Matthew 22:31
But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,
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(31) That which was spoken unto you by God.—In St. Mark and St. Luke we find the addition “at the bush,” the words probably being a reference to the section of the Law containing Exodus 3, and known by that title. There are, it need scarcely be said, many passages scattered here and there through the Old Testament (such, e.g., as Job 19:25-26; Psalm 16:10-11; Daniel 12:2) in which the hope of immortality, and even of a resurrection, is expressed with greater clearness; but our Lord meets the Sadducees on their own ground, and quotes from the Law which they recognised as of supreme authority. The principle implied in the reasoning is, that the union of the divine Name with that of a man, as in “I am the God of Abraham,” involved a relation existing, not in the past only, but when the words were uttered. They meant something more than “I am the God whom Abraham worshipped in the past.” But if the relation was a permanent one, then it followed that those whose names were thus joined with the name of God were living and not dead.

Matthew 22:31-32. But as touching the resurrection of the dead — Or the future state, (see on Matthew 22:23,) have ye not read that which was spoken by God — Namely, in the books of Moses, for which the Sadducees had a peculiar value; but which Christ here shows they did not understand; but were as ignorant of them as they were of the power of God. They had drawn their objection to a future state from the writings of Moses; and from those writings Christ demonstrates the certainty of a future state! I am the God of Abraham, &c. — The argument runs thus: God is not the God of the dead, but of the living: (for that expression, Thy God, implies both benefit from God to man: and duty from man to God:) but he is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: therefore Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, are not dead, but living. Therefore the soul does not die with the body. So indeed the Sadducees supposed, and it was on this ground that they denied the resurrection and a future state. It cannot be objected to this interpretation, that it lays too much stress on the words, I am, which are not in the Hebrew. For our Lord’s application of the citation in the present tense, (ουκ εστιν ο θεος θεος νεκρων, God is not the God of the dead,) plainly implies that no other tense of the verb can be supplied. Accordingly the words are so rendered by the LXX., Εγω ειμι ο Θεος του πατρος σου, Θεος Αβρααμ, &c., I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, &c.; Exodus 3:6. In a similar way Dr. Campbell states the argument: “When God appeared to Moses in the bush, (which was long after the death of the patriarchs,) he said unto him, I am the God of Abraham, &c.; now God is not the God of the dead, of those who, being destitute of life, and consequently of sensibility, can neither know nor honour him: he is the God of those only who love and adore him, and are by consequence alive. These patriarchs, therefore, though dead in respect to us, who enjoy their presence here no longer, are alive in respect of God, whom they still serve and worship.” Others, however, choose to explain the argument thus: To be the God of any person is to be his exceeding great reward, Genesis 15:1. Wherefore, as the patriarchs died without having obtained the promises, Hebrews 11:39, they must exist in another state to enjoy them, that the veracity of God may remain sure. Besides, the apostle tells us that God is not ashamed to be called their God, because he has prepared for them a city, Hebrews 11:16, which implies, that he would have reckoned it infinitely beneath him to own his relation, as God, to any one for whom he had not provided a state of permanent happiness. The argument, taken either way, is conclusive; for which cause we may suppose that both the senses of it were intended, to render it full of demonstration.

With what satisfaction should we read this vindication of so important an article of our faith and hope! How easily did our Lord unravel and expose the boasted argument of the Sadducees, and cover with just confusion all the pride of those bold wits, who valued themselves so much on that imaginary penetration, which laid men almost on a level with brutes. Indeed, objections against the resurrection and a future state, much more plausible than this of theirs, may be answered in that one saying of our Lord’s: Ye know not the Scriptures nor the power of God. Were the Scripture doctrine on this subject considered on the one hand, and the omnipotence of the Creator on the other, it could not seem incredible to any that God should preserve the soul in immortality, or raise the dead. Acts 26:8.

22:23-33 The doctrines of Christ displeased the infidel Sadducees, as well as the Pharisees and Herodians. He carried the great truths of the resurrection and a future state, further than they had yet been reveled. There is no arguing from the state of things in this world, as to what will take place hereafter. Let truth be set in a clear light, and it appears in full strength. Having thus silenced them, our Lord proceeded to show the truth of the doctrine of the resurrection from the books of Moses. God declared to Moses that he was the God of the patriarchs, who had died long before; this shows that they were then in a state of being, capable of enjoying his favour, and proves that the doctrine of the resurrection is clearly taught in the Old Testament as well as in the New. But this doctrine was kept for a more full revelation, after the resurrection of Christ, who was the first-fruits of them that slept. All errors arise from not knowing the Scriptures and the power of God. In this world death takes away one after another, and so ends all earthly hopes, joys, sorrows, and connexions. How wretched are those who look for nothing better beyond the grave!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.

Mt 22:15-40. Entangling Questions about Tribute, the Resurrection, and the Great Commandment, with the Replies. ( = Mr 12:13-34; Lu 20:20-40).

For the exposition, see on [1343]Mr 12:13-34.

See Poole on "Matthew 22:33".

But as touching the resurrection of the dead,.... In proof of that doctrine, and which will greatly serve to confirm and establish it, and that it may appear that the dead are, or will be raised, and to put it out of all doubt,

have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, as Mark adds, "in the book of Moses"; which was written by him, the book of Exodus 3:6 and though the words were spoke to Moses, yet were designed for the use, instruction, and comfort of the Israelites; not only at that time, but in succeeding ages, they being the posterity of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; whose God the Lord there declares himself to be. Moreover, whereas these words were spoken by God to Moses, there is some little difficulty occasioned, by Luke's representing them to be the words of Moses; for he says, "Moses showed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord, the God of Abraham", &c. which may be removed by observing, that the sense is, that when Moses showed to the children of Israel, what he heard and saw at the bush on Mount Sinai, he called the Lord by these names, in which he spoke of himself to him; he recited to them what the Lord said to him; and indeed he was bid to say to them these words; See Exodus 3:14.

saying, as follows,

But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,
Matthew 22:31 f. But with reference to the resurrection, set over against the foregoing ἐν γὰρ τῇ ἀναστ.; the sequence of the address is indicated by the prepositions. περὶ τῆς ἀναστ. should be taken along with οὐκ ἀνέγνωτε.

ὑμῖν] imparts the vivacity of individuality to the words of Jesus. The quotation is from Exodus 3:6. His opponents had cited a passage from the law; with a passage from the law Jesus confutes them, and thus combats them with their own weapons. It is wrong to refer to this in support of the view that the Sadducees accepted only the Pentateuch as authoritative scripture (Tertullian, Origen, Jerome, Luther, Paulus, Olshausen, Süskind in the Stud. u. Krit. 1830, p. 665). Yet these aristocrats regarded the law, and the mere letter of the law too, as possessing supreme authority.

οὐκ ἔστιν ὁ θεὸς, κ.τ.λ.] This is the major proposition of a syllogism, in terms of which we are warranted in recognising in the passage here quoted a scriptural testimony in favour of the resurrection. The Sadducees had failed to draw the inference thus shown to be deducible from the words; hence Matthew 22:29 : μὴ εἰδότες τὰς γραφάς, a fact which Jesus has now confirmed by the illustration before us. The point of the argument does not turn upon the present εἰμί (Chrysostom, and those who follow him), but is to this effect: seeing that God calls Himself the God of the patriarchs, and as He cannot sustain such a relation toward the dead, i.e. those who are absolutely dead, who have ceased to exist (οὐκ ὄντων καὶ καθάπαξ ἀφανισθέντων, Chrysostom), but only toward the living, it follows that the deceased patriarchs must be living,—living, that is, in Sheol, and living as ἀναστῆναι μέλλοντες (Euthymius Zigabenus). Comp. Hebrews 11:16. The similar inference in Menasse f. Isr. de Resurr. i. 10. 6, appears to have been deduced from the passage before us. Comp. Schoettgen, p. 180.

Matthew 22:31. hus far of the mode, now of the fact of resurrection.—οὐκ ἀνέγνωτε, have ye not read? Many times, but not with Christ’s eyes. We find what we bring.—τὸ ῥηθὲν ὑμῖν, that said to you; to Moses first, but a word in season for the Sadducaic state of mind.

Matthew 22:31.[965] ὙΜῖΝ, unto you) To you He says, not to us. They were not written for Christ.[966] To you the descendants of Abraham.

[965] περί δὲ τῆς ἀναστάσεως) Jesus not merely refuted the objection of those in error, but also demonstrates the truth to them.—V. g.

[966] Nor were they written even for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who had lived before that the Vision was vouchsafed to Moses, which was subsequently committed to writing.—V. g.

Verse 31. - As touching (περὶ) the resurrection of the dead. Christ, in the second place, shows how these disputants were, ignorant of Scripture. They may have known the letter, they certainly knew nothing of the spirit of the Word of God, its depth and fulness. The key to the interpretation of the Scripture is faith. It is not enough to be acquainted with the literal signification; this is always inadequate, and denotes not the chief matter intended. To know the Scripture, in the sense of Christ, is to have a clear apprehension of its spiritual aspect, to feel and own the moral and mystical bearing of facts and statements, and to recognize that herein lies the real significance of the inspired record. The want of this discernment vitiated the Sadducees' treatment and reception of Holy Writ, and involved them in lamentable error. Christ proceeds to demonstrate how the very Pentateuch (reverenced unquestionably by their party), which they deemed to be entirely silent on the subject of the life of the soul, spoke plainly on this matter to all who had faith to understand and appreciate the words of Divine wisdom. That which was spoken unto you by God. To our minds Jesus might have adduced stronger arguments from other books of Scripture, e.g. Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel; but the Sadducees had drawn their objection from the Pentateuch, therefore from that section of the Bible he refutes them. To the books of Moses was always made the ultimate appeal in confirmation of doctrine; in the supreme authority of these writings all sects agreed. The utterances of the prophets were explained away as allegorical, poetical, and rhetorical; the plain, historical statements of the Law could not at that time be thus treated. Christ endorses unreservedly the Divine inspiration of the Pentateuch; he intimates that it was the voice of God to all time, and providentially directed to disperse such errors as those now produced. Matthew 22:31
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