After the Pharisees and Herodians tried to entangle Jesus and failed, the Sadducees came to try and confuse him. The only trouble with their line of argument was that first they did not even believe in what they were questioning Jesus about, and second they didn’t know what they were talking about as Jesus quickly showed.
The Sadducees came to Jesus to test him over marriage and resurrection. They said there was a woman who had had seven brothers as husband. As each of them died she became the wife of the next in line until they had all passed away and the the woman too finally died. Their question to Jesus was, to which of the brothers would she be wife in the resurrection, as they had all had her as wife.
Jesus very quickly shut down their argument. First he pointed out that they were wrong because they knew neither the scriptures nor the power of God.
Marriage is a bond that exists in the flesh, not in the spirit. The law of marriage ends at the death of either party to the marriage. Paul clearly showed this in Romans 7:1-3 saying, “Do you not know, brethren–for I am speaking to those who know the law–that the law is binding on a person only during his life? Thus a married woman is bound by law to her husband as long as he lives; but if her husband dies she is discharged from the law concerning the husband. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.”
So in the resurrection, after a person has died the law is no longer in force concerning marriage. That law ceased to have effect when the person died. So in answer to the first part of the Sadducees question, and showing their lack of knowledge of scripture for this was contained in the law, Jesus showed they did not know what they were talking about. The woman in their example would not belong to any of the brothers for she was freed from the laws of marriage at the death of each of the brothers, and finally when she herself died.
As to the resurrection, the Sadducees did not believe there was a resurrection. Thus their question regarding resurrection was hypocritical to begin with. However Jesus showed too that there indeed is a resurrection for the death of the flesh is not the final death. He spoke of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as living and not dead. Their bodies had separated from the spirit but they were still alive in the spiritual realm, as too are all those who have died in this world. Jesus always spoke of the death of the flesh as being a “sleep.” However the final death that will occur at the final judgement is the destruction of the spirit of a man, not just the flesh.
In addition Jesus quoted saying, “I am the God of Abraham…” He was speaking in the present tense for these three patriarchs of Israel were alive then and are still alive today. The resurrection is still to come and all the dead will be raised to a final judgement. At that time the decisions will be made concerning eternal life or eternal damnation based upon how each person has lived their life. Now is the time to make the decision as to how we should live our lives for at the end it will be too late.
Picture sourced from stock.xchng http://www.sxc.hu taken by Roger Kirby)