Marriage is celebrated as one of the most meaningful relationships we can enjoy on this earth, and that’s certainly true. God created marriage for mutual support, unity and intimacy. But will marriage continue into eternity?
Jesus answered this question in a discussion with the Sadducees in Matthew 22. We learn from Jesus’ answer that earthly marriage is only a depiction of the greater relationship we have with God. Our mortal marriages are a vehicle of the gospel and source of great joy, but they will not continue in their current form once we reach eternity. Here are three things to know about this subject.
1. Resurrection is the real fulfillment of our lives and identities.
In Matthew 22:30, the Sadducees posed a ridiculous scenario to trap Jesus in order to have grounds for arrest. According to Levitical law, if a man died and left his wife a widow, the man’s brother would marry her to continue his brother’s legacy. In the Sadducees’ story, a woman was passed from one brother to the next until she had married seven brothers, all of whom died. “Whose wife will she be in the resurrection?” the Sadducees asked (Matthew 28:28). But Jesus knew the Sadducees didn’t even believe in the resurrection! He answered:
You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. (Matthew 28:28-30)
The Sadducees claimed to follow God, but didn’t know or believe God’s truth, which Jesus bluntly points out in verse 28. Part of this truth is His view of marriage: that earthly marriage, while blessed and beautiful, is not our ultimate destiny or our most fulfilling role. The resurrection of Christ—our eternal home—is our true “marriage.” This is the marriage that will last beyond death. The Sadducees cared more about their appearance and earthly entities than they did about God’s plan, and we’re tempted to the do the same. Instead, we need to remember God’s purpose in every stage of life—in marriage and beyond.
2. You will still know your spouse in heaven.
Just because marriage doesn’t exist in its earthly form in eternity doesn’t mean we won’t know our spouses. To the contrary, our spouses are our brothers in Christ! For Christians, marriage has meaning far beyond a certificate. Our marriage is a covenant between Christ and His Church, which means we will know our spouses in eternity as fellow heirs with Jesus.
3. The ultimate marriage is between Christ and His Church.
The Bible never indicates that our created sexual identities—our gender—will pass away in eternity, but we won’t act on sexual desire (we will be “like the angels” —Matthew 28:28). If you think you’ll be missing out, think again: Perfect unity and intimacy will finally be achieved when we stand before God in heaven. It is only in His presence that we will be able to commune with God and others free from the influence of sin. This is the ultimate marriage—a lasting, covenantal bond between God and the people He created.
Marriage as we know it won’t exist in heaven, but love, peace and unity will. The relationships we cultivate with our brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as Christ Himself, will pave the way to the relationships we’ll have in eternity. It’s a different kind of “wedding day”—but the ultimate marriage for those who know Christ.