Q: #189. Can people in Heaven see us?
By: Steve Shirley
A: The Bible is relatively silent on this issue, however, there are a few verses that seem to point to the fact that this is possible.
First, in (Rev 6:9-11), it seems clear that those in Heaven who are previously martyred during the Tribulation are fully aware of what is happening on Earth. They ask the Lord, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" They are aware they were murdered and they know that those who murdered them have not yet been dealt with.
Second, in (Lk 9:31), during the Transfiguration Of Jesus, when Moses and Elijah appeared to Jesus, they knew God's plan for Jesus to go to Jerusalem and be sacrificed for our sins.
Third, it is interesting to note that in (Lk 15:10) it says, ".... there is joy in the PRESENCE of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth." I have always looked at this as meaning that the angels rejoice when someone repents, but, could it mean that the saints, who are with the angels in Heaven (in their presence) rejoice too?
In addition, some people use (Heb 12:1-2) as a proof when it speaks of Christians running a race and being surrounded by a "great cloud of witnesses." It is said that the witnesses are those in Heaven who are watching us run the race. However, I believe that these two verses are simply referring back to (Heb 11) and the "heroes of the faith" who died and their lives are an example (a witness) to us of how we should live.
The main reason why people believe that those in Heaven cannot see us is because they say the Bible teaches that there is no sorrow or pain or tears in Heaven. In other words, it would not be possible to be happy in Heaven if the saints could see our sinful Earth. The main text used for this is usually (Rev 21:4).
Several things should be noted about this. First, the verse in (Rev 21:4) is speaking about the New Heaven and Earth (see verses 1-3) and not Heaven as it is now. At this time, all evil will have been done away with on Earth, so this could well be the reason why there is no more "crying or pain." In addition, notice that it says God will "wipe away every tear from their eyes." Could this mean that prior to the New Heaven and Earth that there WILL be some tears shed?
I am not necessarily saying that there ARE tears being shed in Heaven right now, but consider this. Doesn't the Bible say that God gets angry (Ex 4:14)(Deut 29:27), jealous (Ex 20:5)(Ex 34:14)(Deut 4:24), and grieves (Heb 3:10,17)(Gen 6:6)(Ps 95:10)(1 Sam 15:35)(1 Chr 21:15)? Yet, is not God joyful and happy? (God's emotions actually do not change in relation to feelings. See Q: #21. Does God Change His Mind?) Jesus grieved over people while on Earth (Mt 23:37-39)(Mk 3:5)(Lk 19:41)(Jn 11:33-38). Has He stopped grieving now that He is in Heaven? The angels in Heaven certainly know what is taking place on Earth. Yet, they are happy in Heaven. As we spoke of in the verse above, there is joy in Heaven over "one sinner who repenteth." How could there be joy if they didn't know a person first needed to repent? If all of these are true, then isn't it possible that we could also be joyful in Heaven even if we knew what was happening on Earth?
One example I could use for this is the story of the Rich Man And Lazarus in (Lk 16:19-31). Both Lazarus and Abraham could actually see the Rich Man suffering and were able to speak to him. Were they sorrowful about his condition? Possibly. However, it did not make Heaven any less for them.
It is my opinion that we tend to view Heaven from our earthly viewpoint and are not able to fully grasp what Heaven is. For example, most believe that we will need certain things to be happy in Heaven based on what makes us happy on Earth. I won't be happy in Heaven without... a loved one, a pet, riches, etc... My father, like some others, cannot grasp being happy if others are rewarded more than him. I guess I might liken this to an unsaved person not understanding the things of God until they become saved. For example, as I have spoken of before in my testimony, I had anger issues before I was born again. Once I was saved, I had a peace and joy I had never experienced before. The Bible says in (Phil 4:7) that the peace of God "passeth all understanding." I would never have understood this peace until I had experienced it after being saved. So too, the Bible says we will never understand the things of God until we get to Heaven (1 Cor 13:12).
The Bible says that the total focus of Heaven is on God. We will be joyful and happy because of who He is, what He has done, His grace, His love for us, etc... He will have freed us from all evil and made us safe. He will be our focus in Heaven. It is my fervent belief that things we feel are so necessary to make us happy on Earth will not at all be necessary in Heaven. These things being said, I do believe it is possible for those in Heaven to see us, even in our sinful condition, yet in spite of that, the saints can still ultimately still be happy and joyful even if there is possibly some sorrow mixed in.
For more on Heaven, see:
Q: #13. Wlll there be time in Heaven?
Q: #68. Will we work in Heaven?
Q: #190. Will we be able to sin in Heaven?
Q: #206. What will Heaven be like?
Q: #444. Where is Heaven?