Revelation Chapter 16, Vial #4 – The Age of Enlightenment & Age of Reason

From “INTERPRETATION of the BOOK of REVELATION by Apostolos Makrakis (1881 AD, translated from the Greek to English in 1948 AD by the Orthodox Christian Education Society, Chicago, IL) – Pages 394 to 398

“And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat and: they blasphemed the name of God, who hath power over these plagues, and they repented not to give him glory.”Revelation 16:8-9

The plague of the fourth vial is also analogous to the plague of the fourth trumpet, which attacked one-third of the Sun, of the stars, and of the Moon, so that one-third of the day and of the night might not be visible. The plague of the vial inflicted through the Sun a punishment which was rather the reverse of that of the plague of the trumpet; for the trumpet deprived the Sun of one-third of its luminosity, whereas the vial scorched “men . . . with great heat.” And just as the darkening of one-third of the Sun followed the embittering of one-third of the waters for the punishment of the Christian world of that period, so the scorching of the Sun followed the transformation of the waters into blood for the punishment of the nominal Christianity of Europe. However, the plague of the scorching Sun is by far worse than the abstraction of one-third of the Sun’s light. The abstraction of one-third of the Sun’s luminosity has been interpreted as the loss of the philosophic knowledge of the Holy Scriptures and as ignorance of Christian philosophy. The “great heat” of the Sun is the newer philosophy which through delusion sends souls to hell-fire and renders them inimical to the Sun; for just as one burned by the Sun hates it, so those burned by the many lights of the newer philosophy and by the physical sciences hate and shun the Sun of the moral world, the Lord Jesus Christ and the torch of morality.

The Enlightenment of the 18th Century[1]

Luther rightly ranked the authority and validity of the Scriptures above those of the pope, but the pope, dividing Christian Europe into two distinct religious factions, gave them blood to drink. Bacon and Descartes, two founders of modern philosophy, ranked the validity and authority of reason above the Scriptures, and consequently bitter war was declared against the Holy Scriptures in the name of this philosophic doctrine. The zeal in behalf of reason, of independent philosophy, and of the sciences has burned souls horribly and rendered them hostile to the Holy Scriptures and to Christ, who is borne witness to by the Scriptures. Therefore, instead of being illumined by philosophic investigation and discovery, they were burned by the latter with “great heat.” On the other hand, the “heat” of the Sun threatened the throne of the pope much more seriously than the blood of the waters ; for the pope’s henchmen rebutted through the Scriptures the belief of the Protestants, whom the papists intended eventually to overcome if the war were confined to these two factions and fought in the name of the validity of the Scriptures – something which the papists were unable to deny directly, but which could also very easily be used as a weapon against their enemies. However, there appeared another enemy who burned through the light of reason[2], denying the validity and authority of the Bible and subjecting it to the censure of current discoveries made through philosophical researches and methods. Against this second enemy popery could not do otherwise than retreat and fortify itself, using as its defense religious faith which is prescribed without question or discussion. Heresy, on the other hand, easily adjusted itself to philosophical principle of right and reason; for, having itself rejected and denied the validity of synodical decrees and ecclesiastical traditions, it relied solely on the validity of reason, through which it attempted to interpret and understand the Scriptures. And the scorching of the Sun began with the discovery that the earth revolved round the Sun.

The moons of Jupiter, named after Galileo, orbiting their parent planet. Galileo viewed these moons as a smaller Copernican system within the Solar system and used them to support Heliocentrism.

Any question respecting the movement of bodies is a physical and mathematical one, and involves no religious element; for the Holy Scriptures make no statement whatever on behalf of the omniscient God about the movements of stars or bodies in general, but merely praise God as the maker of heaven and earth and the original source of the cosmic system operating in accordance with the plan of God. The question concerning the form, the position, and the movement of the earth is an ancient Greek question and a philosophical one, in regard to which various conflicting views have been given utterance. Aristotle in his second book on the firmament in Chapter XIII says in this connection, “And now let us take up the matter of the position of the earth, and inquire as to whether this body was originally motionless or planetary and as to what its form or shape is. Concerning its position, not all seem to have the same opinion; however, the majority hold that it is situated in the midst of space . . . the so-called Pythogoreans maintain that the earth is one of the stars revolving about in space and causing night and day.” That the earth, then is a moving star was, according to the testimony of Aristotle, the Pythogorean belief. But apart from the Pythogoreans, Aristarchus the Samian, a renowned astronomer who reached his acme in 284 B. C., taught that the earth revolved round the sun, which fact was also subscribed to by Cleanthe, the stoic philosopher and successor to Zeno. However, during the period in which “the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun” in order to scorch “men,” this ancient belief spread as a new discovery made by Copernicus, the astronomer, and was characterized as heretical; for the Roman Catholic church maintained the opposite belief, acquired as a result of delusion and misinterpretation of biblical doctrine. Galileo, the famous mathematician, espoused the Copernican system and in 1632 produced a work in dialogue form by which the Ptolemaic system was refuted and the newer, or Copernican, proved truer and more accurate. But soon the Jesuits denounced both Galileo and his work to Pope Urban III; and a synod consisting of cardinals, monks, and mathematicians was called to try the one denounced. Galileo was forced to present himself at Rome before the court of the Holy Inquisition in the winter of 1633. Being found guilty, he was imprisoned as a heretic, and having to choose between a denial of his heresy and death by fire, Galileo chose to escape death by simulating a denial couched as follows: “With a sincere heart and simple faith, I herewith deny, curse, and anathematize the delusions and heresies in my work purporting that the earth moves about the sun, and similar beliefs.” These words he uttered kneeling, his hand on the Bible. Upon rising at the end of the invoked anathema, he struck the ground with his foot and murmured between his teeth: “And yet the earth moves.”

Galileo before the Holy Office[3]

“And they blasphemed the name of God, who hath power over these plagues, and they repented not to give him glory.” The religious schism caused by Luther and the caustic lights of the physical sciences were two plagues and scourges of God intended to bring about the repentance of men. However, the exact reverse of God’s purpose occurred. Men, instead of repenting and praising God, blasphemed “the name” of God and His being. Their blasphemies are to be found in the writings of Voltaire, Rousseau, and the remaining encyclopedists. Indeed, today their blasphemies still circulate in the souls and the mouths of deluded and foolish men. The sacred writer clearly distinguishes between the kind will of God and the consequences of the blind will of men. God wished that men repent and glorify “His name,” and with this end in view He gave them blood instead of water to drink and burned them through the sun “with great heat.” Nevertheless, God through His foreknowledge was aware that with ungodly Voltaire leading the way, men would blaspheme “the name” of the Lord. Thus, we see that God’s will desired one thing while His omniscience predicted another. Moreover, that which He had foreknowledge of and had predicted occurred, and not that which He desired to occur. But what did God wish to accomplish through Luther’s dissension and through the many lights of the physical sciences? The repentance and salvation of man­kind and their escape from eternal perdition. What did He have foreknowledge of? Of their unrepentance and their blasphemies. And what really occurred? That which His omniscience had foreknowledge of, and not what His great kindness desired. Who then must take the blame and shoulder the responsibility? He who had foreknowledge of and predicted human sin, or sinning mankind? Clearly, those who sin, and not He who foretells their sins and leaves them free to act. Therefore, they have become subject to trial and punishment according to the seriousness of their transgressions.


[1] Weimar’s Courtyard of the Muses, a tribute to The Enlightenment and the Weimar Classicism depicting German poets Schiller, Wieland, Herder and Goethe

[2] EDITOR’S NOTE: The scorching of the sun would occur after the time when the waters would turn into blood and highlights historical events that would occur after the Renaissance and Protestant Reformation, which is often called the Enlightenment Period and Age of Reason. The Age of Enlightenment, also referred to as the “Century of the Lights” or “Century of Philosophy,” was an intellectual and philosophical movement that dominated the ideas in Europe during the 18th century. Many ideas centered on “reason” as the primary source of authority, which promoted the ideas of liberty, tolerance and separation of church and state, and the scientific method

.[3] Public Domain. A 9th-century painting by Joseph-Nicolas Robert-Fleury

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