The Judgment of the Angels
Dr. Joe Temple


Open your Bibles, please, to I Corinthians, chapter 6. We have been discussing the judgments which are related to the future. We discussed the Judgment Seat of Christ, where we learned that we as believers will receive rewards for the deeds done in the body, whether they be bad or good. This judgment was followed by the Judgment of Israel. This judgment is yet awaiting the chosen nation of God; it will be visited upon them during the Tribulation, and will result in their coming to know the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Next we discussed the Judgment of Nations. The nations of the world will stand before the throne of God and be judged for their treatment of the nation of Israel. Individuals from those nations, who by their treatment of the Jewish evangelists in the Tribulation, will prove that they know Christ as Savior and be be permitted to enter the millennial kingdom and enjoy a righteous reign of Christ upon the earth. But those who by their treatment of these evangelists indicate they have never received the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, will be sentenced to an eternity in Hell without God and without Christ.

Christians as Judges

That brings us to the judgment we want to consider now. We have asked you to turn to I Corinthians, chapter 6, because this judgment is suggested in this chapter in a rather unique way. Let us read from verse 1:

I Corinthians 6

1Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?
2Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
3Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
4If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church [That is, why do you do that?]
5I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?
6But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.
7Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?
8Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.

We are not going to discuss the advisability of Christians going to law one with another. We read this passage of Scripture because the Spirit of God tells us here that you and I as Christians are going to have thrust upon our shoulders a greater responsibility than judging between ordinary human beings. We are going to judge not only the world, we're told, but also angels (verse 3).

Now, that's an astounding thought to me. I am going to be perfectly honest with you and say it is beyond the scope of my comprehension that I could possibly sit in judgment upon angels of any description. But that is what the Word of God says. So we accept it, recognizing that just as there is to be the Judgment Seat of Christ, just as there is to be the Judgment of Israel, just as there is to be the Judgment of Nations, there is going to be the Judgment of Angels.


We have followed one general outline in studying these judgments. We shall follow that outline as we discuss all of them. I'll mention the words to you again so that you may use them as mental pegs upon which you can hang some of the things I want to leave with you. First of all, we will discuss the people that are to be in this judgment. Then, we will discuss the period of the judgment–that is, what period in the history of the world it will occur, the place of judgment–where it will occur. Then we are going to discuss the principles of the judgment. What brings about the judgment? Why is it necessary? And then, in conclusion, we will discuss the pronouncement of the judgment–that is, the outcome of it.

Angels–different From Men

In this instance we are not talking about human beings, as we have in the other judgments, but about creatures–part of God's creation. Of course, you and I as human beings are part of God's creation, but angels are different from humans. They are a special kind of created being. And may I emphasize here, that just as there cannot be a transmutation of the species, humans are never going to become angels. Humans are saints if they have received the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. Someday they will leave this robe of flesh and don the glorified body and then you will be able to recognize them as saints a little better than you are able to now. But angels are angels and men are men. When we discuss the Judgment of the Angels, we would like for you to keep in mind that we are talking about a special created being.

The Work of Angels

The word “angel” in both the Old and New Testaments means simply “messenger,” and that tells us the purpose of their creation. They are special servants of the Lord to convey His messages from time to time and from place to place. We are told in the letter to the Hebrews, chapter 1, that God in His grace has made the angels ministering spirits to the heirs of salvation. He gave them a little extra duty. He said, “Look after the folk who are trusting Me.” They have done that. One of the reasons why you and I have had some “narrow escapes” is that the angels are looking after us. They do have our best interests at heart.

The Bible speaks of angels in two ways. It speaks of the angels of God; numerous are the references to the angels of God, but we are not going to look at any passage of Scripture in which the phrase is found. It simply refers to those angels who are part of God's kingdom and who are doing God's bidding.

The Devil's Angels

Turn with me, please, to the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 25, as I remind you that not all of the angels are God's angels; not all are good; not all are ministering spirits to the heirs of salvation. If you do not make that distinction you will not have understanding of our discussion. In Matthew, chapter 25, notice verse 41:

Matthew 25

41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

I want you to especially notice the phrase, “prepared for the devil and his angels.” Yes, the Bible speaks of God's angels and the Bible speaks of the Devil's angels. And since the Devil's angels are the creatures of the judgment we are considering, we're going to spend our time noticing a few things about them.

A Characteristic of Fallen Angels

Turn, please, to the book of the Revelation, chapter 12, and notice a characteristic of the Devil's angels. As you turn there, let me suggest to you that the Devil's angels are fallen angels:

Revelation 12

1And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
2And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
3And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
4And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
5And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

That is as far as we will read. We will not occupy our time with many details of the things you might be wondering about in this passage of Scripture. We will mention that the woman is the nation of Israel. The child to whom she gave birth is the Lord Jesus Christ. The dragon is the Devil and the stars in heaven are all of the angels which were cast out of Heaven when the Devil drew them with his tremendous magnetic power. That is the reason we call them “fallen angels.” As we shall see by looking at other passages of Scripture shortly, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself described their descent from Heaven as a fall. He said, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning?” (Isaiah 14:12, Luke 10:18). And if the Devil is a fallen cherub, which he is, then the angels that were attracted to him and were cast out of Heaven with him are fallen angels.

Free to Do Bidding of Satan

There are two things I want to say about the fallen angels. One of them is that they are free. They are free to do the bidding of Satan. They are free to roam the earth, free to enter into the heavens for they will not be permanently cast out until the middle of the Tribulation. They are free to do their thing. And if you want proof of that, you might glance at chapter 12 and read verse 7:

Revelation 12

7And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

Some Bound Until Appointed Time

That is one of the things these fallen angels are doing. They are fighting God and His angels all the time. But we also need to remember that they are not all free. Many of them are free, but they are not all free. Some of them are bound; some of them are chained. For example, turn to chapter 9 of the book of the Revelation and notice verse 13:

Revelation 9

13And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,
14Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.
15And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.

Now, as we compare Scripture with Scripture we discover that some of these fallen angels were so terrible that God could not permit them to run loose because they created so much trouble. So He took four of them who were the most ferocious, bound them, and has kept them incarcerated in some area surrounding the Euphrates River. You may say, “Do you mean to take all this language literally?” How else should you take it? That is what it means. God, in the middle of the Tribulation, is going to loose these four angels; He's going to let them run loose and they are going to slay a third part of the human race that will be living at that particular time. Let us fix in our minds that some of them are bound somewhere in the area indicated by the Euphrates River.

Reserved Unto Judgment

Turn back in your Bibles, please, to II Peter, chapter 2, beginning with verse 4:

II Peter 2

4For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

We will not read further, because Peter was using what happened to the angels as an illustration of the certainty of the judgment of God. All we are interested in at the moment is what we find in verse 4. When the angels sinned, God cast them down into Hell.

Now, notice the word “hell.” It is the translation of the Greek word tartaros ; it does not refer to the ordinary Hell that we commonly think of. It refers to the pit of the abyss. According to the Bible there is a great hole in the very center of the earth, and in the deepest part of this abyss God put some of the fallen angels because they sinned. You may say, “Did He put them there because they sinned in connection with Satan's being cast out of Heaven?” I don't think so, for if He did, then why did He let some of them go free, for they had all committed the same sin. No, I am of the opinion that the reason He imprisoned them in the deepest abyss of Hades is that they were guilty of a special kind of sin. We will notice what that was before we are through. But here are the creatures who will be subjects of the judgment.

The Time of This Judgment

When will this judgment occur? What is the period of time when this judgment will come to pass? Skip over to the Epistle of Jude and notice verse 6:


6For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
7And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

Here again we are told that some of the angels were chained. We are told that they are reserved unto the judgment of the great day.

Turn, please, to the Revelation, chapter 20, as I remind you that the judgment of the great day is the judgment described in Revelation chapter 20, related also to some other subjects about which we will be speaking in our next lesson. In verse 11, John says:

Revelation 20

11And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

This is the judgment of that great day, but notice verse 10:

Revelation 20

10And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

At the End of the Millennium

I have read the verses in the above order to emphasize that the judgment of the fallen angels is related to the Judgment of the Great White Throne. It will occur in that same vicinity of time. And when does it occur? Well, if you are familiar with the book of Revelation, you know that we are living in what we now call the Age of Grace. The Lord Jesus Christ will come and take us to Himself one of these days. When that event occurs, the world will continue in a period of time known as the Tribulation; it will last for seven years. The Lord Jesus Christ will come to the earth at the end of that Tribulation, and He will come back for the purpose of judgment and for the purpose of establishing a righteous reign upon the earth known as the Millennium. During the Millennium the Devil will be bound so that he and his angels will not be able to do what they do now–roam freely about the universe. At the end of that Millennium, the Devil will be loosed for a little season; he will begin to roam over the earth to raise an army with which he will attempt to fight God once again. But God puts down that open rebellion with the mere lifting of His finger, and the Devil is cast into the lake of fire where the beast and the false prophet already are. So, the time of the Judgment of the Angels, we believe, is at the end of the millennial reign of Christ, before eternity actually begins.

The Place of This Judgment

Where is this judgment going to occur? Will it occur in Heaven, or will it occur in the heavens because the heavens are the sphere in which the fallen angels are most active? As we glance at Revelation, chapter 20, we know it has to occur in Heaven because in verse 11 we read a moment ago:

Revelation 20

11And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

This does not refer to people in Heaven or people on earth. It is a simple statement that the heavens and the earth will be no more when this particular event occurs. In chapter 21 we read:

Revelation 21

1And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

If there is no more earth and if there is no more atmospheric heaven about the earth, then the only place this judgment can occur is in Heaven where the throne of God's judgment is set.

Rebellion Against God

Now, we want to look for a moment at the principle related to this judgment. Why is judgment necessary? For what will these angels be judged when you and I sit in judgment upon them? We will not take the time to turn to these passages of Scripture because you are familiar with them. However, read them at another time: Isaiah, chapter 14, Ezekiel, chapter 28, and Revelation, chapter 12.

When you read those passages of Scripture, you will discover what we have already hinted–the Devil was the anointed cherub in Heaven. “Cherubim” is the plural of the word. There were myriads of cherubim, a special order of God's created beings, but the Devil–his name was Lucifer then–was the anointed cherub. He was the one in charge of everything; you might describe him as God's prime minister. He was the most beautiful of all of God's created beings, and all of the other created beings in Heaven didn't fail to let him know about it. This power and admiration began to go to his head; he decided it wasn't enough to be God's prime minister; he wanted to be God (Isaiah 14). He said, “I will ascend up into the sides of the north; I will sit on God's throne, etc.” God then had to cast him out of Heaven because rebellion is sin and there is no room for sin in Heaven.

When you read the account in Ezekiel, chapter 28, you find that he was so marvelous, so beautiful, so wonderful that the angels in Heaven were forced to make a decision. Some of them said, “We like the Devil–Lucifer–better than we like God; we think he's right; we think he ought to know what he wants.” God said, “If you feel that way, go with him.” And He cast them out of Heaven.

In Revelation, chapter 12, we find out how many that was–one-third of all the angels in Heaven. We are told in the Word of God that the angels number myriads. Do you know what the word “myriads” means? Countless. You cannot count the number of angels. One-third of the countless number of angels were cast out of Heaven when the Devil was cast out. Therefore one of the principles of judgment, when we judge these fallen angels, will be their original rebellion against God. They will be judged because they dared to rebel against the Almighty. The Holy Spirit is so impressed with the awfulness of that rebellion that He uses them as warnings to human beings. He said, “If God did not spare the angels that sinned, but cast them to Hell, then what makes ordinary human beings think that God is going to spare them when they are in open rebellion against Him?”

Activities Against the Saints

I believe another principle will be involved in the Judgments of the Angels–their activity against the saints of God. I believe that the angels are going to be judged for their activity against the saints. They are active. Oh, there are many things we might say about the activity of fallen angels against the saints of God. But one of them is suggested in a very familiar passage of Scripture. I think many people pass over it because of its very familiarity. The passage is Romans, chapter 8, verse 38, which speaks of the love of God and how nothing can separate us from it. A number of things are mentioned and we see in verse 38:

Romans 8

38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Now, if angels are appointed to be ministering spirits to the heirs of salvation–good angels, that is–they wouldn't be apt to want to separate us from God's love, would they? But one of the things which occupies the time of these bad angels is trying to separate the saints of God from the love of God. Thank God that the passage goes on to say that it is an impossibility. But they keep trying, and they try so hard that they are sometimes partially effective in making you think you are separated from the love of God. Your heart is so filled with discouragement that you give up and do anything they suggest. The angels of the Devil are constantly at work against the saints of God, and they are going to be judged for it one of these days.

Intercepting Prayers of Saints

In the book of Daniel, chapter 9, is an illustration of one of the things they are always doing against the saints of God–intercepting their prayers and the answers from God to the saints.

Chapter 9 of the book of Daniel tells the story of how Daniel prayed for three solid weeks. They must have been asleep that time because chapter 9 says that Daniel's prayer reached the throne of grace the same day that he uttered it. Sometimes they are more alert than that and when you shoot your prayer Heavenward, they intercept it and it does not get there right away. You wonder why God hasn't done something about it. You may say, “Well, what am I supposed to do about it?” You're supposed to do what Daniel did–keep praying, because if you pray the way Daniel did, God will send an army of good angels to combat the army of evil angels so that your prayer can get through.

Devil Not Omniscient

You know, angels, like the Devil, are not omniscient. The Devil isn't omniscient. God is. God knows your thoughts afar off. He knows your thoughts, that is, before you even think them. But the Devil doesn't know anything except what you let him know. That's all. I've often pointed out, by way of illustration, that my father-in-law–he was a Methodist preacher–believed that so strongly that he would never announce ahead of time what his sermon would be. He said, “If I announced it, the Devil would find it out and he'd work in people's hearts against it.” So he never let anyone know until he got up to preach what his sermon topic was.

I don't know whether you need to carry it that far or not, but it is a good point of illustration. The Devil knows only what you let him know. Maybe the reason your prayer life is not effective is that you've gotten yourself in a rut. You're praying at the same time every morning and the Devil has learned it by this time. So he sends a few of his cohorts out to intercept the prayers. Why don't you try surprising the Devil sometime? Pray when he isn't planning on your praying and see if it doesn't help some. Oh, I'm being a bit facetious, purposely, so that it will be fixed in your mind that the Devil and his angels do intercept prayers of the saints of God and they intercept the answers.

Referring to Daniel, chapter 9, again, you recall that the angel of the Lord came and touched Daniel on the shoulder and said, “Daniel, your prayer reached Heaven the first day, but I've been three weeks getting you the answer. When I started out, the angel of Persia intercepted me and I had a real tough time with him. I finally decided that if I were going to get here with the answer I'd better let someone else carry on the battle. So I called Michael and he is up there fighting with him now. That's the only reason I got here. And,” he said, “when I start back, you know what's going to happen? The angel from Greece is going to intercept me because he doesn't like the answer I am bringing.” If you are familiar with that portion of the Word, you know that the answer that God sent to Daniel was related to the destruction of Persia and Greece. You would expect the Devil not to like that. He doesn't like the answers you're often receiving, so you can be sure that he will try to intercept them.

Necessity of the Flood

Now, the third thing for which these fallen angels will be judged is that to which I referred very briefly in the earlier part of this lesson. I believe that some of the angels were guilty of a special kind of sin other than being cast out of Heaven; hence they were bound in “Tartaros,” the pit of the abyss. I believe that if you make an unbiased comparison of Genesis, chapter 6, and II Peter, chapter 1, verse 4, you will discover that these fallen angels left their own habitation, the sphere of their proper activity; they donned human flesh; they cohabited with women upon the earth; an offspring was born of that union which the Bible refers to as “nephil.” These creatures were so terrible that the whole human race would have been contaminated and damned before the Savior came if God had not intervened.

If that seems strange, I suggest that you get our studies in Genesis which discussed the subject. If it seems impossible to you because angels are sexless, remember that angels can assume any form they wish and in that form they can do as they wish. I am of the opinion that this is the very thing that necessitated the Flood, and I believe that it is the thing for which those particular fallen angels will be judged.

The Pronouncement of This Judgment

Now, the last point–the pronouncement. What is the outcome of this judgment? In Revelation, chapter 20, verse 10, we have read that the Devil will be cast into the lake of fire where the beast and the false prophet will already be. As the angels were cast out of Heaven with the Devil because they participated in his sin, we can be sure that they will be cast into the lake of fire because they participated in his sin. So the ultimate end of the fallen angels is an eternity in Hell, as it is for all creatures who disobey the revealed will of God.

This is the Judgment of the Angels. Although, as I said, I cannot comprehend how I can have a part in it or how you can have a part in it, the Bible says we will; and if God is going to trust you with such a momentous thing, surely you should be able to take care of some of the minor things that you are now letting go by default.

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