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Matthew 22:23-33

In this passage, Jesus is replying to a question posed by some Sadducees. The Sadducees refer to a passage from the Hebrew Scriptures (Christian Old Testament) where a man who has a brother who dies prior to having children is required to marry his brother’s widow in order to have children for this man. Their question is who will be the widow’s husband in heaven if one brother does this but dies prior to having children and then another brother marries her without producing children, and then another..up to seven brothers? Jesus replies that that she will not be married to anyone in heaven because they will be like angels.

This is a passage of scripture that I never learned about in Sunday School and seems to be one that is largely ignored. Yet, it contains a lot of important information. It reaffirms the rule from the Hebrew Scriptures that requires a brother to marry the childless widow of his brother in order to give him heirs. It also states that people will no longer be married to their earthly spouses. I assume that would mean that they would no longer feel about their spouse the way they did on earth. This makes me wonder if they would also feel differently about their friends and family. It seems as though in the writer’s version of Christianity people will no longer really be themselves in the afterlife but some facsimile of themselves. This brings me to several questions for Christians.

My questions for Christians:

1. I never hear of any male Christians who believe it is their duty to marry their brother’s childless widow to produce children for the deceased brother? I never hear of any childless Christian widows who expect (or want) single male brothers to marry them so they can procreate with their previous husband. Do you still believe this is the right thing to do? If not, why not?

2. I hear some Christians talk about how they will be with their spouses in the afterlife. Do you believe you will be with your spouse in the afterlife? If so, what do you base this on?

3. What characteristics (if any) do you believe will be the same about you in the afterlife? What characteristics will be the same?

24 “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies childless, his brother shall marry the widow, and raise up children for his brother.’ 25 Now there were seven brothers among us; the first married, and died childless, leaving the widow to his brother. 26 The second did the same, so also the third, down to the seventh. 27 Last of all, the woman herself died. 28 In the resurrection, then, whose wife of the seven will she be? For all of them had married her.” 29 Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.

Harper Bibles (2011-11-22). NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (Kindle Locations 67039-67045). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Why I am Reading the New Testament

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