IT’S THE BIBLE QUESTION OF THE WEEK.
It comes from Collette Lilly, who wins a free book of mine for bothering to ask it.
Here’s her question, which is actually a statement. You have to imagine the question mark.
A pastor once told our Bible study group that we won’t know our loved ones in heaven because in heaven only God and Jesus will matter. If I had one question I could ask God, I would ask if we would recognize them.
Personally, all I know for sure is that I barely recognize myself when I look in the mirror these days.
Especially in the morning. That’s not heaven looking back at me from the other side.
I feel as though my younger face should be looking back. That’s the face that steps in front of the mirror. It’s just dang-well not the spooky one eyeballing me.
I wonder if that might explain why some folks who die for a few minutes come back with stories about seeing young versions of their relatives in heaven.
Take that little boy, for instance. The one whose preacher-dad wrote a best-seller about the kid seeing Grandpa, but not recognizing pictures of him until he came across a photo of Grandpa as a young man.
I’m fishing here. That’s because the Bible’s not throwing any fish on the boat. The Bible doesn’t say if we’ll recognize each other. At least it doesn’t say it directly, as in, “Steve, you’ll know your dad when you see him.”
But it certainly does imply that.
So if I were betting in Vegas, I’d bet the wad against the pastor you mentioned; I think he pulled that wacked comment out of some hole in his head.
What does he mean, anyhow, when he says only God and Jesus will matter? I love people, too. And quite frankly, if I get to heaven and see Jesus standing next to my dad, Jesus better get in line for a hug.
It’s not that I love Dad more than his fair share. But I sure do miss him more than a fair share.
Bible clues that suggest we’ll know each other
- Saul knew Samuel when the dead prophet came back at a séance. Sadly, as far as I’m concerned, Samuel looked like “an old man” (1 Samuel 28:14). Yeah, I’m hoping that’s a fluke.
- Jesus said, “Many people will come from everywhere to enjoy the feast in the kingdom of heaven with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (Matthew 8:11). How would anyone be able to vouch for who they are, unless someone recognized them? Or maybe they’ll wear name tags.
- Then, of course, there’s Jesus coming back from the dead. The disciples recognized him. No prob. Except they thought he was a ghost: “Look at my hands and my feet and see who I am! Touch me and find out for yourselves. Ghosts don’t have flesh and bones as you see I have,” (Luke 24:39).
- Apostle Paul used these words to comfort Christians who wanted to know what would happen to family and friends who die before Jesus comes back:
[Jesus will] come down from heaven and the dead in Christ will rise—they’ll go first. Then the rest of us who are still alive at the time will be caught up with them into the clouds to meet the Master. Oh, we’ll be walking on air! And then there will be one huge family reunion with the Master. So reassure one another with these words.
I’d recommend a book about heaven to you, but I don’t know of anyone who has been there long enough to write one.
Still, books on that topic sell nicely. That’s probably why a publishing company recently asked me to write one. But I explained it would be like me writing a tour book on China when all I really know about it is how to order take-out.
There’s a lot of faith in the Christian faith, which is probably why it’s called a faith.
Who to trust? That’s the question.
Trust that preacher who said we wouldn’t know each other in heaven? Maybe. How far do you think I could throw him?
Trust those preachers who wrote best-selling books about heaven? Perhaps. Did they give their royalties to the poor?
I think I’ll trust Jesus on this. He seemed to know his way around the place. And he seemed to know who he was talking about up there.