Recently, a reader sent in two very interesting questions. The first question, was inquiring on whether or not believers in Heaven recognize their loved ones who are also in Heaven with them.
The second question, was asking if the dead watch over us/send us signs of their presence.
I let this individual know that I will be answering these questions in the next blog post, which is the one you’re reading now.
This is a very hotly debated topic, even among believers. So, with that being said, I will be approaching this from a different angle.
I will answer both questions with various scriptures, and just a small bit of my own words to just clarify certain points in the verses.
At the end of the day, what I believe to be true doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is what God says about it.
Will our memories be erased in Heaven?
This is something I’ve thought about many times, mainly because I’ve heard many times from others that God removes all of our memories once we get to Heaven.
Which results in us not remembering or recognizing anyone. That means, you won’t remember your wife or husband, your children, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.
Now, without even looking at any scripture, that already sounds insane, but as I said earlier, what matters most is what God says. So that’s what we’re going to do to answer this question.
All who invoke a blessing or take an oath will do so by the God of truth. For I will put aside my anger and forget the evil of earlier days.Isaiah 65:16-17 NLT
“Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore…”.
This entire chapter, God is expressing his anger towards the nation of Israel due to them turning their backs on him. They decided to go and worship other gods, such as the god of Fate and the god of Destiny.
However, even though the nation turned their backs on him, he still knew that there were still those who did not betray him.
Knowing this, he promised to not destroy them all, but that those who remained would watch his servants enjoy his blessings. Blessings, that they could’ve also enjoyed in had they not turned to other gods.
In all of this, 2 key verses stand out in regards to our topic today. In verse 16, God refers to himself as “the God of truth”, and essentially says that whoever believes in him, he will forget their evil of earlier days.
God chooses to forget your past sins when he forgives you. Now, verse 17 is where the truth gets more clear.
He says that he is creating a new Heaven and a new earth, and that no one (those who believe in him) will not even think about the old ones anymore.
What happens in the new heavens and earth?
Pure awesomeness! He’s going to create a new Jerusalem, and in this city is where his people (believers) will dwell forever with him!
In verses 20-25 of that same chapter, he goes on to describe how life would be like in this new world.
This world will be so amazing, that his people will not even think about the old world anymore.
This next verse gives me goosebumps:
I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people.
God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.”Revelation 21:3-5 NLT
If you read the above verses carefully, you’ll notice that only the negative aspects of the old world will no longer be remembered. God is going to make the new world so amazing that the negative aspects of our past will no longer even be a thought in our minds.
The reason for that is due to the fact that we will be enjoying our new life way too much to even care about the past.
Now I ask, does that sound like a world where nobody knows anyone? Yes we will have God in our midst, personally, but I also know that God is all about relationships.
He cares about families and friendships. It makes no logical sense for God to completely give up on these kinds of relationships in the new world.
These relationships are what molds us and makes us who we are as people. They’re also a part of our identity.
Ready for a plot twist?
None of what we spoke of thus far has anything to do with the current form of Heaven! Everything mentioned is what it will be like in the NEW heavens and earth.
So, what about the current form of Heaven? I’m glad you asked!
When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of all who had been martyred for the word of God and for being faithful in their testimony.Revelation 6:9-10
They shouted to the Lord and said, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you judge the people who belong to this world and avenge our blood for what they have done to us?”
Does this sound like a people who have had their memories erased in the current form of Heaven? Of course not.
These are believers who died for their faith in Jesus Christ. They begged God to let them know how much longer before he exacts his vengeance for what was done to them.
As you can see, these individuals CLEARLY remember what was done to them. Now, what this passage doesn’t say is that these martyrs can see what is currently happening on earth.
It doesn’t say that they’re watching over those still alive. And it doesn’t say that they’re making visitations to comfort those who are still fighting for the faith.
The passage simply gives us a glimpse into how current martyrs in Heaven feel, nothing more and nothing less.
Heaven, in it’s current form, is not the eternal destination for those who die in Christ. It’s just a temporary home for believers who have passed on.
The true, eternal home for all believers will be the world that exists after God re-creates the heavens and earth.
Memories also live on in hell
Let’s not forget the other side of eternity known a hell. Yes, hell exists and it’s a real place. I believe it exists because Jesus said it exists, period.
Memories do not just live on in Heaven. In fact, they’re very much in tact in hell as well. Let’s take a look at a story spoken by Jesus about Lazarus and the rich man.
Jesus said, “There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury.
At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores.
As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores.
“Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to sit beside Abraham at the heavenly banquet.
The rich man also died and was buried, and he went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side.
“The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’
“But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing.
So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. And besides, there is a great chasm separating us.
No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.’
“Then the rich man said, ‘Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father’s home.
For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment.’
“But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.’
“The rich man replied, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.’
“But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”Luke 16:19-31
This is a powerful story told my Jesus. Not only does it prove the existence of this place known as hell, it also paints a very scary picture of just how “alive” one feels there.
The rich man was engulfed in flames yet couldn’t die. He thirsted, but couldn’t drink. He begged, even more than Lazarus did while alive.
The rich man was very aware that he was no longer part of what we call “reality”. He knew his 5 brothers were still here on earth and wanted to desperately have them warned to never go to where he is.
What’s also interesting about this story, is that Abraham knew of the rich mans luxurious lifestyle and Lazarus’ poor, homeless lifestyle.
The scriptures do not speak on how this is possible, so only one can speculate. Maybe he was informed by God himself, or even angels? Maybe Lazarus told him?
However, one thing for sure is that those in hell cannot escape to come back and give “signs” to their loved ones to let them know of their presence.
They’re in hell, and that’s where they’re going to stay until God calls all of them up from hell and throws them into the eternal Lake of Fire on judgement day.
What about ghosts?
In regards to the question about dead loved ones coming to give us “signs”, or even for ghosts in general, I figured it would be best to have this explained to you in video form.
Though I am not the one who created the following two videos, I do agree with their message and answers on the subject.
Therefore, I will share the two videos here in this post. Both videos combined are under 10 minutes long, so I highly suggest watching them to have a clear understanding.
I hope that this blog post was a blessing to you and that it helped to bring some clarity to the questions regarding memory in the afterlife and after-death visitations from loved ones.
Please consider sharing this post on social media and with anyone who you feel would be blessed by the information provided today.
May God bless each and every one of you.