What does the Bible say about marriage in heaven?

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What does the Bible say about marriage in heaven?

May 13, 2024 -

Bride and groom on the beach. By Анна Ковальчук/stock.adobe.com

Bride and groom on the beach. By Анна Ковальчук/stock.adobe.com

Bride and groom on the beach. By Анна Ковальчук/stock.adobe.com

A woman in the UK married her terminally ill fiancé in the hospital, then he died thirty-four hours later. She called her wedding “the best day of my life,’ but noted, “I didn’t know it would be my last with him.”

None of us who are married can know if this is our last day with our spouse. When that day comes, what then? Will we be married to them in heaven? Those of us whose parents are with the Lord wonder the same thing about them.

Here is what the Bible says on this very personal question.

One: We will know each other better in heaven than we do on earth.

Unlike Buddhism and Hinduism, which teach that we are ultimately absorbed into reality and cease to exist personally, the Judeo-Christian tradition emphatically states that we will live for eternity as individuals. In Jesus’ parable of the rich man and Lazarus, both live personally after death (Luke 16:19–31). Jesus promised the penitent criminal, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).

A key passage is the Mount of Transfiguration narrative, where Jesus is transformed into heavenly glory (Matthew 17:2), and yet his disciples still recognize him (vv. 3–8). They recognize Moses and Elijah with him as well (vv. 3–4), though both had been in heaven for centuries (as humans reckon time).

The fact is, we will know each other better in heaven than we do on earth. Paul explained: “Now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

Two: Christians are “married” to Christ in paradise.

Scripture assures God’s people, “Your Maker is your husband” (Isaiah 54:5). God promises us: “I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD” (Hosea 2:19–20).

God’s word describes heaven this way:

The marriage of the Lamb has come,

and his Bride has made herself ready;

it was granted her to clothe herself

with fine linen, bright and pure (Revelation 19:7–8).

Accordingly, we are told, “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (v. 9).

Three: The reasons for which we are married on earth are no longer relevant in heaven.

God prescribes marriage for three reasons:

  1. As a cure for loneliness: “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18). However, in heaven we are part of “a great multitude that no one could number” (Revelation 7:9).
  1. For procreation: “God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28). However, there will be no procreation in heaven.
  1. To avoid sexual sin: “Because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband” (1 Corinthians 7:2–3; cf. 8–9). However, in heaven there will be no temptations or sin (cf. Revelation 21:4–5).

Four: We are no longer married to our spouse in heaven as we are on earth.

The Sadducees were a group of religious leaders who rejected the doctrine of the resurrection. In Matthew 22, they tried to trick Jesus by describing a woman whose husband died, so her brother married her per the Mosaic law (v. 24; cf. Deuteronomy 25:5–10, a custom known as “levirate” marriage). In their narrative, the second brother died, so the third married the widow, and so on through seven brothers (Matthew 22:24–27). Then they asked, “In the resurrection, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be?” (v. 28).

Jesus responded: “In the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven” (v. 30). He did not mean that we become angels, but that, like them, we are not married in heaven.

If we were, the Sadducees’ question would be relevant. Scripture teaches: “A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:39). Such remarriage is common across the Scriptures. And many believers experience the pain of divorce; many remarry, as do their spouses.

In such circumstances, how would it be possible for there to be marriage in heaven in the same way as on earth?

Five: Our relationship with our spouse will be better in heaven than on earth.

God’s word teaches that everything will be better in heaven. This includes marriage, the first institution created by God and one blessed so significantly by him.

Scripture describes heaven this way: “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). Jesus called it “paradise” (Luke 23:43). There we will live in “a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1). This will be a “better country” than anything on earth (Hebrews 11:16). David prayed, “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).

While much of heaven is presently a mystery, since human minds cannot fully comprehend the mind and purposes of God (Isaiah 55:8–9), we can know that every relationship in heaven will be free from sin and blessed in the very presence of our Lord. This pertains especially marriage, to our most significant relationship.

C. S. Lewis was right: “When I have learned to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now.”

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