|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
12:18-27 A right knowledge of the Scripture, as the fountain whence all revealed religion now flows, and the foundation on which it is built, is the best preservative against error. Christ put aside the objection of the Sadducees, who were the scoffing infidels of that day, by setting the doctrine of the future state in a true light. The relation between husband and wife, though appointed in the earthly paradise, will not be known in the heavenly one. It is no wonder if we confuse ourselves with foolish errors, when we form our ideas of the world of spirits by the affairs of this world of sense. It is absurd to think that the living God should be the portion and happiness of a man if he is for ever dead; and therefore it is certain that Abraham's soul exists and acts, though now for a time separate from the body. Those that deny the resurrection greatly err, and ought to be told so. Let us seek to pass through this dying world, with a joyful hope of eternal happiness, and of a glorious resurrection.
Verse 27. - Ye therefore do greatly err. The Greek is, omitting the οϋν, simply ὑμεῖς πολὺ πλανᾶσθε, Ye greatly err. The omission is more consistent with St. Mark's usual style. The Sadducees entirely misunderstood the meaning of their own Scriptures.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
He is not the God of the dead,.... This is our Lord's reasoning upon the passage; showing from hence, that since God is the God of these persons, they must be now alive in their souls, for God is not the God of the dead; and that their bodies must rise again, or he will not be the God of their whole persons;
but the God, of the living: the word "God", in this clause, is omitted in the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions, but retained in the Persic and Ethiopic versions; See Gill on Matthew 22:32;
ye therefore do greatly err; signifying, that it was not a slight mistake, an error of small importance, but a very great one; inasmuch as it was contrary to the Scriptures, and derogated from the power of God, and destroyed that covenant interest, which God has in his people, and particularly in the principal men of their nation, who were the fathers and founders of them.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
27. He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living—not "the God of dead but [the God] of living persons." The word in brackets is almost certainly an addition to the genuine text, and critical editors exclude it. "For all live unto Him" (Lu 20:38)—"in His view," or "in His estimation." This last statement—found only in Luke—though adding nothing to the argument, is an important additional illustration. It is true, indeed, that to God no human being is dead or ever will be, but all mankind sustain an abiding conscious relation to Him; but the "all" here means "those who shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world." These sustain a gracious covenant relation to God which cannot be dissolved. (Compare Ro 6:10, 11). In this sense our Lord affirms that for Moses to call the Lord the "God" of His patriarchal servants, if at that moment they had no existence, would be unworthy of Him. He "would be ashamed to be called their God, if He had not prepared for them a city" (Heb 11:16). It was concluded by some of the early Fathers, from our Lord's resting His proof of the Resurrection on such a passage as this, instead of quoting some much clearer testimonies of the Old Testament, that the Sadducees, to whom this was addressed, acknowledged the authority of no part of the Old Testament but the Pentateuch; and this opinion has held its ground even till now. But as there is no ground for it in the New Testament, so Josephus is silent upon it; merely saying that they rejected the Pharisaic traditions. It was because the Pentateuch was regarded by all classes as the fundamental source of the Hebrew religion, and all the succeeding books of the Old Testament but as developments of it, that our Lord would show that even there the doctrine of the Resurrection was taught. And all the rather does He select this passage, as being not a bare annunciation of the doctrine in question, but as expressive of that glorious truth out of which the Resurrection springs. "And when the multitude heard this" (says Mt 22:23), "they were astonished at His doctrine." "Then," adds Lu 20:39, 40, "certain of the scribes answering said, Master, thou hast well said"—enjoying His victory over the Sadducees. "And after that they durst not ask Him any [question at all]"—neither party could; both being for the time utterly foiled.
The Great Commandment (Mr 12:28-34).
"But when the Pharisees had heard that He had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together" (Mt 22:34).
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