The God of the Living
By E.W. Bullinger - The Rich Man and Lazarus: An Intermediate State? (Excerpt)
(Matt. 22:32. Mark 12:27. Luke 20:38). In these scriptures it is stated that “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living”. But Traditionalists, believing that the “dead” are “the living”, making God the “God of the dead”, which He distinctly says He is not. Interpreting the words in this way, they utterly ignore the whole context, which shows that the words refer to the RESURRECTION, and not to the dead at all. Notice how this is emphasized in each Gospel: (i) “Then come unto Him the Sadducees, which say there is no RESURRECTION” (Matt. 22:23. Mark 12:18. Luke 20:27). (ii) The one issue raised by the Sadducees was the question, “Whose wife shall she be in the RESURRECTION?” (Matt. 22:28. Mark 12:23. Luke 20:33). (iii) The answer of our Lord deals solely with this one issue, which was RESURRECTION. Hence He says: Matt. 22, “as touching the RESURRECTION of the dead”(v. 31). Mark 12, “as touching the dead that they RISE” (v. 26). Luke 20, “now that the dead are RAISED, even Moses showed at the bush, when he called the Lord, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, for he is not a God of the dead, but of the living, for all live unto him” (v. 38). These words were spoken by the Lord Jesus in order to prove “that the dead are RAISED”.
Traditionalists use them to prove that the dead are “living” without being RAISED! The Sadducees may have denied many other things, but the one and the only thing in question here is RESURRECTION. Christ's argument was: 1. God's words at the bush prove a life for the dead patriarchs. 2. But there is no life for the dead without a resurrection. 3. Therefore they must be RAISED FROM THE DEAD; or “live again” by Him