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Many people say that the first thing they want to do when they arrive in heaven is see all their friends and loved ones who have passed on before them. In eternity, there will be plenty of time to ...
Jesus Himself expounded in Mt. 22:30, "For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven" The purpose of marriage is to replenish the earth and keep the race going. Resurrected saints and angels do not die and do not need to marry to keep their kind in existence. Hence, there is no marriage among angels or resurrected men and women. Jesus did not say that angels were sexless or that they could not marry and have offspring with women. After resurrection, the saints will not like to have sex even though they are capable. We will NOT worry or care about our past relationships even though we can recall. The story of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:19–31) is further proof that the dead remember their earthly lives. Both rich man and Lazarus retained soul and spirit faculties capable of enjoying eternity with God (Lk. 16:24-26). The rich man still has memory, intelligence, feelings, emotions, will, voice, reasoning powers, concern for his brothers, and all other soul passions and spirit faculties (Lk. 16:23-31). Lazarus was in comfort: no separation from the saved, no regrets of the past even though he had a miserable life on earth (Lk. 16:23-25). The story does not mention whether or not Lazarus has memories, but Abraham has definite knowledge of goings-on on earth (verse 25). Lazarus would remember his past life but he will not continue the past relationships in heaven whatsoever. Paul expounded that our relationship on this earth such as parents, husband, wife, children, siblings, relatives, friends will not continue in the next life. It will stop at our death in this life itself: ❶ Let all people be without anxiety concerning families, property, and the world in general (1Cor. 7:32-33). ❷ Let the married live as though not married (1Cor. 7:29). ❸ Let those who weep act as though they wept not (1Cor. 7:30). 7:30 ❹ Let those who rejoice act as though they did not rejoice (1Cor. 7:30). ❺ Let those who buy live as though they did not possess (1Cor. 7:30). ❻ Let those who live in this World should not abuse it, for the very fashion of it will soon pass away (1Cor. 7:31; 1Jn. 2:17).2:17 The entire present world system passes away in the resurrected life, but only the man who does NOT conform to it abides in Millennium and then in eternity forever.
The question of whether we will recognize our friends and families in heaven is yet to be clearly understood from scripture. But Jesus answered the question of whether our relationships carried over to the afterlife. The Sadducees concocted a story where a lady had been lawfully married seven times according to the law of Moses and then she died. The question to Jesus was 'whose wife would she be in the resurrection?'(Matt 22:28) His answer was that in the ressurection no one marries. They were assuming our relationships carry over to the afterlife. He made it clear that it was not like that when He said that marriage doesn't take place in the ressurection. The Sadducees saw a controversy in the making. If I don't recognize my wife Faye as my wife in the resurrection something will have drastically changed. Evidently, this life is totally over. If Faye and I are no longer husband and wife, then it's reasonable to assume that my mom and I are no longer parent and offspring. There is no closer relationship in life than husband and wife. The scriptures that cause confusion for me relative to recognizing people who have died all happen before the resurrection of the Christ. Samuel and the witch of En-dor, (1Sam 28) the rich man and Lazarus, (Luke 16) and the story of the transfiguration of Jesus (Luke 9), are all before the greatest life-altering event of all time. The world changed the day Jesus died on the cross. The veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. (Matthew 27:52) No one is said to have come back from some other spiritual realm, but bodies were raised from the local cemetary. John had a vision of heaven and didn't mention any of the saints by name. When he heard a voice behind him, he turned to see "one like a son of man standing in the middle of seven lampstands." (Revelation 1:13) His account is all about the testimony of Jesus Christ. Paul had a vision of heaven and couldn't tell whether he was in his body or out, and doesn't seem to care whether he was or not. He says what he heard could not be told (2 Cor 12). He doesn't mention anyone he saw that had passed on. He called the vision a revelation of the Lord. This life, with it's sufferings is not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.(Romans 8:18). For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he ALREADY sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it (Romans 8:24,25).
In 1 Corinthians 13:12 we read: "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known" This text tells me that we're going to know our loved ones in heaven. We see things dimly here, and often we misunderstand each other - this will never happen in the new earth. We will know each other clearly and plainly. In Isaiah 35:5-6 it says, "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy." If now on earth, in this sinful body we are able to recognize each other, how much more in heaven where God is going to give us new glorified bodies. When Jesus arose from the grave, He was recognized by Mary. When she heard Him speak, she knew Him. Two of his disciples failed to recognize Him when He walked along with them on the road to Emmaus but when He sat down to eat supper with them and offered thanks they recognized Him immediately. Although painful past memories will be erased from our minds, we certainly will not forget our friends and family. No one will be known only as an animated number. We will know each other better in heaven than we know one another now. The Bible tells us that in heaven that our offspring and name will remain (Isaiah 66:22). It also tells us that God is going to give us a new name that nobody else will know but us (Rev 2:17). Finally, Jesus said that “many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 8:11). This tells me that we will be able to recognize all these OT heroes. Not only will we be forever united with those we now loved on earth, but we will have lunch with Moses, Job, Noah, David or Elijah.
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