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Will We Recognize One Another In Heaven?

by Bernie Parsons 01/06/2009

Several have asked, "Will we recognize one another when we get to heaven?" This question is usually because someone has lost a loved one who was very near and dear to them.  Bernie Parsons

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Will We Recognize One Another In Heaven?

by Bernie Parsons - 01/06/2009

Several people have asked me over the years, “Will we recognize our loved ones and friends when we get to heaven?”


That question is neither directly raised, nor answered, in the Holy Bible. Given that, I would say that it is not as important as we make it. After all, if you and I get to heaven, we will be so ecstatic that nothing will be able to overcome our joy. The last thing on our minds will be trying to pick faces out of a crowd.


As far as recognition, let me say that I am not convinced that we will inhabit these same bodies--and why would we want to? If we have lifelong diseases, why have them forever and ever? The Bible teaches that we will be different. We will be like Jesus in form.


1 John 3:2 "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."


2 Corinthians 5:1 "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 

2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:

3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.

4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life."


The apostle Paul in the passage above plain declares that this body—tabernacle—will be dissolved, and that will necessitate being “clothed upon” with another body, else we would be “naked” spirits, or free spirits, without bodies.


In the following passage, the apostle Paul goes into greater detail about the different bodies.


1 Corinthians 15:35 "But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?

36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:

37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:

38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.

39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. 

40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 

41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.

42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:

43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:

44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

47 The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.

48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.

49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory."


Notice that he first notes that grain must go into the ground and decay in order for new life to come forth. I would point out that the plant and ear of grain are not the same as the single seed from which they sprang, but look much different, with different qualities. So it is when a human being dies.


Paul further demonstrates that there various kinds of bodies, each with its own function and characteristics. Some important things to note are that the earthly body decays, while the heavenly body does not; the first is natural, the second is spiritual; we will bear the image of Christ; flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; and our bodies shall be changed. These facts indicate that we will not have the same body as we do here on earth.


Matthew 22:29 "Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.

30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven."


Life in heaven will be different than here, in that there is no marriage in heaven. Relationships formed here on earth will not continue in heaven.


I think that much of the problem of people saying that they will recognize loved ones in heaven stems from a false teaching of the following passage:


1 Corinthians 13:12  "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."


If you study this passage in context, it is talking about charity, or love that is unearned and undeserved. In the proper context, the apostle Paul is teaching that spiritually immature people desire gifts that others have, instead of using the one(s) that God gave them to show God's love to others. When one is spiritually immature (“I thought as a child, I spoke as a child”) it is like looking into a mirror (“see through a glass”) and see a shadowy outline (“darkly”), but once we achieve spiritual maturity, we are able to love without envy and covetousness--we "see face to face". When immature, we only get part of the picture (“I know in part”), but once we achieve spiritual maturity with the proper charity (love that is unearned and undeserved), we "know as we are known". That is, we will recognize each other properly once we all achieve spiritual maturity. As you can see, it has nothing to do with the resurrection, heaven, or eternity, yet many teach it that way by taking it out of its proper context.


There is no doctrine that I can find about recognizing people from this life when in heaven. However, it is not important as to whether or not that happens. The important thing is to make it to heaven, where we can live with God and Christ forever!

More Help

I trust that you have benefited from this scriptural study. There are additional articles available on various interesting and important Bible topics. You may access them by using the links at the top of this page.:

Copyright  ©2006 by:

Bernie Parsons
75 Osborne Street
Greenup, KY 41144-9641

Phone: 606-473-1455


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