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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder


Rev 16:3 And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.

Unlike the first vial of God's wrath, which was poured out upon the earth (Vs. 2), and resulted in a prophetic calamity, the second vial, containing His wrath, was poured out upon the sea. Visualizing this heavenly symbolic event, John wrote that the sea became as the blood of a dead man. This indicates that an event would occur resulting in a great quantity of blood being shed, and, by flowing into the sea, it resulted in this great body of water becoming discolored with noticeable shades of deep red. The sea, being filled with shed blood, became so toxic that every living soul died in the sea. A better rendering of this passage is that "every creature that lived in the sea died." Certainly this symbolism depicts a dreadful calamity at sea, that was probably never seen before in the history of mankind, nor will ever be seen again.

Since these sequential plagues follow the end of the 1,260-year persecution of the church of Christ by the Roman Catholic papacy, we must then look for their fulfillment which occurred during, or following, the French Revolution, which was prophetically seen by the apostle John when the first vial of God's wrath was poured out upon the land. This revolutionary event shook Catholicism to its core, loosened its hold on the monarchy of France, and began events that would eventually lead to the complete loss of world dominance by the Catholic papacy.

Looking back in history we are able to find an extremely calamitous event that, according to most biblical scholars, fits the wrath of God being poured out upon the sea. After only a few years following the French Revolution, Napoleon Bonaparte the First assumed the title of Monarch of France. After doing so, he reestablished the relationship with the Pope of Rome. Catholicism, although much weaker, and with less dominance, was once again restored to the people of France, who desired this form of religion.

Historians tell us that from the year 1793, and continuing into 1815, the warring fleets, sanctioned by France's Bonaparte, sailed under the banner of the Pope, that is the countries of France, Spain, Portugal and Italy, engaged in a great naval battle with anti-Catholic England. This was a gigantic combat for naval supremacy of the oceans, that raged for years between Protestant England and the Catholic nations of Europe. At the onset, in 1793, the biblical commentator, Barnes wrote that "the greater part of the French fleet at Toulon was destroyed by Lord Hood. In June, 1794, followed Lord Howe's great victory over the French off Ushant; then the taking of Corsica, and nearly all the smaller Spanish and French West India Islands; then, in 1795, Lord Bridport's naval victory, and the capture of the Cape of Good Hope; as also soon after of a French and Dutch fleet, sent to retake it; then, in 1797, the victory over the Spanish fleet off Cape Vincent; and that of Camperdown over the Dutch; then, in succession, Lord Nelson's three mighty victories - of the Nile in 1798, of Copenhagen in 1801, and in 1805 of Trafalgar.

During these years of naval battles, approximately 200 mainline warships, the largest fleet of war vessels ever built to that date, were destroyed. Also 300 to 400 medium sized warships, known as frigates, which carried up to 60 cannon-type guns, were destroyed, as well as smaller vessels of war and commerce in numbers that were incalculable. Historians wrote that throughout the whole history of mankind there was never a naval war that resulted in more maritime destruction, human carnage, and bloodshed. To this end we are assured that the symbolic phrase that the seas became as the blood of a dead man could not possibly apply to any other events of history more applicable than these naval battles between the English navies and those that battled under the flag of the Roman Catholic papacy.

The imperialistic powers of Rome, who were chosen, and appointed, as emperors by the Catholic papacy, and who were responsible for carrying out their demands, had for centuries, inflicted extreme persecution against the body of Christ, His church. The papal atrocities carried out in the name of an apostate religious order, had now met with the wrath of God and were defeated. Once popes claimed complete dominion over the oceans of the world, priding themselves in gaining control over islands, nations, and continents throughout the known world, but the evil powers of Rome could not claim such control and power any longer. With these naval defeats, the world powers of the Roman Catholic papacy were further weakened.