No one can answer this question with proof, or even with a definitive verse from the Bible. However, there is biblical reasoning to support that angels are sent by God to accompany us on our transition from this world to Heaven. In addition, there are many accounts of people who sat at the bedside of someone dying and they claim to have seen an angel or felt the presence of angels. Let’s look at both.
Jesus told a parable about a beggar man, named Lazarus, in Abraham’s Bosom. Abraham’s Bosom was the place where those who died before the cross, having faith in Jehovah, went at death (Read more: Where did OT Saints go at death? Abraham’s Bosom? Where was that?) Jesus also told that Lazarus was carried there by angels:
Luke 16:22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried.
(Take note that the rich man also died but there is no mention of angels. We know from the following verses in Luke 16 that his eternal destination was not Abraham’s Bosom, but rather the place of torment, which we call Hell.)
Angels Carried Lazarus
The angels carried Lazarus to the place of comfort. As Christians, we also go to the place of comfort at death. Since the ascension of Jesus, that place is no longer in the heart of the earth. Paradise is now in Heaven. Ephesians tells us that when Jesus ascended to Heaven, 40 days after His resurrection, He took those who were in Abraham’s Bosom with Him (Eph 4:8).
It is biblical reasoning that Christians, at the time of death, will also be escorted to our resting place (Heaven) by heavenly escorts sent by God. Remember that God will meet all our needs (Phil 4:19), so it’s reasonable to conclude from Luke 16 that our passage into Heaven will be with angels to protect us from any spiritual warfare as we cross through the spiritual realm. Bible preachers and pastors, both past and present, have taught this, including Billy Graham, David Jeremiah, and many others.
Additional Biblical Support
Another support for angels accompanying the dead to Heaven is found in 1 Thessalonians 4. At the time of the Rapture, the souls and bodies of those who are alive and belong to Jesus will be taken to Heaven. We are told that Jesus wll descend and the archangel with Him. Since Jesus and the archangel will escorts believers to Heaven at the Rapture, it’s biblically reasonable to conclude that Christians, at death, do not make the transition alone.
We are also told that angels are “ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14) If they minister to us during our lives, it’s biblically reasonable to think angels will minister to us at death, as we pass into Heaven.
The are many accounts of people around a dying person seeing someone, or something, that could only be explained as an angel. In fact, I believe my brother experienced the presence of angels.
My mother had been in a nursing home for four years, when her life on earth was coming to an end. Her physical condition had diminished for a few weeks when we got the call that her death was imminent. My husband, daughters, and I lived ten hours away and there was no easy air transportation. A winter storm was setting in near her town, so we decided to wait until morning to leave. That proved to be good since the bridge we would have crossed was closed because of the storm. My brother sat alone with mom during the evening hours and watched as her breathing became more and more shallow. He saw her take her last breath, and then he saw sparkles that drifted up to the ceiling.
In two places in the Bible, angels are referred to as stars (Rev 1:20, 12:4). I believe the sparkles my brother saw was because he got a glimpse into the spiritual realm. I believe the sparkles he saw were angels, sent by God, to carry my mom, His child, into Heaven.
A Sign to a Non-Believer?
What makes this even more interesting is that my brother is not a believer. When I told him about the parable in Luke 16, that angels took Lazarus to his resting place, and that I believe what he saw was angels, sent to carry mom to Heaven, my brother responded, “Well, I don’t know about that. But I know what I saw.”
I truly believe that it was God’s intention for my brother to be alone with our mother at that very moment. And I believe that our gracious God gave my brother a glimpse into the spiritual realm and let him see the peace of a believer’s death, the fulfilled promise of Heaven being opened, and our mother’s passage to Heaven as being “sparkly” — accompanied by angels. This would certainly be an answer to my mother’s prayers. She prayed all of her life for my brother’s salvation, which has not happened — yet. But he saw what he saw, and he doesn’t deny the reality of what he saw. He also confirmed the clarity of his thought and vision at the time. I hope and pray that one day my brother’s heart will be opened by what he saw.
It’s clear I believe in the angelic escorts that take Christians to Heaven. God is gracious to us in this life, and He will be equally gracious when we take our last breath. He will give, according to our need, a glimpse of glory to comfort us and a heavenly escort to carry us into the eternal bliss of life in the presence of our Lord and Saviour.
The next time you sit at the bedside of a believer moving closer to home, look for the “sparkles” — watch for the angels. You just might get a glimpse of unveiled glory and God’s angels sent to carry His child home.
One Last Thought: The Other Place
So if angels carry believers into their heavenly home, how are those who die in their sins taken to Hell? We don’t know. The Bible doesn’t give any clues. Nor are there any testimonies I know of that would give insights to the passage to Hell.
We don’t want anyone to go to Hell. We want our family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and all people to trust in Jesus and receive His forgiveness of sins and gift of eternal life. Then death will be a passage into the promised glory of Heaven…and the journey will not be alone.
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