Did the events in Revelation already happen?

Hi everyone…I was reading Scott Hahn’s excellent book “Lamb’s Supper” for probably the third time when I came across an argument he was making about the Book of Revelation where he argues many of the events in the Book of Revelation were foretelling the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Hahn goes into great “Hahn-like” detail about his ideas regarding 70 A.D. and the ties to the Book of Revelation, so what do people think? Did many of those events already occur or are they future events? Does the Church have a definitive teaching on this?

Also, please know that I do understand that the subject line and the question about Jesus coming again are sort of two different questions…but I am primarily more interested in where the Bible lays out Jesus coming again, not so much whether many of the events of Revelation have already occurred. This is largely because there are numerous points of view on that issue and the Book of Revelation doesn’t really spell it out clearly.

Which specific verse in Revelation are you asking about?

History repeats itself. The abomination of desolation refers to what Antiochus IV Epiphanes did in the Temple of the Jews but it also refers to the induction of the Antichrist in the Temple that will in most likelihood be rebuilt to its former glory. Same with Nero and 666, perhaps 666 referred to him, but it will also probably refer to the son of perdition.

I mean the various events that occur, no specific verse in mind…Doesn’t the Church have an opinion on this or is it just up in the air?

The Church specifically teaches that there will be a world deception lead by the Antichrist, so even though Nero or others were antichrist symbols, one has yet to come who will be the actual Antichrist. The rest is open to interpretation. Some see the revival of the Roman Empire that was foretold by prophet Daniel (ok not Revelation strictly speaking, but you get the idea) as the European Union (there are some eerie stuff about Javier Solana’s position and how it was created, thru what resolution it was created etc.). But the CC does not have an ultimate ex cathedra interpretation of end-times events prophesied in the book or Rev.

Thanks for the information Robert…any sources or just from your own knowledge on the subject?

The Church leaves this up to the fundamentalist protestants.

It appears that way…I don’t see them discussing this very often. I don’t understand why they wouldn’t just release a definitive teaching on the whole Book rather than just bits and pieces.

One of the cool things about the Catholic church is they don’t simply release teachings like many of our protestant counter parts do. They make sure they are definitive before they release them, which means lots of discussion, often building on centuries of theology. Where as many ‘preachers’ will simply say ‘This is what it means, because that’s what my mind tells me’ the Catholic church makes sure that it is from the Holy Spirit, through much prayer, study and guidance.

Until that day, they simply won’t release a teaching on something they aren’t certain God has revealed.

The Church doesn’t want to mislead people and jeopardize its own authority, but sometimes I think it’s so slow that it might wait until the Antichrist has ruled and been put to death to proclaim definitively that he indeed was the AC. That’s not much help for those who were subject to him while he’s alive. “We the Church proclaim that Jesus’ glorious return, which happened yesterday for the entire human race to behold at once , was indeed Jesus’ glorious return”. There has to be a middle road between scrutinizing every and any event, both significant and insignificant, and trying to see how it connects to the Book of Revelation, and the Catholic Church’s position of waiting 30 years after everything in the Apocalypse has come to pass to declare that we indeed lived through the apocalypse. Are we 1 generation away from seeing what John foretold, or millenia away? There must be some way to make sense of that whole book before evrything that is foretold in it happens.

Didn’t Jesus tell us that no man would know the day/time? Why would expect the church to attempt to tell us that the day was drawing close if Jesus said we would not know, that not even He knew?

[bibledrb] Matthew 24:36[/bibledrb]

Matthew 24:32-33.

I think that is a fair criticism to some extent. I think part of the problem is there are a number of people who believe, in the Catholic Church, that many of those events in Book of Revelation already occurred and there are many more who believe they have yet to occur. Either way, why not just bring it up at a council or have the Pope speak about it to a deeper extent?

You are still trying too hard to interpret the book of Revelations with a dispensationalist mindset.
The whole idea of the rapture, the great tribulation, the 1000 year reign, the anti-christ, mark of the beast, etc. is all the product of John Darby, and was never taught anywhere prior to the 1830’s.

The Church has not given any difinitive teachings on the book of Revelations because Catholic teachings on eschatology do not view the book (or the “end times” in general) in the same light as pre-millenial dispensationalists.

vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p1s2c2a7.htm #675

If you really look at 675-677, the CCC does not specifically state that the Antichrist will be an individual. There is a lot of ambiguity as to who (or WHAT) the Antichrist really is.

“The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth575 will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.”

That is about as clear as mud…

One of the principles of Biblical interpretation, and even of the interpretation of salvation history, is called “recapitulation”.

The Bible often recaps things which already happened or were already mentioned or prophesied in other books, or earlier in the same book. (Just as the Bible rarely mentions a moral principle or law only once, and most stuff is connected to each other.) Revelation is all about recapitulation and types and mirroring of structure.

Now, one of the things that we learn from John’s epistles, and which clearly applies to Revelation, is that there’s more than one person in history, or even in your own town, who is anti-Christ and anti-Christian. There are plenty of charismatic evil leaders who hate Christ and want to be worshipped, plenty of Jezebels teaching crazy occult stuff, plenty of false prophets, plenty of Christians who fall away from the Church. But there are also plenty of good Christians, plenty of converts, plenty of people convinced by Christ even in the midst of trial, plenty of people who die for Christ and each other.

The pattern of sin and opposition by Satan repeats again and again. So does the pattern of the Church’s children following Jesus’ plan for us. Until the end of the world comes, this pattern is going to repeat, and probably the last time before the end of the world will be the worst.

So yes, many of these things have happened, and they will happen again, until the end of the world. Which is why we shouldn’t worry about which time of trial or time of peace we’re in, because they’re all going on all the time. If we’re busy working in the household and doing our Master’s business, we don’t have to worry about the exact time He is coming home.

Very interesting outlook on the Book of Revelation, I greatly appreciate your insights and thoughts. I tend to fall in line with this approach as well.

Wow, great point and excellent citation. You are very right about the whole “clear as mud” analysis…

I just can’t believe the Catholic Church has not been more clear on developing its approach on the Book of Revelation as a whole. I know they have developed a philosophy on certain sections of it that are very clear, but others are not clear at all. Very surprising.

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