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In the context of the quote, Jesus was answering a member of the sect of Sadducees, that did not believe in the resurrection of the dead.(see Matt 22:23-22:33; Acts 23:8) These were mostly priests. Jesus was teaching that life continues after the physical body dies or is put off. To illustrate this fact He used the Name given to Moses; the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.(Ex 3:15) Jesus was showing that while the Sadducees had read the Scriptures, they did not have full understanding. Death is not the ceasing of physical life rather it is separation from God. This is made more clear when comparing the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Lk 16:19-31. As scholars of the Torah or Old Testament, the priestly class would also be familiar with the book of Ezekiel which clearly teaches that the soul of the sinner shall die but that God wants the sinner to repent and live.(Ez 18:20-32) It is also interesting to note that Philo Judaeus, the first century scholar, noted in his writings that this same Name, the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob showed that He is the Lord GOD of Three Natures and this Name is a symbol of that.
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