Katholisch Leben!

The Jesus Brothers

Eschatologie - die Lehre von den letzten Dingen

"Jesus didn't focus on the things we have done when He talked about the final judgement, but on what we have not done - feeding the hungry, visiting the prisoners..."

(Paraphrasing Fr. Bill Buckley)

kathpedia.com: Himmel

Unter Himmel wird ein zweifaches verstanden. Natürlicherweise betrachtet nennen wir so das Himmelsgewölbe (Firmament) der Sternenhimmel. Der 'Himmel ist jedoch auch ein religiöser Begriff, der in der Theologie in der so genannten Eschatologie, der Lehre von den letzten Dingen, behandelt wird. Manchmal wird mit dem Ausdruck Paradies gleichfalls der göttliche Himmel bezeichnet.

 

Himmel als religiöser Begriff


Die volkstümlichen Deutungen werden heute oft als unzureichend empfunden. Himmel als religiöser Begriff meint nicht nur die "Wohnungen" der himmlischen Geister (vgl. Engel). Ebenso meint er den Zustand der Verklärung der Seligkeit, in dem Gott immer war und zu dem die Engel und die Menschen berufen sind. Er besteht für sie in dem unverlierbaren Besitz Gottes, des höchsten Gutes durch die beseligende Anschauung und der damit notwendig gegebenen Liebe und Freude. Diese Anschauung Gottes wird erst möglich durch das Licht der Herrlichkeit (lumen gloriae), das Gott allen denen gibt, die im Stande der Gnade aus diesem Leben scheiden und keine zeitlichen Sündenstrafen am Reinigungsort (Fegefeuer) mehr abzubüßen haben.

Gott, den sie hier auf der Erde im Lichte des Glaubens (lumen fidei) nur unvollkommen erkannt haben, schauen sie dann im Lichte der Herrlichkeit, wie er ist. Der Grad der Seligkeit hängt vom Grade der heiligmachenden Gnade ab, den sie beim Tode hatten, aber so, dass jeder seinem "Fassungsvermögen" entsprechend vollkommen glücklich ist. Nach der Auferstehung am Jüngsten Tag nehmen auch die Leiber der Gerechten an der Verklärung in einer vergeistigten Daseinseise teil.

 

Himmel und Erde


Es kommt nicht in erster Linie darauf an, irgendwie den Himmel zu erlangen, vielleicht um den Preis heftigster Leiden am Reinigungsort (vgl. Fegefeuer), sondern dieses Leben ist das einzige; es zählt: "Nur die Liebe zählt" (Thérèse Martin). Da ja in der Taufe das ewige Leben bereits seinen Anfang nimmt, ist die pfingstliche Erwartung von Tod und Vollendung, letztlich des neuen Himmels und der neuen Erde am jüngsten Tag, der Ursprung christlicher Hoffnung überhaupt.

Da es zu den wesentlichen Grundzügen des Evangeliums gehört, das Jesus immer und immer wieder eine große Nähe und Ähnlichkeit von Himmel und Erde darstellt, darf mit großer Freude erwartet werden, dass der irdische Lebenslauf für das ewige Ziel vollständig prägend wirkt. Der Himmel ist kein dürftiger Dämmerzustand, sondern Vollendung dessen, was hier begonnen hat. Nur dann hat die Rede von der Freiheit zu guten Werken wie auch vom Verdienst der ewigen Seligkeit einen fassbaren Gehalt. Der Heilsoptimismus der Gegenwart, dass Gott auf seine Weise möglicherweise jede Seele irgendwie zu retten weiß, ist ein zu dürftiges Motiv für eine wahrhaft christliches Leben.

Der Himmel richtet die Erde, der irdische Verlauf bestimmt den Himmel. Ein konsequenter Pantheismus hingegen verzichtet nicht nur auf den wahren Begriff der Ewigkeit, er findet auch keinen stimmigen Sinn für Zeit und Tod.

Primitive Vorstellungen spiritualistischer Art, etwa von Seelenwanderung oder eine Schattenexistenz drüben, nehmen den Lohn- und Drohgehalt des Evangeliums nicht ernst genug. Was für den Liebenden bereits Siegesnachricht ist, dasselbe ist für den Gottesfeind bereits Drohung, schon hier und jetzt. Dass es nach christlicher Überzeugung überhaupt kein Ausweichen vor der ewigen Bestimmung des Menschen gibt, ist für die feindselige Seele bereits Ungewissheit genug, ohne dass es notwendig ist, sich die Qualen der Verlorenen (vgl. Hölle) allzu detailliert auszumalen.

Zu den stärksten Einsichten der 1897 verstorbenen Heiligen Therese von Lisieux gehört ihre Gewissheit von der Eigenart des Himmels. Zugleich sind die Überzeugungen der 1997 zur Kirchenlehrerin erklärten Heiligen, in der Breite der europäischen Theologie und Verkündigung der Kirche, bislang wenig willkommen.

Obzwar es berechtigt ist, nicht in allzu menschlichen Begriffen vom ewigen Geschick der Seele und der Auferstehung des Fleisches zu reden, schadet doch eine zu große Zurückhaltung noch mehr. Menschen können nur in menschlicher Anschauung auch über Gegebenheiten reden und denken, die über den Horizont von Raum und Zeit hinausgehen.

 

Katechismus der Katholischen Kirche


Nr. 325 Das Apostolische Credo bekennt, dass GOTT "der Schöpfer des Himmels und der Erde" ist, und das Glaubensbekenntnis von Nizäa-Konstantinopel verdeutlicht: "der sichtbaren und der unsichtbaren Welt".

Nr. 327 Das Glaubensbekenntnis des Vierten Laterankonzils sagt: GOTT "schuf am Anfang der Zeit aus nichts zugleich beide Schöpfungen, die geistige und die körperliche, nämlich die der Engel und die der Welt: und danach die menschliche, die gewissermaßen zugleich aus Geist und Körper besteht" (DS 800 [vgl. DS 3002; SPF 8]).

Offizium „Paráklesis“ Grosser Kanon
Neunte Ode : Es erstaunte darüber der Himmel, und die Enden der Erde erschraken, dass Gott im Leibe den Menschen erschienen und dein Schoß weiträumiger ward als die Himmel. Drum Gotttesgebärerin, erheben dich die Ordnungen der Engel und Menschen.

 

Aussagen Gottes in der Heiligen Schrift


In der Heiligen Schrift wird das Wort Himmel sowohl in der Einzahl, als auch in der Mehrzahl im lateinsichen Text verwendet. Dass es mehrere Himmel gibt, ist für den Juden eine Selbstverständlichkeit. So wird im Alten Testament das Wort Himmel fast doppelt so oft in der Mehrzahlals in der Einzahl verwendet. Dass der eine Himmel in drei Himmel geschaffen wurde, erzählt Paulus im zweiten Korintherbrief, wenn er sagt: "Ich kenne einen Menschen ... der bis in den dritten Himmel entrückt wurde ... (12,2). Diese Stelle wird gut verstehbar, wenn wir die Erklärung im Buch Deuteronomium (10,14) hinzunehemen,die lautet: "Sieh dem Herrn deinem Gott, gehören die Himmel, der Himmel über den Himmeln, die Erde und was auf ihr lebt" (vgl auch 1 Kö 8, 27 ; 2 Chr 2, 5 ; 2 Chr 6, 18; Neh 9, 6 ).

 

Verdeutlichung der Heiligen Schrift


Eine weitere Verdeutlichung, beschreibt Maria von Agreda in ihren Offenbarungen über das Leben Mariens (I. Buch, Kapitel 4), wenn sie schreibt: Der erste Zweck der Engel war die Ehre Gottes. Sie sollten Thronasistenten der göttlichen Majestät bilden, Ihn erkennen und lieben. Damit hängt ihr zweiter Zweck zusammen, nämlich der im ewigen Wort zur Gottheit erhobenen Menschheit als ihrem Haupt sowie Seiner heiligsten Mutter Maria als ihrer Königin ehrerbitiegst zu dienen, sie zu verherrlichen, zu ehren und so auch ihre Assistenz zu bilden. Im selben Moment beschloß Gott auch den empyreischen Himmel zu erschaffen, um dort Seine Herrlichkeit zu offenbaren und die Guten zu belohnen, ferner die Erde und das übrige für andere Geschöpfe.

 

Folgerung


1. Der oberste Himmel ist der "Himmel über den Himmeln", in denen die Engel "Thronassistenten" der göttlichen Majestät bilden.
2. Der mittlere Himmel oder der "empyreische Himmel" schuf Gott, um dort seine Herrlichkeit zu offenbaren und die guten Menschen zu belohnen.
3. Der unterste Himmel ist bereits die "Erde" (siehe oben: Himmel und Erde), sofern der Mensch durch die Taufe in der heiligmachenden Gnade lebt. Denn ein Glied am geheimnisvollen Leib Christi, das auf dieser Erde lebt, trägt und entfaltet das himmlische Leben in sich. Auf diese Erde kam Gott, durch Seinen Sohn Jesus Christus, um die Menschen, die aus dem Paradies vertrieben wurden, wieder heimzuholen.
Verheißung
Schließlich werden die Himmel und die Erde, wie sie Gott geschaffen hat (vgl. Gen 1,1) vergehen (vgl. Mt 24,35). Es wird sich der Himmel in Feuer auflösen, und die Elemente werden im Brand zerschmelzen. Dann erwarten wir, der Verheißung Christi gemäß, einen neuen Himmel und eine neue Erde (vgl. 2 Petr. 3,12b-13a). Das neue Jersualem wird von Gott her auf die heilige Stadt (der Kirche, der civitas Dei) herabkommen, die sich wie eine Braut für ihren Bräutigam geschmückt hat (Offb 21,2).

 

Der Himmel als ewige Heimat des Menschen


KKK 1023 Die in der Gnade und Freundschaft Gottes sterben und völlig geläutert sind, leben für immer mit Christus. Sie sind für immer Gott ähnlich, denn sie sehen ihn, „wie er ist“ (1 Joh 3,2), von Angesicht zu Angesicht [Vgl. 1 Kor 13,12; Offb 22,4] (Vgl. dazu auch 954).

„Wir definieren kraft Apostolischer Autorität, dass nach allgemeiner Anordnung Gottes die Seelen aller Heiligen ... und anderer Gläubigen, die nach der von ihnen empfangenen heiligen Taufe Christi verstorben sind, in denen es nichts zu reinigen gab, als sie dahinschieden, ... oder wenn es in ebendiesen damals etwas zu reinigen gab oder geben wird, wenn sie nach ihrem Tod gereinigt wurden, auch vor der Wiederannahme ihrer Leiber und dem allgemeinen Gericht nach dem Aufstieg unseres Erlösers und Herrn Jesus Christus in den Himmel, das Himmelreich und das himmlische Paradies mit Christus in der Gemeinschaft der heiligen Engel versammelt waren, sind und sein werden, und nach dem Leiden und Tod des Herrn Jesus Christus das göttliche Wesen in einer unmittelbaren Schau und auch von Angesicht zu Angesicht geschaut haben und schauen – ohne Vermittlung eines Geschöpfes“ (Benedikt XII.: DS 1000) [Vgl. LG 49].

1024 Dieses vollkommene Leben mit der allerheiligsten Dreifaltigkeit, diese Lebens– und Liebesgemeinschaft mit ihr, mit der Jungfrau Maria, den Engeln und allen Seligen wird „der Himmel“ genannt. Der Himmel ist das letzte Ziel und die Erfüllung der tiefsten Sehnsüchte des Menschen, der Zustand höchsten, endgültigen Glücks (Vgl. dazu auch 260, 326, 2794, 1718).

1025 Im Himmel leben heißt „mit Christus sein“[Vgl. Joh 14,3; Phil 1,23; 1 Thess 4,17]. Die Auserwählten leben „in ihm“, behalten oder, besser gesagt, finden dabei jedoch ihre wahre Identität, ihren eigenen Namen [Vgl. Offb 2,17] (Vgl. dazu auch 1011):

„Leben heißt mit Christus sein; wo Christus ist, da ist somit das Leben, da das Reich“ (Ambrosius, Luc. 10, 121).

1026 Durch seinen Tod und seine Auferstehung hat uns Jesus Christus den Himmel „geöffnet“. Das Leben der Seligen besteht im Vollbesitz der Früchte der Erlösung durch Christus. Dieser läßt jene, die an ihn geglaubt haben und seinem Willen treu geblieben sind, an seiner himmlischen Verherrlichung teilhaben. Der Himmel ist die selige Gemeinschaft all derer, die völlig in ihn eingegliedert sind (Vgl. dazu auch 793).

1027 Dieses Mysterium der seligen Gemeinschaft mit Gott und all denen, die in Christus sind, geht über jedes Verständnis und jede Vorstellung hinaus. Die Schrift spricht zu uns davon in Bildern, wie Leben, Licht, Frieden, festliches Hochzeitsmahl, Wein des Reiches, Haus des Vaters, himmlisches Jerusalem und Paradies: „Was kein Auge gesehen und kein Ohr gehört hat, was keinem Menschen in den Sinn gekommen ist; das Große, das Gott denen bereitet hat, die ihn lieben“ (1 Kor 2,9) (Vgl. dazu auch 959, 1720).

1028 Da Gott unendlich erhaben ist, kann er nur dann gesehen werden, wie er ist, wenn er selbst den Menschen sein Mysterium unmittelbar schauen läßt und ihn dazu befähigt. Diese Schau Gottes in seiner himmlischen Herrlichkeit wird von der Kirche „die beseligende Schau“ [visio beatifica] genannt (Vgl. dazu auch 1722,163).

„Welcher Ruhm, welche Lust wird es sein, wenn du zugelassen wirst, um Gott zu schauen, wenn du der Ehre gewürdigt wirst, mit Christus, deinem Herrn und Gott, die Freude des ewigen Heils und Lichts zu genießen ...‚ mit den Gerechten und Freunden Gottes im Himmelreich dich der Wonne der verliehenen Unsterblichkeit zu freuen!“ (Cyprian, ep. 58, 10,1).

1029 In der Herrlichkeit des Himmels erfüllen die Seligen weiterhin mit Freude den Willen Gottes. Sie tun dies auch in bezug auf die anderen Menschen und die gesamte Schöpfung, indem sie mit Christus herrschen; mit ihm werden sie „herrschen in alle Ewigkeit“ (Offb 22,5) [Vgl. Mt 25,21.23] (Vgl. dazu auch 956, 668).

 

Literatur


Katholisches Handlexikon, Butzon & Bercker Verlag Kevelaer 1960 (2. Auflage; Imprimatur N. 4-18/60 Monasterii, die 2. Februarii 1960, Böggering Vicarius Eppi Generalis)
Maria von Agreda, Leben der jungfräulichen Gottesmutter Maria, Miriam Verlag Jestetten 1992 (6. Auflage). Dieses Werk wurde von Papst Pius XI. und Pius XII. empfohlen

(Quelle: http://www.kathpedia.com/index.php/Himmel)

 

kathpedia.com: Hölle


Die Hölle ist die Trennung von Gott in der Ewigkeit.

 

Zustand der Hölle


Die schlimmste Qual der Hölle besteht daher in der immerwährenden Trennung von der Liebe Gottes. Die Möglichkeit der Hölle kann nur im Zusammenhang mit der Freiheit des Menschen verstanden werden.

 

Eigenschaften der Hölle


1.) Die Höllenstrafe dauert ewig.

2.) Das Strafmaß des einzelnen Verdammten ist verschieden je nach dem Grade seiner Schuld.

 

Biblische Hinweise


In der Bibel wird immer wieder von der Möglichkeit der Hölle gesprochen. Beispielsweise heißt es in Mt 23,33 "Ihr Schlangen! Ihr Natterngezücht! Wie wollt ihr dem Gericht der Hölle entrinnen?" In Mt. 25,46 heißt es: "Und sie werden hingehen, diese in ewige Pein, die Gerechten aber in das ewige Leben."

Jesus droht in der Bibel den Sündern die Höllenstrafe ausdrücklich an. Er bezeichnet diesen Ort als "Gehenna", z. B. in Mk 9,46 ff. als Ort, wo der Wurm nicht stirbt und das Feuer nicht erlischt. Im Mt. 25,41 spricht er vom "ewigen Feuer" und "ewiger Pein", in Mt 3,12 vom "unauslöschbaren" Feuer.

Paulus spricht im 2 Thess 1,9: "Diese werden als Strafe erleiden ewiges Verderben, ferne von dem Angesicht des Herrn und von der Herrlichkeit seiner Majestät."

Bei den Kirchenvätern wird die Hölle einmütig bezeugt. Justin begründet ihre Existenz mit der "Göttlichen Gerechtigkeit", Ignatius von Antiochien spricht davon, dass derjenige, der "den Gottesglauben, für den Christus gekreuzigt wurde, durch schlechte Lehre verdirbt, in das unauslöschliche Feuer eingehen" wird und auch "derjenige, der auf ihn hört" (Vgl. auch Eph. 16,2)

 

Im Katechismus der Katholischen Kirche


1033 Wir können nicht mit Gott vereint werden, wenn wir uns nicht freiwillig dazu entscheiden, ihn zu lieben. Wir können aber Gott nicht lieben, wenn wir uns gegen ihn, gegen unseren Nächsten oder gegen uns selbst schwer versündigen: „Wer nicht liebt, bleibt im Tod. Jeder, der seinen Bruder haßt, ist ein Mörder, und ihr wißt: Kein Mörder hat ewiges Leben, das in ihm bleibt“ (1 Joh 3,14–15). Unser Herr macht uns darauf aufmerksam, daß wir von ihm getrennt werden, wenn wir es unterlassen, uns der schweren Nöte der Armen und Geringen, die seine Brüder und Schwestern sind, anzunehmen [Vgl. Mt 25,31–46]. In Todsünde sterben, ohne diese bereut zu haben und ohne die barmherzige Liebe Gottes anzunehmen, bedeutet, durch eigenen freien Entschluß für immer von ihm getrennt zu bleiben. Diesen Zustand der endgültigen Selbstausschließung aus der Gemeinschaft mit Gott und den Seligen nennt man „Hölle“ (Vgl. dazu auch 1861, 393, 633).

1034 Jesus spricht öfters von der „Gehenna“ des „unauslöschlichen Feuers“ [Vgl. Mt 5,22. 29; 13, 42. 50; Mk 9,43–48], die für jene bestimmt ist, die bis zum Ende ihres Lebens sich weigern, zu glauben und sich zu bekehren, und wohin zugleich Seele und Leib ins Verderben geraten können [Vgl. Mt 10,28]. Jesus kündigt in ernsten Worten an, daß er „seine Engel aussenden“ wird, die „alle zusammenholen, die andere verführt und Gottes Gesetz übertreten haben, und ... in den Ofen werfen, in dem das Feuer brennt“ (Mt 13,41–42), und daß er das Verdammungsurteil sprechen wird: „Weg von mir, ihr Verfluchten, in das ewige Feuer!“ (Mt 25,41).

1035 Die Lehre der Kirche sagt, daß es eine Hölle gibt und daß sie ewig dauert. Die Seelen derer, die im Stand der Todsünde sterben, kommen sogleich nach dem Tod in die Unterwelt, wo sie die Qualen der Hölle erleiden, „das ewige Feuer“ [Vgl. DS 76; 409; 411; 801; 858; 1002; 1351; 1575; SPF 12]. Die schlimmste Pein der Hölle besteht in der ewigen Trennung von Gott, in dem allein der Mensch das Leben und das Glück finden kann, für die er erschaffen worden ist und nach denen er sich sehnt (Vgl. dazu auch 393).

1036 Die Aussagen der Heiligen Schrift und die Lehren der Kirche über die Hölle sind eine Mahnung an den Menschen, seine Freiheit im Blick auf sein ewiges Schicksal verantwortungsvoll zu gebrauchen. Sie sind zugleich ein eindringlicher Aufruf zur Bekehrung: „Geht durch das enge Tor! Denn das Tor ist weit, das ins Verderben führt, und der Weg dahin ist breit, und viele gehen auf ihm. Aber das Tor, das zum Leben führt, ist eng, und der Weg dahin ist schmal, und nur wenige finden ihn“ (Mt 7,13–14) (Vgl. dazu auch 1734, 1428).

„Da wir weder Tag noch Stunde wissen, müssen wir auf die Ermahnung des Herrn hin standhaft wachen, damit wir, wenn unser einmaliger irdischer Lebenslauf erfüllt ist, mit ihm zur Hochzeit einzutreten und den Gesegneten zugezählt zu werden verdienen und uns nicht wie bösen und faulen Knechten geheißen wird, ins ewige Feuer zu weichen, in die Finsternis draußen, wo ‚Heulen und Zähneknirschen sein wird’“ (LG 48).

1037 Niemand wird von Gott dazu vorherbestimmt, in die Hölle zu kommen [Vgl. DS 397; 1567]; nur eine freiwillige Abkehr von Gott (eine Todsünde), in der man bis zum Ende verharrt, führt dazu. Bei der Eucharistiefeier und in den täglichen Gebeten ihrer Gläubigen erfleht die Kirche das Erbarmen Gottes, der „nicht will, daß jemand zugrunde geht, sondern daß alle sich bekehren“ (2 Petr3,9) (Vgl. dazu auch 162, 1014, 1821):

„Nimm gnädig an, o Gott, dieses Opfer deiner Diener und deiner ganzen Gemeinde; ordne unsere Tage in deinem Frieden, rette uns vor dem ewigen Verderben und nimm uns auf in die Schar deiner Erwählten“ (MR, Römisches Hochgebet 88).

1034 Jesus spricht öfters von der „Gehenna“ des „unauslöschlichen Feuers“ [Vgl. Mt 5,22. 29; 13, 42. 50; Mk 9,43–48], die für jene bestimmt ist, die bis zum Ende ihres Lebens sich weigern, zu glauben und sich zu bekehren, und wohin zugleich Seele und Leib ins Verderben geraten können [Vgl. Mt 10,28]. Jesus kündigt in ernsten Worten an, daß er „seine Engel aussenden“ wird, die „alle zusammenholen, die andere verführt und Gottes Gesetz übertreten haben, und ... in den Ofen werfen, in dem das Feuer brennt“ (Mt 13,41–42), und daß er das Verdammungsurteil sprechen wird: „Weg von mir, ihr Verfluchten, in das ewige Feuer!“ (Mt 25,41).

 

Irrlehren im Zusammenhang mit der Hölle


Die Kirche hat sich, insbesondere gegen Origines, zu der Überzeugung bekannt, dass es die Möglichkeit der Hölle gibt und die Lehre von der Allversöhnung oder Apokatastasis immer wieder als Irrlehre verurteilt. Die jüngste Bekräftigung erfolgte im Credo des Gottesvolkes von 1968.

In den Grenzen kirchenamtlicher Definition sind jedoch zahlreiche Einzelfragen der weiteren theologischen Forschung und kirchlichen Überzeugungsbildung überlassen. Ein allzu naiver Heilsoptimismus wird jedoch dem Ernst des Evangeliums nicht gerecht.

"Mag die Hölle existieren, aber sie ist leer" soll als billiger Trost taugen. Woher diese vorgebliche Gewissheit kommt, deren untergründige Ängstlichkeit meist nur schlecht verhüllt wird, bleibt fast immer offen. Sie ist mutmaßlich zumeist nur die Widerspiegelung einer mangelhaften christlichen Freude auf die Schätze des Himmels, die allein Motiv genug sein kann für eine mitreißende christliche Existenz.

Die doch nur phrasenhafte Abschaffung der Hölle könnte im Kern eine neue Erscheinungsform überwunden geglaubter Höllenangst sein.

Genauso wie die Allerlösung ist jedoch auch eine eigenmächtig-spekulative Einschränkung des universalen Heilswillen Gottes irrig. Gott will das Heil aller Menschen. Die reprobationistische Auffassung der Prädestinationslehre im Calvinismus (und anderer), wonach Gott seine Gnade nur denen zukommen lässt, die er von vorneherein und unabhängig von ihrer freien Antwort auf die Gnade in Glaube und Werken zukommen lässt, während die übrigen Menschen ausnahmslos verdammt werden, ist als Einschränkung dieses universalen Heilswillens abzulehnen .

 

Literatur


Markus Schulze SAC: Ist die Hölle menschenmöglich? Das Problem der negativen Endgültigkeit in der deutschsprachigen katholischen Theologie der zweiten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts, Herder, Freiburg/Basel/Wien 2008. ISBN 3451299054

(Quelle: http://www.kathpedia.com/index.php/H%C3%B6lle)

 

 
"Die Macht des Bösen lebt von der Feigheit der Guten."
Johannes Bosco (1815 - 1888)

kathpedia.com: Tod

Der Tod ist das Ende des irdischen Lebens. Im Unterschied zur allgemeinen Vergänglichkeit in der Schöpfung erfährt die Menschheit, seit Anbeginn, ihre Sterblichkeit bewusst. Nach christlicher Lehre kam mit der Sünde Adams der Tod in die (menschliche) Welt, ohne dass über den genauen Ort oder Zeitpunkt dieses Sündenfalls und seiner Folgen spekuliert werden kann.

Erst seit der Auferstehung Christi und in der Kraft des Heiligen Geistes wurde es der jungen Kirche möglich, den Abgrund zwischen dem gütigen Plan Gottes (die Menschen zum ewigen Leben zu berufen) und dem Todesgeschick der Menschheit (von Adam an) näher zu begreifen. Überall dort, wo die Osterbotschaft nicht [mehr] in ihrer Fülle wahrgenommen wird, steigt auch die Ohnmacht gegenüber dem Tod (und der Sünde) [wieder] an, kehrt partiell, gewissermaßen dem Sieg Christi zu Trotz, das Regime des Todes in die österlich erleuchtete Lebenswelt zurück und wirft Schatten. Diese Todesschatten sind aber in Gott bereits überwunden, wie es die Taufgnade jedem Menschen wirksam zuzuteilen vermag.
Daher enthält bereits das Wissen um den Kreuzestod Christi das Evangelium in Kurzform, wie es von den Betern im Kreuzzeichen (und Weihwassernehmen) beständig bekannt wird. Das Sterben des Herrn für uns hat gleichsam die gesamte, im Menschen zusammengefasste Schöpfung am Ostertag erlöst und zugleich die älteste Frage der Menschheit, die nach dem Jenseits, erstmals und endgültig beantwortet. Seither ist die Macht des Todes gebrochen und jedem Menschen schon hier und jetzt der Anfang seines Lebens in Ewigkeit möglich geworden, im kirchlichen Lebensraum der Taufe, die jeden Tag in der Eucharistie gegenwärtig wird.

 

Exkurs: Hirntod und Transplantation


In der Zeitung "Lay Witness", dem Organ von "Catholics United for the Faith" Juli/August 2005, zu dem ein Kardinal und 15 Bischöfe als Berater gehören, wird über den Hirntod und die damit verbundene Transplatation von Organen berichtet. Der Bericht gründet auf Vorträgen, die in der Päpstlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften in Zusammenarbeit mit der Weitorganisation für die Familie gehalten wurden. Sie schreibt:


"Es gibt den überwältigenden medizinischen und wissenschaftlichen Beweis, dass das völlige und irreversible Aufhören aller Gehirnaktivität im Großhirn, Kleinhirn und Hirnstamm nicht ein Beweis für den Tod ist. Das völlige Aufhören der Gehirnaktivität kann nicht angemessen festgestellt werden. Irreversibilität ist eine Prognose, nicht eine medizinisch beobachtbare Tatsache. Wir können jetzt viele Patienten erfolgreich behandeln, die in der Vergangenheit als hoffnungsloser Fall angesehen wurden. Eine Diagnose des Todes durch neurologische Kriterien allein ist Theorie, keine wissenschaftliche Tatsache... Sie genügt nicht, um die Wahrscheinlichkeit des Lebens zu besiegen... Die Beendigung eines unschuldigen Lebens in dem Bestreben, ein anderes zu retten durch die Transplantation eines unpaarigen lebenswichtigen Organs, mildert nicht das Übel, ein unschuldiges menschliches Leben wegzunehmen. Böses darf nicht getan werden, damit Gutes daraus hervorgeht."

Päpstliche Schreiben


Kongregation für die Glaubenslehre, Erklärung Iura bona zur Euthanasie vom 5. Mai 1980

(Quelle: http://www.kathpedia.com/index.php/Tod)

 

kathpedia.com: Jüngstes Gericht

Jüngstes Gericht, Allgemeines Gericht oder auch Endgericht wird das Gericht am Ende der Zeiten genannt, wenn Jesus als Richter wiederkommen wirdwiederkommt. Die Heilige Schrift bezieht sich beispielsweise in Mt 25,31-32 darauf: Wenn der Menschensohn in seiner Herrlichkeit kommt und alle Engel mit ihm, dann wird er sich auf den Thron seiner Herrlichkeit setzen. Und alle Völker werden vor ihm zusammengerufen werden, und er wird sie voneinander scheiden, wie der Hirt die Schafe von den Böcken scheidet. In diesem Gericht werden alle Sünden offenbar werden (Lk 12,2-5).

 

Worte Jesu zum Jüngsten Gericht


Die Männer von Ninive werden beim Gericht gegen diese Generation auftreten und sie verurteilen; denn sie haben sich nach der Predigt des Jona bekehrt. Hier aber ist einer, der mehr ist als Jona. Die Königin des Südens wird beim Gericht gegen diese Generation auftreten und sie verurteilen; denn sie kam vom Ende der Erde, um die Weisheit Salomos zu hören. Hier aber ist einer, der mehr ist als Salomo. Mt12,41f

Denn wie der Vater das Leben in sich hat, so hat er auch dem Sohn gegeben, das Leben in sich zu haben. Und er hat ihm Vollmacht gegeben, Gericht zu halten, weil er der Menschensohn ist. Wundert euch nicht darüber! Die Stunde kommt, in der alle, die in den Gräbern sind, seine Stimme hören und herauskommen werden: Die das Gute getan haben, werden zum Leben auferstehen, die das Böse getan haben, zum Gericht. Von mir selbst aus kann ich nichts tun; ich richte, wie ich es (vom Vater) höre, und mein Gericht ist gerecht, weil es mir nicht um meinen Willen geht, sondern um den Willen dessen, der mich gesandt hat. Joh5, 26ff

Wenn der Menschensohn in seiner Herrlichkeit kommt und alle Engel mit ihm, dann wird er sich auf den Thron seiner Herrlichkeit setzen. Und alle Völker werden vor ihm zusammengerufen werden und er wird sie voneinander scheiden, wie der Hirt die Schafe von den Böcken scheidet. Er wird die Schafe zu seiner Rechten versammeln, die Böcke aber zur Linken. Mt25,31ff

(Quelle: http://www.kathpedia.com/index.php/J%C3%BCngstes_Gericht)

 

kathpedia.com: Letzte Dinge

Die Eschatologie ist die Lehre von den Letzten Dingen und ein Traktat innerhalb der Dogmatik.

Sie wird (nach Ludwig Ott, Der Grundriss der Dogmatik) eingeteilt:

 

Die Letzten Dinge des einzelnen Menschen


Tod
Partikulargericht, Besonderes Gericht oder Persönliches Geicht
Himmel
Fegefeuer
Hölle

Die Letzten Dinge der gesamten Schöpfung


Wiederkunft Christi
Auferstehung der Toten
Jüngstes Gericht (Das Allgemeine Gericht oder Endgericht)
Ende der Welt

Lehramtliche Schreiben


17.05.1979 Kongregation für die Glaubenslehre, Schreiben Recentiores epicoporum synodi zu einigen Fragen der Eschatologie an alle Bischöfe an die Mitglieder der Bischofskonferenzen (AAS 71 [1979] 939-943; dt.: VAS 11).
Medien
CD oder Podcast: Pfr. Thomas Rellstab: Eschatologie - Die Lehre von den letzten Dingen Teil 1, in: Radio Horeb in der Sendung Credo vom 16.1.2008.
Literatur
Ludwig Ott, Grundriss der katholischen Dogmatik 1981 (10. Auflage; Imprimatur Freiburg im Breisgau, den 2.12.1969 Der Generalvikar Dr. Schlund)
Joseph Ratzinger: Eschatologie - Tod und ewiges Leben: Mit einem neuen Vorwort von Papst Benedikt XVI
Martin Ramm FSSP, Die letzten Dinge [1] (kostenlos, DIN A 6, Mit kirchlicher Druckerlaubnis)
Stöhr-Sonnenfeld-Schumacher-Holböck-Scheffczyk ...,, Die letzen Dinge im Leben des Menschen, Fe-Medienverlag (198 Seiten)

(Quelle: http://www.kathpedia.com/index.php/Letzte_Dinge)

 

Jüngstes Gericht?

Jesus hat nicht davon gesprochen, was wir alles Falsches getan haben, als Er vom Jüngsten Gericht redete. Er sprach aber sehr wohl davon, was wir unterlassen haben: den Fremden eine Heimat zu geben, Nackte kleiden, Hungrige ernähren, Gefangene besuchen usw.!

(in Anlehnung an Fr. Bill Casey von der englischsprachigen kath. Mission in München)

 

Eschatology: The Last Things

CatholicCatholic Christians believe that all men and women will experience the end of this human life. The Word of God teaches us that each person will be judged immediately after death.

Catholics believe that the souls of the saved who are in need of further purification before facing God will be purged in purgatory.

Heaven awaits those souls found to be in the state of grace or perfection.

Hell or eternal damnation awaits those souls who die without repentance for their sins.

At the end of the world, Jesus will come again in power and glory--the Parousia.

At this time the bodies of all the dead will be resurrected.

Those still living will be taken up into the air to meet Jesus. General judgment of all people will then be made.

The blessed will possess heaven for all eternity; the damned will suffer hell for all eternity.

Catholic Christians are so aware of the Biblical theme of the last things of this life that they devote four weeks every year to a special time--Advent--a season for the faithful to listen again to the Word of God on the end of this life and the Second Coming of Jesus in glory and judgment.

All professed Christians look to the Bible for their acceptance and understanding of the end of human life and what follows human death. The study of last things is called eschatology from the Greek word eschatos, meaning "the last or extreme."

The stages of escatology include individual human death, particular judgment, the choices of heaven, purgatory or hell, the end of the world, the living being "taken up," the resurrection of the body, the Second Coming of Christ, general judgment, and the New Creation.

Christians accept that the first of the "last things" of human life is physical death. Natural death is the separation of the immortal soul from the physical body. Divine Revelation tells us the origin of human death--the sin of Adam and Eve. The punishment for the original sin is found in Genesis.

Gen 3:19
By the sweat of your face shall you get bread to eat, Until you return to the ground, from which you were taken; For you are dirt, and to dirt you shall return.

Death

Christians believe that human death closes the state of human life or the time of probation.

Scripture speaks of death in many ways:

    • as a return to dirt (Gen 3:19);
    • as a departure (2 Tim 4:6; Phil 1:23);
    • to be at home (2 Cor 5:8-9);
    • a discarding of a tent (2 Pet 1: 13-14);
    • a sleeping (Mt 9:24, Jn 11:11-13);
    • a rest (Rev 14:13);
    • a return to God (Eccl 12:7);
    • to be with Christ (Phil 1:23); and
    • to live with Christ (2 Tim 2:11).
Eccl 12:5-7
Because man goes to his lasting home, and mourners go about the streets; Before the silver cord is snapped and the golden bowl is broken, And the pitcher is shattered at the spring, and the broken pulley falls into the well, And the dust returns to the earth as it once was, and the life breath returns to God who gave it.
2 Cor 5:1
For we know that if our earthly dwelling, a tent, should be destroyed, we have a building from God, a dwelling not made with hands, eternal in heaven.
2 Cor 5:4
For while we are in this tent we groan and are weighed down, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.
2 Cor 5:8
Yet we are courageous, and we would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord.
2 Tim 4:6
For I am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand.
Phil 1:21-23
For to me life is Christ, and death is gain. If I go on living in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. And I do not know which I shall choose. I am caught between the two. I long to depart this life and be with Christ, (for) that is far better.
2 Pet 1:13-14
I think it right, as long as I am in this "tent," to stir you up by a reminder, since I know that I will soon have to put it aside, as indeed our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me.

Immediately after Death: Particular Judgment

Catholic Christians and many other Christians believe that immediately after death the souls of men and women go either to heaven (or prior to that, purgatory), or to hell definitively.

Lk 16: 19-36
(Jesus said to them [the Pharisees]:...) "There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man's table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.' Abraham replied, 'My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.' He said, 'Then I beg you, father, send him to my father's house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.' But Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.' He said, 'Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.' Then Abraham said, 'If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.'"
Lk 23: 43
He (Jesus) replied to him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
2 Cor 5: 6-8
So we are always courageous, although we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yet we are courageous, and we would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord.
1 Thess 5:10
(Jesus) died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live together with him.
Phil 1:21-23
For to me life is Christ, and death is gain. If I go on living in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. And I do not know which I shall choose. I am caught between the two. I long to depart this life and be with Christ, (for) that is far better.

The constant faith of the Church attests to the faith in the permanency of human death. That faith is best described in the writings of the Father of the Church.

Irenaeus (of Lyons, circa 130-200), set forth the idea of death as the separation of the soul from the body. The identical idea is found in Tertullian in the third century; Gregory (of Nyssa, circa 330-395) in the fourth.

That death as a separation of the soul from the body is graphically described by Augustine (of Hippo, 354-439) in his book, The City of God.

Clement (of Rome, d. circa 100 AD) affirmed the permanency of death as separation and the impossibility of meriting or losing meriting after death.

Cyprian (of Carthage, cir 200-258 AD) mentions the same fact several times in his writings.

Later Gregory (of Nazianzus, 329-389) and John Chrysostom (of Constantinople, 347-407) mention the fact several times.

It also occurs in Gregory the Great (in Rome, 540-604).

The Magisterium of the Church has confirmed throughout centuries the eternal lot of all souls, either in heaven, purgatory or hell is decided once for all at the moment of death.

Benedict XII, Benedictus Deus, January 29, 1336, Denzinger 530
We define that the souls of all the saints who have left this life soon after individual death are or will be in heaven and have eternal life; in addition we define that the souls of those dying in actual mortal sin soon after individual death descend into hell.
Council of Lyons II, 1274
We believe...that those truly penitent die in charity before they have done sufficient penance for their sins of omission and commission, their souls are cleansed after death in purgatorial or cleansing punishments; ... the souls of those who have not committed any sin at all after they received holy baptism, and the souls of those who have committed sin, but have been cleansed, either while they were in the body or afterwards ... are promptly taken up into heaven. The souls of those who die in mortal sin or with only original sin soon go down into hell, but there they will receive different punishments. (Denzinger 464)

Reincarnation

It is not uncommon that people under the influence of the New Age Movement and Hollywood movies ask about the possibility of another or previous life or other lives for the soul. Catholic Christianity and all orthodox Christian faith communities have always found in the Word of God clear revelation of the unique nature of this life, of individual death and a definitive judgment for the soul.

Mt 25: 31-41
(Then Jesus told the crowds and his disciples: ...)"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.' ... Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.'"
2 Cor 5:10
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil.
Lk 16: 19-36
(Jesus said to them [the Pharisees]:...) "There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores ..."
Heb 9:27-28
Just as it is appointed that human beings die once, and after this the judgment, so also Christ, offered once to take away the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to take away sin but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him.

Being Taken Up Into Heaven

The question of those still alive at the time of the end of the world has always concerned believers. Some evangelical Christians have developed a teaching on the so-called "rapture." It is based on a passage from Matthew's Gospel. Some believe in a rapture before Jesus' second coming. These teachings began in 1830 in the Plymouth Church in England from a man named John Nelson Darby. Catholic Christians simply accept Christ's explanation of those still alive at the end of the world.

Mt 24:36-42
(In reply, Jesus said to them:) "But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. For as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. In (those) days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be (also) at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left. Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come."

Paul says that (1) the resurrection of the dead will precede the second coming. According to Paul, the Lord will command those who have suffered human death to rise. Only then (2) will those still living at the end of time join the resurrected dead. Both groups together (3) will be witnesses to Christ's coming.

1 Thess 4:16-18
For the Lord himself, with a word of command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God, will come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore, console one another with these words.

Heaven

Catholic Christians and all other Christians believe in the blessedness of heaven realized in the possession of God.

Scripture speaks of heaven in many ways:

    • as life (Mt 18:8);
    • as eternal life (Mt 25:46);
    • as the crown of life (Jam 1:12);
    • as the tree of life (Rev 2:7);
    • as glory (Rom 8:18);
    • as eternal glory (2 Tim 2:10);
    • as the eternal glory of God (1 Pet 5:10);
    • as rest (Heb 4:3, 11);
    • as the crown of righteousness (2 Tim 4:8);
    • as the Kingdom (Mt 25: 34);
    • as a dwelling in the heavens (2 Cor 5:1);
    • as paradise (Lk 23:43).

Those who are in heaven will have:

    • great rewards (Lk 6:23);
    • treasures (Mt 6:20);
    • an imperishable inheritance incapable of fading or defilement (1 Pet 1:4).

In heaven the blessed:

    • will be with God (Rev 21:3);
    • will be with Christ (Mk 16:19);
    • will be with the angels (Mt 22:30);
    • will be in the house of the Father where there are many dwelling places (Jn 14:2);
    • are heirs of God, heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17);
    • will see God face to face (1 Cor 13:9-12);
    • will see God as he is (1 Jn 3:2).

They will reign forever and ever:

    • illuminated by God (Rev 22:3-5);
    • immortal and physically incorruptible (Rev 21:4);
    • with an irreproachable conscience (1 Pet 3:21).

The Magisterium of the Church speaks of heaven in many ways:

    • as eternal life (Denzinger, 640);
    • as the eternal fatherland (Denzinger 457);
    • as heaven (Denzinger 464);
    • as the kingdom of heaven and celestial paradise (Denzinger 530);
    • as the vision and fruition of God (Denzinger 530);
    • as true beatitude (Denzinger 530);
    • as eternal rest (Denzinger 530);
    • as eternal beatitude (Denzinger 570);
    • as the vision of God one and three (Denzinger 693);
    • as glory (Denzinger 842);
    • as eternal retribution (Denzinger 836);
    • as the supernatural end (Denzinger 1669, 1786).
Mt 13:43
Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears ought to hear.
Rom 2:6-7, 10
... who will repay everyone according to his works: eternal life to those who seek glory, honor, and immortality through perseverance in good works, ... But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does good.
Jn 17:3
Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.
Mt 25:21
His master said to him, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master's joy.'
Jn 14:2-3
In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.
Ps 73:23-25
Yet I am always with you; you take hold of my right hand. With your counsel you guide me, and at the end receive me with honor. Whom else have I in the heavens? None beside you delights me on earth.
Ps 16:11
You will show me the path to life, abounding joy in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever.
Ps 17:15
I am just--let me see your face; when I awake, let me be filled with your presence.
1 Jn 3:2
Beloved, we are God's children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
Lk 22:29-30
I confer a kingdom on you, just as my Father has conferred one on me, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom; and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
1 Pet 1:3-5
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith, to a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the final time.
1 Pet 5:4
And when the chief Shepherd is revealed, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
Rev 21:27
... but nothing unclean will enter it (New Jerusalem, heaven), nor any (one) who does abominable things or tells lies. Only those will enter whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.
Wis 5:16
Therefore shall they receive the splendid crown, the beauteous diadem, from the hand of the Lord- For he shall shelter them with his right hand, and protect them with his arm.
2 Cor 4:17
For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,

The teachings of the Fathers of the Church affirms the constant understanding of heaven in the history of faith.

Augustine, Confessions, Book 1, Ch. 1
And man, being a part of your creation, desires to praise You. You move us to delight in praising You; for You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in you.
Augustine, The City of God, Book 11, Ch. 13
From all this, it will readily occur to any one that the blessedness which an intelligent being desires as its legitimate object results from a combination of two things, namely, that it interruptedly enjoy the unchangeable good which is God; and that it be delivered from all doubt, and know certainly that it shall eternally abide in the same enjoyment.
Clement of Alexandria Stromata, Book 7, Ch. 10
For it is said, "To him that has shall be given" (Mt 25:29; Lk 19:26): to faith, knowledge; and to knowledge, love; and to love the inheritance. ... Whence at last ... it is that knowledge is committed to those fit and selected for it. It leads us to the endless and perfect end, teaching us beforehand the future life that we shall lead, according to God, and with gods; after we are freed from all punishment and penalty which we undergo, in consequence of our sins, for salutary purposes. After which redemption the reward and the honors are assigned to those who have become perfect; ... they have become pure in heart, and near to the Lord, there awaits them restoration to everlasting contemplation; and they are called by the appellation of gods, being destined to sit on thrones with the other gods that have been first put in their places by the Savior.

Hell: Reprobation

Christians believe because the Bible is clear that hell exists.

Scripture speaks of hell in many ways:

    • as a place of torment (Lk 16:28),
    • as the netherworld (Lk 16:22),
    • as the abyss (Lk 8:31; Rev 9:1-2,11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1,3),
    • as a fiery furnace (Mt 13:42, 50),
    • as a pool of fire (Rev 20:10, 14),
    • as a fiery pool of burning sulfur (Rev 19:20),
    • as a pool of fire and sulfur (Rev 20:10; 21:8),
    • as Tartarus (Greek mythological place of punishment)(2 Pet 2:4),
    • as Gehenna or as the fire of Gehenna (Mt 5:22, 29; 10:28; 18:9; 23:33).

As a state, Scripture speaks of hell with many words:

    • as death (Rom 6:21; 8:6; 8:13; 2 Cor 2:14-16),
    • as the second death (Rev 2:11; 20:6; 21:8),
    • as eternal ruin (2 Thess 1:9; 1 Tim 6:9),
    • as outside darkness (Mt 8:12; 22:11-13; 25:30),
    • as eternal fire (Mt 18:8, 25:41; Jude 7),
    • as eternal punishment (Mt 25:46),
    • as destruction (Mt 7:13; Phil 1:28; 2 Pet 3:7),
    • as damnation (Mk 16:16; Jn 12:25),
    • as perishing (Jn 3:16; 10:27; Rom 2:12),
    • as unquenchable fire (Mk 9:42-47; Lk 3:17),
    • as fire and sulfur (Rev 14:9-14),
    • as thick gloom of darkness (2 Pet 2:17; Jude 13),
    • as corruption (Gal 6:8),
    • as Babylon (Rev 18; 19:1-3)
Mt 25: 31-46
(Then Jesus told the crowds and his disciples: ...) "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. ... Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.' ... And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
Lk 16: 19-26
(Jesus said to them [the Pharisees]:...) "There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man's table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.' Abraham replied, 'My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.' "
Mk 9:42-47
(Jesus said in reply ... ) "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe (in me) to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna ..."
2 Thess 1:9
These will pay the penalty of eternal ruin, separated from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power, ...
Mt 13:40-42
Just as weeds are collected and burned (up) with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.
Jn 15:6
Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned.
Rom 2:6-9
... (he) will repay everyone according to his works: ... wrath and fury to those who selfishly disobey the truth and obey wickedness. Yes, affliction and distress will come upon every human being who does evil, ...
1 Cor 6:9-10
Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.
Jn 3:36
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him.
Jn 5:29
(This was Jesus' answer ...) those who have done good deeds to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked deeds to the resurrection of condemnation.
Rev 21:27
But nothing unclean will enter it (the new Jerusalem, heaven),, nor any (one) who does abominable things or tells lies.
Rev 22:15
Outside (the new Jerusalem, heaven) are the dogs, the sorcerers, the unchaste, the murderers, the idol-worshipers, and all who love and practice deceit.
Mt 10:28
And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.
Rev 21:8
But as for cowards, the unfaithful, the depraved, murderers, the unchaste, sorcerers, idol-worshipers, and deceivers of every sort, their lot is in the burning pool of fire and sulfur, which is the second death.

The Fathers of the Church reflect the constant faith of the Church on the existence and nature of hell.

Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Ephesians, Ch. 16:1
Make no mistake, brethren; the corrupter of families will not inherit the kingdom of God. If, then, those are dead who do these things according to the flesh, how much worse if, with bad doctrine, one should corrupt the faith of God for which Jesus Christ was crucified. Such a man, for becoming contaminated, will depart into unquenchable fire; and will any one who listens to him.
Gregory of Nyssa, The Great Catechism, Ch. 40
Indeed, the sinner's life of torment presents no equivalent to anything that pains the sense here. Even if some one of the punishments in that other world be named in terms that are well known here, the distinction is still not small. When you hear the word fire, you have been taught to think of a fire other than the fire we see, owing to something being added to that fire which in this there is not; for that fire is never quenched, whereas experience has discovered many ways of quenching this; and there is a great difference between a fire which can be extinguished, and one that does not admit of extinction.

The teaching Magisterium of the Church has also affirmed the existence and nature of hell.

The Lateran Council IV, 1215
... the wicked (receive), a perpetual punishment with the devil ...
Pope Innocent IV (1243-1254)
But if anyone dies unrepentant in the state of mortal sin, he will undoubtedly be tormented forever in the fires of an everlasting hell. (Letter to the Bishop of Tusculum, Section 24)
Vatican Council I, 1869-70
Therefore, all who die in actual mortal sin are excluded from the kingdom of God and will suffer forever the torments of hell from which there is no redemption.
If anyone says that a man can be justified even after death; or if he says that the punishments of the damned in hell will not last forever; let him be anathema.

Purgatory

Sacred Scripture and the constant faith of the Church affirm that heaven and hell, as places, exist. Roman Catholic Christians and other Christians also profess belief in a state of being, not a place, called "purgatory." The term "purgatory" is not found in the Bible; but neither are other such important Christian beliefs such as "Trinity" and "Incarnation."

Purgatory is defined as a state of being, the continuing process of purgation or purification of the soul after human death. It is a state of perfection--begun in baptism and faith-consummated after death, entered into only by those who are saved. In other words, our transformation in Christ (Rom 13:14, "Put on the Lord Jesus Christ"), our perfection in the holiness of the Father (1 Pet 1:16, "Be holy, because I (am) holy") is not ended at our physical death. Purgatory is a sign of God's mercy on those who have honestly sought to know God and to do His will in this life and yet die in some degree of bondage to sin or the effects of sin.

The Church has only two official teachings concerning purgatory:

    • it exists, and
    • our prayers help the souls in purgatory.

God is revealed as perfect interior holiness.

Is 6:3
"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts!" they (the Seraphim) cried one to the other.

We are called to that same holiness.

Lv 19:2
"Speak to the whole Israelite community and tell them: Be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy."
1 Pet 1:15-16
As he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct, for it is written, "Be holy because I (am) holy."

Who can stand in the face of the holiness of God?

Ps 15:1
Lord, who may abide in your tent? Who may dwell on your holy mountain?
Ps 66:18
Had I cherished evil in my heart, the Lord would not have heard.
Heb 12:14
Strive for peace with everyone, and for that holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
Eph 5:3
Immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you, as is fitting among holy ones.
Ex 33:18-20
Then Moses said, "Do let me see your glory!" He (Yahweh) answered, "I will make all my beauty pass before you, and in your presence I will pronounce my name, 'Lord'; I who show favors to whom I will, I who grant mercy to whom I will. But my face you cannot see, for no man sees me and still lives."
Rev 21:27
... but nothing unclean will enter it (the City of God), nor any (one) who does abominable things or tells lies. Only those will enter whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.
Eph 5:25-27
Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her (the Church) to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

We are deprived of the vision of God because of our sinfulness. But there is a divine purging fire which can heal us.

Heb 12:29
For our God is a consuming fire.
Heb 12:6,10
For whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he acknowledges. ... but he does so for our benefit, in order that we may share his holiness.
Is 6:5-7
Then I (Isaiah) said, "Woe is me, I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!" Then one of the seraphim flew to me, holding an ember which he had taken with tongs from the altar. He touched my mouth with it. "See," he said, "now that this has touched your lips, your wickedness is removed, your sin purged."
1 Cor 3:11-15
For no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there, namely, Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, the work of each will come to light, for the Day will disclose it. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire (itself) will test the quality of each one's work. If the work stands that someone built upon the foundation, that person will receive a wage. But if someone's work is burned up, that one will suffer loss; the person will be saved, but only as through fire.
1 Pet 1:7
The genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Jesus implies that our sins can be forgiven in the next world.

Mt 12:32
And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

Scripture from the Greek Septuagint, the Old Testament of Christ, the Evangelists and Paul, and of the councils of Hippo and Carthage, affirm purgatory.

2 Mc 12:42-46
Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out. The noble Judas warned the soldiers to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen. He then took up a collection among all his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice. In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view; for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death. But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin.

Experience teaches us that there are people who die so suddenly, they have not had the opportunity to confess their sins, but are not guilty of serious "death dealing" sin and separation from God.

The constant faith of the Church affirms the belief in purgatory.

From the earliest of times, the Fathers of the Church taught the existence of purgatory: Tertullian (Rome, 160 - 220?), Origen (Alexandria, 185 - 254?), Cyprian (Carthage, 200 - 258), Ambrose (Tier, 340 - 397), Augustine (Numidia, 354 - 430), Basil (Caesarea, 329 - 379), Gregory of Nazianzus (in Cappadocia, 329 - 389), John Chrysostom (Antioch, 349 - 407), Gregory the Great (Rome, 540 - 604), and many others.

The teaching Magisterium of the Church also affirms the belief in purgatory.

Council of Lyons II (1274)
We believe ... that the souls, by the purifying compensation are purged after death.
Council of Florence
Repeated the Council of Lyons II.
Council of Trent (1545-1563)
We constantly hold that purgatory exists, and that the souls of the faithful there detained are helped by the prayers of the faithful.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, Section 1031
The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of cleansing fire.
As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, Section 1472
To understand this doctrine and practice of the Church, it is necessary to understand that sin has a double consequence. Grave sin deprives us of communion with God and therefore makes us incapable of eternal life, the privation of which is called the "eternal punishment" of sin. On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called the "temporal punishment" of sin. These two punishments must not be conceived of as a kind of vengeance inflicted by God from without, but as following from the very nature of sin. A conversion which proceeds from a fervent charity can attain the complete purification of the sinner in such a way that no punishment would remain.

Limbo

The word limbo comes from the Latin word limbus which means a border, a hem, or fringe around the edge of a garment.

The term is associated in common parlance to mean some in-between state of being. It is often associated, in a religious context, with some state of being in neither heaven nor hell, therefore on the fringe of either. It has been used to refer to the abode for the dead who were neither capable of committing deadly sin (1 Jn 5:16) which excluded the soul from hell nor were baptized in water and the Holy Spirit (Jn 3:5)which excluded the soul from heaven.

There never has been nor is there any official Roman Catholic doctrinal position or teaching on the existence of or state of limbo.

It must be stated that the term limbo receives a lot of attention in pastoral practice when pastors had to explain the mind of God to distraught parents whose newborn infant has died without being baptized.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, Section 1261
As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them," allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.

The Parousia: Christ's Second Coming

Catholic Christians have always believed that Jesus Christ would come back to close the current period of human history in earth. The time when Jesus will return is given many names: the Day of the Lord, the Parousia, the end time, and the Second Coming of Christ.

The Bible describes the events of Jesus' return in apocalyptic images.

Mk 13:26-27
And then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in the clouds' with great power and glory, and then he will send out the angels and gather (his) elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.
Mt 16:27
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father's glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct.
Acts 1:11
They (two men dressed in white) said, "Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven."
1 Thess 4:16-18
For the Lord himself, with a word of command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God, will come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore, console one another with these words.

The parousia will be unmistakable because it will be accompanied by unprecedented signs.

Mt 24:27
For just as lightning comes from the east and is seen as far as the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.

Some signs are general events concerning the evangelization of the world.

Mt 24:14
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come.

Other signs are more proximate. Mark (Chapter 13), Matthew (Chapter 24), and Luke (Chapter 21) all describe the unmistakable signs with apocalyptic images.

2 Tim 4:1-2
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power: proclaim the word ...
2 Tim 3:1-5
But understand this: there will be terrifying times in the last days. People will be self-centered and lovers of money, proud, haughty, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, irreligious, callous, implacable, slanderous, licentious, brutal, hating what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, as they make a pretense of religion but deny its power. Reject them.

No one knows exactly when this will occur.

Mk 13:32
(Jesus began his discourse ...) "But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."
1 Thess 5:2
For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night.
2 Pet 3:10
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a mighty roar and the elements will be dissolved by fire, and the earth and everything done on it will be found out.

The Catholic Church teaches that we should avoid pointless speculations about the time, the details of the signs, the nature of the difficulties, etc. The Church focuses instead on the need for living the Gospel so as to be prepared for the parousia whenever it happens.

Mk 13:33,35-37
(Jesus began his discourse ...) "Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come. ... Watch, therefore; you do not know when the lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning. May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to all: 'Watch!'"
1 Pet 1:13-16
Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, live soberly, and set your hopes completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Like obedient children, do not act in compliance with the desires of your former ignorance but, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct, for it is written, "Be holy because I (am) holy."

Millennialism: A Thousand Year Reign

There exists among many Evangelical Protestants a dogma based on some passages in the Bible called millennialism which means a "thousand year reign." The basis for millennialism is found in the Book of Revelation.

Rev 20:1-15
Then I saw an angel come down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the abyss and a heavy chain. He seized the dragon, the ancient serpent, which is the Devil or Satan, and tied it up for a thousand years and threw it into the abyss, which he locked over it and sealed, so that it could no longer lead the nations astray until the thousand years are completed. After this, it is to be released for a short time. Then I saw thrones; those who sat on them were entrusted with judgment. I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshipped the beast or its image nor had accepted its mark on their foreheads or hands. They came to life and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were over. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over these; they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for (the) thousand years. When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison. He will go out to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. They invaded the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the holy ones and the beloved city. But fire came down from heaven and consumed them. The Devil who had led them astray was thrown into the pool of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet were. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Next I saw a large white throne and the one who was sitting on it. The earth and the sky fled from his presence and there was no place for them. I saw the dead, the great and the lowly, standing before the throne, and scrolls were opened. Then another scroll was opened, the book of life. The dead were judged according to their deeds, by what was written in the scrolls. The sea gave up its dead; then Death and Hades gave up their dead. All the dead were judged according to their deeds. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the pool of fire. (This pool of fire is the second death. ) Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the pool of fire.

The Magisterium of the Church has never commented on a thousand year reign of Christ. Rather, as is already clear from what is covered in these notes, the Church does not see the Second Coming of Christ at any other time than at the general judgment of all men and women which is the same as the resurrection of the dead followed by definitive reward or punishment for souls.

The Church interprets the expression "a thousand years" not literally but according to the literature in which it appears--prophetic and apocalyptic. In apocalyptic literature, a thousand years would simply indicate a long period of time, in this case, the time period before the Second Coming of Christ. Apocalyptic literature is not to be taken literally.

Millennialism: A Thousand Year Reign

There exists among many Evangelical Protestants a dogma based on some passages in the Bible called millennialism which means a "thousand year reign." The basis for millennialism is found in the Book of Revelation.

Rev 20:1-15
Then I saw an angel come down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the abyss and a heavy chain. He seized the dragon, the ancient serpent, which is the Devil or Satan, and tied it up for a thousand years and threw it into the abyss, which he locked over it and sealed, so that it could no longer lead the nations astray until the thousand years are completed. After this, it is to be released for a short time. Then I saw thrones; those who sat on them were entrusted with judgment. I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshipped the beast or its image nor had accepted its mark on their foreheads or hands. They came to life and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were over. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over these; they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for (the) thousand years. When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison. He will go out to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. They invaded the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the holy ones and the beloved city. But fire came down from heaven and consumed them. The Devil who had led them astray was thrown into the pool of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet were. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Next I saw a large white throne and the one who was sitting on it. The earth and the sky fled from his presence and there was no place for them. I saw the dead, the great and the lowly, standing before the throne, and scrolls were opened. Then another scroll was opened, the book of life. The dead were judged according to their deeds, by what was written in the scrolls. The sea gave up its dead; then Death and Hades gave up their dead. All the dead were judged according to their deeds. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the pool of fire. (This pool of fire is the second death. ) Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the pool of fire.

The Magisterium of the Church has never commented on a thousand year reign of Christ. Rather, as is already clear from what is covered in these notes, the Church does not see the Second Coming of Christ at any other time than at the general judgment of all men and women which is the same as the resurrection of the dead followed by definitive reward or punishment for souls.

The Church interprets the expression "a thousand years" not literally but according to the literature in which it appears--prophetic and apocalyptic. In apocalyptic literature, a thousand years would simply indicate a long period of time, in this case, the time period before the Second Coming of Christ. Apocalyptic literature is not to be taken literally.

Resurrection of the Dead

All Christians hold firmly to the belief expressed in the Bible and mirrored in the resurrection from the dead of Jesus of the resurrection of all men and women.

By "resurrection" Christians do not mean only the return to life in the body of a dead human being; it means taking on a completely new existence. We believe that the souls of all those who have died will be reunited to their bodies; but those bodies will have different characteristics.

We Catholic Christians profess this belief often when we pray the Apostles Creed: I believe in ... the resurrection of the body. In the Nicene Creed, we profess: We look for the resurrection of the dead.

Mt 22:29-32
Jesus said to them in reply, "You are misled because you do not know the scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like the angels in heaven. And concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not the God of the dead but of the living."
Mt 5:29-30
(He [Jesus] began to teach them ...) If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into Gehenna.
Jn 11:22-26
Jesus said to her (Martha), "Your brother will rise." Martha said to him, "I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day." Jesus told her, "I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
Jn 6:40
(Jesus explained to them (the disciples):) For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him (on) the last day.
Jn 6:51
(Jesus told them:) I am the living bread ... whoever eats this bread will live forever
Jn 6:54
(Jesus told them:) Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.

Catholic Christians believe that the dead will rise with bodies similar to those they had on earth. Some important evidence for our resurrected bodies is to read the qualities of the resurrected body of Jesus:

    • appeared suddenly then disappeared;
    • passed through walls;
    • his body seemed to be the same as it was before death; but it was also very different;
    • he even changed his appearance so that his disciples didn't recognize him (Lk 24).

The Church believes we will resurrect the same bodies as we had on earth by the language of the Bible. The resurrection will change these bodies into a glorified form. The word "reawakening" is used in reference to the resurrection.

Catholic scholars have distinguished certain qualities of our resurrected bodies:

    • impassability: freedom from physical ills of any kind (sickness, death, etc.);
    • subtility: the spiritualization of the body--dominated by the soul;
    • agility: the ability of the soul to move the body with ease and speed;
    • clarity: freedom from defects--having great beauty and radiance.

Paul also speaks in language of reawakening instead of replacement:

1 Cor 15:53
For that which is corruptible must clothe itself with incorruptibility, and that which is mortal must clothe itself with immortality.
1 Cor 15:42-44
So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown corruptible; it is raised incorruptible. It is sown dishonorable; it is raised glorious. It is sown weak; it is raised powerful. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.

Scripture speaks of the resurrection of both the blessed and the damned:

Jn 5:28-29
(Jesus' answer:) Do not be amazed at this, because the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and will come out, those who have done good deeds to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked deeds to the resurrection of condemnation.
Mt 22:23-32; Mk 12:18-27; Lk 20:27-40
On that day Sadducees approached him (Jesus), saying that there is no resurrection. They put this question to him, saying, "Teacher, Moses said, 'If a man dies without children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up descendants for his brother.' Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died and, having no descendants, left his wife to his brother. The same happened with the second and the third, through all seven. Finally the woman died. Now at the resurrection, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had been married to her." Jesus said to them in reply, "You are misled because you do not know the scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like the angels in heaven. And concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not the God of the dead but of the living."
Jn 11:22-26
Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise." Martha said to him, "I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day." Jesus told her, "I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
Acts 23:6
Paul was aware that some were Sadducees and some Pharisees, so he called out before the Sanhedrin, "My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of Pharisees; (I) am on trial for hope in the resurrection of the dead."

The Magisterium constantly proclaims the truth of the resurrection of the body.

Council of Toledo XI, 675
Thus, according to the model of our Head, we profess that there is a true bodily resurrection of all the dead... we shall rise in this very body in which we now live and are and move. (Denzinger 287)
Lateran Council IV, 1215
... He (Christ) will come at the end of the world; he will judge the living and the dead; and he will reward all, both the lost and elect, according to their works. And all these will rise with their own bodies which they now have so that they may receive according to their works, whether good or bad; the wicked, a perpetual punishment with the devil; the good, eternal glory with Christ. (Denzinger 429)

General Judgment

As we began the study of eschatology, we saw that each individual person is judged by God immediately after his or her death. That prompt sentence is called the particular judgment. The Bible is very emphatic in asserting that there is also a general judgment of all mankind at the end of the world.

The particular judgment addresses each of us as individual and personal; the general judgment will address all of us as social, members of society. Also, after the resurrection, the body must also share the judgment of the soul. The general judgment addresses both the whole human person, resurrected body reunited with the soul, and the whole of human society.

Christians pray and affirm their belief in a general judgment in the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed
Jesus Christ ... sits at the right hand of God the Father almighty and will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.

Scripture is abundantly clear on the point of general judgment for all people.

Mt 16:27
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father's glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct.
Jn 5:22-29
Nor does the Father judge anyone, but he has given all judgment to his Son, so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. ... And he gave him power to exercise judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not be amazed at this, because the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and will come out, those who have done good deeds to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked deeds to the resurrection of condemnation.
Mt 25: 31-46
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.' Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?' And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.' Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.' Then they will answer and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?' He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.' And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
Acts 10:42
(Peter addressed them in these words) ... He (Jesus) commissioned us to preach to the people and testify that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead.
Rom 2:15-16
They show that the demands of the law are written in their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even defend them on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge people's hidden works through Christ Jesus.
Rev 20:11-15
Next I saw a large white throne and the one who was sitting on it. The earth and the sky fled from his presence and there was no place for them. I saw the dead, the great and the lowly, standing before the throne, and scrolls were opened. Then another scroll was opened, the book of life. The dead were judged according to their deeds, by what was written in the scrolls. The sea gave up its dead; then Death and Hades gave up their dead. All the dead were judged according to their deeds. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the pool of fire. (This pool of fire is the second death. ) Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the pool of fire.

The New Creation

The Bible tells all Christians what life after general judgment will be like. The Evangelist John wrote of his visions of the New Creation in his book of Revelation.

Rev 21:1-8
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, God's dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them (as their God). He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, (for) the old order has passed away." The one who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." Then he said, "Write these words down, for they are trustworthy and true." He said to me, "They are accomplished. I (am) the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give a gift from the spring of life-giving water. The victor will inherit these gifts, and I shall be his God, and he will be my son. But as for cowards, the unfaithful, the depraved, murderers, the unchaste, sorcerers, idol-worshipers, and deceivers of every sort, their lot is in the burning pool of fire and sulfur, which is the second death."
Rev 5:13
Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, everything in the universe, cry out: "To the one who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor, glory and might, forever and ever."


(Quelle: http://romanticcatholic.com/apologetics.html - used with permission)





 

A Catholic View of the End Times


The glorious Messiah's coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by "all Israel", for "a hardening has come upon part of Israel" in their "unbelief" toward Jesus... The "full inclusion" of the Jews in the Messiah's salvation, in the wake of "the full number of the Gentiles", will enable the People of God to achieve "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ", in which "God may be all in all". (CCC 674)

Introduction


As I write these lines, in wake of the peace summit in Annapolis (November 2007), there is constant talk of attempting to reach a peace agreement in the Middle East. As believers, naturally, we are to pray for peace in the Middle East and in the world. The Scriptures certainly exhort us to "pray for the peace of Jerusalem" (Ps 122:6). Yet equally important is to pray with the proper eschatological perspective. The proper what? Well, "eschatology" is the study of the "last things,"  or the final events in the history of the world. To have a proper eschatological perspective, therefore, means to understand the road map that God has provided for us in divine revelation – in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition - so that we may have an idea of what to expect as we head towards the culmination and end of human history.

The end of human history? Am I about to embark in an apocalyptic "the end is near" type of discourse? Not necessarily. But I do think that eschatology is not given its proper place among many Catholics. While some evangelicals and fundamentalists overdo it in speculating about the right scenario and time of the end of days, Catholics, by contrast, tend to shun the subject altogether. When was the last time you had a good discussion about the final battle between the antichrist and the Church over coffee after Sunday Mass?
Liturgy, Scripture, and Eschatological Blindness

This Catholic discomfort with the end-times is a bit strange, because we are in fact reminded of Christ's expected Second Coming at every Mass. Every time we recite the Nicene Creed we remember that "He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end." And the proclamations that follows the consecration of the Eucharistic species also have a strong eschatological character:
 
"Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again."
"Dying you destroyed our death, rising you restored our life. Lord Jesus, come in glory!"
"When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus, until you come in glory."
Consider also the vivid language of the reading that is read at Mass during the last week of the liturgical year:
"And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory." (Luke 21:25-27)

And Matthew's version:


"Then will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory; and he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (Mt 24:30-31)
Now this will be quite a show. Why, then, the lack of Catholic interest for eschatology when liturgy and Scripture are quite emphatic about the end of days? I remember hearing a few years ago an otherwise excellent priest who preached that "it will probably be another thousand years" until Christ returns. Though this is of course theoretically possible, there are however good reasons to believe that he may have been seriously wrong. It is quite true that Christ warned us against the pretense of trying to guess exactly when the Second Coming will occur when He said that "of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only" (Mat 24:36). But immediately before this, Jesus also used the analogy of the fig tree to exhort us to be attentive to the signs of the times and of his second coming: "Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!" (Mat 24:32-33). With these words, Jesus explicitly tells us to be attentive to what is going on around us. Even though no one can know the day and hour, the Lord tells us that we should be able to have a good idea of the season in which we find ourselves. And when he tells us: "you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect" - the implication is that He may be coming sooner than we think!

All Creation Groans


As long as we are on good terms with God (in a state of grace), the prospect of Jesus returning should not trouble us but rather fill us with excitement and joy. It is true that, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us, "Christ dwells on earth in his Church" and His kingdom "is already present in mystery, on earth, the seed and beginning of the kingdom" (CCC 669). Yet because of human frailty and sin, this kingdom is sometimes still very hard to see. And so, as the apostle Paul tells us, we "groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies" (Rom 8:23). Consider how the Catechism beautifully describes our present state as we long for our final redemption:
 
Though already present in his Church, Christ's reign is nevertheless yet to be fulfilled "with power and great glory" by the King's return to earth. This reign is still under attack by the evil powers, even though they have been defeated definitively by Christ's Passover. Until everything is subject to him, until there be realized new heavens and a new earth in which justice dwells, the pilgrim Church, in her sacraments and institutions, which belong to this present age, carries the mark of this world which will pass, and she herself takes her place among the creatures which groan and travail yet and await the revelation of the sons of God." That is why Christians pray, above all in the Eucharist, to hasten Christ's return by saying to him: Marana tha! "Our Lord, come!" (CCC 671)
The Catechism goes on to describe our present time as "the time of the Spirit and of witness, but also a time still marked by 'distress' and the trial of evil which does not spare the Church and ushers in the struggles of the last days. It is a time of waiting and watching." (CCC 672)

 

The Signs of the Times


What, then, are some of the warning signs that we are to recognize as indicative of the "birth pangs of redemption" that will precede the coming of the Messiah and final judgment? Let's see what the Scriptures and the Church tell us. Keep in mind that the following points do not pretend to sketch a scenario of end-time events in order, but merely suggest some of the signs that are likely to occur as we approach the end of human history.

(1) There will be many wars and rumors of wars and an increased frequency of natural catastrophes:

 
And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. (Mt 24:6-8)

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven. (Lk 21:10-11)
(2) There will be increased intolerance, hatred and persecution of the remnant of Christians who remain faithful to the Gospel:
 
But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake... You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. (Lk 21:12, 16-17)

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. (Mt 24:9)
(3) There will be a great apostasy and falling away from the faith:
 
And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. (Mt 24:12)

When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8)
Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron... (1 Tim 4:1-2)

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. (2 Tim 4:3-4)
 (4) This apostasy will be accompanied by great moral decline and decadence:
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. (2 Tim 3:1-5)
 (5) Many false prophets and false Messiahs will rise and claim to speak for God:
Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. (Mt 24:11)
Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. (Mt 24:23-27).
 
(6) Despite all this trouble, the Gospel message will reach the ends of the earth:
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Mt 24:14)
(7) The people of Israel - the Jewish people - will return to the land of Israel after a long exile among the nations:
 
For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. (Ezek 36:24-28, also Ezek 37)

And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (Luke 21:24)
(8) The antichrist will enter the world arena and will present himself as a (false) Messiah or pseudo-god, cruelly opposed to the Judeo-Christian God and His followers:
 
Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ... that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God... For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thess 2:1-12)
Then [the beast] opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. (Rev 13:6-7)
The antichrist will establish a one-world government and economic system, and he will deceive most of the world with an attractive, universalistic one-world religion that will pretend to solve the world's problems but "at the price of apostasy from the truth":
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. (CCC 675)
And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Rev 13:7-8)

Under the reign of the antichrist the persecution of Christians will reach its peak:
Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place... there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. (Mt 24:15-22)
(9) After Israel has returned from exile, all nations will rise up against it and it too will also experience a great tribulation:
 
Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog... In the latter years you will come into the land of those brought back from the sword and gathered from many people on the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate; they were brought out of the nations, and now all of them dwell safely... You will come up against My people Israel like a cloud, to cover the land. It will be in the latter days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me, when I am hallowed in you, O Gog, before their eyes. (Ezek 38:1-17)

Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it. (Zech 12:2-3)
(10) God will sovereignly deliver Israel, and the Jewish people will recognize Jesus as Messiah before His return:
 
In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the LORD before them. It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. (Zech 12:8-10)

Blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved... (Rom 11:25-26)
The glorious Messiah's coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by "all Israel", for "a hardening has come upon part of Israel" in their "unbelief" toward Jesus... The "full inclusion" of the Jews in the Messiah's salvation, in the wake of "the full number of the Gentiles", will enable the People of God to achieve "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ", in which "God may be all in all". (CCC 674).
(11) There will be widespread religious apathy and indifference, and the final judgment will come at an unexpected moment:
 
For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be... Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. (Mt 24:37-44).
(12) Jesus will return for the final judgment when it seems that evil is about to triumph and after the Church has been purified through great suffering:
 
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. 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. 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. (CCC 677)

And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. (2 Thess 2:8)
And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. (Rev 19:19-20).

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. (1 Thess 4:16-17)

 

Where Do We Stand Today?


How do these signs compare with the situation of the world today? It is interesting to note that at least seven of these twelve signs are either already partially or completely fulfilled:
(1) The twentieth century has witnessed the most murderous wars in the history of mankind, and especially with the rise of global jihad there seems to be no end in sight to the number of conflicts around the globe in our own day. There also has been a abnormal surge of natural catastrophes (earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, floods) in recent decades;
(2) The persecution of Christians has reached peak levels in the twentieth century and continues to increase in the twenty-first, particularly in Muslim countries;
(3) In the past two centuries we have witnessed a great apostasy of what used to be the Christian world: many peoples and nations that once claimed to be Christian have abandoned their former faith and have become largely atheistic/agnostic. Many churches are empty; many others who call themselves Christians have abandoned the basic tenets of the Christian faith or only keep an empty, external form of it without real content.
(4) In the past two generations we have witnessed a shocking moral decadence, where things once thought to be moral abominations have come to be considered normal and sometimes even good (e.g. promiscuity, pornography, homosexuality, abortion, teen violence)
(5) the world has become a "religious supermarket" saturated with countless new religious sects, gurus and false prophets who propose to solve peoples' problems; New Age spirituality and relativism are the dominant ideologies, and there is a tremendous religious confusion in the world.
(6) The gospel, nonetheless, has virtually reached the ends of the earth in the past century. Though many people groups remain to be evangelized, Christians can be found in most countries on all continents.
(7) In the past hundred years, a large part of the Jewish people have returned from their long exile to the land of Israel.
In addition, three of the remaining four signs are either in the process of coming to pass, or could be plausibly fulfilled in the near future:
(8) For the first time in the history of mankind, modern technological advances in the fields of transportation and communication, along with the globalization of economic and political systems, are making the rise of a world leader not only plausible but quite possible. With the apostasy of the former Christian world, its moral decline, and the fact that many political leaders are becoming increasingly hostile to Christianity, it is not so far-fetched to imagine the rise of a world leader who could initiate a global persecution of Christians.
(9) Anti-Semitism is again on the rise, along with increasing irrational hostility towards the state of Israel, not only from the Arab/Muslim world but also increasingly from Western nations. Israel's existence has been threatened since the establishment of the state in 1948, and today this existential threat is graver than ever. Several of Israel's neighbors unashamedly and openly call for the destruction of the Jewish state.
(10) With the rapid rise of Messianic Judaism in the past thirty years, we are witnessing the first large-scale community of Jewish believers in Jesus since the early centuries of the Church. Are these the first-fruits of the coming salvation of Israel?
(11) Moral and religious indifference, apathy and relativism are widespread. The West, especially, is increasingly driven by a culture of materialism, hedonism and self-gratification which leaves no room for God.

 

The Antichrist


 Perhaps the key point to watch is number 8 - the mysterious figure of the coming antichrist. As we have seen above, the Catechism tells us that this man will orchestrate a "religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth." The antichrist will not appear as a frightening, evil-looking man with horns. On the contrary, he will likely be a charismatic figure who will propose attractive solutions to the greatest problems afflicting mankind, such as divisions and war, terrorism, poverty, or damage to the environment. With all the conflicts, fears and unrest spreading throughout the world, people will likely grow so weary of all this trouble that they will become literally itching for a leader - any leader - who will restore peace, order and security. He will likely be the advocate of a loose, universalistic religion or philosophy that will unite all people "beyond all creeds and dogmas." This will be a modern rebuilding of the ancient tower of Babel where man again proclaims: "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves!" (Gen 11:4) and where man seeks to actualize the original temptation where "seduced by the devil, he wanted to 'be like God,' but 'without God, before God, and not in accordance with God" (CCC 398).
The Catechism further explains that the reign of the antichrist will be "a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh" (CCC 675). As Christ himself warned: "I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive" (Jn 5:43). In other words, the "mystery of iniquity" becomes manifest whenever people proudly try to "fix the world" on their own, while leaving God and His revelation aside:
The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. 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)
Though every attempt to better the human condition is in itself legitimate and good, the Scriptures and teachings of the Church are clear: man will never succeed in "fixing the world" on his own while remaining autonomous from God. Nor will the kingdom of God be fulfilled "by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God's victory over the final unleashing of evil," that is, the last judgment (CCC 677). These words should spur us to remain humble and cautious when considering the efforts of politicians who seek to bring peace to the Middle East: do the solutions they propose leave room for God and His revelation, or are they merely cosmetic, apparent solutions "at the price of apostasy from the truth"?

Soloviev's Antichrist


In his book Jesus of Nazareth (pp. 30-41), Pope Benedict XVI mentions a fascinating short story on the antichrist written by Russian author Vladimir Soloviev (1850-1900). Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, who delivered in 2007 a lenten meditation to pope Benedict and the leaders of the Roman Curia on the subject of Soloviev's antichrist, noted that
the Antichrist will be a "convinced spiritualist," Soloviev says, an admirable philanthropist, a committed, active pacifist, a practicing vegetarian, a determined defender of animal rights. He will not be hostile "in principle" to Christ. Indeed, he will appreciate Christ's teaching. But he will reject the teaching that Christ is unique, and will deny that Christ is risen and alive today. (Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, Soloviev and Our Time)
Soloviev's antichrist writes a book entitled The Open Way to World Peace and Welfare, which is acclaimed by all. The brotherhood of freemasons elect him "President for life of the United States of Europe," and he convenes an ecumenical council in Jerusalem where he offers Christians everything they desire - except Christ Himself. The overwhelming majority of Christians fall for his deception and submit to his authority, except for a small group of Catholics, Orthodox and Protestant Christians who resist him and tell him: "You give us everything, except what interests us, Jesus Christ." Their resistance to him, of course, unleashes fierce persecution against them. (See The Antichrist Unmasked)
The Jewish People and the Antichrist
One question is particularly puzzling: what will the Jews think of the antichrist? As in Jesus' days, mainstream Judaism still expects the coming of a merely human Messiah who will politically redeem Israel and restore an earthly kingdom reminiscent of the Davidic and Solomonic monarchy. It is because of this view that most Jews rejected and still reject the divinity and atoning death of Jesus, despite the many currents in Jewish tradition that point to the divinity of a suffering Messiah. Given this earthly messianic expectation, it is possible that the Jewish people will initially fall for the antichrist's deception and believe that he is their expected Messiah. However, since, as we have seen above, the Jews will recognize Christ before His return, they will (hopefully) eventually see through the antichrist's deception and renounce him, probably at the price of terrible persecution. Interestingly, this is also what Soloviev conjectures:
When [the Anti-Christ] transferred his residence to Jerusalem, secretly spreading amongst the Jews the rumour that his main object was to bring about a domination of Israel over the whole of the world, the Jews proclaimed him as their Messiah, and their exultation and devotion to him knew no bounds. And now they suddenly rose, full of wrath and thirsting for vengeance... You see, the Jews, who regarded the Emperor a true and perfect Israelite by blood, unexpectedly discovered that he was not even circumcised. The same day all Jerusalem, and next day all Palestine, were up in arms against him. The boundless and fervent devotion to the saviour of Israel, the promised Messiah, gave place to as boundless and as fervent a hatred of the wily deceiver, the imprudent impostor. The whole of the Jewish notion rose as one man, and its enemies were surprised to see that the soul of Israel at bottom lived not by calculations and aspirations of Mammon but by the power of an all-absorbing sentiment -- the hope and strength of its eternal faith in the Messiah... 

 

Peace on Earth?


Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to 'set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law'; and 'a man’s enemies will be those of his own household'. (Mat 10:34-36)
How is all of this related to our current world situation? How should we live, and how should we pray? We must of course pray for peace, but we should beware of the naive expectation that somehow politicians will manage to bring a permanent solution to the current conflict in the Middle East so that life will be able to go on peacefully, business as usual. It somewhat concerns me when I hear Christians praying that all people would "simply live in peace with each other." This lofty ideal is of course worthy to be desired by anyone. But such a prayer entirely overlooks the "mystery of iniquity" working in the world and the calling of every Christian to engage in spiritual warfare. We must take heed to not forget Paul's words:
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Eph 6:11-13)
 We must also remember Christ's sobering words: "I did not come to bring peace but a sword." Faith in Jesus Christ divides. In his classical work The City of God, St. Augustine masterfully tells the tale of the two cities that exist side by side through the vicissitudes of human history: "These two cities were made by two loves: the earthly city by the love of self unto the contempt of God, and the heavenly city by the love of God unto the contempt of self" (Bk. 14, c. 28). The earthly city glories in its own power, the heavenly in the power of God.
As much as we ardently desire and long for peace, let us be watchful lest we quickly and enthusiastically follow the one who will bring peace to mankind as the "apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth." For this peace will neither be real nor lasting, and it will only temporarily mask the far greater evils that will afflict mankind soon after. By contrast, the peace for which we should pray is the peace that comes from Christ, the peace that reconciles man to God and which can only be attained through personal conversion and through entering the "narrow gate" of faith, hope and charity, by embracing our current sufferings with patience and even joy, with the knowledge that our embrace of the cross is the key to eternal life. And so let us pray first and foremost for conversions! Pray for our own conversion, for the conversion of Christians and of the Church, that we all would become more faithful to the Gospel message. Pray for the conversion of former Christians and apostate Christians, that they would return to the house of the Father. Pray for the conversion of Jews, Muslims, pagans, atheists and all people, that they would find the Prince of Peace who reconciled the world to the Father, so that they may find eternal life.

(Quelle: Catholics for Israel: http://www.israelcatholic.com/)

1000-jähriges Reich?

Es gibt Christen, die das in der Offenbarung beschriebene 1000-jährige Reich wörtlich nehmen, also genau so, wie es dort steht. Es gibt hierbei nur ein Problem: Bibellesen ist nicht dasselbe wie Bibelstudium - und nicht umsonst warnt uns die Bibel davor, einfach Bibelverse nach eigenem Gutdünken auszulegen, ohne Führung durch den Leib Christi - die Kirche.


Was sagt die Katholische Kirche also hierzu?


Vom 1000-jährigen Reich (dem “Millenium”) lesen wir in der Offenbarung, wo es heisst, dass Satan 1000 Jahre lang in Ketten gelegt wird (Offb 20,1-3). Während dieser Zeit werden christliche Märtyrer mit Jesus Christus herrschen (Offb 20,4-6). Nach diesen 1000 Jahren wird Satan dann wieder befreit und darf gegen die Heiligen Gottes Krieg führen (Offb 20,7-9). Anschließend wird es dann die allgemeine Auferstehung geben (Offb 20,5) sowie die endgültige Vernichtung Satans (Offb 20,10) und schließlich das Jüngste Gericht, das über die Lebenden und die Toten abgehalten wird (Offb 20,1-15).

 

Die katholische Exegese hat seit den Zeiten des Hl. Augustus und des Hl. Jerome dieses 1000-jährige Reich als einen symbolischen Hinweis auf das Alter der Kirche gesehen, also den Zeitraum zwischen dem ersten und zweiten Kommen Jesu (also Seiner Zeit auf Erden und Seiner endgültigen Wiederkunft irgendwann in der Zukunft). Zuvor gab es Theologen und Geistliche, die man “Chiliasten” nannte (vom griechischen Wort chilioi, was 1000 bedeutet). Sie glaubten daran, dass Jesus zurückkehren wuerde, um eine 1000-jährige Herrschaft zu beginnen. Eine Art goldenes Zeitalter, wo die Welt von Frieden und Wohlstand erfüllt sein würde. Und manch einer glaubt das noch heute.

 

Die Katholische Kirche hat hierzu noch nicht offiziell Stellung genommen. 1944 wurde aber offiziell entschieden, dass der Millenarismus, also die Hoffnung auf ein künftiges Königreich auf Erden, nicht als christliche Doktrin gelehrt werden kann.

 

Lesen wir hierzu den Katechismus der Katholischen Kirche, Artikel 676:

 

“Dieser gegen Christus gerichtete Betrug zeichnet sich auf der Welt jedesmal ab, wenn man vorgibt, schon innerhalb der Geschichte die messianische Hoffnung zu erfüllen, die nur nachgeschichtlich durch das eschatologische Gericht zu ihrem Ziel gelangen kann. Die Kirche hat diese Verfälschung des künftigen Reiches, selbst in ihrer gemäßigten Spielart, unter dem Namen “Millenarismus” zurückgewiesen, vor allem aber die “zuinnerst verkehrte”politische Form des säkularisierten Messianisum.”

 

(Quellen: Libreria Editrice Vaticana Katechismus der Katholischen Kirche. R. Oldenburg Verlag, München, 1993. Dr. Scott Hahn, Catholic Bible Dictionary. Doubleday Religion, Doubleday Inc, New York 2008. Go and get these books!)

 

 

Are You Prepared?

WHAT A DAY, THAT WILL BE

WHEN MY JESUS, I SHALL SEE

O' WHAT A GLORIOUS DAY THAT WILL BE

[Words & Music: Jim Hill, Ben Speer Music ICG]

These words from the Hymn have played many a time in my mind as of of late. I sing these words over and over, never tiring of them, because I long indeed for the day, when my Jesus I shall see.

The world is a stage Elvis Presley once said in a song many years ago. The chess board is set, the pieces are moving, it is only time before the things of this world will fall, as does the king and queen on the board. All the things in the political, and economic world are pointing to a collapse of this worlds system. Most of the world is aligning itself against Israel as prophesied in scripture. When this happens, a one world government along with a one world religion and a one world currency will be put in place by the Anti-Christ empowered by Satan himself. All this also is prophesied in scripture. Whether you believe it or not, it is not hard to see this is true. It is coming and it would appear that the Lord will come to call His own home to Him soon. Whether, 2 to 5 to ten years we know not for sure. But, the writing is on the wall.

All this inspires me more than ever to be forever prepared for His coming. like the story of the ten virgins in scripture.

Matthew 25

1Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.

2And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

3They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:

4But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

5While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

6And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

7Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.

8And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.

9But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

10And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

11Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

12But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

13Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

(King James Version)


Some were prepared for the Lord's coming, and some were not.

This gives me and inspires me more than ever to live a more justly and godly life, so that when He comes, I will be prepared and welcomed and not ashamed.

So so as I often do allow me to encourage you again with these words:

Luk 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

Mat 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.


(Both King James Version)

The day is coming, are you prepared?



Andre


Ezekiel 38-39


King James Version (KJV)

Ezekiel 38

 1And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

 2Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,

 3And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:

 4And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords:

 5Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet:

 6Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.

 7Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.

 8After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.

 9Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee.

 10Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought:

 11And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates,

 12To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.

 13Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?

 14Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord GOD; In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it?

 15And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army:

 16And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes.

 17Thus saith the Lord GOD; Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days many years that I would bring thee against them?

 18And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that my fury shall come up in my face.

 19For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel;

 20So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.

 21And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord GOD: every man's sword shall be against his brother.

 22And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.

 23Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD.
Ezekiel 39

 1Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:

 2And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel:

 3And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand.

 4Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured.

 5Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.

 6And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD.

 7So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.

 8Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord GOD; this is the day whereof I have spoken.

 9And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves, and the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years:

 10So that they shall take no wood out of the field, neither cut down any out of the forests; for they shall burn the weapons with fire: and they shall spoil those that spoiled them, and rob those that robbed them, saith the Lord GOD.

 11And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea: and it shall stop the noses of the passengers: and there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude: and they shall call it The valley of Hamongog.

 12And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land.

 13Yea, all the people of the land shall bury them; and it shall be to them a renown the day that I shall be glorified, saith the Lord GOD.

 14And they shall sever out men of continual employment, passing through the land to bury with the passengers those that remain upon the face of the earth, to cleanse it: after the end of seven months shall they search.

 15And the passengers that pass through the land, when any seeth a man's bone, then shall he set up a sign by it, till the buriers have buried it in the valley of Hamongog.

 16And also the name of the city shall be Hamonah. Thus shall they cleanse the land.

 17And, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD; Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood.

 18Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan.

 19And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you.

 20Thus ye shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord GOD.

 21And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them.

 22So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward.

 23And the heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity: because they trespassed against me, therefore hid I my face from them, and gave them into the hand of their enemies: so fell they all by the sword.

 24According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done unto them, and hid my face from them.

 25Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name;

 26After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid.

 27When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations;

 28Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there.

 29Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.

Global Revolution!

…the order of the world is shaken. (Psalm 82:5)
 

WHEN I wrote about Revolution! two years ago, it was not a word being used much in the mainstream. But today, it is being spoken everywhere… and now, the words “global revolution” are rippling throughout the world. From the “Tea Party” revolution in the United States to the uprisings in the Middle East that are spreading like “a virus,” there is indeed a global upheaval underway.

    I will rouse Egypt against Egypt: brother will war against brother, neighbour against neighbour, city against city, kingdom against kingdom. (Isaiah 19:2)

But it is a Revolution that has been in the making for a very long time…

 

FROM THE BEGINNING

From the very beginning, the Sacred Scriptures have foretold of a worldwide revolution, a political-philosophical process that, as we know now, stretches like an enormous thundercloud over the landscape of centuries. The prophet Daniel ultimately foresaw that the rise and fall of many kingdoms would eventually culminate in the ascent of a global empire. He saw it in a vision like a “beast”:

    The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, different from all the others; it shall devour the whole earth, beat it down, and crush it. The ten horns shall be ten kings rising out of that kingdom; another shall rise up after them, different from those before him, who shall lay low three kings. (Daniel 7:23-24)

St. John, also wrote down a similar vision of this global force in his Apocalypse:

    Then I saw a beast come out of the sea with ten horns and seven heads; on its horns were ten diadems, and on its heads blasphemous name(s)… Fascinated, the whole world followed after the beast… and it was granted authority over every tribe, people, tongue, and nation. (Rev 13:1,3,7)

The Early Church Fathers (Irenaeus, Tertullian, Hippolytus, Cyprian, Cyril, Lactantius, Chrysostom, Jerome, and Augustine) unamimously recognized this beast to be the Roman Empire. It would collapse, and from it would rise these “ten kings”.

    But this aforesaid Antichrist is to come when the times of the Roman empire shall have been fulfilled, and the end of the world is now drawing near. There shall rise up together ten kings of the Romans, reigning in different parts perhaps, but all about the same time… —St. Cyril of Jerusalem, (c. 315-386), Doctor of the Church, Catechetical Lectures, Lecture XV, n.12

These “ten kings” have yet to arise, as the Roman Empire, which extended throughout Europe and even into Africa and the Middle East, has been divided throughout the centuries. It is from these “ruins” that the “ten kings” will come.

    I grant that as Rome, according to the prophet Daniel’s vision, succeeded Greece, so Antichrist succeeds Rome, and our Savior Christ succeeds Antichrist. But it does not hence follow that Antichrist is come; for I do not grant that the Roman empire is gone. Far from it: the Roman empire remains even to this day… And as the horns, or kingdoms, still exist, as a matter of fact, consequently we have not yet seen the end of the Roman empire. —Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890), The Times of Antichrist, Sermon 1

It was in fact Jesus who described the turmoil that would set the stage for the rise of this beast:

    Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom…

Kingdom against kingdom denotes strife within a nation: civil discord… revolution. In fact, the creation of this discord would be precisely the game plan of the “dragon,” Satan, who will give his power over to the beast (Rev 13:2).

 

ORDO AB CHAOS

There are many conspiracy theories swirling about these days. But what is not conspiracy—according to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church—is that there are secret societies operating in the background of daily national life throughout the world, working to bring about a new order in which the controlling members of these societies will eventually attempt to rule (watch We Were Warned).

While being hosted in a private chalet in France a couple of years ago, I stumbled across the only English book I could find on their shelves: “Secret Societies and Subversive Movements.” It was written by controversial historian Nesta Webster (c. 1876-1960) who wrote extensively on the Illuminati1: a group of powerful men often immersed in the occult, who through the generations, have actively worked to bring about a Communist world domination. She points to their active role in bringing about the French Revolution, the 1848 Revolution, the First World War and the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, which marked the beginning of Communism in modern times (and remains in various forms today in in North Korea, China, and other socialist countries with an underlying philosophy of Marxism.) As I point out in my book, The Final Confrontation, the modern form of these secret societies have drawn their impetus from the ill-formed philosophies of the Enlightenment era. These were the “seeds” of Global Revolution that today are in full bloom (deism, rationalism, materialism, scientism, atheism, marxism, communism, etc.).

But a philosophy is only words until it is put into practice.

    The organization of the Secret Societies was needed to transform the theorizings of the philosophers into a concrete and formidable system for the destruction of civilization. —Nesta Webster, World Revolution, p. 4

Ordo Ab Chaos means “Order out of Chaos.” It is the Latin motto of 33rd degree Freemasons, a secret sect that has been outright condemned by the Catholic Church due to their perennially illicit goals and more insidious rites and laws in the higher degrees:

    You are aware indeed, that the goal of this most iniquitous plot is to drive people to overthrow the entire order of human affairs and to draw them over to the wicked theories of this Socialism and Communism… —POPE PIUS IX, Nostis et Nobiscum, Encyclical, n. 18, DECEMBER 8, 1849

And so, now we see on the horizon a Global Revolution…

    At this period, however, the partisans of evil seems to be combining together, and to be struggling with united vehemence, led on or assisted by that strongly organized and widespread association called the Freemasons. No longer making any secret of their purposes, they are now boldly rising up against God Himself …that which is their ultimate purpose forces itself into view—namely, the utter overthrow of that whole religious and political order of the world which the Christian teaching has produced, and the substitution of a new state of things in accordance with their ideas, of which the foundations and laws shall be drawn from mere naturalism. —POPE LEO XIII, Humanum Genus, Encyclical on Freemasonry, n.10, Apri 20thl, 1884

 

THE NEW COMMUNIST REVOLUTION

As I wrote in Of China, this is precisely why Our Lady of Fatima was sent to warn humanity: that our present path would result in Russia spreading “her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church,” paving the way for the rise of global Communism. Is this the beast of Revelation who enslaves all of mankind?

    …without the guidance of charity in truth, this global force could cause unprecedented damage and create new divisions within the human family… humanity runs new risks of enslavement and manipulation.. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Caritas in Veritate, n.33, 26

One might ask, though, how even the Mother of God could prevent the rise of this beast. The answer is that she can’t. But she can delay it through our prayers. The apocalyptic intervention of the “Woman clothed in the sun” to delay the rise of this beast by calling for our prayers and sacrifice is nothing short of an echo from the early Church:

    There is also another and a greater necessity for our offering prayer on behalf of the emperors… For we know that a mighty shock [is] impending over the whole earth—in fact, the very end of all things threatening dreadful woes—is only retarded by the continued existence of the Roman empire. We have no desire, then, to be overtaken by these dire events; and in praying that their coming may be delayed, we are lending our aid to Rome’s duration. —Tertullian (c. 160–225 AD), Church Fathers, Apology, Chapter 32

Who can argue that this Global Revolution has been postponed in so far as the timeline of Divine Mercy has permitted? Pope St. Pius X thought the Antichrist was already alive—in 1903. It was in 1917 that Our Lady of Fatima appeared. It was in 1972 that Paul VI admitted the “smoke of Satan” had seeped into the very summit of the Church—an allusion, many have interpreted, to Freemasonry having infiltrated the hierarchy itself.

In the 19th century, French priest and writer, Fr. Charles Arminjon summarized the prevailing “signs of the times” that have formed the foundation for our own:

    …if we study but a moment the signs of the present time, the menacing symptoms of our political situation and revolutions, as well as the progress of civilization and the increasing advance of evil, corresponding to the progress of civilization and the discoveries in the material order, we cannot fail to foresee the proximity of the coming of the man of sin, and of the days of desolation foretold by Christ. —Fr. Charles Arminjon (c. 1824 -1885), The End of the Present World and the Mysteries of the Future Life, p. 58, Sophia Institute Press

The basis of Fr. Charles’ statement is the same as several of the pontiffs who have pointed out that the efforts of secret societies to infiltrate and concretize the errant philosophies of the Enlightenment within society has led to an apostasy within the Church and re-emergence of paganism in the world:

    Who can fail to see that society is at the present time, more than in any past age, suffering from a terrible and deep-rooted malady which, developing every day and eating into its inmost being, is dragging it to destruction? You understand, Venerable Brethren, what this disease is—apostasy from God… —POPE ST. PIUS X, E Supremi, Encyclical On the Restoration of All Things in Christ, n. 3; October 4th, 1903

    We cannot calmly accept the rest of humanity falling back again into paganism. —Cardinal Ratzinger (POPE BENEDICT XVI), The New Evangelization, Building the Civilization of Love; Address to Catechists and Religion Teachers, December 12, 2000

In a footnote, Fr. Charles adds:

    …if the defection continues on its course, it may be predicted that this war on God must inevitably end in total, consumated apostasy. It is but a small step from the cult of the state—that is, the utilitarian spirit and the worship of the god-state which is the religion of our time, to the worship of the individual man. We have almost reached that point… —The End of the Present World and the Mysteries of the Future Life, footnote n. 40, p. 72; Sophia Institute Press

Our current Pope warned that we have reached that point:

    We cannot deny that the rapid changes occurring in our world also present some disturbing signs of fragmentation and a retreat into individualism. The expanding use of electronic communications has in some cases paradoxically resulted in greater isolation. Many people—including the young—are seeking therefore more authentic forms of community. Also of grave concern is the spread of a secularist ideology that undermines or even rejects transcendent truth. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, speech at St. Joseph’s Church, April 8th, 2008, Yorkville, New York; Catholic News Agency

 

THIS PRESENT DANGER…

Vladimir Solovëv, in his famous A Short Story of the Anti-Christ,2 was inspired by the early eastern Church Fathers.

Pope John Paul II praised Solovëv for his insights and prophetic vision3. In his fictional short story, the Antichrist, who becomes the incarnation of narcissism, writes a compelling book that reaches across every political and religious spectrum. In the Antichrist’s book…

    Absolute individualism stood side by side with an ardent zeal for the common good. —A Short Story of the Anti-Christ, Vladimir Solovëv

Indeed, these two elements in Solovëv’s prophetic vision have merged today in a deadly blend called “relativism” whereby the ego becomes the standard by which good and evil are determined, and the floating concept of “tolerance” is held as a virtue.

    Having a clear faith, according to the credo of the Church, is often labeled as fundamentalism. Yet, relativism, that is, letting oneself be tossed and ‘swept along by every wind of teaching’, appears the sole attitude acceptable to today’s standards. —Cardinal Ratzinger (POPE BENEDICT XVI) pre-conclave Homily, April 18th, 2005

This rejection of moral authority, fueled further by scandals within both secular and religious institutions, has created a generation that will accept anything and believe nothing. The danger of our times is that the Global Revolution underway (which likely won’t fully impact the West until it impacts our stomachs) risks paving the way for an ungodly solution to the growing anger and frustration against both Church and secular political institutions. It is easy to see that populations, particularly the youth, are growing hostile toward politicians and popes alike. The question, then, is who exactly are the people willing to have lead them in the face of a global meltdown? The Great Vacuum of leadership and morals alike has indeed put “the very future of the world at stake,” as Pope Benedict recently said. Given the right circumstances of civil unrest, food shortages, and war—all of which seem more and more inevitable—would indeed put the world in a place that risks “enslavement and manipulation.”

Ultimatley, atheism cannot be an answer (4). Man is by nature a religious being. We were created for God, and thus, deep within, thirst for Him. In Solovëv’s story, he envisions a time when the current trend of today’s new atheism will run its course:

    The notion of the universe as a system of dancing atoms, and of life as the result of mechanical accumulation of the slightest changes in material no longer satisfied a single reasoning intellect. —A Short Story of the Anti-Christ, Vladimir Solovëv

The architects of the New World Order intend to satiate this religious desire in man with a utopian world more in harmony with nature, the cosmos, and “the christ” within (see The Coming Counterfeit). A “world religion” uniting all faiths and creeds (that will accept anything and believe nothing) is one of the stated goals of the secret societies behind a Global Revolution. From the Vatican’s website:

    [the] New Age shares with a number of internationally influential groups, the goal of superseding or transcending particular religions in order to create space for a universal religion which could unite humanity… The New Age which is dawning will be peopled by perfect, androgynous beings who are totally in command of the cosmic laws of nature. In this scenario, Christianity has to be eliminated and give way to a global religion and a new world order. —Jesus Christ, The Bearer of the Water of Life, n. 2.5 , Pontifical Councils for Culture and Inter-religious Dialogue

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824), a German Augustinian nun and stigmatist, had a profound vision in which she saw Masons attempting to tear down the wall of St. Peter’s in Rome.

    There were among the demolishers distinguished men wearing uniforms and crosses. They did not work themselves but they marked out on the wall with a trowel [Masonic symbol] where and how it should be torn down. To my horror, I saw among them Catholic Priests. Whenever the workmen did not know how to go on, they went to a certain one in their party. He had a large book which seemed to contain the whole plan of the building and the way to destroy it. They marked out exactly with a trowel the parts to be attacked, and they soon came down. They worked quietly and confidently, but slyly, furtively and warily. I saw the Pope praying, surrounded by false friends who often did the very opposite to what he had ordered… —Life of Anne Catherine Emmerich, Vol. 1, by Rev. K.E. Schmöger, Tan Books, 1976, p. 565

Rising in place of St. Peter’s, she saw a new religious movement5:

    I saw enlightened Protestants, plans formed for the blending of religious creeds, the suppression of papal authority… I saw no Pope, but a bishop prostrate before the High Altar. In this vision I saw the church bombarded by other vessels… It was threatened on all sides… They built a large, extravagant church which was to embrace all creeds with equal rights… but in place of an altar were only abomination and desolation. Such was the new church to be… —Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824 A.D.), The Life and Revelations of Anne Catherine Emmerich, April 12th, 1820

Those behind this, says Pope Leo XIII, come under varying philosophies, but all from the same ancient satanic root: the belief that man can take the place of God (2 Thess 2:4).

    We speak of that sect of men who… are called socialists, communists, or nihilists, and who, spread over all the world, and bound together by the closest ties in a wicked confederacy, no longer seek the shelter of secret meetings, but, openly and boldly marching forth in the light of day, strive to bring to a head what they have long been planning—the overthrow of all civil society whatsoever. Surely, these are they who, as the sacred Scriptures testify, ‘Defile the flesh, despise dominion and blaspheme majesty.’ (Jud. 8).” — POPE LEO XIII, Encyclical Quod Apostolici Muneris, December 28, 1878, n. 1

 

ON THE BRINK?

How can we fail to understand the times we live in, unfolding before our very eyes on live internet streams and 24 hour cable news? It’s not just the protests in Asia, the chaos in Greece, the food riots in Albania or the unrest in Europe, but also, if not especially, the rising tide of anger in the United States. One almost gets the impression at times that “someone” or some plan is purposely driving the populace to the brink of revolution. Whether it’s billion dollar bailouts to Wall Street, million dollar payouts to CEO’s, driving the national debt to treacherous levels, the endless printing of money, or the growing infringement on personal rights in the name of “national security,” the anger and anxiety within the country is palpable. As a grassroots movement called “The Tea Party” grows6, unemployment remains high, food prices rise, and gun sales reach record levels, the recipe for revolution is already brewing.  Behind it all, again, seems to be the pervasive and powerful figures hidden from the scene who continue to meet in secret societies such as the Skull and Bones, Bohemian Grove, Rosicrucians etc.:

    Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of somebody, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it. —President Woodrow Wilson, The New Freedom, Ch. 1

Brothers and sisters, what I have written here is difficult to absorb. It is the expanse of thousands of years of history appearing to culminate in our times: the ancient confrontation between the Woman and the Dragon of Genesis 3:15 and Revelation 12…

    We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through… We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. —Cardinal Karol Wojtyla (JOHN PAUL II), at the Eucharistic Congress, Philadelphia, PA; August 13, 1976

The convulsions in nature… the growing apostasy… the words of the Holy Fathers… the apparitions of Our Lady… how can the signs be any clearer? And yet, how much longer will these revolutions and labor pains carry on? Years? Decades? We do not know, nor does it matter. What is essential is that we respond to Heaven’s requests being revealed to us through both the Woman-Mary and the Woman-Church. In his Encyclical Letter on Atheistic Communism, Pope Pius XI summarized the imperative before each and every conscientious Christian—one we can no longer ignore:

    When the Apostles asked the Savior why they had been unable to drive the evil spirit from a demoniac, Our Lord answered: “This kind is not cast out but by prayer and fasting.” So, too, the evil which today torments humanity can be conquered only by a world-wide crusade of prayer and penance. We ask especially the Contemplative Orders, men and women, to redouble their prayers and sacrifices to obtain from heaven efficacious aid for the Church in the present struggle. Let them implore also the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Virgin who, having crushed the head of the serpent of old, remains the sure protectress and invincible “Help of Christians.” —POPE PIUS XI, Encyclical Letter on Atheistic Communism, March 19th, 1937

 

First published February 2nd, 2011.


 
FOOTNOTES:

    1. from the Latin illuminatus meaning “enlightened”
    2. published in 1900
    3. L’ Osservatore Romano, August 2000
    6. reminiscent of the Boston Tea Party revolution of 1774

Published on December 31st, 2012

(Source: Mark Mallet. http://www.markmallett.com/blog/2012/12/global-revolution/. Used with permission)

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