- Lesson 12 in the Connect360 unit “Heaven & Angels: Our Eternal Home and Its Heavenly Hosts” focuses on Romans 8:38-39.
In Luke 16, Jesus tells a story that illustrates a fascinating truth about angels. He relates the story of an unnamed rich man and a righteous beggar named Lazarus. Jesus said the poor man died “and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s arms” (16:22).
It is comforting to know that angels are with us throughout our lives—even to the end. In this story, Jesus pulled back the veil from the afterlife and revealed to us a couple of truths about angels and heaven. First, Jesus was illustrating that God sends his “escort angels” to ensure our souls are seen safely into heaven when we transfer our address from this world to the next one. Second, this story reminds us of more evidence against our becoming angels when we die. The angels accompany Lazarus; he was not an angel himself.
When Lazarus died, the Bible says the angels carried him to Abraham. Where is that? That is another description of paradise. For any good Jew, joining Abraham would be a heavenly experience. The rich man, however, died and woke up in hades. The rich man was suffering there, and to make matters worse, he could look into paradise and see Lazarus and Abraham (16:23-24).
God does not want us to be afraid of death. Angels help comfort us, even at the end of our lives. In more than 40 years of serving as a pastor, I have conducted many hundreds of funerals. The toughest funerals I have ever conducted are for those who never indicated any interest in God or the church.
I am not the final judge of who is saved and lost—that position has been filled for eternity. So, I never assume a person did not go to heaven. That is God’s domain. But I have observed the deep, bottomless kind of grief expressed at funerals where the deceased gave no evidence of walking with God. I have often been brought to tears myself as I observe family members wailing over the death of someone who never gave any visible evidence of faith.
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