Resurrection - Riddle and Reward:

The Riddle of the Sadducees, The Parable of the Faithful and Wise Steward

Resurrection Day


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Luke 24:1-10  Early on the first day of the week, the women who had come with Yahshua from Galilee Resurrection and Riddlecame to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again." Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles.


1 Kings 11:5.  For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians.

Ashtoreth > Astarte > Ishtar > Oestre > Easter – same goddess of child sacrifice.
A Look at the Historical Origin of Easter – a Pagan Festival


Opening Greeting for Resurrection Sunday

   Today we celebrate the resurrection of Yahshua from the netherworld of death, the event and point in time upon which all history balances. Though thousands of moons have passed, the incredible effect of Yahshua’s resurrection upon our world is evident even to the most casual observer. 

   Over one billion hail him as one of the greatest teachers that ever lived.  But a mere teacher, no matter how popular or influential, could not possibly have changed the course of nations and kingdoms for two millennia with doctrine alone – as Yahshua has. 

   Another billion or more hail him as a prophet, one of the greatest that ever lived.  But even a celebrated ancient seer, his words recorded and analyzed, his predictions coming to pass to the letter, could not possibly have changed the minds of multitudes, reconciling them to the Almighty – as Yahshua has. 

   A third billion honor him as the Son of the Most High,

Philippians 2:6. ... who, though he was in the form of G-d, did not count equality a thing to be grasped,  7. but he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men.  8.  ... He further humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a stake. 

   Only could such a divine being, his laws and love engraved upon the human heart, his spirit wooing even the most heinous sinner to atonement, his life setting the example for the holy of all ages, could have had such a grand effect upon the world in the ages succeeding his death.  Yes,

Philippians 2:8. He humbled himself and became obedient unto death on a torture stake.  9. So Yahweh highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, 10. that at the name of Yahshua every knee shall bow, in heaven, on earth, even under the earth. 

   It was inevitable that this Servant of the Most High should come from the sky to earth in order to die – to die even on the behalf of those who despised him and brought him to shame.  For he came to bring life, and that in abundance – but in order to bring life to all, he had to conquer the enemy of life – the enemy of all humankind: he had to vanquish death.

John 3:13. No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.  14.  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15. so that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

   It is our sincere hope that today you will access the reality behind this promise and see our Savior as being alive forevermore, powerful as the Almighty, and here among us as we gather in his name to worship.  Let us pray:

Almighty Yahweh, who through your only-begotten Son overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of our Master’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit; through Yahshua Messiah our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one g-d, now and for ever. Amen.  (Book of Common Prayer)




Luke 20:27.  THE RIDDLE OF THE SADDUCEES: There came to him some Sadducees, those who say that there is no resurrection,  28. and they asked him a question, saying, "Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the wife and raise up children for his brother. 

    29.  Now there were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and died without children;  30.  and the second  31.  and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died.  32.  Afterward the woman also died.  33.  In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife." 

    34.  And Jesus said to them, "The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage;  35.  but those who are accounted worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage,  36.  for they cannot die any more, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. 

   37.  But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls Yahweh the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.  38.  Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to him." 

   39.  And some of the scribes answered, "Teacher, you have spoken well."  40.  For they no longer dared to ask him any question. 


Luke 12:42.  And the Lord said, "Who then is THE FAITHFUL AND WISE STEWARD, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time?  43.  Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing.  44.  Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 

    45.  But if that servant says to himself, 'My master is delayed in coming,' and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and drink and get drunk,  46.  the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will punish him, and put him with the unfaithful. 

   47.  And that servant who knew his master's will, but did not make ready or act according to his will, shall receive a severe beating.  48.  But he who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, shall receive a light beating.

   Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required; and of him to whom men commit much they will demand the more. 


Fantastic Claims

   With the release and subsequent success of the motion picture The Passion of the Christ, it has become a matter of dispute as to who actually was responsible for Yahshua’s death – the Jews or the Romans.   But Yahshua made it perfectly clear who was the responsible party prior to meeting his torturers.  He claimed:

John 10:18.  No one takes [my life], but I lay it down of my own accord.  I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father.

   This power to take up one’s life after laying it down voluntarily is the very definition of resurrection: the person who lays down her life may regain it, and in much greater measure, through the power of HIS resurrection, and invalidate death entirely as he did.  How so?  This is how so; that

John 3:16.  Yahweh loved the world so, that he gave his only Son.  Whoever believes him might not perish but have eternal life.  17.  For Yahweh sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved. 

Saved from what? I wonder.  Why of course – he last enemy – death!

   Just as the resurrection of Yahshua is the point upon which history rests, the fervent belief that Yahshua laid down his life and took it up again is the point upon which all our faith rests, as well.  As one man explains it,

1 Corinthians 15:14. If [Yahshua] has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.  15.  We are even guilty of misrepresenting G-d, because we testified that He raised [Yahshua] ....  17.  If [Yahshua] has not been raised, your faith is futile, and  ...  18. ... those also who have [died] in [Yahshua] have perished. 

What makes us faithful isn’t that we believe Yahshua lived and died as any man lives and dies, but that he died and rose from death by his own power; further, that he will, on a soon-coming day of awe, bring all who ever lived back from death to life.  ALL WHO EVER LIVED.

   It’s a fantastic claim.  And you make it – every time you receive Communion – every time you pray to Yahweh in the name of Yahshua.  You make that claim, that he died and rose from death by his own power, every time you sincerely enter a house of worship or do a good deed in his honor.  You stake your claim upon an eruption in the physical nature of the universe that happened only once, two thousand years ago, and never happened before nor since – a man died and came back by his own power to live forever – and that he has the authority to raise you up as well. 


He Lives!

   Yahshua lives! we claim.  If he doesn’t, we have no basis for faith, and we have no hope.  If he doesn’t live, then you who’ve suffered tremendously for him, whether by persecution, depression or disease, have little cause for optimism – you’ll die in your sins.  If Yahshua doesn’t live, I’m a liar along with thousands of others who preach him resurrected – we’ve dedicated our lives to a baseless philosophy of “morality” that’s put us at odds with the world and caused immense hardship for our families.  If he doesn’t live, we’ve deluded millions who’ll perish in the false hope of eternity, gaining nothing but shame, burning Sheol or nothingness in the end.

   But, my friend, let me profess that I have no doubt whatsoever that he lives.  He lives!  He lives!  The signs of his life are everywhere; his work and mission is the only truly benevolent and worthwhile effort in the world!  Why?  Because our work in Him and His work through us glorify a Creator who loved us enough to sacrifice his greatest creation not for some special elect, but for all of us (Revelation 3:14).  We think we’ve sacrificed – but Yahweh has sacrificed so much more.

   No, we should never fear to trust that Yahshua’s taking back his life from the jaws of death for, as the hymn writer expressed it, even through the rustling grass I hear him pass: He speaks to me everywhere.  An even greater witness to his life comes from another hymn: You ask me how I know he lives?  He lives within my heart.  Who can bear witness to those words?   Who can testify to this truth?  Who has a living heartful of Yahshua?  Who can say without a doubt, “He Lives!”?  Amen!  Hallelujah!


Bad, You See

   Listen.  Wherever truth and goodness break as a beam through the darkness, they simply can’t be ignored – they’ll pierce.  But there’re those who prefer their own shade of “light,” a gray or yellow kind of dim glow in the back row of the blackness.  So,

John 3:19.  This is the crisis, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  20.  For every one who does evil hates the light, and stays out of it, lest his deeds should be exposed. 

These dark Sadducees were about to be exposed to the crisis of a laser beam.

   So who were they?  The Sadducees began as a political movement named after Zadok, the faithful priest who advised King David.  In English, they should be called Zadokites rather than Sadducees i.e. “the righteous ones.”  The original Sadducees of the tribe of Levi were indeed righteous; they meant to return to the Law as it had been in the time of Solomon, before the great biblical prophets.  Consequently, Sadducees didn’t approve of Scriptures written after King David’s time.  They believed that the supernatural died away with Moses.  Their philosophy was like that of Solomon,

However many years you live, enjoy them, for the days of darkness will be many and futility awaits you at the end (Ecclesiastes 11:8).

   The Sadducees had of late been corrupted by the influence of the horrible Herods and the affluence of the pagan Greeks.  In Yahshua’s day, Herod appoints Sadducees rule the Temple of Yahweh.  The priesthood is passed down the bloodline.  Caiaphas is High Priest, the son-in-law of the last.  Just as Caiaphas is instrumental in the death of Yahshua, his son, Ananus, would later murder Yahshua’s brother, Yahqov (James).  These so-called “Righteous” were sworn enemies of righteousness, killing the prophets and stoning those who were sent to them from heaven (Luke 13:34).  Each Sadd-u-cee was bad, you see.


What They Believed

   Although they ruled religion and Judaism, they rejected prophets, supernaturalism, life after death, angels, devils and spiritual agents of Yahweh, like the Son of Man before them now.  They especially abhorred the concept of resurrection.  They believed instead that they should grab for all the power, wealth, and gusto they might get – grasping even for the authority of Yahweh – believing that many possessions were proof of Yahweh’s blessing.  Sound familiar?  Many believe the same today, especially those Christians aspiring to be rich. 

   The Sadducees’ books speak of death in terms most Christians understand – that the dead go down into a pit called Sheol (Genesis 37:35), where fire’s heaped up to them torment forever (Deuteronomy 32:22).  But the enterprising Sadducees ignored this part of their Law and instead taught what educators teach today – that there is no afterlife at all – that bodies simply decay back into Mother Earth and that’s the end – reason enough to grab and grasp and enjoy it now.  For death simply takes you out of existence – ¿then who cares what happens ever after? 

   Last week I heard a popular TV preacher say something very Sadduceeical to a huge crowd; he said, “The only reason God put you on this earth is so that you could enjoy your life.”  {“Did you hear me?”}  Hmmm.  I always thought we were created to worship and serve Yahweh: there is enjoyment in that, if you find your joy in holiness.  Most people don’t.  No wonder this preacher’s so popular and I’m not.  However, his summation is a perfect representation of what the Sadducees believed and taught – prosperity – name it, claim it – then find a way to grasp it.


Seven Marriages

   Sadducees were pretty disinterested in other religious groups since they were top dogs.  However, they’d definitely be interested in any religious figure who became popular, especially if that popularity pertained to the politics of supernatural signs.  They wouldn’t tolerate their authority being challenged or their affluence threatened – not even by G-d.  This is why they come out – to discredit Yahshua before the people with a powerful riddle that none who believed in resurrection could solve.  They’d used this riddle against the Pharisees (for Pharisees believed in resurrection): but the Pharisees, mindless fundamentalists, were easily duped.  Now they would befuddle Yahshua with the Riddle of Seven Husbands for One Wife.

   The riddle originates in the book of

Tobit 3:8. Sarah [daughter of Raguel] had been given in marriage seven times, and Asmodeus, the worst of demons, had killed her bridegrooms one after another before ever they knew her as man with wife.

Sarah had gotten seven propositions because her beaus were brothers who dared not disobey the law:

Deuteronomy 25:5. If brothers live together and one of them dies childless ... her husband's brother must come to her and  ... make her his wife.

If brothers didn’t do their lawful marital duty, they were forced to endure public humiliation, and their family was ostracized.  For Hebrews in those days, the “ban” was a fate worse than death.

   But Yahshua had a ready answer to the riddle because he inhabited the spiritual dimension before he became flesh and dwelt among us – and he would live on in the spiritual dimension long after Tsaviot destroyed the three-dimensional Sadducees.  Yahshua’s answer was this:

  • He said: Some will be found worthy to attain the first resurrection in the spiritual dimension.  I call these “Firsters.”  (See - there are four classes of resurrection and, like on Delta, “first class” is the best.)  The implication is that the worthy will’ve already died to the three-dimensional world in order to come alive to the four-dimensional world of the spirit.  They die in the now to live in the then.
  • He said: They’ll be like angels; they’ll be fourth dimensional creations with spiritual bodies far more limber and able than these rickety shells riddled with disease that we wear now.  So sturdy will they be that they won’t be able to die.  The bodies of the “Firsters” will be composed of pure energy with which they will be able to shape matter as they choose or as Yahweh has need.
  • And there will definitely be need in the Millennium Rule of our King over the earth when he returns.  Those who are worthy of the first resurrection will be able to take the shape of angels or humans; they’ll be able to interact with humans, teach them, judge them.  The very fact that they have attained to the first resurrection proves them to be wiser than the residual of humankind.
  • And to be even more specific in answering the riddle, Yahshua says the “Firsters” don’t marry because marriage and procreation were designed for men and women of earth.  Such are three-dimensional activities.  Remember that angels fell because they descended of their own accord to marry women and procreate (Genesis 6:6ff).  This is why we say they left their first estate.  ¿What happened to them?  Yahweh despised their unnatural acts, locked them up in Sheol and sent a flood upon the earth.

  It’s the first resurrection that we seek.  Indeed, Yahshua says that these never die at all, but simply cast off their flesh and take up residence with him – and they will be with him when he comes again.  In the meantime, theologians tell us of an “Intermediate State” between the body’s demise and the return of Yahshua.  Deep thinkers describe this state in these words:

Departed believers are no longer active in contemporary earthly time and space, yet they are fully alert to their new environment, for they are not only ‘resting’ from their labors in joyful satisfaction, but are literally in the ‘presence of [Messiah],’ ‘live for [Yahweh’s] glory,’ and ‘live spiritually, as [Yahshua] does’ (Isaiah 63:16, Philippians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:8, Luke 20:38, 1 Peter 4:6) (Ferguson, Wright & Packer, New Dictionary of Theology, 339). 

This “Intermediate State” in which the Firster rests is extremely important, because in it the new creation will learn how to perfectly abide while the spiritual body is maturing. 

   Rest!  There’s work to be done soon enough, when Yahshua returns to rule and reign with the rod of iron and the staff of the shepherd.  The Firsters must know how to move as Yahshua moves in order to be his agents in subduing the world in love.


As For the Rest

   Yahshua goes even farther in answering these Sadducees: not only will the “Firsters” be resurrected, but unto Yahweh, all the rest of the dead live also, and all men and women of every age will eventually return, whether they believe it or not.  But they won’t be resurrected as spiritual beings like the Firsters – they’ll find themselves back in the flesh on earth.  Yahshua explains what becomes of these billions who come back to life during his Millennium reign in another parable, the one called “The Faithful and Wise Steward” in Luke 12.  Here he describes the fate of two other groups of the resurrected symbolically.  These believed in Yahshua and made a commitment to his service, but they didn’t fulfill their commitment as they promised.

   One steward knew the will of his Master but didn’t do it.  Yahshua says,

Luke 12:47  And that servant, who having known his lord's will, and not having prepared, nor having gone according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.

   If you saw The Passion of the Christ, you understand what kind of beating Yahshua is talking about: he endured the beating for you only on the condition that you learn then perfectly fulfill his will for your life.  Hey, the commitment you made to Messiah isn’t like joining the lodge, being blindfolded and knocked over a few times.  Your commitment to Jesus is for keeps, and your master promises that if you remain out of his will you will be beaten to a pulp.  ¿Are these the words of the kindly child, meek and mild, that we celebrate around Christmas?  Hardly.  Yahshua is an equitable judge; we’ll all get what we deserve in the resurrection – be it reward or beating.  Even those who made the commitment to the Savior who don’t understand his service will still receive a beating – howbeit, a light beating.  For, everyone to whom much is given, of him will much be required. 


Jack Snyder – “Dad”

   My earthly father loved me; but he was a very strong man and he knew how to give a child an effective beating with his belt.  As a nine-year-old, I knew I had one coming.  But before being summoned, I grabbed a tin pie pan and put it in the back of my pants.  Dad wailed that pan in my pants as hard as he could, but it didn’t hurt me at all.  He knew that pan was in there, and I would’ve gotten away with the deception had I not, when he was finished, taken the pan out, held it up, and laughed him in the face.  As I said, I could have gotten away had I not taunted him, but in the end, I assure you, I did not get by with it. 

Hebrews 10:31. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living g-d. 


To Love Him is the Better Way

   My friend, we don’t know exactly what lies on the other side of the resurrection.  We have stories, parables, conjecture and as many opinions as there are people.  What we do know is that Yahshua lives and he’s present in our lives and he’s given us a mission.  As uncertain as we may be of what form life will take over yonder, there is absolutely no uncertainty when it comes to what form life must take NOW.  His word is crystal clear as to what is required for that better resurrection, that first resurrection.  Anybody who can read, or hear, or understand anything can modify their life to serve him and gain that better resurrection, if they only will.  Go for the best rewards! 

   Hah!  Hopefully, you’ve caught me in a contradiction.  For most Christians like that TV preacher, the unsolved and unsolvable riddle is, “How may I gain all by losing everything?”  It’s Saduccean in a way to sell all you have to obtain the pearl of great price, or to serve Yahshua so you can gain rewards in the end.  But those who do so will certainly reap rewards. 

   However, the answer to gaining by losing that so few in our materialistic culture understand is that it’s far superior to serve Yahshua because one knows him and loves him rather than for a reward.  I believe like many of you, that even if there were no reward, no resurrection, no heaven or hell, no Cadillacs in the sky, no angels or supernatural healings or signs and wonders, I’d still put my life at his command – because I know him and love him.  And I‘ll always love him because he loved me first and befriended me first, a godless sinner plucked from the fire.  What a great privilege it’s been to learn that  Greater love has none than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends(John 15:13).  Then “Jesus” told me, “You are my friend.  And if there’s no more, that saying will be reward enough.  Amen.




[  ]  Philippians 2:6. who, though he was in the form of G-d ...

[  ]  Philippians 2:8. He humbled himself and became obedient ...

[  ]  John 3:13. No one has ascended into heaven but he ...



[  ] Luke 20:27.  There came to him some Sadducees ...

[  ] Luke 12:42.  Who then is the faithful and wise steward ...



[  ]  John 10:18.  No one takes [my life], but I lay it down ...

[  ]  John 3:16. Yahweh loved the world so, that he gave his only Son. 

[  ]  1 Corinthians 15:14. If Yahshua has not been raised, then ...

[  ]  Through the rustling grass I hear him pass ...

[  ]  You ask me how I know he lives?

[  ]  John 3:19.  This is the crisis, that the light has come into the world ...

[  ]  Zadokites rather than Sadducees, the “Righteous.”

[  ]  Ecclesiastes 11:8  However many years you live, enjoy them ...

[  ]  Tobit 3:8. Sarah had been given in marriage seven times ...

[  ]  Deuteronomy 25:5.  Her husband's brother must make her his wife.

[  ]  “FIRSTERS” – those privileged to be in the first resurrection.

[  ]  Genesis 6:6 Angels fell to marry women and procreate.

[  ]  “Although departed believers are no longer active  ...”

[  ]  Luke 12:47  And that servant, who having known his lord's will ...

[  ]  Luke 12:48 Every one to whom much is given ...

[  ]  Hebrews 10:31. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands ...

[  ]  Riddle: “How do we gain by losing everything?”

[  ]  John 15:13 Greater love has no man than this ...

Jackson Snyder, April 9, 2004