Question: I've always been struck by the "nor given in marriage" verse. What if someone dies young? God has made it clear that we won't be let down in heaven. But is missing out on the beauty of a spousal relationship part of that? I guess the only solution to that quandary is to marry before you die?
Jesus made it clear that, as far as the resurrected redeemed are concerned, the act of getting married is reserved for “this age” only.
Luke 20:34 Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35 But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, 36 and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection (cf. Matt. 22:30; Mk. 12:25).
This does mean that for those who die in Christ without having married will not be getting married in the resurrection. However, it should not be thought that they will in any way be less satisfied, less fulfilled, or experience any degree of loneliness. Even in this life, as Paul notes in 1 Corinthians 7, a healthy, godly marriage inevitably demands a dividing of interests:
1Cor. 7:32-34 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife—and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband.
This does not depreciate the beauty of marriage. But it does point out just how completely devoted we will be to Jesus in the resurrection. He will be our love and our life in a way that no other relationship can match. For those who are unmarried in the resurrection, their lives will be overflowing with the indescribable joy of eternal union with Jesus. When John saw the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven, it was far more than a walled city he beheld. He saw the people of God. The resurrected redeemed are the New Jerusalem! He saw what he could only describe in human terms as a bride:
Rev. 21:2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
This is more than a figure of speech; this is intimacy at a level far beyond that enjoyed by an earthly husband and wife. Indeed, married life now is…
Eph. 5:32 …a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.