That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. "Teacher," they said, "Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and have children for him. Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. Finally, the woman died. Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?" (Matt. 22: 23-28)
“You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God."Ecclesiastical sectarian teachers - including the Sadducees - have described resurrection as some sort of rising of the dead physical body - as if the family of the body remains after all the bodies die. Some modern day versions describe the dead physical body rising and “dancing on the grave.” This sort of nonsense has nothing to do with the resurrection Jesus spoke of. We all know scientifically that the physical body simply decomposes in the ground. It is eaten by bacteria and worms, and becomes “dust to dust.”
As evidenced by tens of thousands of cases of clinical death, and confirmed by scripture, each of us is a spiritual being - not the physical body - and we leave the body behind at death.
So what is the "resurrection," then?
"At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven."The word "resurrection" is translated from the Greek word ἀνάστασις, which means, according to the Greek Lexicon, "a raising up, rising (e.g. from a seat)." So what is rising from what?
It is the spiritual individual, who is rising up from the body as the body dies.
The first resurrection Jesus refers here to is when the personality - the nonphysical spiritual individual - is released from the physical world and returns to the spiritual world. In other words, the repositioning of the spiritual person back home, in the spiritual world with God.
How do we know this? Because Jesus is clearly stating that "they will be like the angels in heaven." This indicates clearly that the resurrection Jesus is speaking of is the returning of the spiritual individual back to the spiritual world after rising from the body and leaving the physical world (where marriage takes place).
"But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”Jesus is also describing another type of resurrection: The "resurrection of the dead." What is the resurrection of the dead?
The word "dead" here is allegorical. It is not related to a dead body, it is related to the person's consciousness. It is related to whether the individual is serving God or serving themselves. A person whose focus is upon serving themselves is spiritually "dead" because they are not experiencing love for God. Jesus also used this allegorical use of the word "dead" when he said:
“Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” (Matt. 8:22)
The King James translation translates this verse more emphatically: "....let the dead bury the dead."
In this statement, "the dead" who are burying a dead body are certainly not "dead" in the physical sense. They have to be alive physically in order to prepare a burial. Rather, these "dead" who are focused upon the dead physical bodies of their relatives are "dead" spiritually. They are living within a consciousness that makes them spiritually dead.
Jesus is using the same allegory here in this statement above regarding the "resurrection of the dead."
Jesus also clarifies this when he quotes God's statement to Moses:
Then He said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob." (Exodus 2:6)Why is this important? It is important because Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were all devoted loving servants of God. They were all "alive," in other words.
As for the "resurrection of the dead," those of us who remain focused on our own pleasure - a self-centered existence - instead of pleasing God; these spiritually "dead" people will remain in the physical dimension after the death of this body, to suffer through another physical body configured to the consciousness developed during this life, combined with the consequences of the activities of this lifetime: Remaining spiritually dead, here in hell.
This is why Jesus concludes, "He is not the God of the dead, but of the living." Again, Jesus is not referring to dead physical bodies here. He is referring those who are dead spiritually - and those who love God and serve God are "of the living." A person who is spiritually alive is functioning within their true relationship with the Supreme Being. They are loving God and they are wanting to please God. In this state, they are functionally alive. Their consciousness is alive with love for God. In this state, they are prepared to go back to the spiritual world, as they have achieved Jesus' primary instruction:
“ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matt. 22:37-38)
(For a translation of Jesus' statements from the Book of Matthew without institutional sectarian influence, see the Gospels of Jesus - translated from the original Greek texts.)