The Apocalypse - Prophetic symbolism, or Symbolic history?


#1

What is the Church’s teaching on The Apocalypse? Is it Prophetic symbolism meaning Chirst commanded St. John the Evangelist to write The Apocalypse? Who wrote the book in a symbolic way yet it is a revelation of the things that were, are and will be. We are actually witnessing some of the events foretold in this book, but many still lie in the future. And we should all be ready no matter what the time we are in, now or the future because the time is at hand.

Or is it Symbolic history meaning some guy whom may or may not be St. John the Evangelist wrote it in a time of crisis, but it remains valid and meaningful for Christians of all time, and whether or not these visions were real experiences of the author or simply literary conventions employed by him is an open question. And we should use The Apocalypse more as a guide when things get bad or real bad like the time is was written.

I tell you, I pray it is more of the first, because the latter places doubt on who wrote it, why even have doubt or questions when it is written “I John, your brother and partner in tribulation…” and more importantly if The Apocalypse was written for the Christians at the time, and not so much us. The book then would be a lie in that Christ did not come back!

Peace,
David Messick


#2

There are lots of protestant churches out there that are fixated on the end-times. Many of these churches are less than a century old, and yet they can’t stop talking about the end-times. They’re hardly even born, and yet they’re talking about retirement.

The Catholic Church got over that business 1900 years ago. There simply IS no official Church teaching about the “end times” that I know of, except very general stuff like, “God wins.”

But Catholic theologians (both good and bad) have had a shot at it. If you’re interested in the good, see Scott Hann’s “The Lamb’s Supper.”


#3

[quote=Knight4Christ]and more importantly if The Apocalypse was written for the Christians at the time, and not so much us. The book then would be a lie in that Christ did not come back!
[/quote]

Did I miss it?!?

I think there are more than two choices about the meaning of the text, or even certain passages in the text. The question of the inspiration of the author and his identity are different questions.

I believe all the Church has defined is that the millenium of Christ’s reign is not literal. Christ will return in glory and this will usher in the new heavens and the new earth, new Jerusalem, and the glorious resurrection of the elect. All of this is literal, but its precise meaning is unspecified.

Hahn’s book is excellent. He provides a liturgical interpretation where Christ’s appearance is literal, contemporary and on-going. Christ appears in place of the OT sacrifice and vanquishes his enemies at every Mass.

As to the purpose of the Book of Revelation, if it only predicts future historical events, what has its purpose been for the last 1900 years? All these generations of Christians have been preserving a book of Scripture that they were not intended to read, or that contained the Word of God that was not addressed to them, but only to the last generation of Christians. I personally do not think that that is how God communicates with his children, through an encrypted time-capsule.


#4

When I think of Apocalypse I think X-MEN.


#5

Catholic Dude - I do not understand why you would make a joke of the Living Word of God, ha ha NOT FUNNY! Good thing Mother Superior did not see that “joke” or you’d not be laughing, at best. Because you’ve mocked The Word of God therefor you’ve mocked God. Never again forget what St. John writes “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep the things that are written therein; for the time is at hand.”

 aridite - I believe you have missed something... "The question of the inspiration of the author and his identity are different questions."  Not really the Holy Catholic Church for "1900" yrs has tought that The Apocalypse is the inspirated Word of God and that St. John was the author.  And dont forget in The Apocalypse St. John names himself many times.  So if it is not St. John who wrote the book both the Church and the author are liers, and if they can lie about one little thing like that what else would they lie about?  To even question it is to place doubt and doubt in the Word of God is doubt in God and that is sinful.  The Apocalypse does not only teach of future events, it teaches "of the things that were, are and will be... but many still lie in the future."  Kind of like God, who is, who was, who is to come.  Christ commanded St. John to address Christians of the past, the present and the future.  Again just like God!

DavidFilmer - yes alot of protestant churches out there are fixated on the end-times. However alot of Catholic’s are not at all fixated on the end-times and do not think it will happen in there life time if at all. That is just as foolish, if not more. Least we forget no one knows the hour of the coming of the Lord, only the Father in Heaven. Always be ready “for the time is at hand”. As for the Catholic Church getting out of the business of teaching The Apocalyspe “1900” years ago, no it has not, what so ever The Holy Bible teaches, The Holy Catholic Church teaches, what so ever The Holy Catholic Church teaches, The Holy Bible teaches. And that includes The Apocalypse. However many heretics aka “theologians” have asked questions that place doubt in the minds of the faithful.

Everyone - The Apocalypse is a revelation of the things that were, are and will be. We are actualy witnessing some of the events foretold in this book, but many still lie in the future.  It is Christ who commands John to write to the seven churches, opens the seven seals, reveals the sufferings of the saints, opens the little book, overcomes the beast, reigns during the period of the first resurrection, judges the dead, both great and small, according to their works at His Second Coming, rules over all things from the beginning, presides over all the changing scenes of earth's history, and is the King of kings and Lord of lords.

The book presents Christ as the Coming One; it reveals the dealings of Him who came, and who is to come.  It opens with the solemn hope that the Coming One will come soon, and closes with the impressive prediction that the Coming One will come quickly.

The book is one of hope, but also one of warning; its aim is to assure the Church of the advent of her Lord in victory. The precise time of this victory lies hidden with God, but it is certain, although the crown will not be won without a struggle.  Heaven wil be stormed and carried away through suffering and conflict.  And all who keep the words of this book will take part in the conflict and share in the victory.

The conflict is presented under the form of symbols.  It is not easy to give a full interpretation of all the types, but the general symbols are not difficult to understand.  Jerusalem stands as the type of the cause,  and this is the Church of Christ.  Bablyon appears as the the type of the evil cause, and this is the world power.  The heavenly Jerusalem has the assistance of divine power.  The earthly Bablyon has he help of evil powers, the dragon, the beast and the false prophet.  The scenes is the great conflict arrange themselves around these types of good and of evil.  The numbers, the seals, the trumpets and the bowls are phases in the development and consumation of the conflict.

John has arranged the scenes in a sevenfold structure; even in the subordinate vision he keeps to this arrangement.  Commentators, however, are not agreed on the marking off the limits of each structure.  

The book was written in Greek by St. John the Evangelist, on the island of Patmos, about the year 96 A.D.

#6

Let me ask you a question…why are you concerned with what our opinions are when you obviously have your own strict interpretation of Revelations, which is obvious due to the way your ripped everyones opinions in one of your latter post. Let me say something, and you can take this for whatever it is worth…I truly believe the Book of Revelations is the Word of God, however I place no concern as to whether or not it is a historical account or a prophecy of things to come…All I know is that Christ will return one day and it does no good for me to try and predict when that will be through signs or prophecy, because like Christ said “Not even the Angels in Heaven know…” So my advice to you is for you to try to live your life, every breathe, like Christ is going to return at that very moment…stay in a state of Grace, live the sacraments…go to Mass as much as possible…do all of these things and it doesn’t matter when Christ returns, because you will be ready…you see, if you are always ready for Christ’s return…then you have no need to try and predict when it is going to happen. This is how I try to live my life…granted, I slip every once and while…but I pick myself back up, go to Confession and return to a state of grace…always anticipating the return of Christ.

[quote=Knight4Christ]What is the Church’s teaching on The Apocalypse? Is it Prophetic symbolism meaning Chirst commanded St. John the Evangelist to write The Apocalypse? Who wrote the book in a symbolic way yet it is a revelation of the things that were, are and will be. We are actually witnessing some of the events foretold in this book, but many still lie in the future. And we should all be ready no matter what the time we are in, now or the future because the time is at hand.

Or is it Symbolic history meaning some guy whom may or may not be St. John the Evangelist wrote it in a time of crisis, but it remains valid and meaningful for Christians of all time, and whether or not these visions were real experiences of the author or simply literary conventions employed by him is an open question. And we should use The Apocalypse more as a guide when things get bad or real bad like the time is was written.

I tell you, I pray it is more of the first, because the latter places doubt on who wrote it, why even have doubt or questions when it is written “I John, your brother and partner in tribulation…” and more importantly if The Apocalypse was written for the Christians at the time, and not so much us. The book then would be a lie in that Christ did not come back!

Peace,
David Messick
[/quote]


#7

[quote=Knight4Christ]aridite - I believe you have missed something… “The question of the inspiration of the author and his identity are different questions.” Not really the Holy Catholic Church for “1900” yrs has tought that The Apocalypse is the inspirated Word of God and that St. John was the author. And dont forget in The Apocalypse St. John names himself many times. So if it is not St. John who wrote the book both the Church and the author are liers, and if they can lie about one little thing like that what else would they lie about? To even question it is to place doubt and doubt in the Word of God is doubt in God and that is sinful. The Apocalypse does not only teach of future events, it teaches “of the things that were, are and will be… but many still lie in the future.” Kind of like God, who is, who was, who is to come. Christ commanded St. John to address Christians of the past, the present and the future. Again just like God!
[/quote]

I am sorry if I was not clear. I meant that the question whether the Apocalypse of John describes only past events or only future events is different from the question who authored the text which are different from the question is it inspired. Only past or only future is a false dichotomy. As you rightly point out, it describes past, present and future events. The trick is deciding which is which.

The text says it was written by a certain John on the island of Patmos, but it never says he is the Apostle John. The text does have interesting affinities with the Gospel of John (“living water” being one), but scholars are not in agreement as to which John this is. Also the late date of 96 is disputed. Not that I am much of a scholar, but I agree with Hahn that the date is probably much earlier.

But all of this is separate from the question whether it is inspired. The Church has declared that it is, so that is good enough for me. But what does inspired mean? The Church tells us in Dei Verbum that it communicates faithfully, through particular human language and literary styles, what the author as instrument, and God as primary author, intended to communicate. So, in order to understand what the text means, we need to know what God and the human author intended. This is where literary/biblical scholarship helps in understanding the human author’s intention, and where the Magisterium authoritatively determines what God’s intentions are.

DavidFilmer is right, that the Church has not defined a whole lot of details about the last days and, therefore about the Apocalypse of John, except to deny that there will be a literal 1000 years of Christ’s reign on earth after He returns in glory, and before the general resurrection and judgement of the dead. Overall, Christ returns in his one-and-only Second Coming, the dead are raised, judged, punished or rewarded, and God wins. We are living now in the 1000 years of Satan’s bondage and when he is loosed, there will be more severe trials (which “true” Christians do not escape seven years early through a not-really-Second Second Coming of Jesus and the rapture).


#8

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