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  #1  
Old Mar 20, '07, 9:22 pm
Jerry-Jet Jerry-Jet is offline
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Default What is the Catholic understanding of the Battle of Armageddon?

I am Catholic and don't know the answer to this question. Will anyone help me?
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  #2  
Old Mar 21, '07, 10:49 am
vern humphrey vern humphrey is offline
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Default Re: What is the Catholic understanding of the Battle of Armageddon?

The idea that all prophesy is related to the distant future (and not to the prophet's own time) is called "Millianarianism." The Catechism has this to say about it:

Quote:
676 The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism,577 especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism.578
(my emphasis.)

The Battle of Armageddon has already been fought. Megiddo (and the hights abve it) form a natural choke point for invaders moving from north to south (and vice-versa) and therefore was a frequent battle site in Palestine.

In 1917, the British Army fouight a major battle there, and the British commander, General Allenby, was raised to the peerage afterwards. He took the name, "Lord Allenby of Armageddon."
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  #3  
Old Mar 21, '07, 11:33 am
Fidelis Fidelis is offline
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Default Re: What is the Catholic understanding of the Battle of Armageddon?

Both Catholic and Protestant Bible scholars have pointed out that the passage in question only mentions that armies will gather at this place -- no actual battle is ever mentioned. Thus, even though the enemies of God array their forces against Him, it is in vain. No battle necessary -- He has already won.
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  #4  
Old Mar 21, '07, 11:41 am
vern humphrey vern humphrey is offline
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Default Re: What is the Catholic understanding of the Battle of Armageddon?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fidelis View Post
Both Catholic and Protestant Bible scholars have pointed out that the passage in question only mentions that armies will gather at this place -- no actual battle is ever mentioned. Thus, even though the enemies of God array their forces against Him, it is in vain. No battle necessary -- He has already won.
Correct. John presents the war as already won, by Christ's sacrifice on the cross.

Revelation is a complex book, deliberately written to be understandable only to its intended audience, and one often used to justify the wildest "predictions" of the future. Without Revelation and amateurish interpretations of it, half the supermarket tabloids would be blank.
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  #5  
Old Mar 21, '07, 12:21 pm
M-Dent M-Dent is offline
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Default Re: What is the Catholic understanding of the Battle of Armageddon?

The Church has no interpretation of a Battle of Armageddon that I have ever seen?

New advent has an section regarding some prophecies - some possibly past, some possibly in a future time.

(No Battle of Armageddon is listed )

Quote:
1. General Preaching of the Christian Religion. Concerning this sign the Saviour says: "And this gospel of the kingdom, shall be preached in the whole world, for a testimony to all nations, and then shall the consummation come" (Matthew 24:14). This sign was understood by Chrysostom and Theophilus as referring to the destruction of Jerusalem, but, according to the majority of interpreters, Christ is here speaking of the end of the world.

2. Conversion of the Jews. According to the interpretation of the Fathers, the conversion of the Jews towards the end of the world is foretold by St. Paul in the Epistle to the Romans (11:25-26): "For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, of this mystery, . . . that blindness in part has happened in Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles should come in. And so all Israel should be saved as it is written: There shall come out of Sion, he that shall deliver, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob".

3. Return of Enoch and Elijah. The belief that these two men, who have never tasted death, are reserved for the last times to be precursors of the Second Advent was practically unanimous among the Fathers, which belief they base on several texts of Scripture. (Concerning Elijah see Malachi 4:5-6; Sirach 48:10; Matthew 17:11; concerning Enoch see Sirach 44:16)

4. A Great Apostasy. As to this event St. Paul admonishes the Thessalonians (2 Thessalonians 2:3) that they must not be terrified, as if the day of the Lord were at hand, for there must first come a revolt (he apostasia).The Fathers and interpreters understand by this revolt a great reduction in the number of the faithful through the abandonment of the Christian religion by many nations. Some commentators cite as confirmatory of this belief the words of Christ: "But yet the Son of man, when he cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth?" (Luke 18:8).

5. The Reign of Antichrist. In the passage above mentioned (2 Thessalonians 2:3 sqq.) St. Paul indicates as another sign of the day of the Lord, the revelation of the man of sin, the son of perdition. "The man of sin" here described is generally identified with the Antichrist, who, says St. John (1 John 2:18), is to come in the last days. Although much obscurity and difference of opinion prevails on this subject, it is generally admitted from the foregoing and other texts that before the Second Coming there will arise a powerful adversary of Christ, who will seduce the nations by his wonders, and persecute the Church.

6. Extraordinary Perturbations of Nature. The Scriptures clearly indicate that the judgment will be preceded by unwonted and terrifying disturbances of the physical universe (Matthew 24:29; Luke 21:25-26). The wars, pestilences, famines, and earthquakes foretold in Matthew 24:6 sq., are also understood by some writers as among the calamities of the last times.

7. The Universal Conflagration. In the Apostolic writings we are told that the end of the world will be brought about through a general conflagration, which, however, will not annihilate the present creation, but will change its form and appearance (2 Peter 3:10-13; cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:2; Apocalypse 3:3, and 16:15). Natural science shows the possibility of such a catastrophe being produced in the ordinary course of events, but theologians generally tend to believe that its origin will be entirely miraculous.

8. The Trumpet of Resurrection. Several texts in the New Testament make mention of a voice or trumpet which will awaken the dead to resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:15; John 5:28). According to St. Thomas (Supplement 86:2) there is reference in these passages either to the voice or to the apparition of Christ, which will cause the resurrection of the dead.

9. "The Sign of the Son of Man Appearing in the Heavens." In Matthew 24:30, this is indicated as the sign immediately preceding the appearance of Christ to judge the world. By this sign the Fathers of the Church generally understand the appearance in the sky of the Cross on which the Saviour died or else of a wonderful cross of light.

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08552a.htm
The Catechism also has a few events listed that clearly appear to be in the future.

Under the sections

The glorious advent of Christ, the hope of Israel
The Church's ultimate trial
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  #6  
Old Mar 21, '07, 12:37 pm
M-Dent M-Dent is offline
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Default Re: What is the Catholic understanding of the Battle of Armageddon?

Also regarding the Book of Revelation, Pope Benedict XVI had some interesting insight.

Quote:
Also at the heart of the visions that the Book of Revelation unfolds, are the deeply significant vision of the Woman bringing forth a male child and the complementary one of the dragon, already thrown down from Heaven but still very powerful.

This Woman represents Mary, the Mother of the Redeemer, but at the same time she also represents the whole Church, the People of God of all times, the Church which in all ages, with great suffering, brings forth Christ ever anew. And she is always threatened by the dragon's power. She appears defenceless and weak.

But while she is threatened, persecuted by the dragon, she is also protected by God's comfort. And in the end this Woman wins. The dragon does not win.

This is the great prophecy of this Book that inspires confidence in us! The Woman who suffers in history, the Church which is persecuted, appears in the end as the radiant Bride, the figure of the new Jerusalem where there will be no more mourning or weeping, an image of the world transformed, of the new world whose light is God himself, whose lamp is the Lamb.
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  #7  
Old Mar 22, '07, 9:41 am
John Hiner John Hiner is offline
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Default Re: What is the Catholic understanding of the Battle of Armageddon?

Dr. Scott Hahn argues in “The Lamb’s Supper” and elsewhere that Apocalypse is a book describing the realities of the Holy Mass. In this understanding, the battles depicted in it are the spiritual battles fought in the souls of the people who are in the world now. For example, the second dragon, who has the horns of a sheep, are priests and others who purport to represent the Faith (because they look like the Lamb who stands as if slain) but who in fact speak with the voice of the Dragon, the spirit of this world. (This is a pretty good description of bad homilies.) The other forces described might be understood as the opposing forces which make claims on us. The Seven Chalices are then pictured as cups of judgment which save those who are to be saved, but condemn and destroy those who are on the wrong side. The Word of God is also depicted as only accessible through Christ and the Cross, and the word of Christ is shown as the two-edged sword which judges right from wrong, and by which people are judged.

This all has both historical and eschatological implications, because the Holy Mass is an integral part of and a summary of Salvation History, which is the pattern for all history. Hence, the description of the Holy Mass which the book offers also describes both the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD, with the attendant persecutions, as well as describing the process of the Second Coming, at the end of time. In this sense, the Holy Mass is the perpetual realization of the Second Coming, and is therefore a form or type of the Second Coming which will happen at the end of time.

Dr. Hahn claims that understanding the Book of Apocalypse as a book about the Holy Mass was common among the Church Fathers. I have never verified that claim and so have not looked at the Fathers to see what they do say on the subject.

I would propose this as a Catholic understanding of the Book of Revelation.

Pax Christi nobiscum.

John Hiner
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  #8  
Old Mar 22, '07, 10:01 am
vern humphrey vern humphrey is offline
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Default Re: What is the Catholic understanding of the Battle of Armageddon?

Quote:
Originally Posted by M-Dent View Post
Also regarding the Book of Revelation, Pope Benedict XVI had some interesting insight.
And I think he is right. As I said in another thread, Saint John was not a proto-Nostrademus. He was not trying to predict the weather, the stock market, nor human history. He was dealing with the here-and-now of his time, the Second Imperial Persecution under Domitian, and looking forward to the final triumph of the Church.
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  #9  
Old Mar 22, '07, 10:40 am
M-Dent M-Dent is offline
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Default Re: What is the Catholic understanding of the Battle of Armageddon?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vern humphrey View Post
And I think he is right. As I said in another thread, Saint John was not a proto-Nostrademus. He was not trying to predict the weather, the stock market, nor human history. He was dealing with the here-and-now of his time, the Second Imperial Persecution under Domitian, and looking forward to the final triumph of the Church.
I do agree John (if he was the only author) was not inspired to write a list of predictions of all human history.

And exegesis is best left to the authority of a divinly protected Church - dangerous business as we see from even people who should know better.


More what many draw from today is that the final triumph of the Church by Jesus Christ's Second Coming is hope for the future.

Thus why the Book of Revelation states the same as the Creed, "We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life everlasting" and in the Memorial Acclamation, "Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again." Though in a far more synbolic way.
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  #10  
Old Mar 22, '07, 11:49 am
Tom317 Tom317 is offline
 
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Default Re: What is the Catholic understanding of the Battle of Armageddon?

While, the Church makes no formal statement on this famous battle, I believe the battle will take place as described in the Apocalypse; that it is a battle that will make the world wars look small in scope; that it will happen in the not too distant future and that the Bible's description of 1/3 of the human race being wiped out will happen.
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Old Mar 23, '07, 9:16 am
Fidelis Fidelis is offline
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Default Re: What is the Catholic understanding of the Battle of Armageddon?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom317 View Post
While, the Church makes no formal statement on this famous battle, I believe the battle will take place as described in the Apocalypse; that it is a battle that will make the world wars look small in scope; that it will happen in the not too distant future and that the Bible's description of 1/3 of the human race being wiped out will happen.
Of course you are welcome to your own opinion, but in my opinion, if you are beginning with the faulty premise that the Book of Revelation in particular and biblical apocalyptic literature in general is fore-telling, rather than prophetic forth-telling, you are bound to end up with a faulty conclusion.

As several others have pointed out, the main point of the book is not to tell the long-term future --only chapters 20 through 22 are concerned with that. To approach this book otherwise is to risk falling into the same vain type of speculation that others have done for 2000 years, but especially since the rise of the error of Protestant biblical self-interpretation and the resulting necessary error of Dispensationalist thought, a novelty that has only been around 150 years.

If you want to get a good understanding of the Book of Revelation from an orthodox Catholic view, I recommend the Navarre Bible Commentary on Revelation, which includes a good background on apocalyptic literature.
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  #12  
Old Mar 23, '07, 9:32 am
vern humphrey vern humphrey is offline
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Default Re: What is the Catholic understanding of the Battle of Armageddon?

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Originally Posted by Fidelis View Post
Of course you are welcome to your own opinion, but in my opinion, if you are beginning with the faulty premise that the Book of Revelation in particular and biblical apocalyptic literature in general is fore-telling, rather than prophetic forth-telling, you are bound to end up with a faulty conclusion.

As several others have pointed out, the main point of the book is not to tell the long-term future --only chapters 20 through 22 are concerned with that. To approach this book otherwise is to risk falling into the same vain type of speculation that others have done for 2000 years, but especially since the rise of the error of Protestant biblical self-interpretation and the resulting necessary error of Dispensationalist thought, a novelty that has only been around 150 years.

If you want to get a good understanding of the Book of Revelation from an orthodox Catholic view, I recommend the Navarre Bible Commentary on Revelation, which includes a good background on apocalyptic literature.
I would go on to say Chapters 20 through 22 are eschatological, not historical. They are concerned with things which are outside of history.
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Old Mar 23, '07, 10:11 am
Fidelis Fidelis is offline
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Default Re: What is the Catholic understanding of the Battle of Armageddon?

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Originally Posted by vern humphrey View Post
I would go on to say Chapters 20 through 22 are eschatological, not historical. They are concerned with things which are outside of history.
Actually, I (and many scholars -- not that I'm one) would see them as both in some sense (though not a strictly literalist sense.)
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Old Mar 23, '07, 10:21 am
kangnamdragon kangnamdragon is offline
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Default Re: What is the Catholic understanding of the Battle of Armageddon?

What's the whole thing with St. Michael defeating Satan at the end of the world?
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Old Mar 23, '07, 10:39 am
Jaypeeto3 Jaypeeto3 is offline
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Default Re: What is the Catholic understanding of the Battle of Armageddon?

Well,
several early church Fathers, most notably Justin Martyr and Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, believed in a literal Thousand-Year Reign of Christ on Earth, ruling from Jerusalem.
Irenaeus was a disciple of Polycarp who was taught directly by Saint John, who wrote the Apocalypse. So, I am open to the idea, but I certainly won't push it. I wonder how the church explains that several early church Fathers/Saints believed in a literal Millennial Reign of Christ on Earth for 1,000 years?
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