The sun, target of the 4th plague
^ And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him [it] 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. (Rev. 16:8, 9)
A table relates this plague
to the others 1602t.
The curses of the first four (and perhaps the others) appear to have been
directed to various forms of false worship. The fourth, paganism, which
would take in atheism, animism, and so on.
In considering the significance of the sun as this plague's target, we recall that God had warned his people not to worship the gods of the heathen, including the sun. "And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven." (Deut. 4:19). Also see the preceding verses in your Bible.
Pagan symbols often pictured the sun. In AD 321, during the time the church was eager to have an attitude of acceptance for the pagan world around it, Emperor Constantine announced what was probably the first significant Sunday law. It is interesting that his legislation did not describe it as the day of the Lord's resurrection but as "the venerable day of the sun." Also see on is1801.
Power was given
to the sun
We recall that persecution of God's people occurs by His permission 1306b. Here we notice that punishment of the wicked is also under His ultimate control.
Scorched with heat
"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." (verse 9).
We do not know how this will happen, but we can easily imagine it. The destruction of the ozone layers in the atmosphere allows more of the dangerous ultraviolet radiation. Wild changes in weather patterns could bring devastating heat and drought in some place or everywhere. Uncontrolled fires could also sweep across nations. Or the events could be supernatural.
The day of the
Malachi refers to the "great and dreadful day of the Lord" (Mal. 5:5) Joel says simply "the day of the Lord." I have identified this time as the time of the seventh plague 1617. It may also include the other plagues. Some things we will understand better when they happen. In any case, God's warning is serious and He wants us to be ready. Listen to Joel:
"Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come." (Joel 1:15)
"The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted: the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth. Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen [farmers]; howl, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished. The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men.
" The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered. How do the beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate. O LORD, to thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field. The beasts of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness." (Joel 1:10-12; 17-20)
To give Him glory
The first of three angels in chapter 14 had made his appeal to everyone with these words:
"And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel . . . Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." (Rev. 14:6, 7) To explore what this means about worship, see 1407g.
At the end of creation week, the Lord set apart the seventh day and made it holy. He has never removed that holiness. The picture I see is God's response to the final apostasy in which the day of the sun is exalted and the seventh day forbidden. As the frogs and other elements worshipped by the Egyptians became their curses p1, here the sun burns those who have chosen the man-made day of worship 1316d.
What a joy to come to our Father in repentance and to give Him glory. "The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit." (Ps. 34:18)