"DO HEAVEN'S INHABITANTS REMEMBER LIFE ON EARTH?", [Randy Alcorn, Heaven]
In Heaven, those who endured bad things on Earth are comforted for them (Luke 16:25). This comfort implies memory of what happened. If there was no memory of the bad things, what would be the need for or nature of such comfort?
After we die, we will give an account of our lives on Earth, down to specific actions and words (2 Corinthians 5:10; Matthew 12:36). Given our improved minds and clear thinking, our memory should be more—not less—acute concerning our life on Earth. Certainly, we must remember the things we'll give an account for. Because we'll be held accountable for more than we presently remember, presumably our memory will be far better.
God keeps a record in Heaven of what people do on Earth, both unbelievers and believers. We know that record will outlast our life on Earth—for believers, at least until the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10); for unbelievers, right up until the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-13), just preceding the coming of the new heavens and New Earth. For those now in Heaven, these records of life on Earth still exist. In chapter 32 we'll take a look at the “scroll of remembrance” mentioned in Malachi 3:16, which even now is being written in Heaven concerning those living on Earth.
DO PEOPLE IN THE INTERMEDIATE HEAVEN SEE WHAT IS HAPPENING ON EARTH?, [Randy Alcorn, Heaven]
In the Old Testament account of King Saul wrongly appealing to the witch of Endor to call upon Samuel to come back from the afterlife, the medium was terrified when God actually sent Samuel. Interestingly, Samuel remembered what Saul had done before Samuel died, and he was aware of what had happened since he died (1 Samuel 28:16-19). Though God could have briefed Samuel on all this, it seems likely the prophet knew simply because those in Heaven are aware of what happens on Earth.
In Heaven, Christ watches closely what transpires on Earth, especially in the lives of God's people (Revelation 2–3). If the Sovereign God's attention is on Earth, why wouldn't the attention of his heavenly subjects be focused here as well? When a great war is transpiring, are those in the home country uninformed and unaware of it? When a great drama is taking place, do those who know the writer, producer, and cast—and have great interest in the outcome—refrain from watching?
Abraham and Lazarus saw the rich man in Hell (Luke 16:23-26). If it is possible, at least in some cases, to see Hell from Heaven, why would people be unable to see Earth from Heaven?
DO PEOPLE IN HEAVEN PRAY FOR THOSE ON EARTH? , [Randy Alcorn, Heaven]
Based on the scriptural evidence, I believe that departed saints currently in the intermediate Heaven do intercede in prayer—at least sometimes—for those of us still on Earth.
Christ, the Godman, is in Heaven, at the right hand of God, interceding for people on Earth (Romans 8:34), which tells us there is at least one person who has died and gone to Heaven and is now praying for those on Earth.
If prayer is simply talking to God, presumably we will pray more in Heaven than we do now—not less. And given our righteous state in Heaven, our prayers will be more effective than ever (James 5:16).
"CAN IT BE HEAVEN IF PEOPLE ARE AWARE OF ANYTHING BAD ON EARTH", [Randy Alcorn, Heaven]
Many books on Heaven maintain that those in Heaven cannot be aware of people and events on Earth because they would be made unhappy by all the suffering and evil; thus, Heaven would not truly be Heaven.
I believe this argument is invalid. After all, God knows exactly what's happening on Earth, yet it doesn't diminish Heaven for him. Likewise, it's Heaven for the angels, even though they also know what's happening on Earth. In fact, angels in Heaven see the torment of Hell, but it doesn't negate their joy in God's presence (Revelation 14:10). Abraham and Lazarus saw the rich man's agonies in Hell, but it didn't cause Paradise to cease to be Paradise (Luke 16:23-26). Surely then, nothing they could see on Earth could ruin Heaven for them. (Again, the parable does not suggest that people in Heaven normally gaze into Hell.)
We must also keep in mind that Revelation 21:4, the verse most often quoted on the subject of sorrow in Heaven, refers specifically to the eternal Heaven, the New Earth. “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.” Christ's promise of no more tears or pain comes after the end of the old Earth, after the Great White Throne Judgment, after “the old order of things has passed away” and there's no more suffering on Earth.
At the same time, people in Heaven are not frail beings whose joy can only be preserved by shielding them from what's really going on in the universe. Happiness in Heaven is not based on ignorance but on perspective.
"Therefore encourage each other with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:17-18).