The End Times?

With the popularity of the ‘Left Behind’ series, much end time speculation is taking place. S79 gives us something to chew on that is buzzing around (ultra?)conservative Catholic circles. Here’s what he said:

“Saint Malachi of Ireland was born in Armagh, Ireland in 1094 and died in 1148. He became very well known on account of the prophecies he allegedly made regarding 112 future popes, while on a trip to visit to Pope Innocent II in Rome in 1139-40.

The prophecies concern the papacy. A total of 112 popes are listed, each in a very brief description, from 1143 (Celestine II) to the “end of the world“ (Peter the Roman). These short prophetical announcements indicate some noticeable trait of all future popes: their country, their name, their coat of arms or insignia, their birth-place, their talent or learning, the title of their cardinalate, the dignities which they held etc.

Pope John Paul II is said to be De labore Solis (“from the labor of the sun”). He was born during the solar eclipse of May 18th, 1920.

Pope Benedict XVI is named Gloria olivae (“The Glory of the Olive”). This Pope will reign during the beginning of the tribulation Jesus spoke of.

The last of these prophecies concerns the end of the world and is as follows: “In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there will reign Peter the Roman, who will feed his flock amid many tribulations, after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and the dreadful Judge will judge the people. The End.”

This final Pope, it is argued now by theologians, is likely be Satan, taking the form of a man named Peter who will gain a worldwide allegiance and adoration. He will be the final antichrist which prophecy students have long foretold.

Do you think God would allow this to happen to his church?

Your thoughts?”

I know that some dispy fundies have predicted that the office of pope would bring the anti-christ. I tend to interpret the end-times passages of Scripture with more of a ‘preterist’ grid, meaning many of them were fulfilled with the early persecutions and the 1st and 2nd Century Roman Empire. Having said that, I also think that prophecy has a way of ‘double fulfilling.’ For example, many of Isaiah’s prophecies have ‘double fulfillment,’ i.e they were fulfilled in Isaiah’s day and by the person of Christ. So, a number of scenarios could take place. However, when Christ says the ‘gates of hell will not prevail’ against the church, I believe him. I can’t see the antichrist in the see or seat of Peter. I tend to see antichrist more as a ‘system.’ Western secularism and Islam might make better candidates.

12 thoughts on “The End Times?

  1. A system…hmmm….Maybe the World Bank. Europe sure is trying to unify there money. He who controls the money controls the world. Just an idea.

    Left Behind. The movie was great. Then I bought the books. They were great too. Finally a protestant book that accepted the Catholic Church. The Pope got raptured also. Coming from an RC, who had been told I was going to hell just because I was RC, this series was great. Then you read later on in the series and find out the only reason the pope was raptured was because he denounced all Catholic doctrine. Another set of $20.00 each books in the trash.

  2. Use the library, shafter. I have been reading some of the same websites recently. The question Fr. Neo asks is Would God do this? I think the answer is in Revelation and the artistic interpretation of LeHaye is as good as any. It might be a little flashy for intellectuals, but through LeHaye, there are a lot of people thinking about end-times. Since I think God is in everything, I must believe that God is here somewhere, too. Also in Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. Also in the DaVinci Code. I think we just need to hang on here. The times couldn’t be more interesting. There is a feeling of impending…..something.

  3. Preface: Be forewarned. I’m sure most will disagree with what follows and I mean no offense to those who do, but this Blog allows for some disparate thought, so long as it is congenial and respectful (I still throw a few punches though 🙂 ). I will acknowledge up front that “end times” rhetoric is a thorn I endure given my antithetical attitude and position to the majority opinions held among convinced Christians. This post is a tad long too given my passion on the topic. I apologize in advance for its length.

    As with the good Padre I am also an amillennial Preterist (though probably more extreme and I’m not sure he’d concur with the amillennial aspect). These two twenty-five cent words basically promote the idea that prophecy as is popularly conceived is done and over with save for the Second Coming, which is difficult to understand itself, though a belief I retain of course. No 1000 year reign or Rapture; just the world as we know it—a frightening mix of Kingdom now realized in and through the person and work of Jesus of Nazareth the Christ in existence simultaneously with the fallen world that we all know too well. From my point of view the only use for the book of Revelation would be to serve as a kind of inspiration when viewed allegorically for the future. Of course, I’m afraid many, if not most, convinced Christians read Revelation in conjunction with the evening news and/or their morning newspaper. If only the book of Revelation wasn’t part of our canon we wouldn’t have the fodder that ignites so many people into useless obsessions concerning a coming wrath of Abaddon and subsequent judgment of God, instead of doing the commission of the Sermon on the Mount. If we would truly take Christ’s commands seriously from the SOM we’d transform our world. It is, of course, easier said than done. Good Luther thought the last book of the NT highly suspect. He had a decidedly low view of its content even questioning its canonicity. The Eastern Orthodox do not even read it as a part of their Divine Liturgy to this day (the only NT book with that notable distinction). I wonder why (rhetorical)? I’ll tell you. Because it’s hard to grapple with its content and it is predisposed to abuse and absurdity. I’d say it is also a stumbling block to many as well. But alas, it is part of our shared official canon and remains a thorn in the side of many. I also think Padre Neo hits the nail on the head defining the Antichrist as a “system.” Since the infancy of our faith, and in every generation since, there have always been those who expect without a doubt that Christ is returning in their era/time. These folks keep good company too, i.e. St. Paul. To be sure, the “end” did come for many Christian adherents in dramatic fashion and may still for our present and future world (it’s a scary place out there in many, many ways, but still God’s world nonetheless). If I had been a human torch in Nero’s garden for his amusement or Bonhoffer under Hitler in a concentration camp with my life sure to be exterminated horrifically or MLK Jr. during the 1960s battling the entrenched racist ideologues of his day, it’d be hard to not imagine an apocalyptic end being nigh. If I have any eschatological (last things) sympathy outside of the idea that all was done and complete in 70 A.D., it would be with the theory of postmillennial thought. At least these folks believe in and are trying to build Christ’s Kingdom “on earth as it is in heaven.” It’s naïve and idealistic but I applaud them, though I can’t live as they would prescribe. For me, I place no significance in world events fulfilling particular prophecies (biblical or otherwise). If tomorrow microchips were required in all our right hands to facilitate the world’s economy and in 1948 a tiny nation state would arise from the ashes called Israel and a badass world tyrant should take center stage I would remain unconvinced. Yes, it would indeed be an antichrist “system” that I would resist and fight against as best I could, but I’d have no illusions about being “Raptured” from whatever trials and tribulations might come. In this sense I’d agree with Padre’s notion of “double fulfillment.”

    Enough said from me on this topic. It’s a “fun” subject to discuss because of the plethora of divergent views, but thus far for 2000 years the end as popularly conceived has yet to come as “a thief in the night” in the literal sense of the word……..and if it should, then my comfort comes in knowing that correct belief and understanding of “last things” is not what saves me, but Christ.

    So Morpheus, would you still be wiling to have some Guinness with me after this diatribe?

  4. Just my two cents, for what it’s worth, etc. The deacon at our Orthodox church had never even heard of the rapture until two years ago, when some prots asked him about it. I have heard our fabulous Bishop speak about it too, that God would not just rapture up instantaneously all the believers currently here on earth…what about all the saints and martyrs who have gone before? Also the part about “one will be taken, one will be left behind” is already happening: car crashes, cancer, tsunamis, you name it.

    As always, I am just a catechumen and please forgive me if I misrepresent anything.

  5. A truly sobering thought:
    We have always put our Western world as the center of the universe. End times or not, when does the Almighty decide that the good ‘ol USA experiment has run its course?

  6. Don’t worry, Constantine. I’m up for a Guinness or a Mead with anyone here after 5:00 PM any day of the week. I have been thinking that the conversations of many topics can be started on the web in paragraphs, but really ought to go to someone’s deck for more discussion.

    My knowledge of Revelation is miniscule. In Cokesbury’s Disciple Bible Study, it was the only 34-week course I haven’t taken. The treatment in Disciple I (Introductory) was cursory. I also went to a four session interp lecture series given by a Methodist bishop. The best angle I have on Revelation is an assertion by a liberal theologian that Revelation is best used as a scrapbook of plates/tableaus of artistic impressions. It’s a picture book. It seems like it can hardly be used any other way, since even Jesus said that no one knows “when” but the Father. And as to how cherubim and seraphim will actually look? Quien sabe?

    My intuition is that there is a “when” coming. Until then, there’s Guinness Stout, Mel Gibson’s movies, quiet summer nights on my deck in Park Hill, and lotsa books and music.


  7. Quiet summer nights on a deck. Good books and good music. Now those are nice images. Good drinks too. My fav drink, especially when lounging, is a Sapphire & tonic. It makes for good conversations. 🙂

    A “deck meeting” would be fun.

  8. Let’s pick possible nights, then. I have discussed with my spouse, and have the green light. I have obligations on Tuesdays and Thursdays to my grandson and to the Epiphany choir. So, Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Saturday works for me, usually. All welcome. I provide ice and glasses and deck chairs and citronella, when needed. We live in Park Hill – Denver.

  9. Very interesting…the premise that the anti-christ could actually be a system rather than an actual person. Was it Paul or John who wrote that the spirit of the anti-christ is already here?

  10. angevoix,
    Welcome! You have an impressive blog yourself. John, in his epistles, mentions the ‘spirit of anti-chirst.’ The OT prophets predicted the rise of empires (Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, Persia), as opposition to the people of God. Rarely do they speak of individuals. John the evangelist is doing the same thing in Revelation referring to the Roman empire. If there is ‘double fulfillment’ in our day perhaps Islam or Werstern secularism fit the bill. Certainly I am not making a prediction, however!

  11. Run his course, Father Neo has. Forget not that Babylon The Great will fall, and remember to hurt neither the oil nor the wine.

  12. I have to say that I am both impressed and humbled by your comments and my self-identified lack of knowledge on this subject. I believe as I think many do that the tribulations will be brought upon us by nations (a leader who resembles the prophesy of the anti-Christ may be present) however it appears as if these events as foretold in the scripture will be identified by the faithful as God intends them to be identified. “Stay awake, for you know not the time” – I believe Jesus will enlighten his chosen at the appropriate times.

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