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Jan. 05, 2010

Do people now in heaven know what’s presently happening on earth?

The answer is yes, at least to some extent:

1. The martyrs in Heaven appear to know what is still happening on earth (Rev. 6:9-11).

2. When Babylon is brought down, an angel points to events happening on earth and says, “Rejoice over her, O Heaven! Rejoice, saints and apostles and prophets! God has judged her for the way she treated you” (Rev. 18:20). Since he specifically addresses them, the clear implication is that the saints in Heaven are watching and listening to what is happening on earth.

3. There is “the roar of a great multitude in Heaven shouting Hallelujah” and praising God for specific events of judgment that have just taken place on earth (Rev. 19:1-5). Again, the saints in Heaven are clearly observing what is happening on earth.

4. When Heaven’s saints return with Christ to set up his millennial kingdom (Rev. 19:11-14), it seems strange to think they would have been ignorant of the culmination of human history taking place on earth. The picture of saints in Heaven blissfully unaware of what is transpiring on earth, where God and his angels (and they themselves) are about to return for the ultimate battle in the history of the universe, after which Christ will be crowned king, contradicts clear indications in the context. But even apart from such indications, this notion of Heavenly ignorance seems ludicrous.

5. When brought back to earth from Heaven (in a surprise move done by God when the witch of Endor and Saul wrongly called upon Samuel’s spirit to visit them), Samuel was aware of what Saul had been doing and what he’d failed to do on earth (1 Sam. 28:18). Unless he was specially “briefed” on this, it follows he must have been already aware of it.

6. When called from Heaven to the transfiguration on earth, Moses and Elijah talked with Jesus about his death which would soon happen in Jerusalem (Luke 9:31). They seemed fully aware of the context they stepped into, of what was currently transpiring on earth. (And clearly, they would go back to Heaven remembering what they’d discussed with their Creator and Savior.)

7. Hebrews 12:1 tells us to “run the race marked out for us,” creating the mental picture of the Greek competitions which were watched intently by throngs of engrossed fans, sitting high up in the ancient stadiums. The “great cloud of witnesses” he speaks of are clearly the saints who’ve gone before us, whose accomplishments (some of them recorded in the previous chapter) on the playing field are now past. The imagery seems to suggest those saints, the spiritual “athletes” of old, are now watching us and cheering us on from the stands of Heaven. (The witnesses are said to “surround” us, not merely to have preceded us.)

8. The unfolding drama of redemption, awaiting Christ’s return, is currently happening on earth. Earth is center court, center stage, awaiting the consummation of Christ’s return and the setting up of his kingdom. Logically, this seems a compelling reason to think those in Heaven might see what is happening on earth. If in Heaven we will be concerned with what God is concerned with, and his focus is on the spiritual battle on earth, why would we not witness his works there?

9. Christ, in Heaven, watches closely what transpires on earth, especially in the lives of God’s people (Rev. 2-3). If the Sovereign God’s attentions are on earth, why wouldn’t those of his Heavenly subjects be? When a great war is transpiring, is anyone in the home country uninformed and unaware of it? When a great drama is taking place, do those who know the writer, producer, and cast—and have great interest in the outcome—refrain from watching?

10. Angels saw Christ on earth (1 Tim. 3:16). There are clear indications angels know what is happening on earth (Luke 1:26; 1 Cor. 11:10). If angels, why not saints? Don’t the people of God in Heaven have as much vested interest in the spiritual events happening on earth as angels do? Wouldn’t the body and bride of Christ in Heaven be expected to be intensely interested about the rest of the body and bride of Christ now living on earth?

11. Abraham and Lazarus saw the rich man’s agonies in hell (Luke 16:23-26). If it is possible, at least in some cases, to see hell from Heaven, why would people be unable to see earth from Heaven?

12. Christ said, “There will be more rejoicing in Heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine who do not need to” (Luke 15:7). Similarly, “there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10). Who is doing this rejoicing in Heaven, in the presence of angels? Doesn’t it logically include the saints in Heaven, who would most appreciate the joy and wonder of human conversion? (If they rejoice over conversions happening on earth, then obviously they must be aware of what is happening on earth.)

For more information on this subject, see Randy Alcorn's book Heaven.

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