Let's get to the bottom of this.
This is a passage that can be tricky for fulfilled believers. This is also a passage that seems to be another "go-to" passage for those who oppose the fulfilled view. Those who disagree will present an argument that sounds something like this.....
"Well, if the new age has come already then there's no point in getting married today because Jesus said that they neither marry nor are given in marriage in the resurrection."
But just like most arguments that are driven from emotionalism, this is no different. Without properly understanding what Jesus was actually saying, people assume that this is a fatal blow to our position.
In fact, many who wrongly oppose the view actually use this verse to sort of play on the heart strings of people considering the fulfilled view. David Hester just debated Don Preston at the 2016 Preterist Pilgrim Weekend and he did this very thing. You can really get people upset by claiming that a view doesn't believe in marriage. He said that he knows of people who actually became Preterists and divorced each other because of this verse.
(LOL too funny)
We call this a "strawman". Meaning that it's an argument made up that is totally untrue. The person makes this argument up and then sets it on fire. Meanwhile, what these people who fall for it don't realize, is that it isn't at all what the people who hold the view actually believe. Hence why it is called a strawman. It's just not true.
I've heard many proponents of the fulfilled view use Galatians 3:28 to defend this area of confusion by saying "there is neither male nor female in Christ" so therefore that's what Jesus means when He says this. Well, this is not a very good answer, at all. There is a much better one.
I have also heard many say that this pertains to the Levirate marriage law and that is what Jesus meant. Levirate marriage is a type of marriage in which the brother of a deceased man is obliged to marry his brother's widow, and the widow is obliged to marry her deceased husband's brother. While it is true that it was because of this law that the Sadducees were questioning Jesus, it doesn't really have anything to do with His answer. I feel there is a much clearer and much easier solution to this problem.
While studying through Mark a few months back I realized something that I had never realized before.
In the gospel of Luke we read of this scene where the Sadducees ask Jesus how it would work if 7 men died and all had the same wife and the wife eventually died childless, who's wife would she be in the resurrection. Here is the exchange...
“Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife, and he dies without children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. And the first took a wife, and died without children. And the second took her as wife, and he died childless. Then the third took her, and in like manner the seven also; and they left no children, and died. Last of all the woman died also. Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife does she become? For all seven had her as wife......
Jesus answered and said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage. "
Now, here we can see sort of where the confusion stems from and how it seems tough to refute this point. I mean, it says flat out that in the next age, those who attain that age neither marry nor are given in marriage. But sometimes you really benefit from checking out the parallel accounts in the other gospels. Check out Mark's parallel recording and account of this same exchange. I ask that you keep in mind WHO THE SUBJECTS OF THE QUESTION ARE.
(The question from the Sadducees is the same so I'll start at Jesus answer to them)...
"......Therefore, in the resurrection, when they rise, whose wife will she be? For all seven had her as wife.
Jesus answered and said to them, “Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise FROM THE DEAD, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven." Mark 12:23-25
Now, why is this important? Well because think about it. In Lukes account it is worded as "those who are worthy to attain THAT AGE AND THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD..." But in Marks it says "WHEN THEY RISE FROM THE DEAD".
Here's the answer: this whole scenario is speaking of DEAD people. Those who have already died. The 7 brothers and the wife are already dead and in Hades waiting for the resurrection.
This is NOT speaking about living people. Jesus is looking forward to the resurrection which would occur roughly 40 years later, and He is saying that when they are brought up out of Hades they are neither married nor given in marriage anymore, but they are like angels in heaven.
This fits perfectly with what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:52 ....
"For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, AND we shall be changed."
There are two events there that would happen when the trumpet sounded at the end of the age.
1) the PHYSICALLY DEAD would be raised out of Hades- these are who Jesus says won't marry or be given in marriage anymore because they are like angels in heaven. THESE ARE THE "SUBJECTS" OF THE QUESTION.
2) those who were "alive and remained" at the trumpet would BE CHANGED. From mortal to immortal. Inner spiritual change. Had NOTHING to do with their marriage. Also has NOTHING to do with getting married today. Has nothing to do with life here in the earthly realm as far as MARRIAGE GOES.
Both the righteous dead and the righteous living would attain the "age to come". The subjects being spoken of here are only the righteous dead.
Marriage is still 100% valid today and this passage, when read properly, only serves to further prove that the fulfilled view is correct.
The entire focus of these words from Jesus was 100% directed at and applied to those who were in Hades and waiting to be resurrected to shine forth bright in the Kingdom of heaven. (Daniel 12)
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