Will we know our loved ones in HEAVEN?
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Question: Will we know our loved ones in heaven - especially our family and friends?
Answer: Interestingly, though many believe upon death we'll be taken to heaven to be with the ones we loved, the truth is it will come down to us! The scriptures teach that God's throne will eventually come to earth:
"Then I saw a new heaven [this refers to the sky surrounding the earth] and a new earth, for the first . . . had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven [the abode of God] from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.'" (Revelation 21:1-4, NIV throughout)
For the first 1,000 years (known as the millennium) we'll live on this earth and recognize each other:
"I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge . . . They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands.
"They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years . . . This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years. " (Revelation 20:4-6)
Although they were a bit confused at first, the disciples recognized Jesus after He was resurrected:
"On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. " (John 20:19-20)
"After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive . . ." (Acts 1:3)
The best proof that we'll know the ones we loved in the afterlife was given by the Apostle Paul in his first letter to the church in Corinth:
"But someone may ask, 'How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?' How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body.
" . . . The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body." (1Corinthians 15:35-44)
Paul's analogy comparing the body to a seed is meaningful to me. If you plant a seed of corn, you'll recognize what grows from that to be corn; plant a rose, and you'll recognize what grows from that to be a rose. It follows that if Clay Willis is planted, what will come from that is recognized as Clay. He tells us plainly that, "if there is a natural, i.e., physical, body, there is also a spiritual body." There is every reason to believe that spiritual bodies will be recognized by those who knew the physical. The spiritual body will be perfect, not flawed as are physical bodies. Those who knew the physical body will be able, perhaps after some confusion, to recognize the spiritual body of a loved one - when we truly have heaven on earth!
Written by: Clay Willis