This raises another interesting question which has perplexed millions of people: Will we know each other there? Will we be able to recognize one another in the hereafter?
Many people have the misconception that heaven will be very impersonal. The Bible reveals exactly the opposite. Although the former troubles and sorrows will be erased from the mind, we certainly will not forget our friends and family. No one will be known only as an animated number! The truth is that we will know each other better in heaven than we know one another now. Paul wrote, "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." 1 Corinthians 13:12. If I understand the English language at all, this means that we will know one another better when we get up there than we do here. We see things very dimly here, and we misunderstand each other often. This will never happen in the new earth. We will know each other clearly and plainly.
Jesus said 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. Surely this indicates that we will recognize those great stalwarts of the Old Testament. Not only will we be forever united with those we loved on earth, but we can make the acquaintance of those mighty spiritual giants who inspired us from the pages of the Bible.
Most people love reunions and homecomings. What a delight it is to meet old friends after many years and to renew nostalgic ties of the past. Heaven would not be enjoyable if no one recognized anybody else. I have had the joy of leading thousands of people to Christ, and I anticipate meeting them around the throne of God. It is unthinkable that I would never have the assurance that even one of those souls actually held faithful to the end and received the crown of life. We will undoubtedly meet people there who were won to Christ by those we won, and we will be able to see the endless cycle of influence as it vibrated from heart to heart and life to life.
Can't you imagine the thrill of hearing someone say to you in that day, "It was you who influenced me to follow Jesus all the way. Thank you! Oh, thank you for making it possible for me to be here"? Surely that will be a great part of the reward for soul winners.
Paul wrote to the Philippians, "And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life." Philippians 4:3. Here is very interesting evidence that earthly names are recorded in the books of heaven. There is no reason to believe that those faithful workers with Paul received some kind of new, angelic names after they were converted. The very same names were written in the book of life that had been given by their Judean mothers. The same is true today. John, Bob, Tim, Betty, and Dana are faithfully recorded as being worthy of eternal life through faith in Jesus.
We get another insight into this subject in the book of Revelation. In one of his visions, John was shown the glory of the New Jerusalem. It was so dazzling that the prophet was almost overwhelmed by the glory of it. As he drew nearer to the shining walls in his vision, John saw that the foundation of the city was composed of 12 precious stones, all of different colors. Then he saw that a name was inscribed in each of the glittering foundation stones. Imagine his feelings at the moment he recognized his own name on one of those stones! All the apostles will be honored throughout eternity by having their simple Galilean names etched into the massive support stones of the New Jerusalem. What a thrill that must have been for John!
After the New Jerusalem descends to this earth at the end of the thousand years, the earth will be re-created in its original, perfect form. God's dwelling place will be among men, and the saints will dwell in both the city and the new earth. We will have a city home as well as a country estate. The mansion in the New Jerusalem is being prepared right now by Jesus. (John 14:1-3.) We will build our own house in the country to our own specifications. (Isaiah 65:21, 22.)