We hear Jesus educating the Sadducee who came to him with a cleverly made up query on life after life and on the prospective marital status of souls in heaven in Mk 12:24-25 (KJV) :

And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God? 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.

One does not, unfortunately find footnotes under vv. 24-25 which would otherwise give a hint as to which Scripture, according to Jesus, the Sadducee were ignorant of.

My question therefore is: Which verses in the OT was Jesus referring to in Mk 12: 24-25, where he scolded the Sadducee for being ignorant of the Scriptures?


3 Answers 3


The key to understanding the question is the verse: "the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him and asked..." (Mt 22:23) The Sadducees' question was insincere, designed to prove that the idea of an afterlife was ridiculous. Thus, when Jesus says the Pharisees did not know the scriptures, he referred to the scriptures teaching that there is an afterlife/resurrection in which the individual identity survives so definitely as to recognize one's spouse.

According to Britannica:

The Sadducees refused to go beyond the written Torah (first five books of the Bible) and thus, unlike the Pharisees, denied the immortality of the soul, bodily resurrection after death.

The Sadducees would have been aware of the teaching that souls reside in Sheol, because the term (sometimes translated as "the grave) is mentioned in the Torah. We don't know if the Sadducees thought the term referred to "death" or some form of afterlife. In any case, the residents of Sheol are semi-conscious beings who hardly recognize each other. The Sadducees' basic attitude was that of Ecclesiastes 3:20: "All go to one place; all are from the dust, and all turn to dust again."

Job and Daniel

We should therefore look for OT scriptures that support the idea of the survival of conscious spiritual agency after death--something more than virtual sleep-walking of Sheol. One of the first scriptures to promote this idea is Book of Job which asks: "If a man die, shall he live again?"... and answers: "after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God."

Jesus may also have in mind the prophecy of Daniel 12:

At that time Michael shall stand up... and your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament. And those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

Apocrypha and Enoch

The OP mentions "OT Scriptures," which raised the issue of which books Jesus might have accepted as scriptural. (The OT canon was not clearly formed at the time.) He may have referred to teachings mentioned in the intertestamental literature, which were included in the Septuagint Jewish collection of scripture and later accepted by Catholics and the Orthodox as the OT Apocrypha. In these texts the afterlife and the resurrection are further developed. Afterlife and Resurrection Beliefs in the Second Temple Period explains:

The issue of the afterlife among the Jews became much more prevalent at the close of the First Temple Period and after the return of the Jews from Babylonian exile... By the end of this period, a belief in a bodily resurrection had become a mainstream belief in both surviving strands of Second Temple Judaism: Rabbinic Judaism and the early Christian Church, and a central tenet for both communities.

One example of the concept of resurrection/afterlife in the Apocrypha is 2 Maccabees 7:14, where a young man about to be martyred tells the king:

One cannot but choose to die at the hands of mortals and to cherish the hope God gives of being raised again by him. But for you there will be no resurrection to life!

We should also mention the Book of Enoch, which was accepted only by the Ethiopian churches, but was influential enough to be sited in the Letter of Jude. This work deals with otherworldly life in detail and portrays Enoch as an especially active agent in the spiritual world. Since the Letter of Jude refers to prophecies from this work, it is possible that Jesus considered it to be scripture. 1 Enoch 50 states:

For in those days the Elect One shall arise, And he shall choose the righteous and holy from among them: For the day has drawn nigh that they should be saved... And his mouth shall pour forth all the secrets of wisdom and counsel: For the Lord of Spirits hath given [them] to him and hath glorified him.

Ezekiel 37's prophecy of the Valley of Dry bones may also be mentioned, although it is probable that Jesus, like other Jews, understood it as a prediction of Israel's restoration, not the resurrection.

Conclusion: The prophecy of Daniel 12 is the most likely scripture that Jesus had in mind. However he may have been thinking of others, including Job, the OT Apocrypha and Enoch.


I believe that you have the scriptures cited a bit "mixed-up".

The portion of the Bible (New Testament) to whom you are referring, which is talking about the Sadducee coming to Jesus with a cleverly made-up query on life after life, and the prospective of marital status of souls in heaven, is mentioned in Matthew 22:23-33 (NOT Luke 12:24-25).

However, the portion of The Old Testament to whom it is referring to, is Deuteronomy 25:5-6

As for your updated text, Mark 12:24-25:

"24. Yeshua said to them, “Isn’t this the reason that you go astray? because you are ignorant both of the Tanakh and of the power of God? 25. For when people rise from the dead, neither men nor women marry — they are like angels in heaven. (CJB)

Jesus asks the Pharisees and the Sadducees a rhetorical question (verse 24), to which He immediately provides the answer, as well (verse 25).

However, the question itself is sufficient to point the problem of Pharisees and Sadducees: They were going "astray"; they were "Lost" despite claiming that they know THE TANAKH, which supposedly was THE MAP of LIFE.

Now, the Main Problem when 'One is Lost'/ ('go astray') is NOT that s/he does NOT Have A MAP, but that DESPITE Having A MAP s/he does not know where s/he is, and thus, s/he cannot understand where s/he is coming from, and/or where is s/he going, as opposed to Jesus, who learly stated in John 8:14-15 (CJB):

14 Yeshua answered them, “Even if I do testify on my own behalf, my testimony is indeed valid; because I know where I came from and where I’m going; but you do not know where I came from or where I’m going. 15 You judge by merely human standards. As for me, I pass judgment on no one;

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    Deut 25:5-6 says: "If brothers are living together and one of them dies without a son, his widow must not marry outside the family. Her husband’s brother shall take her and marry her and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her. The first son she bears shall carry on the name of the dead brother so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel. " But my belief is that Jesus was referring to some OT verses which deal with marital status, if any, of souls in heaven . Deut 25 is silent on the aspect, and that is exactly why the Sadducee wanted to test Jesus ! Oct 7, 2022 at 4:59
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    The Deuteronomy passage may be the source of the question but where in the OT is Jesus' answer rooted? I believe that is the gist of OP. Oct 8, 2022 at 14:44

I think that Jesus was refering Oral Tradition that was later brought to be written in tractate Brachot, see


In the World-to-Come there is no eating, no drinking, no procreation, no business negotiations, no jealousy, no hatred, and no competition. Rather, the righteous sit with their crowns upon their heads, enjoying the splendor of the Divine Presence, as it is stated: “And they beheld God, and they ate and drank” (Exodus 24:11)

Explanation for the usage of Exodus 24:11 : when they beheld God, for them it was like for normal people to eat and drink.

The problem with my answer, is that the Sadducee refused to believe in Oral Tradition, especially about the parts of ressurection of the dead. So he could not use this as a claim against them. This question is problematic altogether because if there was an explicit verse that he could refer to, then the Sadducee would believe in the ressurection of the dead in first place.

I am not sure there is a verse in the Tanach that convey this. Maybe he referred to a verse in one of the external books.

I am not even sure if they believed in any of the books in Tanach other then the Torah - the pentateuch.

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    I picture them as accepting the Writings, and perhaps the prophets as well.... but with a grain of salt. They certainly rejected the intertestamental writings. where the doctrine of the World to Come was more fully developed. And yes, of course they rejected the Oral Torah, which might or might not, for them, include the prophets. ;-) Oct 10, 2022 at 21:02

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