The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. (ESV)
Have you ever wondered what will happen after you die? Did you ever ask yourself, “What will be the first experience I will have after I die?” Many people have either asked these questions or similar ones. These same people also have different views and opinions. The question I always have for them is, “Where do you find that in the Bible?”
I want to be clear, I don’t know all the answers. However, what I do know, I ensure that there is evidence in the Bible. So, today I want to cover the poor man that was carried by the angels to heaven.
Last night, I visited a friend of mine who is physically sick. He knows that a time is coming that this life will end and the next life will begin. As we sat together, we discussed many different things. Some of them had what I call “no doubt Biblical evidence”. These are areas that are clear and concise. There is little room for debate.
However, the other subjects we talked about was regarding areas that are debatable. These discussions are Biblically based but many opinions and arguments can be discussed without hurting our friendship. One of our rules is “No matter what we discuss, we will always walk away as close brothers, joined by Christ for the purpose of His Kingdom.” Even though we may not agree with each other, we respect each others opinions no matter how heated it may get.
As we discussed many different things, I remembered a story that Jesus told regarding a poor man named Lazarus and a rich man (who is not named). The story goes something like this:
There was a rich man who had everything anyone could want. He had barns, food, clothing and friends. There was also a poor man who’s name was Lazarus. He was so poor that he ate the crumbs the rich man dropped, like a dog does with his master. The rich man paid no attention to Lazarus. The rich man also had many parties for his friends and stored up many physical things. He was so rich that one day he said to himself, “I have stored up so much that all I have to do is eat, drink and be merry.” However, God said, “Oh foolish man, tonight your life will be called into account. For tonight you will die.” That night, both Lazarus and the rich man died. Lazarus was carried by the angels to heaven. The rich man, however, was buried and ended up in hell.” – JD Very loose paraphrase
If you decide to read it yourself it can be found in Luke 16:19-31. What I noticed was not the fact that one was carried to heaven while the other was buried and in hell. When my friend and I were discussing what the heaven will be like, I asked, “Do you think you’ll be carried or will you just wake up in heaven?” He looked at me with a curious look. I proceeded to say, “This is my opinion and it is debatable but I think when we die, we will be carried by the angels to the presence of God.”
My friend pondered this for a short time and said, “Maybe you’re right. But no matter what happens, I know I’ll be with our Savior.” Although his understanding is perfectly correct and Biblical, it is fun to think of these things. I do not want to sound morbid, but I believe that as a Christian it should be an exciting time when we discuss death, heaven and hell.
Death, because it is the entry door to our eternal life with Christ.
Heaven because no matter what we think it will be like, it will be so much better. Our lives and thoughts are skewed and sinful, therefore, we cannot comprehend what heaven will be like. No matter what we think, it surely will be better than we can ever imagine.
Hell because it is a place we will not end up. As we believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven (as Christ claimed Himself), we will never end up there, so it is exciting to know that we will avoid torment and start our eternal life with worship. However, it is bitter sweet. Why? Because we also realize that those who don’t know Jesus as their Savior will end up in hell. Why you ask? Isn’t that outdated? No and here’s why.
In Matthew 7, Jesus was teaching about the Kingdom of God. There He says the following:
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one whodoes the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (ESV)
One day there will be many people who do good and great things. They may even say they are doing these things with the authority of Jesus. However, they are not. Did you see what Jesus said? These people prophesied, cast out demons (using Jesus’ name) and did “mighty works” under the auspices of Jesus Christ. Yet with all of that, Jesus said, “Depart from me, I never knew you.” Why would Jesus say that?
Jesus desires a personal relationship with us. He desires to spend time with us, cry with us, laugh with us, discipline us and encourage us. Jesus desires to show His love toward others by using us and our situations. Our Savior loves when we use the gifts He has given to us and share them with the world. More importantly, He desires to spend private time with us.
When we pray, sing, fellowship or read the Word, that is our time with Jesus. Some of the most learned times I have experienced have been times of prayer, singing in the car, spending time with other believers and systematically reading His Word. It is during these times, God speaks so clearly that there is no doubt what He desires. Spending time with Him, allows us the time to think about not just this life but the life to come.
In this world, like my friend, we are all dying. But when death knocks on the door, we will enter the first day of the rest of our eternal lives. We will stop dying and start living. This life is just the training grounds. Now is the time to learn. Now is the time to share. Now is the time to serve. When this life ends, we may be carried by the angels because we don’t have the energy to walk on our own. The angels carry us to the One who carries us now.
Isn’t it great to know that we will not approach God on our feet, but by the arms of the servants who He created. I think it is a privilege for us to be carried by the angels who have seen God face to face. Now the question is, what will you desire? If you desire to be carried by the angels to the feet of Jesus then accept Him as your Savior. Admit that you sin and ask Jesus to take over your life and start a relationship with him. Otherwise, if you die tonight, you won’t be carried, you’ll just wake up in a dark place being tormented (not tortured) wondering what happened and why you are there. Choose Christ today.
God Bless and encourage someone today.