The Church on end times

I am curious, I have heard several protestants talk about what they say (think) will happen at the end times and when it will happen. What does the Catholic Church teach about what will happen at the end times (rapture, left behind,…?) and the antichrist? are there any good books out there talking about this from the Catholic stand point?

[quote=Montie Claunch]I am curious, I have heard several protestants talk about what they say (think) will happen at the end times and when it will happen. What does the Catholic Church teach about what will happen at the end times (rapture, left behind,…?) and the antichrist? are there any good books out there talking about this from the Catholic stand point?
[/quote]

I thought Will Catholic Be Left Behind was really good.

Akin’s Salvation Controversy is supposed to be good, but I haven’t read it.

I don’t think it’s “official” teaching but the following has been long and widely held among many Catholics of note:

  1. Before our Lord’s Second Coming there will be a “mass apostacy” from the Catholic Faith (per 2Thess 2:3 )…which means there will come a time when many catholics will abandon the Catholic Church all together and this at the time of Antichrist, “the man of sin”.

Keep in mind, that inorder to be guilty of the sin of apostacy one must first be in possesion of the true faith…thus when someone from a non-catholic sect tells me that the Catholic Church is “apostate” - I’ll insist that they show me from history the “true faith” that the Catholic Church supposedly abandoned…if it’s their contention that it is their particular faith tradition that’s “the true faith” then I want to see the historical evidence that their particular faith tradition did in fact exist at the time the Catholic Church supposedly fell away…such has never been demonstrated…rather it is clear from history as to which sects left which prior existing “faith tradition”…

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. (1Jn 2:19)

…the Catholic Church, with it’s distinctive teachings predate all other contenders for “the true faith”.

  1. Antichrist will be accepted by the Jews as their long-awaited Messiah (per our Lord’s prophecy Jn 5:43)

These are the 2 points of reference by which I measure any proposed “last days” scenario proposed from Scripture by anyone who speculates about “the end times”.

Hope they help

Keep the Faith
jmt

perhaps of interest:

The Catholic Encyclopedia article on Antichrist:
newadvent.org/cathen/01559a.htm

and Cardinal Newman’s Advent Sermons on Antichrist
Tract No. 83 from Tracts for the Times

anglicanhistory.org/tracts/tract83.html

Catechism of the Catholic Church
paragraph 675:

Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.

When each of us dies, our souls are immediately taken to the presence of God and judged. This is called the Particular Judgment. At this point we begin our eternal destiny. If we are going to hell, our souls go directly there. If we are deemed worthy of heaven, our souls will go directly to heaven, or if we are going to heaven but are in need of purification, we may go to Purgatory first (everyone in Purgatory will eventually go to heaven). Whatever our fate, our souls will stay there until the end of time.

At the Second Coming at the end of time, after a period of severe tribulation, those Christians still alive will be taken to heaven (what some Protestants think of as of the rapture). Then will occur the General Judgment. At that time the living and the dead will be reunited with their bodies and brought together in God’s presence and judged before all. Those who have already been judged in the Particular Judgment will be brought from wherever their souls were -heaven, hell or Purgatory-- and have their judgment confirmed before all.

After this, time and Purgatory will be no more and all will enter with their souls and bodies into their eternal destiny, either hell or heaven.

This is an extremely bare-bones sketch, so if you want to get the details, see the five articles I linked below:

rosary-center.org/ll57n1.htm
rosary-center.org/ll57n2.htm
rosary-center.org/ll57n3.htm
rosary-center.org/ll57n4.htm
rosary-center.org/ll49n6.htm

Don’t get caught up in the type of juvenile end times speculation found in the “Left Behind” nonsense. Here are some articles and websites that will give you a Catholic perspective on the whole issue:

catholic.com/library/Rapture.asp
carl-olson.com/rapture_articles.html

Well one things that I personally believe in accordance to Scripture as far as I can tell (including interpretations I’ve learned from others of course) is that there will of course be Apostasy. I believe this may either be subtle such as the case of liberal Catholics who are still ‘part of the Church’ but don’t follow the teachings, or in a very official way, such as the case of another schism. There will be wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes and other natural phenomena, diseases and famine.

Other signs are the One World Government, cashless society, people communicating and travelling at great speeds and knowledge growing at a considerable rate…

From apparitions, Our Lady warns of wars and that a great part of mankind might die in a tribulation period, mystics also warn that Rome may be destroyed and Christianity will have to go into hiding for some time with the Pope fleeing Rome. There will be warnings and signs by God as a last effort to warn humanity.

Getting back to the Bible, Revelation speaks of course about Anti-Christ, and his power over the world. There are all sorts of speculation about the anti-Christ, ranging from militarism, a strong leader, one that the Jews had always thought would be their messiah, to even (believe it or not) a mock alien invasion! But we can never really know about that at this time.

Anyway we learn from Revelation that heaven and earth shall pass away, even from other prophecies in the OT from Daniel etc. about heaven being rolled up like a scroll and all things passing away. This would be I believe related to the 2nd Coming and Final Judgment. IN teh end I believe Purgatory will ne no more, and quite possibly, even limbo. But afterward neither shall heaven or the earth that we know, but rather a new earth and God shall dwell amongst his people there. The Tree of Life shall grow again, and earth will revert back to how it was at paradise before the fall, perhaps even mroe than that. Hell of course will still exist and there those judged souls will be for eternity.

That’s about all I can think up… it’s a lot to talk about, but very interesting stuff none the less…

Everytime I hear about the “end of times” I think of the essay by C.S. Lewis The World’s Last Night. In it he describes the controversies around predicting when the end will be and basically states that the end will come, but no one, except for God, knows when. And the idea that tonight might be the World’s last night should inspire us to work ever harder for the kingdom of God.

… if we remember that what may be on us at any moment is not merely an End but a Judgment… I can imagine no man who will look with more horror on the End than a conscientious revolution*ary who has, in a sense sincerely, been justifying cruelties and injustices inflicted on millions of his contemporaries by the benefits which he hopes to confer on future generations: generations who, as one terrible moment now reveals to him, were never going to exist. Then he will see the massacres, the faked trials, the deportations, to be all ineffaceably real, an essential part, his part, in the drama that has just ended: while the future Utopia had never been anything but a fantasy.

So, the question of what will happen or when becomes only secondary, to what am I doing now. If I came before The Judgement today would I be prepared? :eek:

What if Today was the World’s last night? :wink:

Lady Cygnus, do you happen to know anyplace online where I can read Lewis’ essay?:wave:

[quote=jdnation]Lady Cygnus, do you happen to know anyplace online where I can read Lewis’ essay?:wave:
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I think it’s copywrited, but you could try googling “The World’s Last Night” (with quotes)…there might be a slightly edited version that someone has posted :thumbsup:

But the following article at ewtn sheds even more light on the issue, in that, quite possibly in addition to the great apostasy, but before it, there will be a minor apostasy and tribulation, to be subsequently followed by a great restoration of the Catholic faith and glorious period of Peace and reign of the Gospel. Also, even though at this time this is only part of Private Rev, there is a possibility that Public Rev addresses it as well. I think this is one of the things that the Church is looking into, that is, whether there will be only* one* major apostasy in history, as with amill, or two with postmill.

Desmond Birch, EWTN author of Trial, Tribulation and Triumph, seems to assume that the minor apostasy is already at least partially in place, hence making the possibility of a “dress-rehearsal” for the end of the world (i.e., what is called the Minor Chastisement) a very real possibility in the near future.

I recommend this series:

ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/seriessearchprog.asp?seriesID=7043&T1=Last+things

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