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 Daniel 10:21 ) 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 F3 there are (va ykalm) , "angels of fire", and (Mym ykalm) , "angels of the waters"; particularly it is said F4, that Gabriel is (va lv rv) , "the prince of fire", or "that has power over fire", and Jurkemo is (drbh rv) , "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 ( Deuteronomy 32:32 Deuteronomy 32:33 ) 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 15:2-5 ) . 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 ) .
F3 Sepher Raziel, fol. 39. 2. Targum in 1 Reg. xix. 11.
F4 T. Bab. Pesachim, fol. 118. 1.