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A Resurrection Riddle

~~Linda Lou Taylor only got married once…for love.

It was in 1957. Linda was sixteen and she married 31 year old George Scott, whom she loved deeply. The marriage lasted seven years, ending in a regrettable divorce. After that Linda gave up on the idea of marrying for love, and instead began to marry, it seems, for sport. She wed and divorced with a dizzying frequency.

She tied the slip-knot in rapid succession, collecting a string of ex-husbands form all walks of life, including a plumber, a preacher, a bartender, a musician. To add valuable rare items to her collection of erstwhile hubbies, she married a one-eyed convict, two homeless guys, and two gay men.

She creatively upped her matrimonial stats by “committing” to one fellow, Jack Gourly, on three separate occasions. Her shortest marriage lasted a mere 36 hours.  It seems her goal was to immortalize her hubby-hobby with a dubious entry in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “most married woman.”

She accomplished this notoriety by wedding Mr. Glynn Wolfe in her 23rd wedding. The marriage was unabashedly performed solely for the publicity of getting into Guinness. You may ask yourself, what kind of man would marry a woman just to help her get into a record book? Good question. The motive was hardly difficult to discern, as that wedding happened to secure for 87 year old Mr Wolfe his own record as “most married man,” when Linda became his 29th bride.

He died a year later, and Linda, age 63, has been single for ten years now, but she told a journalist that she’s on the prowl for husband #24.

Personally, I rankle at the recurring spectacle of those who degrade the sanctity of marriage with such reckless abandon. But it does remind me of another far-fetched story of serial marriages. One that was not trying to mock the sanctity of marriage, but rather to mock—of all things— the doctrine resurrection.


If a musical were to be composed from this account, it may be called A Severe Bride for Seven Brothers…

Luke 20:27  There came to him some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection,  28  and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.  29  Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and died without children.  30  And the second 31  and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died. 32  Afterward the woman also died.  33  In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife.”  34  And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage,  35  but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage,  36  for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.  37  But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.  38  Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him.”  39  Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.”  40  For they no longer dared to ask him any question.

I guess you could also call this tragi-comedy Seven weddings and Eight Funerals.

one brideThis was a actually a good question for theological liberals to ask. They are referring to something Moses had written in Deut 25:5  “If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the dead man shall not be married outside the family to a stranger. Her husband’s brother shall go in to her and take her as his wife and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her.  6  And the first son whom she bears shall succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel.

This was called ‘levirate marriage’ and it was how they ensured  the promised land would remain with the family and clan with which it had allotted.

The liberal Sadducees were saying “We all agree that Deuteronomy, written by Moses, is the word of God. But if the resurrection is true, then the Scriptures teaches a scenario where you would have a women married to multiple men, polyandry,” which all Jews abhorred.

This is a question they had no doubt posed to Pharisees in the past, without suitable answer, and they thought it was their best riddle for Jesus to stump him. It was like challenging Bobby Fischer to a game of speed-chess in the park.

And here we see typical hubris of unbelief. There are two ways of approaching mystery when you read the Bible. One is to approach by faith, assuming the Bible is breathed out by God, free of error, and perfectly accurate in historical, theological, and scientific details. And then seek to figure out how it fits together.  E.g. The gospels tell us Judas hanged himself, Acts tells us he fell down a cliff. A believer assumes that he hanged himself on a tree at the side of a cliff, and when the branch broke he fell.

The other approach is to launch off a springboard of unbelief and then gleefully assume you have discovered a contradiction that proves your position.

As a Christian you don’t need to get sucked into these types of debates. There is nothing wrong with admitting there are things hard to understand in the Bible (Peter confessed as much in 2 Pet 3:16 about Paul’s epistles!), but that you trust God will do a decent job explaining it when you get to Heaven.

Here Jesus reveals in unprecedented detail that our family structure in Heaven is different from this life’s. There is no marriage because there is no need for procreation and raising children.

Think about this, those of you who have lost children, or had a miscarriage…when you meet your child in heaven, they could well be “older” than you, in that they will have been in Heaven for years longer than you have been there.  Your baby—who will no doubt have a mature body and mind in the resurrection, not an infant body—may show you around Heaven as they will be more familiar with the place than you, the new arrival.

We don’t know exactly how all that works out, but from Jesus’ answer we know this: the resurrection is real, and there are details about it that are not yet revealed in the Bible.

The reason Jesus has unprecedented clarity on this doctrine is because he knows the Bible, he has direct revelation from the Father, and oh, he’s been there!

At this time of the year it behooves us to remember that Christ’s victory over death swung open the door for a reality of eternal life that defies comprehension and imagination. And for those who believe in Jesus our funeral on Earth marks an event as happy as a wedding in Heaven.