Matthew 22:30 (Answering the Sadducees 8: Equal to Angels But Not Angels)

Recall that in answering the Sadducees Jesus noted that in the resurrection men shall neither marry nor be given in marriage for they can no longer die anymore because they are equal to angels and are sons of God being sons of the resurrection (Luk 20:36); was man as he was created in his original sinless state equal to the angels?  See Heb 2:6-7.  Although man was originally created lower than the angels, according to Jesus’ words in Luk 20:36, will he always be lower than the angels?  Are we to suppose that because resurrected men shall be equal to angels, that angels are just resurrected men?  See Job 38:4-7 which indicates that the sons of God who are understood to be angels existed prior to the creation of the earth and man.  Are we to suppose that because resurrected men shall be equal to angels that they therefore are angels, or that Christ as the first-fruits of the resurrection is an angel?  Think: although men and women, or Jews and Gentiles are equal in Christ, are men the same as women, or Jews the same as Gentiles?  In what ways shall resurrected men not only be different from angels, but arguably even greater than angels?  See Heb 1:14, 2:5-8, 1Co 6:3.  In what sense then shall resurrected men be equal to angels?  See Heb 12:22-24, and note[1].

As noted in our previous study, although the angels in heaven do not marry, is it the case that they cannot marry?  See Gen 6:1-2,4.  What insight might this give us about why many early manuscripts for Mat 22:30 read “angels of God in heaven” (see KJV)?  Cf. Job 1:6, 2:1, Luk 20:36 and consider that at least in the time of Job there were angels in heaven who were not of God, some of whom may conceivably have been among those sons of God who not only in the days of Noah but “afterward…came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them”.  In this light, should we suppose that angels in heaven have no free will so that it is impossible for them to sin?  See Job 4:18.  Should we then suppose that those who are resurrected to be like the angels in heaven will no longer have free will and be unable to sin?  Whereas the wages of sin is death among men, what is the penalty for angels who sin but cannot die (Luk 20:36)?  See 2Pe 2:4, Jud 1:6.  What advantage do men have over the angels in this regard?  Think: having experienced all the suffering and evil consequences of sin firsthand but then having been redeemed from the spiritual death it brings, will not redeemed men who have died physically and been resurrected from the dead better understand the evil of sin and be less inclined to it than angels who sin and cannot die?  What insight does this give us about why God would not allow man to eat of the tree of life after he had eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?

Is there a resurrection only of the just, or also of the unjust?  See Dan 12:2, Joh 5:28-29, Act 24:15.  By analogy then, if those who through faith come to share in Christ’s righteousness shall in the resurrection be counted worthy to become equal with the holy angels of God in heaven, to whom shall those be like in the resurrection who have not come to share in His righteousness, and what shall their end therefore be?  See Mat 25:41, Rev 20:10-15.

 


1. Saints, when they come to heaven, shall be naturalized, and, though by nature strangers, yet, having obtained this freedom with a great sum, which Christ paid for them, they have in all respects equal privileges with them that were free-born, the angels that are the natives and aborigines of that country. They shall be companions with the angels, and converse with those blessed spirits that love them dearly, and with an innumerable company, to whom they are now come in faith, hope, and love….God made man a little lower than the angels (Heb 2:7) but he shall be equal to the angels in the resurrection.  So too the Gentiles were at one time excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, but now have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  This is the summing up of all things in Christ, both things on earth and things in heaven.  (Matthew Henry).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *