Q. My name is [...] and I believe take the majority view that marriage in heaven is only allegorical. I follow what you say about eternal human marriage and I must say it does make a lot of sense. But doesn't your reasoning depend on one big assumption? When we speak of allegory we are using a term which isn't biblical. What if the spiritual marriage in heaven is the 'real' anti-typical marriage, and what if human marriage is just a shadow or a type? Then what we experience here on a smaller scale is just a hint of the glory which awaits us in heaven, making earthly, human marriage unnecessary and even undesirable?
You could be right, and I wrong on this issue. The only reason I don't accept your proposition is because the bulk of facts don't support it.
On a very simple level, the majority position (which you espouse) posits essentially that there is no sex in heaven and indeed no gender at all. Without wishing to be coarse or disrespectful to our Lord, that would necessarily mean that Yah'shua (Jesus) is, in His resurrected form, a 'neuter' in some way - an 'it', if you like.
The evidence of the resurrection is that we are made immortal in the gender we were created on earth (and before, in my view). And although Paul speaks of the resurrected body being "spiritual" (1 Corinthians 15:44), it is plain (taking all scriptures into consideration) that he is not saying (like the Jehovah's Witnesses, Christadelphians, occultists, spiritualists, etc.) that the resurrection is incorporeal, having no physical substance. The 'spiritual' body of Paul is simply a 'spiritual physical' body, unlike our corrupt, mortal and sin-ridden one. He is describing its quality rather than its material (or non-material) substance.
The resurrected Yah'shua (Jesus) continued to display the same physical appetites as mortal human beings when He asked for food (broiled fish and honeycomb) because He was hungry (Luke 24:41-43). Remember, this is the same state we will enjoy in the immortal worlds. So here was the resurrected Saviour looking as He did before He died and having the same 'natural' physical appetites. That means He had a stomach and a digestive system of some sort, doesn't it? Presumably He was breathing air still, which implies that He had a blood circulation system of some sort. And I think I am therefore justified in concluding, without being contradicted by any scriptures, that He still had a beard (and therefore testosterone) and male genetalia.
Now I am not saying that his circulation system, digestive system, or any other part of His resurrected physical anatomy were necessarily exactly the same as they had been in His mortal state. There is no doubt, from the way John later describes Him in the Book of Revelation, that in spite of continuing to possess human form and presumably physical functions that He is on an altogether higher plane than terrestrials, can travel through the atmosphere (the ascension) and through space without freezing or suffocating, can instantly appear on our plane and pass through solid objects, etc., just as the angels do. So whilst He is a 'human' in both appearance and biological function, He is, in a way, a 'super-human'. He eats food though perhaps He does not need it in order to 'live', since He is now immortal - if He stops eating, or stops breathing, He will not die. His cells no longer die and are no longer replaced, because that constitutes mortality. It is as though He is able to enjoy the pleasures of the physical body (sensation, the taste of food, etc.) but is not dependent on them in order to 'live', since He is immortal.
Admittedly more questions are going to be asked than answered when we speculate about life as resurrected beings, but that doesn't mean we can't intelligently work on the data that the Bible has given us. Unless you believe the New Testament is not infallible and we are seeing the immortal Messiah through the limited comprehension of mortal eyes, we are forced to conclude that the resurrected Yah'shua (Jesus) is still able to enjoy the sensations of breathing (without needing gaseous exchange in the lungs for respiration), the pleasure of eating physical food (without the need of digesting it to repair damaged cells and to make new ones), and, by implication, the pleasure of sex (without necessarily the need to reproduce the species). Is this conclusion justifiable? Well, if as resurrected, immortal beings we do not need food to 'live', why on earth (or should I say 'in heaven') are we going to be treated to a huge banquet at a Marriage Feast after the Judgment? What would be the point of eating food we don't need, or can't eat? Clearly it is for pleasure.
This being so (for it must be), then does it not logically follow that we will continue to enjoy other 'physical' pleasures in the resurrection? Indeed, isn't this the whole point of the physical resurrection ... so that we can enjoy all the good things about physicality? If it weren't, we would be resurrected as spirits, if that is so 'superior' and all-sufficient. So if the good, pleasurable things about physicality are to be preserved in the resurrection - like taste, touch-sensation, sight, and smell, why not sexuality as well? Why should our genetalia drop off (or however they might be disposed of) and yet the other sensations be preserved? Why would something that Yahweh pronounced "good" (marriage, which implies sexual union), suddenly become 'bad' and undesirable? It just doesn't add up, does it, especially when you remember that Adam and Eve were married before the Fall, and enjoyed the sweet blessings of sexual union before sin entered into the world?
If the capacity to enjoy pure sex continues in the resurrection (and there is really no scriptural warranty to suggest otherwise), then the question follows: who would we entitled to have sex with? There are only two possible options:
I think few Christians/Messianics would entertain that #(b) is even remotely a possibility - it's just too absurd for words and completely destroys all notions of holiness and purity. The earthly limitations and restrictions imposed by Yahweh's Torah (Law) would cease to have any meaning. I absolutely do not believer that heaven is a place for licentious sex because somehow everyone is too pure for it to be 'impure'.
- (a) With marriage partners, or
- (b) It's a big 'free for all', since we are all 'allegorically' married together.
In many ways, I have trodden on the Land of Taboo here, but someone has to do it. People have all kinds of twisted and kinky ideas about sex on this planet which is usually enough to scare most Christians/Messianics into complete denial that sexuality could be a part of the next world. That sexuality exists in the eternal worlds can hardly be denied if you believe, with Scripture, that heaven consists of trees which produce fruit, since fruit is made only as a result of a sexual process involving the pollination of flowers. Again, that is not necessarily to say that this process is identical to that which takes place on earth. Nevertheless, it seems rather odd to me that Yahweh would go to all the trouble in the resurrection to preserve the sense of taste and provide fruits on trees if He didn't think these things good, necessary or desirable. The vision we are painted of Paradise, whilst far removed from the crude and coarse Moslem one (for example) of sexual licentiousness (there are pretty women chained up in the four corners of their 'heaven' whom lusty Muslim men may avail themselves of in all eternity), it cannot be denied that there is a sexual element present. Will there be no flowers in heaven? Are we now assured that heaven is a place of earth-like beauty and perfection, only on a much higher plane and more fantastic than we can begin to dream?
Finally, we must not forget that the desirability of sex is so firmly planted in all living creatures that angels not only desired it, but actually had the capacity to indulge in it (which they couldn't have done had they had no genetalia - and why make genetalia which were never to be used at some future time?) when they abandoned their first estate, came to earth, married women, and created a race of giants called the Nephilim.
Now perhaps I am a complete and utter simpleton - maybe even a moron - who simply hasn't grasped what heaven is really about. Maybe I'm completely off the beaten track. But if I am, then it is the Scriptures which are in some way contributing to my illusion. Of course, I may be completely wrong about the infallibility of the Bible, in which case I will need to readjust my thinking radically at some future point, but so long as I subscribe to its own testimony that it is the inspired Word of Elohim (God), I am forced to draw conclusions by using the reasoning processes I have been given and told to use by the Almighty (Isaiah 1:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:21), and to search the scriptures as Christ said (John 5:39 - note the imperative mood ... it's a commandment) and which Paul commended as being noble (Acts 17:11).
The reason, I believe, that so much evangelical theology is in such a twist about the next life is because of this pathological fear of sex foisted on the Church by the Catholics for so many centuries. True, sex is easily open to abuse, and is one area Satan works hard on to corrupt ... but then, so is the human tongue (e.g. James 3:6) which can even make us children of hell (e.g. Matthew 5:22), yet I have never met a Christian/Messianic who has suggested that speech will disappear in the heavenly world. The resurrected Christ still had a tongue, and He could still speak to them as other humans speak, couldn't He?
So, yes, whilst I can understand your position, I am bound to say that for me the Scriptures are so overwhelmingly against the notion that sex (and therefore marriage, since that is the only lawful place of sexual expression) will not be a feature of the resurrection, that I am bound to reject it. No doubt some would say that as a polygamist I have a vested interest in sex continuing into the resurrection (people will say what they want) but frankly if Yahweh said He had something better for me in heaven, and that sex wasn't a part of it, it wouldn't make any difference to me, since I believe implicitly that what He has in store for me there is infinitely better than what I have here today (1 Corinthians 2:9).
So as far as I am concerned, the ball is firmly in the court of those who say there is no sexuality and therefore no marriage (of some sort) in the resurrection. The fact that my position is a minority one does not intimidate me since as a Christian/Messianic polygamist I have been walking in a minority position most of my life anyway. And it seems to me from what our Lord has said in Scripture that Christians/Messianics are going to be in as small a minority when He returns in the same way that believers were in the days of the flood (Luke 17:26ff). So I will not be brow-beaten by 'majorities', 'concensuses', or the like.
It is time for Christians/Messianics to break out of man-made doctrinal and practical moulds and be free to read and live what the Word actually says. Within the next few years the world as a whole is going to be shaken terribly and, with it, the universal Church of God (Assembly of Yahweh). The Whore Church and her Babylonian-inspired traditions will grow and the true Church of God (Assembly of Yahweh) - the Remnant Church (Messianic Community) - will shrink in size or numbers. But as the remnant people shrink in numbers, so will they proportionally grow in the Spirit, and become a fire of blessing to the pure and humble, and a terrible comdemnation to the religious hypocrites and to all those who love unrighteousness.
The Remnant is going to be a polygamy-accepting, patriarchal-orientated, communitarian, and Biblically sound Church (Messianic Community) made up of spiritually healthy men and women who do not fear man or tradition, who will speak the truth out bravely, and who will not be intimidated by the fleshy weaknesses of men. They will be hated and reviled and suffer much, but they are not going to lie down and die. They will come forth in the twin witness of the Torah (Law) and the Prophets (Revelation 3:11), exorting the people to walk in the testimony of Yah'shua (Jesus) and obey the commandments, by which Yahweh's true people will be known and saved (Matthew 5:19; Revelation 12:17; 14:12; 22:14; 1 John 2:3-4; 2:3; 3:22,24; 5:2-3; 2 John 6, etc.).
This is the real issue.