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 blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory. Revelation 16:8,9.


Part I
by Brother Emerson A. Wilson


The Day Of God's Wrath
God is stirred because people are lining up with all kinds of religion and not truly repenting. Their lives are not giving God glory as He desires. Revelation 6:17 declares, For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? This is not speaking of His second coming, but of a time when God was going to show forth His wrath against those things which were contrary to His true Christianity.

There were three vials poured out against Babylon (false religion) in the sixth-seal ministry; the fourth vial is poured out on the sun; then those first three vials are repeated under the seventh-seal ministry, the seventh and last seal. Revelation 18 says that Babylon was to get two cups. They gave her one cup in the sixth seal, and in the seventh and last seal we are giving Babylon the second cup. Those seven vials, just as the seven trumpets, are divided to cover two generations, or two seal ages. The first three that we already have studied were truths that the sixth-seal ministry, beginning in 1886 A.D. poured out on Babylon when the reformation Church of God came forth in all her glory and power.

In this message, we are preaching on the break between the two ages. You might ask, "Why was there a break? Why did He pour out a vial on the sun?" Well, the first thing we have to understand is what the sun is a symbol of. Secondly, we must understand why He poured wrath out on us. In our study, we have found that the sun is a symbol of the New Testament, or New Covenant. The true church had risen above the moon (Old Testament) and was clothed in the sun; she had put on Christ, or the New Testament.

Holding the fact that the sun is a symbol of the New Testament, or New Covenant, let's read Matthew 13:5,6. Jesus here is talking about seeds, the Word of God, and how it falls on different hearts of men: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.

He explains in verses 20, 21: But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

Jesus used the expression that "when the sun was up" this individual was scorched and withered away because he had no root. We get the picture here of the New Testament as the sun. He shows us people who get a "lite" experience with Christ; they receive the Word with joy when it is preached, but they don't really "sell out"-there's no "total commitment" on their part, which means they lack depth of experience. When the sun comes up (a standard being lifted up, the Gospel being lifted up), they get scorched and wither.

Jesus makes it very plain that if we sit under the sound preaching of God's Word, we must have a deep experience with God. It also very plainly teaches us that the sun is the New Testament. In Revelation 12:1, the sun was what the woman was clothed in. Why would God be stirred with the sun, the New Testament? Why would His anger be stirred until He poured out the vial of wrath on the New Testament?

Our Scripture text says that when He poured it out on the sun, men were scorched with great heat. The reason God became stirred in this period of time with the sun (New Testament) is because of the way it is shining. Notice, when He poured it out on the New Testament, power was given to this ministry to scorch men with great heat. God is not stirred in wrath against His Word, but against the way the sun is shining today, or the way the light of the Gospel is going forth. The New Testament truth can only shine as it is preached straight and lived straight.

The sixth-seal ministry faithfully poured out three vials on Babylon (false religion), so why did God have to pour out a vial on the New Testament? Because we fell right into this age of lukewarmness, carelessness, and indifference where people do not put forth real force, power and zeal in their preaching (or living) of the Word. The same spirit has taken hold of saints who are living the same way. Because of it, there is no repetition of those last three vials. Why has there been such a let up? It certainly isn't because Babylon is healed; she needs the truth put on her today more than ever before! Truth is not being put on her because things have become too cold, dead, dry, and formal. So God is putting the heat back in the Word.

God Is Just
Our Scripture text says that He poured out a vial on the sun, and power was given to that ministry to scorch men with great heat. God is a just God; whenever The Church gets to acting just like Babylon, He will put a vial on us just as quickly as He will on Babylon. That is exactly what He is doing here. Brothers and Sisters, we are in an age when many places that call themselves the "Church of God" are as formal, dry, and dead as any place you could choose to go in Babylon. Even right here, we who are endeavoring to stand for the truth are battling week after week against formality, deadness, coldness, and indifference in the hearts and minds of people.

So God poured out a vial on the sun, and when He poured out the vial, He gave power to that ministry to scorch men. Why scorch men? Well, it is just like pressing clothes. You have to be extra careful with certain fabrics such as polyester; you have to either keep the iron moving or the material will get scorched. Men get scorched under this message because they aren't moving! When God puts the heat on them and shows them what they need to do to get hot, and out of their lukewarmness and indifference, they don't move. When the iron comes by the next time, they are going to get scorched!

This fourth vial, according to history, time, prophecy, and revelation, is poured out just beyond 1930 right on up into this Laodicean age. The dragon is not satisfied to have Paganism, Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, and the many other "isms" of the world. He is not satisfied with holding them in a dead position; he is surrounding the camp of the saints. He is after you and me! That flood of false doctrines and false thoughts is still coming out of his mouth and you and I had better recognize it!

Paul called them "seducing spirits" that will sit on the shoulder of saints right while the man of God is preaching. Those old "seducing spirits" will tell you that you don't have to listen to that; you don't have to "take that"; that is just "his idea"; you can get to Heaven without measuring to that Word. The devil has one and only one thing in mind: to cool your experience, take out the heat, and leave you in coldness, indifference, and deadness.

When God poured out the vial on the sun, He didn't wither the sun. He put heat (power) in it. In too many cases today, the New Testament is being preached in coldness and formality. False religion is telling the people that Jesus loves them, "just the way they are-there's no need to change". God is stirred because the devil has moved in such a way that Gospel has lost its stirring force. Let's face it, unless we can get back to where the Gospel stirs us, unless we can get enough power to convince and convict the saints, we will NEVER convict the world! Judgment begins at the house of God. If judgment laid to the line won't move the saints, there isn't ANY hope of moving the lost world!

God is not stirred a bit with the New Testament. It is as true and powerful as it ever was. The thing which stirs Him is the way it is shining forth. Men have shaded the truth in message and in life until in too many cases, there is NO power to heal spiritual or physical infirmities! There is no power to bring down judgment on ungodly conditions about us. This situation, a lack of real fire and power, has done much to kill faith among God's people. It has been a discouraging factor in the eyes of many honest hearts, and God is stirred.

The Power Of Fire
We read in Malachi 3:13-18,

Your words have been stout against me, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee? Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts? And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered. Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. hen shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.

Then we read in Malachi 4:1,2, For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.

Here Malachi was prophecying 400 years before Christ came. The first time, things had become so bad that the world couldn't tell who was serving God and who wasn't. It was just as conditions are today: the world is so much like the church and the church is so much like the world, you can't tell where one ends and the other begins. Malachi said that the day would come, speaking of the day of the Lord in His first advent, when God would start a fire and burn the proud, the wicked, and put heat on people who were not living right.

At the same time it burned some people, it would be pleasingly nice to another people. This is one of the "mysteries" of the Gospel. People can sit in a crowd and listen to one Gospel message; some get burned up, get mad and walk out while others shout all the way through it, shake the preacher's hand and say, "That message really strengthened me. I received a lot of good out of that message. I really needed that!"

When Malachi brings up the thought of fire burning up the stubble, or the proud and the wicked, it does not mean that it consumes them physically. Fire is one of the most familiar figures of divine working. Fire is one of the forces that mankind dreads, most of all when it gets out of control. Malachi was telling us that the operation of divine fire depends completely upon what it comes in contact with. The divine fire of God's Word will have a burning, scorching effect upon that one who is lost. The very same fire will be a blessing to someone whose heart is right with God.

This is one of the most marked peculiarities of common fire: it has different qualities depending on what it is operating on. Fire scatters water, melts wax, destroys wood, hardens clay, purifies metal, makes silver more valuable and makes dross worthless.

Works Will Be Tried By Fire
In I Corinthians 3:11-15, Paul sets forth some VIVID truths that we need to consider:

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

Now I want you to get several points here:

  1. The "precious stones" it refers to are the everlasting precious truths of God's Word that will stand the fire.
  2. The "wood, hay, stubble" are men's ideas and men's thoughts that cannot stand the fire.
  3. "The day" is the Gospel Day.
  4. "Shall be revealed by fire" means the fire of God's Word.
  5. "Receive a reward": You aren't going to get a reward for getting saved: you will receive a reward for how you work AFTER you get saved.

It is possible that after you find an experience with Christ to put your time in building up systems that are contrary to God's Word. Sooner or later, God is going to bring you around where you hear the truth, and the truth will destroy all the work that you have put into any false system.

This is the reason God wants us to get the message across to those who are true people of God, yet laboring in Babylon. Why? Their works are in vain! They are working to build up something that God says is false. They are leading people into that which God says to come out of. If they will sit under the fire of God's Word and obey it, they will be saved by the fire of God's Word, but all their works and efforts have to burn. Why? They are wood, hay and stubble; they can't withstand the fire of God's Word.

This fourth vial was poured out because too many people right in this day and time are wasting their time and efforts at things which won't stand up according to God's Word. While they waste their time and effort on that, they are wasting the Church of God. Paul said he persecuted and wasted the Church of God. Too many people stand clear and say, "Well, I don't persecute 'The Church'." Are you wasting it? Are you standing in Gospel Light? Do you claim to be a part of The Church, yet you are putting your time in at earthly things and have no time for God's Work? How long has it been since you visited a backslider and told him you loved him? Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch!!

Malachi 4:2 lets us know that while the fire was going to scorch some, it would do a healing work and help others. It is just like the natural sun. All that are healthy in nature get revived and lift up their heads. However, those who have no depth of root get scorched and wither away. Oh, how much salvation is on the surface today! That is why people can't take any tribulation or trials. They wither out because there is no depth to their experience.

God wants you to have a good root system under you! He wants you to get, as Paul said, rooted and grounded and built up in Him. When the devil goes to pluck you up, he has something on his hands. If your roots have no depth, with just one trial, the devil just picks you up and tosses you about with very little effort. All it takes is a good wind of trial and away you go-blown clear out of the ground. We need to get some depth to our experience where we can stand something for God!

Part of what is going on in so many of our churches today (and in the lives of so-called Christians) is the drive to be "politically-correct". Folks, let me tell you something: there is only ONE way to be: "Spiritually-correct". And you get THAT way by studying the Word of God and seeking HIS Will for your life; obeying that which He asks of you to do. You can be as economically-proper, socially-conscious, politically-correct as a person can be, and it will gain you nothing with God. I said, it will gain you NOTHING with God. People are so worried about the "popular opinion"; we'd better be concerned with God's opinion and shuck the rest! It's what the Word of God says that matters and that's all there is to it!

Tares Amongst The Wheat
Because of failure in this day and time to preach the truth with power, ungodliness has crept into the nominal church until many can't tell the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between those who truly strive to serve God and those who could not care less. That may sound harsh, but it's a fact. Babylon wants to be included in The Church because they join a church and sign a card. That same beast spirit, second beast, will come right over to the Church of God and make you feel you are a part because you attend a certain church and sit in that congregation. No, don't say you are serving God simply because you "show up" twice on Sunday and on Wednesday nights! No, it goes deeper than that!

God is stirred because there is not a clear line drawn between those who serve God and those who don't. Since God wants The Church to shine forth as the sun in full strength, He begins to put the heat on those things that need to be removed, which keep The Church from shining as she ought.

Jesus taught this in many places in the Bible. We read in Matthew 13:24-30,

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

Now I want you to notice something: Matthew 25 shows the whole kingdom sleeping just before the second coming of Christ. While The Church sleeps, the devil puts the tares right in among the wheat. Jesus makes it very plain that the good seed are the children of the kingdom, and the tares are the children of the enemy who have made their way right in among the children of God.

Then Jesus went on to explain the parable contained in Matthew 13:24-30 in verses 37-39 of that same chapter: He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. The end of the world, according to Hebrews 9:26, began at Calvary; the end of the world is these last days. So, this harvest is to be in the end of the world.

We have a picture of something going on in this Gospel day. He said in verses 41 and 42: The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Oh let me tell you, this is the kind of ministry that people are against, but this is the kind of ministry that God has today-gathering out of His kingdom "all things that offend". Hallelujah!

When Stephen stood his ground and laid judgment on people who "thought" they were in the kingdom, when he put the heat on them and told them what they really were, the Bible says that they gnashed on him with their teeth! Do we have any Stephens today? I fully believe that as Stephen stood there that day and delivered that awesome, powerful sermon (and it would behoove you to read the 7th chapter of Acts), he knew it was his last. Did he cringe at the dread of what he must surely have known they were going to do with him? Did he shrink back or "lighten up"? Nope, Stephen "let 'em have it": the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. No wonder Acts 6:15 tells us, And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.

Then we read in Matthew 13:43, Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. My friends, God is interested in the sun shining forth in its full clarity. The sun is the New Testament, and there is no other way for it to shine but through our living: Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. There are too many things that offend. The truth is being shaded, diluted, dummied down by too many people and the shallow lives they live. God is stirred about it. He said that if we will gather out the things that offend, then the children of the kingdom will shine forth as the sun in its fullness. My friends, it will shed light for a darkened world.

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