The Book of Mark
James J. Barker

Lesson 42

Text: MARK 12:18-27


1.     These past few weeks we have seen that our Lord was frequently provoked by the religious leaders of Israel.

2.     There were at this time three leading religious sects among the Jews, and they all conspired together to kill Jesus.

3.     The three mentioned specifically in the NT are the Pharisees, and the Herodians, and the Sadducees (cf. Mark 12:13, 18).

4.     The Herodians were basically a political group (like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, et al).

5.     The Sadducees were different in many ways from the Pharisees, who were traditionalists and legalists. 

6.     The Sadducees were the religious liberals.  They were very worldly and crafty.

7.     Luke 20:23 says our Lord “perceived their craftiness.”

8.     They were “freethinkers” who did not take the Bible literally.  They were “religious racketeers.”

9.     Our Lord said they did not know the Scriptures, nor the power of God (Mark 12:24).



1.     The Sadducees denied the doctrine of the resurrection (12:18).

2.     Not only did the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection (12:18); being rationalists they denied the spiritual realm altogether.

3.     Acts 23:8 says, “For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both.” 

4.     They denied the existence of angels, and our Lord affirmed the existence of angels (Mark 12:25).

5.     And our Lord affirmed the doctrine of the resurrection (Mark 12:25 – “For when they shall rise from the dead…”).

6.     The apostle Paul wrote in I Cor. 15:13, 14, “But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.”

7.     Many conservative people are alarmed that all of the “mainline denominations” (Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran) are now accepting homosexuality and so-called “same sex marriage.”

8.     What they should understand is that many years ago these same apostate denominations rejected the literal, bodily resurrection of Christ.

9.     Long ago, they rejected the inerrancy of Scripture. 

10. They rejected our Authorized Version and replaced it with corrupt translations like the RSV (now revised into the ESV).

11. They rejected the creation account as recorded in the book of Genesis, and affirmed the satanic doctrine of evolution.

12. They rejected the virgin birth and the substitutionary death of Christ.

13. So it should come as no surprise that these apostates are now embracing homosexuality.  Romans 1:28 says, “God gave them over to a reprobate mind.”

14. Most of the big seminaries teach nothing but liberal foolishness, and they training a steady flow of wolves in sheep’s clothing.

15. Then these unregenerate ministers, who graduate from these liberal schools, pass their errors on to the people in the pews, and before you know it the churches are filled with unconverted members. 

16. As I go out house to house knocking on doors I can testify that the vast majority of the people I meet are not saved, and yet most of them are affiliated with some church (cf. II Peter 2:1, 2).

17. True Christians should have absolutely nothing to do with apostate churches, apostate ministers, and apostate schools, etc.

18. Second Corinthians 6:17 says, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”

19. Revelation 18:4 says, “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”



1.     Mark 12:18 says, “Then come unto Him the Sadducees...”

2.     Just like the Pharisees and the Herodians, the Sadducees tried to trick our Lord (cf. Mark 12:13). 

3.     These Sadducees came to our Lord with a hypothetical question regarding the Jewish law of “levirate marriage.”  The word “levirate” comes from the Latin word levir, which means “a husband’s brother” (or “brother-in-law”). 

4.     That the question was not an honest one is made clear by the fact that the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection.  Therefore theirs was not a sincere inquiry (12:23). 

5.     They were not seeking after the truth. They were trying “to catch him in his words” (cf. 12:13).

6.     Furthermore, their question was ridiculous. There was a custom among the Jews that when an Israelite man died childless, his nearest relative (usually a brother) should marry the widow in order to continue the family of the deceased brother.

7.     The idea was that the brother would “raise up seed” and the family name would live on (Mark 12:19b).  The firstborn son born to the widow would now take the name of the deceased husband and become the heir of her deceased husband.  

8.     If the brother chose not to marry his sister-in-law, she was allowed to subject him to gross insult (cf. Deut. 25:5-10).

9.     The first recorded instance of this custom occurs in the patriarchal period, where Onan is called upon to marry his brother Er’s widow (Genesis 38:6-10).

10. As far as we can tell, Onan was the founder of birth control (38:9). As we see, his behaviour displeased the Lord and the Lord slew him (38:10).

11. The book of Ruth also refers to this law.  Boaz said to Ruth in Ruth 3:12, “And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I.”

12. But the Sadducees were not really interested in any of this.  They were just trying to trick our Lord.  And we see here their carnal imaginations – seven brothers marrying the same woman (Mark 12:19-22).

13. Earthly relationships will not be continued in heaven.  Religions, such as the Muslims and the Mormons, which teach marriage up in heaven may attract carnal men who hope to spend eternity fulfilling their lustful desires, but in reality they will spend eternity in hell.



1.     Our Lord was not saying that we will become angels in heaven (many people believe this).  He is saying we will be like angels in that we will not marry in heaven (12:25).  In heaven there will not be any need to reproduce.

2.     The Bible teaches that our place in heaven will be even better than that of the angels (cf. I Cor. 6:3; I John 3:2). 

3.     Regarding marriage, husbands and wives will still see each other up in heaven.  Spurgeon used to talk about how he looked forward to spending eternity in heaven with his wife.

4.     J. Vernon McGee said: “This (Luke 20:35, 36) does not mean that a husband and wife who were very close down here cannot be together in heaven.  If they want to be together, of course they can be together.  But, my friend, think of the ones who wouldn’t want to be together.  They won’t have to be together.  However, they both will have new dispositions, and probably they will get along lots better up there than they did down here!”

5.     Our Lord told the Sadducees they erred because they did not know the Bible.  This is even clearer in Matthew’s account, where our Lord asked, “Have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God…?” (Matt. 22:31; cf. Ex. 3:6).

6.     The Lord is “the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Mark 12:26, 27).   Abraham is still alive.

7.     Remember our Lord said that Lazarus went to Abraham’s bosom.  So Abraham is alive. So is Isaac.  And so is Jacob.  God is “not the God of the dead, but the God of the living” (12:27).

8.     Mark 12:26 says, “I am (not “was”) the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”



1.     Our Lord could have quoted the book of Job or the book of Psalms, or the prophets Isaiah, Ezekiel or Daniel.   It is interesting that He quoted from the book of Exodus. 

2.     The Sadducees accepted the authority of the first five books of Moses but apparently they denied the resurrection from the dead because they claimed Moses did not teach it.

3.     But our Lord proved them wrong (Exodus 3:6, 15, 16).

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