Memories in Paradise
My husband and I have some very interesting conversations during our nightly Bible devotionals which we have had together every night since our wedding night. Recently, we got onto the topic of Paradise and how we will retain our good memories of people and events that we encountered here on Earth. This thought is a comfort to me as I am sure it is to others because I know that I will keep the good remembrances of life here on Earth, and those who have already gone to their reward will still remember those who they loved here on Earth as well.
The most well-known example in the Bible of how we will remember things here on the Earth after we have died is the account of the rich man and Lazarus. In Jesus’ account, the rich man and Lazarus both die, and the rich man finds himself being punished for his wrongdoing “And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom” (Luke 16:23). The rich man recognized Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom, which is someone he knew in life. He then went on to plead with Abraham to send Lazarus to his father’s house to warn his five brothers against their evil ways which would lead them to the place where the rich man was (Luke 16:27-28). Abraham responded by saying “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them” (Luke 16:29). Both the rich man in Torment and Abraham in Paradise both knew Moses and the prophets. The rich man also recognized Lazarus. Likewise, the rich man remembered his brothers and his father.
The account of the rich man and Lazarus shows that, although our physical bodies will be changed after death, we will still retain our memories of this life on Earth. “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (I Corinthians 15:53). Jesus was transfigured into another form when He spoke with Moses and Elias on the mountain. He took Peter, James and John with Him, and they saw this event unfold. Jesus, Moses, and Elias all knew one another, and the three disciples knew them as well. Both Moses and Elias had already passed away at this time, yet they knew one another and they knew Jesus. Likewise, the three disciples present recognized Moses and Elias even though the two men had died many years before. (Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36).
So, this means that after we pass away, whether we are faithful or not, we will remember our lives here on the Earth. The faithful will be enjoying the happiness of Paradise and getting to see their loved ones, as well as those in the Bible who were also faithful, “And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 8:11).They will also remember those faithful loved ones still on the Earth and look forward to their coming. Likewise, those who are not faithful will wake up in the place of torment, remembering all that they did wrong to get there. Also, like the rich man, they will remember those they care about here on the Earth who they could have saved.
If a faithful Christian makes it to Paradise with his or her memories of people and things here on Earth intact, would it be the case that the Christian will miss those that are still on the Earth? Also, won’t the Christian in Paradise remember the bad memories along with the good? The Bible gives us the reassurance that in Paradise, we will only think on good things and look forward to seeing those faithful loved ones still on the Earth when they depart from this life. “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?” (I Thessalonians 2:19). Also, at the Day of Judgment, both the dead and the living will be raised up into the air together to meet Jesus (II Corinthians 4:14; I Thessalonians 4:17). Those that are faithful will be waiting in Paradise for the Judgment Day to come, so that they will be joined with their still living loved ones in the sky to be with God.
It is a comforting thought to know that those that we love who have departed from this life still remember us in Paradise, and we will remember those that we love when we depart this life as well. Those that are faithful will have the joy of Paradise after death, and the greater joy of Heaven after the Judgment Day. While we, Christians, are still here on the Earth, we should all do everything we can to try to take as many souls with us to be with God. That way, when it is our time to leave this Earth, we can enjoy Paradise with our loved ones who have gone before us. We can also look forward to seeing those we left behind here on Earth join us either on the Judgment Day or when the times of their deaths occur. I am glad that God is such a merciful Creator that He allowed us to keep our precious memories of the wonderful blessings we received here on Earth, and I am even happier that He gave us Paradise and Heaven to enjoy after our labor here is done
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