“Another angel came out from the temple, crying with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, “Send forth your sickle, and reap; for the hour to reap has come; for the harvest of the earth is ripe!”
“Another angel came out from the temple which is in heaven. He also had a sharp sickle. Another angel came out from the altar, he who has power over fire, and he called with a great voice to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, “Send forth your sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for the earth’s grapes are fully ripe!”
Revelation 14:15 and 17-18
This vision is full of gospel mercy. The angels are the messengers of God sent to proclaim the good news that there is forgiveness for sin and escape from eternal punishment. There is no need that people should perish in their sins, but many will. Many will refuse the Lord and His offer of mercy, especially at the end times just before the return of Christ. There will be a great falling away from religion and true Christianity and a return to pagan ways and the seemingly secular ground of atheistic belief systems. But these angels give us hope that the gospel is still being preached in our world and there are still people who are coming to Christ every day.
The signs of the times and the various explanations that people give for them can be very worrying to us and depressing. But these words are give for the comfort and encouragement of the Christians in every time throughout the gospel age. The time for the Second coming of Christ cannot be known or worked out. It will be a big surprise for everyone, except those who are waiting expectantly.
“Now about the times and seasons, brothers, we do not need to write to you. For you are fully aware that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and security,” destruction will come upon them suddenly, like labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.”
1 Thessalonians 5:1-3
There will be great terror but not for the people of God. When the angels are sent to gather in the tares with the harvest, there will be no mistakes.
“The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will gather out of his Kingdom all things that cause stumbling and those who do iniquity, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
The sharp and effective sickle of the gospel will not gather in the harvest forever, but one day the reckoning will come and there will be another ingathering of the righteous and the wicked. The righteous to eternal life and the wicked to everlasting perdition. These are the words of our loving Saviour and we must heed His warnings.
The angel of fire comes from under the altar of God where the souls of the Martyrs are hidden. This angel cries out on their behalf for vengeance against the wicked for the suffering of the martyred people. The fire comes to bring vengeance for vengeance belongs to God and not to us. God will recompense is people for the suffering they have received at the hand of the wicked, and hence we have this harvest where all wrongs will be put right and the justice of the Holy God will be seen to be done. Fire denotes the holiness of God and the sacred fire on the altar of God never went out. Evil might seem to triumph for a short while, but God will not be mocked and He will bring holiness and righteousness and His reign will last forever.