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I mean, for example, could my dead grandmother see me from heaven?

This was bothering me as a Christian and I was frustrated not to find the answer, because this is important to me personally. For example, when I travel the first thing I ask is if the hotel where I'm staying has an internet connection so that I can communicate with my wife and daughter when I am away.

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Are you looking for sources that are not the Bible? –  Alypius Mar 27 '13 at 21:57
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If you are looking for answers from christian literature of experiances which may or may not line up with the word to varying degrees I can recommend Jessie Duplantis: Close encounters of the God kind, Rebecca Springer: Within Heavens Gates also Kat Kurr: Revealing Heaven. –  caseyr547 Mar 29 '13 at 11:14

8 Answers 8

There is Biblical evidence that, at least in certain circumstances, people in Heaven can indeed see what is happening on Earth. Perhaps the most clear example is from Revelation 19:1-3:

After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting:

‘Hallelujah!

Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,

for true and just are his judgments.

He has condemned the great prostitute

who corrupted the earth by her adulteries.

He has avenged on her the blood of his servants.’

And again they shouted:

‘Hallelujah!

The smoke from her goes up for ever and ever.’

So, this multitude in heaven were at least aware of the fall of Babylon on Earth.

Other verses that hint this are:

  • Revelation 6:10, in which the martyred saints in heaven are aware that God has not yet avenged them and
  • 1 Samuel 28, in which the dead Samuel appears before Saul and appears to have knowledge of what Saul has done (and failed to do) after Samuel's death.
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Well to start off I am a Christian and I had the same question like that when my dads wife pass.No unless Its a angel that was sent to earth by God or God.read the book of first and second timothy

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Welcome to the site! This next is just standard to help new visitors avoid misunderstanding the site (as I did at first.) As a new visitor, I'd recommend checking out the following posts, which are meant to help newcomers "learn the ropes": the help page and How we are different than other sites?, and What makes a good supported answer? –  David Stratton Feb 13 at 14:13
    
What exactly in 1st and 2nd Timothy are you referring to? –  curiousdannii May 31 at 22:34

I'm Not sure if it's possible for People in heaven to contact us on earth. How ever I would Advise you Not to try to contact them. The Bible is very clear about contacting with the dead. Refer to Leviticus 19:31/ Leviticus 20:6/ Isaiah 8:19/ Deuteronomy 18:9-14.

God Does not allow people to contact the dead or to seek advise or help from them, God is your help and his word is Your Guide. According to the Passages Mentioned above.

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Hi, and welcome to Christianity SE. I agree with you completely, but this is a Q&A site and your post doesn't actually answer the question. For more information, check out our tour page and what makes us different. If you have any questions about how we do things feel free to comment here (start with "@Ryan Frame" so I'll know you've commented) and I'll be glad to help. –  Ryan Frame Jan 11 at 17:23

The word "afterlife" does not appear in the Bible. That's because the only hope we have for eternal life is the resurrection. We as Christians await eagerly for the "redemption of our bodies" (Rom 8:23) which comes about at the second coming of Jesus Christ. Here's what the Bible says in Philippians 3:20-21: "20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body."

The reason why the resurrection is our hope is because the Bible says "For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing" Ecclesiastes 9:5. Here's another: "3 Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. 4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish." (Psalm 143:3-4)

So, your grandmother is dead, she has no thoughts and she does not know anything about what is happening to you. That also makes sense right? Because in heaven there are no more tears. How would your grandmother feel if she could look in on you from heaven and something really sad happened to you? Would she not have tears?

An in regards to the story of Lazarus referenced above please note that this is not a literal description of what happens when we go to heaven or hell. Why? Because clearly this is a parable. And if the parable was literal, then the people in hell can see the people in heaven and talk to them, and a drop of water on the tongue can provide comfort from the agony of hell. Rather the point Jesus was making in the parable was that once we die it is too late for us to repent.

In light of the clear scripture about the resurrection and about the thoughts of the dead perishing, we know that the dead cannot see what's happening to us once they pass away.

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Welcome to the site. This answer would be a lot better if you could add references showing that this is a common understanding, and who teaches/believes it. Remember that "I believe it means..." isn't an acceptable answer, since this site isn't about personal interpretation. See How we are different than other sites? and What makes a good supported answer? –  David Stratton Nov 17 '13 at 19:06
    
So, what you are saying is that the story of Lazarus is a parable because only in parable could it work this way. That's rather circular. There's actually much debate about whether Lazarus & Dives is a parable or a revelation - I wouldn't be so sure in either direction. –  Affable Geek Nov 18 '13 at 3:01

The bible says that WE who are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are SAINTS. So we become part of the saints who are the Great Cloud of Witnesses. If we think that God is not able to allow His saints to be spectators to what enfolds on earth we are limiting God. For the bible also says that His angels rejoice when one soul comes to Salvation. Thus, the angels have been spectators, messengers and participants to our lives as humanity vs. satan. If the angelic hosts rejoice, then why not the brethren saints whose loved ones on earth are part of Creation which began in the Garden of Eden? We are all linked to our two parents Adam and Eve, are we not? We are part of the lineage of Adam and Eve, just as Jesus is. So who but our loved ones would have a vested interest in rooting for us and praying for us other than our earthly family who have made their new residence in heaven?

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This answer would be a lot better if you could add references showing that this is a common understanding, and who teaches/believes it. On this site, we're not looking for personal interpretation (I believe such and such), but rather focusing on what various Christian groups teach. See How we are different than other sites? and What makes a good supported answer? –  David Stratton Oct 30 '13 at 12:28
    
The people of Heb. 11 endured in faith to the end because they were convinced of God's promises (11:13). Why, then, would the author tell us to be mindful of witnesses in heaven to encourage us? The witnesses of God's faithfulness in Heb. 11 did no such thing. –  Steve Oct 30 '13 at 13:27

Many passages from the Bible have been used as the basis for people seeing and hearing from heaven. I think that I have now rounded up all the major points. I could be wrong, perhaps there are even more. Below I give the 7 major biblical points that I have seen brought up as supporting this view. Some of these points are related, but they all approach the issue from a slightly different perspective.

One important thing to remember is that the dead in heaven might not "see and hear" exactly like we do. This does not mean that they can't see and hear, but only that the faithful in heaven might see and hear things differently.


1: Faith in Heaven

  • Jesus says:

    Matthew 17
    20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

    Many things are impossible for us of little faith, but I would guess that the dead in heaven have faith at least the size of a mustard seed. If they do, then it is possible for them to hear us. (Of course, this passage does not say they must listen, but there is nothing in the Bible that suggests that they would not listen to people who cry out to them, or that God would command them not to listen when a loved one wants them to hear.)


2: The Psalms

  • Psalms are prayers. In at least two Psalms, the person who is saying these prayers is asking or commanding all of creation (including those in heaven, angels, hosts, and so on) to praise God:

    Psalms 103
    20 Bless the LORD, all you his angels, mighty in strength, acting at his behest, obedient to his command. 21 Bless the LORD, all you his hosts, his ministers who carry out his will.

    Psalms 148
    1 Hallelujah! Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise him in the heights. 2 Praise him, all you his angels; give praise, all you his hosts.

    Daniel 3:86 (not available in some Bibles)
    86 Spirits and souls of the just, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.

    Some might say that these passages are just figurative expressions of the psalmist's own praise. However:

    Revelation 5
    13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, everything in the universe, cry out: “To the one who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor, glory and might, forever and ever.”

    Luke 19
    39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He said in reply, “I tell you, if they keep silent, the stones will cry out!”

    Numbers 20:8
    8 Take the staff and assemble the community, you and Aaron your brother, and in their presence command the rock to yield its waters. Thereby you will bring forth water from the rock for them, and supply the community and their livestock with water.

  • So according to God (literally the words of God in this case), it is even appropriate to speak directly to rocks and expect something to happen. Of course, rocks are inanimate, which means they have no soul. But people (even dead people, of course) have souls, so we should expect that they would hear us like people and not like rocks, even if they don't hear in exactly the same way that we do. (We know that beings with only a soul can hear, even though they have no body, because the Bible describes angels having conversations with people.)


3: Moses and Elijah

  • At the Transfiguration of Jesus, the Bible describes Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus as if they are aware of what is and will be happening in the world:

    Luke 9
    29 While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white. 30 And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, 31 who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.

  • Some people might say that Moses and Elijah could hear Jesus because they "came down to earth". But others say that Peter, James, and John saw a glimpse of people who were "in heaven" talking to Jesus (when Peter suggested setting up tents, a cloud overshadowed them, a voice said “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”, and then they could no longer see Moses and Elijah).


4: Revelation

  • Revelation establishes that certain people in heaven "interact" with the prayers of other people:

    Revelation 5:8
    8 When he took it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each of the elders held a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the holy ones.

    This describes the prayers of holy people filling up golden bowls, in heaven. The bowls are held by the 24 elders (the 12 apostles and the 12 tribes). The elders offer up these prayers to God like incense ("Let my prayer be incense before you...", Psalm 141:2). The point here is that, at the very least, these people are directly interacting with prayers. How do people usually directly interact with prayers? By hearing them (or knowing them, or saying them).


5: Raphael's Record

  • Tobit 12 describes Archangel Raphael doing the same, but with more clarity: the prayers of Tobit and Sarah are recorded, and this record is something that God wants kept and "presented" to Him:

    Tobit 12:12
    12 Now when you, Tobit, and Sarah prayed, it was I who presented the record of your prayer before the Glory of the Lord; and likewise whenever you used to bury the dead.

    Obviously, God can hear all prayers, but He still wants a record kept. How did Raphael know what the prayers were? My guess is that Raphael could hear them. Of course, Raphael is an angel, not a heavenly human person, but this seems to show that this is an activity endorsed by God.


6: Abraham hearing the rich man

  • The following parable implies that someone in heaven is capable of hearing:

    Luke 16:22-25
    22 When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.
    24 And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.’
    25 Abraham replied, ‘My child, remember that [...]

    The rich man is in hell, suffering, and he cries out to Abraham. Abraham is dead and in a far-off and elevated place. Some people who argue against there being any biblical basis get this point entirely confused. It's not about the rich man seeing his family! It is about Abraham in that heavenly place hearing the rich man. Even this person in hell is heard by Abraham.

    Some say that the only lesson of this parable is that people will not believe even if someone returns from the dead. Others say that the only lesson is that once you are in hell it is too late to pray, or that not all prayers will be answered, or that people who care more for riches than for the poor will go to hell. But others say that one important lesson is that faithful people like Abraham can hear prayers and are worth praying to.

  • The following is my own explanation of why this parable is important: There can't really be a sort of "isolation bubble" around a place like heaven, because then this parable would be describing something heretical. For example, no parable would ever describe someone being reincarnated as a cow while giving any kind of teaching, because reincarnation in general is a heresy and incompatible with the order of things. So we must believe that this parable describes something that is in accordance with the way in which God has ordered His creation.


7: Cloud of Witnesses

  • Hebrews is also often brought up as evidence that a "cloud of witnesses" can see us (this "cloud" refers to the dead that are in heaven, including: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Jacob, Moses, Rahab Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets, all mentioned in Hebrews 11):

    Hebrews 12
    1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us* and persevere in running the race that lies before us 2 while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.

    The interpretation depends on what the word "witnesses" means. Some have interpreted it to mean that the people are witnessing us (seeing us, like spectators in a stadium) as we "run the race". Others suggest that these people are witnesses to faith: good role models, a "cloud" of the faithful that we should hope surrounds us. I think the second view (that we should look up to saints) is more appropriate based on context, so this is the only point I don't entirely agree with. But I have included it because it is important.


So there are many passages from the Bible that serve as the basis for people seeing and hearing from heaven. Points 1, 3, 5, 7, and possibly 6 relate to the possibility of seeing (and not just hearing prayers).

The most important thing is to have the faith of Abraham, and to give prayer worthy to be offered up to God.

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I will answer it vaguely.

Hebrews 11 has a list of many People of Faith from the Old Testament who already died and are in Heaven.

Hebrews 12 (NIV) 1 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, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

According to some sermons I heard, Hebrews 12 give us the picture of a stadium where we, believers on earth are runners and the spectators are the Saints in Heaven. And, since we are being watched by all these witnesses, we should run with perseverance.

This may vaguely explain the possibility of seeing/hearing people from our Earth in heaven.

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I think it's clear from the Heb. 11-12 context that the witnesses are from the previous chapter. They believed God and are witnesses of God's faithfulness, therefore we follow their example of enduring faith in God, not endure in faith because people above are watching. Nowhere in Scripture are we to follow in faith because a dead person is watching from heaven (with the exception of Jesus, of course). The people in Heb. 11 did not endure in faith to death because people above were watching them. –  Steve Oct 30 '13 at 13:17

The Bible says nothing about this. The closest you can come in Scripture is Luke 16:19-31

19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

Some claim that this man can see his family, but the text says nothing of the sort.

Other references are used to support the claim, but all are equally weak. Nothing in Scripture indicates that we will be able to see our loved ones from Heaven.

It is, of course, possible that they can. Scripture doesn't give every detail of every truth. Absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence, but such an idea doesn't originate from the Bible, or any Biblical teaching.

More at http://www.gty.org/resources/questions/QA108

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Indeed the passage does not show that the rich man can see his family. But that is because it is Abraham who hears the cry of the rich man. The rich man sees only Abraham (and Lazarus, and perhaps a few angels). –  Alypius Mar 15 '13 at 20:17

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