And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.
And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven,.... It is a strange conceit of Mr. Brightman's, that this angel is Thomas Lord Cromwell, in the days of King Henry the Eighth, a sincere favourer of pure religion; and that the following angel is Thomas Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury, a martyr, that had power over fire; and that the vintage, here spoken of, refers to the destroying of religious houses, and disposing of abbey lands to other uses; which was done under the king's authority, by the former of these, at the instigation of the latter, when those who were set over that business made such havoc of the goods of the Papists, that their houses seemed to swim in their spoils, as in a river of pressed grapes. Dr. Goodwin much better interprets it of God's vengeance upon the carnal Protestants and professors of religion; since it is an angel out of the temple that will execute it, and another from the altar, zealous of God's worship, that will provoke to it; and since the winepress will be trodden without the city, the church; and which began in the wars in Germany, in the last age, and will have its full accomplishment when the whole outward court is given to the Gentiles; but how these, who are but a few, when compared with the wicked of the world, should be called the vine of the earth, I see not. Mr. Daubuz thinks this vision of the vintage has had, at least in part, its fulfilment in the late wars in the times of Queen Anne, the Popish countries being then made the seat of war, in which they suffered much; rather they come nearest to the truth of the matter, who take this to be the battle of the great God Almighty, under the sixth vial, Revelation 16:14 fought by the word of God, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, who will tread the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God, Revelation 19:15 when the beast and false prophet will both be destroyed: but inasmuch as Babylon is before declared to be fallen, Revelation 14:8 and since the gathering in of the Lord's wheat at the first resurrection is designed by the harvest, it is best to understand this vintage of the perdition of ungodly men by fire, at the conflagration of the world, which will be at the beginning of the thousand years' reign, and of the gathering of them in at the second resurrection, at the end of it, for the destruction of them in hell, soul and body. And by this "angel" is meant, not the saints of the most High; for though they may be said to come out of the temple, the church, and shall judge the world, yet they will not be employed in gathering together the wicked, and casting them into the lake of fire, or winepress of God's wrath: rather the ministering spirits are intended, who are the reapers at the end of the world, and who will gather the wicked, and bind them like tares in bundles, and cast them into the furnace of fire; though it is best to interpret this of Christ himself, who is often called an Angel in Scripture, as the Angel of God's presence; and the Angel of the covenant; and frequently in this book, as in Revelation 7:2 because, as Mediator, he is God's messenger; and he may be said to do that, which he does by others, as instruments, as to gather the vine of the earth, and cast it into the winepress; and he may be said to "come out of the temple which is in heaven": whether this be understood of heaven itself, which the temple, and especially the most holy place in it, was a figure of; here Christ is, and from hence he is expected to come, and will come at the last day, as Judge of all the earth; or of the church of God, for here Christ dwells, and grants his gracious and spiritual presence until his second and personal coming, with all his saints: and now he will have them all with him, both quick and dead, and will be personally in his temple, the church, in the great congregation of the righteous, and out from among them will he display his power in the destruction of the wicked; and the rather he may be thought to be intended, since none but a divine person ever trod the winepress of God's wrath; see Isaiah 63:1 to which may be added what follows,
he also having a sharp sickle; the same who is described as like to the son of man, on a white cloud, with a golden crown on his head, and such a sickle in his hand, Revelation 14:14 which is expressive of the same judiciary power and authority.