Jesus is still in the temple. He has met several challenges already. Now the Sadducees are going to have a go at Him. We already know that defeat awaits them, but let’s look at how they get there.
Today’s story is another repeat from Matthew’s stories. We talked about the woman in the Sadducees hypothesis when the asked “Whose Wife is She?” Check out our study on that point.
We get to look at this story again and see what else we can find in it. We are going to be treading on some of the same ground, but also looking a little deeper. I want to look at what we will look like when in our resurrected bodies. The Sadducees didn’t have the scriptures of the New Testament, so they are at a little of a disadvantage in this conversation. Even though they lacked some of what we have, they had plenty of evidence supporting life beyond this life.
Being that I am not a bible scholar, I went searching for the scriptures the Sadducees should have been paying attention to. I Googled scriptures dealing with resurrection in the Old Testament. I found one really great website, Biblestudytools.com. I am going to share some of the verses that I believe speak the loudest, from their information.
There are two Psalms that I want to draw your attention to. The first is Psalm 49. This psalm speaks of David taking heart, even in times of trouble. He notes that no matter what this life throws at him, he has hope beyond it. The wicked may look like they are victorious here and now, but what awaits them afterwards is eternal death in Sheol (Hell). But the righteous, “God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for He will receive me” (verse 15). David also states in verse 14 that the upright will rule over the wicked “in the morning.” For there to be morning, there must first be a night.
The second Psalm I want to look at is Psalm 73. David is again speaking of the wicked and how they seem to have it all while they are alive. After thinking on this for a while he finally recognizes, after spending time with God, what awaits the wicked and the righteous. He said it best, so I’m going to just paste his words here:
23 Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Both of these wonderful psalms were available for the Sadducees to read and contemplate. Another writer they should have been paying attention to was Isaiah. In chapter 26, Isaiah speaks of waiting for God to act on behalf of His people. The waiting is often hard and doesn’t always appear just, but God is still faithful. That faithfulness may not be fully recognized until after this life has ended. Isaiah clearly states that there is joy for the righteous on the other side of death. In verse 19 he says, “Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy!” That’s a pretty clear statement.
Another prophet the Sadducees had access to his works was Daniel. Daniel saw a LOT of things that we really don’t understand but he also shared truths about the spirit world in which God lives. In chapter 12 Daniel starts off very quickly telling us that those who “sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake” (verse 2). He also notes that some of them will wake up to everlasting life and others to everlasting punishment.
My favorite “proof positive” that we continue after death was when Saul tricked the witch of Endor into summoning the prophet Samuel from the dead. This story is told in 1 Samuel 28. The first verse clearly states that Samuel had been dead for some time and that everyone had attended his funeral. So there is no doubt that he wasn’t just hiding somewhere and happened by to have a chat with Saul. The witch was able to bring Samuel’s spirit to her and Saul. My bible CLEARLY says that it was Samuel who spoke to Saul. If there was no life after death, how was it that Samuel came to them?
While I was looking at this story I happened upon a website that questioned whether it was really Samuel who visited or if it was a demon. The fact that God recorded in His word the name of the visiting spirit, I have no doubt as to who it was. One of the reasons the author of this other site questioned the authenticity of the visitor was that Samuel was “raised up” and not brought out of Heaven. There is a VERY good reason for this. Because of sin, man was separated from God. No matter how good a man was he still couldn’t enter into the presence of God BEFORE Jesus made His atoning sacrifice. The righteous had to wait for Jesus’ work in a special “holding cell” some have called Abraham’s Bosom. We hear about this place in the story of the rich man and Lazarus the beggar. This place is removed from the tormenting Hell by a great chasm, but close enough that you can see from one to the other. There is no torture on Abraham’s side but they were also not in paradise. This is where Samuel came back from when he visited Saul.
All these writings the Sadducees had available at their fingertips, yet they chose to ignore them. They also had the scripture Jesus specifically quoted to them from their most favorite author of all; Moses himself. This was from Exodus 3:6 where God identifies Himself to Moses as “the God of you fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” God DID NOT say “I was” but “I am” when identifying Himself to Moses, allowing Jesus to rightly point out the use of the verb and the meaning of the passage. God is God of the living and not the dead.
Now for what the Sadducees didn’t have, we turn to 1 Corinthians 15. Verses 35-58 speak directly to what our “bodies” will be like after death. Paul tells his readers that our physical bodies cannot inherit eternal life because of their corruptible nature. So we need something different. We need a spiritual body that doesn’t decay. This spirit is what lives on after our physical bodies end in the grave. Death sets that spirit free. Our physical bodies “break open” if you will, just as the seed does when the new life of the plant emerges. Will we have eyes and hands and hair in our new bodies? I don’t know. I do know that we won’t have pain or disease. That’s what I’m looking forward to about that body. But most of all, that body can be in the presence of God. THAT is worth everything leading up to that moment. Yes, there will be times when it looks like evil is triumphing over good. Yes, I will struggle with my walk all my life. But the end of here is just the beginning of forever. There everything will be set to rights. I can trust God to sort it all out His way.
THANK YOU GOD that I’m not going to get exactly what I deserve. Instead I’m going to get what Your Son paid for me to receive. I’m going to get Your love for eternity. I’m going to get to spend time with You forever. Will I ever run out of questions? I know You won’t ever run out of answers. Will You ever get tired of hearing my questions, like we mothers often do with our children?
There are so many unknowns, for me at least, about Your side of eternity, but the most important thing is known. You are there and You made a way for me to be there too. Thank You for that undeserved provision. I have so many questions I could put here about my forever home. I am looking forward to taking the grand tour with Jesus when I get there. I can hardly wait to see what our bench looks like. I have this feeling You made a special one just for You and me. I also SO dearly want to be able to fly. “Wait and see. Be patient for now. There is still work to do.” Thank You for that too God.