Rev 14:18 KJV “And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.”
Here we see an angel announcing the beginning stages of God’s wrath that will fall upon lost mankind at His second coming. That angel is said to “come out from the altar” and is said to have “power over the fire”.
These statements give us an additional information concerning God’s wrath against the lost.
The angel “came out from the altar”…
The altar being talked about was probably the brazen altar where the animals were brought, their blood shed and parts of their bodies burned. They pictured Christ’s sacrifice on the cross on behalf of His people. What does this teach us about the coming wrath of God?
The wrath of God that falls upon lost mankind is in response to man’s rejection and rebellion against Him. Keep in mind, the original fall of man involved Adam willfully rejecting the commands of God and choosing to follow Satan (via Eve). The ultimate display of mankind’s acts of rejection and rebellion against God is found in the crucifixion of Christ. Christ death on the cross was because He was “despised and rejected of men”.
This is one reason why the angel, who initiated the wrath of God, is seen coming from the brazen altar… it was a display of the motives that lie behind the falling wrath of God. Symbolically, it is stating that, because of man’s the rejection and rebellion against God (clearly seen in the death of Christ on the cross), God ‘s burning anger is sent upon lost mankind.
The angel “had power over the fire”…
God’s wrath that is revealed against lost mankind at the coming of Christ will consist of literal fire falling upon the lost world. This fire will destroy the lost while purifying and renovating the sinful earth (2Pe 3:7, 10-13, etc).
Remember, the angel, who is controlling the fire burning upon the altar, is the one that initiates falling of God’s wrath upon the lost. This is a symbolic representation of the fire that will fall at Christ’s coming.
It is basically saying that the exceeding sinfulness of mankind, which was displayed at the crucifixion of Christ, will now come back upon the head of lost mankind. The fire they kindled when they willing choose to turn from their God will now be turned back upon their own heads. It is deserved.
This is the very principle behind the warning God gave to the rebellious sinful Israelites…
“Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day. Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silence, but will recompense, even recompense into their bosom, Your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together, saith the LORD, which have burned incense upon the mountains, and blasphemed me upon the hills: therefore will I measure their former work into their bosom.” (Isa 65:5-7 KJV)
For those of us who have tasted of the saving grace of God, may we always remember that the wrath of the last days (along with the eternal wrath of the Lake of Fire) is deserved by us all. But by His grace, as He died on the cross, He took that wrath upon Himself. May we all serve Him in greater ways realizing He has given so much for us. He died for us when we deserved nothing but His wrath.
For the lost, may you come to a greater understanding of your dangerous position apart from Christ. Just as Adam, and those who crucified Christ, you have willfully chosen to reject Christ and rebel against His desires for your life. Just as all of us who are saved, you deserve God’s eternal wrath to fall upon your head.
However, through the grace of Christ, there has been supplied a way of escape from the wrath that you so greatly deserve. By turning from your sins and turning to Christ, trusting Him as your Lord and Savior, His work on the cross will be applied to your sins, covering them and washing them away. In doing so, the work of Christ will take away the punishment you deserve for your sins and give to you His right standing before God.
For an in depth look at these sections of the Revelation: