Friday 28 August 2020

The Great Monarch, the "Warning" and the Duration of the Period of Peace

Mark Mallett and Daniel O'Connor have recently issued a couple of videos on the Countdown to the Kingdom website attempting to address some of my criticisms of their promotion of Fr. Iannuzzi's ideas concerning a millenarian "era of peace". While I don't hold any personal animosity towards either Mark or Daniel, the version of eschatology they are espousing is leading their regrettably sizable audience into a grave and dangerous millenarian error. Both Mallett and O'Connor reject Church Tradition concerning St. Augustine's amillennial interpretation of the Apocalypse in favour of a millennial "era of peace", which is foretold in a number of contemporary unapproved "private revelations", some of which have been rejected by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (such as those of Edson Glauber). 

Even though St. Augustine's amillennialism has never been formally defined dogmatically, after his position concerning the Millennium of Rev 20 was first forwarded in the 5th century, it was universally accepted by the Tradition of the Church and has been ever since, which fulfils the criteria to identify it as a definitive teaching of the ordinary and universal Magisterium.  Mallett and O'Connor also ignore the prophecies of the Great Catholic Monarch and Angelic Pope in Catholic Tradition, made by numerous saints and blesseds, as well as apparitions which have full ecclesiastical approval, such as those of Our Lady of La Salette. The Great Monarch and Angelic Pope are foretold to restore the Church immediately before the coming of the Antichrist and the final Passover of the Church, as part of a ministry which echoes that of the Two Witnesses.

According to Mallett and O'Connor's view, the "era of peace" will only arrive after the Antichrist, and will last for a prolonged millennial epoch which will persist until the arrival of Gog and Magog at the end of a future thousand year binding of Satan, which they equate with a "final antichrist". As you can see from around the 45 minute mark on the below video, Mark Mallett repeatedly stumbles around the concept of the Great Monarch, before stating that he would not object to these prophecies if this figure arrives after the downfall of the Antichrist during the mooted invisible "Middle Coming" of Jesus to reign on earth in the Eucharist. Instead of attempting engage in a respectful academic dialogue, Daniel O'Connor also advises his audience to ignore my writings - without mentioning my name, lest he inadvertently alerts his audience to my research.

When we look to the doctors of the Church who have written about this subject, they concur that the Antichrist will only arrive at the very end of the world, immediately before the Second Coming of Christ:

Whereby He shows, that when Antichrist has come, the pursuit of unlawful pleasures shall be more eager among the transgressors, and those that have learned to despair of their own salvation. Then shall be gluttony, then revellings, and drunkenness. Wherefore also most of all He puts forth an example corresponding to the thing. For like as when the ark was making, they believed not, says He; but while it was set in the midst of them, proclaiming beforehand the evils that are to come, they, when they saw it, lived in pleasure, just as though nothing dreadful were about to take place; so also now, Antichrist indeed shall appear, after whom is the end, and the punishments at the end, and vengeance intolerable...(St. John Chrystom, Homily on Matthew, Chap 77)

But he who reads this passage, even half asleep, cannot fail to see that the kingdom of Antichrist shall fiercely, though for a short time, assail the Church before the last judgment of God shall introduce the eternal reign of the saints". (St. Augustine of Hippo, City of God XX:23)

For the Lord clearly teaches that after the persecution of Antichrist the last judgement will immediately follow [Matt 24]. Then all the good are going to eternal life, while all the wicked into the eternal fire, hence there is not going to be another thousand years, nor any battle. 
(St. Robert Bellarmine De Controversiis Book 3 Chap XVII)

We can thus see why Mallett and O'Connor have chosen to ignore the figure of the Great Monarch, since in Catholic Tradition this figure is equated with the biblical katechon - the restraining force holding back the appearance of the Antichrist mentioned by St. Paul:

Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. (2Thes 2:3-8)

One of the oldest prophecies of the Great Monarch is found in the Apocalypse of Methodius, which also foretells the appearance of the sign of the cross before the Last Judgement. Ironically, this prophecy is also related to the central subject matter of Christine Watkins' book The Warning: Testimonies and Prophecies of the Illumination of Consciences, which has recently popularised Mallett and O'Connor's writings due to her endorsement of the Countdown to the Kingdom website:

…the Cross on which our Lord Jesus Christ hung for the common salvation of all will begin to appear before him at his coming to convict the lack of faith of unbelievers… When the Cross has been lifted up on high to heaven, the king of the Romans will directly give up his spirit. Then every principality and power will be destroyed that the Son of Perdition may be manifest.

According to Church Tradition, the Great Monarch will bring about the restoration the Church after a period of desolation, which I argue in my book Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church, is related to the current apostasy we are experiencing due to the period of the unbinding of Satan at the end of the "thousand years". After the Great Monarch brings about the renovation of the Church, the prophetic tradition tells us that he will lay down his crown on the Mount of Olives just immediately before the appearance of the Antichrist:

Some of our teachers say that a King of the Franks will possess the entire Roman Empire. He will be the greatest and last of all Monarchs. After having wisely governed his kingdom, he will go into Jerusalem and will lay his sceptre and his crown upon the Mount of Olives. Immediately afterwards, Antichrist will come.                                               (Adso of Montier-en-Der, De ortu et tempore Antichristi)

The only Church approved private revelation to give some indication of the duration of the period of peace is Melanie's 1849 version of the Secret of La Salette, which explicitly states that this period of renewal will not last long before the appearance of the Antichrist, and similarly connects the period of the restoration of the Church with the reign of the Great Monarch:

A great king will go up on the throne, and will reign many years. Religion will re-flourish and spread all over the world, and there will be a great abundance. The world, glad to be lacking nothing, will fall again into disorder, will give up God, and will return to its criminal passions. (Our Lady to Melanie Calvat)

The Church doctor St. Bonaventure also associates the renovation of the Church with the reign of the Great Monarch, and indicates that the restoration brought about by this figure will not last long before the arrival of the sudden destruction after the time of peace forewarned by St. Paul:

"no one knows how long that time of great peace will last since "when they said 'Peace and security,' then suddenly destruction came upon them" (Matt 24:21). The seventh time or age, that of quiet, begins with the shout of the angel who "swore through Him who lives forever and ever that there would be no more time; but in the days of the seventh angel the mystery of God will be completed" (Rev 10:6-7).
In the sixth age three things take place - excellence of victory, excellence of teaching, and excellence of the prophetic life.... In this age there ought to come a life through an order which will possess the prophetic life. This age is double. Just as in the Lord's Passion there was first light, then darkness, and then light, so it is necessary that first there be the light of teaching and that Josiah succeed Hezekiah, after which came the tribulation of the Jews through their captivity. It is necessary that one ruler, a defender of the Church, arise. He is either still to come or has already come. (He added: Would that he has not already come!) After him will come the darkness of tribulations..."

It was said to the angel of Philadelphia, the sixth angel: "He who is holy and true, who has the key of David, who opens and no man closes, closes and no man opens, says this - 'I know your works, and behold I have placed an open door before you'" (Rev 3:7). (And he said that now for the first time the understanding of Scripture would be given and that the revelation, or key of David, would be given to a person or a large group, but I think rather to a large group.) 
In the seventh age we know that these things will take place - the rebuilding of the Temple, the restoration of the city, and the granting of peace. Likewise in the coming seventh age there will be a restoration of Divine worship and a rebuilding of the city. Then the prophecy of Ezekiel will be fulfilled when the city comes down from heaven (Ezek 40); not indeed that city which is above, but that city which is below, the Church Militant which will then be conformed to the Church Triumphant as far as possible in this life. Then will be the building and restoration of the city as it was in the beginning. Then there will be peace. God alone knows how long that peace shall last.
(St. Bonaventure, Collation 16:17-19. Translated by McGinn, B. Visions of the End, pp199-200)

These numerous authentic prophecies concerning the restoration of the Church before the arrival of the Antichrist are closely associated with the ministry of the Two Witnesses, which is chiefly concerned with the bringing in of the fullness of the Gentiles and the conversion of the Jews before the Second Coming of Christ. Both scripture and the magisterium of the Church clearly teach that the conversion of the Jews will only take place immediately before the Parousia of Christ at the very end of the world.
St. Augustine explains how the ministry of Elijah is intimately connected to the conversion of the Jews foretold by the Prophet Malachi:

After admonishing them to give heed to the law of Moses, as he foresaw that for a long time to come they would not understand it spiritually and rightly, he went on to say, And, behold, I will send to you Elias the Tishbite before the great and signal day of the Lord come: and he shall turn the heart of the father to the son, and the heart of a man to his next of kin, lest I come and utterly smite the earth. Malachi 4:5-6 It is a familiar theme in the conversation and heart of the faithful, that in the last days before the judgment the Jews shall believe in the true Christ, that is, our Christ, by means of this great and admirable prophet Elias who shall expound the law to them. 
(St. Augustine of Hippo, City of God, XX:29)

Basing itself on chapter 11 of St. Paul's Letter to the Romans, the Catechism also explains that the Second Coming of Christ will take place immediately after the conversion of the Jews, which leaves absolutely no scope for an intervening millennial "era of peace" after this event:

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. St. Peter says to the Jews of Jerusalem after Pentecost: "Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old." St. Paul echoes him: "For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?" 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". (Catechism of the Catholic Church, para 674)

The Early Church Fathers had connected the conversion of the Jews promised in Rom 11 with the prophecy of Zech 12 and the appearance of the Sign of the Cross, which was later connected to the prophecies of the Great Monarch already mentioned above:

Then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in Heaven; Matthew 24:30 that is, the cross being brighter than the sun, since this last will be darkened, and hide himself, and that will appear when it would not appear, unless it were far brighter than the beams of the sun. But wherefore does the sign appear? In order that the shamelessness of the Jews may be more abundantly silenced. For having the cross as the greatest plea, Christ thus comes to that judgment-seat, showing not His wounds only, but also the death of reproach. Then shall the tribes mourn, for there shall be no need of an accusation, when they see the cross; and they shall mourn, that by His death they are nothing benefited; because they crucified Him whom they ought to have adored.

Do you see how fearfully He has pictured His coming? How He has stirred up the spirits of His disciples? For this reason, let me add, He puts the mournful things first, and then the good things, that in this way also He may comfort and refresh them. And of His passion He suggests to them the remembrance, and of His resurrection, and with a display of glory, He mentions His cross, so that they may not be ashamed nor grieve, whereas indeed He comes then setting it forth for His sign. And another says, They shall look on Him whom they pierced. Therefore it is that they shall mourn, when they see that this is He.                      (St. John Chrysostom, Homily on Matthew, Chap 76)

It is thus fully apparent why Mallett and O'Connor wish to avoid discussing the prophecies of the Great Catholic Monarch and the conversion of the Jews, since they clearly establish that the period of the renewal of the Church takes place immediately before the time of the Antichrist, not after, during a millenarian "era of peace". The timeline presented by the authors of Countdown to the Kingdom is deeply flawed, and is effectively priming Catholics to reject the idea that the Church could be restored by the figures of the Great Monarch and Angelic Pope before the arrival of the Antichrist, as has been held from the earliest traditions of the Church, in accordance with the plain sense of Scripture. According to this timeline, the Great Monarch and Angelic Pope who bring about the restoration of the Church will potentially be rejected by the followers of Countdown to the Kingdom as the Beast and False Prophet of Rev 13, all in order to support the idea of a millenarian "era of peace" being espoused by alleged "seers" who are either unapproved or condemned by the Church. Therein lies the inherent dangers of rejecting the long standing Tradition of the Church concerning the Millennium and the restoration of the Church in favour of the millenarian prophecies of contemporary soothsayers.