During the final week of Jesus life on the earth, he was approached by the Sadducees, who deny the authenticity of the resurrection (Luke 20:27). In their debates with the Pharisees, who did believe in the resurrection (Acts 23:6-8), they would often offer a myth or a fabricated story in an effort to express what they assumed to be a silly idea. That is, they thought the resurrection, itself, was a myth and more, simply a silly idea. Therefore, they approached Jesus with a myth (Luke 20:28-33) they no doubt used many times to prove the resurrection was a false claim. Their myth centered around the levirate marriage law in the Mosaic Covenant (Deuteronomy 25:5-10). This is the law behind the marriage of Ruth and Boaz, the great grandparents of David, the King (Ruth 4:1-10, 18-22).
Jesus’ reply that refuted their implied claim in their myth that denied the authenticity of the resurrection is found in Luke 20:37-38, but the point I wish to make here is found in Jesus’ immediate reply, concerning the specifics of the Sadducee’s myth:
“The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection…” (Luke 20:34-36 NASB – emphasis mine)
First of all, we need to keep in mind that Jesus is speaking about two specific and different ages, this age, i.e. the age in which he and the Sadducees were living, and that age, which would occur sometime after this age. Moreover, the levirate marriage law was valid in this age, but not in that age, which was the age to come. So, what exactly was Jesus point in his debate with the Sadducees?
Under the Mosaic Law, sons of God were produced by marrying and giving in marriage. Once a couple married, any children they produced were the physical sons of Abraham and, therefore, ‘sons of God’ (Deuteronomy 14:1). This is how men became “children of God.” They married, and their children became the Lord’s children. If a man died before he was able to produce, children, the levirate marriage law was utilized to produce ‘children’ for him, so that his name would not be cut off from Israel (cf. Deuteronomy 25:5-10). So, one is now able to see the absurdity behind the Sadducees’ argument in Luke 20:28-33. The levirate marriage law made believing in the resurrection a silly idea, in that who could figure out whose wife the woman would be among the seven brethren who married her. The problem with their argument is that they believed the Mosaic Law would be valid in the new age, or the age of the resurrection. It is not, and Jesus explains why (Luke 20:34-38).
It is important to understand that Jesus is not saying no one would marry or produce children in the coming age. His point is according to the context of the Sadducees question / myth. That is, how are children produced to God (Deuteronomy 14:1), which is the reason behind the levirate marriage law, which was utilized in order to continue to produce children in the name of a fallen brother.
According to Jesus’ argument, this would not be the method of producing children for God in the coming age. That is, men would become the children of God, not by ‘marrying and giving in marriage.’ Rather, they would produce children to God through the Gospel, which identifies that age in Jesus’ response. There are only two ages in question in Luke 20—this age, namely the Mosaic age or the Old Covenant age, and that age or the Gospel or Kingdom age, the age to come. The one was coming to an end, which later the Apostles pointed to in their question to Jesus in Matthew 24:3 – “…when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” This age, the age that was to come to a close or an end, was the Mosaic Age, or the Old Covenant. That age, however, which is the Gospel age, would begin shortly (at Pentecost) and be firmly established as the New and only Covenant, through which God addressed the world, when this age (the Mosaic Age or the Old Covenant) would come to a close (or end).
The question, today, is: in which age are we living? Is the Old Covenant still valid? How can it be, if there is no Temple, priesthood or sacrifices? If, in fact, the Old Covenant is not valid today, then we **must** be living in that age, the Gospel age, or the age of the Kingdom of God, and, that being the case, Jesus’ Second Coming (Matthew 24:3) would have had to have already occurred, and that in 70 AD, when the Old Covenant came to an abrupt end.