Remembering Earth From Heaven?|
Knowing each other?
Will We Know Each Other&Remember In Heaven?
The Bible says, "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind" in Isaiah 65:17. Does this mean we won't remember anything from our lives on earth?
Hey…Don't I Know You From Somewhere?
Not only does the Bible say we will know each other in Heaven, but it also suggests that we will know people we have never even met!
First, Luke 16:19-31 tells us in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus that the rich man knows Lazarus and remembers everything about their relationship. The rich man also remembers his five unbelieving brothers and worries about their future. (Note: a parable tends to present truths even as it illustrates a moral lesson).
But beyond that, at the Transfiguration of Jesus in Matthew 17:1-4, Peter instantly recognizes Elijah and Moses. However, consider that Moses and Elijah probably lived 1500 to 700 years before Peter was born! This seems to have been an intuitive knowledge which God gave to Peter.
In the New Jerusalem on the new earth, there are memorials to the twelve tribes of Israel:
…"and names were written on them (the 12 gates), which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel" (Rev. 21:12b)…and on them (the foundation stones) were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb" (Rev. 21:14b).
Continuity of History&Memory
These kinds of memorials are there to not only remember the tribes and the apostles, but to also provide for continuity of history and memory. In other words, of what use are memorials without an appreciation of the historical events they commemorate?
He Will Wipe Away Our Tears
Even though God wipes away all of our tears, we will still have memory of human history and Christ's redemptive work on the cross. In His resurrection body, we see Yeshua's scars in his hands and feet:
"Then He said to Thomas, 'Reach here with your finger, and see My hands, and reach here your hand and put it into My side, and do not be unbelieving, but believing" (John 20:27, NASB).
Continuity of Earth's History Into Heaven
Our continuity in history from the time of our lives on earth into Heaven is so important that God informs us we will account for everything we have done on earth - good or bad!
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (2 Corinthians 5:10, NASB).
In fact, not only do we remember what we have done on earth, but it appears that our very thoughts we had while on earth will accuse or defend us on the Day of Judgment:
Thoughts Accuse Or Defend Us
…"in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus" (Romans 2:15-16, NASB).
Every Minute Detail
Not only shall we remember, but we will painfully or joyfully remember every exquisite little detail from our thoughts and deeds during our earthly lives! That should motivate us to "get our acts together!"
A Professor Answers
Perhaps Professor Alcorn says it best:
"The people who believe we will not remember our present lives often cite Isaiah 65:17 as their proof:
"Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind."
However, this verse should be viewed in context. It's linked to the previous verse, in which God says, "For the past troubles will be forgotten and hidden from my eyes." This doesn't suggest literal lack of memory, as if the omniscient God couldn't recall the past. Rather, it's like God's comment to Jeremiah: "I…will remember their sins no more" (Jeremiah 31:34). It means that God chooses not to bring up our past sins or hold them against us. In eternity, past sins and sorrows won't preoccupy God or us. We'll be capable of choosing not to recall or dwell on anything that would diminish Heaven's joy."
Professor Alcorn continues,
"… we learned that the martyrs now in the intermediate Heaven remember what happened on Earth, including that they endured great suffering (Revelation 6:9-11). Jesus promised that in Heaven, those who endured bad things on Earth would be comforted for them (Luke 16:25). The comfort implies memory of what happened. If we had no memory of the bad things, why would we need comfort? How would we feel it?
Our minds will be clearer in Heaven, not foggier. Memory is basic to personality. The law of continuity requires that we will remember our past lives. Heaven cleanses our slate of sin and error, but it doesn't erase our memory of it."
…"God's acts of sovereign faithful grace will never be erased from our minds. Heaven's happiness will be dependent not on our ignorance but on our perspective. We'll see and know as never before."(Alcorn 2004, 331-332).
So, yes Virginia, we will remember each other from heaven…
Alcorn, Randy. 2004. Heaven. Wheaton, ILL: Tyndale.
Hitchcock, Mark. 2005. 55 Answers to questions about life after death. Sisters, OR: Multnomah.
The MacArthur Study Bible, NKJV. 1997. Nashville, TN: Nelson.
Ryrie Study Bible, NASB. 1995. Chicago: Moody Press.