Catholic End Times Beliefs

I was wondering if someone could give me a simple explanation about what Catholics believe about the end times/the return of Jesus Christ.

I converted to Catholicism not too long ago but this question was never sufficiently answered.

My experience with the subject goes as far as what I was taught when I went to a Christian school during my high school years. They mostly lectured from the Left Behind books but I have heard that is not a reliable account of how the end times will actually be.

Thank you. :thumbsup:

The Catechism has three sections about the End-times. Paragraphs 668-682 talk about the Second Coming, paragraphs 731-747 talk about the Church in the Last Days, and paragraphs 1038-1065 talk about Judgment Day. Here is what the Catholic Church definitely teaches, presented as closely as possible to a sequential countdown of End-time events:
[LIST=0]
*]When Jesus died on the cross, He defeated the powers of the devil. (CCC 2853)
*]When Jesus rose to heaven, He inaugurated the End-times in which we now live. (CCC 670)
*]The Church should expect the imminent completion of the End-times (see CCC 732) at every moment. (CCC 673)
*]Jesus left the Church as the foundation of His messianic Kingdom. (CCC 541)
*]Judgment Day has been delayed so that more Gentiles and (especially) Jews may be converted. (CCC 674)
*]The Church always endures various ‘smaller’ tribulations, (CCC 769) and these will be fulfilled in a Great Tribulation as we approach Judgment Day. (CCC 675-676)
*]The Great Tribulation “ushers in the struggles of the last days.” (CCC 672)
*]During the Great Tribulation, many believers will deny the Faith rather than endure persecution, (CCC 675) and many remaining believers will be martyred. (CCC 677)
*]The Great Tribulation will include a full-fledged Antichrist movement (CCC 675)—incomplete versions of this movement have appeared throughout Christian history. (CCC 676)
*]The Second Coming of Jesus will deliver Christians from the Evil One (CCC 2853) and announce the end of the Great Tribulation, (CCC 673) the coming of the New Jerusalem, (CCC 677) the completion of the enduring, messianic Kingdom of God, (CCC 671) the gathering of all believers to Christ, (CCC 2853-2854) including the resurrection of the dead followed by Judgment Day. (CCC 1038 with CCC 677)
*]Judgment Day will also be the last day of this world’s current existence. (CCC 678)
[/LIST]
I hope that helps. Please let me know.

Here are 2 very good sources.
What Jesus Really Said About the End of the World (Softcover Book)

and

Beginning Apologetics 8: What Catholics Believe about the Second Coming, the Rapture, Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, and Indulgences

Thank you so much! That is so helpful!

Wow, that’s pretty sad-- lectures from the Left Behind books. Those are fiction books.

:thumbsup: You might also be interested to know that the Catechism basically parallels exactly the account of the end times that is narrated in Matthew 24.

“21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. 22 And if those days had not been shortened, no human being would be saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. The Church teaches that there will be a great tribulation right before the Second Coming.]
“23 Then if any one says to you, Lo, here is the Christ!' orThere he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 Lo, I have told you beforehand. The Church teaches that there will be a full-fledged Antichrist movement, and many believers will deny the faith in the face of it.]
“26 So, if they say to you, Lo, he is in the wilderness,' do not go out; if they say,Lo, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of man. The Church teaches that the Second Coming is imminent.] 28 Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together. The Church teaches that many Christians who remain faithful will be martyred.]
“29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken; 30 then will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory; 31 and he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. The Church teaches that the Second Coming and Judgment Day will happen at the same time, and the resurrection of the dead/the gathering of all Christians to Christ will occur at this time, and that all of this will happen “after the tribulation.”]
“32 From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 34 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away till all these things take place. The Church teaches that the fulfillment of each of these End-time things began in the very generation that saw Jesus die, and now we merely await their completion.] 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. The Church teaches that, when these End-time prophecies are fulfilled, it will be the last day of this world’s current existence.]
“36 But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. The Church doesn’t try to set a date for this event.]”

Ah, very good! Thanks for the additional information. I appreciate it.

The nuns that taught us were very straight forward about the end times. Following the Bible, they said, that no-one knows when the end will come. The important thing is to be ready for it at any moment.

In other words, keep your spiritual house in order and then you never have to speculate about or to fear the sudden coming of our Lord and Saviour.

You may go to the Catholic Answers website and hit the home button. Then go to Browse. Choose Eschatology. There is a good video called what Jesus really said about the end of the world. Also, other similar topics.

I like your avatar. Is that your dog? God bless you and welcome.

:thumbsup: Yeah, that’s the best advice of all.

No, its a generic avatar provided by CAF. But I really liked it and I really like dogs so I kept it. :slight_smile:

While it is correct no one except God can know the exact day and hour this will happen, Jesus did give us very specific signs to watch for, so we can know when he is ‘at the door’, I believe this is very important to be able to recognize these signs when they happen, and not to attribute them to something normal or commonplace.

Funny thing though, even Jesus himself said there would be scoffers in those times, who would say things are as they have always have been since the days of our fathers, implying folks who cannot recognize the signs for what they are.

Where did he give us signs to know he’s knocking on the door. He told us NOT to look for signs but to always be ready.

If we are not supposed to look for signs, why did he give such specific things to watch for?

At the end of the Olivet Prophecy, Jesus said, “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. … Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:34, 36).

There is also Matthew 16:2-3,
being able to tell what the weather will be the next day but not being able to discern the ‘times’ we are living.

The first one I highlighted is another way of saying always be ready. It does not say or suggest to look for signs.

The part about the weather was not talking about the future. He was talking about the times when he walked on the earth.

Neither of these passages you quote are anything to do with us knowing when he will be at the door of his second coming.

The Second Coming is imminent?! People have waited for the second coming for almost 2.000 years! That’s not my definition of imminent.

Well, whenever it happens we can be sure of one thing, it will happen at a time when NO ONE expects it to, so maybe that is the answer, maybe none of us can recognize the ‘times’ for what they are.

But there is still that one verse about Jesus warning about scoffers in ‘those days’ who would not recognize the times, I could google to find this verse but Im betting someone knows it, so even if its not the end times right now, apparently there will still be scoffers saying it is not the end times, when it really is, so…

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