I notice I never hear anything having to do with Israel and the end times in Catholic circles. However, Protestant Evangelicals talk about the end times and Israel extensively. Do Catholics believe the same as Protestants that the reforming of Israel, and Israel’s crisis to exist, have a direct link to ushering in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ?
The Catholic Church says little on the end times and Revelation IIRC. When I last read up on it the author said that the Church just denies some teachings on the end times but doesn’t really affirm anything. Jesus having a 1000 year reign on Earth is denied IIRC.
Speaking for myself, no, I do not share that belief with those Protestants. (I wouldn’t say that most Protestants believe it either.) Many of us do not believe there is a connection between the Israel of the Bible and the nation which today has assumed the name of Israel.
There are a few reasons why the Church doesn’t teach the things you have mentioned.
The Church does not teach fear. Spreading fear is the work of Satan.
The Church teaches the Good News of Jesus Christ.
The Catholic Church has always taught that Scripture can have several levels of meaning.
And the most important reason of course would be what the Word of God says about this matter.
Jesus states in Mark 13:32 But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
So concern yourself with works of mercy and love your neighbor by helping those in need instead of concerning yourself with things that you have no control over like the Second Coming.
See the Catechism:
674 The glorious Messiah’s coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by “all Israel,” for “a hardening has come upon part of Israel” in their “unbelief” toward Jesus.
The here and now, and the final destination of each soul: these are the concerns of the Catholic Church, not the timing of the last days, of which none of us knows the day or the hour, or the so-called rapture, which is against Church teaching.
Repentance, prayer, worship of the Almighty, and how we treat the least of our Lord’s siblings: these concern us.
Not even all Evangelical Protestants believe that the end times and Israel are linked. The Catholic Church stayes away from trying to form a direct link to that.
As a partial preterist, I believe most of Revelation was fulfilled and that we’re in the 1000 years of the devil being “locked away.” All of course being symbols for the devil not having any influence over the church and the 1000 years is a symbolic time period for the time of the church on earth. Of course we still have the second coming to look forward too, that is when the end times begin.
I do not share the view with Protestants that the things going on in Israel connect fully with the second coming of Christ, though I do believe there is a small connection. Christ said that before his second coming there will be wars, and rumors of wars. So the thing going on in Israel is an example of a war, and even rumor of a war going onto a bigger extent in that region. Do I believe Israel is the main connection to the second coming of Christ? No, I don’t. It is just an example of the many wars and rumors of wars before Christ coming, that is… if he is coming soon. If not, then it’s just another war.
I think that Zechariah 14 is pretty specific that all nations will come against Israel in the end times. This seems to be reiterated in Revelation 19 and Matthew 24. I think that there’s no question that the formation of Israel in 1948 was a sign from God.
God does not desire that the Jewish religion continue to this day. Ideally, every Jew would have realized that the crucified Jesus was Lord and repented and received Christian Baptism. Had this happened, the Jewish Church would have become the Catholic Church, instead of the Catholic Church breaking away.
Protestants misunderstand the term “chosen people.” They think it means favored or preferred. It does not - it means chosen. They were chosen for a purpose - to bring salvation into the world through Jesus Christ. They have fulfilled what they were chosen to do, and they no longer have any particular status or importance.
They all talk about Rome destroying the temple in Jerusalem. As Revelation and Matthew 24 in different places emphasizes that the propheceys would happen “soon.”
Why would true faithful Christians fear the end times? I think its the opposite, it is something they look forward to. However I think most of us, no matter how devout we are, do kind of fear the second coming, mainly due to such a major change in our lives and the entire world, plus, when that day does come and we hear the trumpets so loud, they will wake the dead…somehow I think that will be very frightening to alot of people, but not so much for Christians, and I think most actually fear the ‘logistics’ of the second coming, seeing all the things in the skies, hearing all the strange sounds that will most likely accompany Jesus and his angels.
In my opinion, Israel will play a MAJOR role in end times, many people say when Israel was made an official state again, this was probably the most important event in ‘modern’ day religion. I also watch the news every day, it is clear, the majority of the world does not overly love Israel, especially with all that is going on now, the only real ally they have is the US, and if God destroys the US near the end times, (like many think he will do), Israel will be a sitting duck, and then all nations of the world will be at her doorstep ready to invade.
In Blessed John Henry Newman’s Essay on Miracles there is an interesting chapter on the attempt by Julian the Apostate to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. This was defeated by what seems to have been a miraculous intervention. Along the way Newman gives us an insight into Catholic belief about the restoration of Israel written about a century before the modern State which claims that name was established.
201 But, again, the Jewish Temple was confessedly the centre of the Jewish worship and polity; to rebuild the Temple, then, was to establish the Jews, as Jews, in their own land, an event which, if prophecy is sure, never is to be
203…And did we see at this day a great attempt made to reinstate the Jews as Jews in their own land, to build their Temple, and to recommence their sacrifices, did the enemies of the Catholic Church forward it, did heretical bodies and their officials on the spot take part in it, and did some catastrophe, as sudden and unexpected as the fiery eruption, befall the attempt, I conceive, whatever became of abstract definitions, we should feel it to be a Divine interference, bringing with it its own evidence, and needing no interpretation
For the Jews properly speaking to be reestablished as Israel in Israel they would have to rebuild the Temple and resume the whole sacrificial system established in the Law of Moses. We see on the contrary that the State fiercely resists any such attempts. So what we have is a State which is mostly made up of ethnic Jews certainly but not one that is Jewish in the sense that would have been understood by that word in the time before the destruction of the Temple by the Romans. It is therefore a new institution with a people professing what amounts to a new religion and cannot really be understood as a fulfillment of prophecy except in a general sense that they act as a locus of instability in a fragile region.
Why are so many people hung up on end of days.
Jesus told us not to look for signs but to always be ready. Forget the end of days. Just be ready.
Why did he give us so many hints and things to watch for then? He could have just said, ‘be ready at all times, and do not worry about the actual date and time.’ and just leave it at that.
Protestants link the nation of Israel to the end-times because they often interpret the scriptures literally, and believe the book of Revelation to contain actual predictions about things that are going to happen eventually, even though the book says over and over again that it refers to things happening “soon.”
Just the other day I heard my (Protestant) mother say, “The Bible says Israel will stand alone at the end times.”
No it doesn’t. But people who interpret the Bible literally make a bunch of random connections and voila–suddenly there are millions of Christians who are sadistically rooting for Israel to exist so it can be destroyed and the rest of us can go to heaven (or whatever).
To be fair, Zionism–which celebrates the divine right of the nation of Israel to establish and defend itself through military force–is a very old interpretation of the Jewish scriptures. It is a traditional form of religious Jewish nationalism, and is the primary reason the Romans were forced to march into Jerusalem and destroy it, first in 70 AD, and again in 135 AD. This is one reason, perhaps, that the book of Revelation actively discourages armed resistance against government authorities.
Some even propose that Jesus and the early Christians were opposed to literal Zionism (“my kingdom is not of this world–if it were, my followers would fight”), and taught about a “spiritual” Israel that could not be conquered, even by death. We call these early Christians “martyrs.” Their interest was in a higher kingdom.
Speaking historically, Zionism enjoyed a resurgence among orthodox Jews near the beginning of the twentieth century, and contributed significantly to the reestablishment of Israel as THE Jewish nation following WW2, setting the stage for an all-too familiar scene of religious fanaticism fueling nationalistic rhetoric and military action at the very real peril of the Jewish people, who have become pawns in a twisted, Westernized, Protestant fantasy of eschatological proportions. I can’t tell you how many fundamentalist sermons I listened to that interpreted the establishment of Israel in 1948 as an end-times sign; this is what I call self-fulfilling prophecy.
There is a saying about learning from history or being doomed to repeat it…
He did and the early Church Fathers agree on what he meant.
D-R Bible, Haydock Commentary:
Ver. 33. Some will perhaps think, that it would have been much better, if the Almighty had not left the hour of death uncertain; as in that case, they would not have been so solicitous with regard to its arrival. But St. Augustine, St. Gregory, and other saints assure us, on the contrary, that** it is a very great mercy of God to keep us in this ignorance, that we may always be prepared for it.** For, if we knew the precise period, this assurance would give occasion of living more unguardedly, and of sinning more freely. If, with this uncertainty of the hour of our death, we live notwithstanding, so very remissly; what should we do, were we assured that we were not to die for some years? Sts. Gregory, Augustine, and Bonaventure say, that God chose to leave us in this uncertainty, purposely to prevent all attachment to temporal things; that, seeing every hour, nay every moment, we may lose them, we may not be tied to them, but aspire to those we shall always possess, when once we have obtained them. Fool, says the Son of God to the rich covetous man, (Luke xii. 20.) this night thy soul shall be required of thee, and what then will become of all these riches thou hast amassed. (St. Bonaventure)