What is the future?
I have been somewhat curious about what was Roman Catholic church teaching on end times as I had never heard any Catholic I knew speak of these things. I had a general understanding that their view was amillennial so I wondered if the topic was considered to be important. To my great delight I have found a Catholic priest who is keen to teach the Catholic position and explain why the subject is important.
What about differing views?
There are some issues of the Christian faith that are life and death issues. If you do not accept them then it would be difficult for most Christians to accept that you are indeed Christian. An example is Mark 1:1.
1 This is the beginning of the good news of Jesus, the Anointed One, the Liberating King, the Son of God.
Belief that Jesus is the Son of God divides a Christian from for instance a Muslim who believes that God has no son.
Some aspects of the Bible are viewed differently by various groups such as Biblical teaching on church government (Pope, self governing, elders oversight) and interpretation of end times as described in the Bible. It is possible to hold differng views and still be considered within the ambit of Christian. End times falls into three main headings;
- pre/post-Tribulation/Dispensational (a Rapture before the Millennium)
- post millennial (Christ returns after the millennium has passed in history)
- amillennial (no literal 1000 years reign)
Each view has its own sub divisions but the three headings refer to whether or not the view regards a literal 1000 year reign of Christ on earth as a future event.
The Thousand Years
And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.
Summary of Catholic Teaching on Signs before the Second Return of Christ to Earth
Christians are generally agreed that Jesus came to earth as described in the gospels and that he will return as he promised but instead of coming as a Lamb to be sacrificed he will return as a king to reign on earth.
Specific things to watch for from Catholic teaching as outlined by the priest in the video above:
- Return of the Jews to Israel Ezekiel 11: 14-16
- Apostasy and deception as many lose their faith Matthew 24: 10-12
- Gospel proclaimed throughout the earth Matthew 24: 14
- The Jews become Christian (Catholic) Romans 11: 25-32
- The third Temple will be built in Jerusalem Ezekiel 43
- Antichrist will bring Great Tribulation upon the earth for three and a half years 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 and Matthew 24
- Satan and Antichrist will be defeated at Armageddon when Christ returns to earth for the second time Revelation 16
- Christ will reign on Earth for ever
Father Chris Alar explains that the first two of these events have at least partially been fulfilled but the remainder are still in the future.
What Catholics (and Others) do Not Believe
Catholic teaching does not accept that there is an appearing in the sky prior to (or during) the Great Tribulation when the church will be taken away to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb
1 Thessalonians 4
16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
Genesis parody of Rapture
Problems with Raptureless Conclusion
While there is much to commend in Fr Chris Alar's explanation of Catholic teaching and I find a great deal in common with his views, one problem I find is that there seems to be no explanation for the need for the events described. I tend to look for some logical thread or explanation for events as things do not happen in isolation or without a reason. I write these words with an element of caution because I have not listened to an extensive amount of Fr Alar's teaching so I may yet come across some explanation.
Biblical Overview of the World
A narrative that makes sense
- God created the earth and mankind and everything was good Genesis 1
- Adam and Eve sinned and were separated from God, becoming subject to the devil
- Mankind and the earth were under a curse and subject to entropy, death, disease
- God chose Abraham to be the father of the Messiah who would come to restore mankind to their original state
- Jesus came from heaven to restore mankind by becoming a sacrifice for sin that could restore mankind to sonship with God
- The Jews, as descendants of Abraham, rejected Jesus as Messiah as predicted by the prophets so the Gentiles (non Jews) became the object of God's favour in order to make the Jews envious and therefore want to find God's favour too Romans 9
- God is waiting for the full number of non Jews to find repentance before he moves to bring the Jews to repentance and salvation 2 Peter 3: 3-9
- God removes the church out of harm's way (The Rapture or Marriage Supper of the Lamb) 100 verse supporting the Marriage Supper of the Lamb
- Great Tribulation, the Antichrist allows the Jews to rebuild the Temple and guarantees their security in a seven year peace treaty but he breaks the treaty and declares war on Israel to annihilate it. See Revelation
- Israel in desperation calls for help from Messiah Matthew 24
27 Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved. For the Lord will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality.”
4 For the Israelites shall remain many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or teraphim. 5 Afterwards the Israelites shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; they shall come in awe to the Lord and to his goodness in the latter days.
15 I will go, I will return to my place, until they confess guilt and seek my presence. When they are in distress, they will turn to me:
- Army of Heaven defeats Antichrist at Armaggedon Revelation 16 to Revelation 19: 11-21
- Great White Throne of Judgment Satan and followers are condemned
- A remnant of Israel is saved to join the Bride of Christ Isaiah 10: 20-21
- New Jerusalem descends from Heaven with the Bride of Christ Revelation 21
- Earth is restored to Garden of Eden state Revelation 22