How is it that Christians “judge angels,” according to 1 Corinthians 6:3?

Do you not know that we will judge angels? Then why not matters of this life? – 1 Corinthians 6:3

Anointed Christians will judge angels

This evidently refers to anointed Christians sharing with Christ in the future judgment of wicked angels, demons. In urging Christians to settle personal disputes with the help of mature brothers in the congregation rather than resorting to secular courts, the apostle Paul wrote: “Or do you not know that the holy ones will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you unfit to try very trivial matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? Why, then, not matters of this life?”—1 Cor. 6:2, 3. Some have thought that by ‘judging’ Paul was speaking of Christians’ being able to expel demons. But Christ’s followers already had been empowered to do that on occasion, whereas Paul here was pointing to the future (‘we shall judge the world and we shall judge angels’). (Matt. 10:8; Luke 10:17; Acts 16:16-18; 19:11, 12) Others feel that Paul was saying that by their exemplary conduct Christians condemn the debased angels that follow Satan. Again, however, this was not something restricted to the future; for years Christians had displayed fine conduct. (Matt. 5:14-16; Titus 2:6-8; 1 Pet. 3:16) Also, the context of Paul’s words seems to rule out that this ‘judging of angels’ is simply a matter of engaging in conduct that condemns through contrast. The Bible, though, shows that judgment awaits the Devil—his being bruised in the head. (Gen. 3:15) Describing the opening part of that action, Revelation 20:1-3 says that a powerful angel will seize the Devil and bind him for the millennium. Verses 7-10 relate that at the end of that period Satan will be released briefly. But then, as the second phase of the ‘bruising,’ he will be cast into the fiery lake of eternal destruction. Revelation does not pointedly say that the anointed king-priests in heaven will participate in executing this judgment. But neither does it mention that the demons will be abyssed along with the Devil, which the Bible elsewhere does indicate. (Luke 8:31) So the fact that Revelation 20:1-10 does not depict the 144,000 as acting with Christ in expressing judgment does not mean that they have no role in this. Romans 16:20 says about them: “For his part, the God who gives peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.” Consequently, it seems that when Paul said that anointed ones “shall judge angels” he was referring to the future executing of judgment on wicked spirits. Even if the Bible does not give us details about the part Christ’s joint heirs will have in this judging, we can be sure that they will at least have a supportive role. They unquestionably will be behind Jesus, approving of the judgment.

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