The Bible teaches that believers in Christ will one day judge angels. This remarkable truth is found in 1 Corinthians 6:3 which says, “Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters pertaining to this life!”
To understand what this means, we first need to explore some context. Paul wrote 1 Corinthians to address several issues that had surfaced in the church at Corinth. In chapter 6, Paul rebukes the Corinthians for taking their disputes before unbelievers in secular courts. He reminds them that saints will one day judge the world and angels, so they should be able to resolve ordinary matters among themselves.
Paul’s mention of believers judging angels is brief but intriguing. While the Bible does not provide full details about this future judgment, some key insights emerge:
- This judgment pertains to the angelic realm. The Greek word for “angels” refers to supernatural, spiritual beings created by God. It does not refer to human messengers or pastors.
- Believers will have authority over angels in the coming kingdom. The Greek word for “judge” carries the sense of governing, presiding over, and exercising judicial authority.
- The context implies a future timing. Paul points forward to a time when Christians will judge angels.
- Judging angels is connected to judging “matters of this life.” This could suggest believers may rule over angels assigned to earthly roles.
Looking at other Scripture passages can shed further light on this judgment:
Fallen Angels will be Judged
The Bible indicates that God has reserved disobedient angels for judgment in the final day. Passages like 2 Peter 2:4 describe how God cast angels into hell when they sinned. The book of Jude also tells of angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling. These rebellious angels will be kept in eternal chains under darkness until the judgment of the great day (Jude 1:6).
It seems that believers will have some role in carrying out this judgment against fallen angels. The holy angels carry out God’s will (Psalm 103:20), and in the age to come, we will be equal to the angels (Luke 20:36). So as part of our heavenly authority, believers may take part in executing judgment on demonic powers.
Holy Angels are also Subject to Christ
While Scripture does not explicitly state whether holy angels will be judged, they are subject to Christ’s sovereign rule. When Jesus was born, the angels worshipped him (Hebrews 1:6). The Bible calls Jesus “head over all rule and authority” including angels and powers (Colossians 2:10). And angels will bow before Jesus to worship him (Philippians 2:10-11).
So if the holy angels are less than Christ – andsubmit to him – it’s feasible that believers reigning with Christ may exercise some authority over the holy angels as well.
Possible Connection to Rewards
Some commentators suggest that Christians judging angels relates to the rewards believers will receive in heaven. Angels have roles in God’s kingdom, and it appears that Christians will in some sense govern, manage, or oversee angelic duties.
Jesus tells us the saints will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28). Paul also says if we endure hardship as Christ’s servants, we will reign with him (2 Timothy 2:12). The authority believers receive could very well include oversight of angels.
A Mystery, Yet Part of Our Glorious Future
While the specifics remain unclear, Scripture points to an amazing future when believers will actually judge angels in some capacity. This remarkable truth – tucked in just a few verses of the New Testament – offers a glimpse into the glory we will share with Christ for eternity. Though we do not deserve such honor, by God’s grace we can look forward to exercising judgment over all creation, including the angels.
For now, we walk by faith, trusting in God’s promises. The full details await us in eternity. As Charles Spurgeon said, “I reckon that the pleasures of eternity will consist very much in making discoveries – seeing more clearly why such an event happened to me and why such a passage was written. And as we shall judge angels, and know more about them, we shall doubtless understand more about the mysteries of Providence.”
Until then, may this mind-blowing truththat we will judge angels strengthen our faith and deepen our awe of the amazing future God has prepared for us.
Other key passages on believers judging angels:
Psalm 49:14 – The upright will rule over [the wicked] in the morning.
Daniel 7:22 – Judgment was given to the saints of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.
Matthew 19:28 – In the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
1 Corinthians 3:21-23 – All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future – all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.
Ephesians 1:20-21 – [God] raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked.
Revelation 3:21 – The one who is victorious I will grant the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.
Revelation 20:4 – And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.