Can People in Heaven See Us?

Shortly after my grandfather died, I did something really stupid. My immediate thought was, “Ugh, I hope grandpa didn’t see that!”

The possibility he could see my every move, mistake, triumph, stupidity, joy, sin, and failure weirded me out. At 19, I had enough to deal with than to try and figure out the complexity and mystery of Heaven, so I dropped the topic in my head without really grasping any other view than, “If people who have died can see us from Heaven, it’s a little bit creepy to me!”

Years later, Todd and I have experienced our own tragedies with the deaths of our children. And, we have constantly heard comments for the last 5 years suggesting our children can see us.

“Now you have an angel watching over you!”

“I’m sure Kylie can see you, and she would be so proud!”

“Your babies are watching over and protecting you!”

“Never forget, she is always here with you!” (As in, in the room…)

Most of the time, I smiled and nodded along, because I really didn’t know what to say. (Sound familiar anyone?)

On the one hand, I wanted to tell people I hope my children, (grandfathers, grandmother, and friends) are choosing to spend their time with Jesus rather than looking back to the hot mess of this Earth. I don’t want them watching me, go talk to Abraham, or Elijah, or have a big ole family reunion…

And yet, I also know many people, who find comfort believing their loved ones can view them from above, and be their “guardian angel”. I have heard many friends tell me they find comfort in believing their son, daughter, spouse, family, or friend, is watching out for the them, helping them make decisions, and guiding them through life. And, honestly, I struggle with this view point.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, the Bible is not very clear about this subject. And, like many verses in the Bible, the few that discuss this topic can be translated or understood in many different ways.

In Revelation 6:9-11, the previously martyred appear to be fully aware of what is happening on Earth during the Tribulation. They ask the Lord, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”

Some people believe Hebrews 12:2 is proof people in Heaven can see us as the verse speaks of Christians running a race and being surrounded by a “great cloud of witnesses.” Some believe the witnesses are actually people in Heaven watching us run this Earthly race. Others believe these verses are simply referring back to the “heroes of the faith” in, whose lives are meant to be an example (a witness) to us of how we should live.

Luke 15:10 says, “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Some believe this means the angels rejoice when someone repents, while others believe this also implies the Saints also rejoice because they are with the Angels. If so, are the Saints rejoicing over actually seeing what is happening, or by being told of the events that occurred? (Think of the birth of a child – there is a difference between being there/seeing it, and being told about it!)

And yet, probably most difficult to understand is Revelations 12:4. The Bible teaches there will be no sorrow, pain, or tears in Heaven. Our brains really can’t logically understand how this could happen because the world we know is surrounded in imperfection. While some believe this verse refers to the new Heaven (not the one now), others believe someone in Heaven now could not look back at the suffering of this world, perhaps the pain their family feels over their death, and devastation without feeling sorrow, pain, or shedding tears.

For me, where I choose to find my comfort is not thinking my loved ones can see me from Heaven, but rather in knowing my loved ones can see Jesus! I’ll take that any day. But, that’s just me…

Q. What do you believe? If people can see us in Heaven, is that creepy or comforting to you?

Photo Courtesy of Shaire Productions via Flickr

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • tracy

    Erica,
    I lost my dad and grandmother within days of each other, when I was a new mother and to help me cope with them not being there to see the baby as she grew, or to further see my two boys after they were born, I have always felt that they are up there in heaven watching over all of us….and “seeing” these special moments. Since I have since lost other members of my family, I have kept this image of them. I never thought about them seeing the things that I did not want them to see….but then again, their love was unconditional and I felt that they would be ok no matter how much I messed up. I feel strongly that our loved ones are never gone but are held within our hearts, all the memories and special times, and that this is another way of God helping us to deal with this sorrow. Your comment about them being busy spending time with God never entered my mind, so this is a new way of looking at it for me. I say my prayers. I don’t pray to these people but to God, but I do feel that they are looking out for us and are a source of guidance for us too. Does this make sense what I am saying?

    • http://www.ericamcneal.com emcneal

      Yes, that absolutely makes sense. I agree our loved ones can live on through our memories, and we can keep them close with us in this manner. That is the beauty and mystery of God/Heaven that each person can think or feel comfort a little differently. I guess the thought I have in my head is a lot like The Truman Show… if we believe those who have died can view our lives, then Heaven becomes an audience where anyone there (whether we know them or not) can view every aspect of our life. To me, that is just unsettling! =)

  • Megan J

    Erica,

    I also believe that because there are no tears in heaven, that those that are in heaven cannot see us—I don’t think God even allows them to be aware that they are missing any of their loved ones left here on Earth—wouldn’t that make them “miss” us? I think they become aware and are able to rejoice that we are with them when we arrive too. I also think that they are able to rejoice along with angels when someone repents, but that they don’t know “who” it is. I like the idea that they are focused on the Lord and are experiencing completeness and unconditional love! No worries in heaven! Yay! So, it would be unsettling to me if they could see us….

    • http://www.ericamcneal.com emcneal

      Thanks for your comment Megan! I agree and in my human-head would also think that our loved ones would miss us, especially when they get to see true life and we are here in pre-birth! =) I think when we join Kylie, our other babies, and our loved ones, to them it will feel like a blink of an eye moment.

  • http://havahbreathes.blogspot.com Jeanne

    Here I go again with the “why does it have to be either/or”? =) I’m a big believer in duality … what I mean to say is, I don’t believe eternity exists in the temporal plane of time (to which we are bound). I do believe that our loved ones who are with Y’shua are truly “Sukkot” (abiding or dwelling) with Him. It is impossible for them to be separate or apart from Him now. But … that doesn’t mean they can’t be occasionally watching us … because He is also with us, therefore they would not be away from Him by peeking in on us. I make a distinction, though, between “watching” and “watching over.” They’re not not guarding or protecting us (that’s the duty of the angelic host) or petitioning for us (that’s the Spirit’s job). But I do believe that they eagerly await reuniting with us as much as we do with them … just without the pain of separation that WE experience. And since prayer is dialogue with G-d, I also believe that they do pray about us … because His concerns are now their concerns. The difference is, they are at peace with any outcome because they are united with Him, in a atate of eternal Shalom. But I believe they still care about us and are conscious of us because they are now fulfilled, made whole, and reflecting His heart of hearts …

    • http://www.ericamcneal.com emcneal

      Interesting Jeanne… I might have to chew on some of that a little bit. If it is impossible for our loved ones to be separate from God, does that mean that they “when two or more are gathered” they are also here?

      • http://www.facebook.com/jeanne.mcneal Jeanne Walker McNeal

        Why not? With G-d, all things are possible, aren’t they? I don’t think we’re meant to dwell on the dead too much (let the business of the living be the living, for our time is short) … but just because G-d doesn’t let us in on that part of the script does not mean it doesn’t exist. It’s just not fully our business … at least, not yet …

  • G

    Have you ever read Chuck Missler?He has a very interesting take that I have come to side with. If there is no suffering in heaven and it is eternal, then probably when you are there, everyone is there. I’m probably not explaining it clearly but it has to do with time and dimension. Time only exists here. So there’s nowhere and noone to look down on since heaven doesn’t follow Earth’s time. To me that’s very encouraging because then there is no waiting or lost time. Only we have to endure time constraints and waiting here on Earth. That’s why whenever someone comes out with a book about dying and coming back to life and they say I was waiting in line to get into heaven, I immediately know not to believe it! There are definitely no lines in heaven! That would be hell! Ha ha. The name of the book is called The Bible in 24 hours. It’s like a bible handbook- quite fascinating!

    • http://www.facebook.com/jeanne.mcneal Jeanne Walker McNeal

      LOL – I “grew up” on Missler! I remember him bringing that up in his “Beyond Time & Space” series. Definitely played a role in my thoughts on death and the thereafter … I concur on “The Bible in 24 Hours” study. Basically it’s a “cliffsnotes” of everything else he’s done, and very valuable if/when you find yourself ministering to an agnostic or inquisitive atheist. ;-)

      • http://www.ericamcneal.com/ Erica McNeal

        Look at you two… love it!! =)

  • linda NJ

    I pray that my husband can see me and hear me from heaven. I talk. To. Him. All the time like he was still here next to me.

  • Mark B

    I take comfort in believing my mom, my dad, my sisters are “aware” that I’m OK. But I’d feel funny thinking of them watching me every minute, just as I would be uncomfortable with that idea were they alive. Yes, even a bit creepy. But I believe if I speak to them, be it in my kitchen or at their grave, that they are aware of my words. I agree that I’d rather think of them enjoying the glory of Heaven then watching me like a boring reality show.