Why doesn't the Catholic Church have a stance on the Book of Revelations

To my understanding there is no Catholic doctrine on Revelation except for a few excerpts in the CCC, not the entire book. I have found a majority of non-Catholic Churches to take the Futurist view.
Four views of Revelation:

Idealist; Revelation fulfilled in a individuals life.

Predirest: Revelation fulfilled in the 1st century and at the end of time.

Historical: Revelation fulfilled in the 1st century except for the second coming of Christ.

Futurist: Revelation fulfilled at the end of time ( view mostly widely held in modern American times, by Christian Churches.

I was just curios about this topic and felt it would make good conversation. I for one stand on the historical view.:eek:

The Church’s role is not to presume the end of times. But, to guide the whole human race towards the salvation we have in Christ Jesus. Therefore, any connotation that points to predicting the coming of the anti-christ is almost heretical and not sound.

Then why did John one of the twelve take the time to write such a book? Why then is it in the Canon ?

This was the debate of the early church. Some bishops decided it was not proper to include it within the canon of scripture. I think the point of this book is to show how much the world hates and repudiates Christianity, and the Church in particular.

In addition, it is unclear who wrote this book. The name John is attributed to the fact that in the early church, people would use the names of the apostles in order to gain recognition. Plus the style of writing and syntax do not match those of the gospel of John. It’s an open debate. :wink:

I believe Revelation was written to give hope to Christian. John 14 tells of the Holy Spirit to come and teach us. I know many theologians that have study this book at length. I still don’t understand why the Holy Spirit would not give the Church the wisdom to interpret this book? This is one of the points I had with the Catholic Church. Why not give Christians hope?:confused:

As you know, Revelation is an Apocalyptic book that uses symbolic events and languages. The early Christians would understand the message that the the author was trying to put through - persevere and ultimately victory is yours. This message still holds true today.

Nevertheless some of the visions about the heavenly images and end times would be best understood as symbolic because nothing can really describe these in words and writings. Suffice it is to know that those who suffer for Christ will be victorious and rewarded by being in God’s presence in heaven.

The other main message is simply about the victory of Christ and the reign of his Kingdom thus once and for all proclaimed the victory of the cross which is foolishness and scandal to the Jews and Greeks.

You cannot have formal micro interpretations of Revelation otherwise it should not be an Apocalyptic Book. Anyone therefore, who attempt to difintely trying to do so would fall in error. It is not the micro but the message that’s important.

Therefore, contrary to what you say, this book gives Christian hope, which is quite obvious. :slight_smile:

In essence, yes, Catholics do have some views on Revelation but it should never be put into doctrines because it is not the purpose of this Book, as mentioned above.

I don’t mind to accept the four views as stated by you, but then again these are merely views. My thought on this - do not try to micro dissect this book lest you would fall into fatal error. It is sufficient to grasp the main message, which is more than a mouthful.

God bless.

I can respect what you stated, but then you think it would be in error to have a doctrine on books like, " The Lambs Supper" or “The End” by Dr.Scott Hahn ? I’m still perplex why God would not reveal full interpretation of the Book to his Church, which then give guidance. I’m I mistaken that the Catholic Church does take a stance against the idea of “The Rapture” that other Christian faith believe?

Part of the error in using Revelation to predict the end is that Jesus told us not to worry about it. More than once, he told us to keep on working towards him and be ready for he will come like a theif in the night. Basically, the Holy Spirit will not tell us when the end is based on Revelation because that is not God’s divine will.

The views expressed in these books by Scott Hahn give Catholics an understanding or one POV on the book of Revelations (which, btw, are not new thoughts, but have been expressed by those in the Church), but it’s not doctrine, thus it doesn’t fall into error. Only the Church can declare doctrine.

Like a previous poster said, Revelations was written during a time where the writer knew the language and symbolism he was using would be understood by those during that time. Revelations should be taken in the context of Christ’s teachings, which was also mentioned earlier in this thread.

I have read The Lamb’s Supper and Hahn does not really put forth anything doctrinal. He shows the parallels between the vision in Heaven and the Mass, and he even talks about the differing views amongst theologians. Catholics do not base doctrine on books, anyway, but on the teachings of Christ and His Apostles.

I’m still perplex why God would not reveal full interpretation of the Book to his Church, which then give guidance. I’m I mistaken that the Catholic Church does take a stance against the idea of “The Rapture” that other Christian faith believe?

“Now we see through a glass darkly.” Scripture, especially the Apocalyptic books, can have many layers of meaning. To definitively say “Revelation means _____” can exclude the other possible meanings woven into the text. Michael Barber’s book, Coming Soon goes through Revelation verse by verse and explores the different shades of meaning. I highly recommend it! :thumbsup:

Actually, a very small percentage of mainline Protestants believe in “The Rapture” as described in the Left Behind fiction series. It’s a relatively new doctrine, invented in the early 1800s. The Bible Christian Society has an excellent CD/MP3 The Rapture and the Bible, that you might find enlightening.

General public service post: the book is called The Revelation, singular. Not Revelations, plural. :smiley:

If you want some official interpretations of that particular book, I suggest going through the footnotes of the CCC and see where it is cited. I would also suggest looking at the particular days it is read in the liturgy. Finally, you might want to look at papal or concilliar documents that cite it (I know Denzinger’s Sources of Catholic Dogma, which is a collection of such texts, has an appendix in the back where you can look up a Bible verse and then it lists documents that cite it.) Also, FYI, Revelation (Rev.) is sometimes called Apocalypse (Apo.) in older documents.

To get you started, here’s a section of the CCC that cites Rev:

**677 **The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection.578 The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven.579 God’s triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgment after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.580

578 Cf. Rev 19:1-9.
579 Cf Rev 13:8; 20:7-10; 21:2-4.
580 Cf. Rev 20:12 2 Pt 3:12-13.

I can understand the argument of the Catholic Church not having a doctrine on the day and our of the end of time. I still have many questions on way the would not have a doctrine on the Books message in its entirety. Terulllian (one of the early fathers of the church, which I have seen post rely on in arguments on Tradition and Oral Tradition) said in his writings on the “Against Marcion” tell of the New Jerusalem coming done after the resurrection of Jesus and collecting the saints whom died before Jesus. The city was in the sky for 40 days early in the morning. Even seen by the pagans in the east. Matthew 27: 52-53 "tombs were open and the bodies of many of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. And coming forth from their tombs after his resurrection, they entered the Holy City and appeared to many.NABI’m sorry, but that sounds like the first fruits being raptured to Heaven to me.
CCC 117 “… thus the Church on earth is a sign of the heavenly Jerusalem.” Sounds like a New Jerusalem to me. So I would be in error to believe this as doctrine? Last of all if there is no doctrine on Revelation then why did the Church see fit to add to Revelation from the original Vulgate, in the middle ages (Revelation 21:1-5 are not in the original Vulgate) ?:confused:

The Rapture as you seem to understand it was non-existant as theology prior to the 1800s. The vast majority of Christianity have never and do not now accept it as a teaching. Now, if you mean that at some point those who are alive will be judged and given their eternal bodies, that is fine.

Revelation is all of this and more. It is telling us a message of hope, that Christ will return and conquor death and evil once and for all. It is telling us that though the Temple is gone, a new Covenant has come for us.

Speaking of Chirst’s return. I had a dream last night, we were all standing in awe and wonderment as the Lamb of God was held up high and exalted. In my mind all I ‘saw’ was a lamb with a sword pierced. Needless to say, I had a great sleep! :thumbsup:

This is a refreshing thread Op, thanks for posting it. I usually see non catholic concerns like this:
Why do you (catholics) rely on your chuch to interpret the bible for you?
This is the first time seeing a non catholic with the opposite concern.:thumbsup:
Just goes to show you, that you are “in trouble”:wink: if you do, and trouble if you don’t.

O.K. lets take out the term “Rapture”, the fact is the Early church believed though saw the New Jerusalem as stated by Tertullian between 207-212 A.D. , the first fruits rose from the dead, walk around Jerusalem for 40 days after Jesus resurrection. Also stated in Matthew 27. These are facts stated in the Gospel of Matthew and by Tertullian an early church father. Mark13, Luke 21 , and Matthew further wrote in chapter 24 on the destruction of the Temple and the coming that Matthew 24 verse 34 " Amen, I saw to you, this generation will not pass until all these things have happen." My question is if there is no doctrine on Revelation, then how can the church interpret the term "generation ? Second how can the church add to Revelation by injecting Revelation 21:1-5 ( on the new Heaven and earth) during the middle ages, when it was not present in the original Vulgate ? Third the evidence shows the early church believed John’s Revelation was for them ( with the exception of the Second coming of Jesus).

First, because doctrine comes from God, and the Church cannot advance a doctrine unless God so chooses to do so. Much like in the Old Testament and the New, God reveals in stages, the understanding of Himself. So if the Church has not assigned a “doctrine on Revelation” it is because there either is no such thing, or because God has not chosen to reveal it at this time. Make no mistake the Catechism explicitly says the Holy Spirit is the interpreter of Scripture.

Second, Revelation especially, and the whole of Scripture, has meaning at multiple levels. For the Church to provide an official commentary on Scripture could create a trap that the meaning has been finally discovered and exhausted. Of course, the depth and richness of divine revelation is better understood throughout the centuries and in different cultures even, in new contexts and re-readings. Prior meanings don’t “change” but are built upon and better understood.

It’s in the Bible. What more of a stance do you want?

Remember that the Bible experts of 2000 years ago–the scribes and Pharisees–had it worked out according to their reading of the Scripture what the Messiah was supposed to do when He came.

The Messiah came, He did NOT follow their agenda, and so they rejected him.

This should be a warning to those who try to come up with agendas for the Second Coming.

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