Can Our Loved Ones See Us From Heaven?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Is it possible for our loved ones in heaven to see us now?  Is there a way for them to know what we are doing?  What is the biblical evidence for or against whether or not our loved ones can see us from heaven?

Heaven Bound

The old saying is that if you are born once you’ll die twice but if you’re born twice, you die once.  That means that if you only have a human birth and are not saved, you will be lost at Christ’s return (Rev 20:11-5).  If you are born twice…once as a baby and then born again from above…then you will never die, at least in the sense of eternal judgment (John 3:3).  If you are not heaven bound then you are hell bent.  There is no neutrality in salvation.  Jesus said that you are either for me or against me (Matt 12:30).  To make no decision for Christ is to decide to reject Him and that will not go well on the day of His visitation (John 3:36).  So before we even dive into the question of whether or not your loved ones can see you from heaven ask yourself: “Am I saved”?  That is the biggest question of your life that you will answer and give an account for (Rom 14:12; Matt 12:36).

One Moment after Death

The very moment after you die you are with the Lord; that is if you are saved.  Paul wrote that “to be absent from the body [is] to be present with the Lord” (2 Cor 5:8) which also means that “while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord” (2 Cor 5:9).  When Paul says “in the body” he means here on earth and when he speaks of “with the Lord” we know that He means in heaven.  How do we know that?  Jesus is presently seated at the right hand of the Father because after His death and resurrection, the Scriptures say that God “seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places” (Eph 1:20).  This means nothing less than Jesus “is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” at the very moment you are reading this (Heb 12:2).  By doing so, God has “highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name” (Phil 2:9b).

Can My Saved Loved Ones See Me from Heaven?

Many use the verse in Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” as evidence that their loved ones can see them from heaven but is that what this verse is really about?  I don’t believe it is.  Notice the world “therefore” in Hebrews 12:1.  What does Hebrews12:1 speak about?  It is a conclusion of what was just said in Hebrews 11:39-40: “And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.”

A good question to ask about Hebrews 12:1 is what is the “therefore,” there for?  The word therefore ties into what was previously written and what we read in Hebrews 12:1 tells us who these “cloud of witnesses” were and what it was written for.  We must also ask who it was written to because all Scripture is written for us but not every verse is written precisely to us. Some verses are prescriptive (for us or some other audience) and some are descriptive (describing something).  For example, the Book of Hebrews is written for us but some of it is written to the Jewish Christians who were losing everything, including their life, due to intense persecution.

... there is an unbridgeable gap between heaven and hell ... no one can see from heaven to earth, except God Himself.

… there is an unbridgeable gap between heaven and hell … no one can see from heaven to earth, except God Himself.

Context is everything in determining proper interpretation.   The word “therefore” is like a coupling on a train. It connects everything behind it and pulls it forward or together so the word “therefore” means a conclusion is coming from what was just written behind the word “therefore.”  The conclusion is not that we are surrounded by” a great cloud of witnesses”….supposedly cheering us on…but the conclusion is found in the previous verse “let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely [so we can] run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Heb 11:39-40).  It is not about the path that is behind us that this “great cloud of witnesses“ is cheering us on (Hebrews 12:1) but it speaks but what lies ahead.  Any great cloud of witnesses, if there were any that were watching us, would have seen what was behind us…not what “is set before us”  which is what preceded Hebrews 12:1.  Hebrews 11:39-40 is written about those in the so called “Hall of Faith” (in Hebrews chapter 11) and so we see that this is not about our deceased loved ones but about those that were “commended through their faith” and not your dear, sweet, saved grandma.  Hebrews chapter 11 is about encouraging Christians and in Hebrews specifically, Jewish Christians, to persevere and endure until the end.  Like Lazarus and the Rich Man, there is an unbridgeable gap between heaven and hell and the man in torment wanted to go back to warn his brothers about hell but could not (Luke 16:19-31).  Similarly, it is believed that no one can see from heaven to earth, except God Himself.

Conclusion

I could find no conclusive Bible evidence that our lost loved ones can see us from heaven.  We can only speculate at best.  Where the Bible is silent, I believe we ought to be.  Where the Bible doesn’t speak specifically on the subject, then we should not speak specifically on the subject.  The main thing that we can do is to make sure we get there…and if we are saved…to take as many to heaven as we can by God’s divine plan.  No one goes to heaven by works, no one goes to heaven on the shirttails of their parent’s faith, and no one goes to heaven by just professing Christ.  It is not about professing Him but about possessing Him.  He needs to be more than resident; He needs to be president in your life.  This means you have to resign as chairman of the board of your own life.  You need to put Him ahead of all things on this earth; family, friends, job, riches…everything (Matt 6:33)!  Decide today and ensure that you see your loved ones again in the Kingdom of Heaven.  There is no other way except by the precious blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ the Lord. For more, read Romans 10:9-13; Acts 4:12, 16:30-31; and John 3:17-18.

Read more about Heaven here: What Does the Bible say Heaven is Like?

Resource –  “Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Jack H March 28, 2014 at 3:14 am

Hello, Pastor Jack! Great article as usual, and I personally believe our relatives CANNOT see us from Heaven, and it is just an urban secular-fangled myth passed on from parent to child over tens of years. By secular-fangled, I mean that it is rarely used in a Christian sense. I don’t know if I’m being too harsh here, and sorry for any offense caused to anyone on this site. But ANYWAYS! I need to ask you a question. Why did Paul command that women shouldn’t speak in church meetings? He said it was part of the law. What law exactly?

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Jack Wellman March 28, 2014 at 1:40 pm

Thanks Jack H. As for the passage you spoke about, it doesn’t mean that a woman should never speak in church to someone or to teach a Sunday school class for children, etc. The passage in context is this I 1 Cor 14:33-35 “As in all the churches of the saints, 34 the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. 35 If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.” The “Law” may be that which refers to a woman being in submission to her husband as her head, spiritually, even though they are co-equal and co-heirs before Christ but as Christ spoke only what the Father gave Him to speak and to do only the will of the Father and not His own, He too is co-equal with God in His divinity but voluntarily submitted Himself to the Father’s will. In most modern churches, not only the women, but also most of the men have to be silent, so this passage does not attract as much controversy as it might. In churches such as ours that practice participatory meetings based on I Corinthians 14:26-40.

Our desire to be obedient to this passage was strengthened by the fact that Paul’s words here are quite firm. He gives not one, but five reasons why this command should be obeyed:

The first is “for it is not permitted unto them to speak.” The perfect tense of the Greek verb translated “permitted” indicates that Paul was being quite emphatic
The second is “but they are commanded to be under obedience”. This verb is also in the perfect tense, again signifying that Paul was being very emphatic.
Paul’s third reason reinforces the second, “as also saith the law.” This is followed by a reply to a possible objection, “And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home”.
The fourth is “for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”
And the fifth is because “the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.”
And so there is no doubt that Paul wanted this command for women to be silent to be obeyed!

Does this answer your question Jack H? Thanks for your comment/question friend.

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Sharyn April 1, 2014 at 6:25 am

Hi Paster Jack,
I’m fairly new to this website, but since I found it, I enjoy reading the daily topics it presents. Since my incredible Dad passed away only a month ago now, this website and its readings has given me much comfort, in a time when I’m mourning so deeply, these readings, and in particularly the reading on ‘what will heaven look like?’ has helped me immensely.
However, when I read your above discussion on whether our loved ones can see us from heaven, I was deeply upset, confused and just generally down. I do believe my Dad is in heaven right now, our family has strong faith and I was blessed to be accepted into Gods family from birth. However, I really really want to believe that he can still see me and watch his grandchildren that he adored, from heaven. Sure, perhaps he can’t see us all the time, but I like to think when I need him and when I’m praying to God to give me strength to help me, just perhaps my Dad is praying for me too?? I also have read the book ‘Heaven is for real’, where the little boy, Colton did go to Heaven and he recalled to his parents that he could see them both from heaven!! I like to think of this on a daily basis, I hope and pray, that although I know my Dad is experiencing the greatest joy of his life with God in heaven, that at the same time, he has not forgotten about us here on earth, striving and working towards one day reuniting with him in heaven. These are just my thoughts, and at this time where I feel such loss losing my Dad, I know he has gained a better life now and it’s for eternity.

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Donna April 12, 2014 at 8:46 pm

Sharyn, I have the same exact questions you have. My precious dad died, too, and I read Heaven is for Real. It comforts me so much to hear that Colton could see his parents. I believe that heaven is nearer than we think or could fathom. I know we can’t go there yet, but when people die, they are changed into spiritual beings, so why couldn’t they see us?

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Sharyn April 12, 2014 at 10:05 pm

Hi Donna, yes, I loved reading that book… It helped immensely when I was grieving the most… i think there is the movie coming out soon of it too? As Pastor Jack has noted, nothing is written in the bible about it, and perhaps Heaven is just so amazing that they have no need to look back to life here on earth, but as we’re humans it’s only natural for us to still crave to know that we’re not forgotten by them…I try to believe that in my prayers my dad too is listening or has the ability to help me and guide me still through life, perhaps my Dad can meet my guardian angels and together they can help steer me through this life full of many challenges! This is how I try to imagine things, it helps me get through each day!

Jack H April 1, 2014 at 3:51 pm

Yes, kind of. But consider the 34th verse from a literal viewpoint. It says, “the women should keep silent in the churches”, and another verse says it is according to the Law. Silent means without a sound, so how can you absolutely sure that it, in all its respective context, doesn’t mean that women shouldn’t speak AT ALL, in ANY area of the church?
If I have spoken rashly, then I apologise.
Thanks, Jack H

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Jack Wellman April 1, 2014 at 9:26 pm

I am not saying that women should not be able to talk, teach a Sunday school class or pray in the church at all. To see what I was talking about sir, please read this article at: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/should-women-be-pastors-or-elders-of-a-church-a-bible-study/ and see if this helps. Women can talk in church but the context of Paul’s statements that I mentioned may not be what you are thinking about my friend. Thank you too Jack!

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Jack H April 8, 2014 at 10:44 am

You’re welcome. I now know what you were talking about, and it was my fault for misinterpreting it. Nevertheless, this issue was resolved in prayer between me and The Lord anyway, but thanks! 😀
Yours truly, Jack H

Dianne Troutt April 12, 2014 at 2:46 pm

I am a born again Christian. And both of my parents were very much Christians. I know without a doubt that they are with the LORD! Now can they see me from heaven?

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Jack Wellman April 12, 2014 at 8:53 pm

Hello Dianne…the Bible gives no evidence anywhere from the Old to the New Testament about our lost loved ones seeing us from heaven but I do believe that they will not be heartbroken because what greater joy is there than to be in the presence of our beloved Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? So where the Bible is silent, I must be so honestly, I don’t know but the main thing about this article is the conclusion…to make sure we or our other family and friends join us there. I am sorry for your loss.

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Marceli Firlej April 12, 2014 at 9:23 pm

It is still big gap between science and religion, however called “spooky” (after Einstein) some phenomena’s has scientific proofing. Currently, It is a very tiny window to other of living God dimensions’.
If someone saw in subconscious dream future lottery numbers’ it also is a spooky real evidence of it. In the bible maybe Jesus is one who promised open for us his living dimensions’ but when we do not know.

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NICHOLAS May 16, 2014 at 12:45 am

I am so glad you explain this , I will say that sometime after my dad had passed away , i had a good dream of him going fishing , and he had a strong young look , and seemed so happy , I wonder what to think exactly about why I had this dream , but I know what a great Christian he was , and natuarly was pleased to have had the dream . do you think this could be in the category of of ( GOD works in mysterious ways ??? I can’t remember the faces of those who were with him fishing , but I felt as though they were others who had passed on , and the group were all so happy .

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Jack Wellman May 16, 2014 at 9:36 am

Thank you Nicholas…you are so very encouraging. Can we even imagine being reunited with our lost loved ones in heaven?! I am sorry for your loss of your dad but maybe this dream is one to make you be a fisher of men and women’s souls. God may indeed be reassuring you that you are going to be in eternal joy with your father. This may have been God’s way of comforting you and to know that you will see him again. I know that you will…and hey, I get to finally meet you in person my brother.

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mary-anne September 1, 2014 at 6:19 pm

What about children. Where is it written in the word about children, where do they go when there time comes.

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Jack Wellman September 1, 2014 at 7:09 pm

Thanks Mary Anne for your question. Biblical and church tradition holds that children go into the presence of the Lord if they die early. We actually have an article on that at this link: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/where-do-babies-go-if-they-die-do-they-go-to-heaven-or-hell/ called “Where do Babies go if the Die” and includes young children, toddlers, and those who have not reached the age to understand the gospel. Let us know if that doesn’t clear up your question.

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Eileen Dougherty October 21, 2015 at 8:40 am

Good Day, and may god bless you, and your discoveries of him. I read the article and it was a great point about that sin is not worshiped in the lords house, also, GOD sees all as you say in your thoughts, and journey that you and your loved ones have: However; GOD is good, and only provides goodness, so if a loved on is trusted in the truth of god and (good!), than a loved on can see the good in his loved ones life.

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Minnie September 25, 2016 at 9:43 am

I am currently engaged. My fiancées wife passed away 6 years ago. I was formerly married and divorced over 20 years. How will it be when we pass on and who will meet us at the “gate” will we really know who our former loved ones are or are we just all one family working together for God’s purpose?

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Jack Wellman September 25, 2016 at 3:54 pm

Thank you Minnie. This is a good question so please read what the Bible says here about recognizing family and friends in heaven at this link: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/will-we-recognize-friends-and-family-in-heaven/ There is no gate. All who receive Christ don’t need to enter any gate.

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Nicky B October 9, 2016 at 11:51 pm

Hi Pastor Jack. I have just lost my partner so please be sensitive with your reply. Could I ask a question please? You mentioned that the only way to get to heaven is not to profess God but to possess God etc. I can’t rest until I know my partner is with God, I believe he is because he believed and we have God in our lives, but he didn’t practise it, he also had an unusually good heart, generous beyond words.

I spoke with the pastor at my church and he said, God is kind and merciful, he loves us, he wants to bring us home. He said imagine a mother/father, do you think they would make a child beg to come home? He said, God judges us for what’s in our heart, only God knows what’s TRULY in our hearts. The pastor also said God makes the final judgement based on whether we know God and believe, and you have goodness in your heart. He says things aren’t so harsh.

Can you please tell me what you think?

Thank you.

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Jack Wellman October 10, 2016 at 8:23 am

Hello Nicky B. I see what you mean. Anyone who has repented of their sins and have trusted in Christ will be saved, so the profess verses possess is not necessarily the standard into entering heaven. Only God can know whether your partner is with God or not. I don’t see anywhere in the Bible where is says if we have goodness in our hearts we’ll go to heaven but yes, whoever believes will be saved. I cannot tell you and only God knows right now. I am so sorry for such a painful loss.

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Annelie July 18, 2017 at 3:45 am

Where is the proof that we go to heaven when we die. Don’t we go to the realm of the dead till the second coming of Jesus Christ.

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Jack Wellman July 18, 2017 at 3:11 pm

Hello Annelie. Paul writes in 2 Cor 5:8 “Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” so whether it’s heaven or paradise, anywhere with the Lord is heaven to me. After the unsaved dead die, they are judged (Heb 9:27) but when we’re absent from our bodies (by death) we are present with the Lord, and the New Testament never says there’s a waiting period. Jesus told the thief on the cross “Today you will be with me in paradise.”

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Denise Dean July 24, 2017 at 10:54 pm

My boyfriend of 3 years died in a violent stabbing at 32. In most of his young adult life he was seeking self-fulfillment in all the wrong places. He was arrested on two felony drug charges due to his addition. He was overwhelmed with the imprisonment of his sin and misery. In the darkest time of his life the lord took the initiative to graciously call him to himself. He completely surrendered his life to Christ. He Knew the bible inside and out. He always said once your saved you cannot loose your salvation. He got major back pain and got addicted to pain pills. I just want to make it clear to myself once you saved even if you have done some wrong things does that make you not saved. I want to believe he is in Heavon. He loved his heavenly father.

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Joseph Samuel Motlhako June 29, 2018 at 9:37 am

thanks

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Jack Wellman April 13, 2014 at 10:07 am

Sharyn, what a precious and kind-hearted response that I believe is better than the response I gave and so I thank you and I thank God for you. I think you are right that it is so beautifully overwhelming in heaven that they can only be gazing at our Lord, Jesus Christ.

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Jack Wellman April 8, 2014 at 11:44 am

Thanks Jack for your kind and gracious words. If you’re ever in the states, please stop by (in Kansas) or possibly we may have to wait to meet in the Kingdom.

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