Q. I was thinking recently about the fact that by doing good things here on Earth, we build up rewards for ourselves in heaven. Then I thought about what you said regarding our inability to recall our time on Earth while in Eternity. If this is so, wouldn’t the people who suddenly appear in Eternity look around and realize that some have more rewards than others? Then isn’t it natural to question why? And not remembering their Earth lives, they won’t be able to answer the question. What happens then? Do they just disregard it or will God give an answer? I’m pretty sure we won’t be fat, dumb and happy in Eternity so we would need an answer somehow. Which brings us back to not remembering Earth. So how would this be answered?
A. First we must realize that all believers arrive at the Bema Seat judgment of 1 Cor. 3:10-15 at the same time. It takes place just after the Rapture of the Church. Second, Isaiah 65:17, the verse where we’re told that the former things won’t be remembered, is in the context of the new heavens and new earth, something that happens at the beginning of the Millennium.
So here’s the way I see it. When we all arrive at the Bema Seat, as each one of us comes before the Lord the good works of our life flash through our memories. As they do, the Lord reveals what our motives were in performing these works and we’ll understand immediately if they qualify for rewards or not. (1 Cor. 4:5)
Then we’ll take our place in the New Jerusalem with complete awareness and acceptance of our position relative to all the others. As I Cor. 13:12 tells us, we’ll know as we’re known. That means our perception of ourselves will be consistent the Lord’s perception of us.
When the Great Tribulation is completed, as the kingdom is established and everyone’s fate is sealed, any memory of our former lives that would detract from our ability to achieve and maintain an uninterrupted state of pure joy will then be erased and we’ll have no further concerns about the past.