Our Loved Ones in Heaven

Question from a reader:

I have been asked recently and have also wondered myself if we will know our loved ones in heaven. Also are there any scriptures to support the answer. It is hard to imagine that the loving relationships we have had with families here on earth will be gone when we get to heaven. I know that we will be so blessed to see the Lord and all that heaven has to offer, but do not want to think this earth will be the end of our knowledge of our loved ones. Thank you for your answer to this important question.

Thank you for your question. The Bible is not definitive about what our relationships with others will be like in heaven. The best passage that we have on this is probably Matthew 22:23-33 where Christ is answering a question from the Pharisees concerning the afterlife for a woman who had multiple husbands on earth. In verse 30, Jesus says, “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” This implies that people in heaven will know each other, but they won’t have the same relationships, such as marriage.

I believe that our existence in heaven will be overpowered by God’s glory (Revelation 4:9-11). We will be so awe-struck by being in the very presence of God, that we will somehow not even be too concerned with others.

Thanks,

Owen

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What’s Worse than Sutherland Springs?

In the horrific and senseless slaughter at Sutherland Springs, TX, 26 people were killed.  The headlines included, “Nine of them were children,” and one of those nine murdered children was an unborn child. (That’s right.  We include the unborn among the murdered.) What could be worse?

Well, we Americans kill 3,000 of our own unborn children every day through abortion.  That’s 115 times the total number killed at Sutherland Springs; 333 times the number of children killed; and, 3,000 times the number of unborn children killed.  And that’s in just one day–every day for the past 44 years.

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What Happens to the Soul after Death?

Question from a reader:

I would like to know where the Bible talks about the state of soul after the soul leaves the body? Like the Catholics believing in purgatory, what do Christians believe in?

Thank you for your question about the state of the soul after death. I believe that our definitive passage on this is the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31. When the rich man died, he went to a place called “Hades” (verse 23), which was a place of torments. When Lazarus died, he went to a place called “Abraham’s bosom,” which Bible scholars have associated with the word “paradise.”

When people died in Old Testament times (including the times referenced in the Gospels), their bodies went into a grave, but apparently there was a temporary holding place for their souls. The Bible uses a term called hell, such as in Matthew 5:22, but the terminology is slightly different than what we normally use. Hell is the lake of fire where all unbelievers will spend eternity (Revelation 20:14-15). Apparently, however, the temporary holding place (sometimes called Sheol, or Purgatory) had a compartment for separate compartments for believers and unbelievers. (This is where the Catholics (mistakenly) built their doctrine of purgatory.) Unbelievers spent this period in the part called torments (Luke 16:23), while believers spent this time in a place called paradise (Luke 23:43).

However, with the resurrection of Jesus (the first resurrection), these Old Testament believers were transferred from paradise to Heaven. This is apparently what was going on in Matthew 7:53, which is a very difficult passage.

Now, for us, it’s completely different. Since the resurrection of Christ has already occurred, and He has ascended to Heaven, when believers die today, our bodies go to a grave, and our spirits go straight to Heaven (2 Corinthians 5:1-8) to be with Christ.

I hope this helps.

Thanks,

Owen

Thank you very much! 

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Will God Forgive Abortion?

Question from a reader:

I am a sinner, will god ever forgive me? I don’t know where to begin and ask god for forgiveness and I’m not sure whether to ask for forgiveness or not. I am a lost soul. The holy spirit has left me. I pray but it seems like my prayer doesn’t go anywhere and that god doesn’t hear me nor my prayer. I had an abortion.

Yes, God will forgive you. You need only to confess your sin to him as indicated in 1 John 1:9.

We become Christians by believing in Jesus Christ as Savior, knowing that His death on the cross saved us from all sin (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, John 3:16). God then forgives us in our ETERNAL state. Then, in our daily walk as Christians, when we continue to sin, we confess those sins to God, and he forgives us in our TEMPORAL state.

I too have felt like you do from time to time. I continue to sin, and I know that I have failed God. I also sometimes feel like God is not hearing my prayers. However, His word teaches that we simply need to confess our sins. He forgives us and we can start anew. He forgives and FORGETS those sins that we have confessed, and we don’t ever need to confess that occurrence of that sin again. No matter what we have done, we simply confess it to God. We then know that He has forgiven us, and since He will never look back upon that sin again, neither should we. I sometimes even pray that God will help me to forget things, and I believe that He does.

Once we become Christians, the Holy Spirit never leaves us, although we can still feel a loneliness due to our sin. The Bible teaches the doctrine of eternal security. In Philippians 2:14, the reference to becoming “children of God” suggests the type of relationship that Christians have with God. They are His children–his sons and daughters. Furthermore, just as we are naturally born as a product of our human fathers, we are spiritually born as a product of God the Father and His grace. In both cases, the birth establishes a relationship which can never be altered. One cannot undo a physical birth, so neither can he undo a spiritual birth. The eternal security of the believer is thus demonstrated by this analogy of children. Furthermore, Hebrews 13:5 says, “… Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Thanks,

Owen

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We’ve Spent $1.46 Trillion on the ‘War on Terror’

The Department of Defense’s cost of war report has just shown that the ‘War on Terror’ has cost US taxpayers at least $1.46 trillion ($1,460,000,000,000) since September 11, 2001.  That’s $250 million ($250,000,000) every day, for 16 years; or, $10.4 million ($10,400,000) per hour–about $1 million ($1,000,000) every 5 minutes, for 16 years.

It’s the longest war in our history, and after 16 long years of losing our soldiers, we’re still not willing to win it. Now we are, once again, escalating the war in Afghanistan. We’ll continue to lose the lives of our young soldiers, all at taxpayers expense. The terrorists will continue to kill our soldiers; we know that more will get killed in helicopter crashes; we’ll continue to spend billions of dollars per month; and, our homeland will be no safer for it. The whole Mideast is in continual war that is not winnable, and now they’ve pulled us into it as well.

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What Really Happens to Christians When They Die?

Question:

Much has been written as to what occurs upon the death of a Christian. The information varies from one going to a Paradise such as Abraham’s bosom to one entering the sleep of time until the judgement day or even the beginning of tribulation. Can you help me find scripture which speaks to this issue? Within six months my wife and I experienced the loss of both our mothers. We are middle-aged and these deaths are a part of life. We do however often find what appears to be disparity in the next phase. 

Thank you for your question. I know that this is a very personal issue for you. I too am middle-aged, and I have lost both parents and a sister. As a result, I have probably had many of the same questions that you have. In searching the Scriptures for exactly what happens when a believer dies, I see distinct differences in the Old and New Testaments as a result of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I believe that when the Old Testament saints encountered death, their souls were not taken directly to heaven, as is now the case with New Testament believers. Instead, the Old Testament believers were taken to a place called paradise (Luke 23:43, 2 Corinthians 12:3-4, Revelation 2:3-7), or Abraham’s bosom (Luke 16:3-23). Then, upon the event of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, these Old Testament saints were resurrected (Matthew 27:3-52). Today, now that Christ’ resurrection has already occurred, when Christians die, we are taken directly to heaven. The strongest argument I find for this is 2 Corinthians 5:3-8, which says, “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” This seems to say that for we believers of this age, being in this current body is mutually exclusive from being in the presence of God in heaven. So, at the point of death, we’re no longer in the body, but with the Lord.

Incidentally, in the story of the rich man and Lazarus, Luke 16:3-23 refers to a place called Hades, which is where the rich man was. This seems to be the opposite of the place of paradise where Lazarus was. This would imply that, in Old Testament times, those who died were taken to one of these temporary chambers, awaiting their transaction either from paradise to heaven or from Hades to Hell. This probably also explains the origination of the Catholic doctrine of purgatory, which would equate to Hades in this case.

You may also be interested in my article at Resurrected Saints vs. Hades. It is also related to your question in that it examines the mystery in Matthew 27:52-53 where saints arose from their graves and appeared to many in the holy city.

As a side note, I remember having another question when I lost loved ones. I wondered whether or not they could look down upon me from heaven. I found my own personal resolution for this in Revelation 21:3-4, which says, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes.” There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. Although this is specifically referring to the new Jerusalem on the new earth, I believe that this lack of mourning and crying is now what heaven is like as well, since the new earth has not yet come. As a result, I believe that our loved ones in heaven do not look down upon us in this life because they could not look from their vantage point upon their loved ones in a sinful world without shedding tears.

As I wrote this, I prayed that you will find the answers to your questions, and that your grief will transform into peace and comfort.

Thanks,

Owen

Thank you for your thorough and insightful analysis of the scriptures surrounding the afterlife. While my question was certainly offered from a personal perspective, I asked the question as it relates also to my work. My wife and I are clinical social workers work primarily with first responders from the NYPD and the FDNY. My wife does much the area of grief and trauma. Many of my first responders to the World Trade Center are now contracting illnesses which often times result in fatal outcomes. Faced with their own mortality they search their faith for their beliefs in what will happen next. Fear and grief overwhelm them and they look for desperate reassurance that there will be a paradise awaiting those who believe. I will certainly place your information in my grief library. I often reflect upon how a few minutes of time devoted to questions such as the one I posed to you can actually have such long-lasting impact and provide such comfort for those in despair.

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What is, “Walking in the Spirit?”

When the Bible speaks of walking in the Spirit, it’s sort of the opposite of walking in the flesh. Walking in the flesh is legalism (Galatians 1:8-9, 5:4). While this person want to obey and please God, he is doing so in the wrong way, because he’s focused on commandments, rules, and regulations.

Walking in the Spirit is the opposite of legalism. It starts each day with assurance that I have everlasting life by faith in Christ, apart from any works, and that there is nothing I can do to miss out on the kingdom (Galatians 3:1-4 and 5:1-4). Those who lack this certainty of their eternal destiny cannot walk in the Spirit because they will look to their works for assurance.

Walking in the Spirit means walking spiritually instead of carnally, like the legalists do. It means confessing one’s sins (1 John 1:9), because every believer sins on a daily basis, and asking the Spirit of God to take control. The staff at “Grace In Focus” recently illustrated this as follows:

“When a child is born into a family, that child will always be a child (positionally). However, when the child disobeys his earthly father, the child needs to set things straight if a harmonious relationship within the family is to be maintained (there needs to be daily forgiveness).”

It is the accumulation of God’s Word over months and years that the Spirit of God uses to transform us into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). Since we all still possess the same fallen sin nature (the flesh), even after salvation (Romans 7:18), we need His daily guidance to overcome it.

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What’s Worse Than the Las Vegas Shooting?

In the tragic Las Vegas shooting, a maniac shot and killed 58 innocent people.  What could be worse?

Imagine a day when this tragedy was repeated 50 times, and 2,900 people were killed.  Then the same thing happened the next day, and the next.  That day is today, yesterday,  and tomorrow.  Every single day, doctors and mothers kill 3,000 unborn babies in the U. S. through abortion.  But, somehow, that’s OK because we have a federal law saying so.  These children are more innocent than any of us–never having committed a single act of hatred or violence against anyone else, or probably not even having a single thought of ill will.  Yet they were legally aborted–assaulted and killed, not with guns but with scalpels and deadly drugs.

Abortion is like having 50 Las Vegas shootings every day.

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Trump’s Agencies Spent $11 Billion Last Week

I like President Trump, but he’s not a fiscal conservative.  To see how his agencies wasted $11B of taxpayer money in the last week of FY2017, click here for the details exposed by OpenTheBooks.com.

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Abortion Arguments

What are the arguments on abortion?  Biblical, scientific, political, choice?  Click here to read more.  

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