Q: #12. Will we remember people and events from Earth when we get to Heaven?
By: Steve Shirley
A: The answer to this question is not made clear in the Bible. However, I do believe that a Biblical case can be made that we will indeed remember both people and events. Let me give some reasons why I hold this position.
#1. The story of the rich man and Lazarus (Lk 16:19-31) is probably one of the best examples. The rich man knew the names of Abraham and Lazarus (Lk 16:23-24). Abraham demonstrated that we have memory of events, saying, "Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things..." (Lk 16:25). The rich man also remembered he had five brothers on Earth (Lk 16:28).
#2. When Jesus was resurrected from the dead, He came back to Earth in a glorified body (as we will one day receive). There were visible signs of His crucifixion for all to see, with holes in his hands, feet, and side. Personally, I believe that one day we will all see Jesus again in this glorified body, and remember (what we learned on Earth) the sacrifice He made for each of us.
#3. There will be a time when all believers will come before the Judgment Seat Of Christ. At this judgment, everything we did on Earth, whether "good or bad" will be judged (2 Cor 5:10). We will receive rewards for the "good," and the "bad" will be "burned up" (1 Cor 3:12-15). Every aspect of our lives will be brought into the open. All secret things, and things hidden in the darkness, will be brought to light (Ecc 12:14)(1 Cor 4:5). According to (Rom 14:10-12), "every one of us shall give account of himself to God." When we do, many of us will be ashamed (1 Jn 2:28). It seems clear to me that all of this points to remembering the "good and bad" things we did on Earth when facing this judgment in Heaven.
#4. In (Rev 6:9-10), we see in Heaven the souls of people who are martyred for the testimony they gave in the tribulation. They ask the Lord how long it would be until He takes vengeance on those who killed them. It seems apparent that they have a memory of being killed for their testimony while they are residing in Heaven.
#5. David fully expects to know, and be reunited with his dead son one day (2 Sam 12:23).
#6. It sounds like Paul expected to remember who the Thessalonians were in the day of Christ: (1 Th 2:19)(NASB) "For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation ("rejoicing" - KJV)? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming?" (How could he "rejoice" in them "in the presence of Jesus" if he didn't remember them?)
#7. During the Transfiguration (Lk 9:28-36), Moses and Elijah appeared from Heaven and spoke with Jesus. They discussed His impending death in Jerusalem (Lk 9:31). To do this, Moses and Elijah must have had prior knowledge of this event while in Heaven.
There are other proofs I have seen people give to make this point while I was studying this topic, but I find flaws with a number of them, so I did not list them here (i.e. When Samuel was brought back from the dead he knew Saul [1 Sam 28:15-19]. But, was it really Samuel? I discuss this here).
Personally, I long for that day when I will see the Lord face to face, and the loved ones who have gone before me. In addition, I truly look forward to meeting "face to face" all of the people who have been ministered to over the years in this online ministry, and especially those who have come to a personal relationship with Christ as a result. What a day that will be! WooHooo!
For more on Heaven, see:
Q: #13. Wlll there be time in Heaven?
Q: #68. Will we work in Heaven?
Q: #189. Can people in Heaven see us?
Q: #190. Will we be able to sin in Heaven?
Q: #206. What will Heaven be like?
Q: #444. Where is Heaven?