The Church's history parallels Christ's life


#1

Today I was at Eucharist, and as the priest prayed over the Sacred Host, I suddenly had a profound realization. The Church’s role in history parallels the life of Jesus Christ.

1a) Jesus was persecuted in his infancy. Herod tried to kill him and his parents had to flee with him to Egypt, a land of idolaters.

1b) Similarly, the Early Christians had to flee from town to town to escape persecution. They were severely persecuted under the Roman Emperors.

2a) Then Jesus grew up and began his ministry. Great crowds flocked to him. Though he was attacked, his enemies could not come near him and could never defeat him.

2b) After its early tribulation, the Church thrived and became dominant throughout the Western world. Christianity filled the West, and through the Orthodox churches filled the East, too. It consumed all the known world. The Church was attacked repeatedly by heresies from within and violent aggressors from without, but these foes could never come near defeating them for a thousand years, until the Reformation. Just as Christ’s foes could not defeat or come near him, in spite of slander, spiritual and physical attacks, and his ministry thrived, even so this was true for the Church.

3a) Judas sold Jesus out for money and betrayed him with a kiss.

3b) Many kings, during the Reformation, betrayed the Church in order to seize Church property. The Protestants put the Word of God, the Bible, above any other authority in their rebellion. They hailed it with a place of honor, yet through their actions they shattered Christendom, the Body of Christ. In the same way, Judas betrayed the Word of God, Jesus Christ, through a kiss. And through his betrayal, Jesus’ body was butchered. The Reformation also was initiated first often through the actions of renegade priests. Similarly, Jesus was betrayed by a disciple.

4a) All Jesus’ disciples abandoned him.

4b) The Western world used to all be Catholic, but now our time is rightfully called the “post-Christian era.” Many members of the Church have abandoned it, and those that have stayed are often falling prey to corrupting outside influences.

5a) Jesus was tried and condemned unjustly. He was condemned for blasphemy, because the people wanted a different kind of Messiah, one who would lead them in a rebellion against Rome, and also because he was accused of trying to rebel against Caesar.

5b) Since the Reformation, it is easy to see how society has been putting the Church on trial. I can’t record all the times I’ve heard people condemn the Church, for a variety of reasons. Some of those reasons parallel the reasons Jesus was condemned.

  • For instance, the Church is accused of being extremely violent when in power. Religion itself is sometimes accused, now, of being the source of all the world’s violence. Similarly, Jesus was accused of planning to lead a rebellion against Rome. In reality, the Pharisees feared for their own power, just as so many people today hate the idea of submitting to authority or giving up any “rights.”

  • The Church is condemned because the people want a different kind of salvation, one that they can achieve through rebellion. We can see this in the countless rebellious movements of our time. Whereas in the Medieval Ages, children submitted to parents, women submitted to men, peasants to nobles, nobles to kings, priests to bishops, bishops to the pope, a vast hierarchical system that spread throughout society, today’s society encourages rebellion on every social level and condemns the Church for its historical and present day opposition to these movements. Similarly, Jesus was condemned because the people wanted a king who would lead them in rebellion against Rome.

  • The Church is condemned for spreading lies and twisting the intended practice of Jesus. This is especially viewed as having occurred from the time of Constantine on, when the Church gained political influence and is supposed to have put the intention of Christ, the disciples and the Early Church second to their greed for power. They are supposed to have twisted and invented doctrines, just as Jesus was condemned for having trespassed the Law and the forefathers of Israel, essentially twisting and inventing doctrines.

  • Jesus was condemned for behaving as though he was God’s equal. People condemn the Church for claiming too much authority and taking God’s place. This is akin to the charge of blasphemy that was leveled against Jesus. I’ve heard especially from Protestants that the Catholic Church places men in God’s place, but it is a view that circulates commonly in secular culture too.

6a) Jesus was flogged.

6b) Many of the saints in the Church have seen visions of a Minor Chastisement, which is forthcoming.

7a) Jesus was given a moment of temporary relief, when Simon of Cyrene was told to carry his cross.

7b) Catholic mystics predict a brief “Age of Peace,” following the Minor Chastisement.

8a) Christ was crucified.

8b) The Church, it is predicted and believed by both the Catholic and most Protestant churches, will be taken into the worst Tribulation of its history.

9a) Christ was resurrected.

9b) Fallen believers will be resurrected, and all will be transformed.

10a) God destroyed Jerusalem because it killed Christ, after it was given a little more time of witnessing.

10b) Nonbelievers will be cast into hell at the Final Judgment.

That’s all I’ve got, for the moment. The most impressive parallels to me are those involving the downfall of the Medieval Ages. The way Judas kissed Jesus (the Word) to betray him so strongly resembles, to me, how the Protestants introduced Sola Scriptura, praising the Word of God with one hand while with the other destroying Christendom.

That parallel stands out to be mainly because of my Protestant background, though, I think. The others are very impressive to me too. I’d never noticed this predictive pattern in the Gospels before.

It’s neat to me too that this revelation about the Body of Christ, the Church, came to me at the same moment the priest prayed over the Eucharist, turning the elements into Christ’s body. Simultaneously, the Lord turned the “mere history” of his Body for me into spiritual reality. It was wonderful!


#2

Oh yes, I thought I’d mention one more parallel I just thought of.

After Judas betrayed Jesus for the thirty pieces of silver, he threw the coins back at the Pharisees and then went and hanged himself.

Similarly, very shortly after they turned on the Church, monarchies were replaced by democracies, and Protestants lost power over kingdoms, secularism taking over. The kings lost the Church property they’d stolen, and they lost their thrones and in many cases their lives. It was the Protestants’ own beliefs and internal divisions that created the groundwork for the secularism that destroyed their power.

Similarly, Judas wasn’t killed by other people- he hanged himself.


#3

So non-Catholic Christians are “Judas” and traitors to our Lord Jesus…and who are in the process of hanging themselves.

My goodness.

Jack Chick would be proud.


#4

No, no, no. The original Reformers were and pretty much did, when the Protestant Christian kingdoms were secularized.

Many present day Protestants are fighting very hard against the cutting edge of secularism. Most of the original Protestants were busily laying its groundwork. They are two very different sets.

The scripture says, “blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.” Many Protestants today endure abuse for their opposition to liberalism and the newest strides of secularism.

Historical Protestants, on the other hand, grew up Catholics but in spite of that upbringing and those surroundings, they shattered Christendom into fragments, thus creating the atmosphere from which modern secularism could arise. They were its authors. Many of today’s conservative Protestants are its opponents. Their behavior indicates to me that if they had been raised at the time of the Reformation, they would have stayed Catholic.

The original Protestant Reformation shattered the Catholic Church, though, as Judas shattered the Christ’s body through his betrayal.

Present day Protestantism does carry with it some of the same sins the Reformers started. St. Paul said, “I do not want there to be any divisions amongst you.” Protestants today are fragmenting more and more, though, so that original rupture the Reformers began is proceeding in the present day generations. Furthermore, Protestants today are often much further from the Catholic faith than the original Reformers were, ideologically. They hold to far fewer of the original Catholic doctrines. They also applaud the actions of their forbears.

Some Protestants also make anti-Catholic attacks, or try to get Catholics to convert to Protestantism. This does break apart the Catholic Church, like the original Protestants did.

However, all of this said, modern Protestants (particularly the conservatives) and the original Reformers are quite different. The Reformers shattered Christendom and led millions of people away from the Catholic faith. They turned Europe into a bloodbath of war through their uprising. They did all of this even though they’d been raised with a Catholic upbringing, surrounded by Catholic truth on all sides. They knew what the truth was and rejected it vehemently.

Present day conservative Protestants tend to fight secularism and the immoral culture that secularism produces. They are thus suffering for righteousness’ sake. They also, unlike their forbears, grew up without the readily available knowledge of the Catholic Church surrounding them on all sides. They grew up in ignorance of the truth, so their sin is nowhere near so grave. In fact, their passionate pursuit of God within such means as they have available is wonderfully laudable, and escorts many of them into heaven.

I have great respect for many of today’s Protestants. My whole family is Protestant, and they were the ones that brought me to Christ, originally. I love them, and I know that God acts through them and within them. I know that this is true for many other Protestants, too. I have seen God’s Spirit at work in them. Many modern Protestants treat Catholics with love and respect. The original Protestants killed us. Modern Protestants tend to have grown up as the product of several generations of other Protestants, or have lived in an environment of Protestantism and secularism and never knew anything else. Their religion is frequently the closest to God that anyone can come in their environment, and it leads to a deep and blessed, heavenly intimacy with Jesus Christ.


#5

Hi Lief,

What you say is pretty much the theme of Revelation.

Verbum


closed #6

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.