Apocalypse Part: Where Preterism, Idealism, or Literal Historicism don't Work
Apocalypse cannot always be just a vague parable, not in all places
There are simply some few places in apocalypse that cannot be merely ideealistic, that is, applying to any age of history, this verse especially:
Apocalypse 17, near verse 8:
And the seven heads of the beast are seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come, but when he does, he must continue a short spa*ce. And the beast which was and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goes into perdition.
Again, clearly, this cannot just be a parable of how "evil" keeps coming back to the Church again and again, over and over.
Because there is no way that in every stage of trouble for God's People, five things fall, one is then present, and perhaps two follow. That is nonsense. That is way too specific for every general age of sin in God's Plan.
Hence, something of a broader mystical and definitive context exists here.
And sorry, Roman Emperors is silly. How many pagan rulers precede St John's visions, how many reign during his writing, and how many follow, is simply non-consequential. For all those Roman Emperors have the same spiritual characteristic: they think they are almighty God and wrathfully persecute the Church.
But how many of them precede the writing of apocalypse, and how many follow, is of no consequence, such details will not alter the age of this martyrdom and pagan misunderstanding. Such data is arbitrary, and could be fudged without changing the general nature of the age of persecution that commenced Church history.
What else is left, therefore, except a profound spiritual historicism, as St. Hippolytus suggested, eight ages of human history.
Yes, if these ages had theological reasoning behind them, then a great mystery is present here, and not just a secondary verse of a handful of arbitrary Roman Emperors.
Indeed, in my book, I show this verse may be one of the deepest of the apocalypse itself, and of all of Scripture, revealing a profound reason and theology for God's Overall Plan of history.
Apocalypse 17, near verse 8:
*And the seven heads of the beast are seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come, but when he does, he must continue a short space. And the beast which was and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goes into perdition.
Further analysis, a historicist interpretation of some Fathers, cited in Douhay Rheims and Channoler Rheims Catholic Translations, sees them as literal kingdoms:
Five have fallen:
Other has not yet come:
Problem with this, again, is, Christ said, for kingdom shall rise against kingdom, and nation against nation, but the end is not yet.
New Testament Revelation transcends mere geography. The issue is rather the psychology of the general fall in human history.
Hence, the "kings" of the beast should surely, if any depth is there, deal with spiritual ages that are theologically ordered and necessary. Else we could ask, why did merely FIVE kingdoms of sin fall before Christ came? Why not six? Or three? Or 17?
Herein is a rigorous, meaningful five ages before the Christ:
The Jews before Christ's first coming, and Catholic Church before the second coming, themselves seem veritably to journey through a three great darkness process, not arbitrary, for the way of the saint is not arbitrary:
**Purgation: **sting the body, that it may obey the spirit: the dark night of senses
**Illumination: **sting the soul, that is my trust God's truth when all seems lost, the dark night of the soul
**Union: **rest the body and soul and offer them up in utter sacrifice in death, martyrdom
Hence, three kings of Old fall right before Christ:
- The Old Testament king of the dark night of senses, Egypt
- The Old Testament king of the dark night of soul, supreme Jewish apostasy before Exile
- The Old Testament King of martyrodm, Antiochus, maccabees
Three kings of New fall after Christ:
- The New Testament king of the dark night of senses, pagan Rome
- The New Testament king of the dark night of soul, the modern minor apostasy
- The New Testament King of martyrodm, Great Apostasy and future NT Antichrist
As for the other two kings of Old before Egypt, there are two great lies of the fall, two horns for the False Prophet:
The king of the first great lie of the fall is anti-Baptism, no faith, no repentance, Noah's day, and it was slain by a Baptism, the Flood
The king of the second great lie of the fall, anti-Marriage toward God, materialism (world chooses superficial partner in the CreaTION as opposed to spouse in CreaTOR), the Tower of Babel, is slain by God through confounding, after which He MARRIES a remnant, the Hebrew People through Abraham.