Sunday, February 3, 2013

Shall We Know Each Other There?

INTRODUCTION 1. Our studies in "Life After Death" so far have endeavored to show that: a. Such a study is profitable b. Death should be thought of as a positive thing for Christians c. The nature of man is two-fold: soul and body d. The departed spirits of believers go to be with Christ at death e. The souls of the redeemed are in a conscious state during this "intermediate" state 2. The question we will focus on in this lesson pertains to the idea of recognition after death: a. I.e., shall we know each other after death? b. For one may agree with all that has been said so far, yet believe that we shall NOT know one another... 1) Either in the "intermediate" state 2) Or in the "final" state 3. But what does the Bible reveal about this question? [We begin by observing...] I. SCRIPTURES WHICH SUGGEST RECOGNITION AFTER DEATH A. ISAIAH 14:3-4, 9-11,16 1. This passage refers to the king of Babylon 2. Who is recognize by those in Hades upon his death B. EZEKIEL 32:17-32 1. This passage speaks of Pharaoh and his army 2. Who is recognized by others in Hades - 21 3. Who in turn recognizes those of Assyria, Elam, Edom, etc. - 22-31 C. LUKE 16:19-31 1. This is the familiar story of Lazarus and the rich man 2. In which the rich man recognizes both Lazarus and Abraham - 23-24 D. 1 THESSALONIANS 2:19-20; 2 CORINTHIANS 4:14 1. Both of these passages reveal Paul's expectation of being with His converts at Christ's coming 2. Recognizing them would be a source of great joy for Paul E. MATTHEW 8:11-12 1. Reference is made to Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob in the kingdom of heaven 2. The recognition of which would increase the joys of those present (and the dismay of those "cast out into outer darkness") [To these examples we could add Samuel (who after his death was recognized by Saul - 1Sa 28:3-19), plus Moses and Elijah (recognized on the Mount of Transfiguration - Mt 17:1-5). All clearly indicating that we will indeed know one another after death! But what are some objections commonly made about this view? And how might one answer them?] II. SOME OBJECTIONS CONSIDERED A. OBJECTION #1 1. STATED... a. Some of these passages speak of conditions after the resurrection b. At that time we will have bodies by which recognition may be possible c. But that does not prove that "disembodied" souls in heaven now recognize each other 2. ANSWERED... a. Most of these passages are definitely speaking of the "intermediate" state 1) Those referring to the King of Babylon, Pharaoh and his army 2) The rich man and Lazarus 3) Samuel, Elijah, and Moses b. Angels have no "bodies", yet recognize one another - e.g., Dan 10:13 B. OBJECTION #2 1. STATED... a. If we can actually recognize one another, then we can miss those not there b. This would cause unhappiness in heaven 2. ANSWERED... a. What about Jesus? 1) Does He not miss many that He sincerely admonished (as in the case of the rich young ruler - Mk 10:21)? 2) Would one then say that Jesus is unhappy? b. Perhaps the answer to this question lies in the following direction: 1) That when we die, all earthly ties that were not in Christ (including family ties) will lose their meaning! 2) Do not passages like Mt 12:46-50 and Mt 10:37 point in that direction? a) Our spiritual family becomes our true family, as it was with Jesus b) Our love for Jesus will far surpass the love we have for others c. Or does not God... 1) Who has the power to take away death, sorrow, crying, pain (cf. Re 7:17; 21:4) 2) Also have the power to remove any unpleasant awareness of loved ones lost while still permitting blessed awareness of loved ones saved? C. OBJECTION #3 1. STATED... a. According to Mt 22:23-33, all earthly ties will lose their meaning b. Hence, any recognition of those whom we have known on earth would be meaningless 2. ANSWERED... a. The passage simply teaches that there will be no "marriage" relationships in the resurrection b. In this sense, we will be like the angels in heaven c. This does NOT say "all" relationships will be abolished! CONCLUSION 1. There is good reason, therefore, to believe that we shall know one another after this life 2. And that can serve as a powerful motive... a. To live our lives pleasing in the sight of God b. To try and take those we love with us by encouraging them to live likewise! In our next study, we shall take a look at the condition of the wicked during the "intermediate" state...

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