Do angels have free will?

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Angels and free will

Do holy angels have free will? Yes, they do have free will (Luke 8:28-31; 2 Timothy 2:26; Jude 6). God didn’t create them as robots. Although angels are spiritual beings (Hebrews 1:14), they have personalities and can choose good or evil. They are intelligent creatures (Matthew 8:29; 2 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Peter 1:12) and have emotions that reflect the choices they make (Luke 2:13; James 2:19; Revelation 12:17).

These heavenly beings are, in rank, a little higher than man (Hebrews 2:7). God sends these holy unfallen beings to minister to the believers (Hebrews 1:14). They are constantly engaged in battle with the dark forces to protect God’s faithful children (Psalm 34:7; 91:11; Luke 4:10; Matthew 18:10). All these faculties show that they are indeed moral beings with free will.

The rebellion of Lucifer

Satan was an angel originally called Lucifer in heaven. He was created perfect. Before his fall, he was the leader of all the angelic host. But he rebelled against God. And his rebellion is proof of how these heavenly beings exercise their free will.

About Lucifer, the Bible says, “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness” (Ezekiel 28:17). “For thou hast said in thine heart, … I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: … I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:13, 14).

Lucifer desired to be like God in position, power, and glory, but not in character. Even though he was created by God, he wanted for himself the worship of the angelic host, which was due to the Creator alone. Instead of seeking to honor God and make Him supreme in the love of angels, he sought for himself first position in those affections.

Lucifer, through lies, won the support of one-third of the angels (Revelation 12:3, 4). These angels when they sinned also exercised their free will and rebelled against God thus causing a division in heaven. But most of the angelic host (1 Timothy 5:21) used their free will to love and serve God.

After a probation period, “war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So, the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:7-9). This war took place before the creation of this world.

Consequently, Lucifer and his angels were cast out of heaven (2 Peter 2:4). And Lucifer’s name was changed to Satan (adversary) and devil (Revelation 20:2). And his followers that adopted his sinful course of action, were called demons (Luke 8:30).

Satan and mankind

When God created this world, Satan succeeded in deceiving Adam and Eve into breaking God’s command (Genesis 2:16,17). And, thus, our first parents sinned. “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men” (Romans 5:12). Mankind fell and was separated from God (Genesis 3).

But God in His infinite mercy, planned a way of redemption to mankind through the death of His only begotten Son (Genesis 3:15). “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Love is the pre-eminent character of the Creator to His creatures. For “God is love” (1 John 4:8). His compassion is the ruling power in His divine government.

God’s love embraces all people, but directly benefits only those who accept it. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12). Love needs reciprocity to be fully effective.

The faithful angelic host

The faithful angels are confirmed in their devotion to God and will return with Him to earth to gather the saints at the second coming (Mark 8:38). They, who have served the needs of the “heirs of salvation” (Hebrews 1:14), would join Christ in that glorious event.

At that time, God’s children will have the chance to meet face to face these heavenly beings who have protected them throughout their lives. “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works” (Matthew 16:27).

The end of the great controversy between good and evil

At the second coming, it will be that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10,11).

The fallen angels and those that followed them will finally with their free will bow down to God and declare that His ways are just and righteous (2 Thessalonians 1:6). They will admit their wrong course of action and acknowledge Christ’s authority as the loving Creator (Revelation 5:11–14).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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