So the saved believer appears to receive his reward while the lost person appears to receive his just punishment, but either way, the reward or the punishment has to go to the one that deserves it, and not to some newly created being with no memory, and no remembrance of their past deeds. That would be equivalent of judging an infant that has no knowledge of right or wrong, and a just God is never going to do that. Accountability is what it is all about, and without a memory of your life on earth, how can you be held accountable?
Romans 14:10 But you, why do you judge your brother, or why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.
If you wronged a brother, then someday you will have to stand before Jesus Christ and give an account of your actions. If you have no memory of your brother or the actions that you committed against him, then what is the purpose of the judgment?
The following parable tells us that saved Christians will be rewarded for faithful service and those who have fallen away will be judged and punished, so on Judgment Day, rewards and punishments are given out, not to some newly created beings as a stand in for us, but to the actual people who deserve the rewards or the punishments.
Matthew 25:31-33 "But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.
(The sheep appear for their reward. The goats for punishment. The saved Christian appears before the Judgment seat not to answer for his sins, but to receive his reward. So how can you reward or punish souls if they haven't got the slightest idea what they are being rewarded or punished for.)
Revelation. 22:12 "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.
How or why would God reward or punish someone who has no memory of his human life back on earth, and who has no idea what he is being rewarded or punished for?
In none of the above verses does the Bible say that we will definitely recognize each other, but you must admit that those verses certainly indicate that we will have the same recognizable, but improved body along with a supernatural mind and a memory to go with it. God is not going to reward or punish another different replacement body, for the things you did while in your earthly body. The above verses definitely indicate that we will have the knowledge of all that we did while alive on earth and we will be rewarded or punished accordingly.
You can actually break the question of, will we know each other in heaven, down even further by asking about our faculties on the other side of the grave. Will we remember our past, those in our past, and all of our actions and deeds in the past, because this is the real issue: Will we retain all our faculties on the other side of death? The following 11 examples therefore will help show that on the other side of death's door, we will have complete and full memory of our past and we will also know and recognize all those from our past.
1) Matthew 7:21-23 "Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; Depart from me, you who practice lawlessness."
At first glance these verses appear like they have nothing to do with our ability to recognize each other on the other side of death, but look at what these verses really say.
For in these verses, those at the judgment are pictured arguing with God about their supposedly good works while on earth. If they lost their memory at death, how could they remember their supposedly good works? (Does this not show memory?)
These verses clearly establish the fact that on the other side of death's door when we are at the last judgment, men will be possessed of the memory of deeds done while on earth! Do you see the importance of this verse? You will not only remember all the horrible things that you did to your own brothers and sisters in this life, but you will also remember all the good things. Your memory will be intact. It has to be if you are going to argue with God about what you did and didn't do to various people.
The above verse also asks the question, "Did we not cast out demons in your name"? In order to ask that question, one would first have to remember actually casting out demons. Then the person would also have to remember specific people that he was attempting to cast demons out of. So this verse tells us that there is going to be memory on the other side of the grave.
2) Matthew 25:40 "And the King will answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to Me."
Again we have the judgment scene, but why did Jesus refer to his brethren, if the people Jesus was talking to wouldn't know or wouldn't remember the brethren that Jesus was talking about?
From Matthew 25:35 to 40, Jesus talks about the sick, the poor, the hungry, etc. But the people that Jesus is talking to ask, "When did we see you sick, or hungry, etc?" In other words they were searching their memory trying to remember when they saw Jesus sick or hungry. If they didn't have any memory, why would Jesus bring up something like that for them to remember?
In the above passages we can only arrive at the conclusion that future recognition is an assured fact. In the field of criminal jurisprudence, a man is regarded as worthy of punishment for unsocial acts committed, only when it appears that he is mentally capable of recognizing the nature of his deed. In other words, we can only be punished if we are mentally aware of the wrongs that we did, and please keep in mind that our just and loving Heavenly Father is a God of justice.
3) LUKE 16:19-31 is the story of the rich man and Lazarus and the gulf that separates them. But a study of those verses will show that the rich man had all his faculties. He could feel, see, hear, and remember. If you say it is a parable, that changes nothing, because its main purpose is a glimpse into the future state of the dead. All are conscious of their surroundings. Memory is retained.
Examples of this are:
a) In verse 25, Abraham tells the rich man, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented."
b) In verses 27-28, the rich man pleads with Abraham, "Then he said, I beg you therefore Father Abraham, that you would send Lazarus to my father's house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment."
4) I John 3:2 "Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is."
So, if we are to be like Christ, doesn't it also include our ability to remember and recognize other people, just like Christ will be able to remember and recognize them? He can see us and will see all others, and we will not only see him but we will also see all others. He knows us and knows all others, and we will know him and know all others. He will recognize us and all others, and we will recognize him and recognize all others. He will remember us, and we will remember him and everyone we ever knew.
Many of us will also be receiving rewards in heaven. These rewards are called Crowns. Below are listed those 5 crowns. But as you read them think about all those saved souls that if they have no memory of their earthly existence will be saying, "what's this for", or "what did I do to get this", after they are given their crowns.
THE CROWN OF REJOICING for those who win others to Christ. This is sometimes called "the soul-winner's crown." 1 Thessalonians 2:19
THE CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS for those who look for and love Christ's return. 2 Timothy 4:8
THE CROWN OF GLORY for those who faithfully teach and preach God's Word. 1 Peter 5:4
THE INCORRUPTIBLE CROWN for those who "run a good race" in the Christian life. 1 Corinthians 9:25
THE CROWN OF LIFE. There are two ways to achieve this crown. The first way is to simply put complete faith and trust in the Lord when you are facing trials, tribulations, and hardships. When in difficult times and you are faced with pain and suffering you simply rely on the Lord that much more. "Happy is the man that keeps on enduring trial, because on becoming approved he will receive the Crown of Life." (James 1:12)
The second way to achieve the Crown of Life is to remain faithful to our Lord. Faithful to him to the very end even if it means laying down your very own life in his name. "Prove yourself faithful even to death, and I will give you the Crown of Life." (Revelation 2:10)
7) I Corinthians 15:53-55 "For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death where is your victory? O death where is your sting?"
Does not the phrase, O death where is your sting, indicate that after our own death, we are aware of the tremendous struggle that we had on earth with death? That all through our human existence we were afraid of death, that we looked upon death as the end of the line, that we were afraid that there was nothing after death. But as believers, we decided to join forces with Jesus Christ. He told us not to be afraid of death, that he could give us eternal life and victory over death. So when we say, O death where is your sting, what we are doing is throwing back into the face of death the undeniable knowledge that death can never ever hurt us. That death did not win, for this verse shows that we are conscious of our incredible triumph over that thing that worried us our whole lives.
8) I Thessalonians 4:13-14 "But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus."
If we would not recongnize one another at the resurrection, then why did Paul comfort them with the assurance that Christ would be bringing back the saved believers? If they wouldn't recognize each other then what difference would it make? If the memory of those we have loved is obliterated, their memories of us, and ours of them forever gone, how is any hope possible? If we will never see or remember those in death, then why would it be so important for God to give us hope and tell us through his Word that those that die will someday be coming back with Jesus, and we will see them and know them.
9) Revelation 6:9-11 "When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth? Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed."
Here the departed souls of saints in heaven are pictured as having their faculties intact, including their memory of their earthly death and of those who murdered them, and they are very aware of what is going on down on the earth. They want to know how long it will be before their blood is avenged. It shows that they indeed have their memories and they are aware of what is taking place on earth.
10) Matthew 8:11 "And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven."
If we won't recognize and remember one another, how would one ever know if this statement is true, and why worry about names if we won't know each other.
11) Job 19:25-27 "For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold him. How my heart yearns within me."
Job positively affirmed that he, Job, would see God, and he would see God with his own eyes; he would see God in the flesh (following the changes which our bodies will experience in the resurrection.) Therefore, this ancient patriarch by inspiration, assured us of the resurrection of the body, the preservation of the personality and the memory, and the identity of the resurrected person.
And lastly some questions to ask yourself if you are a person who still doesn't believe that we will recognize others in heaven.
1) Show me one Bible verse that teaches we won't recognize each other in the next life.
2) If we have no memory, will we even recognize our own selves?
3) The Word of God tells us that after the resurrection we will be like Jesus, so how can we be like Jesus and be without our memory.
4) From the evidence of the Scripture that you just read; is there more proof for believing that we will be able to recognize each other, or is there more proof that we will not?
5) If God were to do nothing but raise my body without my having any knowledge of the past, and make a being out of me (that is really not me), and put it in heaven, why should I now even be interested in eternal life while I am in this body?
6) When you get into heaven, how could you praise the Lord for your redemption and salvation from sin in this world, unless you would be able to remember that you were once lost, and had been saved?
7) To say that we will become beings without our former memory is to believe the doctrine that teaches the extinction of man's being at death, and that there is nothing after one dies, except perhaps for some type of reincarnation into another being.
And if you think about it, our entire existence on earth revolves around our family and friends. In the early years of life we are so very dependent on our parents. Then we get married and our lives revolve around our spouses and our children and all the great friends that we have. Then it is time for our grand children and great grand children.
God cares very deeply about the human family, in fact much of the Bible talks about family, friends, and neighbors. Almost all of the commandments of God deal with the people around you. So why would God suddenly take away the memory of all those precious and wonderful people when we are resurrected. It makes absolutely no sense at all.
So we will have full and complete memory on the other side of death's door. We will know and recognize all those that we knew in our earthly life. When these bodies of ours are resurrected, we are going to have wonderful new and improved bodies, and I just cannot see the Lord leaving out our memory, which will cause us to forget and abandon the people we spent our lives being with and loving. And keep in mind that if we are resurrected without memory, then we won't even know or recognize Jesus Christ. In fact without our memory, we won't even remember or know who God the Father is.
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