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Does Isaiah 65:17 mean that we will not remember family members after the resurrections?

The emphasis in this verse is on life in the time that is beyond this current age:

“‘For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.’”

As a first consideration in answering this question, it is important to understand that this world, its society and its ways are under the dominance of Satan (compare John 12:31; 2 Corinthians 4:4; 1 John 5:19). Jesus Christ told His disciples that He had “‘…overcome the world’” (John 16:33), and John adds: “…For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).

Christians have this challenge regarding the present age:

“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others” (Ephesians 2:1-3).

Paul adds:

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:10-12).

We find more mention of a completely new creation from God:

“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’ Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful’” (Revelation 21:1-5).

Let’s also take special notice of the new relationship we will experience in this future time:

“‘He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son’” (Revelation 21:7).

In our booklet, “God Is A Family,” on pages 31-32, we write:

“The eighth chapter of the book of Romans presents us with even more astounding proof of the tremendous future God has in store for man. ‘For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption [correctly translated, “son-ship”] by whom we cry out “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself [Itself] bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together’” (verses 14–17).

“Romans 8:18–19 continues: ‘For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.’

“These two short verses open up the truth of the vast master plan of God and the very purpose for man’s creation—to increase His Family by having sons and daughters born into His very Family! We are told in 2 Corinthians 6:17–18, ‘Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty.”’”

“After explaining that mankind was to become conformed to the image ofHis Son, Jesus Christ, God shows the underlying purpose in His plan in Romans 8:29: Christ was to ‘be the firstborn among many brethren.’ So important is the purpose of God in bringing many sons and daughters to glory that He was willing to give His only begotten Son in fulfillment of His objective (compare John 3:16). Romans 8:32 also clarifies this point: ‘He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?’”

This is the central purpose found in all of the Word of God, as is also testified in the Book of Hebrews:

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one [NIV: “are of the same Family”], for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren…” (Hebrews 2:9-11).

Again, regarding the potential of Christians, we have this promise:

“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).

This means that in the time of the new heavens and new earth, humankind will be “Godkind”! Our relationships will exist in this spirit realm, and our life then will far transcend the physical lives we now lead.

Now, more specifically, will we still retain memories of those of this time? What about our relationships with family and friends? It will depend on whether or not they are righteous or evil (compare Psalm 34:15-16). Simply stated, those who are in God’s Kingdom will know one-another, but those who rebel will cease to exist or be remembered.

Jesus emphasized that our relationships are to be with those who obey God:

“While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. Then one said to Him, ‘Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.’ But He answered and said to the one who told Him, ‘Who is My mother and who are My brothers?’ And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, ‘Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother’” (Matthew 12:46-50).

Paul gives emphasis to the focus of having a godly relationship when he states:

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

Finally, God reveals to us that there are things that even He will no longer remember, when He states, “As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:12); and, “‘…Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more’” (Hebrews 8:12; 10:17).

We know that in the future, when God creates all things new, we will experience life in a new way, the Way of God—which is love and true righteousness. May God grant that both we and our loved ones will yield to God in order to have a part in what our Father is preparing for His children!

Lead Writer: Dave Harris