Borne By Angels – Guy N. Woods

Guy N. Woods

The ministry of angels in God’s great redemptive plan is clearly and unmistakably taught in the sacred writings. Of these divine messengers, the writer of Hebrews penned these interesting and significant words: “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (Heb. 1:14). Not all the areas of their activity are indicated, but some of them are and in these, ought we to find immeasurable satisfaction and inexpressible joy. Who of us that truly love the Lord have not been thrilled far down in the very depths of our souls in singing of this boundless blessing in the following words of a magnificent old hymn:

O come, angel band; come,

and around me stand;

And bear me away on your snowy wings

To my immortal home, to my immortal home!

This concept is not fanciful, nor is the hope it engenders imaginary. Lazarus was “carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16:22), and no reason exists why the Lord would do this for the pitiless beggar but not for all others who die as Lazarus did in the Everlasting Arms. Was not this narrative penned to depict the destiny of the classes represented by Lazarus and the rich man? Suppose the objection is raised that the account is parabolic and not intended to be interpreted as an actual event. In that case, this must be shown from the report itself, which no man can do, and, in either event—whether a parable or a historical incident—the affirmation of the Spirit that angels carried the spirit of Lazarus into the next world means something. If it does not mean that angels bear spirits away from their bodies at death, the statement is misleading and without significance to those it purports to apply. We may, therefore, correctly conclude that the human spirit, having been faithful to God when free of the body in death, is borne by angels into the Hadean realms and that this is but one of the ways in which angels minister to (serve) the heirs of salvation.

There is a much closer relationship between this world, and the one that awaits us than this materialistic and skeptical age would like to admit. Though the river of death intervenes, on the farther shore, there awaits us a “great cloud of witnesses” vitally interested in the spiritual progress of those whose race is not yet run (Heb. 12:1-2). The two worlds are so close, but one step is required to make the journey and a moment of time to experience the transition. It is not impossible to conclude that in the passing, both worlds are for the moment in the view of the dying saint. Stephen saw Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father (Acts 7:56). Was this but the fevered delusion of a distraught and dying man? Materialists so conclude, but with which conclusion we are not in agreement.

Moses E. Lard, one of the most brilliant stars of a glorious firmament of truly great men in the Restoration movement, relates an incident in his Quarterly, which we condense from “The Old Path Pulpit” by F.G. Allen, himself one of the ablest preachers and writers of his day.

A sailor, now in the sunset years of his life and in retirement, took up abode in Missouri, where he and his aged companion found deep satisfaction in obeying the Lord and serving him after the New Testament pattern. For some years, they served the Saviour faithfully, delighting in the service and worship of God, being dearly loved by all the saints. Ultimately the infirmities of age brought him low, and friends and brethren gathered about him for his last hours. He talked much of the heavenly home and the journey he would soon take.

His last words were to his faithful and devoted wife. “Mary,” he said, “we have lived a long time together; we must now separate. We have often talked about our Father’s house and wondered how it is over there. This will soon be fully known to me because I shall soon be there. I cannot communicate with you from that farther shore but put your hand in mine, and when I am passing through the portals, if the sea is calm, the sky is clear, and the port is open, I’ll send you a sign.”

She put her hand in his, the hand with which she had so often smoothed his troubled brow, lightened for him the burdens of life now wrinkled in honored old age, and waited for the end with breathless silence. He breathed but a few times more as the spirit prepared to take its flight in death. At last, when the silent witnesses thought there was to be nothing more, he gave her hand a gentle pressure, and all was over. The sea was calm, the sky was clear, the port was open, and all was well. She had received the promised sign!

   Send article as PDF   

Author: Editor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *