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BRAD - What does it mean in Mark 12:19-27?
JOEL - Here are the relevant scriptures:
18 Then come unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection; and they asked him, saying,
19 Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a manís brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should
take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
20 Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed.
21 And the second took her, and died, neither left he any seed: and the third likewise.
22 And the seven had her, and left no seed: last of all the woman died also.
23 In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife.
24 And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?
25 For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.
26 And as touching the dead, that they arise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am
the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?
27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err. (Mark 12:18-27)
According to the Law of Moses if a woman's husband died without children, it was the responsibility of the brother of the dead husband
to take the woman as his wife.
The key to understanding the way Jesus answered their question is that He was only refering to civil marriages in these scriptures. The
Saducees were trying to trap Jesus with this question. Since they did not believe in the resurrection(verse 18), neither did they believe
in marriage for eternity; and they thought there could be no suitable answer to their question regarding to whom the woman would be
married in the next life. Jesus tells them that she would be married to none of them in heaven because all seven were only civil
marriages that were only good for this life.
The very fact that they asked the question indicates that the doctrine of marriage for eternity was taught(verse 23) and accepted by
those who were not of their particular faith; otherwise they never would have asked the question. Christ, knowing they only believed in
civil marriages and no resurrection, explained that such a marriage contract as they presented, would be fulfilled and ended at death
and that all such people would be as the angels in Heaven, no longer married. And once a person dies they could not become married
after the resurrection in heaven because an eternal marriage covenant must be performed here on earth, in this life.
"Neither marry nor given in marriage" refers to the act of getting married, and not the condition of being married.
When Jesus says, "He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living" (verse 27), He means that since all living things have a spirit that gives
them life, death is not an end of existence to God. When we die and the spirit leaves the body, God regards the spirit and sees that it
has gone from one state of existence to another. He continues to be concerned about the body; he knows that a fulness of joy requires
a perfected spirit in a glorified body (D&C 93:33Ė34). But the spirit is what gives life to the body; the spirit comes before and continues
after our mortal life. All beings are alive to God, whether they live in the premortal world, the mortal earth, the postmortal spirit world, or
the resurrected state.