When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. (Mark 12:25 NIV)
Here is the context for today’s verse: Some Sadducees came to Jesus with a riddle. Sadducees, by the way, did not believe in a resurrection from the dead. They proposed that a childless woman’s husband died and she married his brother. This would have been common in Jewish culture where the next brother in-line was expected to marry his dead brother’s widow and bring up offspring to preserve his name. In the Sadducees story there were seven brothers and each of them died without leaving an heir. Finally, the widow died. Given the circumstances, they inquired, whose wife would she be in the resurrection?
Of course, this riddle wasn’t proposed to find truth, but rather to distract and if possible trap Jesus. And you have to wonder if, in real life, one of these brothers would opt out of the system. She must have been quite a catch! (Ok…I know it’s just a riddle)
Jesus’ answer gives us some insight into relationships in heaven. There won’t be any weddings or marriages in heaven. Everyone will be like the angels. This doesn’t mean everyone will be an angel, but rather that everyone will have the status angels have…that of not being married.
I hesitate to say this means everyone in heaven will be single, because I don’t think designations of single and married will even be on our radar at that point. We will all be with the Lamb of God, and He will define our nature.
Does that bother you?
I have been married for 31 years and I can’t imagine not looking up my wife when I get to heaven. She will probably also be looking for me if I get there first. It is only natural. When we say goodbye on earth, we look forward to seeing one another in heaven. And when we do, we imagine picking up where we left off, and filling one another in on what has happened since we were separated. We do have those on earth who have, indeed, had more than one wife or husband, which causes some to wonder about how the conversations I have just described might look.
This brings up another logical conclusion: there won’t be any sex in heaven. “What!” you say. “Then I’m not going!”
Before you change your reservations, remember that sex between a man and woman is the ultimate expression of intimacy on earth. We can’t imagine anything that brings us closer to anyone than becoming “one flesh.” Yet, in heaven, when we are in the presence of our Savior, we will experience a depth of love and fulfillment we can’t possibly comprehend now.
Will we know our spouses? I think so. Will we remember our marriages? I hope so. Will we continue as we have on earth? Not a chance.
One thing I know, though…whatever is great here will be greater there. You can count on it.
Dear God, thank you for glimpses of eternity. In Jesus’ name, Amen.