Heaven (Part 29) - Will We Know What is Happening on Earth?


Heaven (Part 29) - Will We Know What is Happening on Earth? 2. Will we know what is going on down on earth? A. It appears that we will have at least a limited knowledge of what is happening on earth while we are in the present heaven. B. The martyrs knew that their blood had not yet been avenged on their persecutors (Rev 6:9-10). i. This suggests that they remembered what happened to them on earth. ii. They also knew that the persecutors were still dwelling on the earth (Rev 6:10). iii. They knew that their brethren on earth were going to be killed as they were (Rev 6:11). iv. This passage reveals that the saints in heaven know at least some things that are happening on earth. C. People in heaven are aware of judgments that are taking place on earth. i. The inhabitants of heaven including the apostles and prophets are told to rejoice over the destruction of Babylon on earth (Rev 18:20). ii. People in heaven praise God for the destruction of the great whore on earth (Rev 19:1-5). iii. This means that the saints in heaven can either see, or are at least told about, some of the events happening on earth. iv. "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?" (Randy Alcorn, Heaven, p. 70) v. "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?" (Ibid) D. The angels know what is happening on earth because they are involved in some of the events (Rev 7:1-3, etc.). i. We will be made equal unto the angels (Luk 20:36). ii. It is therefore possible that we will be aware of the events unfolding on earth. E. There is joy in the presence of the angels when a sinner repents on earth (Luk 15:10). i. If the angels are rejoicing in heaven, we would see them doing so. ii. If we were not aware of a sinner repenting on earth through our own observation, we would certainly find out when we were told what the celebration was about. iii. There will be joy in heaven (which likely includes the saints in heaven) over one sinner that repents (Luk 15:7). iv. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that we will at least be made aware of certain events happening on earth. v. "Christ said, "There will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent" (Luk 15:7). Similarly, "there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents" (Luk 15:10). Notice it does not speak of rejoicing by the angels but in the presence of angels. Who is doing the rejoicing in Heaven? I believe it logically includes not only God but also the saints in Heaven, who would so deeply appreciate the wonder of human conversion―especially the conversion of those they knew and loved on Earth. If they rejoice over conversions happening on Earth, then obviously they must be aware of what is happening on Earth―and not just generally, but specifically, down to the details of individuals coming to faith in Christ." (Randy Alcorn, Heaven, pp. 70-71) F. The angels learn the wisdom of God and the gospel by the church (Eph 3:10; 1Pe 1:12). i. This suggests that they can behold church services and hear what is preached. ii. It is possible that saints in heaven who are made equal unto the angels could be aware of such things on earth as well. G. What about verses that appear to state that saints in heaven are ignorant of things on earth, such as the following. i. The Jews said that Abraham was ignorant of them and Israel did not acknowledge them (Isa 63:16). a. Ignorant adj. - 1. a. Destitute of knowledge, either in general or with respect to a particular fact or subject; unknowing, uninformed, unlearned. b. They thought that Abraham didn't know them. (i) They assumed that he knew nothing of their plight. (ii) Even if he did, he could do nothing to help them, so it would be as if he were ignorant of them. (iii) Their only hope for help was in God their Father (Isa 63:16), not in Abraham their national father (Luk 3:8; Joh 8:39). (iv) Even if Abraham was ignorant of their personal situations, he might still have had knowledge of general things happening on earth for the reasons given previously. c. Acknowledge v. - 1. To own the knowledge of; to confess; to recognize or admit as true. d. They thought that Israel (Jacob) refused to recognize them or to admit to knowing them. e. If this were the case, then it actually suggests that Israel was aware of them, but refused to admit to knowing them because of their sin. ii. Job said that a man who dies doesn't know when his sons come to honour or when they are brought low (Job 14:21). a. Is this verse teaching that those in heaven have no knowledge of what's happening on earth? b. The man that Job is describing almost certainly went to hell for the following reasons: (i) God prevails forever against him (Job 14:20). (ii) God sends him away (Job 14:20). 1. This language doesn't suggest that God brings or takes him to heaven to be with Him. 2. The wicked are sent away from God (Mat 7:23; Mat 25:41, 46). 3. God says "come" to the righteous (Mat 25:34), but "depart" to the wicked (Mat 25:41). 4. The righteous are "gathered" together (Mat 13:30; Mat 13:48), the wicked are "cast" into a furnace of fire (Mat 13:42; Mat 13:48, 50; Mat 22:13). (iii) His flesh upon him shall have pain (Job 14:22). 1. If Job 14:21 is referring to the time after the man's death, then so is Job 14:22. 2. This must be referring to a wicked man who is suffering punishment after death. a. There is no pain for those in heaven and the new earth (Rev 7:16-17; Rev 21:4). b. There is pain for those in hell and the lake of fire (Mat 25:46; Rom 2:9). i. Punishment n. - 1. a. The action of punishing or the fact of being punished; the infliction of a penalty in retribution for an offence; also, that which is inflicted as a penalty; a penalty imposed to ensure the application and enforcement of a law. ii. Penalty n. - 1. Pain, suffering. iii. Tribulation n. - 1. A condition of great affliction, oppression, or misery; ‘persecution; distress; vexation; disturbance of life’ iv. Anguish n. - 1. Excruciating or oppressive bodily pain or suffering, such as the sufferer writhes under. 3. This must be referring to his suffering after the resurrection because it says his flesh shall have pain (Joh 5:28-29). (iv) His soul within him shall mourn (Job 14:22). 1. There is no mourning in heaven for children of God (Rev 7:17). 2. But there is mourning in hell for children of the devil (Luk 6:25). c. Given the fact that Job is describing a wicked man in hell and the lake of fire, Job 14:21 doesn't prove that saints in heaven have no knowledge of events on earth. d. This verse does imply that the wicked in hell don't know what's happening on earth, or at the very least they don't know the details of the lives of their loved ones who are yet alive. iii. Solomon said that the dead no not any thing (Ecc 9:5). a. The context of the book of Ecclesiastes is life "under the sun": i.e. this life on earth as opposed to life in heaven beyond the sun (Ecc 6:12; Ecc 8:15; Ecc 9:9, etc.). b. When a man dies his body goes into the earth, and his body knows nothing because it's dead. c. But his spirit either goes to heaven (Ecc 12:7) or hell (Luk 16:22-23), depending on whether he is a child of God or a reprobate. d. Saints in heaven and sinners in hell both know things (Rev 6:9-11; Luk 16:27-28). e. Therefore, Ecc 9:5 is not teaching that people in heaven are entirely ignorant of all events happening on earth. H. "The picture of saints in Heaven blissfully unaware of what is transpiring on Earth seems insubstantial. After all, God and his angels (and the saints themselves) are about to return for the ultimate battle in the history of the universe, after which Christ will be crowned king [He's already king - CEW]. Those on Earth may be ignorant of Heaven, but those in Heaven are not ignorant of Earth." (Randy Alcorn, Heaven, p. 69)
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