Sunday, 9 August 2015
Amillennialism and the Chronology of Catholic Eschatology
According to Catholic tradition, there is a very clear order of events that are set to occur towards the end of the world. Quite recently, some Catholics have been heavily influenced by modern Protestant dispensationalism on the subject of the Millennium, mostly due to the popularity of the writings of Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi, Kelly Bowring and Mark Mallet. This rather peculiar end time chronology which has only surfaced in Catholic thought in the late 20th century basically follows the Protestant postmillennial template, and equates the "period of peace" promised by Our Lady of Fatima with a future binding of Satan for a thousand years. However the Catholic Church has accepted the amillennial interpretation of the Apocalypse ever since St. Augustine of Hippo expertly explained the true meaning of the Millennium described in Rev 20 in his monumental work The City of God, written in the fourth century. Since then, this view has been accepted by every doctor and saint of the Catholic Church, and the teachings of the Catechism on this subject simply does not leave room for any alternative to St. Augustine's approach to the Millennium. This recent uptake of postmillennialism by some in some Catholic circles, mostly due to popular Protestant Evangelical influences, is quite clearly at odds with the traditional teachings on the Millennium, and critically impairs our understanding of the order of events outlaid in the Apocalypse. According to the amillennial view outlaid by St. Augustine, the chronology of end time events can be summed up as follows:
The binding of Satan for the "thousand years" takes place during the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ.
At the end of the "thousand years" - which is most likely a reference to the concept of the Sabbath Millennium, Satan is once again unbound for a "little while".
Satan can once again prevent the spread of the Gospel during this "little while", by gathering the armies of the world together for battle, and because of this increase of lawlessness, the love of many grows cold (Matt 24:12).
At the end of the "little while", Satan is finally thrown out of the heavenly court and cast down to the earth by the Archangel Michael - a struggle which is marked by the appearance of the "signs in heaven".
Once he is cast down to the earth, the Devil then redoubles his efforts against the Church, and threatens to carry it away with a flood that issues from his mouth.
The earth then comes to the aid of the Woman/Church, and the flood is swallowed up during the New Springtime of the Church, brought about by the Two Witnesses. Millions are brought into the faith. A short period of peace ensues.
The Dragon then transfers his great power and authority to his servant the Antichrist, who puts the Two Witnesses to death. The fall of the end time empire referred to as "Babylon" is brought about by a "huge mountain, burning with fire" being thrown into the sea, and a subsequent global financial collapses allows the Antichrist to seize global dominion.
The final Passover of the Church takes place, which was foreseen in the Third Secret of Fatima, and many Christians are either martyred or apostatize as a result.
The Battle of Armageddon then breaks out after an attempted invasion of Israel, leading to the total collapse of human civilization.
The dissolution of the universe occurs at the Last Judgment, and the establishment of the new heaven and earth brings God's plan for creation to it ultimate conclusion.