Will there be recognition in heaven?


Will there be recognition in heaven and will we remember our life here on earth. Will we know of our loved ones we left behind on this earth and do we have any share in their life.


Dear Bert,

That's a difficult question to answer because none of us have been in 'heaven' to verify the answer on this question.  So all we can do is 'reason' a bit on a few tidbits that the Scriptures give.  Peter and the other two disciples knew that Elijah and Moses were present on the Mount of Transfiguration.  However, that couldn't have been recognition for they had never seen either of them.  I suppose that the word here is 'revelation.'  God made it known to them that those two were the two main leaders of Israel.  John did see Jesus in His glory in Revelation.  Did he recognize Him as the Jesus he had seen after the resurrection?  Or did God reveal it to him that He was the Lamb of God now glorified?  I lean toward the second opinion.  Then the last reference is found in a parable the Lord Jesus spoke.  The 'rich man' recognized Abraham and Lazarus in heaven as he looked from hell.  However, it was a parable Jesus spoke to illustrate a spiritual lesson.  The spiritual lesson He intended was not to make doctrinal statements on the question you asked and we must therefore be careful not to read too much into that.

So, in conclusion, I can only offer you my thoughts and what are they worth on such a question.  Personally I think the Lord will introduce us to every saint in heaven.  That may take a long time but eternity is long time.  In this life we have many brothers and sisters in our family, fellow believers all over the world now but also many we have never met.  As I meet believers in foreign countries were communication is difficult, I often feel very sad that I can't really converse with these men.  Besides there are so many sisters with whom we cannot have a close relationship for obvious reasons.  That will all be over in heaven.  At present I may believe that my first wife is in glory.  But I have received a second wife who also is a sister in the Lord.  You can see where my thoughts are going, right?  Will I know both in heaven if I may also arrive there?  Undoubtedly but we will not be wife and husband anymore.   Would I recognize them as Melanie and Michelle?  I would not know why not because each is so uniquely created by God.

Will we remember our life on earth?  I hope not, or at least, not entirely.  There are many memories that are bitter even though I may believe that my sins are forgiven. So, in other words, there are things we don’t to remember.   Yes, there are many dear memories we would love to hold on but it could be that would belong to the ‘natural body’ (1 Cor. 15:44) rather than the ‘spiritual body’ with which the saints are raised.  A spiritual body is not a body without flesh and bones but a body adapted to the life on the new earth.  For example, since there will be no marriage God will therefore adapt the body to live in such state without the need of a marriage relationship.  I don’t really know what other changes there will occur.  One thing that I think we will remember is the depth of God’s grace.   Eph. 2:7 read that ‘in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”  Will God shows His people more and more what He in His grace has done?  It would certainly deepen the worship of this awesome God of grace.

Your last question about what do the people in heaven know about their loved ones that are left behind?  I have struggled in a very personal manner with that question but have concluded that they do not know anything about their life here on earth.  It would mar the beauty of their joy when they know our grief or struggles.   So God must hide that from them as they are in a different realm of existence than what we are.   In various places it is said that the angels will hear things about the individuals who confess Christ on earth but whether the glorified saints do also share that, I doubt because it says specifically ‘angels.’

One author summed up all these questions well.  He said something like this, “After we have learned everything the Scriptures reveal about the life-after-death, we have only read the title page of that eternal glory God makes His people inherit.”  All questions we have now will be more than amply answered.

Pastor Vergunst