Understanding Marriage, Can Our Marriage Continue Throughout Eternity?
(Ver 1.1) This will be an extremely advanced Bible study about a subject that many married Christians have thought on at one time or the other. Today, I want to focus in on a challenging question that I had presented to me from a reader. It was an excellent question and I appreciate getting stimulating questions form people. She wondered if her marriage between her and her husband would still be able to continue after this life ends. She told me that they loved each other greatly and did not want the marriage to ever end. She had read some of my other lessons where I taught some potentially troubling things that concerned her future marriage to her husband and thus the reason for the question. I do want to say up front that I admire this couple’s resolve and dedication to each other. It is a highly commendable attitude to take hold of and to keep. Anyone going into a marriage should be fully committed to that marriage for however long it might be and for whatever negative things that might occur. Recently on the national news a very prominent Christian TV personality was caught cheating on his wife. This couple after several years of counseling and help from God has decided to remain together and are attempting to rebuild the trust that was lost. While I do not admire the actions of the man to cheat, I do admire that he sees fit to change and get it right and for his wife’s ability to forgive. So this is a very hard question to answer without potentially offending someone or causing anyone to become discouraged, but I will try to do the best that I know how from my current level of knowledge of the Bible and then I’ll let you decide what you want to believe. Let’s first start talking about what marriage is.
Mal 2:14 Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.
Jer 31:32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
You can surely see from these verses in Malachi and Jeremiah that God says a marriage is defined to be a covenant in His eyes. A Bible blood covenant is a legally binding contract between the husband and the wife based upon the Word of God. God told Israel, that I made a covenant with you when I took you out of Egypt and I was your husband. That would make Israel His wife in covenant with God. These are very clear definitions to what a covenant and a marriage are. A covenant and a marriage are clearly synonymous terms for the same thing. When a Christian couple unites in covenant marriage they become “one flesh” according to the Word of God and the law of marriage. You can read this fact in several places in the Bible, but the first time it is mentioned is when Adam and Eve are created in Genesis 2. The body of the wife was taken from the body of her husband and God says they are one flesh (Gen 2:24). This is God’s natural law of marriage covenant between a male and a female and this law is still in effect in the New Testament (Mat 19:5, Mark 10:8, Rom 7:2, Eph 5:31). You do understand that Adam and Eve were created before the Old Covenant. So anything that happens before the old covenant is still in effect after the old covenant has ended. In the eyes of God if you marry someone and consummate that marriage, you are now one flesh that cannot be legally separated for any reason except two Bible exceptions that are given to us by God. God gives us only one legitimate reason for divorce and this is infidelity (Mat 5:32, Mat 19:9). Divorce is the legal end to a marriage covenant contract and God says that this is only permissible if your spouse is unfaithful. If your spouse is adulterous and sleeps around, you are free to divorce them without fear of punishment, legal recourse or retribution from God. This is what the Bible says, so if you divorced for any other reasons you will have some future issues with God. I’m not going to go there anymore since divorce is not my primary subject. The only other legal end to a marriage covenant is when one spouse dies a physical death. According to God’s word that marriage is over.
Rom 7:2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
According to this verse it is very clear that God says the law of marriage is null and void when death occurs. As long as you both are alive and neither is unfaithful you are bound by the law of marriage and God. But, as soon as your spouse dies, then you are not bound to that legal covenant any more. We can recognize that death is a legal separating force for the termination of covenants. This is actually a very important Bible concept that I might not get into fully in this lesson. This concept is introduced when Ruth says to Naomi I will go where you go and your people will be my people. Then Ruth 1:17 says until death part thee from me. This is a popular wedding vow phrase that many have spoken when they were married. The bride and the groom were promising to be faithful until death do we part. You can read about this in some of my other lessons of why God did this and how He used it to terminate His covenant with Lucifer. I want you to see the Greek definition for the word translated as “loosed” found in Romans 7:2:
From G2596 and G691; to be (render) entirely idle (useless), literally or figuratively: – abolish, cease, cumber, deliver, destroy, do away, become (make) of no (none, without) effect, fail, loose, bring (come) to nought, put away (down), vanish away, make void.
It would seem to me that this word is a very strong definition for the termination of a marriage covenant. You can read in the definition “vanish away”, “make void”, “render idle”, “abolish”, “cease”, “destroy” and you can clearly see that there is really no other way to take these statements other than literally. A death when it occurs in a marriage covenant represents a separating force that renders your previous obligations ineffective, useless and vain. So while you would like to think that your marriage is eternal you must take the words of the most intelligent being (God) to be a greater witness to what actually occurs. If you choose to ignore God’s words for what you want to believe it does not cause God’s words to fail or not to come to pass.
I heard a minister say once that he and his wife had made a covenant to stay together in heaven. They enjoyed each other so much that they could not bear to part like my reader. While he did not give any scriptures to back this promise, I’m totally convinced that it might be a possibility for them in some degree. You see I do not know of any scripture that says you cannot speak to others in heaven and establish relationships or friendships. This would further mean if you can speak with someone then you can do other things with that person as well, like walk the streets of gold, eat, fellowship, or whatever. While Jesus was on the earth, He constantly said “According to your faith…” and “As you have believed…”. Jesus seemed to emphasize the faith and beliefs of the people to be a determining factor to what happened to them on the earth. Is faith still a determining factor in heaven? Is how you believe still a defining influence to what you get throughout eternity? That is an excellent question to consider. I personally believe that God would not have gone to such extensive efforts to produce a people of faith, if faith was not a future eternal gift to possess and use. Here is a Bible verse that tends to give that impression also:
1Co 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
God says that there “abides” faith, hope and love and God seems to indicate that these will continue forever. Faith is mentioned first, but God says Love is the greatest of these three. Since the Bible says that God is Love, we know that love is an eternal concept that will never end. If Love will be a dominant characteristic in heaven then faith will surely be there also. The Greek word translated as “abide” means “to continue”, “to be present”, “to endure” and “to stay in a given place”. This word seems to indicate that faith will be present in heaven and if it is like it was on the earth, what you believe is usually always what you get out of life, good, bad or indifferent.
So I have concluded that it might be entirely possible to remain in a relationship in heaven if that is what you both believed for. Now the complexity factor is increased because of this additional emphasis which you must place on the Bible. Bible faith or beliefs are always based upon what God tells us in the Bible. If God says anything is for you, then you can believe it is yours and possess it. Then there is inverse truth to that law which is that you cannot believe God for something that violates His Word and expect to get it. Therefore, if you believe for something that is sinful, hurtful, harmful, lustful, or a violation of the Word of God you will probably not get what you were expecting. Let’s say a man wants to live with a woman in eternity that was another man’s wife on the earth, would that be permissible or even remotely possible? You can begin to see the complexity that is involved in multiple personalities wanting the same thing and what is the resolution? I guess what we need to do is figure out what the Bible actually says on the subject and then believe for that. In our world, people marry and divorce like it is no big deal. There are many people in the world who have married multiple times. Some have done this because their spouses have all died, but others have done it because they thought the grass was greener on the other side of the hill. What happens when a person in our world is married multiple times and then they are saved and go to be with the Lord? Jesus actually was presented this hypothetical question in the Gospels and here is this story:
Mat 22:24 Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
It is very interesting to note that the Law of Moses does not tell a woman to remain unmarried if her husband has died and she has had no children. In fact the Law that God gave to Moses actually commands the opposite. It is interesting to note that God is not opposed to being married multiple times and you should think about that. It is more important to God why you have been married multiple times and not if you have been married multiple times. Here in this story the woman’s dead husband’s younger brother is supposed to marry her and raise up children for his dead brother. This means to have sex with her and give her children. So we can clearly see that God is saying something can’t we? Now the additional complexity comes in if they have already had children, then there is not a requirement to remarry and it is permissible for her children to take care of her in her old age. The law was intended to give a childless widow an option that would cause her to not stoop to prostitution to feed herself. I believe that God was looking out for the widow in this law and that it has spiritual meanings attached to it that I cannot get into today.
Mat 22:25 Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother:
So in the hypothetical question being presented to Jesus there are said to be seven brothers and one woman. The first brother dies and leaves his wife to his brother, like the Law of Moses so states.
Mat 22:26 Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh.
They continue to go through the list of brothers in ordered succession and each has had their turn to be married to the same woman in this world. This is one woman who had seven different husbands. Surely you have read this in the Bible before? But, did you understand it?
Mat 22:27 And last of all the woman died also.
Finally the woman dies and is buried and then what? This is where we are today in this lesson of what happens next after this life? The men that were standing with Jesus are about to ask him a question. Here is the question finally presented after the long background discourse:
Mat 22:28 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.
Jesus was being questioned by a group of Jews who did not believe in the resurrection from the dead. The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection, so they were trying to get Jesus to see their point of view by asking a hypothetical question about it as a trick. The Pharisees did believe in the resurrection based upon words, from something that they had read in the Old Testament it gave them the impression that death was not the end of the journey. So the Sadducees ask Jesus which husband will this woman belong to since she was “one flesh” with all of them. Wow, that is a tough, tough question to answer unless you are God who knows how to handle hard questions.
Mat 22:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.
So here we go with the response of the creator of the universe and this is a potentially explosive answer that can be interpreted many wrong ways. If you look at just the first part of the entire response you could say that these guys did not understand the scriptures and Jesus was saying there was no resurrection coming. But, that is not what Jesus said at all. Jesus literally said “You are in error not understanding the scriptures or the power of God”. This verse actually gives us some tremendous insight into two things. The answer to their question was clearly found in the Old Testament, if we can see it and understand it. The next item to consider is that the Power of God is involved in the solution to the mystery. Jesus was in effect saying if you understood how powerful God was, you would not be asking such a foolish natural question. Wow, that is tough right there to handle isn’t it? It almost sounds like my reader’s question of can I still be married to my husband in heaven? Would Jesus give the same answer to my reader’s question as He did to the one that these guys asked? I do not know for sure how to answer that. I just know that God says “With Him ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE”. So I’m not sure if I helped or hurt with that last statement. Let’s continue through the answer that Jesus gives us and see what else He has to say:
Mat 22:30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.
Here we have a very interesting statement where Jesus continues His answer to the men’s question. Did you see what Jesus said? Jesus definitely said there is a resurrection coming, it has not occurred yet, so it is a future event within God’s calendar. Next, Jesus said after the resurrection that people will neither marry or be given in marriage. Let’s stop there and think about that part of the statement. The Greek word translated as “marry” means to wed and applies to either sex, male or female. God says males and females will not marry after they are raised in the resurrection. Then the Greek word “given in marriage” is a term only for females when a daughter is given to her future husband to become his bride. These are very familiar topics and subjects that we are all familiar with in this world. We see this happening all around us. But, Jesus clearly says that this is not what will happen after the resurrection occurs. The question then shifts to why? Does it mean it is not possible or just not permitted or could it be a third option that you have not considered? You see in the world today you see things from a very narrowly focused point of view. What will change after the resurrection occurs? Is it possible that you will not have the same desires and your focus will experience a transformation which will permit you to see things completely different? Read this verse very carefully:
1Co 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
There seems to be some clues in the Bible that we do not see things very clearly in this world. In other words our spiritual vision is clouded and our perspectives are skewed. I believe what God is saying to us is that what we hold as valuable in this world, when reflected on could become very minor to us when viewed correctly in the next world. Think about this statement very closely and consider the words written there for you. If you can only see a small part of this world and only know a minor slice of the greater truth that will be revealed later, how can you make a determination now what you will want in the next spiritual dimension? Your desire to stay married with your present spouse might just change dramatically once you see the awesome power of God. Your spouse might be the center of your world today, but in the presence of God they could fade and become much less important to you. I do not mean to say that you will not love them, but according to this verse in first Corinthians you will see them more clearly along with God.
I can almost feel the disappointment that my reader no doubt might be feeling right now. But, let’s continue with the answer that Jesus is speaking of in his response to marriage after the resurrection. After Jesus says we will not marry, Jesus says something else that is very profound; he says “we will be as the angels of God”. We can clearly understand from this statement that angels pre-existed man. Angels were not created to look like us; we were created to look like them. But, how are the angels of God? Jesus implies that angels do not marry each other either. The implication is that they could marry but that this is not the design of God for them to marry. You can take this to mean that there must be both male and female angels can’t you? If there were not any female angels then God would not be able to compare us to them. We could never be like them, if there were only males. Do you understand that? You see when I read in Genesis where the “sons of God” (angels) had sex with the daughters of Adam (women) on the earth and created a race of giants, I wondered if there were any female angels. It is clear that God says there are male angels. If God created male angels with male sexual organs and no female angels it would not make any logical sense to me. I guess I’m getting off of the subject somewhat, but it is a very fascinating concept to consider. I have to conclude that if people who are resurrected can become like the angels and female humans are included in this group there has to be female angels that exist or they would not really be like anyone else. The major thing to learn from this statement is that after the resurrection, we will be like the angels of God. Whatever they do, we can do, whatever they are we are very similar, however they live, we will live also. Please remember this and I will try to talk more about the angels later. However, Jesus is not through answering the question and we must see the rest of the answer and put it together correctly:
Mat 22:31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,
Here is Jesus beginning to give us another very deep revelation of the spiritual realm. As you can clearly read, Jesus has not finished speaking about the resurrection. This next statement is a direct revelation that is very powerful to know:
Mat 22:32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.
Wow, this is a hard saying from God. It will go over your head if you are not careful to observe the words that are being communicated on the subject of the resurrection. What was Jesus saying with this statement? The words of the prophet were written many hundreds of years after the physical deaths of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God is saying that at the time the prophet wrote these words, these three men were not dead. These words confounded the Sadducees who were listening and put them to silence. You see I have had several very ignorant commenters try to teach me about what happens after physical death occurs and they should have noticed what Jesus just said before they try to tell me what they think. Some have said the soul and spirit sleep and do not know anything until the time of resurrection. Some of them have tried to say that the human life is ended when a person dies and there is nothing else for them. But, God Himself says that they did not die and they are alive and the resurrection has not yet occurred. Here is one of the most important things you should learn from today’s lesson about spiritual things. If you are a Christian and your body dies in this world, the Bible says your spirit departs and is present with the Lord (Php 1:23). Jesus is saying that physical death is not the end; it is only a change of address. Death is a departure from the physical realm and an entrance into the spiritual realm. Did you understand what I just said? If you did not you should go and read it until you do understand it or just ask me some questions about the parts that you do not understand. What you need to see is that Jesus when speaking to these men on the earth said God is the God of the living and not the dead. God said Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who had died physically hundreds of years earlier, were not spiritually dead but were called alive. Let me give you a verse that I alluded to earlier about changing your of perspective after you die:
1Co 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
What I see from studying the Bible are people’s desires, viewpoints and perspectives are purely based upon what they know and have experienced up until this point in time. In other words your favorite food might be apple pie on the earth, but who knows what it will be when you get to heaven since God could have things there that you have never experienced. People think that because the love found in their current family has been so special and real to them, that it cannot get any better so I will be happy if I just have this throughout eternity. However, God says in 1 Corinthians 2:9 that we have no idea or clue to the great and awesome things that He has planned for those who love Him. I tried to tell you this before, but when you are standing on the streets of gold surrounded by mansions and an innumerable company of angels with the awesome light coming from the throne of God, if you still think and feel the same way that you do today, then God has failed in you knowing Him.
I heard a minister teach about a vision of heaven that he had once where he appeared there and saw things that were so amazing that they are difficult to describe in human terms. He saw spiritual things and even people he knew and talked to them. One of his relatives a sister was there and he got to speak to her. She had died a number of years earlier and she asked him questions about her family that she left there was doing and I think these questions shocked him. You see she did not know what was happening on the earth in the physical realm so she had to ask questions about it to her brother who had just came from there to visit. Her brother did not tell her that her husband had remarried but, said that they were all doing fine. You see people in heaven do not see things the same way and they do not care about the natural realm in what you ate today and what we are wearing or even who you are married to. People in heaven do not care what kind of car you are driving or what kind of house you are living in. Things in the natural realm are very unimportant to people in the spiritual realm. It is a complete opposite perspective to what people on the earth are focused in on. Those in heaven only care if you know Jesus and are saved and that you are growing up spiritually. The eternal things are so much more important than the natural things of this world, that our perspectives are totally different after we leave here. Here is a verse that certainly applies to what I am trying to say to you today:
1Co 7:34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.
God is comparing two women in this verse and it clearly says there is a major difference between them. But, do not take it out of context or try to say that God is saying you should not get married. You see if people did not get married and have children, there would be no harvest for God to come back to get. God is simply showing us how a perspective changes when you are married. You see things differently than someone who is not married. You can also take this into the spiritual realm comparison between someone who is spiritual versus someone who is naturally minded. If you are focused on Jesus, then you want to please Him and if you are married your focus is shifted to your spouse. When you get to heaven, who do you want your focus to be on? What do you think God wants your focus to be on?
So I am not saying today that you will not love your spouse when you get to heaven. I’m not saying you cannot spend a lot of time with your former spouse in heaven. I am just saying that in heaven you will see things more clearly than you do today. You will be able to see God for the first time there and you will know Him better than you have ever known Him. I personally believe that the experience of heaven will truly be overwhelming. I believe God has some awesome things prepared for us and when we begin to see them, the past will become just what it was, a spec of inconsequential meaning that pales to the definition of an eternity with God. The human mind cannot fully comprehend infinite and eternal concepts of time. No doubt we will be able to do things in eternity that we never imagined in our short life span on the earth. So I have much more to say on this subject, but I have gone long enough today. I’ll give you a list of key points from today’s lesson about marriage before and after the resurrection.
- Marriage is a blood covenant union between a man and a woman.
- Divorce is not permitted except for infidelity.
- There is a physical resurrection coming where we get a new glorified body.
- Just because you die physically does not mean you are not alive spiritually. You exist just not here in the physical realm.
- After you die physically, your marriage in the natural realm is over.
- This does not mean Christians will not know each other in the spiritual realm in fact you will definitely carry over your memories and experiences in this life into the next.
- We will see things clearly then and not be limited in our perspective as we are now.
- Jesus said in the next realm we will:
- Not marry
- Not be given in marriage
- Be as the angels in heaven
I see marriage, children and families as natural things that God has created for us to teach us about spiritual things. If we did not have these things we would not be able to understand the future spiritual reality that we will soon all experience with Him. So my reader asked me if her marriage could continue and this is a difficult question to attempt to answer today. I hope I have not disappointed anyone in my answer with what the Bible says. I do not believe that you will be disappointed after you get to heaven in any degree. There are many things that you do not know yet, so keep learning them and you will see things more and more clearly as we approach Him who is calling us to a greater and higher ability to see.
Posted on February 1, 2011, in Bible Basics, Bible Study, Understanding and tagged Bible, Christianity, Church, Covenants, God, Holy Spirit, Interpretation, Jesus, Knowledge, marriage, Prophecy, Religion, Revelation, Truth, understanding. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.