“Will I see and recognize my family and friends in Heaven?” This is a question that many people ask when we talk about Heaven. The answer is a strong and resounding YES! We will see and recognize our family and friends in Heaven, but not only them. John in his vision gives us a glimpse of who else will be there.
A – People From Every Time and Every Place
We will see people from every time and from every place on the earth. This is what he saw: “And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” Revelation 5:9.”
That does not mean that everybody from everywhere will be saved. It means that God has disciples and followers in every generation and in every part of the world.
In 1986, I was invited to attend a Billy Graham conference for Itinerant Evangelists in Amsterdam. There were more than 100 countries represented in that event. The part that most marked that event for me was the worship. Each one of us received the songs in our own languages, so when we started singing we were able to hear the song with different sounds, tones, and in different languages. It was something extraordinary. For me it was something like an anteroom of Heaven. We knew what everyone was singing, but we were praising God and singing in our own languages.
B – Saved By the Blood of Christ
John makes clear for us that people will be there not because they were good or religious. The people that will be there are the ones saved by the Blood of Christ. This is what John wrote: “I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Revelation 7:14.” And in the text mentioned earlier: “and with your blood you purchased men for God” Revelation 5:9.”
They were saved by the sacrifice of Christ. They were born again, redeemed by the works of Christ in their favor. They are the ones who accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and followed Him.
It is very important for us to know that it is not everybody that will be there. The Bible states clearly that some people will stay out. Here are a few texts that states that truth in a very plain way:
“and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:21.”
“For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person–such a man is an idolater–has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” Ephesians 5:5.”
“Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.” Revelation 22:15.”
They will not be there because they did not want to believe in God, they did not want to accept what Jesus did for them, and they did not want to obey the Gospel.
What is important for us to understand is that everyone who will be in Heaven will be there only because of the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that mercy and grace are still available for everyone who really wants to go there.