The Third Vial of the Apocalypse: Luther and the “Blood” of the New Testament

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 388 to 394

“And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters: and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, who art and wast and who art the Holy One, because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.” – Revelation 16:4:7

The plague of this third vial is analogous to the plague of the third trumpet by means of which the Christian world of the third century was disciplined. Through the plague of the third trumpet a great burning star similar to a lamp fell from heaven upon one-third of the rivers and the fountains of water. This fallen star was called Wormwood; and one-third of the waters became bitter, as a result of which many men who drank died. Moreover, by the outpouring of the third vial from heaven “upon the rivers and fountains of waters,” the waters of the rivers and the fountains “became blood” and thirsty men drank dead and death-dealing blood instead of living and life-giving water. The fall of Wormwood caused only one-third of the rivers and fountains to become bitter; while the pouring out of the whole vial transformed all the water of the rivers and “fountains . . . and they became blood.” Consequently, many died then from drinking of the bitter “waters” and all those now who drink blood instead of water inevitably die an evil death. If we compare the one-third of the embittered water to all the water of the rivers and fountains which had been changed into blood, and the bitterness of wormwood to the deadliness of the blood, we can see how much more severe the plague of the third vial was than that of the third trumpet, and how much more serious the punishment of those who drank the blood of the vial was than the punishment of those who drank of the bitter waters. The plague of the third vial is three times greater and three times more severe than the plague of the third trumpet. And who are those punished thrice as severely by drinking the blood? They are the nominal Christians who worship the spurious Lamb instead of the genuine and those who believe that the Roman pope is the lieutenant of God and Christ’s representative. Just as the plague of the third trumpet punished, through Origen, the Christian world of the third century after Christ, so the plague of the third vial chastised, through Luther, the Western Christian world of the sixteenth century because of the number of the beast, 666.

Martin Luther

Luther of the sixteenth century corresponds to Origen of the third century; for just as one-third of the rivers and fountains were embittered by the heretic doctrine of Origen, so the water of the Holy Scriptures and the water of our fathers and our church teachers was, by Luther’s doctrine, changed into blood. Consequently, all who drink of this blood of the Scriptures became blood-thirsty and blood-craving, and like-wild beasts rage and rend one another, believing that they are thus worshiping God. However, Origen fell from heaven like a great star burning like a torch and embittered only one-third of the waters, or the philosophical knowledge of the Holy Scriptures; while Luther was poured out like blood from the vial of God’s wrath by the third angel; and he transformed the religious teachings of the Holy Scriptures into a bloody war, thus fighting the abuses of papal authority and becoming a cause of the religious and civil wars of pro-papal Europe. The chief cause, however, of the evils and destructive wars that scourged Europe was the popes. Luther became the first scourge of papism and all pro-papal Europe, being the first to open the closed Scriptures and to reproach the image of the beast as a deluder of men and an enemy of truth and God. The peoples of Germany were the first to receive the Holy Scriptures from the hands of Luther and to reject the worship of the pope and submission to his decisions. This innovation of Luther the supporters of the pope could not characterize otherwise than as an attack upon divine right and a heresy tending to upset the universal Church founded upon Peter and his successors. Consequently, they believed that in fighting and persecuting to death the disturbers of the Church and the enemies of divine right they were battling in behalf of divine principles and fundamentals as well as for the glory of God. On the other hand, the Protestant supporters of Luther, convinced that the Holy Scriptures were the true word of God which the pope abused and transgressed, considered themselves religiously obliged to battle to death in behalf of the truth and the glory of God. As a result, the rivers and the fountain waters became “blood” and each faction thirsting for blood drank the blood of its enemies, while both sides battled and killed each other for the glory of God. The papists felt a keen desire to kill and exterminate the Protestants for the glory of God, while the Protestants likewise strongly wished to annihilate the papists as the bitter enemies of both themselves and God’s Scriptures. This bloodthirsty desire of both factions was, moreover, justified and reinforced by the very Scriptures themselves. The papists, on the one hand, fully believed that the Holy Scriptures obliged them to exterminate the new heresy from the face of the earth; while the Protestants, on the other hand, were convinced that the Word of God demanded that they oppose the papists with all the strength they could muster and to reinforce their faith or the authority and validity of the Holy Scriptures which the papacy had made its footstool and concealed from the eyes of the people, so that the latter might not behold the orgies of the great harlot. Therefore, the third vial poured out upon the rivers and fountains of waters brought about the prophesied result. The water “became blood,” and those who drank blood instead of water became bloodthirsty and drank one another’s blood by killing one another. Our language [Greek] has the word “blood-eaters,” which defines the category of those who delight in murdering and slaughtering their fellow men. These same criminals in threatening others with death generally use the words, “I’ll drink your blood.” And so, just as the Greek tongue uses the words “blood-eaters” and “drinking blood” to denote murderers and murders, so the Apocalypse implies that through one teacher, depicted by the third vial, the doctrine of the Scriptures and the church fathers would instill in the souls of so-called Christians the desire to kill one another for the glory of God. Although the popes instigated and were responsible for all the bloodshed, the executive organ of this prophecy was Martin Luther, born in Eisleben, Germany, in 1483.

The Catholic Church’s Sale of Indulgences [1]

In 1517 he protested against the disgraceful mercenariness of papal absolution in Wittenberg, Saxony; and posting ninety-five theses against papal absolution[2], he invited discussion and debate with regard to the support and proof of these through the Holy Bible. But it is the task of the historian to recount the progress of Luther’s teaching and the religious wars which resulted between papists and Protestants and through which the dissension and schism was rather intensified for the punishment of the deluder of the masses, Roman Catholicism, down upon which the wrath of the third vial was poured. The writer here refers to history merely in order to confirm the fulfillment of the prophesy as to the outcome of the war between the two religions in 1562.

On October 31, 1517 Luther defiantly nailed a copy of his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle church

“The two factions mustered their forces, each trying to win to its side the cities of the kingdom. In addition, they both sought allies in Germany. Many cities declared themselves in favor of the Protestants – practically the whole of Normandy and the entire French nobility. Everywhere the fire of war broke out, one faction fighting another in inhuman and maniacal fashion, incited by wild religious fanaticism which ignores the duty of one man toward another on the ground that it thus serves the will of God. The Protestants dishonored papal churches and monasteries, shattered their icons, and robbed the opulent among the clergy, while the papists were guilty of crimes by far worse. The archives of certain French cities are full of records of inhuman and horrible crimes committed at this period. Entire regiments of soldiers that had surrendered were massacred; leaders and rich men were mercilessly tortured; women and girls were dishonored in beastly fashion; infants and boys were torn to pieces, and old men were subjected to slow and torturing death. In Tyrone the city mayor was tied to a tree and his intestines cut out. Pregnant women were dragged naked in the streets, their wombs cut open, and the embryo dashed against the ground or thrown to the dogs. An executioner at Gastres skinned five young girls alive and ate their livers. Five hundred were hanged at Agincourt and as many more were burned to death in Cadourche. At Tricassas a father hanged his own son and a brother burned to death his own sisters. In all Provence nothing but the moans of atrocious and inhuman slaughtering could be heard. Fifteen hundred were murdered through various forms of torture, being blinded, hanged by the hands or the feet, dragged bound behind horses, stoned to death, thrown into burning furnaces, or buried alive. Thus, unrestrained beastliness triumphed not only in that it committed unspeakable atrocities but also in that these were committed for the glory of God and his lieu­tenant.” (History by Kouma, Vol. VII, pp. 49-51).

But the most tragic scene took place on St. Bartholomew’s night in 1572. On this night the royalists and the papists engineered very subtly the massacre of the Protestants. The first victim among these was Admiral Coligny, leader of the Protestant party. No sooner had the signal been given by Charles IX than soldiers and citizens of the papist party attacked the care-free and unsuspecting Protestants, slaughtering them on the streets, in their homes, in hotels, and wherever they happened to be. King Charles, looking out through the window, cried, “tue, tue,” “Kill, kill,” shooting in the meantime at the fleeing. A certain royalist, Taban by name, cried aloud, “Bleed them, bleed them; physicians say bleeding is good during August and May.” Three days the massacre lasted, not only in the metropolis, but in most of the provinces reached by the royal order, where blood-thirsty subordinates were found willing and eager to carry out the king’s murderous whim. Three thousand were slain an Aurey, 509 at Rouergue, 274 at Bordeaux, 200 at Toulouse, 900 at Longwy, and 200 at Mende; the total number killed was 30,000. The archives of French cities are full of unheard-of crimes and atrocities which horrify one to recount or listen to. But the news of all these criminal deeds so delighted the heart of the incumbent Pope Gregory XIII that he ordered the day to be celebrated with songs of praise, fireworks and the shooting of cannon. Moreover, he personally conducted a special church service for the glory of God and had a new coin minted in memory of this inhuman scene.

St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, 1572 [3]

Germany was also torn asunder by similar religious wars until the Augustan peace in 1555, at which the Protestants were granted freedom of conscience, owing to their superior strength as compared with that of the papists. But in 1618 another religious war broke out which lasted for 30 years, and for a whole century the entire European continent, Christian only in name, was divided into two dissenting religious camps which drank the blood of the third vial and massacred each other for the glory of God! How foolish historians are who cite the Christian religion as the cause of all these heartrending experiences of the human race and recommend religious tolerance and a religionless existence to the new generation as a means of avoiding similar experiences in the future! But divine revelation censures their folly, pointing to the true cause of all these ills, and praises and adores God’s righteous judgment through the mouth of the understanding angels. The angel of “the waters,” seeing that the waters of the rivers and the fountains were turned “to blood” in accordance with God’s decision, cried out, saying “Thou art righteous, 0 Lord, who art and wast and who art the Holy One, because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.”

The siege of Constantinople in 1204 by the Fourth Crusade

For two centuries the pope’s crusaders made expeditions to the East and persecuted the saints for not adoring the image of the beast and killed them. Thus, they were responsible for the domination of the beast which ascended from the abyss, and of the death of the two witnesses, at which the pope’s cohorts greatly rejoiced and exchanged gifts[4]. Therefore the “Lord who art and wast and who art the Holy One” determined to pour into them the blood of the vial, so that they might receive their just deserts for their ungodliness and sin and prove an object lesson to enable the acquisition of wisdom by the modern generation. There is only one just God who sits on the throne of universal and omnipotent justice. And the angel refers to Him by the trinary name which denotes three distinct hypostases of the supreme Deity, indicating that judgment and decision proceed from all three persons, who enjoy equal honor and power, and that this is the true God who sits on the throne and not the one proclaimed by the blasphemous mouth of the pseudo-prophet Mohammed. And here the angel, instead of the phrase “who shalt come,” uses the phrase, “who art the Holy One,” in order to indicate that the Holy Spirit referred to herein is dedicated to the Father and to the Son and that the decision was rightly rendered in accordance with the Holy Spirit of God and in strict accordance with all the conditions and laws governing God’s decisions and actions. For if the spirit of God is holy, God also is holy as well as all His actions. The judgment of the first angel is confirmed by the second angel from the altar, saying: “Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.” So, judge the enlightened angels, who also teach us to judge in accordance with God’s decisions instead of adopting the foolish reasoning of ignorant historians who see merely what is visible but cannot grasp underlying causes and who, nevertheless, thinking that they can grasp them, speak whatever the selfishly wise Satan inspires them.


[1] shown in A Question to a Mintmaker, woodcut by Jörg Breu the Elder of Augsburg, ca. 1530.

[2] EDITOR’S NOTE: Recall the sale of Papal Indulgences were also described in Revelation chapter 13 as the “buying and selling” of Salvation to those who gave their “mark” or allegiance to the Papacy as the head of the Universal Church.

[3] Painting by François Dubois, a Huguenot painter born circa 1529 in Amiens, who settled in Switzerland

[4] EDITOR’S NOTE: The trading, selling and “gifting” of holy relics stolen through the Fourth Crusade evolved into a BIG INDUSTRY in the West prior to the Reformation. Supposed “artifacts” of the True Cross were sold by the Church as well as other stolen icons, bones of many great Eastern saints, gold and bronze statues were sold for money. Many of these treasures from the siege can be found in the vaults or on display in the Vatican Library today. The most famous artifact in the West today is the Shroud of Turin. The Papacy delighted in the collection of theses precious gifts at the expense of the fall and collapse of the Byzantine Empire and celebrated the downfall of the Eastern Christians as they lied “spiritually dead” with no rights to practice openly their Orthodox faith by the Ottomans in the square (Haghia Sophia) of the great City Constantinople. Here is an excerpt describing this destruction from the book of a Greek historian Constantine Paparegopoulos:

“(…) that great city (Constantinople), for 900 years after her foundation remaining untouched and unconquered and in this long period having gathered the treasures of all the world and having saved as in an Ark the best relics of ancient art and of ancient intellect, for four whole days became the victim of the most fearful violence and destruction. In vain did the inhabitants invoke the philanthropy of counts and barons; for none voice requesting clemency was given ear … two thousand citizens were slaughtered on the first day, and the Lord knows how many were murdered in the next days. But the survivors were more miserable than those killed, because they were not merely robbed of their clothes, but they were also insulted and maltreated by the conquerors who did not respect anything at all, either women, or holy places, or tombs. Justinian’s body respected through the centuries and integral before their eyes, did not check their sacrilegious hands. Entering the holy churches, they threw on the floor Christ’s divine Body and Blood, stealing the precious vessels and either smashing them to usurp their jewelry, or taking them away for their private use on their dining tables as wine recipients or as kitchen utensils”

“And most gravely and sacrilegiously they misbehaved in the great church of St. Sophia (God’s Holy Wisdom). The sacrifice table of the holy altar, the most beautiful and most precious of all the material things in that Church, a finest compound piece of work, was smashed to pieces and shared among the plunderers, and the Temple’s immense riches as well. … In order that the booty might be loaded and taken away, mules and donkeys with packsaddles came into the Church …. the soldiers goaded them so that the divine floor was sullied with the animals blood and dung. (…)” (The West’s Robbers Vol. 4, page 726.)

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