Know ye not that we shall judge angels? - Dr. Lightfoot observes that "the apostle does not say here, as he said before, the saints shall judge the angels, but We shall judge them. By angels, all confess that demons are intended; but certainly all saints, according to the latitude with which that word is understood, i.e. all who profess Christianity, shall not judge angels. Nor is this judging of angels to be understood of the last day; but the apostle speaks of the ministers of the Gospel, himself and others, who, by the preaching of the Gospel, through the power of Christ, should spoil the devils of their oracles and their idols, should deprive them of their worship, should drive them out of their seats, and strip them of their dominion. Thus would God subdue the whole world under the Christian power, so that Christian magistrates should judge men, and Christian ministers judge devils."
Shall judge angels - All the angels that shall be judged, good or bad. Probably the reference is to fallen angels, as there is no account that holy angels will then undergo a trial. The sense is, “Christians will be qualified to see the justice of even the sentence which is pronounced on fallen angels. They will be able so to embrace and comprehend the nature of law, and the interests of justice, as to see the propriety of their condemnation. And if they can so far enter into these important and eternal relations, assuredly they ought to be regarded as qualified to discern the nature of justice ‹among men,‘ and to settle the unimportant differences which may arise in the church.” Or, perhaps, this may mean that the saints shall in the future world be raised to a rank in some respects more elevated than even the angels in heaven. (Prof. Stuart.) In what respects they will be thus elevated, if this is the true interpretation, can be only a matter of conjecture. It may be supposed that it will be because they have been favored by being interested in the plan of salvation - a plan that has done so much to honor God; and that “to have been” thus saved by the “immediate and painful” intervention of the Son of God, will be a higher honor than all the privileges which beings can enjoy who are innocent themselves.
Another grave evil that had arisen in the church was that of brethren going to law against one another. Abundant provision had been made for the settlement of difficulties among believers. Christ Himself had given plain instruction as to how such matters were to be adjusted. “If thy brother shall trespass against thee,” the Saviour had counseled, “go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 18:15-18. AA 304.1
To the Corinthian believers who had lost sight of this plain counsel, Paul wrote in no uncertain terms of admonition and rebuke. “Dare any of you,” he asked, “having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? Do 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? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. I 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? But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? ... Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren. Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?” AA 304.2
Satan is constantly seeking to introduce distrust, alienation, and malice among God's people. We shall often be tempted to feel that our rights are invaded, even when there is no real cause for such feelings. Those whose love for self is stronger than their love for Christ and His cause will place their own interests first and will resort to almost any expedient to guard and maintain them. Even many who appear to be conscientious Christians are hindered by pride and self-esteem from going privately to those whom they think in error, that they may talk with them in the spirit of Christ and pray together for one another. When they think themselves injured by their brethren, some will even go to law instead of following the Saviour's rule. AA 305.1Read in context »
At the general conference of believers in the present truth, held at Sutton, Vermont, September, 1850, I was shown that the seven last plagues will be poured out after Jesus leaves the sanctuary. Said the angel, “It is the wrath of God and the Lamb that causes the destruction or death of the wicked. At the voice of God the saints will be mighty and terrible as an army with banners, but they will not then execute the judgment written. The execution of the judgment will be at the close of the one thousand years.” EW 52.1Read in context »