Jesus On the Future of Marriage
So here’s a point where Christ wound up answering a question about a practice. It was about a woman who married a man. The man died and she married the man’s brother19.
In that culture, a man helped a widow by making sure that the family of his dead brother continued20. He would marry her. So they asked him “what if she marries and becomes widowed seven times then dies: whose wife is she in the resurrection?”
The question is about the coming world, God’s set-up kingdom. She had been married seven times, so in this perfect Kingdom—the New Fashion as it were—whose wife would she be?
If Jesus said that she was the wife of the first husband, it means that all the other marriages weren’t legal. If Jesus said that she was the wife of only the last husband, then that means only the last marriage mattered and carried into the new age: how is that a real resurrection of the dead if all the other guys come back? And if they were all alive in the resurrection, then wouldn’t she be married to all seven men at the same time? That was ridiculous to them.
Maybe, right now, some people are arguing that polygyny (one man, multiple wives) is okay but polyandry (one wife, multiple husbands) isn’t. I don’t know. But that’s all beside the point of what’s going on in this passage.
Because here Jesus says that these teachers (1) don’t know the Scriptures and (2) and the power of God. They were wrong on both counts. They had misread the Bible (which means that there is a right way for it to have been read which they should have understood) and they didn’t know how God operates or have knowledge of his authority in the matter.
Jesus then points out that when the dead rise, people won’t marry or be given in marriage.
The future world won’t be like that. That all comes to an end.