In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, we have an account of a discussion Jesus had with a group of Sadducees, who scripture explains, did not believe in a resurrection of the dead (Matt 22:23, Mark 12:18, Luke 20:27). They pose a question to Jesus about a widow who marries 7 brothers in sequence as each dies. The Sadducees presume that they have posed an impossible question to Jesus, because they assume that after any alleged resurrection, the woman would be guilty of bigamy by having seven husbands. Jesus answers as follows (emphasis is mine):Note that the topic at hand deals with the Sadducees denial of a resurrection (the power of God to raise the dead) and their lack of knowledge of scripture on the matter.
Mat 22:28 (KJV) Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.
Mat 22:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.
Mat 22:30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.
Mat 22:31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,
Mat 22:32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.
Mark 12:23 (KJV) In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife.
Mark 12:24 And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?
Mark 12:25 For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.
Mark 12:26 And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?
Mark 12:27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.
Luke 20:34 (KJV) And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage:
Luke 20:35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:
Luke 20:36 Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.
Luke 20:37 Now that the dead are raised, even Moses showed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
Luke 20:38 For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.
In each of the above passages, to prove the resurrection, God is quoted when he spoke to Moses (Exodus 3:6) and said "I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob" and then the comment is made that "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living."
Some Catholics will point to the phrase "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living" as proof that people never really die, but rather their "soul" continues to live on after death. However it is clear from the above passages that the issue in question is God's power to raise the dead from the grave in a resurrection, something the Sadducees clearly rejected. The question posed does not address who's wife the woman would be after she is dead, while still in the grave, but rather after her resurrection, because the Sadducees assumed death to be final and irreversible. Catholics who cite these passages to support Catholic teaching on the state of the dead (purgatory etc.) are doing so out of context, and this is apparent to most any reader who will merely take the time to study the matter.
1 Cor 15:52 (KJV) In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
1 Cor 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
1 Cor 15:54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
1 Cor 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
1 Cor 15:56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
1 Cor 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The dead are in the grave, corrupt, decayed, dust, awaiting their resurrection at the last trumpet. At their resurrection they will put on incorruption, immortality, but until then they rest in the grave.