When God created the angels, they were all good just like the rest of creation (Genesis 1:31). Angels were holy and faithfully devoted to the Lord, but this changed when Satan rebelled against God (Isaiah 14:12–15; Ezekiel 28:16). Many angels followed Satan’s rebellion and thus became “fallen” angels, or demons (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 12:3–4). In contrast, the angels who remained faithful to the Lord are known as “holy angels” or “elect angels” (Mark 8:38; 1 Timothy 5:21).
The Greek word for “elect” found in 1 Timothy 5:21 refers to being chosen or picked. This would indicate that God chose some angels not to fall with Satan. The same word in the verse, eklekton, is used elsewhere for Christians who are elected and chosen by God in salvation (Romans 8:33; Titus 1:1). The word suggests that the elect angels, like elect people, were chosen by God and cannot lose their elect position. None of the elect angels will rebel against God or lose their chosen status, just as Christians cannot lose their salvation as God’s elect children (John 10:28; Romans 8:38–39). Secure in their standing before the Lord, elect angels cannot sin or go against the commands of God but will remain faithful to the Lord forever.
Of course, the fact that the holy angels are “elect” does not imply they are “saved” in the same way that Christians are. Both angels and Christians are chosen and elected by the Lord, but only humans can experience the new birth, forgiveness, and other aspects of salvation. The elect angels cannot experience forgiveness, since they have never sinned. Furthermore, Jesus died for humanity, not for angels. He took on human flesh and came to save mankind from their sins; His sacrifice was not to save the fallen angels (Hebrews 2:16). Angels “long to look into these things,” and are fascinated by the fact that the Son of God laid down His life to save humans (1 Peter 1:12). In this way, the election of angels is different from the election of Christians.
In addition to calling them “chosen” or “elect” angels, Scripture also designates them as good and “holy angels” (Mark 8:38). Worshipping and serving God are the main purposes of the elect angels (Revelation 7:11). Like Christians, elect angels are servants of God who seek to bring Him glory (Revelation 22:9). God uses the elect angels to carry out His will and to provide ministry to believers (Hebrews 1:14). Throughout history, elect angels have been a part of God’s plan in delivering messages (Daniel 8:16; 9:21; Luke 1:19, 26), carrying out judgment (Genesis 19:13; Psalm 78:49; Revelation 14:17–20), and providing encouragement to God’s people (Acts 27:23).
The elect angels have the special purpose of serving God and doing as He commands. The elect angels minister to believers today, and they will also play a major part in the events of the end times. The power and position of the elect angels are awe-inspiring, but the Bible teaches that Jesus’ followers are more blessed than even they, since believers “have been made complete in Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority” (Colossians 2:10, BSB).