The Bible gives some interesting signs that we are to keep watch regarding the last times. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 states, "But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of stress. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, fierce, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding the form of religion but denying the power of it. Avoid such people."
St. Paul seems to be reading from a news paper clipping taking place every day. Some will say these signs have always been with us, and right they would be. But never before have we seen every sign with the increased volume of rebellious actions from every side.
There are allot of groups out making all kinds of attacks and misrepresentations against the Catholic Faith.
A lot of discussion has been made on the subject. The Second Coming of Christ is centered from Catholic Tradition and Scripture.
From the Nicene Creed we proclaim "He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his Kingdom will have no end" (2 Timothy 4:1). As I look into his truth, it is important to note that no one knows the exact day or hour of his return (Matthew 24:36).
However, Jesus revealed signs for us to watch so we would not be caught sleeping (Matthew 24:3-31). The Church reminds us to be alert for his coming so he will not come "like a thief in the night (1 Thess 5:2)."
The Church wants us to be ready on a daily basis, as if this could be the day. Many will rise on any given day not aware that today is their final day. Accidents happen along with violence that impact thousands of people every day.
The Catholic Church certainly desires peace that only Christ can give under such circumstances. Christians have always believed from the beginning that the Lord's return was imminent. St Paul warns the Church not to get caught listening to every alarming statement from a teaching "allegedly from them 'the Apostles" (2 Thess 2:2).
Jesus told the people of his time "You know how to judge the appearance of the sky, but you cannot judge the signs of the times" (Matthew 16:3).
What makes our generation different? One of the most important bible prophecy to be fulfilled is Israel's return to their homeland. This happened on May 14, 1948.
Pope Pius XII announced to the world on Easter Sunday 1957 in front of a large crowd at Vatican City that the capture of Jerusalem would be one of the last major fulfillment of scripture.
This might set up the stage for the end time drama. I want to pause here for a moment to speak on the Catholic Church's teaching on this.
The Catholic Church takes the position on the end times called "a millennial" which is based from St. Augustine's teaching that the 1,000 reign of Christ in Rev 20:4 is symbolic.
Much of the Scripture is symbolic. Much of the prophecy has already happened such as Nero was traditionally believed to be the beast in Rev 13.
Can such scripture have double meaning for the last days?
That is an interesting question. Regardless how this plays the Lord will always be with his Church through all of it and His promise will always be true.
Going back to Pope Pius XII, after 2,500 years Israel would be set up in their homeland and Jerusalem no longer in the hands of the Gentiles (Luke 21:24).
Jews from all over the world have returned to Palestine, they came from 120 Nations speaking 83 languages setting up their own government and Army.
The flag bearing the Star of David has been waving ever since 14 May 1948. In 1967 the Jews reclaim Jerusalem as a result of the six day war.
The Late Great Pope John Paul II traveled to Israel for the year of jubilee. What are some signs the bible speaks of that we should be watching for?
Take a look at inequity, this word inequity is refereed to in the bible over 275 times. When it is used for in prophecy, it always implies dramatic increase. According to Websters Dictionary, inequity stands for "wickedness, an iniquitous act or thing: Sin".
Jesus states, "Many false prophets will arise and deceive many and because of the increase of evil doing, the love of many will grow cold" (Matthew 24:11-12).
Some people will argue that sin and vice have always been with us. Jesus states "Learn a lesson from the fig tree. When it's branch becomes tender and spouts leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things, know that he is near, at the gates. Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place (Matthew 24:32-35)".
2 Timothy 3:4 states in part that people would become "lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, as they make a pretense of religion but deny it's power".
With the creation of Television and the promotion of the Birth Control Pill, the 1960's usurped in the sexual revolution. The American family has bore the blunt of this attack on morality.
Casualties are found and experienced by most families and solutions are not easily reconciled. As a result to this rebellion against God's teaching, something like 1-5 Americans are presently infected with a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
With the aid of the electronic media age, STD's are the most common disease in America next to the common cold and flu. 20 million new STD cases are reported each year, 50,000 per day.
65 million Americans are infected with an incurable STD. There are more than 60 different kinds of STD's, 20 different STD's are rampant among teenagers. 63% of all STD's occur in persons less than 25 years of age. STD's infect 3 million teenagers each year. 60-80% infected with an STD do not develop initial symptoms.
Since 1973 with the Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision there have been nearly 60,000,000 abortions in America. About 1 in 3 pregnancies will end with abortion.
Divorce in America will end more than half of all marriages. Pornography is a multi-billion dollar industry in America. 1 out of 3 girls will be molested most of which by a close relative and 1 in 7 boys will be molested.
In America there has been a rise of homosexual activity and acceptance/toleration promoted by left wing special interest groups. The Catholic Church's teachings are under attack or largely ignored.
Those of us who are faithful and loyal to the teachings of Christ have Jesus promise, "But the one who perseveres to the end Will be saved" (Matthew 24:13).
The bible also offers this great hope as long a his grace shall flow, "And if my people, upon whom my name has been pronounced, humble themselves and pray, and seek my presence and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land" 2 Chrnicles 7:14.
Jesus states, "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" (John 14:3).
St. John writes, "And now children, remain in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not be put to shame by him at his coming" (1 John 2:28).
Israel returned as a Nation in 1948. In 1882, the records show that there were about 2500 Jews living in the Holy Land, today there are over 5,730,000 Jews living there.
Almost 80% living there are Jewish. Amos 9:15 states, "I will plant them upon their own ground: never again shall they be plucked from the land I have given them, say I, the Lord, your God". Of this prophecy, Jeremiah writes, "In those days the House of Judah will join the House of Israel; together they will come from the land of the North which I gave to your fathers as a heritage" (Jeremiah 3:18).
If you were to trace a ruler directly north of Jerusalem, you would find yourself right in Moscow. Since 1989, after the Berlin wall came down, abut 1,000,000 Jews departed Russia for Israel.
The Prophet Jeremiah speaks of Jerusalem as the "Lords Throne" referring that once held in Jewish hands, would never again be taken over by the Gentiles (Luke 21:24, Jeremiah 3:17).
Shimon Peres, former Prime Minister of Israel, born in Poland, was assassinated in 1996, stated that Jerusalem was not negotiable. Jerusalem is the only Capital for the Jews. Jerusalem would never be on the negotiating table in the future.
The Old Testament gives 17 prophecies that Russia, land of the north, would invade Israel to take Jerusalem in the last times. Today, nearly 2,500 years later, this is possible.
Who is to say that a future Russian President wouldn't attack Israel? The Catholic Church is the "New Israel" in the New Testament, but there is much debate about Israel in the last times.
The rebuilding of the Temple of Jerusalem is important to this debate because of the anti-Christ taking over the Temple as a god (2 Thess 2:3-4).
It is interesting that some of our Protestant friends will take this passage and base this on the Pope. That's how they see him as the "anti-Christ". Totally untrue.
The following are more signs not easily explained:
Jesus States, "There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, ad plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky" (Luke 21:11).
Natural disasters are part of the signs that relate to the Lord's Second Coming. As with all signs, some will argue that "earthquakes and natural disasters have always been a part of God's Creation". It is important to note that prophecies concerning natural disasters speak of the dramatic increase of these signs (Matthew 24:32-35).
According to the Canadian Global Almanac reported, "Earthquakes that range from 6.5 and greater on the rector scale between 1900-1969 there were 48 earthquakes of that magnitude. From July 1990 to October 1992 there were 133 such earthquakes".
That is a huge record-able increase, nearly 2300%. There are literally thousands of rumblings and earthquakes in California alone and it hasn't been political as the election season just began?
From the World Press Review, they reported "There have been four times as many destructive storms assailing the earth in recent years as there were in 1960".
Since the 1990's we have seen a huge increase of destructive hurricanes such as when Katrina and Rita hit New Orleans August/September 2005.
More tornadoes and floods across the country effect crops. Since 1995 there have been record heat waves creating a scare of global warming.
The largest and most dangerous o-zone hole opening over Europe, will take 15-20 years to naturally repair itself.
The increase of Natural disasters due to drought and hunger affect more than 26,000,000 men, women, and children in East Africa.
Other problems concerning Brazil's tropical rain forest, the poisoning of the rivers and oceans to include the Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The growth of desert lands, pollution, disease of livestock, the attack of animals, even domesticated pets are on the rise. If we can alert ourselves about the rise of natural disasters, what are we to do about this? Jesus gives us words of encouragement stating, "But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand" (Luke 21:28). The signs are for our benefit. We should not be caught living in sin especially if we can recognize the Lord's presence, his judgement.
Since I was a young man, especially since my college days, there have been those few faithful ones who call the Catholic Faith the "Whore of Babylon" and the Pope the "anti-Christ".
Protestants like Tony Alamo and Jack Chick make their living with this rhetoric. I remember 1982-83 time period, Tony Alamo held "revivals" in Harrison Arkansas.
The next day after they left, you could see the anti-Catholic garbage pasted all over the town's trash cans, windows of businesses, light poles, some cars. They get themselves in a feeding frenzy and like sharks they go for blood.
In YouTube land there are a group of them that position themselves together and gang up on Catholic Channels. It can get ugly out there as their hate intensifies when they smell blood?
Groups like the Seventh Day Adventist teach as doctrine the Catholic Church is this biblical whore.
They were founded in 1863 being the largest remnant of followers of William Miller. Miller and his some odd 50,000 followers sold everything (all their possessions), dressed up in white robes and waited for the Lords return up on Mount Kellogg.
They believed that the Lord was returning there to pick them up (1850). That day is remembered as the "great day of disappointment".
One of the titles of the Pope is "Servant of the Servants of God", a title based from the Christ's instructions that those who want to be leaders in the Church must be servants.
The SDA and others want to pass off this title from Latin to mean "666". They also want you to believe that Catholics worship the Pope as a 'god'. The truth of God is a stark contrast to these claims of the SDA.
The SDA sponsors a seminar called "Amazing Facts" that base their doctrines from their claims. The Papacy began with Jesus who had promised to Simon, Son of Bar-Jona, the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus changed Simon's name to "Kapha" or Rock. We call him St. Peter. Pope Francis is the 266th successor of St. Peter.
Throughout the history of the Church, there have been times when men have attempted to take over the papacy. Emperors and rulers tried to control or influence the Papacy to further their own ambitions. In some cases, they appointed 'anti-popes' to support them deposing the true Pope according to Canon Law.
An anti-pope is a man who has been improperly elected appointed as Pope. The first anti-pope was Hippolytus (217 A.D.) and the last anti-pope was Felix V (1440-1449). In all there have been 27 anti-popes none of which are listed in the line of the Popes.
It is the teaching of he Catholic Church that in the final days prior to the Second Coming of Jesus, there will be a final anti-pope. Revelation 13:11 states, "Then I saw another beast come up out of the earth; it had two horns like a lamb's but spoke like a dragon".
The horns of a lamb may be an inference to Christianity, but speaking like a dragon would be a rebellious one. Mark 13:22 states, "False messiahs and false prophets will appear performing signs and wonders to mislead, if it were possible, even the elect".
This apostasy will be world wide and people will flock to the anti-Christ through this false prophet.
Society today seems to be setting up for such a leader as never before have we seen such rebellion against official Church teaching. Christians today are accepting compromise like never before.
It is common for people to hold that you can dissent from official Church teaching and it is alright. "Go by your own conscience"? Serious issues as Artificial Birth Control, Homosexuality, Divorce and remarriage (without an annulment), shacking up before marriage, missing Mass through one's own fault, issues of obedience.
Society seems to be setting itself up for such a false prophet? Our Protestant friends who oppose the Catholic Faith are already set up for this anti-Christ. Do we really think Satan will be that obvious? Sola Scriptura helps set this up rather nicely.
One thing is for sure, faithfulness to the Church will be cornered and looked down upon, it will be persecuted. Pope Pius XII warned that to be a true Christian in the latter 20th century you would have to be a 'living martyr' as the attack on the family and faith will be great.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 St. Paul refers to this apostasy before the man of lawlessness and calls for the Church to remain vigilant. Jesus instructs us to persevere to the end in order to be saved. St. John warns, "They will fight the Lamb, but the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings" (Rev 17:14).
Catholics do not worship the Pope! We recognize he is the true successor of St. Peter. As great crowds flocked to St. Peter, so they do today looking to be spiritually fed and blessed by 'Peter in our midst'.
The traditional Christian values are being exchanged for a lie, that ultimately man is in control, man controls his own destiny. This thinking is the great deception of our time. It goes back to the lie in the Garden of Eden when Eve listened to the devil (Genesis 3:1-5).
The anti-Catholics today have some very well made presentations wanting to warn you of the Catholic Faith. Hosea 4:6 God laments that his people are destroyed because of the lack of knowledge.
We need to seek the gifts of the Holy Spirit and listen to the voice of the Lord. St. Luke says it best, "Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me". It's not Sola Scriptura that we must listen to, but the pillar and foundation of truth (the Catholic Faith). If we do this, we will not fall prey to the false prophet nor the anti-Christ.
What does the seven heads and ten horns refereed to by St. John mean (Rev 17:7)"? This is a loaded question that rouse some very interesting opinions.
The Catholic Church may point to the seven heads as being identified with the early Roman Emperors.
Nero being the 1st Beast of Rev 13:1. St. John says, "Here is a clue for one who has wisdom. The seven heads represent seven hills upon which the woman sits. They also represent seven kings; five have already fallen, one still lives, and the last has not yet come...(Rev 17:9-10)".
If Nero and other Roman Emperors make up the seven kings, then you can identify the seven hills with Rome. This is possible to make this connection. This also helps identify who the "Whore of Babylon" (Rev 17:1-6) is.
Along with the Beast of Rev 13, there is a false prophet (Rev 13:11) who is identified with two horns of a lamb but speaks like a dragon. During the time of St. John's writing the book of Revelation, the only religious body that could fit this description would be Jerusalem.
The Woman is identified as having intercourse with the kings of the earth, she plays the harlot, she is seated on a scarlet beast (Rome) wearing purple and scarlet adorned with gold, precious stones and pearls (Exodus 28:6, 35:22).
She has a golden cup filled with abominations (Jeremiah 51:7). She is responsible for the blood of the saints (Acts 12).
During the time of St. John, the only possible role of this woman is Jerusalem. Rome is the beast. If there is a secondary prophecy found in this text of scripture, if the seven kings are representative of kingdoms, it's possible that could be Assyria, Egypt, Babylon, Medopersia, and Greece are the 5 fallen kingdoms, the power at the time would be Rome.
This fits perfectly with the Dream of King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2:1-45) and Daniel (Daniel 7:1-27). The Question remains, who is the Kingdom that is to come? Anti-Catholics build theories that it is the Catholic Church. This is error!
Jesus established the Catholic Faith that St. John represented as an Apostle in union with the other's. If the Anti-Christ comes from a revised "Roman Empire", the European Union just might fit the bill. If there will be another powerful Roman Emperor, that still is yet to be seen.