Marriage in Heaven? Will We Know and Love Our Spouses in Heaven?

by Steve Ray on February 15, 2014

My dad died almost two years ago. Mom misses Dad and was discouraged about Mark 12:25 which her paraphrased Living Bible improperly rendered “will no be married” in heaven. I wrote the following to comfort my Mom.

Giving talks in Steubenville Ohio and stayed up until 2:00 AM doing a bit of work on this. I know it is important to you since Dad’s death as you look forward to eternity and speculate about relationships in heaven. It is important to me too, knowing I want to be with Janet in heaven.

It is the “Living Bible” translation – which is not a translation but a paraphrase – that renders the words “they won’t be married.” The paraphrased Living Bible takes great liberties and is quite inaccurate.

The King James Version renders it:
“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.”

New American Standard Bible says:
“For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.”

New International Version (NIV) says:
“When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.”

No reputable translation translates this in a way to deny there are people continuing in love with earthly spouses. The original Greek language says there is no giving or taking in marriage. In other words, there will be no weddings in heaven.

Interestingly it says that before the flood the people were “marrying and giving in marriage” until the flood came. But after the flood Noah and his wife in the ark were still married :-)

There will be male and female distinctions in heaven. Jesus appeared as male after his resurrection. Mary is seen in heaven as a woman (Revelation 12:1). Marriage will be known in heaven since the Church is the Bride and there will be the great marriage in heaven with Jesus the Bridegroom and the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9).

The Pharisees set up a trap for Jesus in Mark 12:18-27. They propose a situation with seven brothers. The first marries a wife and dies with no children. The second brother “takes” the woman to procreate children for his brother. This was the law of the Jews — a brother must take the wife of his dead brother to preserve his brother’s name in the land by propagating offspring for him with his widow.) This happens seven times. Who’s wife will she be in heaven.

The woman who was the wife of the seven brothers did not marry the seven brothers.  She married the first and was given to the six in order to procreate children in the name of the first.  All their children would be credited to her first husband who was her true love and spouse.

Jesus is not intending to teach on relationships in heaven but he is refuting the Sadducces’ denial of the existence of angels and the resurrection. He is cleverly eluding their question and in no way denies husbands and wives will know and love each other in heaven. This is not a treatise on relationships in heaven but a clever response to his opponents about the existence of the supernatural world.

The purpose for marriage was companionship and procreation. The propagation of children and the population of the earth was God’s plan for marriage on earth. The meeting of sperm and egg will not be needed in heaven.”Marital love” to produce children will not happen in heaven so marriage in that sense will not exist. But that does not eliminate the continuance of earthly relationship.

We will recognize each other in heaven just as the three disciples recognized Moses and Elijah on the mount of Transfiguration and John recognized Mary in heaven (Rev 12:1). 

Family and matrimony are very important in Scripture and the way God fashioned the universe and created man and woman to be one flesh. There must be spiritual discernment here. The reason why the Jews buried family members together is because they will rest together in heaven. There is a spiritual permanence to family. And an extraordinarily strong spiritual permanence to matrimony. This is why it is described as “one flesh”.

We will not know and love less in heaven – we will know and love more. And can we comprehend that God would command us to love each other down here and would expect us to forget or deny that love in heaven?

Nothing in Scripture leads us to believe that relationships between spouses will be eliminated. There is every reason to believe relations will be maintained in heaven though for different reasons – enhanced reasons which we will understand when we get there.

We cannot understand our new spiritual bodies and heavenly existence any more than a caterpillar can comprehend what it will be like to be a butterfly. We cannot anticipate how personal relationships will flower in glory any more than acorn can anticipate standing 50 feet tall.

I’m convinced you and dad will have a wonderful and much better relationship. It will be different. We cannot even comprehend how much better or more in love we’ll be with our spouses, any more than an unborn baby can speculate about the taste of a delicious steak dinner.

Referring to Jesus’ words J. Vernon McGee writes, “This doesn’t mean that a man and a woman who were together down here can’t be together in heaven. They won’t be together as man and wife. They are not establishing a home up there, nor are they raising children. That’s the thing that He’s saying to them here.”

Marriage is an earthly word to serve an earthly purpose. Marital relationships, on the other hand, will transcend time because love is forever. Faith and hope will pass away but love will never pass away (1 Cor 13:13).

Dad is sitting in his favorite chair having coffee with Our Lord Jesus waiting for you to arrive to love you better than ever before. In the meantime he is praying for you and very intent on your we’ll being.

(Thanks to De Maria for suggestions and insights which I have included)

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

De Maria January 22, 2013 at 10:18 PM

Family ties seem to be very important in Scripture. We can see the words, “buried with his fathers”.

Genesis 25:8-10
King James Version (KJV)
8 Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people. 9 And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre; 10 The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife.

These things, I believe, must be spiritually discerned. The reason why the Jews buried family members together is because they will rest together in heaven. There is a spiritual permanence to family. And an extraordinarily strong spiritual permanence to matrimony. This is why it is described as “one flesh”.

Matthew 19:6
Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

When we look at our spouses, they are obviously NOT one physical lump of flesh with us. My wife is completely independent of me. But God says that we are one flesh, therefore spiritual discernment is in order here. That one flesh must be of the spiritual order, for where there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body and it follows that a physical body is made of physical flesh and the spiritual body must therefore be made of spiritual flesh.

And we are joined in love and this is spiritual quantity. Therefore, it is love which joins us together. And love is permanent. As Scripture says:

1 Corinthians 13:13
13 But now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

Therefore, I also have great hope that when I die, I will rest with my family and with my wife. I don’t see how it could be otherwise, to tell you the truth.

Sincerely,

De Maria

De Maria January 22, 2013 at 11:11 PM

I was thinking about Matt 22,” not be given in marriage” and it occurs to me that Jesus meant that there would be no need for “s-e-x”. This is why He said, “They will be like angels”.

The woman who was the wife of the seven brothers did not marry the seven brothers. She married the first and was given to the six in order to procreate children in the name of the first. All their children would be credited to her first husband who was her true love.

Sincerely,

De Maria

Colleen Frankowski July 3, 2013 at 9:45 PM

And, marriage is a sacrament.

sarah October 29, 2013 at 2:51 PM

Thank you for this! Other interpritations have really bummed me out.

Misato November 5, 2013 at 3:05 PM

Ditto Sarah. I have often heard this biblical phrase and have often wondered, how can someone you have loved so deeply all of a sudden no longer be important to you in heaven?. It’s because I have also heard of a Biblical phrase that goes something like, you will love everyone equally when you get to heaven? If you feel the same for everyone, then that means no one is special to you anymore. That really is a bummer.

Gary November 6, 2013 at 10:46 AM

My objection is that the question posed by the Sadducees would not have been a valid one or a good trap if the other brothers didn’t marry the woman, the scriptures say that they each married her, they could not have sex with her without marriage it would have been adultery, they said(Moses gave us a law) Jesus called them on it by stating, they really didn’t understand the scriptures, their question was valid in that they understood that all the brothers married her, but invalid in that they didn’t understand the state of human relationships in heaven.
Answer in place of Jesus, whose wife would she be in heaven? If the first like someone proposed here, Jesus would have said so clearly.

vondell December 1, 2013 at 8:51 PM

I was reading other opinions on, will we be with our spouse in Heaven. I was up set to the point of tears at what I was reading. I love my husband more than life. After reading your explanation I felt so much better. I want to be beside him there and all of my family. Thank you.

Chas Jones December 26, 2013 at 1:19 AM

My personal belief is that in Eternity everyone in Christ will be brothers and sisters in Christ. I do not believe our earthly memories will survive our Transformation into our New Bodies. However, we will Love everyone with the Same Agape Love with which God Loves Us. We know in the New Heaven, and I believe in the New Earth also, there will be no Tears, nor Sorrow, nor Night. Temptation and Sin will be no more. Believe what gives you Peace now, but Rest Assured that what is Coming will be Perfection with no regret nor unease of any kind. We will All Love God Perfectly as He Loves Us.

Julie Nicholson February 16, 2014 at 4:10 PM

Interesting read Steve and brought back memories of my Mom. She wasn’t one to devour scripture, but she did ponder and worried about Mark 12:25. She shared many times her worries about heaven and what her relationship would be like with her husband, my dad she lost at the age of 38. She would always say, “It’s not fair if he will not be my husband in heaven, I did not have him long enough here.” I would always encourager her, that our mind can not comprehend how great heaven will be, and it’s going to be grander than our time together on earth. To be honest, I also had a hard time with Mark 12:25…
Then I wrote a book called “Finding the One, In His Time” and while doing my research I learned something and wrote this about my mom and dad ‘s marriage.
” It gives me comfort to know that my parents were married in the Church, their vows of marriage were to God and not men, and they became “one flesh” united through God the Father, Jesus Christ our Lord with the power of the Holy Spirit. This gives me hope they will for eternity be united in the Holy Trinity “as one” with our Father, Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit and all the Church.
Genesis 2:22-24
“22and the rib which the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones” “and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.”

Mark 10: 6-9
“6But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”

Ephesians 5: 31-32
“31“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church.

This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church.

Scripture time and time again explains the mystery of our Heavenly Father’s plan for marriage. They are to become “One.” Christ taught his disciples, that He is One with the Father and the Holy Spirit and if we believe in Him we become “one” in Him. If we become “one” in Him through faith a d then we marry and become “one flesh” with our mate, this unites the two; male and female to the Holy Trinity. Our marriage becomes united into the mysteries of the faith. Our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ our Lord and the Holy Spirit want to be in full communion in our life as we become “one” flesh. We are now “One” all of us.
My mom is still united with my Dad through the Holy Trinity and when The Lord calls her home she is going to realize not only has our Lord been with her ( and she knows this), but because of her faith in Christ, her husband, my dad are united in the loving arms of the Holy Trinity, and he is with her. Not only is her husband with her in that way, but the “whole Church” is there also.

This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church.

John 14: 19-20: “19Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also. 20In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.”

John 1:14: 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only-begotten Son from the Father.

1 Corinthians 6: 15-16: “15Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16Do you not know that he who joins himself to a prostitute becomes one body “with her? For, as it is written, “The two shall become one.

Luke. 3: 21-22: “21 Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, 22and the Holy Spirit descended “upon him in bodily form, as a dove, and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.

The Holy Trinity is unity and no doubt a mystery and we are a part of the mystery in the unity. This is one area I have grown as a Catholic Convert. I think it is so beautiful to see how our Heavenly Father orchestrated His kingdom to be connected. It is through the Holy Trinity. We are not alone. Those that are in His presence are pouring out prayers for us all on earth.

Revelation: 5:6-8: “6 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders, I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, * which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth; 7and he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. 8And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

My mom passed away 2 years ago and I hope this encouraged her concerning Mark 12:25 until she finally was reunited with my dad in the most perfect way, for eternity.

Betty March 25, 2014 at 5:06 PM

I have read a few books on near death experiences… “Heaven is for Real” and my latest favorite, “Held By The Hand Of God: Why Am I Alive” by Joe Laws http://heldbythehandofgod.com/. Each one of these experiences have given me hope for my soul, and the hope that I will be with my family in heaven!

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