Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. 18 Still another angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, “Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth’s vine, because its grapes are ripe.” (Revelation 14:17-18 NIV)
In yesterday’s post I talked in some length about the “harvesting” of human souls that will take place at the end of the tribulation period. It will be a time of God’s wrath where God will destroy those who worshipped the Beast. Now, in today’s reading, it is interesting to see that an angel who is charged with duties in the heavenly temple involves himself in this judgment to the extent that he reminds the person sitting on the cloud to to gather together the so-called “grapes of wrath” because it is high-time for them to be used on the Earth.
Here’s an interesting question that jumps out at me: why is the angel at the altar of God so concerned with God’s plan to judge the Earth? I believe the answer to that question is found back in the fifth seal:
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10 They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” 11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters,[e] were killed just as they had been. (Revelation 6:9-11)
The reason, I think, that the angel at the altar is so concerned about the judgment of the Earth, is because he has been observing the souls of the saints who were patiently dying for Christ in large numbers. God had promised that their deaths would be avenged, and now the angel is reminding God of this promise; not because God is forgetful, but because the angel cares. This angel no doubt is moved with compassion towards the martyrs, and he is now excited that it is finally time for justice to be meted out upon those who killed them.