Ye do err - Or, Ye are deceived - by your impure passions: not knowing the scriptures, which assert the resurrection: - nor the miraculous power of God (την δυναμιν του Θεου ) by which it is to be effected. In Avoda Sara, fol. 18, Sanhedrin, fol. 90, it is said: "These are they which shall have no part in the world to come: Those who say, the Lord did not come from heaven; and those who say, the resurrection cannot be proved out of the law."
Their deception appeared in their supposing, that if there were a resurrection, men and women were to marry and be given in marriage as in this life; which our Lord shows is not the case: for men and women there shall be like the angels of God, immortal, and free from all human passions, and from those propensities which were to continue with them only during this present state of existence. There shall be no death; and consequently no need of marriage to maintain the population of the spiritual world.
The same day came the Sadducees - For an account of the Sadducees, see the notes at Matthew 3:7.
No resurrection - The word “resurrection” usually means the raising up the “body” to life after it is dead, John 11:24; John 5:29; 1 Corinthians 15:22. But the Sadducees not only denied this, but also a future state, and the separate existence of the soul after death altogether, as well as the existence of angels and spirits, Acts 23:8. Both these doctrines have commonly stood or fallen together, and the answer of our Saviour respects both, though it more distinctly refers “to the separate existence of the soul, and to a future state of rewards and punishments,” than to the resurrection of the body.
Saying, Master, Moses said - Deuteronomy 25:5-6. This law was given by Moses in order to keep the families and tribes of the Israelites distinct, and to perpetuate them.
Raise up seed unto his brother - That is, the children shall be reckoned in the genealogy of the deceased brother; or, to all civil purposes, shall be considered as his.
There were with us seven brethren - It is probable that they stated a case as difficult as possible; and though no such case might have occurred, yet it was supposable, and in their view it presented a real difficulty.
The difficulty arose from the fact, that they supposed that, substantially, the same state of things must take place in the other world as here; that if there is such a world, husbands and wives must be there reunited; and they professed not to be able to see how one woman could be the wife of seven men.
Ye do err, not knowing - They had taken a wrong view of the doctrine of the resurrection.
It was not taught that people would marry there. The “Scriptures,” here, mean the books of the Old Testament. By appealing to them, Jesus showed that the doctrine of the future state was there, and that the Sadducees should have believed it as it was, and not have added the absurd doctrine to it that people must live there as they do here. The way in which the enemies of the truth often attempt to make a doctrine of the Bible ridiculous is by adding to it, and then calling it absurd. The reason why the Saviour produced a passage from the books of Moses Matthew 22:32 was that they had also appealed to his writings, Matthew 22:24. Other places of the Old Testament, in fact, asserted the doctrine more clearly Daniel 12:2; Isaiah 26:19, but he wished to meet them on their own ground. None of those scriptures asserted that people would live there as they do here, and therefore their reasoning was false.
Nor the power of God - They probably denied, as many have done since, that God could gather the scattered dust of the dead and remould it into a body. On this ground they affirmed that the doctrine could not be true - opposing reason to revelation, and supposing that infinite power could not reorganize a body that it had at first organized, and raise a body from its own dust which it had at first raised from nothing.
Neither marry - This was a full answer to the objections of the Sadducees.
But are as the angels of God - That is, in the manner of their conversation; in regard to marriage and the mode of their existence.
Luke adds that they shall be “equal with the angels.” That is, they shall be elevated above the circumstances of mortality, and live in a manner and in a kind of conversation similar to that of the angels. It does not imply that they shall be equal in intellect, but only “in the circumstances of their existence,” as that is distinguished from the way in which mortals live. He also adds, “Neither do they die any more, but are the children of God; being the children of the resurrection,” or being accounted worthy to be raised up to life, and therefore “sons of God raised up to him.”
Matthew 22:31, Matthew 22:32
As touching - That is, in proof that the dead are raised.
The passage which he quotes is recorded in Exodus 3:6, Exodus 3:15, This was at the burning bush (Mark and Luke). Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had been dead for a long time when Moses spoke this - Abraham for 329 years, Isaac for 224 years, and Jacob for 198 years - yet God spake then as being still “their God.” They must, therefore, be still somewhere living, for God is not the God of the dead; that is, it is absurd to say that God rules over those who are “extinct or annihilated,” but he is the God only of those who have an existence. Luke adds, “all live unto him.” That is, all the righteous dead, all of whom he can be properly called their God, live unto his glory. This passage does not prove directly that the dead “body” would be raised, but only by consequence. It proves that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had an existence then, or that their souls were alive. This the Sadducees denied Acts 23:8, and this was the main point in dispute. If this was admitted - if there was a state of rewards and punishments - then it would easily follow that the bodies of the dead would be raised.
No sooner were the Pharisees silenced than the Sadducees came forward with their artful questions. The two parties stood in bitter opposition to each other. The Pharisees were rigid adherents to tradition. They were exact in outward ceremonies, diligent in washings, fastings, and long prayers, and ostentatious in almsgiving. But Christ declared that they made void the law of God by teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. As a class they were bigoted and hypocritical; yet among them were persons of genuine piety, who accepted Christ's teachings and became His disciples. The Sadducees rejected the traditions of the Pharisees. They professed to believe the greater portion of the Scriptures, and to regard them as the rule of action; but practically they were skeptics and materialists. DA 603.1
The Sadducees denied the existence of angels, the resurrection of the dead, and the doctrine of a future life, with its rewards and punishments. On all these points they differed with the Pharisees. Between the two parties the resurrection was especially a subject of controversy. The Pharisees had been firm believers in the resurrection, but in these discussions their views in regard to the future state became confused. Death became to them an inexplicable mystery. Their inability to meet the arguments of the Sadducees gave rise to continual irritation. The discussions between the two parties usually resulted in angry disputes, leaving them farther apart than before. DA 603.2
In numbers the Sadducees fell far below their opponents, and they had not so strong a hold upon the common people; but many of them were wealthy, and they had the influence which wealth imparts. In their ranks were included most of the priests, and from among them the high priest was usually chosen. This was, however, with the express stipulation that their skeptical opinions should not be made prominent. On account of the numbers and popularity of the Pharisees, it was necessary for the Sadducees to concede outwardly to their doctrines when holding any priestly office; but the very fact that they were eligible to such office gave influence to their errors. DA 604.1Read in context »
We should not allow any argument of man's to turn us away from a thorough investigation of Bible truth. The opinions and customs of men are not to be received as of divine authority. God has revealed in His word what is the whole duty of man, and we are not to be swayed from the great standard of righteousness. He sent His only-begotten Son to be our example, and bade us to hear and follow Him. We must not be influenced from the truth as it is in Jesus, because great and professedly good men urge their ideas above the plain statements of the word of God. FE 128.1
The work of Christ is to draw men from the false and spurious to the true and genuine. “He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” There is no danger of going into error while we follow in the footsteps of “the Light of the world.” We are to work the works of Christ. We must engage heart and soul in His service; we must search the word of life, and present it to others. We must educate the people to realize the importance of its teaching, and the danger of deviating from its plain commands. FE 128.2
The Jews were led into error and ruin, and to the rejection of the Lord of glory, because they knew not the Scriptures, nor the power of God. A great work is before us,—to lead men to take God's word as the rule of their lives, to make no compromise with tradition and custom, but to walk in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord.—The Review and Herald, July 17, 1888. FE 128.3Read in context »
There is really no place in heaven for these dispositions. A man with such a character will only make heaven miserable, because he himself is miserable. “Except ye be born again,” said Christ, “ye cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.” To enter heaven, a man must have Christ formed within, the hope of glory, and take heaven with him. The Lord Jesus alone can fashion and change the character. For want of patience, kindness, forbearance, unselfishness, and love, the revealings of the traits flash forth involuntarily when off guard, and unchristian words, unchristlikeness of character burst forth sometimes to the ruin of the soul. “Rejoiceth not in iniquity.” Mark it. The apostle meant where there is a cultivation of genuine love for precious souls, it will be exhibited for those most in need of that patience which suffereth long and is kind, and will not be ready to magnify a small indiscretion or direct wrong into large unpardonable offenses, and will not make capital of others’ misdoings. The love for souls for whom Christ died will not do that which has been done through misconceptions of that which was due to the erring, exposing their errors and weakness before a whole school. How do you think Jesus has looked upon such transactions? Had He been present He would have said to those doing these things, “Ye know not the Scriptures nor the power of God.” For in the Scriptures it is plainly shown how to deal with the erring. Forbearance, kindly consideration, “Consider thyself lest thou also be tempted,” would meet the stubborn, obdurate heart. Love of Jesus will cover a multitude of sins, that they shall not prey upon the offender neither be exposed to create feelings of every stripe and character in the human breast of those to whom these errors and mistakes are laid open, and in the one thus dealt with. He is too often driven to desperation. His mind is beyond the healing. Now the work is to have the grace of Christ in the soul which will never, never be guilty of exposing another's wrongs, unless it is a positive necessity. Practice in the line of Christ. The true witness speaks in Revelation 21:5. Practice love. There is nothing in Christianity that is capricious. FE 279.1
If a man will not exercise his arm, it becomes weak and deficient in muscular strength. Unless the Christian exercises his spiritual powers, he acquires no strength of character, no moral vigor. Love is a very precious plant and must be cultivated if it flourishes. The precious plant of love is to be treated tenderly (practiced), and it will become strong and vigorous and rich in fruit-bearing, giving expression to the whole character. A Christlike nature is not selfish, not unkind, and will not hurt the souls of those who are struggling with Satan's temptations. It will enter into the feelings of those who are tempted that the trials and temptations shall be so managed as to bring out the gold and consume the dross. This is the practice which God appoints to all. In this, Christ's school, all may learn their lessons daily, both teachers and pupils, to be patient, humble, generous, noble. You will all have to seek God most earnestly in prayer mingled with living faith, and the molding hand of God will bring out His own image in your character. Temptations will come, but not overcome. But through grace found in opening the heart to the knock and voice of Jesus, Christian character and experience are growing more and more beautiful and heavenly. Let us bear in mind that we are dealing with souls that Christ has purchased with infinite cost to Himself. O tell the erring, God loves you, God died for you. Weep over them, pray with them. Shed tears over them, but do not get angry with them. They are Christ's purchased possession. Let every one seek a character that will express love in all his actions. “Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depths of the sea.” It were better not to live than to exist day by day devoid of that love which Christ has revealed in His character, and has enjoined upon His children. Said Christ, “Love one another as I have loved you.” We live in a hard, unfeeling, uncharitable world. Satan and his confederacy are plying every art to seduce the souls for whom Christ has given His precious life. Every one who loves God in sincerity and truth, will love the souls for whom Christ has died. If we wish to do good to souls, our success with these souls will be in proportion to their belief in our belief in, and appreciation of, them. Respect shown to the struggling human soul is the sure means through Christ Jesus of the restoration of the self-respect the man has lost. Our advancing ideas of what he may become is a help we cannot ourselves fully appreciate. We have need of the rich grace of God every hour, then we will have a rich, practical experience, for God is love. He that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God. Give love to them that need it most. The most unfortunate, those who have the most disagreeable temperaments need our love, our tenderness, our compassion. Those who try our patience need most love. We pass through the world only once; any good thing we can do, we should do most earnestly, untiringly, with the same spirit as is stated of Christ in His work. He will not fail nor be discouraged. The rough, stubborn, sullen dispositions are the ones who need help the most. How can they be helped? Only by that love practiced in dealing with them which Christ revealed to fallen man. Treat them, you may, as they deserve. What if Christ had treated us thus? He, the undeserving, was treated as we deserve. Still we are treated by Christ with grace and love as we did not deserve, but as He deserved. Treat some characters, as you think they richly deserve, and you will cut off from them the last thread of hope, spoil your influence and ruin the soul. Will it pay? No, I say no, a hundred times no. Bind these souls who need all the help it is possible for you to give them close to a loving, sympathizing, pitying heart, overflowing with Christlike love, and you will save a soul from death and hide a multitude of sins. Had we not better try the love process? FE 280.1
Be careful what you do in the line of suspending students. This is a solemn business. It should be a very grave fault which requires this discipline. Then there should be a careful consideration of all the circumstances connected with the case. Students sent from home a short distance or a long distance, thousands and thousands of miles, are away from and deprived of the advantages of home, and if expelled are refused the privileges of school. All their expenses have to be met by some one who has had hope and confidence in these subjects that their money would not be invested in vain. The student enters into, or falls into, temptation, and he is to be disciplined for his wrong. He feels keenly that his record is marred, and he disappoints those who have trusted him to develop a character under the influence of his training in his scholastic life, which will pay all that has been invested in his behalf. But he is suspended for his foolish course of action. What will he do? Courage is at the lowest ebb, courage and even manliness are not cherished. He is on expense, and precious time is lost. Who is tender and kind, and feels the burden of these souls? What wonder that Satan takes advantage of the circumstances. They are thrust on Satan's battle ground and the very worst feelings of the human heart are called into exercise and strengthened and become confirmed. I put the case as it has been presented to me. I wish all could view this as it has in all its bearings been shown me. I think there would be radical changes made in many rules and methods of dealing with human minds. There would be more physicians to heal human souls, who understand how to deal with human minds. There would be far more forgiveness and sympathy and love practiced, and far less discouraging, tearing down influences exercised. Supposing that Christ should deal with all His sons and daughters who learn of Him, as the human agent, as teachers, deal with those under their charge; that when the law of the Lord, His rules, His injunctions have been disregarded by us, the guilty are expelled or suspended, turning the erring away from His saving, uplifting, educating influences, leaving him to pick and choose his own way and course of action without His divine assistance, what would become of our souls? His constant forgiving love is binding up our soul's interest with Himself. O the mightiness of the love of Jesus overwhelms me as I consider it. The yoke of Christ is easy and His burden is light. When we enter more entirely into the love of Jesus by practice, we shall see far different results in our own advancement as Christians, and in the molding of the character of those brought in relationship with us. The most difficult business for individuals is the giving up that which one thinks is his right. Love seeketh not her own. Heaven-born love strikes deeper than the surface. Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up. Fortified with the grace of Christ love doth not behave itself unseemly. He that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God. God is love. We all need love, gentleness, tenderness, compassion, and forbearance. Expel from the soul every vestige of selfishness or human dignity. FE 282.1Read in context »
Of the Lord Jesus Christ in His youth, the divine testimony is given, “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.” After the visit to Jerusalem in His boyhood, He returned with His parents, “and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them.... And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” FE 438.1
In the days of Christ, the educators of the youth were formalists. During His ministry, Jesus declared to the rabbis, “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.” And He charged them with “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Tradition was dwelt upon, amplified, and reverenced far above the Scriptures. The sayings of men, and an endless round of ceremonies, occupied so large a share of the student's life, that the education which imparts a knowledge of God was neglected. The great teachers were continually enlarging upon little things, specifying every detail to be observed in the ceremonies of religion, and making its observance a matter of highest obligation. They paid “tithe of mint and anise and cummin,” while they “omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith.” Thus there was brought in a mass of rubbish that hid from the view of the youth the great essentials of the service of God. FE 438.2Read in context »