I was reading your reply to Q 1361, 'Lower than the angels?'. Your answer directly supports and describes the temporary and voluntary surrender of Christ's higher authority while he was on earth as Jesus the man. My question: While we reside on earth we are under the angels, so is it only after the resurrection that we are above the angels? Thanks, I appreciate your work and how much it helps. -- M. K.
This is a great question. (Thanks too for your encouraging comment — appreciated even if it took me 10 weeks to reply.) Yes, I think you are on track. Everything changes once the dead are raised.
And what changes, in effect? And why would the Lord need us to do any of his judging? (That’s my question.)
The typical answer you find online is something like this: https://www.gotquestions.org/judge-angels.html/. But I’m not sure this gets at the nub of the matter. Not that I’m disagreeing with the reply, but we can be clearer.
How about this explanation? Even now, in some respects we are above the angels, yet in other respects, below them. We are above them in knowing the mystery of the gospel (1 Pet 1:10-12) and in our relationship with Jesus Christ -- angels are merely messengers or servants (Heb 1:14). Yet we are below them in their constant awareness of God (presumably the elect angels are not distracted by the Evil One). We are also below them in the limitations of our (temporary) earthly condition, yet above them in that at the last day our bodies will become like Christ’s resurrection body. The angels will remain non-physical beings. And of course the Bible depicts two categories of angel: elect and fallen (1 Tim 5:21; 2 Pet 2:4).
The upshot: As man, Christ was below the angels, just as we are. As God, he is above them. As we share in his divine nature (2 Pet 1:3-4), and particularly once we have a resurrection body and are like him (since we will see him as he truly is — 1 John 3:2), then we will be above the angels. Just as Christ is above the angels, since we share in Him, we are above them. Does that make sense? We are above them because of and to the extent that we are like Christ.
Returning to my own question, why the Lord would need our services in judging angels (or ruling them, as the “Got Questions” reply plausibly suggests), I believe this has something to do with our reigning with Christ. 2 Tim 2:12 says "If we endure, we will also reign with him…" We share in his ministry. We are sons and daughters of the King. Jesus several times alludes to this elevation in role and responsibility, like in the Parable of the Minas (see esp. Luke 19:26). I suppose all of this reminds us that in the new world we will not be idle. Just as in the paradise of old (Gen 2:15), there will be work to do. What an honor to share in his work!