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Life Issues

The Lord Jesus Christ spoke a lot about heaven. Yet, strangely, most of what we learn about His knowledge of heaven comes almost incidentally when He is teaching on other subjects!

Here is a case in point (Matthew 22/23-33)

That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. “Teacher,” they said, “Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for him. Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. Finally, the woman died. Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?”

 Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.

I don’t know where the question will take us but we must ask the significance of what it means to be like the angels in heaven.

 [I’d liked to leave this whole subject about now because what few remaining friends I have may well be about to reconsider the terms of our friendship. I’m suddenly realising that I can’t touch the bottom!

Now, it has to be admitted that this insight into Jesus’ understanding of heaven is indirect. The question posed by the Sadducees was a set-up…a trap set to catch Jesus’ in His own words.

However, there are a number of insights that we can glean from Jesus’ answer

1.       Jesus certainly believed in the reality of heaven.(We noted that in the last segment)

2.      Jesus’ opponents (and ours) will almost always construct the most extreme and unlikely hypothetical situations in order to discredit our life and ministry.

3.     This hypothetical story reminds me of the movie, “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”; except this title would be “One Bride For Seven Brothers”.

4.     The central question has to do with sexual relationships and human reproduction.

5.     As best I can tell, human reproduction is not an issue in heaven. Sexual intercourse is appropriate and needed in this earthly venue. Physical death creates the need for replenishing the human race. Such a need does not exist in heaven because there is no death or dying.

At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be     like the angels in heaven”.

6.     Come to think of it, I can’t recall anywhere in Scripture where angelic gender is mentioned. There doesn’t seem to be male and/or female angels. Even male names (e.g. Michael) don’t provide a convincing argument for multiple genders.

7.      There does seem to be ‘rankings’ but not based on gender. Seraphim, cherubim, arch-Angels

8.     Angels, it would appear, are non-sexual or a-sexual creatures.

 

(I think the water is getting deeper and my legs aren’t getting any longer!).

  I’m not going around with the deliberate purpose of bursting everybody’s balloon! In fact, my goal is to challenge those beliefs that prevent us from receiving what I hope is a more accurate picture of what is yet to be.

What I do believe (and to this I cling with a great sense of anticipation): Whatever awaits us in the heavenly Kingdom is far, far more wonderful and different and transforming and complete and liberating and perfect than anything we can imagine.

 

That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9  

 

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone.  And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them.   He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelation 21:1-4 (NLT)

 

Let me now return to the original question.

Good grief! What was the original question?

 

 

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