QUESTION.—I have recently sustained a severe bereavement in the death of a loved one, and am much exercised regarding the future,—where our loved ones will be and whether we may hope to know them beyond the grave. In this connection please consider John 14:1-3.
ANSWER.—The Scriptural citation referred to reads: "In my Father's house are many mansions. If it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you unto myself." All creation is the heavenly Father's house, and upon different planes of being he has in it creatures made in his own likeness, called sons; and for each of these a provision has been made suited to their conditions, nature, etc. (1) The angelic sons of God have heavenly conditions provided for them. (2) When Adam was created an earthly son of God provision was made for him and his family of human sons. The fact that these human sons of God fell into sin and under sentence of death will not hinder the ultimate outworking of the divine plan, to have a household of human sons, for God has provided a ransom for all, and ultimately will grant eternal life to "all those who obey him," when "they hear his voice." The provision for these is the human nature in an earthly paradise.
Our Lord was not speaking to nor of the natural man when he used the words of this text; he was speaking to the New Creatures, begotten through the Word of Truth to heavenly promises. Thus far no provision existed for a family of sons on the divine plane; our Lord Jesus was the first born to this condition, and it is only through his merit and by his assisting grace that his Church can become meet for the inheritance of the saints in light. Our Lord's departure was to this end—that he might not only present the ransom sacrifice on our behalf, but also that he might, as our Head, succor and help us to the eternal city, and might correct and discipline us, and thus prepare us for the new conditions, as well as by his sacrifice make possible our attainment to those new conditions.
ANSWER.—Yes; the restored world will know each other, for the blessing is to come to them through restitution, and each will begin his new life on practically the same plane of thought, experience, etc., that he quitted at death. As for the elect Church, the Apostle informs us that "It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he shall appear we shall be like him." To be like him will mean to be partakers of his spirit-nature, as described by the Apostle in 1 Cor. 15:43,44, in glory, in power, a spiritual body. Earthly beings will not see these spiritual beings with their natural eyes, for the same reason that we cannot see angels now. They will know of them, however, in the same way that we know of our Lord and of the heavenly Father, and this knowledge will be as satisfactory to them as our knowledge of the Lord now is satisfactory to us. "We see Jesus" and are "looking unto Jesus," etc., the eyes of our understanding being opened. But these glorious spirit beings will see and recognize each other, as it is written, "We shall know even as we are known," and they will be able to see their earthly friends, though we do not see them. The glorified class will be able to care for and bless their earthly friends more particularly than they could do if they were with them in the flesh. The Scriptures exhort us to lay aside every weight and to run with patience to obtain this great spiritual blessing, and while we see many of its advantages we may rest assured of others which we cannot now so fully realize, because "Now we know in part" and "see through a glass obscurely."