Revelation 14:18 MEANING

Revelation 14:18
(18) And another angel . . .--Translate, And another angel, . . . he who hath authority over the fire. The two scenes--one in Revelation 6:9-10 (the souls crying beneath the altar), the other in Revelation 8:5 (the angel mingling incense with the prayers of the saints)--must be remembered. The angel who had charge of the altar fire, and flung the ashes betokening judgments towards the earth, calls with a loud cry, Send thy sharp sickle, and gather the bunches of the vine of the earth, because her grapes are ripe.

Verse 18. - And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire. Both in Revelation 6:9 and Revelation 8:3 the altar is connected with judgment. The angel here described is he who is referred to in those places, the fire being the fire of the altar, the fire of judgment (Revelation 8:3), or, less probably; the angel who has power over fire generally (as Revelation 7:1; Revelation 16:5). And cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying. Again the "loud voice," characteristic of the heavenly utterances (cf. ver. 15, etc.). Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe; send forth thy sharp, etc. (see on ver. 16). The sickle is figurative of the instrument by which the career of those on earth is terminated. The "sickle" and the "wine press" are both alluded to in the passage quoted above (on ver. 14) from Joel 3:13. (For the meaning of this gathering of the vintage, as representing the punishment of the wicked, see on ver. 16.)

14:14-20 Warnings and judgments not having produced reformation, the sins of the nations are filled up, and they become ripe for judgments, represented by a harvest, an emblem which is used to signify the gathering of the righteous, when ripe for heaven, by the mercy of God. The harvest time is when the corn is ripe; when the believers are ripe for heaven, then the wheat of the earth shall be gathered into Christ's garner. And by a vintage. The enemies of Christ and his church are not destroyed, till by their sin they are ripe for ruin, and then he will spare them no longer. The wine-press is the wrath of God, some terrible calamity, probably the sword, shedding the blood of the wicked. The patience of God towards sinners, is the greatest miracle in the world; but, though lasting, it will not be everlasting; and ripeness in sin is a sure proof of judgment at hand.And another angel came out from the altar,.... Where are the souls of the martyrs of Jesus, Revelation 6:9 and whom this angel is thought by some to represent, in his address to him that had the sharp sickle, crying for vengeance on the wicked of the earth, who had shed their blood: the allusion seems to be to the altar of burnt offerings, where the sacrifices were slain, and on which they were burnt with fire; and which was an emblem of the strict justice of God, showing, that those persons, for whom these sacrifices were offered, deserved to be treated in like manner; and here the angel coming from thence signifies, that he came on the behalf of the justice of God, treating that he, to whom vengeance belonged, would execute it upon all the ungodly, who were ripe for judgment: and hence it is further said of him,

which had power over fire; whether the angels, as they have presided over particular kingdoms and states, Daniel 10:20 preside over the elements, since this angel had power over fire, and another angel is called the angel of the waters, Revelation 16:5 may be considered. According to the Jews (c) there are , "angels of fire", and , "angels of the waters"; particularly it is said (d), that Gabriel is , "the prince of fire", or "that has power over fire", and Jurkemo is , "prince of hail", or has power over it: however, fire is to be taken here, not for the Spirit, and his gifts, which not a created angel, but Christ only, has a power over, to baptize with; nor the Gospel, nor martyrdom, but rather the wrath of God, which in Scripture is often compared to fire, of which this angel was an executioner: and indeed here it may be referred, both literally to the burning of the world, and the wicked in it, in which the angels may be concerned, who will descend with Christ in flames of fire, taking vengeance on the wicked; and figuratively to hell fire, and the destruction of the wicked in it, who will be cast into it by the angels of God.

And cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, as in Revelation 14:15 expressing like vehemence and importunity,

saying, thrust in thy sharp sickle: not commanding or directing, but entreating as before:

and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; not the vine of God's planting, the vineyard of the Lord of hosts, the church of Christ; but the vine of the earth, of wicked and earthly men, whose vine is the vine of Sodom, &c. Deuteronomy 32:32 and which is spread over the whole earth; a wild vine, whose grapes are gall, clusters bitter, and their wine the poison of dragons; and to such a vine the wicked are compared, for their emptiness and unfruitfulness, their uselessness and unprofitableness, and for their being fit fuel for everlasting burnings; see Ezekiel 15:2. And the clusters of it may denote the great multitude of the wicked now to be cut down, gathered in, and destroyed, the reason given,

for her grapes are fully ripe; their wickedness very great, their iniquity full, the measure of their sins filled up, and they fitted for destruction, and ripe for ruin; see Joel 3:13. Some understand this of the degenerate church of Rome, and the destruction of it; see Revelation 19:15.

(c) Sepher Raziel, fol. 39. 2. Targum in 1 Reg. xix. 11. (d) T. Bab. Pesachim, fol. 118. 1.

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