Wednesday, April 23, 2014
 

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By : Lonnie Branam [ Sermon Will We Know Eeach Other in Heaven? ]


WILL WE KNOW EACH OTHER IN HEAVEN?


 Matt. 22:23-33



This passage of scripture raises a question that many people have asked over the years. Will people know each other in heaven? Will we have the same bodies that we've had here on earth? If so, what about those who have lost fingers, arms and legs? How will we relate to each other, for example a young father who dies in his thirties and his child who ultimately lives to be eighty? Of all the billions on earth whose physical bodies have returned to the dust, how will those bodies be affected by the resurrection? So puzzling and unreal is the thought of the spiritual the spiritual world to come  that sometime we find it difficult to put into words the questions that come to our minds.In the Bible reading of the morning, the Sadducees tested Jesus with a hard question about a teaching in the law of Moses. They asked Him whose wife would a woman be in the resurrection who had been married to seven brothers. This was called the law of Levirate marriage. It was the law of God under the law of Moses that if a married man died without a son, his brother or the next of kin should marry the widow, and the firstborn son of this union should be regarded and registered as the son of the deceased to keep his name alive.


"But Jesus answered and said unto them, you do err , not knowing the scriptures, or the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage.  But as stouching the resurrection  of the dead, have you not read  that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of A braham, Isaac and Jacob?  God isnot the God of tshe dead but of the living . And when the multitudes heard it, they were astoished at  his  teaching"(Matthew 22:29-33). And so are we.   Sadduceees were open opponents ofChrist while hewas on earth. They believed that there was no resurrection of the dead and no life beyond the grave. Thus they framed this  hypothetical siltuation  in order to disprove  Jesus' teaching that there will be a resurrection of the dead. What about our friends and loved we knew on earth, shall we meet them again? Who has not asked this  question? God's people have always taken for granted that there will be a future recognition in heaven. It appears to be a fact perfectly known to the inspired writers with no need to formerly prove it. If this doctrine is not true, many of the hymns in our song book are unscriptural.  We sing:: "Shall we gather at the river? Yes, we'll gather at the river that flows by the throne of God." We sing, "Ill meet you in the morning by the bright riverside." We sing, "In the sweet by and by we shall meet on that beautiful shore." Our hymns are full of such sentiments. I believe what Jesus said about Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in Matthew 8 and Matthew 22 sheds much light on this subject. It has ben revealed  that Abraham who has been dead over 3800 years  is still alive because God is the God of the living. And it has been revealed that the faithful will sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the world to come. What a future awaits God's people!

The Lord's words raises some fascinating questions. In Matt. 8:11 Jesus said that  Gentile Christians will come from the East and West  and sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in heaven. Will  saved Jews and Gentiles be able to recognize them when they sit down  with them? Will Hebrews who personally knew these three men when they lived on earth be able to identify them in heaven as the same men they knew on earth? I certainly would like to think so. If people will not be able to recognize the men they once knew on earth, how could they know they were sitting down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? If people can recognize these three great leaders as friends they knew on earth, then will not people be able also to recognize other friends they knew when they lived on earth? It seems to me a reasonable assumption that they will. In answering their question Christ taught at least three truths quite clearly: First, there will be a general resurrection of all mankind. . Second, in heaven physical relationships of husband and wife will no longer exist, for "they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as angels in heaven." Third, people do, however, retain their identity in the world to come.



The first thing we learn from the interview of Jesus with the Sadducees is that a general resurrection of the dead is clearly proven by the death of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But how does the death of these three men prove the resurrection of the dead? Jesus referred them to thi statement God made to Moses, "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Abraham had been dead 300 years when Moses lived; he had been dead 1800 when Jesus was alive. He has been dead over 3800 years since our day and time. But Jesus informed those Sadducees, "But God is not the God of the dead; He is the God of the living." What God means is Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are still alive and have been now for centuries.Only their bodies are dead. They are in Paradise in the Hadean world and their souls are still alive. God is not the God of dead, decayed, corrupted bodies, but the God of living souls. You might say, "Well I can believe they are still alive in paradise, but I don't see how that proves there will be a resurrection of dead bodies. Here is the proof. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob have no bodies in paradise. Human beings are not complete without a body. Are they going to be alive without bodies forever? The very fact that they are still alive without bodies is evidence that there will be  a resurrection of their bodies that will be changed, glorified and reunited with their souls. Since Abraham, Isaac and Jacob continue to exist they must receive a new body. Furthermore, there is no more fundamental principle in the Christian religion than the f act of Christ's resurrection from the dead. He was the first human being to rise from the dead never to die again. It was declared everywhere by the apostles and other preachers of the early church. Jesus was the first-fruits of the geneeral resurrection of the human race..


Secondly, we learn from the Lord's talk with the Sadducees that life in heaven will be different from life on earth. Jesus was asked whose wife a woman would be in heaven because she had been lawfully married seven times. In our day we find people talking and joking about physical activities in heaven. There are even jokes about these activities which, although very funny, fortify the misconception that heaven will be a physical place. Golf , fishing and the like are portrayed as heavenly activities. Some religious organizations actually teach that family relationships will be extended to heaven. John Wooden said he wanted to die so he could be with his wife. I don't know what Wooden's conception was of heaven, but the relationship of husbands and wives will be different than it was on earth. People have all kinds of concerns how they might be in heaven if some of their loved ones are not there, and such like worries.


Listen to what Jesus said about the after-life. "You are mistaken, not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven." We do not know much about how lving is among the angels, so we cannot speculate. However we do know that heaven is not a second earth. Jesus said something to people who have worries that they may not be happy in heaven. Jesus said, "You are mistaken, , not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God." Those who wonder about being happy in heaven don't know the power of God. No negative physical emotions or feelings will exist in heaven–neither sorrow, no pain, nor tears, nor crying , nor death. People in heaven will not be aware of anything which would bring them pain of any kind. Our peace and joy will be so complete that earth's joys and pleasures will be non-existent. If it should be that we will recognize loved ones in heaven, our relationship to them will not carry the same meaning that they have on earth. We will be united with our God, not reunited in the physical states we experienced on earth. Many people think of heaven as a literal city of gold, floating in the sky. Revelation 21 and 22 presents a physical description of heaven for the benefit of physical beings. However these physical symbols represent spiritual qualities or aspects. There will be nothing physical about heaven.



Thirdly, the discussion between Christ and the Sadducees revealed another wonderful truth. In the resurrection of the dead all people will retain their identity. After the resurrection I and you will be the same persons we are here. Jesus revealed this great truth in another reference to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in Matthew 8:5-13.A Roman centurion, an idolater, a military man came to Jesus and requested that he heal his servant who was paralyzed and dreadfully tormented. He was not sent to Gentiles but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Jesus made an exception and said, "I will come and heal him. Take me to your house." No Lord, I'm not worthy for you to come under my roof. Just speak the word and my servant will be healed. I am a man of authority and no one disobeys me and I know you are a man of authority. Jesus marveled and said, "I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel. But before He said, "Go your way, and as you have believed, so let it be done for you," he said something else to this Gentile that gives all Gentile Christians great hope ad comfort. Listen to these words, "And I say to you, many will come from the east and west and sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven." This is a prediction that all saved Gentile Christians will sit down in heaven with Abraham,, Isaac and Jacob, three of the most famous men in the Bible, and three of the most famous men who ever lived on earth. This promise of Jesus raises some fascinating questions about what life will be like in heaven. Jesus has clearly revealed that many Gentile Christians who never knew Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in this life, who only read about them in the Bible, nevertheless, they shall sit down with these great men in the world to come. It is necessarily implied that all Jews who served God faithfully will also sit down with these reat men, who are the fathers of all promises that God has made to the human race, both Jews and Gentiles.

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