(KJV)Matthew 22:31-32

But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, [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.

(KJV)Exodus 3:6

Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

Its a little puzzling how the words spoken by God to Moses in Exodus 3:6 which Christ quotes in Matthew 22:31-32 as proof of the resurrection of the dead .


Christ is pointing out that God stated "I am the God of ..." not "I was the God of ...". If the soul were not immortal, He would have stated otherwise. The explanation is summarized in Theophylact's commentary:

By using Moses (v. 23-28) they were intent on overturning the doctrine of the resurrection, but He, also by using Moses, convinces them quoting, "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." What Christ means is this: God is not the God of that which is not, but of that which exists and is. For God did not say, "I was," but "I am." Even though they had died, they live in hope of resurrection.

Explanation of the Gospel According to Matthew (tr. Chyrsostom Press, 1992), p. 192


Luke's account is a little more explicit:

37 “But even Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are raised, when he called the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 38 For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him.”
-Luke 20:37-38 (NKJV)

While death for the righteous is acknowledged, it is not considered permanent. God doesn't consider them truly dead, for they will be raised up at the last day to live forevermore:

39 “This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
-John 6:39-40 (NKJV)

Jesus said to her [Martha], “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.”
-John 11:25 (NKJV)

God is not the God of the dead, because there is no remembrance of Him in death:

18 For Sheol [the grave] cannot thank You,
Death cannot praise You;
Those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your truth.
19 The living, the living man, he shall praise You,
As I do this day....
-Isaiah 38:18-19 (NKJV)

For in death there is no remembrance of You;
In the grave [Sheol] who will give You thanks?
-Psalm 6:5 (NKJV)

“What profit is there in my blood,
When I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise You?
Will it declare Your truth?”
-Psalm 30:9 (NKJV)

10 Will You work wonders for the dead?
Shall the dead arise and praise You? Selah
11 Shall Your lovingkindness be declared in the grave?
Or Your faithfulness in the place of destruction?
-Psalm 88:10-11 (NKJV)

The dead do not praise the Lord,
Nor any who go down into silence.
-Psalm 115:17 (NKJV)

God continued to call Himself the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob long after they had died. This is because, to paraphrase Jesus' words to Martha, “though they may die, yet shall they live.”

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