Does the Bible teach there is no such thing as eternal marriage like the Mormons practice?

As posted in a comment here on this blog, “The Mormon Church teaches that when people are married in the temple they are married for eternity but the Bible teaches otherwise as seen by the words of Jesus Himself.”

The author of the comment then quoted this passage of scripture from Matthew 22:

25 Now there were with us seven brothers. The first died after he had married, and having no offspring, left his wife to his brother.
26 Likewise the second also, and the third, even to the seventh.
27 Last of all the woman died also.
28Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her.”
29 Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.
30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God[b] in heaven.

The short answer is that the marriages referred to in this passage of scripture were not eternal marriages, hence, as Jesus said, the woman would not be married to any of the brothers in the next life.

The somewhat longer answer is this:

First, we should understand that the men questioning Jesus were Sadducees, who did not believe in the resurrection at all. But the question appears to have been a common one amongst other Jews of the time, and the Sadducess were perfectly happy to use it to try and bait Jesus into giving them an answer that they could say contradicted Moses, who taught the children of Israel that if a man died, his brother should marry that man’s wife. What’s interesting is that there is brought up the idea that one of these seven brothers would indeed be married to this woman in the next life. Although the Sadducess clearly did not believe this would be the case, the fact that they asked this question shows that amongst other Jews of the time the idea of a marriage relationship after this life was probably commonly held. In other words, this passage actually lends support for the idea of eternal marriage having once been a common doctrine that was lost during the Great Apostasy that followed the death of the Apostles.

Second, we need to read carefully the words used in the scripture. The scripture nowhere says that a marriage relationship will not exist after death. It only says that the act of getting marriage, or being “given in marriage”, will not occur. This is in complete accordance with LDS doctrine, which teaches that eternal marriages can only be performed on earth, by living individuals. Even though Mormons practice proxy marriages on behalf of those who have died and were married civilly in this life (no, we don’t just marry random dead people to each other), these eternal marriages, which can either be accepted or rejected by those who have moved on, occur for those who have died prior to their resurrection, in a space that exists between the time of death and time of the resurrection.

Jesus further pointed out that the men questioning him didn’t understand the scriptures or the power of God, which is plain to see based on the question. If they had understood the doctrine of eternal marriage, then they wouldn’t have had to ask the question in the first place. The answer would be that the woman would be the wife of whichever brother she was “sealed” (the term used to refer to the performance of eternal marriages) to.

More references:

Doesn’t Matthew 22:23-30 Contradict the LDS Doctrine of Eternal Marriage?
Inasmuch as Latter-day Saints believe in marriage for eternity, how do we explain Jesus’ teachings in Matthew 22:29–30?
Is there Eternal Marriage?

Comments

  1. Jesus was talking about life on this earth that is temporary.. He made it very clear that when we die and, hopefully go to heaven, we will not be as married.. we will not even be brothers and sisters.. we'll be completely happy with the God's eternal love!!

    • Joshua, you speak of the concept of eternal marriages being lost in the Great Apostasy. Can you tell me exactly when this is supposed to have taken place. I can not find any document or reference in the Bible or anywhere else where there was not at least a remnant of the Church on earth. It is true that there were apostasies, but never a total apostasy. Do you believe that Jesus spoke the truth? When Jesus said the He would build His Church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it, and that He would be with us until the end of time, was He lying or just mistaken? If there was a total apostasy, then Jesus was not with it until the end of time and the gates of hell did prevail against it. I guess this belief is what prompted Joseph Smith to proclaim that not even Jesus did such a great work as he did, namely keeping a church together. Of course at the time the Mormon Church was only a few years old, not 2000 like the True Church of Jesus is.

  2. Did he "make it clear" anywhere other than in the scripture already referenced, which has been shown to not necessarily say what many think it says?

  3. If what you are saying is true, then Jesus would have qualified his answer by asking "To which, if any of these brothers was this woman bound?" and would have answered accordingly. Your assumption that the fact that they tried to trick him with this question is any indication of eternal marriage "probably" being a commonly held belief in the Jewish community at that time is breathtaking. That is a HUGE leap, and COMPLETELY unfounded based on not only the Bible, but also the "Book of Mormon," which doesn't mention eternal families ANYWHERE despite containing "the fullness of the gospel." How can such a fundamental concept in modern Mormonism not be contained anywhere at all in "the fullness of the gospel?" Here's why. Because Joseph Smith and his cronies made it up as they went along, and they didn't concoct "eternal marriage" ( so they could sleep with lots of women, including the wives of other men) until well after the Book of Mormon was finished. Are you honestly trying to say that "sealings" were a common practice in Jewish temples at that time and any and all evidence of it has been lost completely in the Jewish tradition? Please.

  4. "Your assumption that the fact that they tried to trick him with this question is any indication of eternal marriage 'probably' being a commonly held belief in the Jewish community at that time is breathtaking. That is a HUGE leap…"

    I can see how it's a huge leap from your perspective, but it's no leap at all from the Mormon perspective. We already know that marriages performed under the proper authority can last after death. This scripture lends credence to what is commonly accepted as fact within Mormon doctrine. The scripture seems, to us Mormons, to clearly reference the sealing power. If you come from the perspective that there is no such thing as eternal marriage and you've never heard of sealing power or think it to be a fiction, then yes, it seems like quite the leap.

    "How can such a fundamental concept in modern Mormonism not be contained anywhere at all in 'the fullness of the gospel?'"

    The "fulness of the gospel" does not mean "everything". A full cup might contain enough water to quench your thirst, but by saying it's "full" one doesn't mean to say it contains all the water in the world. The Bible and Book of Mormon individually contain enough truth to lead one to Christ and salvation, but that doesn't mean either one contains every single doctrine or every single bit of truth that exists. Both books state this explicitly by saying that there are many good and true things not contained in each of them.

    "Are you honestly trying to say that 'sealings' were a common practice in Jewish temples at that time and any and all evidence of it has been lost completely in the Jewish tradition?"

    No, I'm just saying that it would make no sense for the Sadducees to ask the question they did if neither they nor anyone else in Jewish society at the time had any concept of couples remaining married after death. It seems more likely that sealings were not being performed or performed on a very limited basis unnoticed generally, and that knowledge of the sealing ordinance had been mostly or completely lost, since it's obvious the Sadducees did not understand it, hence Christ's rebuke "You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God."

  5. The Book of Mormon is the "gateway drug" of Mormonism. Since it has many plagiarisms from the Bible and speaks of Jesus it is meant to hook people by claiming to be just an addition to the Bible. Problem is, once it's accepted, then one has to accept a list of things they must do to live with God that are not contained in the BOM including:

    Temple works: sealings/endowments/baptism for the dead

    Men become gods/Plurality of gods

    God as an exalted man

    Joseph Smith as The Prophet

    Modern day ongoing revelation from the living prophet

    Plural marriage

    Three degrees of glory/salvation

    Eternal progression

    More "scripture" from Joseph Smith, such as the D&C, Pearl of Great Price, etc.

    None of these things are in the BOM but in Mormonism are essential to live with God. They were added by Smith as his power/following increased. That is proven by the dates of the revelations whether you like it or not, they came in after the BOM was published and Joseph had risen in power. We must also define terms, you cannot say "saved" to a Mormon and mean the same thing that a Christian means. Mormons are Universalists who believe everyone will be saved, it just depends what level of glory you will reach. Only Mormons who do the required works will live with God.

    When the Bible claims to have the fullness of the gospel, it means it contains what is necessary to lead one to Christ and salvation. Period. End of story. That is the whole point of the Bible.

    To accept the "fullness of the gospel" (BOM) in Mormonism, it means to lead you into a laundry list of requirements you have to do (including pay your 10% tithing to get into the temple) in order to live with God.

  6. If the Book of Mormon contains the fullness of the gospel, then why don't Mormons follow it?

    Because if they followed it, then they wouldn't believe the things that are not in it.

    such as: "Temple works: sealings/endowments/baptism for the dead

    Men become gods/Plurality of gods

    God as an exalted man

    Joseph Smith as The Prophet

    Modern day ongoing revelation from the living prophet

    Plural marriage

    Three degrees of glory/salvation

    Eternal progression"

    • The term "fulness of the gospel" does not mean everything about or related to the gospel. It means enough to lead one to God. A book may contain a fulness of the gospel and yet contain not even 1% of what God knows.

  7. Well…the Bible leads people to God. It is enough to lead people to a saving relationship with Jesus.

    So what do we need the BOM for?? It doesn't teach any of the temple rites or Mormon ordinances…if it accomplishes the same goal as the Bible, what purpose does it have?

    As I've said before, it's the Mormon gateway drug. It hooks people in talking about Jesus and it really doesn't say too much that is unChristian. The problem with it is once a person accepts this BOM from the Mormon church, then they have to move on to the harder stuff and accept all the things that come along with Mormonism. Once they have you with that book and the parlor trick of the "burning bosom", then they roll out the REAL crazy stuff and then you are in so deep you don't know how to get out. Then you look at your mom and dad doing the same stuff, your wife and kids are in on it, all your friends…your hooked!

  8. "Well…the Bible leads people to God. It is enough to lead people to a saving relationship with Jesus. So what do we need the BOM for?? It doesn’t teach any of the temple rites or Mormon ordinances…if it accomplishes the same goal as the Bible, what purpose does it have?"

    You could also ask why we have a New Testament in addition to the Old. If everyone before Christ was ok without the NT, then why the need for any additional scripture? Or why the need for the gospel of Matthew when we already have the gospel of Luke?

    The Book of Mormon exists to clarify and amplify the message of the Bible, and to bring more souls closer to Christ than would happen with just the Bible. With only the Bible we've ended up with hundreds of different Christian religions. They agree on a few key points, but they differ in many ways and there is a lot of confusion. There are a lot of people in the world who don't believe in the Bible at all and say it's all mythology and that Christ never existed. There are a lot of people who look at the confused state of religion and don't want anything to do with it because it doesn't make sense to them. The Book of Mormon is a second witness that says "Yes, the Bible is true, Christ is real, and here is some additional information that can clarify those points of the Bible that are confusing." People who weren't satisfied with one witness, the Bible, might be satisfied with two. People who were confused by parts of the Bible now can get clarification on what the Bible means. And so more people are coming to Christ as a result, and they're able to get closer than they might have before.

    "In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established." – 2 Cor. 13:1

    "As I’ve said before, it’s the Mormon gateway drug. It hooks people in talking about Jesus and it really doesn’t say too much that is unChristian. The problem with it is once a person accepts this BOM from the Mormon church, then they have to move on to the harder stuff and accept all the things that come along with Mormonism. Once they have you with that book and the parlor trick of the “burning bosom”, then they roll out the REAL crazy stuff and then you are in so deep you don’t know how to get out. Then you look at your mom and dad doing the same stuff, your wife and kids are in on it, all your friends…your hooked!"

    Heheh, yes, it is the gateway drug, the gateway drug to "the one true drug" that is Jesus Christ! :)

    All this is only a problem if the Church is false. But if it is true, where's the problem? I know you don't believe it's true, but is the behavior of the Church not reasonable given that we Mormons do believe it to be true? If it is true, in what better way could we spread the gospel? Would it be better to talk about things that are hard to understand and accept before talking about things that are easy to understand and easy to accept? Wouldn't this result in less people coming to Christ, whereas if we do things the opposite way more people will come to Christ?

    • No when you teach someone you do not keep anything from them . That is called taking people choice away. Most people know God and believe in Jesus Christ 100%. They believe what you believe. However, what’s hard is believing man made rules and traditions. If you use the BOM which doesn’t state anything negative it will be easy for some to join. Most have a hard time with another book with angels they never heard of and the majority of the book is chapters from the Bible verbatim. Another testament would be added information not just of another family.

      However, the rules of man is hard to accept. Why would anything about God be hard. If the book he claim is the restoration doesn’t state it , Why should someone believe it? Jesus Christ is our lord and savior 100% and the missionaries are great . The church people are very nice but the man made additions is what will and does drive people away from the Church. I know I have respect for the LDS people it is not their fault but they are brain washed. That is truth. Oh one last thing even if people again key word people took a BOOK (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth) the Bible and took a text and took it out of context to create different denomations does not discredit the Bible. People did that to create there own thing. Joseph Smith created his own as well and he is questionable as far as things he did while claiming he was a Prophet. He chose a man to be a prophet only God can do that and many other things. It is messy once you start learning in terms of the LDS Church.

  9. "With only the Bible we've ended up with hundreds of different Christian religions. They agree on a few key points, but they differ in many ways and there is a lot of confusion."

    I'm sorry Joshua, but this is absolutely false. This is also something the Mormon church teaches and it just isn't true. I have never had any discussions, arguments, disagreements with any other Christian the way I do with Mormons. Their is one religion: Christianity. We agree on the nature of God, who Jesus was and is, and his death on the cross reconciling us to God with grace as the gift through faith alone. Someone who is a Christian in Africa will hold those same beliefs, who cares what they wear, what music they listen to, if they do the Lord's Supper, etc or not? It has no bearing on our salvation. That is what matters! The other stuff doesn't matter! We have freedom in Christ to have our own opinions about the minor issues. Mormons do not agree with Christians on any of these points, that is why you are outside of the fold.

  10. By the way Joshua, I am glad you are back…I was beginning to think your website had been taken over by that Ronnie guy and I wasn't going to come here anymore…maybe that was your intention, who knows! :)

    • I comment when I have time, which isn't as often as I would like :)

  11. @Kent: "If the Book of Mormon contains the fullness of the gospel, then why don’t Mormons follow it? Because if they followed it, then they wouldn’t believe the things that are not in it."

    This is faulty logic. Whereas many mainstream Christians believe that if a doctrine is not referenced in the Bible it doesn't exist, Mormons are not constrained by any such notion. As it states in the LDS Church's 9th Article of Faith, "We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God."

    • Actually, Joshua, not everything that Christians believe is explicitly taught in the Bible. For instance the word Trinity does not appear anywhere in the Bible, but the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian Faith and life. It is the mystery of God in Himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the hierarchy of the truths of faith. The whole history of salvation is identical with the history of the way and the means by which the one true God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, reveals Himself to men, and reconciles and unites with Himself those who turn away from sin.
      From the beginning, the revealed truth of the Holy Trinity has been at the very root of the Church’s living faith, principally by means of Baptism. It finds its expression in the rule of baptismal faith, formulated in the preaching, catechesis, and prayer of the Church. Such formulations are already found in the apostolic writing, such as this salutation taken up in the Eucharistic liturgy: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Cor 13:13; 1Cor 12;2-4 and Eph 4:4-6)

      During the first centuries the Church sought to clarify its Trinitarian faith, both to deepen its own understanding of the faith and to defend it against the errors that were deforming it. This clarification was the work of the early councils, aided by the theological work of the Church Fathers and sustained by the Christian people’s sense of the faith.
      We do not confess three Gods, but one God in three persons, the “consubstantial Trinity.” The divine persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each of them is God whole and entire.
      (From the Catechism of the Catholic Church)

  12. Truth is our element of life, thus far stipulation a man tie his attention resting on a single facet of truth, and apply himself to that single-handedly meant for a extended occasion, the truth becomes distorted and not itself, except falsehood

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