Bible References About
Another belief unique to the LDS church is that of Eternal Families and Eternal Marriage. This doctrine and practice restored to us in the latter days is a cornerstone in the LDS faith and a key part to the Plan of Salvation. Though the practice of sealing families together for time and all eternity is not explicitly taught in the Bible, there are passages that allude to it or indirectly reference it.
"And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed."
This bible passage has so much important, but often overlooked, information. It is teaching about the first marriage on Earth. And its the only marriage known to be performed by God, Himself. How cool is that? That's how important marriage is to God, that it was a rite that He would personally perform. The marriage took place in the Garden of Eden. The Garden was a representation of Heaven on Earth, meaning it was the first temple. So for all practical purposes this was the first "temple marriage". But that's not all. This marriage of Adam and Eve, performed by God, Himself, in the first temple, was done before The Fall of Adam. Adam and Eve were both immortal at this time. Which means that the very first marriage was literally an eternal marriage. God always meant for marriage to be eternal.
"I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him."
This verse teaches that whatever God does is forever. Marriages performed by one having proper priesthood authority are of God. Therefore, sealed marriages will last forever.
Matthew 16:19 (See also Matthew 18:18)
"And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
Jesus is conferring the Melchizedek Priesthood to Peter, and will later to the rest of the Twelve. Christ gives Peter the authority to exercise the sealing keys of the Priesthood. By authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood and in the name of Jesus Christ, Peter can perform ordinances that bind or seal on earth and whatsoever he does will carryover to Heaven. These ordinances include baptism, giving the gift of the Holy Ghost, priesthood blessings, and of course, marriages. The key is that Peter was given the proper authority to do so, by Christ. He or we couldn't do these things of ourselves.
"Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her. Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven."
Some may be surprised that I'm including this verse on my list because it's the verse other religions cite to discredit the doctrine of eternal marriage. I'm including it for a couple of reasons 1: To show that I am intellectually honest; 2: because I'm not afraid of this verse; and 3: because it doesn't actually disprove the eternal marriage doctrine.
Look at Jesus' response in context. He's answering a question about marriage and the resurrection posited by a group that doesn't even believe in a resurrection — The Sadducees. When contemporary critics invoke this reference they commit the same error that the Sadducees fell into when they asked Jesus, and chided them that they "do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God."
Here's why it doesn't disprove eternal marriage.
First, the Sadducees are inadvertently acknowledging eternal marriage by asking "who's wife will she be in the resurrection?" This implies that there was already a teaching at the time concerning couples living as husband and wife in the resurrection.
Second, after Jesus tells them they don't understand, He explains that after the resurrection no one will marry, nor be given in marriage. In other words, men won't get married, and women won't be given in marriage. What Jesus said is absolutely true. There will be no marriages performed in Heaven and no one will be getting married either.
HOWEVER!! He does not say that people married and sealed before the resurrection won't live as husband and wife. He just said they won't be getting married. He said nothing about them being married already. Just like baptism, eternal marriage is a priesthood ordinance that must be performed on Earth. After the resurrection, those who were not sealed by the priesthood will become angels under God in one of the lower glories or kingdoms, (either the Terrestrial or Telestial).
"And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him.
And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you?
And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away.
And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.
But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;
And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.
What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."
The Pharisees are asking Jesus if it's okay to divorce and Jesus teaches that marriage was God's plan from the foundation of the world. Jesus teaches that divorce is man's creation, not Heavenly Father's. Very powerfully, the Savior teaches that what God has joined together should not be split. So let me get this straight from all you people that believe in "till death do you part". God is completely anti-divorce on Earth, but He endorses universal divorce in Heaven? I didn't think God was so inconsistent. What happened to God's will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven?
God is not inconsistent, and He's not pro-heavenly divorce. When couples are sealed in God's temple by authority of God's priesthood then it is God that is joining the man and woman together; and what God has joined together will not be put asunder on Earth or in Heaven.
"And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh."
I wanted to focus more a bit on this specific verse. Jesus is teaching that a husband and wife are no longer two people, but are one person to God. When it comes to salvation and heaven, there won't be half a person running around. Your head and arms won't be saved, dragging around Heaven while your torso and legs are condemned somewhere else. There is no division in Heaven. That means a husband and wife, who are now one, won't be divided either. Which brings us to this next verse...
1 Corinthians 11:11
"Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord."
Paul is teaching that men and women are still joined together in the Lord's Kingdom. The doctrine of eternal marriage teaches that those who have been true to the covenants made at the time of their sealing, will live in the Celestial Kingdom, where God lives, as husband and wife for time and all eternity.
Ephesians 1:10, 13
"That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,"
The LDS Church teaches that we are now in the dispensation of the fullness of times as was prophesied by Paul, and all promises, blessings, keys, and covenants pertaining to the priesthood and salvation of man are on the Earth now, including the new and everlasting covenant of eternal marriage which is sealed by the holy spirit of promise, spoken of by Paul. It was revealed to The Prophet, Joseph Smith, that:
- "And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them - Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths..."
(Revelation from The Lord, given to Joseph Smith: July 12, 1843)
As a side note:
In the story of Job we read that after Job overcame his trials, God rewarded him by doubling all that he had before. He went from 7000 sheep to 14000; 3000 camels to 6000 camels, etc. But then we get to his children. Before all his children died he had 7 sons and 3 daughters, and after he was given double everything else he had before his trials, he was still only given 7 sons and 3 daughters? Did God make a mistake by forgetting to double his children like He did everything else? Of course not, we can interpret from this that his children had been "sealed" to him. Therefore, having 7 sons and 3 daughters after did indeed double his family, since in the afterlife, they will all go on being his children.