Do you believe after Christ returns the righteous will become angels?
Our best source of information to answer this question is Jesus. Talking with the Sadducees about the resurrection, He explained also the state of those whose lives are made perpetual. We read: “Those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead,…nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection” (Luke 20:35-36). “They which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world” are surely the righteous ones, those whom God accepts and upon whom He bestows His eternal blessings. And Jesus says that these are to be “equal unto the angels.” This text indicates a state of immortality, a higher level of existence than we now experience.
The apostle Paul said that “Flesh and blood” cannot “inherit the kingdom of God,” indicating that a physical change must take place in those whose lives are perpetuated. This physical change, we believe, is the change which the angels have already experienced. Paul spoke of it also as a change from corruptibility to incorruptibility, “that mortality might be swallowed up of life” (1 Cor. 15:50-54; 2 Cor. 5:4). He spoke again of Jesus Christ returning, who shall “transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body”–another description of the change to a higher level of life (Phil. 3:20-21).
Jesus described the righteous as “shining,” and the shining is indicative of the state of the angels. He said, “Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matt. 13:43). Here again is pictured immortal glory such as the angels know.
Many times in the Bible we read of the luminescent quality of immortal beings. Jesus appearing to Paul on the Damascan road struck him blind with the dazzling light of His countenance (Acts 9). The angels who were watching the empty tomb the morning of Jesus’ resurrection were described as being clothed in “shining garments” or having a “bright countenance.” And the promise is, “Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament” (Dan. 12:3).
The answer to your question is yes, we do believe the righteous will be made like the angels. This is the promised reward, the compensation for a life of faithful service which God has promised. Though we are not directly told, it seems that the plan of God is that a being in the mortal state develop and prove himself, then receive the transformation to the angel level. This plan harmonizes perfectly with the descriptions given in Scripture, also with the world as we see it and life as we know it. “And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man” (1 Cor. 15:49). Angels, instead of being created in a superior state, have been changed to that level of life as a reward for their faithful compliance with God’s mandates, and we may receive the same. This seems to be the ongoing plan of God for the development and perfecting of His living creation, as we are many times told: “to give to everyone according to his work” (Rev. 22:12).
What an incentive to us mortals to make the moral change now, so that we can receive the physical change to immortality when Jesus returns in all His glory! For “when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away” (1 Pet 5:4).