Q. What does the scriptural passage, "For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven" (Matthew 22:30, KJV also Mark 12:25; Luke 20:34-35) mean if not that there will be no marriage in heaven? How can you defend an eternal marriage doctrine on the basis of Jesus's (Yah'shua's) very clear words here?
We have answered this question in detail in a number of places on both this and the parent website so I will cite just seven here:
To these I will add just one or two further remarks of my own:
A friend recently pointed out that the expression, "marry" and "given in marriage" refers to men and women, respectively, since it is men who "marry" and women who are "given in marriage", the woman being given to the man. According to the customs of the time, the future father-in-law gave his daughter to the husband, and this is still practiced in many countries around the world.
Now this kind of marriage Yah'shua (Jesus) clearly teaches will come to an end. There is no disputing about it and indeed they will become like the angels in heaven who have never lived a life of mortality wherein such practices obtain. But does this passage say that there is no marriage in heaven?
It has been assumed by many commentators that in this passage that all marriages are joined together by Yahweh. However, it is clear that herein it is the marriage of Adam and Eve which is being alluded to. Observe that no human agent - no earthly father - gave Eve to Adam, because there wasn't one. In this marriage Yahweh Himself gave Eve to Adam, making the woman from the man himself. "Therefore what Elohim (God) has joined together, let man not separate". And why not? Because Elohim (God) has done the joining; and even if man separates them, they are still married in Yahweh's eyes, because when He joins, He joins for ever.
"Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, 'Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?' 'Haven't you read,' He replied, 'that at the beginning the Creator made them 'male and female', and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what Elohim (God) has joined together, let man not separate." (Matthew 19:3-6, NIV).
We thus see that there are two categories of marriage - the one where the father of the bride gives his daughter in marriage to the bridegroom, and the other where Yahweh Himself does the giving and the joining. Of course, it is possible that a man given a wife by an earthly father-in-law may also have received her from Yahweh Himself, in which we may say that two soulmates have met and have been married according to the heavenly tavnith (pattern).
But what of the angels? Are they single, as we have been taught for so many centuries? And if so, does this not mean that men and women will be single also?
If it can be absolutely proved that angels do not marry, or rather, Yahweh has not married angels - or will marry angels together - then possibly there is a case against eternal marriage. On the other hand, there are different types of angels. As we have proven in various articles on the website, at least some angels have gender and are capable of procreation (that we know of), because we have the witness in Genesis that rebellious angels came down to earth, procreated with women, and produced a race of giants called the nephilim. This also, incidentally, disproves the contention that all angels are bodiless 'spirits', since how could a spirit mate with a human woman and produce offspring? (See The Mystery of Elohim Declared).
If the angels Yah'shua (Jesus) is talking about represent all categories of angels, and if one category (at the very least) are/were capable of reproducing with earthly women, then it follows that all angels must:
There is another important point. Of the three accounts we have of marriage in the afterlife, Luke's is the fullest, and also the clearest exposition of Yahshua's (Jesus') teaching:
- (a) Be physical beings; and
- (b) Have the power to reproduce physically.
Two points immediately spring to my mind here:
"And Jesus (Yah'shua) answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of Elohim (God), being the children of the resurrection" (Lk.20:34-36, KJV)
"Jesus (Yah'shua) replied, 'The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels'" (Ibid., NIV)
You will notice, however, how different shades of meaning intrude in different Bible translations. The KJV uses the word "equal" (as does the RSV) whereas the NIV speaks of being "alike" or "similar to" (as does the NASB). Is this "likeness" an equality of power, authority, resurrection, etc.? Or could it mean something else? For now we are a little "lower" than the angels in our present state (Hebrews 2:7) yet we are also told that we will, in the next life, judge the angels (1 Corinthians 6:3), implying that we are "above" them and not equal. This being the case, this "likeness" or "equality" cannot have anything to do with power or authority but must pertain to some other function such as the fact that we will share the same immortality with them. Thus I do not think it is possible to deduce from this passage (and the parallel ones in Matthew and Mark) that the angels will be married like us, though this is certainly a possibility.
- (1) Firstly, those who are worthy of the world to come and the resurrection no longer enter into marriage contracts as they do here on earth because marriage matters are settled once and for all: those who are supposed to be married to their true God-given spouses will be, and therefore there will be no more wooing and romance. The absence of oneness between the sexes in this world that leads to do these things here on earth will not pertain in heaven because heaven is supremely a place of oneness (echad) where all things are whole; and
- (2) The question is then begged: what is it to be "like the angels" - to be married or to be immortal? Luke plainly indicates that the similarity between the righteous and the angels is in the area of immortality.
We may speculate a great deal on this subject of the respective marriages of men and angels in eternity and not come to a final resolution, but we may not exclude the possibility of it from the extant texts either. The key to the dilemma is in the fact that there are two types of marriage, the one patterned after the world's "marrying" and "giving in marriage" and the other which Yahweh performs Himself personally, assigning us our soul mates. By the time we are resurrected, the matter will have been resolved permanently, so that no more marriage arrangements will need to take place in the eternal worlds to come. All disputation on who is married to who will cease and those ordained to marriage by Yahweh who may, by free agency, have chosen wrong spouses, be united with their rightful mates.
It is for this reason that we reject the claim that the Bible teaches there will be no marriage in heaven. It doesn't. Being that this is therefore an open question it is reasonable to seek further light on the matter, and this we have done, obtaining further revelation on the subject.
We therefore maintain an eternal marriage doctrine unapologetically. We have been told by various people that since the overwhelming majority of Christendom rejects eternal marriage that we should concede; however, truth is not determined by concensus or by democratic processes, but by Yahweh Himself. For some reason, Christians/Messianics seem as troubled by the fact that we believe in eternal marriage as the monogamy-only camp is in our espousal of plural marriage. And since the polygyny camp is in the tiny minority of Christians/Messianics and yet is 100% proven from the Bible to be unsinful and God-approved, shall we follow the 'concensus' and yield to the traditions and prejudices of the arm of flesh - to the mere opinions of men? Certainly not!
Something more about angels, why they are single now, and why some rebelled and married the daughters of Adam. If angels were built to be single as is claimed, how could they either:
Would Yahweh give angels a function they could never use, to torment them? Obviously not. Then what is the explanation?
- (a) Be tempted by terrestrial women; or
- (b) Even have sex for the purposes of pleasure and procreation?
According to our belief, which also includes a spiritual pre-existence (not multiple births/reincarnation), men and angels were all the same kind of being and Yahweh gave us all a choice:
Thus, according to this scheme, angels were temporarily made a "little lower" than men but shall in eternity be subject to us because of the choice of those who became men to come down into the dangers or mortality. At the end, both men and angels shall become equal in immortality, both will have eternal marriage companions, but man will "judge" and therefore rule over, the angels.
- (1) Go to earth now and receive the blessings of marriage (an eternal principle) whilst facing the terrible risks of possibly losing one's salvation by making wrong choices; or
- (2) Become angels without marriage with a guarantee of salvation but with the blessing of marriage postponed to the resurrection life.
This doctrine perfectly harmonises with all the data we have about angels and men. It explains why some angels were impatient to experience sex and family life, rebelled against the covenants they entered into, and came to earth against Yahweh's express will ahead of time, polluting mankind genetically and morally. Further, it is interesting that the Hebrew word for "angels" is beni elohim, meaning "sons of Elohim (God[s])", as indeed we are.
Finally, there is a reference to female angels in Zechariah 5:9, proving that some angels, at least, are both male and female. To insist that only good angels are male, but that evil angels are male and female (per pro Genesis and Zechariah) creates more problems than it solves. The simplest explanations are usually the correct ones and it is far simpler to posit that angels have the same origin as men and women but pursued a different mission based on choice, but with both families or Orders of Yahweh reuniting at the end of the ages and the resurrection of the just. (Whether angels have 'wings' or not is another subject of discussion. We maintain that they are only symbolic, not literal. Many of our people have seen angels but NEVER with wings - and on the one occasion where one appeared to have wings, this was seen to be a kind of energy field and not a feathery pair of appendages. Similarly we do not believe Satan has horns, goat hooves and a tail though he may cause himself to appear this way). Thus it is far simpler to maintain that angels and men are of the same 'House' rather than invent convoluted theories that create more problems than they solve. In a similar way with the polygyny issue, it is simpler to explain the MIA problem in terms of marriage and not monogamy-only. But centuries of tradition die hard.
We respect those who do not believe in eternal marriage and do not try to pressurise them into our beliefs and we expect the same in return. This is not necessarily a matter of salvation in any case for Yahweh will have His way in the resurrection no matter what we may believe, and we can be sure that He will be absolutely just. But for us, who have received so much joy and light through this doctrine, and which has enabled us to part the veils of heaven for more light on the subject, it is a glorious doctrine indeed, enriching our marriages tremendously. It cannot be an accident that Yahweh chose us to be the first messianic/evangelical Christians to live this principle (to our knowledge), knowing the prominence this would give us because of our experiences as well as our belief in eternal marriage. And so we rest out case - and we are most certainly 'at rest', being peaceful in our belief, with clear consciences before Yahweh and His Word.