Question: Who are the sons of the resurrection?
Question: Are we sons of the resurrection after we die?
Answer: We are all sons of the resurrection now.
Let me explain. There is a seemingly strange passage where we get this idea that there is no marriage in heaven because we are going to be like angels. Some even take that to mean that angels are androgynous and so we will be too, as an explanation. But that isn't the point of Jesus teaching at all. Rather Jesus was teaching that in the New Covenant Age ... well maybe we should work our way through the passage first.
In Luke 20 Jesus confronts the religious leaders by exposing their plans to kill him, it says, "19 And the chief priests and the scribes that very hour sought to lay hands on Him, but they feared the people —for they knew He had spoken this parable against them." First the Pharisees try to catch him in his words so that they might accuse him by asking him whether they should pay taxes to Caesar or not. Then it was the turn of the Sadducees to attempt to do the same.
Luke 20:27 Then some of the Sadducees, who deny that there is a resurrection, came to Him and asked Him, 28 saying: “Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife, and he dies without children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. 29 Now there were seven brothers. And the first took a wife, and died without children. 30 And the second took her as wife, and he died childless. 31 Then the third took her, and in like manner the seven also; and they left no children, and died. 32 Last of all the woman died also. 33 Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife does she become? For all seven had her as wife.”
Levirate marriage is mandated by Deuteronomy 25:5-6 which protects the inheritance of the family and guarantees another generation under the covenant of Law. Five times forms of the word child or children is used in Luke 20. This is the main point of the question. In the Old Covenant Law perspective, children were born into the covenant simply by virtue of being born. They started learning to memorize Leviticus as a small child.
In addition, a childless Israelite was considered cursed under the Law. Remember the story of John the Baptist? He was of priestly lineage, and yet what a scandal that even until her old age Elizabeth had no child. She was viewed, probably both were viewed, as committing some terrible sin resulting in barrenness. But with the miracle of John, “Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people” (Luke 1:25).
The second idea at work here, that often escapes us, is that they are speaking of the AGE of the Messiah, not going to heaven. The Jews believed in two primary ages, with subsets of ages within those two. Jesus and the apostles came preaching the end of the Old Covenant age and the beginning of the New Covenant/Kingdom age dawning. The "last days" are not some manipulative book-selling ploy for preachers to write books about 2000 years later. It was THE JEWS Old Covenant last days, the end of the OC age. Paul wrote:
1 Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, UPON WHOM THE ENDS OF THE AGES HAVE COME.
That age, which ended in AD 70, at the fall of Jerusalem was the end of the age of Law, of sacrifices, of a natural priesthood by birth, and even the genealogy itself was burned in the temple. It was that age which the disciples and Paul were still living in as they wrote what we call the New Testament letters. They called it the "present evil age" (Gal 1:4) in which the Law was the veil that covered Christ, and became the god of the Jews which blinded their minds (2 Cor. 4:4).
The new era, would be called the the kingdom of God, and the children of that age, the sons of the resurrection. Not only did the Sadducees not believe in a resurrection, they are trying to find a way to accuse Jesus based on his answer. "How do people come into our nationalistic Law covenant in the age of the Messiah?"
WHO ARE SONS IN THE RESURRECTION?
34 Jesus answered and said to them, “The sons of THIS AGE [of Law Covenant with Israel] marry and are given in marriage. 35 But those who are counted worthy to attain that age [AD 70 forward/kingdom age of Messiah], and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; 36 nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.
In AD 70, the separation of the sheep and goats, the wheat and tares, and between the 10 virgins takes place. Please click the links for more explanation and scriptural proof. "Entering the kingdom" was not about going to heaven, they were passing through the Old Age of Law into the age of the kingdom which is established by the removal of the old natural kingdom (Gen. 49:10; Matt 21:43). Some would be counted worthy to attain that age, that era, that period of time because they trusted Christ, identified with him and fled the city when they saw the Romans coming.
The first resurrection is when Christ, through his incarnation joins himself to humanity, so that as the Last Adam, as the Son of Man, whatever happens to Jesus, happens for all. Paul makes this abundantly clear in 2 Cor. 5:14 saying "since Christ died for ALL then ALL died." Again in Ephesians 2 he unmistakably says that when it happened to Jesus, it happened to us all: we were made alive TOGETHER with him, raised TOGETHER with him, and seated TOGETHER with him! What happened with Jesus was raised up? Peter says, "Thank God, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that in his great mercy we men have been born again into a life full of hope, through Christ’s rising again from the dead!" (1 Pet. 1:3, Phillips)
In Jesus Christ was neither Jew, nor Gentile, slave nor free, male nor female but all are ONE in Christ. He represented all, so what happened to him, happened to ALL.
So How is it That We are like the Angels?
Don't over-think it. Angels are spiritual beings that live forever. You, the REAL you, is not your physical body. It is true that God highly values the physical reality, so much so that he embraced it in the incarnation. BUT, your inner person (soul-spirit) not only is eternal, but has invisible form as well:
1 Cor. 15:35, 45 But someone will say, “HOW ARE THE DEAD RAISED UP? AND WITH WHAT BODY DO THEY COME?”... There is a natural body, and there is a SPIRITUAL BODY.
I was at a crusade in Lakeland, Florida years ago and I was randomly taking pictures of the crowd. When I got back to the room I noticed something unusual in one of the pictures. I believe it was an angel. I didn't Photoshop this. I only enlarged it to see it better. You have an invisible spiritual form within you, just like the glory of Jesus at his transfiguration, and just like what appears to be an angel here.
How Does REPRODUCTION Happen in this Age?
Now it does not require marrying or giving in marriage to perpetuate, or repreduce sons of the covenant. How does REPRODUCTION happen in the age of Messiah? How does sonship happen? It is through the NEW covenant where God made a covenant with Jesus, not us. We have this mistaken idea that God makes individual covenants with us, but that isn't true. God made a covenant with Jesus and included us in himself so that whatever happened to Jesus counted for us all. Jesus said, "this is the New Covenant in MY blood!"
In the Gospel of John, he is very clear to contrast the Old Covenant way of coming into covenant by natural birth, with the New Covenant way of coming into covenant by spiritual birth. What is similar is that in both instances people had no say so in their own birth. John 1:12-13 "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."
The Greek word "right" is the word, ex-sousia. It literally means (from 1537 /ek, "out from," which intensifies 1510 /eimí, "to be", or "I Am"). It means "out from being". It is the power of living from I AM A CHILD OF GOD, or that being which comes from within.
The Greek is not "become" as if our believing causes it to happen. It means "to be, to emerge". Believing-receiving-trusting Jesus, and what he has done through his death, burial, and resurrection, gives anyone-everyone the power to be and grow as sons and daughters. They were already sons, but believing it causes us to live in the authenticity of who they really were.
I think it is vital for us to recognize what John says... who were born (prior) not of natural blood, nor of the passion of the flesh-life that doesn't know God, nor of the choice and planning of natural parents. Rather, we were born from above by the will, choice and purposes of God and THEN we believe and receive the truth.
Again, in the OC, they were born into the nationalistic covenant. In the NC we are too... but it was 2000 years ago, it was with Jesus, and it included us all.
In this new era of the New Covenant and Kingdom of God, all are sons and daughters who will "never die" according to Jesus. We didn't make ourselves alive, we did not raise ourselves, we did not chose to be born again from above. We only choose the degree in which we are willing to believe it. Believing it doesn't make it true. We believe it because it is true.
Jesus mentioned the resurrection of the dead and those found worthy of it. It is a fascinating study (please see my blog Does God Give Second Chances After Death) Historically, in the judgment at AD 70 at the end of the Law/Old Covenant, those who were in Hades were raised up into heaven. This is from that article:
1 Corinthians 15:21-22, (NLT), So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. It had already begun because Christ was raised from the dead and ascended to the Father, and when he was raised we were ALL raised together with him, spiritually or in a representative sense. Notice he is still talking about resurrection in the next verse…
For as indeed in Adam ALL die, so also in Christ ALL will be made alive. (Berean Literal Bible)
“For just as by Adam ALL people die, IN THIS WAY ALSO by The Messiah they ALL LIVE. (Aramaic Bible in Plain English)
As EVERYONE dies because of Adam, so also EVERYONE will be made alive because of Christ. (God’s Word Translation)
They will give an account to Him who is READY to judge the living and the dead. For this reason THE GOSPEL WAS PREACHED also to THOSE WHO ARE DEAD, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, BUT LIVE according to God in the spirit. For the end of all things is at hand." (1 Peter 4:5-7)
For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit. (NIV)
That is why the Good News was preached to those who are now dead--SO ALTHOUGH THEY WERE DESTINED TO DIE LIKE ALL PEOPLE, they NOW LIVE FOREVER with God in the Spirit. (NLT)
The whole idea that no one could have a second chance after death is not found in the bible. The opposite is true. He healed the darkness of every person in Hades. Paul said ALL would be raised and ALL who were dead in Hades in that day were made alive to/with God. For more read the article The Healing of Hades and the End of the Lake of Fire.
Please pay attention to what Jesus taught... "37 But even Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are raised, when he called the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 38 For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for ALL LIVE TO HIM.” How many will ultimately live to God? ALL. How many does the God who stands outside of time think will experience his life? ALL.
Sincere questions are good. They are honored by the Father. But sometimes, like the Sadducees, we would do well to just agree with Jesus instead of fighting his words and constantly questioning his massive grace: "39 Then some of the scribes answered and said, “Teacher, You have spoken well.” 40 But after that they dared not question Him anymore."