Heaven is a mysterious place, even for believers. As Christians, we know heaven is a wonderful place that we can look forward to, but there is a lot we don’t understand about it. One of the most common questions that come up is whether our loved ones in heaven look down on us. There is incredible hope and comfort in the idea that we will see our loved ones in heaven and that they are watching over us. Thankfully, we have the Bible as our guide to some of the toughest questions about heaven.
Several Bible verses make many Christians wonder if their loved ones can look down on them from heaven. One of those passages is Hebrews 12:1, which says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” The word many focus on in this passage is “witnesses.” In Hebrews 11, you will see the word “testimony” being used, which is likely used to connect us to testimonies of faith in the Old Testament. These are people who have run their race and are now in heaven. The witnesses are there more as lasting examples for believers, not there to focus on watching others from heaven. Ultimately, we can turn to their examples of faith to encourage us on our own faith journey.
It is a popular notion, commonly in books, movies, and popular culture, that our deceased loved ones look down on us from heaven and reappear to the ones they love on earth. Some even believe that we receive mystical signs and messages from beyond directly from our loved ones. It is more likely than not that if you receive a sign or experience synchronicity, it is your guardian angel watching over you. Remember, every good and perfect gift comes from God. Many people think that our loved ones become angels, but our angels are not our deceased loved ones. God is ultimately watching over us with His heavenly host, His angels. While our loved ones’ spirits do live on after they pass away, they don’t become angels.
If you have a dream or vision where a deceased family member or friend appears, you may be wondering if this is a sign that a loved one is looking down on you. This may be God trying to comfort you in a time of need or transition. Many people who are dying mention seeing deceased friends and loved one when they are close to death, so it makes sense to think this is a loved one trying to reach us from beyond. God never wants you to be fearful of life or death. If you are fearful, God may want to show you a glimpse of the other side, which includes your friends or family in heaven, to give you a sense of peace and comfort in this fearful time. When a person has a dream where a deceased love appears, this may be more symbolic. God may be sending her wisdom to you to guide you through a particular situation.
Remember, the Bible tells us that there are no tears in heaven. We can turn to Revelation 17:7 and 21:4 for reassurance that there will be no crying or pain in heaven. If our loved ones were looking down on us in a pain-filled world., it would be very difficult for them to watch us going through the trials we face. It would also be hard for them to see us lose people that they care about and see us making mistakes that hurt us. If they can watch us, could they really be without tears? It would be extremely difficult for our loved ones to be in perfect peace if they watched us in our troubled world. While it is a comforting thought that our loved ones are watching over us, there is no biblical proof of this. What we should find peace in is the fact that there is no pain or sorrow in heaven.
Many people wonder about seeing loved ones in heaven. Christian author Randly Alcorn gives a really good explanation on the topic of whether we will know our loved ones in heaven, explaining “Scripture gives no indication of a memory wipe causing us not to recognize family and friends. Paul anticipated being with the Thessalonians in heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), and it never occurred to him he wouldn’t know them…Relationships among God’s people will resume in ways even better than what we’ve known here.”
Scripture directly speaks to life after death. We know that life doesn’t end when we pass away. Death is only the beginning of our eternal life with our heavenly father. John 14 supports this, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am” (John 14”3). When King David says, “And I will live in the house of the Lord forever,” he is saying that God has made a place for him in heaven. Jesus assures us that He left earth to prepare a place for us. We can find great hope in this promise.
While our loved ones may not be looking down on us from heaven, we do have great assurance that God is watching us. He is our ultimate protector and provider. He provides all that we need. We can hold on to the memories we have of our loved ones and the hope that we will one day be reunited with them in heaven.