Humanity in every era of time has believed in life after death. RC Sproul says, “The oldest question in the history of thinking people – If a man dies, shall he live again?”
There was a boat uncovered after 5,000 years found in a pit next to the Great Pyramid at Giza…
the ancient vessel was buried to transport Pharaoh Khufu’s spirit to the heavens. Unfortunately for the Pharaoh, the boat had not been used.
Indians were often buried with bows and arrows so they would have them in their happy hunting grounds.
Humanity has always felt the pull of the afterlife.
Benjamin Franklin – who was not a Christian, wrote his own epitaph at 28 years old, altered it throughout the years and often passed them out to friends –
The Body of B. Franklin, Printer;
Like the Cover of an old Book, Its Contents torn out,
And stript of its Lettering and Gilding, Lies here, Food for Worms.
But the Work shall not be wholly lost: For it will, as he believ’d, appear once more,
In a new & more perfect Edition, Corrected and amended By the Author.
For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell….
Pslam 139 – You are there –
The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection. They were scholars of the first five books of the Bible the Pentatuch, and it does not talk about resurrection.
But the Pharisees did believe in the resurrection and loved to discuss it – John MacArthur reported that the Pharisees discussed things like, “In the resurrection, will you be naked or have clothes on?” He said they could not comprehend being naked, so you must have clothes on. And then, the conversation would go to “where do you get your clothes?” Is it the clothes you are buried in? The problem with the Pharisees view of eternity and the resurrection is too much like earth.
The Sadducees scorned and mocked the Pharisees. They infuriated people with their arguments. Allistair Begg says they take a truth and twist it into something it is not. As a matter of fact, I wrote a quote from Begg, “How clever are those who oppose the truth.” So they bring their best twisted argument to Jesus – a question that nobody has been able to answer.
Deuteronomy 25:5 Moses ordered that if a married man dies without a son, it was the man’s brothers responsibility to marry the widow and give her children to carry on the deceased brother’s name. Then the first born whom she bears will be named after the deceased brother. Leverate marriage – (First seen in Genesis 38). We get the full picture from Deuteronomy 25 (don’t want to be of the “house of him who had his sandal removed”)
The Sadducees say there are 7 brothers – a man marries a woman and dies before she has a son – so the second, and third and fourth…. all die… fifth, sixth, and seventh… Black widow?
John MacArthur- “Mercifully, the woman finally dies.” So in the resurrection, whose wife will she be?
This tricky question is right up the Pharisees alley, right?
In the resurrection, when they rise (WINK WINK shaking head with an ornery grin b/c they do not believe it) when they rise, whose wife will she be since she was married to all 7?
Jesus says, “Are you not therefore mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures or the power of God”. That would have been the most aggravating painful things for them to hear. You have misled yourself and wandered from the truth.
Jesus said, marriage is for this age only. Why?
Reproduction will not be necessary because nobody is going to die anymore. We will all equally be in love with Jesus and with each other. All relationships will be perfectly loving, even better than the greatest love between anybody in this life. Love like we know it on earth will be superseded in heaven. If you and I cannot fathom this, you and I, like the Pharisees, are not comprehending the enormity of perfection in heaven.
But then Jesus says something in verse 37 that meant so much more to the Sadducees than it could possibly mean to us today. Most of us here are already believing in the resurrection – it is accepted. We will die and leave this life, and go on to eternal life. We already believe in a living God. But hold on for this explanation of what He said –
Do you remember earlier when I said the Sadducees were scholars and specialized in the first five books of the Bible? Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.
Jesus takes them back to Exodus to Moses at the burning bush.
They had to have been aghast – Exodus 3:6 – Then God said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” he does not say, I was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but I AM. Then Jesus says in verse 27 – He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, and all live to Him. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are alive in God. They’re seen as dead from this side, but are alive, alive, alive forevermore.
I could end it here, and while there is so much more I could say if we had more time–
but I do want to spend a few more minutes and take you a little further in how the Scriptures we have looked at relate to other truths of the Bible that you can study further on your own:
The Jews always believed in the resurrection. They also believed in an earthly resurrection of the nation Israel represented in Ezekiel 37 and the valley of dry bones.
Acts 4 – Disciples arrested and taken into custody by the Sadducees who were upset because the disciples were preaching the resurrection.
Ruth 2:1 – There was a relative of Naomi’s husband Elimelech – named Boaz – Naomi’s son married Ruth, Naomi’s son who it Ruth’s husband dies, and Naomi finds a relative who will give Ruth and her deceased husband a lineage.
Listen and see if you can tell what Paul is doing here: Acts 23 – While Paul was looking intently at the council he said, “Brothers, up to this day I have lived my life with a clear conscience before God.” Then the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near him to strike him on the mouth. At this Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! Are you sitting there to judge me according to the law, and yet in violation of the law you order me to be struck?” Those standing nearby said, “Do you dare to insult God’s high priest?” And Paul said, “I did not realize, brothers, that he was high priest; for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a leader of your people.’”
When Paul noticed that some were Sadducees and others were Pharisees, he called out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. I am on trial concerning the hope of the resurrection of the dead.” When he said this, a dissension began between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. (The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, or angel, or spirit; but the Pharisees acknowledge all three.) Then a great clamor arose, and certain scribes of the Pharisees’ group stood up and contended, “We find nothing wrong with this man. What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” When the dissension became violent, the tribune, fearing that they would tear Paul to pieces, ordered the soldiers to go down, take him by force, and bring him into the barracks.
That night the Lord stood near him and said, “Keep up your courage! For just as you have testified for me in Jerusalem, so you must bear witness also in Rome.”
Jesus: You know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. Ignorant of the Scripture and of God’s power.
People who find themselves twisting the Scriptures and of the Power of God are quite wrong. Greatly mistaken.
At a wedding yesterday and a woman told of something her 7 year old saw in a book at school – the child came home and asked about it. The mom said, “What does God say about it?” The ignorant and the deceitful find clever ways to try and confuse God’s people and oppose the truth. God says, “Keep your courage as you testify of me” as Jesus did, as the disciples eventually would, and as Paul did.
Today I testify to you regarding the question Sproul gave us that I started with: “The oldest question in the history of thinking people – If a man dies, shall he live again?”
The answer is a resounding yes. Believe on the Lord Jesus. Believe He died on the cross for your sins. Admit to him that you need forgiveness. If you will call on Him, He is faithful and just to forgive you of your sins. Lord Jesus, have mercy on me a sinner.
The hope that the majority of people who hear this message, who already believe this, can be yours.