By Swedenborg Project | August 22, 2011
Positive marriage-related teachings or images are cited repeatedly throughout the Bible. God created man, male and female, in His “image” and “likeness.” (Genesis 1: 26-28) God saw that it was not good for man to be alone and created a companion for him and this explains why a man leaves his parents and is joined to his wife and the two become one. (Genesis 2:18-24)
The heavens tell of God’s glory and the sun bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom. (Psalm 19:5)
Isaiah tells of joy in the Lord Who has dressed him in clothing of salvation and the robe of righteousness like a bridegroom and bride adorned. (Isaiah 61:10)
God loves Zion and gives it a new name, Bride of God, and rejoices over Zion as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride. (Isaiah 62:1-5)
When the people return to God, the sounds of joy and voice of bridegrooms and brides will be heard again and people bringing thank offerings to God. (Jeremiah 33:11)
When the Pharisees asked Jesus about divorce, He quoted Genesis about man leaving parents and joining his wife and added that no one should separate what God had joined together. When the disciples said the teaching about divorce and adultery was hard, He said that not everyone can accept it but those can whom God helps. (Matthew 19:3-11)
The Kingdome of Heaven is like a king who made a wedding for his son and invited guests to the wedding. (Matthew 22:1-14)
The Kingdom of Heaven is like the story of the wedding with the five wise and five foolish virgins and only those enter the wedding who have oil of love for their lamps. (Matthew 25:1-13 and Mark 10:2-12)
Jesus also performed His first miracle at a wedding. (John 2: 1-11)
John describes the marriage of the Lamb and his wife and how blessed they are who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. (Rev. 19:7, 9)
John saw the Holy City descending from God prepared as a bride for her husband and heard that the home of God is now among His people….An angel told John to come and see the bride, the wife of the Lamb and showed him the Holy City descending and filled with the glory of God. (Revelation 21:1-3, 9-11)
Why then would Jesus apparently turn around and say to the Sadducees that there is no marriage in heaven in answer to their story about the woman married to seven brothers in succession as each died? (Matthew 22:29-30; Mark 12:18-25; Luke 20: 34-37)
The picture clarifies when the audience Jesus was talking to is made clear. In the culture of that time, women had a very low status. Women could be “given” in marriage (Luke 20:27-33) like a piece of property as the women married to seven brothers. Women could be bought and sold as was Leah who was substituted for Rachel to marry Jacob (Genesis 29:14-30), Ruth was bought by Boaz (Ruth 4:9-10), and Hosea buying back his wife. (Hosea 3:2) And women were subject to polygamy as with Esau’s numerous wives. (Genesis 26:34, 28:9, and 36:2-3) Marriage as the people of that time understood it does not exist in heaven.
Those who have been spiritually regenerated, i.e. worthy of being raised from spiritual death, or hell, won’t have the kind of relationship, the legal-contract external marriage, His audience of Sadducees thought of as marriage. These people will experience the true internal spiritual marriage love of the angels.
Direct evidence that true marriage does occur in heaven is provided by Swedenborg’s experience there, where he saw weddings (e.g. Marriage Love 1,19-21, True Christian Religion 746-748) and spoke with married couples (e.g. Marriage Love 42, 137, 208, 355), wives (e.g. Marriage Love 293, 55) and husbands (e.g. Marriage Love 156c, 355).
Swedenborg tells us that “A spiritual wedding means being linked with the Lord, something that happens on earth, and if it has taken place on earth, it has also taken place in heaven. (Marriage Love 41:2)
“There are weddings in the heavens as there are on earth, but only for those for whom good and truth are married, for no others are angels. So it is spiritual weddings, the marriage of good and truth, which are meant by this passage….. So it is said of the five foolish maidens, who were also invited to the wedding, that they could not go in, because they lacked the marriage of good and truth; for they had no oil, but only lamps. (Matthew 25:1-13) Oil means good and lamps truth; and being given in marriage is entering heaven, where that marriage is.” (Marriage Love 44:10)