Will There Be Recognition In Heaven?

by Pastor Paul M. Sadler


“We have a question which needs answering. We often hear from grace believers and pastors that, in heaven, we will recognize those saints we have known on earth. Please show us from Paul’s epistles where this might be found.”

We believe there will be recognition in heaven, which, as we are going to see, can be substantiated from Paul’s revelation. But it should be remembered that the subject of recognition in eternity is a biblical principle that transcends the ages and dispensations.

In Paul’s epistle to the Philippians, the apostle reveals to these dear saints, some of whom were suffering persecution, that their “conversation [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body” (Phil. 3:20,21a). The key phrase here is that these old bodies of humiliation will be “fashioned like unto His glorious body” in the secret resurrection at His coming — the Rapture. In other words, what was true of our Lord’s glorified resurrected body will be true of ours as well. Of course, we know the disciples recognized the resurrected Christ when He appeared to them in the upper room.

“Then saith He to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side….And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God” (John 20:27,28). There was no question whatsoever in Thomas’ mind that the One standing before him was the Lord. He clearly recognized Him. In similar fashion, we will be known in glory even as we are presently known, as members of the Body of Christ.

Additional support for people recognizing each other in eternity can be found in Matthew 8:11, Luke 16:19-31 and John 11:21-26.