Kmon23 asked in the Many Questions thread:
- I know the Church teaches of the Second Coming. However, does the Church teach that Jesus will return on a cloud etc., or in some literal fashion as described in Revelation? This was how I was taught (before coming to Catholicism ).
- Is the Beast and Satan being released into the world literal according to Catholic teaching? If there is no official teaching, then what do most Catholics believe in regard to this question?
- I used to be taught that at the end of the world, there will be a literal New Jerusalem and New Heaven. From this, I was taught that the current Heaven is only temporary. What is the official Church teaching on this? Why is there both a New Heaven and New Jerusalem?
Jesus will literally return at the Second Coming for the general resurrection of the dead and the general Judgment. He will do this in some way that is the fulfillment of prophecy. There’s a fair amount of prophecy on this topic (not just in Revelation or the NT either, but also the OT descriptions of “That Day”), so I’m sure it will be impressive.
As a lot of Early Christian commentaries on Revelation will tell you, Satan is running around the world now, and has been, though he’s also bound inside every human heart that is trying to keep him bound. Presumably things will be the very worst in the last persecution because that’s what the prophecies say, but it’s always pretty bad and there’s always plenty of persecutions.
Yes, Creation will be renewed and remade, finally fixing the damage done in Eden, and doing what Creation has been groaning for.
The point is that heaven and earth will no longer be separated. We as the Church will be married to Jesus as the Bridegroom. We will have resurrection bodies that are not material in the same way. Jesus will live among us in Jerusalem on Earth, while openly and obviously God and Man to the point that He will light the place up! Ordinary earth, matter and time and space, will somehow be linked with eternity and heaven.
The New Jerusalem, the new City of Peace, is also Jesus’ Bride the Church. This is very clear in the text: “One of the seven angels… came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.”
So if you want to be in the new heaven and the new earth, you kinda need to have the New Jerusalem there! It’s partly you!