And it came to pass that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom…Luke 16:22
In telling the story in Luke 16 Jesus says that the beggar was “carried by the angels.” He was not only escorted; he was carried. What an experience that must have been for Lazarus! He had lain begging at the gate of the rich man until his death, but then suddenly he found himself carried by the mighty angels of God!Another beautiful account of this kind comes from the life of Stephen (Acts 6:8-7:60). In a powerful sermon Stephen declared that even unbelievers “received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it” (Acts 7:53). When he had finished his discourse, Stephen saw the glory of God and Jesus at the Father’s right hand. Immediately his enemies stoned him to death, and he was received into heaven. Even as the angels escorted Lazarus when he died, so we can assume that they escorted Stephen; and so they will escort us when by death we are summoned into the presence of Christ. We can well imagine what Stephen’s abundant entrance to heaven was like as the anthems of the heavenly host were sung in rejoicing that the first Christian martyr had come home to receive a glorious welcome and to gain the crown of a martyr.
Hundreds of accounts record the heavenly escort of angels at death. When my maternal grandmother died, for instance, the room seemed to fill with a heavenly light. She sat up in bed and almost laughingly said, “I see Jesus. He has His arms outstretched toward me. I see Ben [her husband who had died some years earlier] and I see the angels.” She slumped over, absent from the body but present with the Lord. What a glorious experience for the believer!