Faithlife Sermons

Shall We Know Each Other There?

Life after Death  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  55:31
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The Bible speaks to recognition beyond the grave.

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INTRODUCTION
1. Our studies in "life after death" so far have endeavored to show that:
a. Such a study is profitable
b. Death should be thought of as a positive thing for Christians
c. The nature of man is twofold: soul and body; or threefold: body; soul and spirit
d. The departed souls of believers go to be with Christ at death
e. The souls of the redeemed are in a conscious state during this "intermediate" state
2. The question we will focus on in this lesson pertains to the idea of recognition after death:
a. I.e., shall we know each other after death?
b. For one may agree with all that has been said so far, yet believe that we shall not know one another...
1) Either in the "intermediate" state
2) Or in the "final" state
3. But what does the Bible reveal about this question?
[We begin by observing...]

I. SCRIPTURES WHICH SUGGEST RECOGNITION AFTER DEATH

A. ISAIAH 14:3-4, Is 14:9-11, Is 14:16...

Isaiah 14:3–4 ESV
3 When the Lord has given you rest from your pain and turmoil and the hard service with which you were made to serve, 4 you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: “How the oppressor has ceased, the insolent fury ceased!
Isaiah 14:9–11 ESV
9 Sheol beneath is stirred up to meet you when you come; it rouses the shades to greet you, all who were leaders of the earth; it raises from their thrones all who were kings of the nations. 10 All of them will answer and say to you: ‘You too have become as weak as we! You have become like us!’ 11 Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, the sound of your harps; maggots are laid as a bed beneath you, and worms are your covers.
Isaiah 14:16 ESV
16 Those who see you will stare at you and ponder over you: ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms,
1. This passage refers to the king of Babylon
2. Who is recognize by those in Hades upon his death

B. EZEKIEL 32:17-32...

1. This passage speaks of Pharaoh and his army
2. Who is recognized by others in Hades - Ezekiel 32:21
Ezekiel 32:21 ESV
21 The mighty chiefs shall speak of them, with their helpers, out of the midst of Sheol: ‘They have come down, they lie still, the uncircumcised, slain by the sword.’
3. Who in turn recognizes those of Assyria, Elam, Edom, etc. -
Ezekiel 32:22–31 ESV
22 “Assyria is there, and all her company, its graves all around it, all of them slain, fallen by the sword, 23 whose graves are set in the uttermost parts of the pit; and her company is all around her grave, all of them slain, fallen by the sword, who spread terror in the land of the living. 24 “Elam is there, and all her multitude around her grave; all of them slain, fallen by the sword, who went down uncircumcised into the world below, who spread their terror in the land of the living; and they bear their shame with those who go down to the pit. 25 They have made her a bed among the slain with all her multitude, her graves all around it, all of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword; for terror of them was spread in the land of the living, and they bear their shame with those who go down to the pit; they are placed among the slain. 26 “Meshech-Tubal is there, and all her multitude, her graves all around it, all of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword; for they spread their terror in the land of the living. 27 And they do not lie with the mighty, the fallen from among the uncircumcised, who went down to Sheol with their weapons of war, whose swords were laid under their heads, and whose iniquities are upon their bones; for the terror of the mighty men was in the land of the living. 28 But as for you, you shall be broken and lie among the uncircumcised, with those who are slain by the sword. 29 “Edom is there, her kings and all her princes, who for all their might are laid with those who are killed by the sword; they lie with the uncircumcised, with those who go down to the pit. 30 “The princes of the north are there, all of them, and all the Sidonians, who have gone down in shame with the slain, for all the terror that they caused by their might; they lie uncircumcised with those who are slain by the sword, and bear their shame with those who go down to the pit. 31 “When Pharaoh sees them, he will be comforted for all his multitude, Pharaoh and all his army, slain by the sword, declares the Lord God.

C. LUKE 16:19-31...

1. This is the familiar story of Lazarus and the rich man
2. In which the rich man recognizes both Lazarus and Abraham - Luke 16:23-24
Luke 16:23–24 ESV
23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’

D. 1 THESSALONIANS 2:19-20; 2 CORINTHIANS 4:14...

1 Thessalonians 2:19–20 ESV
19 For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? 20 For you are our glory and joy.
2 Corinthians 4:14 ESV
14 knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence.
1. Both passages reveal Paul's expectation of being with His converts at Christ's coming
2. Recognizing them would be a source of great joy for Paul

E. MATTHEW 8:11-12...

Matthew 8:11–12 ESV
11 I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12 while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
1. Reference is made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven
2. The recognition of which would increase the joys of those present (and the dismay of those "cast out into outer darkness")
[To these examples we could add Samuel (who after his death was recognized by Saul - 1 Sam 28: 3-19), plus Moses and Elijah (recognized on the Mount of Transfiguration - Mt 17:1-5). All clearly indicating that we will indeed know one another after death! But what are some objections commonly made about this view? And how might one answer them?]

II. SOME OBJECTIONS CONSIDERED

A. OBJECTION #1...
1. Stated...
a. Some of these passages speak of conditions after the resurrection
b. At that time we will have bodies by which recognition may be possible
c. But that does not prove that "disembodied" souls in heaven now recognize each other
2. Answered...
a. Most of these passages are definitely speaking of the "intermediate" state
1) Those referring to the King of Babylon, Pharaoh and his army
2) The rich man and Lazarus
3) Samuel, Elijah, and Moses
b. Angels have no "bodies", yet recognize one another - e.g., Dan 10:13
Daniel 10:13 ESV
13 The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia,
B. OBJECTION #2...
1. Stated...
a. If we can actually recognize one another, then we can miss those not there
b. This would cause unhappiness in heaven
2. Answered...
a. What about Jesus?
1) Does He not miss many that He sincerely admonished (as in the case of the rich young ruler - Mk 10:21)?
Mark 10:21 ESV
21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
2) Would one then say that Jesus is unhappy?
b. Perhaps the answer to this question lies in the following direction:
1) That when we die, all earthly ties that were not in Christ (including family ties) will lose their meaning!
2) Do not passages like Mt 12:46-50 and Mt 10:37 point in that direction?
a) Our spiritual family becomes our true family, as it was with Jesus
b) Our love for Jesus will far surpass the love we have for others
Mt 12:46-50 and Mt 10:37
Matthew 12:46–50 ESV
46 While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. 48 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
Matthew 10:37 ESV
37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
c. Or does not God...
1) Who has the power to take away death, sorrow, crying, pain (cf. Re 7:17; Re 21:4)
2) Also have the power to remove any unpleasant awareness of loved ones lost while still permitting blessed awareness of loved ones saved?
Revelation 7:17 ESV
17 For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Revelation 21:4 ESV
4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
C. OBJECTION #3...
1. Stated...
a. According to Mt 22:23-33, all earthly ties will lose their meaning
b. Hence, any recognition of those whom we have known on earth would be meaningless
Matthew 22:23–33 ESV
23 The same day Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question, 24 saying, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.’ 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no offspring left his wife to his brother. 26 So too the second and third, down to the seventh. 27 After them all, the woman died. 28 In the resurrection, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her.” 29 But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 31 And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.” 33 And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching.
2. Answered...
a. The passage simply teaches that there will be no "marriage" relationships in the resurrection
b. In this sense, we will be like the angels in heaven
c. This does not say "all" relationships will be abolished!
CONCLUSION
1. There is good reason, therefore, to believe that we shall know one another after this life
2. And that can serve as a powerful motive...
a. To live our lives pleasing in the sight of God
b. To try and take those we love with us by encouraging them to live likewise!
In our next study, we shall take a look at the condition of the wicked during the "intermediate" state...
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