Page 12 - August 2023 - Truth & Tidings
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e have seen how the Lord re-  The Challenge of the Sadducees (vv19-
                 sponded to a Spiritual challenge   23)
        W(11:27-12:12) and a  Political         They begin, “Master, Moses wrote unto
        challenge (12:13-17). In this article we will   us …,” referring back to the Pentateuch
        consider His response to a Doctrinal chal-  as their authoritative source. Moses had
        lenge which concerned the all-important   written that “if a man’s brother die, and
        question of resurrection (12:18-27).   leave his wife behind him, and leave no
        A Doctrinal Challenge: the Question   children, that his brother should take his
        about Resurrection (12:18-27)         wife, and raise up seed unto his brother”
          The Lord had already faced “the chief   (v19). This instruction for Levirate mar-
        priests, and the scribes, and the elders”   riage was recorded in Deuteronomy 25.
        (11:27)  and “the Pharisees and … Herod-  The firstborn of the second marriage
        ians” (12:13). The next group to approach   was intended to carry on the name of the
        were the Sadducees. It is no surprise that   deceased.
        the Sadducees raised the subject of resur-  They present their story of one bride for
        rection for they did not believe in it (v18).   seven brothers. A woman had no children
        They intended to show that resurrection   from her first marriage and, outliving her
        could not be true because, if it was true, it   husband, she married his brother. This
        would lead to an absurd situation.    marriage also produced no children and
        The Coming of the Sadducees (v18)     her second husband died. She married a
                                              third brother with the same result until
          “Then come unto him the Sadducees,   “seven had her, and left no seed: last of
        which say there is no resurrection” (v18).   all the woman died also” (v22). Now the
        This group are identified by their name   punchline of the strange story is present-
        and by their beliefs. The Sadducees “con-  ed: “In the resurrection therefore, when
        trolled the official political structures of   they shall rise, whose wife shall she be
        Judaism at this time, being the majority   of them? For the seven had her to wife”
        leaders of the Sanhedrin” (NET notes).   (v23). Imagine one woman surrounded by
        They were an aristocratic party with   seven brothers, each having claim upon
        members from the high priestly families   her! Which one does she belong to? They
        in Jerusalem. This is Mark’s only mention   believe they have shown resurrection to
        of the Sadducees.                     be absurd.
          They were naturalistic in their beliefs,   The Correction of the Sadducees (vv24-
        saying that “there is no resurrection,   27)
        neither angel, nor spirit” (Act 23:8). Ap-  The Lord reveals where the problem
        parently, their small Bible included only   lies: “Do ye not therefore err, because ye
        the Pentateuch, which they regarded as   know not the scriptures, neither the power
        normative for Jewish life and thought.   of God?” (v24). They did not know the
        Because they couldn’t see the teaching   Word of God, and they did not know the
        of a resurrection in the Pentateuch, they   power of God. Their supposition that res-
        rejected it.                          urrection was absurd and untenable was
        ¹ Bible quotations in this article are from the   the result of a lack of true knowledge of
        KJV.                                  God’s power and promises. Why? Because

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