What Does the Bible Say About Angels Going with You When You Die?
Question from a reader:
My wife died two months ago and I’ve heard a preacher say that when you die “you don’t go home alone”, and that two angels go with you. What does the Bible say about this?
Answer from Julia Stager, EPM Staff:
I don’t know of Bible references to a specific number of angels that accompany a dying person to Heaven. In Luke 16, the story of the rich man and Lazarus (the poor man), it does say in verse 22 “ The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's side.” Though this story has often been dismissed as a parable, there is evidence to suggest Jesus may be telling a story that actually happened. Randy writes this in his book Heaven about why he believes we can take most of the Lazarus story literally:
Did you know that this is the only parable Jesus told in which he gave a specific name to someone in the story? Naming Lazarus suggests that Jesus was speaking of a real man who had that name. Furthermore, if the events in this story didn’t actually happen, if Jesus made up the name for the poor man, why would he choose the name Lazarus—the name of his close friend, who was actually a rich man, not a poor man? Jesus knew that Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, would die and Jesus would raise him from the dead. Using Lazarus’s name would inevitably create confusion—two different Lazaruses who die and live again, one in Paradise, the other on Earth? When Jesus could have chosen from hundreds of other names, it seems doubtful he would have invented a name that would unnecessarily confuse. The best explanation for why Jesus called the man Lazarus may be this: He was a real man, and that was his name. If so, it increases the probability that Jesus was telling us about what actually happened to two men after they died.
So, if we take the story of Lazarus as a model for the present Heaven (where believers in this age go when we die), then we can hypothesize that believers are ushered into the presence of Christ upon their death by angels.
Another Bible reference that may be of comfort to you is in 2 Corinthians 5:8 where Paul says he is “…willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” This reminds us that there is no time of loneliness between death and being present with the Lord. When our soul leaves this body it is present with the Lord. Finally, we’re able to rejoice that the work of Christ has been accomplished and that then, if we confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts that He is Lord we will be saved – regardless of angels carrying us into His presence or not.
Julia (Stager) Mayo holds a Master of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies from Western Seminary, where she works as an administrative assistant. She was previously part of the Eternal Perspective Ministries staff, and still does occasional research work for Randy Alcorn.