To answer this good question, we will be looking at TWO CLASSES of angels. We shall definitely see that the “first class” of angels rebelled against God by an act of their “free will.” The “second class” of angels never rebelled against God nor will they ever rebel, for we will learn that they are “holy,” which means that “they can’t sin.” It doesn’t say anything about them having free will, but we believe God created all angels and all mankind with the “freedom of choice” which means they have “free will.”

Most people are very familiar with the FIRST CLASS of angels which involved an angel named Lucifer choosing to lead a rebellion against God. Let’s see what is said about him in Isaiah 14:12-14: “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: I WILL ascend into heaven, I WILL exalt my throne above the stars of God; I WILL also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I WILL ascend above the heights of the clouds, I WILL be like the Most High.” Lucifer had the sinful desire to “dethrone God” and to “sit on His throne” and he expressed that desire five times with the words “I WILL.” This clearly shows he had free will. We know his name was then changed to “Satan” and the “Devil.” In Matthew 25:41 we read of “the Devil and his angels” and in Luke 11:15 he is called “the ruler of demons,” thus we can infer from these verses that other angels followed Lucifer in his rebellion against God, using their “freedom of choice” to rebel against God. We are taught that they are still exercising their free will in rebellion against God in the following passages: Ephesians 2:1-2; 6:10-12; and Revelation 12:7-9, 13. This proves they have NOT lost their free will; God is allowing them the freedom to continue in their rebellion against Him. But take heart, for God will one day “crush Satan under your feet” (Romans 16:20) and eventually he will be “cast into the lake of fire and brimstone” to “be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10). We know his angels will meet with the same fate for Matthew 25:41 tells us that the lake of fire was “prepared for the Devil and his angels.” Will they still have free will then? They will still have a “will” that hates God, but they will NOT have the freedom to exercise that will by an act of rebellion. In fact, God will compel them to fall down on their knees and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord. “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him (Jesus Christ) and given Him the name which above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of THOSE UNDER THE EARTH.”

The SECOND CLASS of angels are referred to in three passages. In Matthew 24:31 (which speaks of when Christ comes to earth in power and glory to establish His kingdom) we read that “He will send HIS ANGELS…and they will gather together His elect.” In Mark 8:38 (which speaks of the same event) we read that “He comes in the glory of His Father with the HOLY ANGELS.” And finally, in 1st Timothy 5:21 we read, ‘I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the ELECT ANGELS…” They are “Christ’s angels” who have never sinned nor will they ever sin, for they are “HOLY angels.” They are also called “ELECT angels” for God has “CHOSEN them” to fulfill His purposes and will be used, as we saw in Matthew 24:21, in the establishment of Christ’s kingdom. One may be thinking, “But if they are God’s HOLY and ELECT ANGELS, how can they have a free will?” My answer to that question is that believers in Christ, who surely have a free will, are also God’s ELECT who God has chosen to be HOLY. The Apostle Paul taught us that God the Father “CHOSE us in Him (Christ) before the foundation of the world, that we should be HOLY and without blame before Him in love” (Ephesians 1:4). We are, even now, “holy in our position before God in Christ.” The Apostle John wrote of the complete fulfillment of this in 1st John 3:2, “Beloved, now we are the children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM, for we shall see Him as He is.” Then we shall be “holy in our practice,” for we will be like Christ and never sin again.  (DO)  (514.3)