Now, Contending for the Faith. In this regular feature, Dave and Tom address questions from listeners and readers of The Berean Call. Here is this week’s question: “Dear Dave and T.A., Isaiah:65:17 says that in the new heavens and new earth, ‘the former will not be remembered.’ Does that mean that those of us in heaven won’t remember our previous existence on this earth—events, family, friends, and so on? Will we remember our offenses against God and what Christ did to redeem us?”
Dave: Well, Tom, I always say I like to be surprised, but you should have given me a little notice on this one to do some research. No…I don’t think it’s that difficult a question. See, “remembered” has more than one meaning. A remembrance of something is you are honoring it. To say it will not be remembered doesn’t mean that you couldn’t remember it, or that there might not be some recollection of it.
Now, as far as our sins are concerned, we will not remember our sins; that will be wiped out at the judgment seat of Christ. And indeed it says, “He will wipe all tears from their eyes.” Maybe our lives will pass before us, you know, in a moment, but it will seem like an eternity, but we are not going to be wringing our hands over our past mistakes and over our sins. And we are not going to be in heaven mourning the fact that some of our loved ones are in hell. I think that is gone.
On the other hand, Christ bears the nail prints in His hands and feet. We can never forget that He died for our sins. We will always be sinners saved by grace.
But as far as remembering the world that we were a part of in the past, I think it means you are not going to look back with longing on that—the good old days. But what we will be experiencing will be so far beyond that, that that world will have faded into insignificance. Not that we might not be able to recollect it, and I think we will probably have some memories of that prior life because that will also help us to realize how wonderful it is where we are at that time.
Tom: Dave, we know from our experiences—we look back on our youth, and we think it was just great. We think about the things that delighted us—that we took joy in, and I agree with you. “With joy set before us,” now, overwhelmingly above and beyond what we could even imagine how great that would be—I think that’s where our minds and our hearts are going to be.
Let me just add one thing to that. It’s very sad sometimes when you talk to a nonbeliever and it comes down to the issue of their loved one: “Well, if my loved one is not in heaven, I don’t want to be there,” you know, or “I’m not interested in heaven; I want to be where my friends are.” This kind of thinking—that’s sad because, as we have mentioned many times on the program, heaven is heaven because who we are going to be with and that’s Christ himself.
Dave: Where Jesus is, ‘tis heaven there. The verse says—read that verse again, Tom, will you?
Tom: “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.”
Dave: Well, there will just be no reason for it. They will be so far beneath the reality we are living at that time, and we would have no reason to remember this world. I think our sins are certainly gone, the mistakes we have made, our lack of faith, our grieving of the Lord will be gone, and well, will the memory be obliterated? Perhaps in that sense it will. On the other hand, I think when we recognize David or Paul or Adam—they have to be associated with something, some prior existence. I think I will know my wife. You remember the lady that said to her husband who was a pastor, “Do you think we will recognize one another up there?” and he said, “Well, do you think we will be greater fools up there than we are down here?” But we will not be in that relationship any longer. There would be no difference. But there must be some association of some kind to a prior existence. So again, I think it just will be so insignificant, it will be so unreal even, in comparison with the reality that we are living and will live for eternity.
Tom: Dave, the point you brought up about how our relationships will be different. I think of where they tested Jesus, and they said, “Well, this woman—her husband dies, and then she marries the brother of her husband, and he dies, and it goes on to seven brothers—whose wife will she be in eternity, in heaven?
Dave: Well, Jesus says, of course, “You do err, not knowing the scriptures or the power of God because in the resurrection they are like the angels. They neither marry nor are given in marriage.”
Tom: And I think that’s speaks again to a different kind of relationship. We will know these people, but our focus will be on the Lord, our love for Him, and our attitudes toward everyone else will be so righteous, so right, that it doesn’t bring into the mix the emotions that we have right now.
Dave: Tom, it’s going to be wonderful and—“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those that love him.” But He is revealing it to us by His Spirit, and, Wow! I’m looking forward to that. Eternity is forever—when you are having fun (laughing). I shouldn’t say that. It’s not “having fun” when you are with the Lord, and it is perfect bliss. Wow! You can stand a lot of that.