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Will we know our friends and family members in Heaven?

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One of the most blessed parts of heaven, for believers, will be the presence of their believing loved ones—family and friends who have gone on to be with the Lord before us. We will be able to see, know, and spend time with them for all eternity, although our primary joy will be in doing those things with our blessed Lord and Savior. But our worship and the wonders of heaven will be all the more sweet in that we can praise and worship in the company of other Christians, especially those we loved and enjoyed on earth.

Although the Bible doesn't have many references to seeing and recognizing others in the afterlife, there are a few. When David's infant son died, David declared, "I shall go to him, but he will not return to me" (2 Samuel 12:23). David assumed that he would be able to recognize the baby in heaven as his son, not a generic soul indistinguishable from all other souls. In Luke 16:19-31—the story of the rich man and Lazarus—Abraham, Lazarus, and the rich man were all recognizable after death. The rich man could see Lazarus at Abraham's side, although there was a great chasm fixed between them. This doesn't necessarily mean we will be able to see others in hell, however. It could be that those in hell can see those in heaven, which would increase their misery, while those in heaven would be prevented from seeing those in hell as that would distress and disturb our bliss and the fullness of their joy (Psalm 16:11).

After His resurrection, Jesus was recognized by many people including His disciples ((John 20:16, 20; 21:12), and since we will inherit glorified bodies like His (1 John 3:2; 1 Corinthians 15:49, 53), we can assume we will know and recognize one another as they recognized Him. Many people say they can't imagine heaven without their loved ones who have died without Christ. But heaven will not be one iota less joyful if those we loved on earth are not all present. Heaven's greatest joy will be to be in the presence of God whom we can love and adore without the sin that hinders that relationship now. Worshiping our Lord and Savior will be sufficient bliss to last an eternity, and it will be a joy to know Him and be known by Him and those with whom we worship.

Related Truth:

Does the Bible tell us what Heaven is like?

Do people in heaven look down to earth and see us?

How can heaven be perfect if some of our loved ones are missing?

Does the Bible say anything about near-death experiences?

What happens after death?

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