Do angels have free will?

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Angels and Free Will

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

These heavenly beings are a little higher than man in rank (Hebrews 2:7). God sends His elect angels 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).

The Rebellion of Lucifer

Satan was an angel originally called Lucifer in heaven. He was created perfect without sinful nature (Ezekiel 28:15). Before his fall, he was the leader of all the angelic host. But he rebelled against God. 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 merely a created being, he didn’t want to worship God but desired for himself the worship of the angelic host. Instead of seeking to honor his Maker 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 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) chose 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 his 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 fell. “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men” (Romans 5:12). Consequently, mankind was separated from God (Genesis 3).

But God in His infinite mercy, planned a way of redemption to the world 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). “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13).

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 will return with God 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

In the Final Judgement, “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 declare that God’s 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).

Then, God will create “a new heaven and a new earth” for the redeemed (Revelation 21:1). And “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Verse 4). And He will live forever in peace with His redeemed.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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