Monday, June 3, 2024

Life Beyond This Life

“‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ So he is the God of the living, not the dead.” (Matthew 22:32 NLT)

Belief in the afterlife isn’t unique to our time. Almost every culture believes there is something beyond the grave. In Egypt, for example, archaeologists discovered a solar boat in the tomb of a pharaoh who had died five thousand years ago. The boat was intended for his use in sailing the heavens into the next life.

Yet it’s interesting to note that in the time of Jesus, many of the Jews held an aberrant view of the afterlife. They didn’t look at what the Scriptures taught.

When we read the New Testament, we tend to think of the Pharisees and Sadducees as one group. But in reality, they were bitterly divided. The Pharisees were what we might describe as the theological conservatives of their day. They believed in the teaching of the Scriptures. They believed in an afterlife and in a final judgment.

The Sadducees, on the other hand, were theological liberals. They didn’t believe what the Scriptures said about a judgment or an afterlife. Nor did they believe there was any kind of resurrection. And they accepted only the first five books of Moses as inspired by God.

As the aristocrats of Jerusalem, the Sadducees were largely in control of the temple. They also were responsible for the operation of the priesthood, and they obtained their wealth through the temple concessions of money changing and selling sacrifices.

However, they weren’t very happy with Jesus, because on two occasions He went into the temple and overturned their tables, saying, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!” (Matthew 21:13 NLT).

One day they came to Jesus with a provocative question: “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies without children, his brother should marry the widow and have a child who will carry on the brother’s name.’ Well, suppose there were seven brothers. The oldest one married and then died without children, so his brother married the widow. But the second brother also died, and the third brother married her. This continued with all seven of them. Last of all, the woman also died. So tell us, whose wife will she be in the resurrection? For all seven were married to her’ ” (Matthew 22:24-28 NLT).

Jesus told them, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God. For when the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage. In this respect they will be like the angels in heaven. . . . Long after Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had died, God said, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ So he is the God of the living, not the dead” (verses 29-32 NLT).

According to Jesus, there is life beyond the grave. He—and He alone—can address this topic with authority. “He is the God of the living, not the dead.” Those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ never die.

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