Are angels superior to humans while on earth but inferior once they reach Heaven?
Let’s explore what the Bible says about the hierarchy of angels.
In Hebrews, the writer is trying to instruct his audience into seeing Christ holding the greatest superiority – particularly as in that time they held the common misconception the angels were the greatest beings. In 2:9 we read:
Heb. 2:9 But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of His suffering death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.
So by this we can infer that angels had greater superiority than man, and in Jesus becoming flesh, He inherited that same level of inferiority of man (for a time until His resurrection). Still, doesn’t 1 Corinthians talk of man judging angels, implying superiority over them?
1Cor. 6:3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?
Paul is talking of a time to come, namely the Millennial Kingdom, when Christ will reign over the world, and believers in Him will share in His reign, judging the world in which we live. (You can learn more about this in our Revelation series). But which angels are we to judge in the Kingdom? It is unlikely to be those who have served the Lord faithfully and in Jude we read:
Jude 6 And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day,
It is the fallen angels (ie. demons) who sinned in the days of Noah and have been held in chains, that will be judged by Christ and His body of believers on the day of judgment.
So we know that while on earth humans are lower than angels, and that during the Millennial Kingdom they are superior to fallen angels acting as their judge. Yet some claim that in Heaven we are to be “like” or “equal” to angels.
Luke 20:36 for they cannot even die anymore, for they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.
Whilst this verse might imply that in our resurrected bodies we are like or equal to angels, we need to look at the context of this verse.
Luke 20:34 Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and the women are given in marriage,
Luke 20:35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage;
Jesus is in fact talking about life in the Kingdom, and that in our resurrected bodies we will not enter into marriages or even die…much in the same way that angels are not married and do not die. This passage is not talking about an equality of superiority between angels and humans but rather the resurrection state (about which the audience of Sadducees did not believe in).
It then stands to reason that while in our sinful fleshly form there is clear delineation of authority, once we join in God’s presence in our resurrected bodies we will likewise join with the angels in our service and worship of the Lord.