Thinking Cap #6 - The Question: Will You Recognise a Loved One in Heaven?

Well, now that we understand the concept of babies going to heaven, let's try out another "heaven" question. Suppose that your infant does die and go to heaven. The next day, your forty-five year old mother dies and goes to heaven. Sixty years later, you pass away and go to heaven. Will you be able to recognize your infant and your mother that are already in heaven? This question is not what will we look like in heaven, but merely will we be able to recognize our "loved ones" and other Christians (ie. the Apostle Paul) when we get to heaven. As always, opinion is fine, but worthless. Share your scriptural support with your rationale. Your response is due at midnight, February 16, 1995. Pleasant thinking.

This question must have required too much thinking, or most were too busy. In any event, I only heard from Martin Olson and Pat Winters. New "readers" since the last issue include Jon/Kim Brody (church members at KCBT), Owen Workman (Assistant Pastor in Alabama), Lena Markus (College student in Missouri), and Glenn Carnagey (Pastor and Seminary Professor in Minnesota).

For what it's worth, here is the reasoning I would use to conclude that we will know one another in heaven. Not necessarily (and most probably) not in our current form (I Cor.15:44), but nevertheless, we will recognize everyone.

  • David said, speaking of his little child who had died, "... I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me" (II Sam. 12:23). That would have no meaning unless David would know his child.
  • In Luke 15:7, 10, Jesus said that the saints who were with the angels in Heaven rejoice when a sinner is saved. That must mean that they know when a sinner is saved, know what is going on her and who is here on the earth.
  • In I Cor. 13:12 the Scripture says, "... now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." So it seems we will know each other in Heaven much better than we do now.
  • In I Thes. 2:19-20, Paul says: "For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy." Here Paul thinks he will have extra joy and rejoicing by meeting those Christians whom he has won to Christ, in the presence of the Lord Jesus at His coming and after that. Then he, Paul, would have to know those whom he had won in order to rejoice over them.
  • In I Thes. 4:16-18, writing about the Rapture, Paul says, "... and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." Notice that there is sweet comfort because those who have gone and those who are still alive to meet Jesus when He comes will be caught up "together": and this is supposed to be a "comfort," the Scripture says. Doesn't that seem to imply that we will know each other?
  • The few times when the Bible tells about others on earth meeting those who had gone to Heaven, it seems clear that those who had gone to Heaven knew those still on earth. See the case of Saul who saw Samuel, *in the spirit*, after he had gone to Heaven, and knew him (I Sam. 28:14-15). And Samuel knew Saul.
  • Moses and Elijah appeared to Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. They knew what was going on on earth, knew just when to come to the mountain to meet Jesus and Peter, James and John. They talked about His death that He should accomplish in Jerusalem (Lu. 9:27-31). Even the apostles knew them, for Peter said, "... let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias."
  • The rich man in Hell knew Abraham when he saw him in Heaven and knew Lazarus, who had just died (Luke 16:23). Do you think we in Heaven will not see as well as the man in Hell did? And in Hell the man still knew about his five brothers and wanted them saved.
  • And in Hebrews 12:1,2, after telling about all the heroes of the faith in Chapter 11, we are told that we are surrounded by "so great a cloud of witnesses." Surely saints in Heaven know us and look on with eager interest.
  • Any one of these, taken in isolation may not demonstrate that we will know those in Heaven; but taken together, they form the strands of a cord which provides us with strong evidence that we will know and be known.

    Comments are always welcome. Rest your brain, "thinking cap 7" is on the drawing board.

    Pleasant Thinking.
    Kent Haralson


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