Will We Know One Another in Heaven?

Gary Combs ·
April 28, 2024 · heaven · Revelation 7:9-12 · Notes


Through the years, when someone loses a loved one, one of the most asked questions I get when I’m
helping a family prepare for a funeral and helping them process their grief and pray with them, is this very question: “Will We Know One Another In Heaven?” Underneath this question are several others, like: “Will I still be me in heaven? Will I still have all my memories and personality? Will I look like me?” And, “Will I recognize my friends and loved ones who gone to heaven before me? Will I recognize other biblical saints? Will I know Jesus?”

In the book of Revelation, the apostle John recorded his vision of believers in heaven knowing one another. We can be confident that believers in heaven will know one another.


Good to see all of you here this morning. We're continuing our series entitled,  "Heaven, It's better than you ever imagined." And we're in part three of this series, and we're getting a lot of people really excited about heaven because that's what the Lord calls us to, to think on things above, to set our minds on things above. So we've been talking about that now.

And so today we're going to be talking about, will we know one another in heaven? That's going to be the sermon today. We'll be addressing that question, will we know one another in heaven? Now, before we begin, I want to talk to you about the citywide prayer rally. You should have gotten this insert in your bulletin today, and it begins tonight at 6:30pm  at Daniel's Chapel.

And so I'd love to see you there. We'll be there with about ten other churches, it sounds like, and tonight you'll hear from several pastors. But mostly we're going to be hearing scripture reading, worshiping and praying. It's not a preaching service, it's a prayer service, but you'll enjoy it because it'll have interspersed kind of instructions. It'll be like, let's pray about this, and now let's sing, and then we'll pray about some other thing.

And so you'll feel very excited to be there. I think you'll enjoy it. But it's four nights of prayer. We believe that every revival is preceded by a time of prayer where churches come together, where believers come together and pray for our city. So we're praying for revival in our city.

So it begins tonight at Daniel's Chapel, Free Will Baptist Church, and then it will conclude on Wednesday night as we celebrate and remember the National Day of Prayer at the Whirligig stage. And we actually have our own band. The StedFast band will be playing that night. And so join us on all four nights if you're able, but at least on some of the nights. And so we encourage you to do that.

Well, that's that reminder. And it's important because I'm part of a group called Christ Together for Wilson, and we're the sponsors of the group, and that represents about eight important gospel-centered churches in town that are working together to see gospel saturation in our city. Okay, let's get back to the sermon. Today we're discussing, "Will we know one another in heaven?"

As we learned in previous weeks, the first week we talked about how God's word says to us that we're to long for,  we're to seek and to set our minds on things above, not on things of this earth. Right? That's how we started.

And we talked about seeking the things of heaven where we don't want to conflate the two stories about heaven and the Bible and make them one, that we're talking about the present heaven. The present heaven is where Christ is now, at the right hand of the Father, where the saints who have gone  from the Old Testament and the New Testament and the saints that believe are present there. The angelic host are there. But it's not the future heaven, which is the new heavens and the new earth. We covered this in week one, that the first two chapters of the Bible, first two chapters of Genesis, describe God dwelling with man in the garden of Eden.

He would walk and talk in the cool of the evening. And so God was present. Heaven and earth were united. But then from Genesis 3 to Revelation 20, we have the story of man apart from heaven, apart from God because of man's sin. And so present heaven is away from earth.

And that's where God and the angelic host are, Jesus is at the right hand of the Father. Saints who have gone on before, but they're in the last two chapters of the Bible, the book of Revelation. It describes a new heaven  and a new earth, where God dwells with man and earth and heaven are once again united. It's a beautiful story. It's God's story.

And you can see the arc of it, that he's restoring all things and making all things new. And so that's what we talked about in week one, that we're to seek the things that are above. And we were instructed not to confuse all the stuff that describes the new heavens and the earth with the present heaven. And so, once again, today we're primarily talking about the present heaven or what theologians call the "intermediate state." Okay, so that was week one.

Week two, we asked the question, what's heaven like? And what we meant was, what's the present heaven like? What's heaven right now like? And we said that believers in the present heaven are with Christ. That's the chief reality, that they're fully conscious, that they're actively engaged, and that they're eagerly waiting.

And what are they waiting for? They're waiting for the new heavens and the new earth. They're waiting for their resurrection bodies that will dwell with the Lord forever. And so it's good to follow Christ. We talked about this last week.

It's good. It's sweet to have Christ, but to be with Him in the present heaven, Paul says, is better by far. But then the future, new heavens and new earth are best, good, better, best. And so this we see as the arc of the story of God's word. Now, let's answer this question and talk about this question.

Will we know one another in heaven? And what we're talking about, to be clear, is the present heaven. Through the years when someone has lost a loved one, and it's my role to meet with the family and to help them prepare the funeral and to help them walk through their grief and pray with them, this is one of the most often asked questions. Will we know one another in heaven? Will I know him?

And will she know me? And we have in mind that loved one. And underneath that question are several other questions that are implied, like, will I still be me in heaven? Will you still be you? Will we have our current memories and personality, or will we be completely different?

Will I look like me? What will I look like? Will I recognize my friends and loved ones? Will I recognize other biblical saints? Will I know Jesus and will I be able to talk to him?

And then this question came out in my small group this week and in my community group. And community groups, as we heard from Mike earlier, are small groups that meet during the week. And we were talking about the Heaven series. And that same person I've been quoting to you, that was asking me stuff, questions. He's been giving me some of the best questions.

He asked, will there be humor in heaven? And so let's see if we can answer that one today, too. I said, okay, wait till Sunday. Maybe I'll have something for you. And so let's look at the scriptures and see what God's word reveals about these kinds of questions about heaven.

In the book of Revelation. That's where we'll be today. The apostle John recorded his vision of believers in heaven knowing one another. And I believe that we can be confident that we will know one another in heaven, as John shows us. Why are we able to be confident?

Well, as we look at the text, the text gives four answers as to why we can be confident that we'll know one another in heaven. So let's dig in. Book of Revelation, chapter seven, starting at verse nine. This is John speaking:

Revelation 7:9-12 (ESV) 9 "After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” This is God's word.

And we'll hear another amen,right, to that. So we're talking about four answers to this question. Will believers know one another in heaven? Here's the first.

1. YES! We will retain our earthly identity.

Yes. Yes. We will retain our earthly identity in heaven. We will retain our earthly identity. Look at verse nine.

Notice this is John speaking. He says, I looked. He has retained his identity. He knows who he is. He says, I looked, and these are the things I saw.

He knows who he is. And then he recognizes a multitude. And this multitude is made up, he says, of people that have apparently retained their national and their tribal identities as well as their languages. Did you see that? Did you notice that?

He says he looked and he saw people from every nation, all tribes and peoples and languages. What's going on here? John is somehow able to visually notice that these people, while they're all dressed in the same uniform, they're all in white robes, they all look like they came from various cultures. Various. In fact, the Greek word for nations here is ethnos.

That's where we get the word ethnic. These people came from every ethnic background. He sees people of various shades of color, people who, men and women who came from various cultures, and he notices that they all came from various languages, but yet he could understand them. This is an amazing reality. He looks.

He sees a great multitude. He says no one could number them. He was taking notes, and there were apparently so many that you couldn't even count them. Of interest, here is another Greek word I've told you.

It's arithmeō. It's where we get the word arithmetic. He says, it's too many to count. There's too many to arithmetic here.

He says, there's a multitude. It's a mess of people. He couldn't number them all. But I'll tell you one thing, he said they came from every part of the world, and apparently it was visibly noticeable that they came from every part of the world, that they came from every nation and tribe and people, group and ethnic group. And so they have retained something of their earthly identity, haven't they?

They've retained that. Here's something else I believe you'll retain. You'll keep the name that your parents gave you. You'll keep the name that your parents gave you. Plus the scripture says you'll get a new name, that Jesus is going to give you a new name.

It says in Revelation 2:17 and 3:12  that Jesus will give a new name to those who overcome. And so that's true, if you remember, God loves doing that. He renamed Abram to Abraham, Sarai to Sarah.   He renamed Jacob to  Israel. He renamed Simon to  Peter.

He renamed Saul to Paul. And I could go on, right? He loves renaming people, but yet they retain their original name, the name their parents gave them. And so you see Peter, but you see Simon Peter together. You see Jacob throughout the scripture, but also Israel.

And so they retain the name their parents gave them. God honors that. But Jesus gives him a new name. It says in Isaiah 66:22 (ESV) “For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the Lord, so shall your offspring and your name remain." I believe that you'll keep your earthly identity.

In fact, you'll keep the name your parents gave you, plus you'll get a new name. In the book of Matthew, Jesus was talking to the Sadducees, and he corrects them because they don't believe in the resurrection. And he corrects them and says, Matthew 22:32 (ESV) ‘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. Why would he say that? Because he's the God of the living, not of the dead.

And so Jesus himself is making the point that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are still living, and they're with the father, and they've still got their names. And he's correct in those Sadducees who did not believe in the resurrection. And they got their names. And by the way, if you're a believer, your name is recorded in heaven. Your name is recorded in heaven.

Revelation 21:27 (ESV) "But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life." Your name's written there. If you have received Jesus as your lord and savior, your name is recorded in the Lamb's book of Life. Who's the Lamb?

The lamb is Jesus. It's in Christ's book of life. Your name is written there. You'll retain your earthly identity. This is important.

Randy Alcorn, in his book on heaven makes an excellent case concerning the judgment that it would make no sense for there to be a judgment if you're not you. Here's what he says, “You will be you in Heaven. Who else would you be? If Bob, a man on Earth, is no longer Bob when he gets to Heaven, then, in fact, Bob did not go to Heaven. If when I arrive in Heaven I’m not the same person with the same identity, history, and memory, then I didn’t go to Heaven. If we weren’t ourselves in the afterlife, then we couldn’t be held accountable for what we did in this life. The Judgment would be meaningless. If Barbara is no longer Barbara, she can’t be rewarded or held accountable for anything Barbara did. She’d have to say, “But that wasn’t me.” The doctrines of judgment and eternal rewards depend on people’s retaining their distinct identities from this life to the next.”

It makes perfect sense. If God's going to judge us for whether or not we believe or not, and according to our deeds, then we have to be us. You have to be you, and I have to be me.

Otherwise, judgment makes no sense. You will retain your earthly identity. You will be you. Hinduism, Buddhism, these other religions, they speak of your identity disappearing into the one. Well, Buddhism does, primarily, whereas Hinduism will speak of you being reincarnated according to your karma, according to how you've performed on planet Earth.

You might come back as a human, but you could come back as a dog. These are other religions. Christianity is the religion that speaks of the continuity of the identity of the person continuing. And we Christians are the only ones who believe in the resurrection of the body so that we live forever with the Lord. This is one more thing that makes Christianity unique.

I don't know about you. I don't want to come back as a dog. I don't want to come back as something other. I want to experience who I am, except a better version of me, a version that is better by far.

Now, let's address that question from my small group, as we're thinking about our individuality. When we think about our individuality, we think about personality. And maybe when we think about personality, we think about, well, this person was an introvert in this life, or an extrovert in this life, or this kind of. Or maybe you would say, that person used to crack me up on planet earth. That person was always such a comedian and had such a good sense of humor. I wonder, would they retain it in heaven?

And that was the question of, would there be a sense of humor? Will we have humor in heaven? That's what I was asked in my small group this week. Now, according to Mark Twain, the answer is "no." Here's what Mark Twain wrote about this, "perhaps thinking of how he himself and most humorists and comedians are actually miserable in real life."

He says, “Everything human is pathetic. The secret source of humor itself is not joy but sorrow. There is no humor in heaven.” Well, that's just sad, isn't it? That's what Mark Twain thought.

He probably thought, like a lot of comedians, if you really get to know the life story of a lot of comedians, they often have a miserable life, and their humor often comes as a defensive strategy to survive the suffering that they're going through. And so maybe that's what Twain was talking about. But I have another quote for you, from an important christian. Let's see if you can guess who said it. He said, “If you’re not allowed to laugh in heaven, I don’t want to go there."

Who do you think said that? It was Martin Luther,  the founder of the Protestant Reformation. He said, “If you’re not allowed to laugh in heaven, I don’t want to go there."  That's what he said.

Let's see if you can guess who said this, “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh… Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven."

Who do you think said that? Jesus.

Jesus said that/.  In the book of Luke, chapter six, Jesus said, you're going to laugh in heaven. You're going to leap for joy in heaven. I think I have the answer. Yes, there will be humor in heaven.

Yes, we were made in God's image, and I think even the humor is something that God recognizes and understands. And I believe there'll be joy in heaven. I don't know if I'll be leaping for joy anytime soon. I gave up leaping for joy probably about a decade ago. I kind of skip for joy once in a while, but I don't do a lot of leaping for joy.

I used to, but I get a new body. I get a new reality someday in heaven, Jesus says, you will laugh. You will leap for joy. Oh, that's wonderful, believer. You will be you in heaven, but the you you will be will be better by far.

Your redeemed self, your born again self will be set free from the old sin nature, the old flesh, everything that. Those bad habits, those things you wish you could do, but you don't quite have the self discipline to do. You wish you could be more obedient, but you keep stumbling. All of that will be left behind. The flesh will be left behind.

The sin nature. You will recognize yourself, but without sin and without the weaknesses and bad habits and old desires, you'll be you, but a far better you, because you'll be becoming like Jesus, and you shall laugh and rejoice and even leap for joy. I don't know when the last time you leapt, but you will leap. This is the first answer to the question, will we know one another? Here's the second.

Yes, we will recognize others individuality. Yes, we will recognize other's individuality. In other words, we will recognize other saints, and we will fellowship with them. Notice the further evidence of individuality. The multitude.

We already took note that they came from all these various backgrounds, but now let's take note of their physical presence in heaven. They're standing before the throne. They're standing. They're standing before the lamb. And the lamb, I believe, is a metaphor.

For who? For Jesus. John the Baptist saw Jesus coming to be baptized at the river Jordan. And he said to his disciples and those around him, John the Baptist says, behold the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Now, did Jesus suddenly become a physical lamb?

No, it's a metaphor. It's a metaphor for all those lambs that were sacrificed in the Old Testament for our sins, to cover our sins. And none of those lambs can save us from our sins. They're all like checks written on a future deposit. And that future deposit was Jesus, the lamb of God, the one and only lamb of God.

Now, is he a lamb in heaven? I don't think so. I think he's still in his physical form that his disciples saw him in, although in an improved, better by far state. When John saw him earlier in the book of revelation, chapter one, John fell out like a dead man in front of him because of the awesome sight of Jesus. I don't think he looks like a lamb.

His title is lamb. He's the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. John saw that. He saw that all these people were clothed in white robes. They had the same uniforms on.

They were waving palm branches with their hands. They were crying out. So they were able to make verbal expression. They were able to stand, wear clothes, hold palm branches and cry out. He recognizes their individuality, yet their unity.

He was probably wondering exactly who these people were. It's like a new crowd came in, and they're standing before the throne. And John's wondering. And we looked at this last week. Let's look at it again.

Revelation 713 14. Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, who are these clothed in white robes? And four from where have they come? And John said to him, sir, you know, and this elder said back to him, these are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. And so John, he could see they.

There was a great multitude. He could see they came from all these different ethnic groups and spoke all these different languages, but he didn't really understand. Who are they? And the elder came over and said, do you know who they are? He said, sir, you probably know.

And he goes, they just got here from the tribulation. They were martyred in the tribulation. You see, there's learning in heaven. There are questions to ask and questions to be answered. There's activity in heaven.

And this elder knew more about it, and so he explained it to John. You will recognize others individuality. You will be you, and they will be they. They will be themselves, and they have some sort of physical presence. Now, we know in the new heavens and the new earth that we get a resurrection body.

That's like Jesus. It's like what you read about after he was raised from the grave, what was he able to do? He was able to appear in a room without using the door. He was able to eat fish. He was able to be touched.

He says to Thomas, he said, put your hand here and believe he still had the scars in his hands. I believe the reason he retains those is because they are like badges of courage. They are evidence that the lamb was slain for our sins. He keeps them because he's showing us who he is. But we'll have a body in the new heavens and the new earth that has that reality like Jesus has.

But what about the body that we would have in the present heaven? Now, that's a mystery. But I have a hint for you here, perhaps from the book of Hebrews, a hint for me as I've studied on it. Hebrews describes heaven a little bit, and it describes the names of people in heaven, but it also describes something of their being. It says in Hebrews, chapter twelve, know you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels.

In a joyful gathering. You have come to the assembly of God's firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You've come to God himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect. So it seems that in the present heaven, we might have a temporary spiritual existence, but yet still being perceived as being able to talk, to see, to wear white clothes, to wave palm branches, to ask questions and receive answers.

Are you still with me? And so we're talking about the present heaven and that we will know one another. And Jesus, when he was talking to the roman centurion in Capernaum, and this roman centurion was a friend of the Jews. He was a God fearing gentile, and he had underwritten the building of the synagogue in Capernaum. My wife and I and some of you have gone to Israel with me, and we have visited the foundation and the pillars that still stand there for that synagogue in Capernaum that Jesus preached in and that this roman centurion helped build.

Now, this particular roman centurion came to Jesus, his servant was ill, and he said, jesus, would you heal my servant? And Jesus said, yes, I'll follow you home and heal your servant. He says, no, you don't have to go home with me. I'm a man under authority, and I have soldiers under authority. And if I tell him to go there, he goes there.

If I tell this other one to go over here, he goes over here. So I know that if you say it, my servant will be healed. You don't have to lower yourself to go into a gentiles home. If you say it, I believe it. And Jesus said, I've never seen faith like this in all of Israel.

He was amazed by the roman centurion's faith. And he goes on to say this, and this is what I wanted to get to. Matthew, chapter eight, verse eleven. He says, I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. He says, the gentiles are coming in too, if they believe in Jesus, if they believe in me, and they're going to recline at table.

You're going to be at the marriage supper of the lamb, and you're going to be there with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This is what he's telling this roman centurion. It probably upset the Jews there, but it made his day. You're going to be at the table with these individuals who have these unique individual identities. Some years ago, we lost a grandson.

His name was Connor. He only lived for 14 hours. He was my eldest son's son. It was hard. You go from celebrating the birth to a day later grieving the loss.

When it was time to have a funeral for Conor, we went to the place, to the funeral home, and began to make plans, and we ordered a casket. The casket was about that big right there, about that big. And we were planning the funeral. And me and my son Stephen, we were working out how we could give glory to God for those 14 hours. And for those months that Caroline carried that baby, because we believe Connor is alive right now in heaven.

We believe we'll see him someday. And so Stephen said, dad, I think I need to talk. And I said, honey, I mean, that'd be hard. I said, gonna be hard enough for me to talk, for me to preach. But you.

He goes, now, dad, I feel like I need to. And so he took us his text. Second Samuel, 1222. This is David. When David lost a son.

Now, David had been fasting and praying and wouldn't eat. He wouldn't take a bath, wouldn't comb his hair, wouldn't trim his beard for days as the son was sick. But when the son died, he asked for food. He took a bath, he cleaned up himself, cut his hair. And the servants were like, we don't understand.

We were afraid to tell you he was about to die because we figured, oh, man, he's so bad now. When he's sick, he'll probably. Who knows what will happen to him? He goes, no, you don't understand. And he says this, I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.

You know what? David had? Confidence. My son Stephen took that as his text. He had confidence, and so do I.

That someday we'll see Connor. He's grown up in heaven. He's never had to experience the difficulties of this life. I believe that believer. You will recognize and know one another in heaven.

You will. This is the reality. Yet without the frailties of earth, imagine meeting someone like Johnny Erickson. Tada. Do you know what I'm talking about?

Johnny Erickson. Tada. She's 74 now. 74 years old. Go ahead and pop the photo up in case you can't remember who I'm talking about.

She's been a quadriplegic since 17. Since she was 17 years old, she had a diving accident and broke her neck. And she's been paralyzed from the neck down her entire adult life, pretty much from 17 to the present. She can sort of move her shoulders, and with these, these straps and stuff she has on her arms, she can make some movement with her hands because she has some feeling in her shoulders. With physical therapy, and she paints and draws with something in her mouth.

She uses her mouth to do that. She's been in a wheelchair all these years, and her husband cares for every detail of her life. But when she gets to heaven, there'll be no wheelchair. You see, she used to be a great athlete. She was a diver, a swimmer, a risk taker, a vibrant, vivacious young woman.

And now she's known for her quietness and being trapped in this body that she can't move. But not in heaven, not in the future. When you see her there, she'll look familiar, but there'll be no wheelchair, and there'll be no straps on her hands, and she'll be better by far. And so will you believe her. And so are those who have gone on before us.

Better by far. Think of it. Recognizable, but better by far. I'm quoting Paul, right? To live as Christ, to die is gain.

To continue in ministry here would be to my advantage, but to be with Jesus in glory is better by far.

This is the third answer. The first answer is, you'll be you. The second answer is, they'll be they. Here's the third answer. You will experience perfect unity.

Yes, perfect unity. Now, normally, when you encounter a multitude from every ethnic background speaking different languages, what you have is war. You don't look like me, you don't talk like me. And we begin to separate. See, on planet Earth, if you get together a group of people from every ethnic background, they end up fighting.

We end up with racial sin, we end up with noticing our differences instead of celebrating them. That God loves all. Just look at creation of all the different animals. He loves all of the colors and all the differences. But there will be unity in spite of these different nation, tribe, people, language groups.

If we retain these aspects. How is this possible? They were standing before one throne. They weren't standing before their own throne. They were standing before the throne of the lamb, which means they were saying, your will, not my will.

God. They were completely as one man standing before the throne. And they were all wearing the same uniforms, white robes, which are emblematic of their purity, that they were the righteous ones, made righteous. Because their robes were washed in the blood of the lamb. They've been purified and made righteous.

Okay, so they might have different skin color. They might have different racial and ethnic backgrounds, right? Some of them like to eat Mexican, and some of them like to eat Chinese. And some of them like soul food, but they all stand before the same throne. They all wear the same white robes.

They're completely unified. Not only that, they spoke with one voice. It says in verse ten, they cried out. And then it says with a loud voice. It's interesting.

In the Greek. I can't not tell you about loud voice. In the Greek, it's megalephone. Megalaphone. It's where we get the word megaphone.

Megaphone. They spoke with one voice that was so loud. And what did they say, they said, salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne and to the lamb. We take no credit for being here. We're here only because the lamb saved us.

Jesus saved us, and they are all united under one banner. It's the banner of the lamb. That's why they're there. They know why they're there. They know how they got there.

And they spoke loudly. It's like a victory party here. They're waving palm branches. Well, like they did at the triumphal entry of Jesus when he entered in on the first day of passion, week before his crucifixion and resurrection. And they're waving palm branches before the lamb.

It's a victory party. And they cry out, salvation comes from Jesus. That's why we're here now. Just a few years ago, the fans of the Seattle Seahawks football team said a Guinness book of world Records volume of the fans. How loud?

They were the loudest fans in the NFL. On December 2, 2013, during a third down defensive stand against the New Orleans Saints, the Seahawks fans produced an ear splitting 137.6 decibels of volume praising their team. They refer to the fans are referred to as the 12th member of the football team. The roar of a jet engine, by the way, if you stand 100ft away from a jet engine, is 140 decibels. It was just that close to being that loud.

In fact, their praise was so loud, their shouting so loud, that it triggered a minor earthquake. According to the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, they detected vibrations in the region that measured between a magnitude one and two earthquake during the game. But make no mistake, what John heard in present heaven, when the multitude without number that could not be counted, when they shouted with one voice, salvation is from the lamb alone. When they shouted that and waved their palm branches, my goodness, heaven shook. They never heard anything like that.

My goodness. I don't know if we'll have Guinness book or old Records recordings up in heaven, but they would break it. You know the Lord's prayer, right? Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. We call it the Lord's prayer.

Some call it the our father because of how it begins, but it's really not the Lord's prayer. It's the lord's model prayer. It's the lord's teaching prayer because the disciples said, teach us how to pray, lord. And he taught him, and he taught them this prayer. His real prayer is in John 17.

This is where he's actually praying. And John records it, and I believe he's praying this in the garden of Gethsemane, the night before his crucifixion. What do you think he prayed for? He prayed for our oneness, our unity. He says, the glory that you have given me, I've given to them that they may be one, even as we are one.

I in them and you and me. That they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them. Even as you love me, Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me may be with me where I am to see my glory that you have given me because you love me before the foundation of the world.

This is. You want Jesus prayer to come true, be right with the Father and right with one another. But that's what heaven looks like. Unity. In fact, that's been God's plan all along, is to bring unity for all of heaven and earth to be unified under the banner of Christ.

It says in Ephesians, chapter one, God made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment, to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. This is what God's up to. He's calling an end to war and sin and all of our trouble of disunity. Believer, you will know perfect unity in heaven with your believing spouse, your family, your friends, the saints that have gone before, most of all, the Lord himself. You will be at one with everyone.

Imagine this. No more being offended. No more going around saying, you hurt my feelings, because you'll be at one with one another. No more feeling lonely or left out. No more arguing and complaining.

No more war. Being right with self and others in God is better by far. So that we love the Lord with all our hearts and all our minds and all our souls and all of our strength and our nature as ourselves. This is what God is up to, and that's what heaven will be like. It's better by far.

It's better. And here's the final answer, the fourth answer. Will we know one another? Yes, we will know and be known by the Lord. John recognized the lamb.

He sees him in verse nine and ten. He mentions it twice. He mentions the throne four times. In nine through eleven, John recognizes him. He doesn't just recognize the lamb, he recognizes the heavenly hosts.

He sees the elders. There are 24 of them, twelve representing the Old Testament tribes, twelve representing the New Testament disciples, so that the jewish believers and the gentile believers, the church in Israel, are one in heaven. And so he sees the elders, he sees the angels. He even sees. He sees the four living creatures, and they're pretty amazing.

I think Isaiah saw them back there. In Isaiah six, Ezekiel caught a glimpse of them. These are some strange creatures. They're some unusual beasts. God loves variety.

He saw them and they're all around. In fact, we can see another place where God reveals to John the reality of this place. Revelation four. And instantly I was in the spirit and I saw a throne in heaven and someone sitting on it. The one sitting on the throne was as brilliant as gemstones like Jasper and Carnelian.

And the glow of an emerald circled his throne like a rainbow. 24 thrones surrounded him, and 24 elders sat on them. They were all clothed in white and had gold crowns on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning and the rumble of thunder. And in front of the throne were seven torches with burning flames.

This is the sevenfold spirit of God. And then later, as we read here, he sees the lamb of God at the right hand of the throne. Now, he doesn't really see who's on the throne. Can you see that way John's describing it? He sees light.

He sees lightning and thunder. There's some sort of manifestation of the Trinity here. He sees seven burning flames that are somehow representative, figuratively, of the Holy Spirit. Somehow. This is a mysterious thing.

I don't want to press in too deeply here, because the word of God doesn't tell us details, but he gives us a glimpse that somehow we will know the Lord and be fully known by him, that we'll be in the presence of God. And John sees it, and he struggles, I think, to describe it. Oh, my goodness. We will know the Lord as we are fully known, and we will fall on our faces before him. Notice their final statement begins with an amen and ends with an amen.

Verse twelve saying, amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power, and might be to our God forever and ever. Amen. When you have bookends of amens like that, when you have one at the beginning and one at the end, the first one is basically telling you what I'm about to say is the truth. Kind of like one of those truly, truly, I say unto you statements, if it begins with an amen, it's a verily, if you like, King Jimmy translation. It's verily.

Verily, I say unto you. Okay, so if it begins with an amen, that's what it means. And if it ends with an amen, it says, so be it. May it be so. May it be fulfilled.

What I'm about to tell you is the truth about God. And it's so double amen. Bookended amens. That's how they talked. And who was that talking?

Well, that was everybody in heaven. That was the elders. That was the angelic host. That was the four living creatures. They were all given that double amen.

It's a beautiful scene. We will know the Lord and be far better in our knowledge of him and of ourselves. You'll know yourself better. It says in one corinthians, for now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part.

Then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. You'll be the you that God means for you to be. And you'll know who you are and who he is. No more self doubt. Everything that limits you in the flesh and in the sin nature is gone.

It's better by far, believers. You will know him and be fully known by him. You'll be able to talk with him just as the disciples did. This is the reality of the present heaven. What's the answer to the question?

Will we know one another in heaven? This is the answer. Yes. You'll retain your earthly identity. You'll recognize individuals.

You will be at perfect unity with one another. And you will know and see Jesus because you'll be with him. When I was growing up, one of my favorite songs, I think it's because it's in a minor key. It was unusual as a hymn that we used to sing to describe heaven. It's called wayfaring stranger.

I am a poor wayfaring stranger wandering through this world below. There'll be no sickness, no toil, nor danger in that bright world to which I go. Well, I'm going there to see my father. I'm going there no more. To Rome.

I am just going over Jordan. I am just going over home. Where's home? It's not here. It's with Jesus.

I go there to prepare a place for you. That where I am, there you will be also. Do you know him? If you made your reservation, let's pray.

Lord, I pray for that person that's here today. They've never given their life to you. They've never made sure of their future. Is it you, my friend? Right where you're at?

Right in your seat. You can respond to the message today. Are you ready? Have you made your reservation for heaven? Do you know Jesus?

That's our true home. You can pray to receive him right now, right where you're at? Just pray like this. Dear Lord Jesus, I'm a sinner. I turn from my sin.

I repent of my sin, and I turn to you. I believe you died on the cross for my sins and that you're raised from the grave and that you live today. Forgive me of my sin and make me the person you want me to be. I want to be a Christ follower. I want you as my lord and savior.

Thank you, Lord, for saving me and forgiving me. If you're praying that prayer of faith, believing he'll do just that, others are here today and you're a Christ follower. You love the Lord, but you've been entangled in worldly things. You've taken your eyes off of things to come. You've doubted, you've struggled.

You've been grieving, you've been hurting. Be encouraged. Be encouraged. Set your minds, Lord, we just set our minds on things above where our heart is and where our true home is. Lord, strengthen us now.

In Jesus name. Amen.