOGETHER.
THE LEVIRATE MARRIAGE LAW
(DEUTERONOMY 25:5-6)
IT REQUIRES A MAN WHOSE
BROTHER DIES WITHOUT
CHILDREN TO MARRY THE WIFE
OF THE DECEASED BROTHER
TO ENABLE THE WOMAN TO
BEAR CHILDREN.
THE FIRSTBORN CHILD OF
THAT UNION IS TO BEAR THE
NAME OF THE DECEASED
BROTHER SO THAT HIS
LINEAGE MIGHT CONTINUE.
THIS LAW ALSO BENEFITS
THE WIDOW, WHOSE
CIRCUMSTANCES WOULD BE
CONSIDERABLY DIMINISHED
WITHOUT A HUSBAND.
Lesson
THE SADDUCEES ADDRESS JESUS
AS TEACHER, BUT ONLY TO SET HIM
UP—ASKING A QUESTION
DESIGNED TO EMBARRASS JESUS
AND TO DEMONSTRATE THAT
THERE CAN BE NO RESURRECTION.
THE QUESTION ASKED BY
THE SADDUCEES CONSIDERS
RESURRECTION AS AN
EXTENSION OF LIFE AS WE
KNOW IT. JESUS OUTLINES
THE RADICAL
DISCONTINUITY BETWEEN
EARTHLY LIFE (“THIS AGE”)
AND RESURRECTION LIFE
(“THAT AGE”).
IT IS NATURAL THAT WE
SHOULD ASK
QUESTIONS ABOUT
RESURRECTION LIFE,
BUT WE SHOULD NOT
EXPECT TO
UNDERSTAND IT FULLY
WHILE LIVING IN “THIS
AGE”.
THE BOOK OF
REVELATION, FOR
INSTANCE, USES FAMILIAR
LANGUAGE SUCH AS
GATES OF PEARL AND
STREETS OF GOLD TO
HELP US VISUALIZE
SOMETHING COMPLETELY
BEYOND OUR EXPERIENCE.
SUCH LANGUAGE CAN SERVE
ONLY AS A METAPHOR TO HELP
US APPRECIATE THE WONDERS
OF A KINGDOM THAT WE ARE
NOT YET ABLE FULLY TO
UNDERSTAND.
WE SHOULD THAT
RESURRECTION LIFE WILL
BE FULL OF JOY, WE ARE
NOT EQUIPPED FULLY TO
UNDERSTAND THE JOYS OF
“THAT AGE”, BUT SHOULD
EXPECT THEM TO BE FAR
DIFFERENT FROM “THIS
AGE”.
FOR THE LORD HIMSELF
WILL DESCEND FROM
HEAVEN WITH A SHOUT,
WITH THE VOICE OF THE
ARCHANGEL AND WITH
THE TRUMPET OF GOD,
AND THE DEAD IN CHRIST
WILL RISE FIRST.
1 Thessalonians 4:16