My dear friend, this is a good question, and one that many have asked over the years. I do not know that Scripture gives us a specific answer as to precisely how our relationships on earth will be recalled when in heaven. I truly believe that those in the glory do remember their loved ones, and when in heaven, that the saved ones will all remember and readily recognize one another. I do not have a lot of specific Scripture verses to back up my belief of this but share below what I know that Scripture does tell us. I can say with certainty that in heaven, there will be no sorrow or crying, as we see in Revelation 21:4, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away”. Thus, anything that is recalled by those who are in the glory about their earthly families will be viewed through the light of God’s perfect love and Grace, and there will be nothing to cause them sorrow or pain.

The Lord Jesus said in Luke 15:7, “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth…” Thus, there is an awareness of and joy among the company of heaven when someone on earth is saved. I have heard some say that 1 Corinthians 13:12 may pertain to our knowledge of and recognition of others when in heaven, but I believe that this verse refers mainly to the truth and purposes of God’s will, which are revealed to us in the Scriptures, which we understand only in part while on the earth. Still, our knowledge and understanding of the purposes of God will be expanded when we are in heaven, so I include the verse here: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

My response to your question would be that yes, we do remember our families and will recognize one another when in heaven, though with no sense of sadness. I do not know that I could say that those in heaven are actively “looking down” on those here on the earth, but I believe that there are Scriptures that do illustrate for us that those in heaven do know and will recognize in heaven those that they have known on the earth. I believe that there are some verses that shed light on this belief. First, and possibly the best example, would be the account of the transfiguration of the Lord Jesus found in Matthew 17:1-8. In that portion, we read in verse 3, “And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with Him.” Moses and Elijah were seen in the glory with the Lord Jesus on this day.   These men had been gone from the earth for hundreds of years, yet there they stood, alive and easily recognized in the light of Jesus’ glory and talking with Him about His work to be accomplished at the cross. Now, what will our bodies be like when we are in heaven with the Lord Jesus? We read in Philippians 3:20-21: “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body…”. So, in heaven, our bodies will be like unto Jesus’ glorious body; and I assume this includes our memory of those we knew on the earth. And, since we shall be like Him (1 John 3:2), you might ask “what was His body like after His resurrection from the dead”? If we turn to Luke 24: 37-43, we see the Lord Jesus in resurrection, standing in the midst of His disciples and yet talking with them about all that had come to pass and would yet come, and easily recognizable, with the marks of his crucifixion yet clearly visible on his hands, side, and feet. He was of flesh and bone, as they confirmed by handling, observing, and talking with Him; and he ate before them, thus demonstrating that He was indeed alive, and not a ghost. And our bodies will be like unto His glorious body. Furthermore, one thing that I believe will remain with us at our resurrection will be our minds, howbeit expanded in our knowledge of Him and His ways, and again, I assume we will remember our families and friends.

Finally, I’d like to point out, from the other side of the coin, the situation of Lazarus and the rich man found in Luke 16:19-31. This rich man, after death, was in torment, but he could remember Lazarus, and he did remember his brothers on the earth who were yet alive, and he clearly wanted Lazarus to go and warn his brothers that they not wind up coming to where the rich man now was due to their ungodliness and unbelief. Of course, this rich man’s request was denied, and yet what I see in this story is that those who have passed from this life do in fact remember those on the earth.

And now, my dear friend, I must ask you, do you know with assurance that you are going to heaven? We read in Romans 10:9, “…if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved”. I pray it to be so for you. If you are indeed saved and thus going to heaven, what a glory that will be, and inexpressibly joyful! And, best of all, we’ll all, with loved ones who have gone before, be worshipping together in the very presence of our Lord Jesus, who loved us and gave Himself for us! Thus, our eyes will be on the Lord Jesus, and not occupied with the beauty of the place, nor the others who are there for the Bible says, “…they shall see His face…” (Revelation 22:4).  (SF)  (493.2)