6

In reading various different translations of the following passage (emphasis mine), I presume that Mathew indicates than there will be gender at the resurrection. Also a plain reading of the text indicates that there will not be any marriage, ergo sexual intercourse between man and woman not being used to consummate marriage.

However, I'm not sure if this actually implies that there will be no sexual intercourse of any kind in the next life or if that is too great a leap to take from this source.1

Matthew 22:30

At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. (NIV)

For in the resurrection of the dead, they do not take wives, neither do men have wives, but they are like the Angels of God in Heaven. (Aramaic Bible in Plain English)

For in the Resurrection, men neither marry nor are women given in marriage, but they are like angels in Heaven. (Weymouth New Testament)

I'm interested in the exact implications of the phrase "given in marriage". Does this have a say anything about forms of marriage such an implying monogamy? Does the absence of this kind of marriage tell us anything about the presence or absence of sexuality or only about marriage? Would the presence of sexual relations outside the context of marriage in heaven be consistent with this text?

1. There are some people who believe that there will be sexual intercourse in Heaven (source) but not necessarily based on this text.

2

The Matthew 20:30 rather clearly states that in Heavens there will be neither act of marriage, nor sexual relationships, for addition of the "they will be like angels in heaven" to the "there will be no marriage" most clearly indicates that there will not be sexual relationships either, for angels do not have such relationships. What is, in fact, Heavenly bliss and joy? "The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Romans 14:17), and the "eating and drinking" here imply all types of bodily pleasure and amusement, so also of sexual relationships.

Moreover, not only in Heavens, but even during the historical life some Christians are said to receive and contain such an intensity of divine presence in them as to be angelically and even divinely happy even without marriage and sexual relationship (Matt 19:11). Now, if one achieves this stage of spiritual development (like, for instance, Paul who chose celibacy, or John, who was the closest to Jesus who, being God-incarnate and a perfect human, lived life without sexual relationships altogether), he/she already in this life becomes the "child of resurrection" (Luke 20:36), and such a one would even shudder at a thought of engaging into sexual relationship, as something coarser than the divinely refined taste and desire he or she has towards greater Spiritual gifts.

But, again, this cannot be forced upon anybody, and God blesses marriage and sex, and neither the blessed voluntary "eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven" (Matt 19:12) should become haughty for their exceptional talent, for haughtiness is the greatest sin, far greater than even worst kind of sexual lewdness, for it assimilates man to Satan, who practiced celibacy incomparably longer than any human did or will. And yet, those who have this calling and can contain this intensity of the presence of Grace as to feel freer and more blessed by remaining celibate, to such ones Jesus says: "let anybody accept it, who can" (Matt 19:12), and Paul also advices "I wish you were like me", i.e. celibate (1 Cor. 7:7). It is not difficult to predict, that nobody would have forced Paul into marriage and sexual relationships, or just imagine St Augustine after he, through working of divine Grace, overcame the sexual urges and opened for himself new and higher dimensions of blissfulness: would he return to previous stages of his life and start living with another concubine? - he'd better died 100 times!

1

There three different Gospel versions here:

Matthew 22:30

For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.

Mark 12:25

For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.

Luke 20:35

But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage


There are some minor textual variants in the Greek.

  • The phrase that appears in Matthew (bold in the translation above) is οὔτε γαμοῦσιν οὔτε ἐκγαμίζονται according to the Textus Receptus (Scrivener's 1881 compilation) upon which the KJV is based, but some manuscripts show οὔτε γαμοῦσιν οὔτε γαμίζονται. The Nestle-Aland "Critical Text" (CT) opts for the latter, while the Patriarchal Text (PT) of the Eastern Orthodox Church follows what is in the Textus Receptus.

  • The phrase used in Mark is οὔτε γαμοῦσιν οὔτε γαμίσκονται in the Textus Receptus (TR), but many manuscripts show οὔτε γαμοῦσιν οὔτε γαμίζονται. The CT opts for the latter, as does the PT.

  • The phrase used in Luke is οὔτε γαμοῦσιν οὔτε ἐκγαμίσκονται in the TR, but many manuscripts show οὔτε γαμοῦσιν οὔτε γαμίζοντα. The CT opts for the latter, as does the PT.

So depending on which Gospel and which manuscript one is consulting, there are four different words that end up getting translated as given in marriage (KJV):

  • γαμίσκονται (Mark TR)

  • γαμίζονται (Matthew CT, Mark CT/PT, Luke CT/PT)

  • ἐκγαμίσκονται (Luke TR)

  • ἐκγαμίζονται (Matthew TR/PT)


The four forms are derived from three different Greek words:

  • γαμίσκονται and γαμίζονται appear to be Greek spelling variants of a present passive form of the verb γαμίζω, which, according to Bauer's lexicon1 means to give in marriage, as to give one's daughter to someone in marriage. It does not imply that the marriage was somehow consummated. Bauer's lexicon, in fact, provides examples of how the word was used in antiquity to refer to ones who were given in marriage, but remained virgins throughout their matrimony.

  • ἐκγαμίσκονται is the present passive form of an apparently related verb, ἐκγαμίσκω which never appears anywhere else in the New Testament, Septuagint, or writings of the Apostolic Fathers. It appears in the Codex Vaticanus (4th c.) and in the manuscripts that Erasmus managed to sample for the Textus Receptus, but nowhere else. Even the Patriarchal Text, which usually agrees with the TR, jettisoned the word. It is probably just an alternate spelling of ἐκγαμίζονται (below).

  • ἐκγαμίζονται is the present passive form of ἐκγαμίζω - basically the same verb as γαμίζω above with the prefix ἐκ- added, denoting a separation. It is essentially synonymous with γαμίζω. The ἐκ-ness of the being given in marriage perhaps relates to the bride's breaking with her family.


I think my comment on γαμίσκονται/γαμίζονται address your basic question. Not only do the Gospels imply that man and women will not cohabit; they will not even live together as man and wife even in abstinence.

As for the possibility of sexual relations, Matthew's and Mark's account seems to preclude this by describing those in the resurrection as being like the angels in heaven (ὡς ἄγγελοι ἐν οὐρανῷ). John Chrysostom (c 349-407), a Byzantine Greek commentator in antiquity, explained:

If then they marry not, the question is vain. But not because they do not marry, therefore are they angels, but because they are as angels, therefore they do not marry. By this He removed many other difficulties also, all which things Paul intimated by one word, saying, For the fashion of this world passeth away [1 Corinthians 7:31]2


* Arndt and Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (2d ed., University of Chicago Press, 1958), p.151
2. Homily LXX on Matthew (tr. from Greek)

-1

Jesus is simply correcting the Sadducee's wrong assumption that the marriage ties here on earth will continue after the resurrection.

God has things in store for his followers that we can't even imagine (and I don't know about you, but I can imagine quite a lot):

But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” - 1 Corinthians 2:9 (NKJV)

Anyway, my point is that marriage, as it is now on earth, will not exist after the resurrection. So those who have been married to more than one person (due to divorce or a death of a spouse) don't need to worry about having to choose which one to keep after the resurrection.

  • Hello Brian and welcome to BH.SE. Please take our site tour. and check out what makes us different from other sites that study the Bible.. Notably, I've edited this to remove the tangential content that has nothing to do with answering the question but rather 'preaches' to Christians. We ask that answers are descriptive rather than prescriptive and do not assume that readers are Christians (we welcome all perspectives here). – Dan Aug 7 '14 at 20:09
  • I've made an edit to focus this on the question asked and to remove the 'preachy' tangential content not related to the question asked. Our focus here is on understanding the text in its original linguistic, historical, and literary context - not how it applies to religious followers today. – Dan Aug 7 '14 at 20:09
  • 1
    The passage in Matt. 22 does not mean that the Sadducees thought that “the marriage ties here on earth will continue after the resurrection”. The point is that the Sadducees denied the resurrection of the dead. – fdb Aug 8 '14 at 15:12
  • 2
    That is a very bad answer. You cannot "assume" something that you are convinced will never happen. – fdb Aug 28 '14 at 21:51
  • 1
    Read Matthew 22:23-33. Verse 23 says the Sadducees don't believe in the resurrection. Verse 28 then quotes the Sadducees as saying, "Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her." My previous statement stands: The Sadducee's were assuming that if there really was a resurrection then the marriage ties in this life would continue after being resurrected. – Bʀɪᴀɴ Dec 20 '14 at 19:41
-3

The phrase "given in marriage" goes back to the "primitive" notion that the wife-to-be, in particular, was given by her parents to the husband-to-be. Perhaps a better way of expressing the thought is she was entrusted to her husband-to-be. To this day, the idea that a man asks the father of his intended for "her hand in marriage" is not completely foreign to us, even in the West.

In Jesus' day, engagement and marriage were quite different from the way they are today, at least in the West. Back then, how the potential bride and groom felt about each other wasn't nearly as important as how their parents felt about the matchup. Moreover, a contract was formed between the two families well before the actual wedding day. It was called a betrothal. (Occasionally, even today, you might hear a variant of the word in the expression "pledge your troth.")

The betrothal, or engagement, was as legally binding as the actual marriage. First, each family would have to approve of the matchup. Then the bride price and the dowry** would be agreed upon, and they could take the form of money, livestock, land, precious stones, or really anything of value. If either the family of the groom-to-be or the family of the bride-to-be did not have the full bride price or dowry, respectively, they would be given a year or more to come up with the money (or the equivalent). In the meantime, the son and the daughter of the respective families would live separately but would be in what we today call an "exclusive" relationship. Another reason for at least a year's wait was to make sure the bride-to-be was not pregnant, which could be grounds for a divorce.

This exclusive relationship did not mean the couple was allowed to consummate the marriage (though it certainly happened from time to time), and most of the time they spent together until the wedding day would be in the company of a chaperone. No make-out sessions in the back of the car were allowed back then!

Consequently, if the bride-to-be became pregnant by someone other than her betrothed (as Mary, the mother of Jesus did, albeit by the Holy Spirit of God!), the husband-to-be could simply divorce her, in which case the bride-price would be returned to the father of the husband-to-be, and the contract between the two families would become null and void. Moreover, the bride-to-be was in danger of being stoned to death, at least within Judaism, since the woman was guilty of adultery. If that were to happen today in the West, there would be no divorce, though the husband-to-be might be entitled after the break-up to get the engagement ring back!

In conclusion, there is nothing "deeper" going on in the expression "given in marriage." As for its relation to monogamy, the man who had multiple wives would likely be the exception to the rule in Jesus' day, at least within Judaism, though outside Judaism, bigamy (or a wife plus mistresses "on the side") was perhaps more common, though the man would need to have considerable wealth in order to afford the bride price for multiple wives.

As for sexuality, there will be no need for it in heaven, for the simple reason that in heaven there will be no need for procreation, and God's command to "be fruitful and multiply" will no longer be in effect. The redeemed will then be like the angels who, though they always were identified as "men" do not marry (Mt 22:30; Mk 12:25; Lk 20:36). In heaven, the only wedding will be between the bride of Christ--the church universal--and Christ Himself, the Lamb of the Revelation of Jesus Christ (see Ephesians 5:25-32, and Revelation 19:7-10). That marriage will last forever and ever.

**From ISBE on "dowry": In all Hebrew marriages, the dowry held an important place. The dowry sealed the betrothal. It took several forms. The bridegroom presented gifts to the bride. There was the mohar, "dowry" as distinguished from matttan, "gifts to the members of the family" (compare Genesis 24:22,53; Genesis 34:12). The price paid to the father or brothers of the bride was probably a survival of the early custom of purchasing wives (Genesis 34:12; Exodus 22:17; 1 Samuel 18:25; compare Ruth 4:10; Hosea 3:2). There was frequently much negotiation and bargaining as to size of dowry (Genesis 34:12). The dowry would generally be according to the wealth and standing of the bride (compare 1 Samuel 18:23). It might consist of money, jewelry or other valuable effects; sometimes, of service rendered, as in the case of Jacob (Genesis 29:18); deeds of valor might be accepted in place of dowry (Joshua 15:16; 1 Samuel 18:25; Judges 1:12). Occasionally a bride received a dowry from her father; sometimes in the shape of land (Judges 1:15), and of cities (1 Kings 9:16). In later Jewish history a written marriage contract definitely arranged for the nature and size of the dowry.

  • I am quite surprised to see this answer so heavily downvoted, as it is the correct one. Mark 10:9 says "Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate." so the question becomes, whey would God join mankind and specially create a a helpmeet for him to lean on simply to undo all of that at death and resurrection. Clearly God did not intend to undo all of this, and Jesus was speaking out against the devolution of Levirite marriage into barbaric practices. – James Shewey Sep 9 '15 at 22:22

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.