Summary: This message explores the difficult question of whether those in heaven can still see what’s going on here on earth.
There is a romantic notion of those in heaven “looking over the balcony rail of heaven” and watching over us throughout our lives. Is that a biblical notion?
The Bible does not address the question directly, but this morning I want to examine some of the relevant passages to answer this question.
I believe the answer to this question is “No, they are not able to see us now.” Here are some of the reasons why I believe this.
Do Our Loved Ones Know What’s Happening To Us Now?
1. Jesus alluded to a great separation between this world and the next.
- Luke 16:19-31.
- See also 1 Samuel 28:15.
- In the New Testament, visions of the next life are rare (for example, Acts 7:55-56; Acts 9:3; 2
Corinthians 12:1-10; Revelation 1:9-20). Passages about visions from the next life back to this one are non-existent.
2. Heaven is a completing of the race and the struggles of this life.
- 2 Thessalonians 1:7; 2 Timothy 4:7; Hebrews 3:11; Hebrews 4:9-11; Revelation 14:13.
- The end of this life is seen as crossing the finish line and putting the race behind you.
3. We should rejoice that they’ve been released from the problems of this life.
- Matthew 13:43; Luke 10:20; Philippians 3:21; 2 Corinthians 5:1, 8; Philippians 1:21, 23; Hebrews 11:10.
- Rather than wanting to hold onto our deceased loved ones by having them watching over us, we should find our joy in the fact that they are no longer having to deal with the agonies of earth.
4. The only hint of those that have gone on being aware of earthly happenings is in someone getting saved.
- Luke 15:7, 10.
- This passage isn’t clear whether in heaven the rejoicing is in “another one got saved” or in “John Doe got saved” (that is, whether the knowledge is general or specific to the person).
- Therefore, the only indication of those in heaven knowing anything about what’s going on on earth would be on the issue of salvation.
5. Considering all these, there is no indication that our loved ones “watch over us” as we continue through this life.
- 2 Corinthians 5:8.
- There is an attraction to the idea of them watching over us, but think the idea through. Consider, for example, a 25-year-old woman about to get married. It might be a comforting idea for her to be able to think about her Granny watching over her from heaven as she stands at the altar and exchanges vows on her wedding day. But if those in heaven can watch over us at one
moment, they can watch over us at any moment. While it might be comforting to think of Granny watching over the wedding day, it’s not so comforting to think of Granny watching over the wedding night.
- The idea that our loved ones don’t watch over us may be depressing to some of you, because you want someone watching over you as you walk through this life. For you, the next point is good news. . .
6. There is every indication that Jesus watches over us as we continue through this life.
- Matthew 6:32; Luke 12:7; John 10:11-18; 1 Peter 5:7.
- We don’t need our loved ones watching over us because we’ve got our Savior watching over us.