Are Departed Loved Ones Observing Us?

Q. My best friend ever (my dad) has been gone 3 years now. Recently I made a decision to be re-baptized and was telling my friend that I wished I had made this decision 3 years ago when dad could see this. She told me he could see this since all departed believers can “look down” and see what’s happening on Earth. She used the story of the rich man and Lazarus to support this. I’ve always believed when you go to Heaven you put the past behind, including relationships, and I can find no scripture to prove otherwise. Am I wrong?

A. Your view of the afterlife is correct. There’s no Biblical support for the belief that departed loved ones can observe us from Heaven. This idea became popular to help the living maintain some kind of connection with their departed loved ones as a way to ease their loss.

The story of Lazarus is not about Heaven. It’s about Paradise, a place where believers who died before the cross waited in comfort until the Lord sprinkled His blood on the altar in Heaven to open it for us (Hebrews 9:11-12).

But even if it was, Lazarus could not “look down” and see things on Earth. The rich man asked Abraham to send Lazarus back to Earth to warn his brothers, but Abraham refused, saying the Scriptures are all they need (Luke 16: 19-31).

In 2 Cor. 4:18 Paul wrote that while we’re alive on Earth we can look forward to our eternal life with the Lord, and are commanded to do so. But as far as we can tell from the Bible, the connection between this life and the next one is broken at death.

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