Q&A Forum: Will we know one another in heaven?

Will we know one another in heaven?

The Scriptures do not directly answer this question, but they do give us multiple reasons to be confident we will know one another in heaven. The appearances of the resurrected Lord are a significant clue. Apart from occasions when His person was miraculously hidden (e.g., on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24:16), people clearly recognized the risen Lord. Our resurrection bodies will be like His resurrection body, so it is to be expected that our identity will be just as clear as the Lord’s was.

Another event related to the question is the Mount of Transfiguration (Mat 17; Mar 9; Luk 9). Appearing with the Lord were Moses and Elijah. Despite the fact that those two men lived approximately 1,500 (Moses) and 900 (Elijah) years before this event, Peter’s words show he knew who the two men were. There is nothing in the passage to indicate the Lord told the disciples who Moses and Elijah were, thus indicating that somehow their personal identity emanated from them. Coupled with the fact that this experience was a foreshadowing of kingdom glory (cf. Mat 16:28; 2Pe 1:16-18), this is another indication that we will know people in the glory yet to be revealed.

The Apostle Paul’s words elsewhere in the New Testament indicate a reunion with saints he has known on the earth, which would not be particularly noteworthy if not for the fact that we will know one another in heaven. In 2 Corinthians 4:14, for example, he says, “For we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you.”1  Again, when the Thessalonian church was concerned that loved ones who had died in Christ would miss out on the kingdom, Paul encourages them by saying, “We who are still alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1Th 4:17). In the context, part of the encouragement is that they will experience this together, which is particularly meaningful if we will still know each other.

There are other Scriptures, similar to the above, that further support the argument. The fact that we will be perfected like Christ in His sinlessness (Rom 8:29; Php 3:21) is an additional reason to be confident we will know one another beyond death. Possessing minds and bodies free from the corrupting influence of sin, we will certainly not be less intelligent than we are now.

The prospect of being reunited with departed loved ones, as well as meeting believers from the past for the first time, is exciting. But what will excite us and captivate us far more is seeing the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for our sins and has gone ahead to prepare a place for us. “You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead – Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath” (1Th 1:9-10).

1 Bible quotations in this article are from the CSB.