Ecclesiology in the Apocalypse


#1

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?

TBC…


#2

Now to expand.

Again, knowing that Germany will first blow up France, and then Russia will invade China in the end of the world is pointless. for “nation shall rise agains nation and kingdom against kingdom, but the end is not yet.” Public Revelation in Catholicism has nothing to say about individual Gentile societies, because the issue is not geography. The issue is spiritual. It is a spiritual sickness that is the driving force of misfortune in history, and grace, which is also spiritual, is the cure.

So, again, Catholic Revelation tells nothing of specific nations, and never shall. However, Catholicism does in fact go out of its way to dogmatically define religious GRAY AREAS.

Allow me to elaborate. Common evangelical fundamentalists have an unimaginably oversimplifed understanding of justification. For them, there are only “two types of people in the world”, “Bible-believing born-again Christians” and everybody else, and in their book, usually, everybody else will be in hell, regardless of any other subcategories that exist. Hence, if the person is not “Bible-only saved person”, it is absolutely irrelevant what other class they are. Hence, whether they are a “misinformed Catholic”, a Deist, a Muslim, a Hindu, or even an atheist or relativistic hedonist, it doesn’t reallly matter, because they are all children of the devil.

Catholicism does not believe this, that is, she definitely cares enough to classify non-Catholic persons in terms of what truth and grace they do have, if any. And if certain minimal conditions are met, the non-Catholic person can attain to salvation if it is not their fault they are not Catholic.

For a quick rundown of how the Church would analyze the last 1700 years, here goes:

The general pattern of the greater anti-Catholic spiritual attacks are following a simple path: attack the sources of the Divine Truths in order from top to bottom. Here is the associate pyramid:

I. The Trinity and Incarnation
II. The Pope
III. The General Apostolic Succession in Bishops and Oral Word of God (Sacred Tradition)
IV. Sacred Scripture (the Written Word of God)
V. Reason (unaided human intellectual philosophy)

From these we see that the greatest assaults on the Catholic Church’s doctrinal development, beginning with Christendom’s freedom with Constantine, simply attack these sources from top to bottom.

Hence, the first several hundred years that is, from about AD 300 to AD 600, are comprised mostly of heresies that attack the Trinity or Incarnation in one degree or another. But in these early stages, Christ is usually still seen as the Messiah and final Revelation to humanity.

around 600, the ultimate manifestation of these attacks culminates with Islam, which takes these attacks to their ultimate extreme, while yet retaining other elements. Hence, the Muslim utterly denies the Trinity, utterly denies the Incarnation of Christ, but then goes on to disembowel Christ from Messiahship and insert a claimed extra-Christological Revelation, namely Muhammed.

Moving on, as the first millennium closes, the next great great disturbance was clearly the Great Schism, which appropriately moves down the ladder, attacking the special office of Peter as prince of the Apostles, the Bishop of Bishops, the Servant of Servants. And yet, the Orthodox still accept the general sense of Apostolic Succession, and retain all seven sacraments.

Of course, the next great disturbance is the scandal of the clergy, which leads to the next rung, the Protestant assault not only on the Pope, but the whole sense of Apostolic Succession, Bishops, and Oral Tradition. Hence, the Protestants only accept the Written Word of God, and not the Oral Word of God. Also, they intrinsically lose five sacraments (seeing as they have lost the priesthood), and retain only two sacraments, Baptism and Marriage.

The Next great attack was clearly the Enlightenment, which conveniently moved down the ladder. For if Protestantism was the final stage of history that man still accepted a supernatural order, a God who reveals and redeems, so the Enlightenment, especially in Deism and Rationalism, stripped even this away, denying the validity even of Sacred Scripture, and leaving religion in a merely natural condition. Hence, even though they still recognize the existence of a supreme being, and feel that the being should be honored, that one should strive at least for natural virtue, nevertheless, they no longer accept that the divine being either can or needs to reveal truths (rationalism) nor assist the human person in any sense (deism). Hence, the children of the Enlightenment accept only Reason as their guide in Religion, the second to last straw of attacks.


#3

Hence, in the modern full apostasy, even Reason is cast aside, humanity no longer even bothering to acknowledge the supreme being, much less honor him and strive for the even naturally evident virtue.

I will post later, but I am just trying to give the preliminary analysis before I digress into how one could apply this to the apocalypse, and in particular, the trumpets.

Blessings to all.


#4

Spauline:

What about the “standard” Catholic Church amillenial view? Where does it fit in? I.e., not future, not past, but right now (the Church Age). As Benedict XVI recently said, it (Apocalypse) is about the history of the world starting with the birth of Christ (i.e., the Church Age, now).

Mark Wyatt
www.veritas-catholic.blogspot.com


#5

dear Mark,

of course the apocalypse is about the whole history of the Church from a spiritual view. But that does not have to mean that the primary meaning of the Millennium is the whole age of the Church. We’ve been through this before. In the view that is gelled with most mystical views, the Millennium is yet future. Revelation 12 has been the last 2000 years. In one layer of meaning, we are already in Revelation 13. You don’t need a literal antichrist and end of the world to be in Revelation 13. JPII himself interpreted the modern false prophet to be materialism. The chaining of the dragon makes more sense as the mystics’ age of peace, and not the whole Church era. I predict amill become secondary in favor of a view that sort of mixes chiliasm with amill and postmill. No one of the major three views best describes the meaning. Hence, the ultimate interp of the Millennium is most likely, again, sort of a mixture of the big three.


#6

Hey man, stick to computer programming or something. You lost me before I even got a 4th of the way through your first post. I don’t think writing for comprehension is your gig. Don’t mean to be insulting, just suggest that you need a couple of courses in how to write clearly. I am a technical myself and I know we have difficulty with straight exposition. :slight_smile:


#7

Actually, I can partly understand where you are coming from. For one, I am not at all taking the time to fully organize, revise, and present. I just kind of sit down and let stuff spew. That, and alot of the terminology being rather technical theologically, I realize the average person may not know what is really being said. I think I’m aiming this stuff at people who would be familiar with the backdrop.

Because, actually, I am a good writer, at least presumably, when I was younger. But then I really took the time to get it right, many hours of prep. I in fact go A+'s on a lot of English. I guess the problem is, for one, not only do I not take the real time to prepare, there’s also reality that so much theology and terminology is assumed when I set down to write, that there would already have to be a minibook of discourse simply to set the theological stage. For example, on other forums where the participants are more versed in the backdrop, they can absorb it better.

But I do thank you for your input, and in that regard, I will try to be patient and bother to prepare and get things more organized and clear, than just sit and let stuff spit out of my brain. Yeah, time is the problem: I do have to code alot, and so I guess I must realize that I have to take time to get things clear. I need discipline.

Thanks again, roemke, I’ll try to be more prepared next time.


#8

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