Will there be Marriage in Heaven


Dr. John E. Hoole – May 3, 2015




The question of relationships in heaven is one of the major issues Christians wonder about.  Will we recognize our loved ones?  Will we remember our earthly relationships?  What kind of relationships will we have in Heaven?  Will we have family love and fellowship in heaven?  Will our relationships in heaven be anything like they are here?


Receiving a glorified body and relocating to the New Earth does not erase history.  Nothing will negate or minimize the fact that we were members of families on the old earth.  Heaven won’t be without families but will be one big family, in which all family members are friends and all friends are family members.  We cannot take material things with us when we die, but we do take our friendships to Heaven, and one day they will be renewed.


The question that is often raised about relationships in Heaven is, “Will I be married to the same spouse in heaven?”  Most are saying, “I don’t want to lose my relationship with my husband/wife; I can’t imagine going to heaven and not being married to her/him.”


In Scripture, one group of religious leaders, the Sadducees, tried to trick Jesus with a question about marriage in Heaven.  The Sadducees had a running dispute with the Pharisees about this very issue.  The Sadducees did not believe in a resurrection that Jesus taught, and their question was designed to back Jesus into a corner.


The Pharisees taught that after the resurrection each person would have the same relationships he has here.  They believed men would remain married to their earthly wives and retain their earthly families forever.  The Sadducees had undoubtedly heard Jesus speak of eternal life, and they no doubt assumed He shared the Pharisees’ views on these questions.  So they tried to trap Him with a theological brain-twister.


Let’s look at the conundrum posed by the Sadducees.


Matthew 22:23-28 NKJV


23     The same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him and asked Him,

24     saying: "Teacher, Moses said that if a man dies, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother.

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.

28     Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her."


Before we look at the reply of Jesus, keep in mind that the Sadducees question is as much about the resurrection as it is about marriage after the resurrection.  They thought they could trap Jesus with their theoretical story of a woman who had seven husbands.  Jesus responds in verse 29-32.


Matthew 22:29-32 NKJV


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 in heaven.

31     But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying,

32     'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living."


In His answer, Jesus first addresses the issue of marriage in Heaven, but, knowing their hearts, he adds the truth concerning the resurrection.  But the very first thing Christ says is a rebuke to the Sadducees.  Jesus tells these religious leaders they do not even know the Scriptures.  Neither do they have any conception of the power of God.


With regard to marriage in Heaven, Jesus answers the Sadducees by saying, “In the resurrection, people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in Heaven”  The first thing I need to say concerning the answer Christ gave is that He does not say we will be angels in Heaven.  


A common myth is that we will be angels in Heaven.  Cartoons picture show us with attached wings floating around on a cloud.  Someone here in our class asked the question if we are going to be equal or higher than angels.


In Psalm 8, we are told one relationship we will have between humans and angels.


Psalms 8:4-5 NKJV


4       What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?

5       For You have made him a little lower than the angels,  And You have crowned him with glory and honor.


Angels are spiritual beings (Hebrews 1:    14).  They can become physical only if God ordains that their work requires it.  Humans are physical beings with a spirit & soul – and are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26).  At no point after death does the Bible say we become angels.


While Psalm 8 tells us “we were created a little lower than angels,” in Heaven, that will be reversed.


At our resurrection, the Bible tells us we will have physical bodies like the post-resurrection body of Christ (Philippians 3:20-21).  Scripture also tells us: “Do you not know that we will judge angels.” (1 Corinthians 6:3).  While this verse may be talking about fallen angels, who chose to follow Satan, it still implies that our status after death will be above that of the angels.


1 John 3:2 [NKJV] also adds:


2       Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.


No, we will not become angels when we are resurrected.  We become like our Savior, and, in fact, will be His bride.


Now, back to what Jesus said to the Sadducees.  The Sadducees were not actually interested in learning about marriage after death.  They did not even believe in the possibility of life after death.  All they wanted was to discredit the Lord’s teaching about life after death.


The hypothetical story presented by the Sadducees had to do with each of the 7 marriages not having children.  Christ is saying that in Heaven angels do not procreate.  And neither will humans in Heaven.  The population of Heaven will be a fixed number.  Thus marriage as an institution will be utterly unnecessary.


Paula will not be married to me in Heaven – at least in the sense we are today.  But since we will remember our lives on earth, I will remember that I was married to her.  We will remember investing our lives in each other, serving Christ together.  Other than God, I fully expect that Paula will know me better than any other in the Universe.


But when speaking, or asking questions, of marriage in Heaven, it opens the door to a number of other questions.  Most of us, when thinking about marriage, ask if we will still be male and female in Heaven. 


Christ made it clear that people in Heaven wouldn’t be married to each other.  He wasn’t talking merely about the present Heaven today, but says “in the resurrection” we will not have marriages.  He was specifically saying there will be no marriage among resurrected people on the resurrected earth.


God usually does not replace his original creation, but when He does, he replaces it with something that is far better, never worse.




Some believe Jesus’ reply to the Sadducees means we will all be­come genderless creatures in heaven.  But that is not a necessary con­clusion from what Jesus actually said.


I looked at Matthew 22:30 in the Expositor’s Greek Testament.     Christ’s answer to the Sadducees is that believers will be similar to angels as far as marriage is concerned.  But His answer does not at all imply that we will be without gender.  Gender is a part of the essence of our being.


I don’t see that the passage in Matthew 22 teaches lack of gender.  Gender is a God-created aspect of humanity.  Jesus is simply stating there will be no marriage between believers in heaven,…..


We will be like the angels in that we will not marry and bear children.  But as for you being a man or woman, what else would you be.  God may unmake what man makes, but He doesn’t unmake what He makes.


Before going further, we need to see what else the Bible says on this subject.  We know, from the Scriptures, that our resurrected bodies will be like that of Christ following His resurrection.


Certainly the res­urrected body of Christ does not appear to have been turned into an androgynous figure.  In John 20, we find Mary Magdalene distraught because the tomb was empty and she did not know where they had taken his body.  At that instant, Jesus comes walking up.  Before Mary recognized Jesus in his new resurrected body, she addressed a question to him, thinking he might be the gardener – a man’s occupation.  In verse 15, she says; "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him."  The word “SIR” indicates she saw him as being male.


If the disciples recognized Jesus after his resurrection, and if the disciples also recognized Moses and Elijah on the mount of transfiguration, I think there is a strong argument that we will look our gender in heaven.


During the time of Christ on Earth, the Greeks were a proponent of the philosophy of Plato.  Platonic belief was that the body is evil, and the spirit’s highest destiny is to be free forever from the body.


But the Bible teaches something Plato didn’t grasp that God is the Creator of both body and spirit.  Jesus taught that both the body and spirit have been marred by sin, but both were redeemed by Christ.


It is true that I need to be delivered from my earthly body, which is subject to sin and decay (Romans 7:24).  But the promise of heaven isn’t the absence of body.  Rather, it is the attainment of a new and sinless body and spirit.


In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul regards the new body – not simply the new spirit –  as essential to our redemption.  If the body is not redeemed, man is not redeemed, since man is by nature body as well as spirit.  A spirit without a body, like a body without a spirit, is not the highest human destiny.


Our bodies will be changed to be like Christ’s glorious body, but we will still be recognized as male and female in Heaven.


There will be marriage in Heaven


Having said that there will be no marriage between resurrected believer, I hasten to add, however, the Bible does not teach there will be no marriage in Heaven.  In Heaven, there will be a marriage ceremony.


Revelation 19:6-8 NKJV


6       And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, "Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!

7       Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready."

8       And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.


This passage makes clear there will be marriage in Heaven.  What it says is that there will be one marriage – between Christ and His bride.  And all of us here today who have made their entrance into heaven sure are going to be a part of it.


Paul actually links human marriage on earth today to this higher reality.


Ephesians 5:31-32 NIV


31        "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." c 

32        This is a profound mystery — but I am talking about Christ and the church.


Romans 7:1-3 and 1 Corinthians 7:39 also state that marriage as a physical union is terminated at the death of either spouse.  Even the wedding vow says “until death do us part.”  We will recognize our spouse in heaven as having been our partner on earth.


The verse does not say we will not have a special and close relationship with our partner from earth.  Couples who shared the closest intimacy on earth will continue to know, enjoy, and appreciate each other forever.


I plan to spend all of eternity with Paula, but it will be in a relationship that goes far beyond anything we have experienced here on earth.  I believe I will recognize Paula as having been my wife on earth.  And I believe that our relationship in Heaven will be thousands of time greater, than the great relationship we have had here on earth.


But we won’t be married to each other in the sense of being joined together at the exclusion of everyone else.  Instead, we will both be part of the bride of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He is already the One we love the most right now.  There simply is no competition.  We will together be married to the Heavenly Bridegroom.  What an honor it will be to always know that God chose us for each other on this old earth.  This allowed us to have a foretaste of life with him on the New Earth.


One woman said, “she would feel great loss if she went to Heaven never having had a great romance.”  But our romance with Christ will far exceed any earthly romance.  No romance is perfect, and many end in disappointment.  Our romance with Christ will never disappoint.


Of all the analogies God could use to describe his church, one of His favorites is a bride preparing for marriage.  If we are going to love Christ, we must love His bride.  And if we are to be ready for the wedding, we need to make sure we are dressed accordingly.  Unfortunately, there are some Christians who say they love Christ, but they despise the Church and separate themselves from the church, confident they are better off on their own.


Yes the church has its flaws, but Christ promised that Hell (Hades) itself won’t prevail against it.  One of these days, a wedding is going to occur and the bride will look as fair as the sun.  The world will be astonished with the brightness of her rising.  It may be trendy to say, “I love Jesus but hate the church,” but the Church is Christ’s bride.  Even with her flaws, He loves her and will never give up on her.


If you came to me and said, “John, I want to be your friend;  I love you, but I hate your wife,” I would say, “If you hate Paula, you cannot be my friend.”  She and I are one.  I am deeply loyal to her.  I would die for her.  Christ would say the same of his bride, except He would add, “In fact, I DID die for her.”


There’s a wedding coming.  Are you ready to be the bride of our Lord?