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What does it mean that we will judge angels?

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Question: "What does it mean that we will judge angels?"

In his letter to the church in Corinth, the apostle Paul tells us that believers will not only judge the world but also judge angels: “Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world ... Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life” (1 Corinthians 6:2-3). Scripture teaches that the fallen angels will be judged by God (Isaiah 24:21-22; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6; Revelation 21:10). But what does Paul mean when he says the saints will also judge angels?

What we can surmise from this 1 Corinthians passage is that we, as God’s children, will be given a higher position than the angels. We’re not only created in God’s image but redeemed by Christ (Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:9; Luke 1:68; Ephesians 1:7). Angels are not created in God’s image and are not redeemed by Christ (Hebrews 1:14; 2:16). Also, God sends His angels to serve His saints, i.e., those who are to inherit eternal life (Hebrews 1:14; see also Psalm 34:7; Psalm 91:11).

Additionally, we know that the Greek word for “judge,” krino, also means “to rule or govern.” This strongly implies that we will have authority over the holy angels, for they have no sin for which to be “judged” in the sense of “condemned.” Most likely, the meaning of this passage is that believers in heaven will take part in the judgment of the fallen angels and exercise some authority over the holy angels. Christ has been exalted above all the angels (see Ephesians 1:20-23), and it seems reasonable that those who are in Him and made in His likeness (Romans 8:29; 1 Corinthians 15:49; Ephesians 4:24; 1 John 3:2) will share in His authority, including His authority over the angels (Matthew 19:28; 2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 20:4).

Recommended Resource: 1 Corinthians, NIV Application Commentary by Craig Blomberg

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