“We have a question which needs answering. We often hear from grace believers and pastors that, in heaven, we will recognize those saints we have known on earth. Please show us from Paul’s epistles where this might be found.”
We believe there will be recognition in heaven, which, as we are going to see, can be substantiated from Paul’s revelation. But it should be remembered that the subject of recognition in eternity is a biblical principle that transcends the ages and dispensations.
In Paul’s epistle to the Philippians, the apostle reveals to these dear saints, some of whom were suffering persecution, that their “conversation [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body” (Phil. 3:20,21a). The key phrase here is that these old bodies of humiliation will be “fashioned like unto His glorious body” in the secret resurrection at His coming — the Rapture. In other words, what was true of our Lord’s glorified resurrected body will be true of ours as well. Of course, we know the disciples recognized the resurrected Christ when He appeared to them in the upper room.
“Then saith He to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side….And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God” (John 20:27,28). There was no question whatsoever in Thomas’ mind that the One standing before him was the Lord. He clearly recognized Him. In similar fashion, we will be known in glory even as we are presently known, as members of the Body of Christ.
Additional support for people recognizing each other in eternity can be found in Matthew 8:11, Luke 16:19-31 and John 11:21-26.
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.