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Heaven: Will I Recognize My Loved Ones?

When we dress up more than usual—like I did the other day at the office—people can exclaim—as someone did the other day at the office—”Wow! I hardly recognize you.” New hairstyles can do wonders for a person’s looks. The transformation that takes place as a result of very flattering clothes is akin to the transformation that will take place when we exchange these clothes on earth for the tailor designed outfits in the heavenlies. On the earth only the rich and famous can afford to have personal tailors and clothes designers. When we go to be with the Lord, we will have “custom” clothes.

We will be as distinctive in the heavenlies as we have been on earth. The “cloud of witnesses” are called by name. They are not indistinguishable wisps of some ethereal, gaseous cloud. One of the biggest misconceptions about life after death is that we will simply fade into an impersonal cosmic whole, and become one with a primal life force. Nothing could be further from what the Bible teaches. Jesus’ heavenly state enabled Him to be recognized—though somewhat belatedly—by Mary, Peter and the others who knew Him before He was crucified. (Luke 24, John 20, John 21) The Apostle Paul, who calls himself “untimely born” because he never met Jesus physically, says that the Lord [Jesus] appeared to him. (1 Corinthians 15:8) He knew it was the Lord when he saw Him.

Image: Billy Huynh

Jesus’ afterlife is the prototype and the pattern for ours. Though He left His physical body, He was not in a state of unconscious suspended animation after death. He was identified after His death even though His body was transformed and transfigured enough to be somewhat different than what it had been before. We, too, will be changed enough to enable us to join the cloud of witnesses, but no so changed as to become unrecognizable or to lose our essential identity. At 25-year high school reunions, friends can still recognize one another despite the ravages of time gone by. If the decaying influence of this broken world cannot erase the uniqueness of who God made us as individuals, then we should rest in the absolute assurance that our personhood will be enhanced and accentuated all the more by God when we live in the new world to come.



Originally from Used with permission of the author.


Further Reading:

Daniel Brown, “Will I Have A Body In Heaven?

Daniel Brown, “How Old Will I Be In Heaven?

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Category: Fall 2019, Living the Faith

About the Author: Daniel A. Brown, PhD, planted The Coastlands, a church near Santa Cruz, California, serving as Senior Pastor for 22 years. Daniel has authored four books and numerous articles, but he is best-known for the sorts of resources that help local church leaders excel in their spiritual assignment. For more about Daniel Brown, see his ministry resources website: CTW. Facebook. Twitter.

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