Melissa has asked, “What verses . . . indicate reconciliation w/our loved ones after death?”
Once the question of heaven is settled for ourselves, we’re just as interested in seeing it settled in regard to our loved ones, aren’t we? And why shouldn’t we be? Whatever else is true about us, we’re made for relationships. So we shouldn’t feel somehow less spiritual if our interest in heaven isn’t totally absorbed by the prospect of us being with the Father, Son, and Spirit (although that will be wonderful beyond words!).
It was God Himself who made us to covet the companionship of others. But more to the point, it was He who said “Let Us make man in Our image, in Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26 – emphasis mine). God is a communal being. He created us to be in community with others and there is nothing to suggest that this is something unique to our earthly existence. Since we’re hard-wired for community, we wouldn’t expect heaven to be anything less and still be heaven, would we?
And that’s certainly what we see in the sparse passages we have that speak of heaven. In Matthew 8:11, Jesus speaks of many coming to take their place at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. The feast motif is employed not because heaven is about eating (see 1 Corinthians 6:13), but because it is about the intimacy and fellowship that a feast represents. In heaven we will be “at the table” with each other. Even though we’re not as table oriented as those of biblical times, it’s still a picture that resonates with us. Some of our best memories are of being gathered around the table with loved ones.
David was convinced that he would be reunited with his son who died in infancy. His words were, “I will go to him, but he will not return to me” (2 Samuel 12:23). David expected to see his son again!
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 is also helpful here. You remember the disciples at Thessalonica had some concerns about believers who had died. Specifically, they were afraid that those who had died would somehow miss out when Jesus returned. Paul assured them that, “we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep” (v. 15). He went on to say of that day, “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” (v. 17).
Paul’s words to the Christians at Thessalonica assure them that: 1) they will be together and 2) they will be with the Lord forever. Yes, there will be a reunion in heaven and it will be out of this world! It’s not too good to be true—it’s too good not to be true.
The natural conclusion that flows from these truths is what Paul writes in v. 18, when he says, “encourage each other with these words.” Despite all that we don’t know about heaven (and would like to know), we can be tremendously encouraged by what we do know. What we know it that we will be together and we will be with the Lord. Whatever else heaven is, its baseline is off the charts!