Perceptions for July 2005
Shall We Know Each Other In Heaven?
~Roger Johnson

A question of absorbing interest to every thoughtful person is, "Shall we know each other in heaven?" Whatever God has revealed on the subject of heaven, he has done so with the intent of intensifying man's desire to go there. This article is not written to just satisfy an idle curiosity or to submit speculative ideas on this subject, but to discover what God has revealed on the matter. There are several reasons for believing that we shall know each other in heaven.

  1. THE WORD OF GOD IMPLIES IT. In 2 Samuel 12:23, grief-stricken David stated that while his dead child could not return to him, he would some day go to the child. This implies that David would be conscious of being in his child's presence.

  2. THE STORY OF THE RICH MAN AND LAZARUS CONFIRMS IT (Luke 16:19-31). All three personalities mentioned in this story - the rich man, Lazarus, and Abraham - recognized each other. Some assert that this story is only a parable and, therefore, the whole picture is figurative. Even if that were so, the Lord's parables were told in order to instruct, not to mislead. They enforced heavenly truths upon the minds and hearts of the hearers.

  3. THE TRANSFIGURATION SCENE ILLUSTRATES IT (Luke 9:27-36). When Moses and Elijah suddenly appeared on the mountain where the Lord was transfigured, the three disciples who were with him (Peter, James, and John) immediately recognized these two spiritual giants from the Old Testament even though they had been dead 1500 years and 900 years, respectively.

  4. THE NATURE OF HEAVEN REQUIRES IT. Heaven is revealed in the New Testament as a social place and we are social creatures. Heaven is the Christian's eternal home (2 Corinthians 5:8) and the Father's house (John 14:2). Can you conceive of a home where the inhabitants do not know each other or converse with each other?

  5. THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST SETTLES IT. The fact that Jesus rose from the dead and was recognized after his resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:5-8) guarantees that we shall be recognized and that we shall recognize others when we have our glorified bodies (Philippians 3:21)
           Some have argued that if we know each other in heaven, then heaven would become a sad place if it was discovered that a loved one was not there. That line of reasoning does not eliminate the difficulty, for then we would not know if anybody we love is there. Somehow, we manage to experience joy on earth in spite of the fact that we know loved ones who are in a lost condition spiritually. Even though some of our loved ones on earth will not be in heaven, surely we will experience untold joy on the other shore when God "shall wipe away every tear" (Revelation 21:4).

           The doctrine of future recognition is grounded in hope, sustained by faith, and shall be realized when this life is completed.

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