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Thursday, May 25, 2006

End Times

I have been asked by a friend to comment on the end times from a Catholic perspective. I am far from any type of authority on this matter. What I will do here is try to present as much information as I can. If anybody reads this and has helpful knowledge, please share.

Eschatology is the branch of theology that deals with the last things.

The common belief of dispensationalists is that there will be a secret Rapture during which "true believers" will be carried away before the Tribulation and Second Coming of Christ. The Church has not officially rejected the notion of a secret Rapture, however Catholic eschatology does not lend support to the idea.

The Church rejects the dispensationalist claim of the Millennium, the literal, early reign of Christ on Earth for a thousand years.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism. CCC 676
St. Augustine interpreted the reference to a "thousand years" found in the Revelations as a metaphor of the Church age. The Church has yest to make a formal statement what the Millennium is or was. However the Church does say this:

Before his Ascension Christ affirmed that the hour had not yet come for the glorious establishment of the messianic kingdom awaited by Israel which, according to the prophets, was to bring all men the definitive order of justice, love, and peace. According to the Lord, the present time is the time of the Spirit and of witness, but also a time still marked by "distress" and the trial of evil which does not space the Church and ushers in the struggles of the last days. It is a time of waiting and watching. CCC 672
One explanation is that the present day Church is the "Church between times". We are between the times of Christ's First and Second Comings, the "Church Age". We are in the end times that began with Christ coming to Earth as Man and will end with his Second Coming.

The Catholic Encylopedia provides an article on Eschatology that compares the eschatolical beliefs of various cultures and those of the Old and New Testaments here.

St. Bede the Venerable, pray for us.
St. Gregory VII, pray for us.
St. Mary Magdelene de'Pazzi, pray for us.

1 comment:

Secret Rapture said...

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Your jaw will drop!