From FSOF blog (fsaof.blogspot.com):
The early Christians did not believe that there will be family reunions in heaven?. They believed that at the end of time there would be a general resurrection of the dead and people would then be given their reward or punishment; the Kingdom would appear with the Second Coming, and everyone would be brought back to life, to see and experience it.
But the question remained, what happened to those who died before the end of the age? Paul believed that when Christ would return “the dead in Christ would rise first, and the bodies of those still living would become immortal”. This was also the view of John. He claimed that there would be a future resurrection, and that a New Jerusalem would descend from the sky and it would have gates of pearl and streets of gold; and that the saints would live forever here on earth.
When Jesus didn’t come soon, there began a long process of reinterpretation. The teaching of the resurrection of the body got transmuted into a message that judgment comes at the end of one’s life, with one’s soul going to one place or the other. In short, the notion of the resurrection of the body became transformed into the Greek doctrine of the immortality of the soul. Since then, the afterlife has been so central that it has been the primary motive, along with the fear of Hell, for being a Christian.
So what might we think? Research on near-death experiences suggests that we do enter another realm at death, the tunnel, the bright light, the experience of leaving the body and seeing things from a vantage point outside the body. Who knows what it all means? If there is a blessed afterlife, and I am there, will I know that I am me?
Will there be family reunions? If so, is this good or bad?
PART TWO (2/3)
Dr. John Sullivan
Former Officer Canada