Questions From Readers
● How is it that Christians “judge angels,” according to 1 Corinthians 6:3?
This evidently refers to anointed Christians sharing with Christ in the future judgment of wicked angels, demons. In urging Christians to settle personal disputes with the help of mature brothers in the congregation rather than resorting to secular courts, the apostle Paul wrote: “Or do you not know that the holy ones will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you unfit to try very trivial matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? Why, then, not matters of this life?”—1 Cor. 6:2, 3.
Some have thought that by ‘judging’ Paul was speaking of Christians’ being able to expel demons. But Christ’s followers already had been empowered to do that on occasion, whereas Paul here was pointing to the future (‘we shall judge the world and we shall judge angels’). (Matt. 10:8; Luke 10:17; Acts 16:16-18; 19:11, 12) Others feel that Paul was saying that by their exemplary conduct Christians condemn the debased angels that follow Satan. Again, however, this was not something restricted to the future; for years Christians had displayed fine conduct. (Matt. 5:14-16; Titus 2:6-8; 1 Pet. 3:16) Also, the context of Paul’s words seems to rule out that this ‘judging of angels’ is simply a matter of engaging in conduct that condemns through contrast.
The Bible, though, shows that judgment awaits the Devil—his being bruised in the head. (Gen. 3:15) Describing the opening part of that action, Revelation 20:1-3 says that a powerful angel will seize the Devil and bind him for the millennium. Re 20 Verses 7-10 relate that at the end of that period Satan will be released briefly. But then, as the second phase of the ‘bruising,’ he will be cast into the fiery lake of eternal destruction.
Revelation does not pointedly say that the anointed king-priests in heaven will participate in executing this judgment. But neither does it mention that the demons will be abyssed along with the Devil, which the Bible elsewhere does indicate. (Luke 8:31) So the fact that Revelation 20:1-10 does not depict the 144,000 as acting with Christ in expressing judgment does not mean that they have no role in this. Romans 16:20 says about them: “For his part, the God who gives peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.”
Consequently, it seems that when Paul said that anointed ones “shall judge angels” he was referring to the future executing of judgment on wicked spirits. Even if the Bible does not give us details about the part Christ’s joint heirs will have in this judging, we can be sure that they will at least have a supportive role. They unquestionably will be behind Jesus, approving of the judgment.
● Was it not wrong for Lot to offer his daughters to the Sodomites?
While some persons have charged that Lot acted improperly, we really are not in position today to condemn him. The Bible shows that God, who reads hearts, did not judge Lot adversely.
When God sent two materialized angels to Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot hospitably insisted that they stay in his home. That evening a mob of Sodomites surrounded the house, crying: “Where are the men who came in to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have intercourse with them.”—Gen. 18:20, 21; 19:1-5.
Stepping outside, Lot tried to dissuade the men. Then he pleaded: “Please, here I have two daughters who have never had intercourse with a man. Please, let me bring them out to you. Then do to them as is good in your eyes. Only to these men do not do a thing, because that is why they have come under the shadow of my roof.” The angered mob pressed in on Lot, almost breaking in the door. Then the angels intervened and struck the mob with blindness.—Gen. 19:6-11.
This account has puzzled or disturbed many, particularly women. Some persons have even charged that Lot acted in a cowardly way, that he should not have offered to pay for his guests’ safety with his daughters’ virtue or that he should have given himself to the mob.
But it should be noted that, according to the Oriental code, it was a host’s responsibility to protect guests in his home, defending them even to the point of death if necessary. Lot’s words (“that is why [the two men] have come under the shadow of my roof”) show that he felt an obligation to protect his houseguests. Also, how can anyone charge Lot with cowardice? He bravely went out to the mob, even closing the door behind him and facing them alone.
But what about Lot’s offer to the mob? While some have said that Lot should have offered himself, it is unlikely that the perverted mob would have been satisfied with an old married man. Yet the offer of two virgins might have been somewhat confusing to the mob: Here were two young virgins, and the chance to soil their purity might have had some appeal to the mob. But on the other hand these were females and engaged to two men of the city. So that offer could have the effect of distracting or dividing the perverted mob.
Furthermore, although Lot had at first entertained angels unawares, by now he well may have realized these to be messengers from God. (Heb. 13:2) Hence, Lot could have felt that, as deeply attached to his daughters as he was, he would be willing to sacrifice them if necessary. (Compare Genesis 22:1-14; 2 Samuel 12:3.) In offering his daughters to the mob, Lot could have been confident that, if it was Jehovah’s will, God would protect his daughters even as God had already protected Sarah in Egypt. (Gen. 12:17-19) And Jehovah did direct matters so that Lot and his daughters were kept safe, not only from the homosexual mob, but also from the fiery destruction that came on the cities.—Gen. 19:15-29.
The angels did not say that by making the offer Lot had spoiled his righteousness. Instead, they aided Lot and his family to escape when God brought to ruin those cities that did not contain 10 righteous persons. (Gen. 18:26-32) More significantly, God did not criticize Lot, who was tormented at even observing lawless deeds. On the contrary, Jehovah, who can read hearts, pronounced Lot to be a “righteous man.”—Prov. 15:11; 2 Pet. 2:8, 9.
This account is a valuable part of the Bible. It serves to accentuate Sodom and Gomorrah’s badness, it stirs up indignation in righteous ones who read it, and it manifests God’s disapproval of homosexuality. Also, this account helps us to appreciate the Bible’s assurance that God is righteous and just—he does not countenance wickedness. (Deut. 32:4) And we can trust that God is equally perfect and just in his judgment that Lot was a “righteous man.”