For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
When Paul wrote this passage, he was addressing Christians in Corinth where the world’s finest mirrors were produced. An apt illustration for those early believers. At the time, mirrors were made from brass and rendered a cloudy reflection. They were not so revealing as the glass counterparts of today.
Paul’s point was that their current Christian experience and knowledge were imperfect. One day, they would be privy to a fullness of understanding.
God knows us completely, better than anyone. However, our knowledge of Him is limited. The Bible provides us with many details, but it raises a lot of questions and issues which are often debated and difficult to comprehend. One day it’s all going to make sense. I don’t know what food will be served in heaven, but I suspect many theologians, preachers, and teachers will be eating crow.
According to our focus text, “we shall see face to face.” You’ve thought about Jesus, talked to Him, studied about Him, and wondered what He looks like. And one day, you will see Him face to face. And even though you have never seen the Lord, you will recognize Him. What an event that shall be!
16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
And for the remainder of eternity our hearts and minds will be opened to the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
As part of our enlightenment and fellowship, we’ll spend eternity in the presence of the Lord and the heroes of the faith. Moses and Elijah will be there. (Luke 9:28-36) And we’ll be dining with the likes of “Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” (Matthew 8:11-12) Bible characters that many of us have been reading about since we were children will enjoy the fruits of the Kingdom with us.
Are you familiar with the term kids’ table? Most families use them on special occasions when the extended family gathers together. And if you recall such a table where the children were forced to sit, you may also remember that special day when you were promoted to the adult table. Well, in heaven, there is no kids’ table, or a table designated for just regular old Christians like you and me. We all get to dine with the King.
So, will you have to wait your turn to visit with Jesus in glory? I’ll answer that question with a question. Do you have to stand in line to meet with Him now? You will still have immediate access, and you will also get to see Him.
We live and walk by faith. “… faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1) But in heaven, we’ll be on the other side of faith where we shall see what we have hoped for.
To be honest, I don’t have any questions for the Lord when I see Him. At least, not now. That may change in time. But I have heard folks say they are compiling a list. Interestingly, very few of their questions have to do with Biblical doctrine, but with prayers that weren’t answered or bad things that happened to them or their loved ones.
Not that I have any insight into probable answers for their questions, but I would imagine that being with the Lord and seeing their loved ones in heaven would more than satisfy their curiosity.
A logical follow-up question would be: Will I grieve over my loved ones who didn’t make it to heaven? The Bible doesn’t specifically address that question. But our emotional state in heaven indicates there is no mourning and a lot of rejoicing. “There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)
The absence of pain indicates to me that those things that troubled us in the “old order of things” will no longer affect us in the hereafter. How God accomplishes that is anybody’s guess. Like Paul said, “Now I know in part; then I shall know fully…”
For more on this topic, check out this article: Will We Know Our Loved Ones in Heaven
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.