Will we have different families and how will we know each other when we are in heaven?
No one really knows exactly how it will be like when we get to heaven. As soon as I know, I won’t be able to tell you. But what I can gather from Scripture are a few principles that may help us understand what our relationships will be like.
In Luke 16:19-31 Jesus tells a parable about a rich man and a poor man named Lazarus. The rich man treats Lazarus terribly in this life. But they both die, Lazarus going to heaven and the rich man going to Hades. The rich man begs Abraham to make Lazarus give him just a drop of water.
But Abraham tells the man that he had his good things in the other life and now he receives his bad things while Lazarus receives his good things. The rich man asks Abraham to send someone to tell his brothers what happens in the afterlife. But Abraham says they have a witness of what will happen and they must listen to it.
Why do I bring up this parable? Because in the afterlife, Lazarus knows who Abraham is, Abraham knows Lazarus, and they both know the rich man, even though he is not with them in heaven. This gives me evidence that we will know each other, especially if we know each other here on earth.
The only caveat for this is that it is a parable, a story told by Jesus to make a point. It is not necessarily telling us how things will be in heaven. Jesus doesn’t tell the parable to let us know we will know our friends in heaven. He tells it to show us that we must treat one another well here or we may not end up where we think we should.
Now the question is if we will know everyone or just the ones we know here on earth. This I cannot tell. But there is another interesting place in Scripture where we may get a glimpse into how things will be.
In the love chapter of 1 Corinthians 13, toward the end, Paul says, “Now I know in part, then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12). In the context, Paul is talking about the gift of the word of knowledge.
But the Perfect that is coming (1 Corinthians 13:8) in my understanding is Jesus himself. When does he come? In the second coming, during the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). If Jesus is the Perfect that comes when we don’t need the gifts anymore, our knowledge will reach its full capacity.
Where will we be when Jesus comes? We will be with him in heaven. If Paul is going to be “fully known” I believe it will be by all of us, every believer in heaven with him. It is possible that we will not only no ones we know here, we may know everyone.
We will have full knowledge in heaven. To what extent I do not know. But if I can take Paul, an apostle who was taught by the Lord Jesus himself, at his word, it sounds like he is saying that when Jesus comes we will have full knowledge, including knowing other saints.
I can’t prove any of this. And someone may read this whole answer and be very upset with me. But this is how I understand the Scriptures in these areas that may refer specifically to our time in heaven with Jesus.