This Revelation Timeline Decoded Bible study focuses on the 4th bowl of Revelation 16.
Summary: The 4th Bowl was poured out as the Jesuits caused the bloody Napoleonic wars with countries that had previously banned them, so they were getting their revenge. Our Sovereign Lord used it to exact revenge against the countries that had shed the blood of His followers. But the leaders of the countries did not repent, they blasphemed God for His punishment, and they later came back under Jesuit control.
Revelation 16:8-9, Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and power was given to him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory.
As we have seen in the Apocalypse, the Sun symbolically represents a primary ruling power, in this case it represents Napoleon Bonaparte, who had seized power after the French Revolution.
From 1796 to 1815 A.D., Napoleon and his armies, referred to by historians as the “scourge of Europe,” scorched the European continent, causing much bloodshed, in the places that they had shed the saints blood.
Dr. Keith Alexander published various works on prophetical subjects. In the Signs of the Times (1832), on page 190 we read: “Napoleon performed the miracles of genius. His achievements still dazzle, while they amaze the world. Within the space of eight years he scorched every kingdom in Europe, from Naples to Berlin, and from Lisbon to Moscow. Ancient kingdoms withered before the intense blaze of his power… Kingdoms were unsparingly rift like garments… like the sun, there was nothing hid from his great heat.”
The Napoleonic Wars shattered the power of the Popes over the European nations.
The overthrow of Roman Catholic governments, and enormous destruction of life connected with the wars of Napoleon. With the rise of Napoleon, the French Revolution took a new character, and became the scourge of Europe. The armies of France were now led on an unparalleled career of conquest by that man who was the most “gigantic manifestation of mental power and despotic will” the world had ever seen.
Arrogant, unscrupulous, selfish, remorseless, ambitious, self-reliant, with indomitable vigor, unwearying energy, marvelous military genius, surpassing administrative ability, uniting a lofty comprehensive intellect with utter disregard for moral considerations, Napoleon sacrificed the lives of millions, overturned the throne of Europe, revived the Empire of Charlemagne, and strove to obtain monarchy of the world.
The Catholic nations which had warred for centuries against the Reformed faith were successively crushed under the feet of this ruthless despot; thrones overturned, crowns trampled in the dust; armies scattered; cities pillages; provinces wasted with war; and reduced to desolation.
The Holy roman Empire and the Holy Catholic Church were prostrated by the tornado; the Imperial and Papal powers overthrown in common ruin.
Spain, which had crushed the Reformation within in her own borders, and in other lands, by the horrors of the Inquisition, and the Auto da Fe, was delivered over to the dreadful bloodshed and miseries of the seven years Peninsular war: the Inquisition suppressed; and a revolutionary spirit awakened which has made the country since the theater of endless strife, disaster, and decay.
They weakened the power of the Popes in Europe, heavy blows which led to his overthrow.
It was as if the sun were smitten in the heavens, and power were given to scorch men with fire. Europe seemed to be on fire with musketry and artillery, and presented almost the appearance of the broad blaze of a battlefield. The number that perished was immense. These wars were attended with the usual consequences – blasphemy, profaneness, and reproaches of God in every form.
But the Pope did not repent, he did not acknowledge God’s righteous judgment against the Church of Rome.
In 1804, May 18th, Napoleon was crowned as Emperor. Pius VIII was compelled to be present at the coronation, and blessed the crown, while Napoleon put it on his own head. He then changed the Italian republics into monarchies. At Milan he crowned himself with the iron crown of the Lombard kings.
From The People’s New Testament Commentary, 19th Century
Since these vials of the wrath of God are “poured into the earth” (Re 16:1), the sun must be used as a symbol. It is a symbol of a supreme ruler–a ruler or king.
Any one who becomes a great light and occupies a pre-eminent position, may be indicated by this symbol. The Saviour is described as the Sun of Righteousness [Mal 4:2]. In the dream of Joseph, his father Jacob, the patriarchal ruler, is represented by the sun [Ge 37:9-10]. Among the orientals it is the well-known symbol of a king or ruler.
The fourth vial is poured upon this sun, and power is given it to scorch men with fire. Fire, the instrument of bitter pain, is a symbol of suffering. It is therefore evident that the ruler, symbolized by the sun, shall be the means of inflicting great suffering upon men.
As we have found that these calamities are directed against the Papacy, it would follow that the sufferers are those who have received the mark of the beast. Though these adherents of Rome are in great anguish from the calamities that befall them, still they do not repent of their crimes. Like ancient Egypt under the plagues, Rome will still persist in her wicked deeds, still refuse to liberate the people from her spiritual slavery.
In 1801 Napoleon Bonaparte became the ruler of France, and soon became the virtual ruler of all Papal Europe. Spain, Belgium, Holland, Italy, and Austria were at his feet and either ruler by his satraps or at his dictation.
No such scorching sun had arisen in the political horizon for more than a thousand years, and I do not know that the world has ever seen so great a scourge of man.
From 1796 to 1815 he was engaged in war without a moment’s cessation. He converted Europe into a great camp and every nation was blackened and torn with wars. In his wars it is estimated that 2,000,000 men perished by the sword, and none can tell of the want and misery and despair that brooded over the bleeding and desolated lands that were tracked by his armies.
This scorching sun, which parched, burnt and blackened the earth, exerted a most baleful influence on the power of the Papacy. In 1796 Bonaparte entered Italy; in 1797 his armies entered the Papal dominions, and a peace was made by which the Pope was not only shorn of half his provinces, but was compelled to buy off the invader by the payment of large sums of money.
The next year the French armies entered Rome, tore the Pope from the Vatican, sent him a prisoner to France to die, and robbed Rome of its hoarded wealth. The imprisoned Pope died in captivity. The next Pope was elected in 1799, not in Rome, which was held by French soldiers, but in Venice. In 1800 he was permitted to return to his desolated capital as the dependent of France.
In 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte determined to have placed upon his head the old imperial crown as emperor of the Romans, and the Pope was compelled to journey by land to Paris in order to gratify his master by serving in the ceremonial.
Four years later Pius VII. was dragged from his palace, as his predecessor had been, and sent a prisoner into France. His states of the Church were confiscated. The grant made by Charlemagne nearly 1200 years before was resumed, and, until the fall of Napoleon, the Pope was without temporal possessions.
Napoleon had broken the spell of Rome. He taught the world that the power of the Popes might be successfully dared; a noteworthy service to the human race.
The Pope, from that time, ceased to be a powerful factor in the control of nations. But, notwithstanding these scourgings, the Papacy has not abated its exorbitant and blasphemous pretensions. “They repented not to give God glory” [Re 16:9].
David Nikao Wilcoxson
The 7 Vials of Revelation by Graeme Hotter
Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible Revelation 16:
The People’s New Testament Commentary – Revelation 16
History Unveiling Prophecy by Henry Grattan Guinness
The Present Reign of Jesus Christ by Robert Caringola. p 222-223
Next Revelation Timeline Decoded Bible Study: Revelation 16 – 5th Bowl Judgment