Would like to get a discussion going.
Bluntly, apocalyptic theology is in extremes today, much like alot of issues: the right and the left. For the right, it is literal, chiliastic futurism. For the left, it is preterism. When all is said and done, these positions can be summed up in the following:
Futurism: Temporal BS about the very end of Church history
Preterism: Temporal BS about the very beginning of Church history
Now, orthodox Christians really understand that knowing temporal BS about either the beginning or end of Church history is mostly useless. I mean, once humanity gets into an incurable spiritual depravity (which shall exist at the very end), self-annihilation is the intrinsic fruit! I mean, as is seen in the beginning with Cain, once you have not peace with God, eventually, man–to-man peace breaks down. Hence, it would be useless for Scripture to tell us how, in terms of political and war scenarios, how man will blow himself up in the end. That’s not the point. The point is rather recognizing HOW, SPIRITUALLY, humanity will get into an incurable falling away.
Hence, it is mostly just as useless to know alot the data of preterism: I mean, would salvation history have been drastically altered if the war in Jerusalem had been six months instead of five (as in the fifth trumpet)? Or, what is the practicality for the spiriutal meaning of the great stages of salvation history to know that Nero had a head wound and that there was a rumor that he would come back from the dead, or that the Parthians were a threat to Rome? Again, mostly useless.
Hence, this really forces the sobering reality that the greatest and most intended meaning of the apocalypse is none of these extremes, but rather the layer of spiritually psychological historicism. That is, the primary sense of the apocalypse is about the spiritual meaning of the whole of salvation history, and quite particularly the spiritual subages of the history of the Church, for, again, what has always underlied human history has been the spiritual. This is the essence of the Gospel. Man says, there is suffering and death. Why? Christ says, the reason you die physically is because you have already died a spiritual death. It is the spiritual that is at the root.
Problem is of course, spiritual historicism is a layer that is out there, but it mostly in the territory of middle-of-the-road anti-Catholic Protestants, like hard-core, old-fashioned Protestants, like Calvinists and the newer SDAs. And since many other middle of the road Protestants may not fully agree with Rome but do not want to completely attack the Catholic Church, they will reluctantly step aside from this layer, which, since they know better than hard-right Fundamentalism, they will digress to preterism.
And, unfortunately, the same thing is done in Catholicism today. In an understandable, but somewhat timid, spirit of ecumenism, the Catholic will likewise defer to preterism. Perhaps they take this position because in ignorant simplicity, they assume that if Catholics were to go into that territory, it necessarily have to fully flip the scale, so as to label Protestants the “beast” or “whore”. Admittedly, the Church could never go that far. For she affirms that the sincere and innocent members of these separated communities can indeed attain to salvation with what truth and grace they do have, which always includes Scripture, and, usually, the Sacraments of Baptism and Marriage. Hence, relegating the conglomerate of Protestants as children of the devil would truly and indeed be absolutely hogwash. And were that not enough, there is also the great reality of how many of the Protestants are so committed to what truth and goodness they now have, they put to shame many Catholics who are indifferent and lax and who ignore the even greater treasures they have in favor of this superficial world.
And yet, whoever said that the tables would have to be completely turned? Specifically, admittedly, Protestantism is not black, it is gray. the same can be said of all the great spiritual disturbances from Islam to the Enlightenment. Only in the modern times do we truly have the complete darkness of utter apostasy, namely, and especially, atheism and hedonistic relativism.
But herein I suggest to all Catholics who seek a deeper interpretation to the apocalypse than preterism: Is it possible that the Scriptures themselves, and particularly the apocalypse, in fact anticipate gray areas? I say yes!
Before I present a primary thesis, do any Catholics out there anticipate where precisely I would suggest such gray areas are veiled?