The Creation Days and the Beast Heads as Image of the Whole of Salvation History

Parallel Theology of the Days of Creation and the Beast of the Apocalypse

An Analysis of the Perpetual Cycle of Darkness and Light in Salvation History

There is no need to inform the reader of the awful tragedy and sorrowful offense that stands before us in this current time of our Church—the terrible and despicable crimes committed against children, adolescents, and young persons as a result of an infusion of enemies into our Church beginning many decades ago. We are in pain, hurt, anguish, anger, and helplessness. To be sure, in part, it seems all that we can do for now is abandon ourselves and the tainted, wounded Church into God’s hands and pray that some sense of justice and healing can come to the poor and scarred victims, their loved ones, and all those who weep with and for them, saying, “Why?!”

Too, in another dimension, for about the same time that this surely diabolical activity has been taking place, the Church has had to face a world that largely regards her as dead, a world of the irrational and godless atheism, nihilism and relativism. It is a dark time indeed.

In light of this dire situation, I write this theological discourse to bring some sort of spark of hope to us in this engulfing darkness that we find ourselves in, for we know that “where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.” (Rom. 5:20) More specifically, from EWTN scholarship,1 which researched a great subset of fully approved private revelation, the most likely conclusion is that we are in no wise at the end of the Church’s sojourn, for, even if now the self-same darkness is deep and horrendous, even to push us to a point of despair, we know that it is in moments of the worst trial that God brings light far greater than the sorrow that existed at the then present time. Let us not despair, therefore, for the church has died and risen many times.

This, in fact, brings us to the noble, Venerable Fulton Sheen. He had seen, in one view of our legacy, four pivotal times in Church history, each separated by a span of five centuries, in which the Church died a great death of some sort, only to emerge once again with life and vitality. His four historical hinges were:2

  • The Fall of Rome AD 500
  • The Great Schism and Invasion of Europe by Islam in AD 1000~
  • The Protestant Rebellion in AD 1500~
  • The Modern time of Worldliness [effectively secular, apostate culture] in the 20th century

Venerable Sheen points out that in each of these, sparing our modern age, which has yet to be resolved, the Church suffered great loss and trial but bounced back in a virile come-back. Moreover, the same EWTN scholarship reference above provides the hope we need to realize that, if the best estimates from the plethora of fully approved private revelations are correct, an incomprehensible resurrection of the Church is on our horizon:

Approved Catholic mystics (Venerables, Blessed and Saints, approved apparitions) throw considerable light on this order, by prophesying a minor apostasy and tribulation toward the end of the world, after which will occur the reunion of Christians. Only later will the entire world fall away from Christ (the great apostasy) and the personal Antichrist arise and the Tribulation of the End occur.

Although this is not Catholic doctrine, arising as it does from private revelation, it conforms to what is occurring in our time, especially in light of Our Lady of Fátima's promise of an "Era of Peace." This "Triumph of the Immaculate Heart" (other saints have spoken of a social reign of Jesus Christ when Jesus will reign in the hearts of men) would seem to occur prior to the rise of the Antichrist. The optimism of the Pope for the "New Evangelization" and a "Civilization of Love" in the Third Millennium of Christianity fits here, as well. This would place us, therefore, in the period just before the events spoken of in the Catechism, that is, on the verge of the evangelization of the entire world. Other interpretations are possible, but none seem to fit the facts as well, especially when approved mystics are studied, instead of merely alleged ones.3

This beautiful light that seems to be imminent is, in fact, what will appear to be the most glorious light to ever shine in human history, sparing the First Coming of Our Lord and the light beyond the eschaton itself, the Second Coming and New Creation. Indeed, what is remarkable is that, as we may not realize, except subconsciously, this dying and rising phenomenon which our dear Venerable Sheen intelligently finds seems intrinsic not merely to Church history but to the entirety of salvation history itself—even something that is implied by supreme biblical metaphors. How so, one may ask? We answer, how about none other than the days of creation and the beast in Apocalypse! It may at first sound bizarre, but this discourse will attempt to show that they fit the theology perfectly and with hefty theological depth both throughout and within.

Here is the wonder: day and night, the story of salvation history alternates like the days of creation; evening came and morning followed, the first day; evening came and morning followed, the second day, and so forth. That is, spiritual darkness falls around God’s People, but God draws light from it, spiritual illumination. Then, the sin comes back, and God redeems it again. Again, evening came and morning followed, the first day, the second day, and on and on.

In a parallel sense, the imagery of the beast mirrors this reality: in Apocalypse chapter 13, it is written,“And I saw one of his heads as it were slain to death: and his death's wound was healed. And all the earth was in admiration after the beast.” (Rev 13:3) Here, a head of the beast can image a darkness of our day of creation above, that is, a period of spiritual desolation, or sin. The slaying of such a head then clearly images the spiritual light, the sunrise, that vanquishes it, namely, a great redemptive action of God in history that does away with the sinful stage and brings renewal. Too, then, if a wound to a head of the beast is healed, it images that a sinful age has come back or succeeded a spiritual light.

Also, the Christ falls on the way of the cross and gets up, repeatedly.

In this way, salvation history quite veritably, in the big picture, manifests itself as a perpetual alternation being spiritual night and spiritual day. We can be more specific.

In the beginning was the fall, and darkness fell over quickly with the age of Noah’s day, wickedness! But God entered in with great light, the Flood. Sinful humanity was baptized away, and creation started over.

Then, sin arose again with Babel, and God brought light, the confounding of tongues, followed by the greater light, the calling of Abraham and the formation of the first People of God, the Hebrews.

Then, the third darkness arose with Egypt’s enslavement of the Hebrews, and it was followed by light, the Exodus, the Old Testament Kingdom, and David.

Then, the fourth darkness arose, the progressive wickedness of the Jews as they approached the Babylonian exile, and it was followed, once again, by light, that same Exile that converted the hearts of the Jews back to God and ushered in the great renewal—the return of the Jews to the Holy Land and the rebuilding of the Temple.

Finally, the fifth darkness was Maccabees, where many Jews were martyred by the antichrist figure Antiochus IV Epiphanies and the war that ensued. And a little while later, the greatest redemption of God in Person in human history, the coming of the Christ.

Effectively, the process continues into the New Testament era, more or less. Now, one may now ask, is there any support for this explicit historical analogy in Sacred Tradition? Absolutely! St. Augustine himself delineates these five ages of the Old Law in his On the Catechising of the Uninstructed. Let us look at the passage:

Five ages of the world, accordingly, having been now completed (there has entered the sixth). Of these ages the first is from the beginning of the human race, that is, from Adam, who was the first man that was made, down to Noah, who constructed the ark at the time of the Flood. Then the second extends from that period on to Abraham, who was called the father indeed of all nations which should follow the example of his faith, but who at the same time in the way of natural descent from his own flesh was the father of the destined people of the Jews; which people, previous to the entrance of the Gentiles into the Christian faith, was the one people among all the nations of all lands that worshipped the one true God: from which people also Christ the Savior was decreed to come according to the flesh. For these turning-points of those two ages occupy an eminent place in the ancient books.

On the other hand, those of the other three ages are also declared in the Gospel, where the descent of the Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh is likewise mentioned. For the third age extends from Abraham on to David the king; the fourth from David on to that captivity whereby the people of God passed over into Babylonia; and the fifth from that transmigration down to the advent of our Lord Jesus Christ.

With His coming the sixth age has entered on its process; so that now the spiritual grace, which in previous times was known to a few patriarchs and prophets, may be made manifest to all nations; to the intent that no man should worship God but freely, fondly desiring of Him not the visible rewards of His services and the happiness of this present life, but that eternal life alone in which he is to enjoy God Himself: in order that in this sixth age the mind of man may be renewed after the image of God, even as on the sixth day man was made after the image of God.4

The text perfectly provides what we are looking for. Let us apply it. Simply notice that, first, St. Augustine delineates five epochs for the OT, and this is the same number as our five sets of darkness and light traversed above. Similarly, if we look closer, the partitioning points of St. Augustine’s rendition are precisely the points of light in our analysis, leaving the greater history between his same points of light as the points of darkness in our discourse. Just follow it:

Firstly, the lights:

  • Adam: Original Justice is light.
  • Noah: the Flood is light.
  • Abraham: the confounding of tongues and formation of the Hebrew People are light.
  • David: the formation of the holy kingdom after the Exodus is light.
  • Captivity: the Captivity, though great suffering for the Jewish People, is still light, since by it, God softened the hearts of His wayward People and brought them to repentance [the restoration to holy land and rebuilding of the Temple fits here as well.]
  • The Christ: need we say more about the light of the First Coming of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus!

Secondly, the phases of darkness in between:

  • Between Adam and Noah: the darkness of the fall and wickedness of Noah’s day.
  • Between Noah and Abraham: the darkness of the great sin of Babel, blasphemous materialistic perversity.
  • Between Abraham and David: the darkness of the Egyptian Enslavement.
  • Between David and the Captivity: the darkness of the great sin of the Jews prior to the exile.
  • Between the Captivity and First Coming of Jesus: the darkness of the Maccabeean struggle, including Old Testament antichrist figure, Antiochus.

Profoundly as well, at the end of our citation, Augustine brings us into the days of creation himself, the same allegorical days we mentioned and traversed: St. Augustine points out that the sixth age, the Church, is the age in which man is remade in mind and heart through the Gospel, even as God made man in his image and likeness on the sixth day.

Surprisingly, St Methodius of Olympus gives us a similar, but slightly altered layout: “Five are the ages of the old law, the sixth age is designated to the Church, the seventh is the millennium of rest, and the eighth designates the eternity of heaven.”5

Pausing here for a moment, the reader that is familiar with Catholic eschatology will eye the “millennium of rest” with well-warranted suspicion, for it seems to imply chiliasm, an ancient heresy that took the thousand-year reign of Jesus in Apocalypse literally. Admittedly, caution, or even a red light, is understandable here. However, momentarily we can peruse this curiosity, but first, let us just continue walking through the history from the first Coming of Christ down to our own day to ascertain what phases of darkness or light may have already transpired in our sixth age.

The Age of the Church’s Labor Against Sin and Heresy

To begin, we should notice that a day of creation starts with darkness (“evening came”) and ends with light (“morning followed”), just as a head of the beast arises and is subsequently “slain.” Hence, if the light of the fifth day, the first Coming of Christ, completes the fifth day, then immediately after that same first Coming of Christ must come a spiritual darkness to start the sixth day. Indeed, this is the case: pagan Rome! Yes, after Jesus came, the succeeding great age of darkness that we are aiming at that great, wicked Empire of vicious persecution of Christians which mainfested vehement pagan resistance to conversion for a great time, some three centuries—an Empire that misunderstands Christians and lashes out against them.

Of course, this gave way to light: Constantine, and the conversion of the Empire. To be sure, the Edict of Milan constitutes an incomprehensible transition for all of human history. At this juncture, much of the world will be transformed from the darkness of paganism into the light of the Gospel.

Here, however, the question remains; we speak of the light of the sixth day and at least one more darkness: either the great apostasy, which is final, or two phases of darkness—a minor apostasy (followed by Our Lady’s Age of Peace, as with our private revelation scenario) and then the great apostasy.

Yet, when we speak of “darkness,” the waters become murky here, for the Church has faced innumerable obstacles since Rome was converted. At what point can we say that the “light’ of the sixth day has set and it is “darkness” again, the seventh day, or beyond? In short, what we will find is that the sun does not set again till our modern time, roughly the 20th century. The way to look at it is, “light” does not necessarily mean bright and unobscured. Rather, imperfect days have rain, clouds, and so forth. In other words, if there is still gray in the sky, or even twilight, it is still light. Hence, as we move through Church history, we can say that as long there is still some light, if even natural, in her primary spiritual oppositions of the associated time, we are still in the sixth day.

So what would we say the major spiritual oppositions have been since pagan Rome? This a good question. I would say that the key is to look at the bigger picture of the ages and not get distracted by exceptions to a rule for an age. When we do that, a definitive pattern emerges: the devil is taking pot shots at the lesser evident sources of Catholic truth and moving down to the most evident sources, and, derivatively, at the most reliable sources in terms of truth, down to the least reliable. In that way, truth peels off little by little, like knocking off layers of a pyramid.

Let us look into this in more depth; first, when speaking of the sources of Catholic truth, we traditionally think of three sources of truth:

  • Scripture<
  • Tradition<
  • The Magisterium

However, God himself as Trinity and Incarnation is a source, too, even if he is no longer here in direct, revelatory presence. In fact, this is the ultimate source, non-mediated. Additionally, Reason is a source of truth, since even from natural wisdom, we can know monotheism and natural law in some sense, if even with difficulty in some cases.

Moreover, the Magisterium has two degrees to it: general Apostolic Succession, or the collection of regular Bishops, and then the supreme Apostolic Successor, Peter. Also, Tradition never exists apart from a valid Bishop. Where the valid Bishop is, there also is Tradition. And Tradition is the property of the Bishops, who are its custodian. Therefore, Bishops and Tradition go together always. Hence, a more accurate rendering of the sources of truth is not merely three but five, like the toes of the human foot:

  1. The Trinity and Incarnation
  2. The Supreme Apostolic Successor [the Pope]
  3. The General Apostolic Succession and Oral Tradition
  4. The Written Tradition [Scripture]
  5. Reason

Note, too, something very important about the above order in which the sources are listed: these fountains of the Church's mysteries are stacked upon one another in such a way that the higher up the stack you are, the greater treasure of truth one can obtain from the particular source at that level, yet, at the same time, the higher you get in the stack, the less evidence there is for the source as legitimate.

Now, If we look at the history of the Church and consider the greater phases of doctrinal development and assault on the Church spiritually, it is no surprise that the dragon has instigated attacks precisely in the order of the pyramid above, from top to bottom, meaning, from the most reliable source to the least reliable source and, at the same time, from the least evident source to the most evident source.

First, let us work out this theology of the pyramid, and then we can show that the Church’s historical doctrinal trajectory has descended the pyramid perfectly. Well will start from the bottom and work upward:

Reason: The weakest source in terms of truth is Reason, since it only gives natural truth, as in mainly basic monotheism and natural law, but it is the most evident source; all men have reason and can plainly see it. No man may excuse himself from seeking out truth with reason. "The fool has said in his heart, there is no God." (Ps 14:1)

Scripture: Scripture is less evident than reason in the world, since only Christians have it in full. For example, the New World Indians only had reason before Europe came to them. Before the Spaniards came to the Aztecs, they did not have Scripture. No savage can ever have Scripture unless it is brought to him. So, again, whereas all men have reason, not all men have Scripture. Scripture is less evident. But it is the most evident source of Revelation. All three forms of Christendom accept the Scriptures. Yet, the Scriptures are also the least reliable source of revelatory truth by themselves, since they are highly susceptible to misinterpretation without Tradition and Bishops. Protestants only have Scripture, but they are all over the board on truth.

Tradition and Bishops: the evidence for general Apostolic Succession and Oral Tradition is less in the writings of the Fathers than for Scripture. The vast majority of early church father testimony is citing Scripture. Quotes that argue for valid Tradition and Succession from the Apostles are much less. So, again, Tradition and authoritative Apostolic Succession are less evident to humanity than Scripture. But Tradition is far more reliable than Scripture, since it gives the right interpretation. With only Tradition, the Orthodox would still have all their dogmas, even without Scripture. But again, the evidence for Tradition is less than Scripture, hence why only two of the three forms of Christendom accept Tradition, Orthodox and Catholic.

Peter: Quotes in antiquity that speak of Peter's special office of infallibility are far less than general quotes about general Apostolic Succession. Therefore, Peter's special role in Apostolic Succession is less evident than general Bishops, hence why the Orthodox do not accept him. But Peter is even stronger in truth than his other brothers combined, since with Peter, the fullness of truth on earth is known in Catholicism. Hence why the Orthodox are a little bit in error and debate a thousand years of what we know to be certain as dogma.

Finally, the Trinity and Incarnation lies even above Peter, since God is the ultimate source of truth, but those mysteries are so elusive, so hidden!

What we have shown is that as you ascend the pyramid of sources, the truth increases but the evidence for reliability decreases, and down the pyramid, vice versa. The historical journey of doctrine in the Church bears this out completely!

  1. After Pagan Rome, the majority of the primary heresies afflicting the Church until the Schism were mainly attacking God in His special nature as Triune and Incarnate: Arianism, Monophysitism, Monothelytism, Nestorianism, Apollinarism, Pneumatomachianism, Tritheism, and so forth. Too, Islam culminated these: it totally denied the Trinity and Incarnation and, if that were not enough, went on to suggest a revelation beyond Jesus, the Quran, which Arianism, while also denying the Trinity and Incarnation, did not. Too, even the Iconoclastic heresy is an affront to the Incarnate God, since, it involves the interpretation of the First Commandment which is to have no other gods before him, sacred images, and the reality that images of the saints, because of the presence of deifying sanctifying grace, are images of Christ, an Incarnational mystery.
  2. Then, the next great attack was clearly the Great Schism of the East, which assaulted Peter, the supreme apostolic successor, just underneath God.
  3. As for the next great attack, really, in the Middle Ages, Albigensianism or Catharism were minor compared to what was the clear continuing trajectory of the opposition to the Church, the moral fall of the clergy in the late Middle Ages, paving the way for the great assault, the Protestant Rebellion; and lo and behold, the ultimate thing that all Protestants have in common is in contesting the general Bishops and Sacred Tradition, which are just beneath Peter, the supreme Apostolic Successor.
  4. It just keeps going: the Protestants’ confounding of the Scriptures only served to make humanity doubt the veracity of the Bible itself and, in fact, all Divine Revelation, which gave rise to a general climate of solo-ratio, or faith in Reason alone, the natural digression from the Protestants’ counterpart rallying-cry, sola-scriptura (Enlightenment, French Revolution, Masonry, and so forth).
  5. Finally, in the 20th century, even Reason dies, and we have total apostasy, as in atheism in the East [which is irrational since it denies God, who can be known from Reason alone, Vatican I] and relativism and materialism in the West [which is irrational since it denies objective truth].

Hence, in all but the fifth phase, anti-Reason, some light is present. Let us analyze it.

  1. To begin, the heresies against God’s special nature still leave much light: all but Islam still have Scripture and Tradition in some respects, and even Islam is supernatural light: a Judaeo-Christian shell and belief in the necessity of revelation and divine assistance.
  2. Schism? Ditto. The Orthodox are practically Catholic, like a bright sun with a little cloud to the side, the rejection of Peter and the Filioque.
  3. Protestantism is bringing in rain and sadness but still much supernatural light: most of Scripture and two sacraments, Baptism and Marriage. Protestants, for all the rhetoric they may spout at us, are not devil’s children; they are God’s children and just misguided.
  4. Even, too, in the Enlightenment and the general age characterized merely by natural light, Reason, it is like a dim twilight: deists and rationalists still hold to a Creator and some sense of natural law, usually. And even when Reason later became diverted away from supernaturally dead religion and towards merely this world, still, Reason directed toward science, math, psychology and economics is aimed at truths and things that concern a reflection of the divine, for the created order and its laws and relationships were made by God and so imprint the divine wisdom. Hence, man’s pursuit of the truths of chemistry, and biology, and geology, and economic theory, and the maths, and the psychological order, and so forth, are already approaching God.
  5. Hence, only when man, in the 20th century, sheds Reason in diabolical horror with atheism in the East and relativism in the West, was there no longer any of the divine sources of truth left, no light left in the sky, sparing the nightly luminaries.

Consequently, it truly is the case that after the sun rises with Constantine, it does not set fully till our modern time.

[An Addendum is in order here. “And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud, and a rainbow was on his head, and his face was as the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire. And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot upon the earth.” (Rv 10:1–2)

Now, the scroll can image the totality of God’s truth and mystery. Moreover, by common Gospel symbolism, we are called to walk in the “Way” which is clearly the “Way [of] Truth”, as in “follow me.” Hence, that our feet are called to walk the way of truth could be extrapolated to mean, at least on one layer of meaning, that our feet become images of the truth themselves. Toward that end, the angel bearing in his hand the entire mystery of truth coupled with the vivid symbolism of his feet in alternate environments could easily imply that some of the mystery of Catholic truth extends into the feet of the angel. Indeed, this will be strikingly appropriate, as follows: note, first, that the strong foot (the right foot, since right, in the biblical theology, means the stronger, as in “and he is seated at the right hand of the Father”) rests on the sea, a weak foundation, and the weak foot, the left foot, rests on the earth, a strong foundation. Hence, this can image that strong sources of truth rest on weaker evidence, and weaker sources of truth rest on stronger evidence, just like our pyramid analogy!

While we are at it, a wondrous secondary addendum can be noted: if the foot images the truth, we note that the foot has five toes. How many sources of truth did we have in the pyramid above? Yes, five. Moreover, when Jesus is crucified, his one foot is placed on top of the other foot, and they are brutally fixated to one another by the nail in such a manner that, effectively, a one-to-one correspondence exists between the five toes of each foot. And lo and behold, if we use the Egyptian model of the human toes, which is where the toes descend in length from the big toe down to the little toe perfectly (and noting anyway that since Jesus is Middle Eastern, this is probably his genetic version), we note that the toes are in opposite pose for the two feet when the two feet are nailed together. That is, on the one foot, the toes fall going in one lateral direction, and on the other foot, the toes rise. Bingo! This perfectly images our theology: as we traverse the five sources of truth, from top to bottom, truth falls, but evidence for legitimacy rises, just like the toes!]

The Seventh Night: Private Revelation Completes Remaining History

This, then, is the seventh night, our modern age. So now, our only options are the end of the world or another sunrise followed by an eighth darkness. This is a crucial juncture. After all, Public Revelation speaks of an apostasy at the end. Is this it? Because, on the one hand, Europe and her children, the lands of former Christendom, have this great darkness of apostasy and secular messianism spread across them. On the other hand, the Church doesn’t seem to be saying we are at the end. She is trying to have hope through the vision of Vatican II. Well, duh! The very oceans’ worth of fully approved mystics that we saw referenced above gives us the hope we need!

Once again, we reiterate, the majority of fully approved private revelations, per EWTN scholarship,6 suggest, as the most likely scenario, an intermediate, minor apostasy toward the end, together with a conditional threat of a minor tribulation, after which occurs a glorious reunion of Christendom and a period of wonderful peace. All this must precede the final phase of human history, the great apostasy of Public Revelation and its associated Antichrist, great persecution, full conversion of the Jews, and incomprehensible great tribulation, within which, at an unknown “hour,” our dear Savior Jesus returns to end human history, judge and raise all humanity, and form the New Creation that shall never end.

Private Revelation Fulfilled in the Scriptures: The Days of Creation and the Beast

Here, there will be some objections. Firstly, one will argue that Private Revelation is not required for any Catholic. OK, admittedly, no portion of Private Revelation is ever necessary to be believed in. However, I would say, firstly, how could so many countless plain witnesses be wrong? Secondly, we will see that this private revelation scenario most fully agrees with the theology of the days of creation and beast kings [forthcoming]. It would behoove us, then, to simply show in the raw sense that this perfect correlation exists before delving into deeper reasons.

The Days of Creation Fulfill Private Revelation

Let us proceed with the days of creation. We already saw that the sixth night was pagan Rome, and that we are now, with the modern minor apostasy, in the seventh night. Well, the private revelation scenario lays out that the next great phase of history is a light, the age of peace [the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart], following a preemptive conversion in the world or a chastisement and then a conversion. Bingo! This is the seventh light! Note, too, it has the semblance of a Sabbath, like the seventh-day Sabbath of the Genesis allegory: the near whole of humanity will be voluntarily Catholic and living the Gospel in their hearts. The Church will, temporarily, cease having to labor against sin and heresy. She will rest, just as God rested from his labors on the seventh day. Again, this perfectly mirrors the seventh day of allegory, which is a metaphorical Sabbath in the same days of creation. This enables us to interpret St Methodius’s“millennium of rest” referenced above as this age of imperfect rest, the age of Our Lady’s Peace.

Finally, the next phase, again by the scenario, is the great apostasy, where the world will grow lax and forget the lessons she learned. This is the night, the eighth night. And lo and behold, the remaining phase after this is nothing short of the end of time, the eternal light of the Second Coming and New Creation. This eighth light is an eternal, most perfect Sabbath, where the just shall forever behold God and one another in love and peace, never to suffer again. Too, remember, they shall rise at the Judgment, just as the Christ rose on the eighth day. It fits perfectly!

The Kings of the Beast Fulfill Private Revelation

Let us move on now to something we have not considered: the beast kings of Apocalypse 17. What do we mean? Let us cite the Scripture:

The beast, which thou sawest, was, and is not, and shall come up out of the bottomless pit, and go into destruction: ...And here is the understanding that hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, upon which the woman sitteth, and they are seven kings: [10] Five are fallen, one is, and the other is not yet come: and when he is come, he must remain a short time. And the beast that was and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goes into perdition. (Rv 17:8–11)

Now, a very key citation—St. Hippolytus testifies that the beast kings could be ages:

“Under the name of five kings who have fallen out of the seven, Blessed Hippolytus understands ages, of which five have already passed. The sixth, in which the Apostle saw this, is still going on, and the seventh age, which follows upon the sixth, has not yet come, but when it comes, it will not continue long...”7

For us, the meaning of “five have fallen” is self-evident: St John is himself writing at the close of the age of the First Coming of Christ, which means he is just beyond the fifth light of human history and barely into the sixth night, pagan Rome, making five ages of sin preceding him, as we saw with St. Augustine above. In fact, the beast kings are just our nights of the days of creation, as we insinuated earlier in this writing.

  1. The Fall and Noah’s Day of Wickedness
  2. The Tower of Babel
  3. >Egyptian Enslavement
  4. Pre-Exile Jewish Apostasy from Old Law
  5. Maccabeean Persecution and OT Antichrist Antiochus Epiphanies

Admittedly, St Hippolytus does not seem to see an eighth age, even as St Augustine, from above, does not seem to see a literal eighth either. For now, we can concede the concern, seeing as, for ages, the Church has really only had one apostasy in view for Church history, the great apostasy from Public Revelation, which comes at the very end. When no intermediate, lesser apostasy has been in view until recently with a closer look at the approved [private] revelations, it is natural to see the eighth as something that must be purely figurative. However, now that we have a two-apostasy scenario for Church history from the mystics, one that seems more and more probable with time in conjunction with Church optimism amidst our darkness, the seventh and eighth kings can be seen as veritable ages in their own right. Consequently, the solution is immediate: the seventh that had not yet arisen in St John’s time is our modern minor godless day, and the eighth is the great apostasy.

With the above suggestion to make a literal eighth king plausible, and since the mystery of the kings in the Scripture suggests an eighth that arises again, all will fit as well.

The Beast Was, and is Not, and Will Be Again

“And the beast you saw was, and is not, and will be again…. And the beast that was and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goes into perdition.” (Rv 17:8,11) The connotation of the eighth bringing one back to the first will now be seen as utterly profound. Let us work it out. Here, the comparison is between kings one and eight and days one and eight. Day one is like day eight, just as note one in music is like note eight, the octave. The eighth returns you to the first. Day one is Noah’s day, where the whole world is wicked, sparing a remnant. Similarly, in day eight, the time of the great apostasy, the world is also nearly fully wicked, sparing a remnant of good Gentile Catholics and the Jews who have converted.

Moreover, in day one, the world is destroyed by water and made anew, the beginning of the redemption of the world. In day eight, the world is destroyed by fire and utterly made new in the unending New Creation. (see 2 Pt 3:4–7)

Likewise, the beast kings bear the sense; the eighth phase of sin brings with it the image of a former king (And the beast you saw was, and is not, and will be again). Here, common sense says, use the first king. This does work best and is most profound, as follows.

Essentially, in the beginning, the fall "reigned" ["was"] in human history because, before the Flood, God had not, as of yet, intervened to redeem humanity in any significant sense; I believe that this lends itself to the notion that the fallen nature, having never felt the blow of any redemptive act of God, clearly held sway over the majority of man in Noah's day (just prior to the Flood). Hence, in the first great darkness, the beast "was."

But, beginning with the Flood, God's first great act of redemption of humanity, the fallen nature ceased to be the prevailing force in human history, which is to say, the beast was "not." How, may we ask? Well, beginning with the Flood, God dealt the first lethal blow to the fallen nature. When God intervened in this first redemptive action, the renewal of humanity was underway—the progressive stages that will draw greater spiritual goods from the manifestations of the fallen nature—and, as it were, caused the fallen nature to take a secondary role in the course of salvation history, so that, precisely because God is in the process of redeeming the human race, the beast "is not."

How much more so was this true in St. John's day, in that the fullness of redemption had come: the Christ. Therefore, all the more does the fallen nature take a back seat to the spread of the Gospel. Consequently, especially in St. John's day, "the beast is not."

However, that the fallen nature is both wounded and secondary to God's redemptive process, it does not abrogate the fact that the fallen nature still manifests itself in the punctuated stages of resistance along the way, so that kings still rise and fall after the first (like the successions of darkness and light in our days of creation), who was, again, "primary." These secondary kings are then the intervening ones between one and eight. Subsequent nights of sin follow, but because God is redeeming humanity during the intermediate phases of sin, redemption still holds sway, that is, again, “the beast is not.”

However, when we reach king eight, the great apostasy, humanity’s culpability has reached its peak. The fall is back again to stay, effectively irredeemable. How? Let us probe it.

The Unforgivable Nature of the Great Apostasy

In the great apostasy, the world will come back to be like our modern age, and, for that matter, any of the great ages of sin before us. They will return to their former ways—just like Pagan Rome; just like the wicked Jews before the Babylonian exile; just like the blasphemous grandeur of Egypt in her pyramids, or Babel with its tower; just like Noah’s day, before the Flood, and so forth. They will be disrespectful of parents and authority, indifferent toward God and religion, complacent, superficial, drunken, using drugs, gossiping, bullying, slandering, vulgar, committing abortion and euthanasia, sexually immoral in all ways—cohabitation, promiscuity, artificial birth control, divorce, sodomy—greedy, dishonest, fraudulent, and on and on. But they will have no excuse.

How? Well, the world will have had two great dimensions placed before them in the past age precedent to this final apostasy:

  • The powers of this world
  • The powers of the age to come

More specifically, we know that the powers of this world are not enough to bring lasting peace and prosperity to humanity. “With man, this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.” (Mt 19:26) “In the condition of the fallen nature, it is morally impossible for man, without restoring grace, to fulfill the entire moral law and to overcome all serious temptations for any considerable period of time.” (Sent. certa.) 8

Without the knowledge Revelation gives of God we cannot recognize sin clearly and are tempted to explain it as merely a developmental flaw, a psychological weakness, a mistake, or the necessary consequence of an inadequate social structure, etc. Only in the knowledge of God's plan for man can we grasp that sin is an abuse of the freedom that God gives to created persons so that they are capable of loving him and loving one another.9

“God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for...For if man exists, it is because God has created him through love, and through love continues to hold him in existence. He cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and entrusts himself to his creator.”10

In fact, if humanity fully casts aside the powers of the age to come, that is, authentic religion and morals, yet still carries the powers of this world, the result will be catastrophic—incomprehensible horror. Man, when left to his own devices, will destroy himself. The secular sciences that study the rise and fall of empires fully vindicate this claim: for a time, societies that have no God or gods and no morals but great materialistic power, as in wicked empires and kingdoms with great physical wonders and such, can prosper internally and externally. But in time, the moral corruption catches up with them, and they come crashing down, destroying themselves from within. I also discussed this in the apocalypse essay here.11

Hence, this leaves us a law: the powers of this world, when divorced from the powers of the age to come, spell doom for the societies that make this terrible mistake. On the contrary however, when the powers of this world are fully united and reconciled to the powers of the age to come, authentic peace and prosperity becomes a wonderful reality.

These truths set the stage for the two great spiritual developments prior to the great apostasy, namely:

  • The minor tribulation
  • The Catholic age of peace

Here, the definitive apexes of moral lessons to humanity are made incarnate, never to be repeated:

In the minor tribulation, humanity will be shown its final learning lesson: when the world rejects the fullness of all God’s revelation and grace in exchange for a brute and perverse pursuit of this world, however powerful, however magnificent materially, they will learn, I sense—horribly, and in an epic and apocalyptic manner—the full implications of their errors, their sins, and their blindness. They will see their need—down to the last jot and tittle—for every single doctrine of faith and morals from our wounded, sinful, and yet beloved Church and see such need desperately from great pain, agony, and suffering. Toward this end, humanity will never again be able to tell God that they didn’t know the way, that they didn’t know the consequences, and this, with the fullness of God’s revelation and love. Other lessons have been learned in history, to be sure, but never with the effectively complete set of doctrinal development behind it, at least the primary brunt of it, and throughout the near whole of the world—never again. Hence, if another such secularly messianic apostasy arises later, it will be without excuse.

And yet! Even with this, God is gracious, “long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Pt. 3:9) Our Divine Savior Jesus is not in the business of condemnation but salvation. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (Jn 3:17) Hence, far from condemning the wayward son who repents even far away, the Father runs to meet him and embraces Him with ineffable mercy. How sweet is the love and mercy of the Infinite Father, Son and Spirit towards us sinners, who deserve eternal separation, but who are awarded the affection of a God who would rather forget we ever committed our transgressions, and invite us to love him forever in the wedding feast that shall never end.

Hence, the age of peace! Humanity repents, akin to how the Jews repented radically in the exile in their respective intermediate history, an exile that was a similar chastisement on their wickedness toward the Old Law, even as the Gentiles are now wicked toward the New Law in our own respective intermediate Church history. And what is even more marvelous is that in the age of peace, presumably, the powers of this world will not be lost. Indeed, and unfortunately for various reasons, the great powers of the world that were of Rome were largely lost in the Church’s transformation of Europe from spiritual darkness to light. For this reason, the modern world looks with disdain on Christendom, a phenomenon lasting from roughly 500 A.D. to 1700 A.D., seeing as temporal developments were lacking. Yes, for the most part, if it is true that today we have the powers of this world and not of the other, so in the Middle Ages and surrounding times, they had the powers of the other world but not this one. In the age of peace, they will have both! Science and faith, reason and faith—which our beloved Holy Father Emeritus Benedict persistently trumpets—are not in opposition to one another. In the age of peace, they will be fully reconciled, the fullness of both worlds’ wisdom and power.

Note, there will still be the cross, those elements of physical evil and misfortune that cannot be eradicated from this fallen world that is ever “journeying toward perfection.”

...with infinite wisdom and goodness God freely willed to create a world "in a state of journeying" towards its ultimate perfection. In God's plan this process of becoming involves the appearance of certain beings and the disappearance of others, the existence of the more perfect alongside the less perfect, both constructive and destructive forces of nature. With physical good there exists also physical evil as long as creation has not reached perfection.12

Nevertheless, despite the fact that the age of peace will still allow, presumably, disease, sickness, economic troubles, natural disasters, some poverty, and the like, the point is that there will be a civilization of love, per the hopes of the Church today flowing from the missionary call of Vatican II, and the hope of the renewed world of the Third Millennium. In this vein, though suffering of largely physical evil will persist, the world, being in a self-same renewed charity, will live in solidarity with others, and this will enable a true brotherhood of man—a world that more or less fully understands the material order as well as the spiritual, relative to what God desires humanity to know this side of the end of time. And this will last, at least temporarily, for as long as humanity chooses to keep a keen eye on the world that almost was not and to persevere in cooperation with the grace of God.

Consequently, precisely because the powers of this world, without God, brought unfathomable ruin, and, also because the powers of this world with God brought, love, peace and the best of both worlds, relatively speaking, humanity will have no other conclusion from brute and simplistic logic than to admit that the need for God is imperative to human well-being—that without it, no matter how much temporal advancement may be present, certain doom is inevitable.

So then, returning to the great apostasy, if the world goes back to godlessness and the powers of this world without the powers of the age to come after the age of peace, they simply can no longer say they have any mercy left from God in an apocalyptic sense. It will be, as it were, unforgivable historically. Here, one may object, God has persistently shown mercy on fallen civilizations. True, but this last civilization will do so with the fullness of divine revelation, and with a period of mercy already granted once in the minor tribulation. They will have taken the fullness of everything that God can give to a world on this side of the end of time and thrown it in God’s face. Once humanity issues the supreme insult upon the fullness of all that He has to give in this world, short only of eternity, nothing remains to remedy the situation.

Consequently, whereas any individual soul can always attain mercy in confession or the anointing, the world in a social structure, in a historical structure, will be unforgivable, and, dare we say, unrepentant. Here, we can argue this on two counts. One, consider Hebrews 6. The text is referencing Jewish apostates and saying that, mostly likely, they won’t come back (it uses hyperbolic language). I think we can argue a similar context: “It is impossible for those [the world?] who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance.” (Heb 6:4–5) Secondly, “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.” (Mt 24:22) Here, the connotation is clear: in the great apostasy and tribulation, if God did not intervene to end the world, the wicked world would destroy itself, since it is en-mass incurably unrepentant.

Consequently, to return to the discourse on the beast kings, when we reach the eighth beast king, or the great apostasy, then the fall, or the “beast,” is back, or “is again.” Humanity is, en-mass, both incurable and unforgivable historically. No further redemption of the fallen nature can be had within human history, saving the en-mass conversion of the Jews and that which is beyond the eschaton, the New Creation. Hence, the fall is back again, as it was in Noah’s day. It once again reigns in human history, casting out the Holy Spirit of redemption—getting St Augustine’s restrainer out the way.

And now you know what [the Holy Spirit, per St. Augustine] withholdeth, that he [Antichrist] may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity already worketh; only that he who now holdeth, do hold, until he be taken out of the way. And then that wicked one shall be revealed whom the Lord Jesus shall kill with the spirit of his mouth; and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming, him, Whose coming is according to the working of Satan, in all power, and signs, and lying wonders, And in all seduction of iniquity to them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. Therefore God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying: That all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity. (2 Thes 2:6–11)

This, I argue, implies that once humanity rejects the fullness of divine redemption in history, which is the culmination of the Spirit, no further redemption becomes possible, so that the Holy Spirit is being irrevocably rejected, his restraining activity against iniquity being vanquished, bringing in the appearance of Antichrist. And that means, “the beast [is] again.” Hence, just as the fallen nature reigned in the beginning of human history (the fall and wickedness of Noah's day) [the beast "was"], so the darkness reigns again at the close of human history, where all but a remnant of humanity are in rebellion against God [the beast "will be again"]. And so our theology is perfect.

The Eight Ages: a Deeper Theology

Now that have we have shown a perfect correlation between the ages of the world and the allegory of the creation and beast—poignant Scriptures at the beginning and close of the Written Tradition of God—perhaps we might briefly venture into a gross theology of these ages. That is, are the ages merely random, or is there something more meaningful to them? I believe there is much profundity here, but for brevity, we can give a cursory analysis for now.

The Way of the Saint Walked Apocalyptic-ally by the Peoples of God

To begin, the first supreme insight is to show an uncanny comparison of the Church’s history to the Way of Saint! It veritably suggests something very profound: that the very historical trajectory of the Peoples of God, both of Old and New, follow the Way of the Saint in a historical sense! It fits! And with the way the ages are set up, we will see momentarily that we already have three phases of darkness for each people, just as there are three days or beast kings for the New Testament ages. Let us walk through them in brief:

The purgative way: When the Spirit enters the saint, it is immediately set out to correct the flesh. "But I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway." (1 Cor 9:27) Of course, the flesh resists and stings back, hence, the pains of penance and such. Similarly, the flesh of the dark night of the senses can be seen to be fulfilled historically in the world and its tendencies. For, no sooner does God form the Covenant People, than that they shall flourish, entering the world to renew it and bless it, but the spirit of the world, driven according to pride and selfish ambition, sees the blessings upon God's children as a threat to their material dominion, and so naturally reacts against them, which is to say, to either oppress them or to persecute them. Hence, the Church had pagan Rome, the Jews had Egypt.

The illuminative way: The saint eventually conquers the greater resistance of the flesh, his substantial sinful tendencies being overcome and cast out, so that the oppression and/or persecution of the world on God's People ends, and the People of God are freed or delivered from the more severe sting of the world's resistance. The Old Testament fulfillment of this was the deliverance of the Jews in the Exodus. The New Testament fulfillment was the conquering of Christianity over pagan Rome, which eventually transformed the continent of Europe into a Catholic civilization.

Hence do the People of God enter the Illuminative Way, which is to say, the development of the contemplation of the divine revelation of the covenant. For the Old Testament, this is the Old Law and the age of the Prophets, who develop the application of the Law unto the prefiguring people. In the New Testament, it is the doctrinal development of the Church, where she contemplates the Deposit of Faith more deeply, and draws forth the fuller implications of what Christ and the Apostles left Her.

The dark night of the soul awaits: the outside world becomes colder to the depths of the Saint's intimacy in truth with God, so that darkness in various punctuated desolations progresses toward the dark night of the soul, when the whole deposit of revelation and intimacy with God seems a lie, that the divine consolation is utterly taken away.

In the Old Testament, it is the prophets who are the just, whose intimacy in depth of the Law grows with God, and the Jews on the outside of them grow colder and more deaf to the their imploring. Finally, just before the vindication of their revelation, there is the dark night, when all the Jews scoff at the righteous preachers of the Old Law, holding in contempt the totality of their witness.

In the New Testament, it is the just of the Church herself, especially the Magisterium, who fulfill the role of the saint. For, as the Church develops the Deposit through the Ecumenical councils and constant teaching of the Ordinary Magisterium, so the outside Gentiles grow harsher in their relationship, progressively rejecting more of the Deposit of Faith, becoming ever more in the spirit of apostasy. Effectively, this descent intermediate desolations has especially been the last 500 years: Protestantism (only Scripture and Reason), Enlightenment and age of solo-ratio (only Reason), and Secular Apostasy (anti-Reason, total darkness). Too, returning to our current crisis of great sexual scandal in the Church, surely the Divine consolations are terribly absent, and I think this fits here well, in addition to the fact that most formerly Christian civilizations in this minor apostasy are dead to the Church as far as teaching and practice. It is a veritably godless age for Europe and her children.

The unitive way: The Church is soon to have a tribulation that will convert the outer world and restore them to love of God; Catholic Christendom will be rebuilt. Mankind will walk in love and peace, just like the saint in the unitive way walks every step with God. Too, the Jews had the chastisement of the Babylonian Exile, which converted them back to God, and they were restored to their land of refuge, able to rebuild the literal house of God, the Temple.

Finally, the saint’s final union with God is usually martyrdom, whether literal or of the bed. The Church will have an apocalyptic martyrdom, where Antichrist shall come, the ultimate persecution,. This shall give way to a new age, the Second Coming of Christ, just as the saint enters the new age, heaven. Too, the Jews followed suit: they had an antichrist in the final night of Maccabees, Antiochus, with terrible martyrdom and persecution, followed by the threshold of a new age, the First Coming of Christ.

So it is that the Peoples of both Old and New walk the path of the saint.

The Preeminent Ages, the Lies of the Fall Pursued with Chastisement

This fits well, yes, however, we have an impediment. When we look at our ages of history per the days of creation and beast models, the New Testament has three kings, like these ways, but the Old Testament has five ages for the OT, not three. “Five have fallen.” (Rv 17:10) “Five ages of the world, accordingly, having been now completed (there has entered the sixth).13

How do we understand that? For that matter, we did not begin the way of the saint for the Old Testament with the very beginning of history [the fall and Noah] but with Egypt. However, note that at least the way of the saint can account for three of these five ages, which leaves us with a difference of two, so that, perhaps there are, dare we conjecture, two ages before the Jews start the “way.”

This will be shown to be true. Here, we can argue that the Old Testament actually has 5 stages instead of merely 3, as with the New, because, in addition to the three ways of the saint for the Hebrew People, two phases of sin must necessarily precede it. This is because we can argue that when humanity falls in the beginning, it is so privy to the fallen nature and this world, that it will give itself over completely to what we can call, “the lies of the fall,” and in such a manner that God will not even be able to break through their stubbornness without chastisement. What are these lies of the fall? I have discussed them previously here.14

Nevertheless, a review would be in order to place this in context; the lies of the fall can be derived by twisting the two great reasons we exist. These two principles that summarize all that humans are called to be and do can be derived even from one great reason we exist, which works out in two dimensions; the ultimate reason that God creates is for his glory. However, this is is manifested for the creature through his participation in the goodness and glory of God, culminating with the possession of God himself.15 More to the point, the supreme share in God’s goodness is when the creature shares in the divine life, love, and knowledge of the Trinity. The two dimensions which this takes place are this life, and, hopefully, the next life. Hence:

  1. To share in the divine life, love, and knowledge of the Trinity in this life
  2. To share in the divine life, love, and knowledge of the Trinity in the next life, in fullness and forever

The Baltimore Catechism then rephrases:

  1. To know, love, and serve God in this life
  2. To be happy with him forever in the next

Note, each set of principles are equivalent: knowing and loving God is the same as sharing in the life, love and knowledge of the Trinity, since serving and loving God is only done by the presence of sanctifying grace (a finite, created participation in the same Divine life and love of the Trinity), and knowing God is to partake of the knowledge of the Trinity. Too, we will be happy in heaven forever with God precisely by growing in love and knowledge of God, which will never be exhausted.

Now, it happens that the signs or dispositions of Baptism and Marriage perfectly fulfill these principles:

The first condition, to know, love and serve God, is the disposition of Baptism, since knowing God is faith, and love and service is good will, or repentance, the two primary dispositions that we must have for Baptism or to remain faithful to our Baptismal vows. We see this perfectly emulated in the catechumen’s vows: “Do you reject sin, so as to live in the freedom of the children of God?... Do you reject the glamour of evil, and refused to be mastered by sin?…Do you reject Satan, father of sin and prince of darkness?”16

All of this above implies repentance from evil and the embrace of the love of God (“to love, and to serve God”). The second part of the vows is like it; no comment needed: faith! (“to know God”) “Do you believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth?… in Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord,...in the Holy Spirit, … the holy catholic Church...”17

Moving on, the second condition of the Baltimore Catechism,”to be happy with God forever in the next life,” is like marriage to God, since, collectively, per Apocalypse, literal marriage points to the reality of the apocalyptic marriage of Christ to his Church., that salvation history ends with an eternal spiritual covenant of spouses, where, unlike the first man and woman, who joined physically, Christ and His Bride, the Church, will join spiritually for an everlasting exchange of love, beauty, goodness, mystery and truth; we shall all be caught up as the woman who marries Jesus, receiving the divine knowledge, love, and life into our inner souls and offering praise and rejoicing back to God in an endless gift and reception of reckless, spiritual ecstasy.

Hence, Baptism and Marriage summarize, in their ultimate signs, or dispositions, the two greatest principles of our reason to exist and, hence, of all that has ever been good, or will be! In other words, these two remnant sacraments for heretics, these two fish of the five loaves and two fish truly are special: they are the basic summary of all life, of all goodness!

But then, what else can we conclude except that, if we fully deny these principles, we get the supreme lies that summarize all evil, that ever has been, or ever will be—in other words, the very lies of the fall themselves, perpetually recycled in every age of sin! Indeed, this is exactly what we will argue, as follows:

  • Anti-Baptismal Spirit—the first lie of the dragon is, have no regard for the Baptismal disposition–-no faith, no repentance: believe what you want and do what you want, and you will be better off and more satisfied; moreover, there will be no consequences, whether in this life or any presumed afterlife.
  • Anti-Marital Spirit toward God—the second lie is like it: seek not to marry your creator in the next life, but spiritually fornicate with the Creation in this life: materialism; seek your fulfillment in this world, not the next—not in the uncreated goods of love, truth, beauty, and gift, but the merely brute created goods: pleasures, possessions, and egotistical accomplishments.

These two great lies summarize the whole fall, that is, all that is evil, and are what is pursued by humanity before the Hebrew People can be formed to walk the Way of maturation.

Let us work it out. Solomon completely supports our exploration. He said in Scripture "Nothing under the sun is new, neither is any man able to say: Behold this is new: for it hath already gone before in the ages that were before us." (Eccl 1:10) This strongly implies all aspects of the fallen nature manifested themselves before Solomon’s time. Indeed, the entire context of Ecclesiastes is one of the mundane nature of life on earth. “There is nothing new under the sun.” We note, too, that the monotony of earthly life is inseparable from the fallen nature, which imbues earthly man through and through.

So then, this would seem to imply that all lies of the fall and the practice thereof came before Solomon’s time. By way of extension, since he says “ages past,” this could extrapolate even two phases of darkness behind him, per our darkness/light model, which would place it behind Abraham. Well, the two greatest stages of sin before Abraham were the wickedness of Noah's day and the tower of Babel.

Noah's day was clearly anti-Baptism—the world was wicked (no repentance) and had no faith (they mocked Noah's revelation of Flood). So then God Baptized the world, the Flood.

The Tower of Babel was clearly anti-Marriage toward Godman was gathered together as one woman but not a spouse to God; rather, a harlot, joining herself in selfish materialistic glory with the world; a tower, rather than seeking God's glory and him as the spouse. So God divided them up through language confounding and married one nation, the Hebrews, his first bride.

How appropriate, then, that the two great first falls of man are against the basic principles of life, against the basic sacraments of all, and they were healed spiritually by the basic sacraments' signs. Amazingly, these two ages described above are in fact the same as our historical delineation in the days of creation, the beast kings, and Augustine’s layout in the “On the Catechising of the Uninstructed”!

Even more amazingly, this also agrees with St. Augustine on the five ages in a deeper sense: he singled out the first two ages as “eminent,” and then the latter three as those declared in the Gospel, as though the Gospel itself, which leads us to righteousness, might mysteriously reveal the path of righteousness.For these turning-points of those two ages occupy an eminent place in the ancient books. On the other hand, those of the other three ages are also declared in the Gospel, where the descent of the Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh is likewise mentioned.”18

Consequently, these two great lies of the fall digested and chastised, followed by three stages for the way of the Old People of God, form the five ages of Old. Then the Church walks the same three ages. Bingo, five in the old, three in new, just as the days of creation have five days in old, three in new, and the beast kings are five in old and three in new. The outline follows for reference:

Summary of the Ages of the World

Early Fall of Man, Two Greater Ages According to the Lies of the Fall

  1. Anti-Baptism
    1. Darkness: The Fall and Wickedness of Noah's day
    2. Light: The Flood, an Apocalyptic Baptism
  2. Anti-Marriage Toward God, Materialism
    1. Darkness: Tower of Babel
    2. Light: Confounding of Tongues, Marriage to Prefiguring People (Abraham)

The Three Greater Ages of the Prefiguring Covenant, the Way of the Saint

  1. The Purgative Way
    1. Darkness: Dark Night of the Senses, Oppression by Glory-Seeking Pagan Power (Egypt)
  2. The Illuminative Way
    1. Light: Exodus and Preaching of Prophets, Development of Old Testament Doctrine on the Law
    2. Darkness: Dark Night of Soul, Intermediate Jewish Apostasy from Old Law
  3. The Unitive Way
    1. Light: Exile, Vindication of Prophets, Repentance of Jews, Restoration to Holy Land, Restoration of Faithfulness to Old Testament Covenant
    2. Darkness: Martyrdom: The Crisis of OT Antichrist and Final Jewish Apostasy (Maccabees)

Light: First Coming of Incarnate One

The Three Greater Ages of the New Covenant, the Way of the Saint

  1. The Purgative Way
    1. Darkness: Dark Night of the Senses; Persecution by Glory-Seeking Pagan Power (Pagan Rome)
  2. The Illuminative Way
    1. Light: The Development of Church Doctrine
    2. Darkness: Dark Night of Soul: Intermediate Apostasy from New Law [Modern Age]
  3. Unitive Way
    1. Light: Minor Chastisement, Restoration of Christian Unity and Catholic Christendom, Age of Peace
    2. Darkness: Martyrdom: Great Apostasy, New Testament Antichrist, Great Persecution and Tribulation

Light: Second Coming of Incarnate One

Why Can the Church Still Rise? Why Now? Why Not in the Subsequent Darkness?

Our theology of the ages provides profound reasons why the Church can still emerge from our current darkness but not the next [at the end of time]. In short, the reason is that each People of God must reach “apocalyptic maturity” before the appropriate “coming of the Christ” can take place. And what should this maturity be? Well, how do we measure the maturity of the individual saint? Again, by the Ways! And if Jesus Christ himself is the ultimate of all holy persons of Old and New, the perfect type, how much more should our divine Savior—though Himself needing no redemption but nevertheless passing through the elements thereof (in order “to fulfill all righteousness” (Matt. 3:13–15; Luke 2:22–23)) –fill up these ways, even as, again, per St Augustine above, the three ages of the Jews are “declared in the Gospel”? For, where have we not in fact seen the threes:

Jesus fulfilled in his life and flesh the three ways so many times. For three days and three nights, Jesus lingered in the earth before rising. On the third day he arose from the dead, in accordance with the Scriptures. Christ fell three times in the way of the cross. Christ progressively prayed three times in the Garden to accept the will of his Father for the Passion. Three times Peter denied Christ, and three times He was reconciled (“Peter, do you love me?”). Three times Jesus spoke to Mary Magdalene at the tomb to open her eyes. For three days and three nights, Mother Mary and St. Joseph looked for the Christ before finding Him in the Temple.

And if these threes are filled up in Christ—and Christ’s literal Body is the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church—how much more so should the Church, the New People of God, fill up in Her flesh, the ways of the saint, so that, by way of implication, since the Church fulfills the People of Old, so, too, should the People of Old fill up these ways as well!

This unlocks a powerful explanation for why the Christ came when He did and why He will come back when He comes back. Toward that end, we have a powerful case from private revelation, from the theology of the ways, and from a systematic analysis of the Church’s doctrinal development thus far, that the Church is not at the end but is rather in “the dark night of the soul,” and I feel that that adequately resonates with the thinking and thought of many a wise person today in the Church.

Apocalyptic Blasphemy of the Divine Persons in the Ages

The final reason that I offer for the notion that the modern world is not fully culpable for its apostasy, so that the end-of-the-world condemnation is not yet warranted, is the idea of apocalyptic blasphemy against the persons of the Trinity. What do we mean? We mean that the three great phases of darkness for the ways—the dark night of the senses, the dark night of the soul, and martyrdom—can be seen as phases of progressive blasphemy against the self-same Divine Persons. Let us probe it.

Then he [Noah] sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. 9 But the dove could find nowhere to perch because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark. 10 He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. 11 When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. 12 He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him. (Gn 8:8–12)

What, you ask, does this passage concerning Noah and the dove have to do with blasphemy against the divine persons? Well, have patience, it will become apparent momentarily. To begin, the dove is sent out three times from the ark in the midst of the waters. The first time he returns with nothing and with nowhere to rest. The second time he returns with an olive branch. The third time he doesn't return. The dove is clearly like the Holy Spirit. Here, then, the three moments of the dove are like the three ways.

  1. The Purgative Dark Night of Senses: Pagan Rome
  2. The Dark Night of the Soul: Our Modern Minor Secular Apostasy
  3. Martyrdom: The Great Apostasy and NT Antichrist

Each of these phases of darkness clearly represent the Holy Spirit "departing," since when a great age of sin enters, man dispels the Holy Spirit. Consequently as well, when the dove returns it indicates a phase of light in our discourse. In two of these phases of darkness, the first two to be exact, the dove returns, that is, the Holy Spirit comes back, bringing renewal, whereas in the final departure, he does not return, indicating that renewal does not occur.

The Holy Spirit Returns After Pagan Rome

Noah releases the dove the first time, and it returns with nothing and nowhere to rest. In a similar vein, in Pagan Rome, the Holy Spirit went out the first time in Church History, and man blasphemed the Father because they said Caesar was greater than God Almighty. Indeed, pinching incense to Caesar was a primary litmus test in Christian persecutions many times. But God forgave the Empire, showing that Jesus leads the way: Constantine, Catholic Christendom. The dove, however, did not return with an olive branch, a symbol of peace, since in this first great age of Christianity, there has been no peace, no place for Christ to rest His head; bloodshed and division have been the lot of Christianity from its outset: Islamics killing Christians and Christians killing Islamics. Catholics killing Orthodox. Catholics burning heretics at the stake. Protestants killing Catholics, Catholics killing Protestants, and Protestants killing other types of Protestants. Protestants dividing into myriads of competing factions and mutually excommunicating all the others to hell. So again, there was no place for Jesus to rest his head in this first 1700 years of the Catholic history of light. Hence, the dove returns with no peace, no olive branch.

The Holy Spirit Will Return After Our Minor Apostasy, with Peace, an Olive Branch

In our modern minor apostasy, the Holy Spirit went out again; here, man blasphemes not the Father but the Son. How? Let us probe it:

Humanity, in light of the Son’s fallen disciples: See, the Son's disciples are all divided and against one another, with competing doctrines and worship and hatred toward each other, with their hypocrisy—crooked TV Evangelists, pedophile priests, and merciless Inquisitors. The Son’s disciples are confounded hypocrites. Therefore, we need not the Son. All we need is science and material development.

As we have seen, God shall forgive this in the coming minor chastisement of the mystics, where humanity will realize its need for the Son; this terrible ordeal will show them the true fruits of their errors and sins. They will realize their need for natural law (abortion, euthanasia, drugs, fornication, cohabitation, artificial birth control, divorce and remarriage, sodomy, and materialism are all grave moral evils that spell doom for the stability of society.). They will realize their need for a supernatural God (the deists and rationalists will realize that they cannot be fully moral without God’s help, even Jesus’, and that they need Divine Revelation to receive the fuller picture of truth, even the Bible). The Protestants will realize their need for central, formal, visible authority to interpret doctrine, Bishops and Sacred Tradition, dispelling their countless factions of confusion with sola-scriptura. The Orthodox will realize their need for the rock of Peter and forgive him his many sins in order to allow him to serve them with the fullness of truth. And the Islamics will realize their need for the Trinity and Incarnation, to dispel their tendency toward violence and Old Testament harshness.

And the process whereby this will be attained will be apocalyptic, terrible. It has been said that those people who are not familiar with the fully approved apparitions of the Church will think that the world is ending. It will be that bad. Perhaps, God forbid, nuclear war or other weapons of mass destruction, and war everywhere, as in “entire nations shall be annihilated” [Our Lady of Fatima or Our Lady of Kibeho, who implied that the horror of Rwanda would happen in each nation in the world without repentance].

When I show myself to someone and talk to them, I want to turn to the whole world. If am turning to parish of Kibeho, it does not mean that I am concerned only for Kibeho or for the Diocese of Butare or for Rwanda, or for the whole of Africa. I am concerned with and turning to the whole world. The world is evil and rushes towards its ruin. It is about to fall in its abyss. The world is in rebellion against GOD. Many sins are being committed. There is no love and no peace. If you do not repent and convert your hearts, you will all fall into an abyss. - March 27, 1982, Our Lady of Kibeho19

But again, when it is complete, through this terrible cross on humanity, all the non-Catholics in the world, saving most Jews (the en-mass conversion of the Jews is reserved for the very end of the world, per Public Revelation), will come home to Rome, and there will be peace, an olive branch. The dove will have found that same olive branch of peace, the age of peace, when the Immaculate Virgin will reign and bring it back to Noah. Then shall all men live with the best of both worlds: spiritual and material.

The Holy Spirit Will Not Return at the Great Apostasy, Blasphemy Against the Spirit

Moving on with recollection of the previous discourse on the beast, we remember that eventually humanity will be get tired of their puny, little, pathetic crosses. They shall want complete heaven on earth. Therefore, they will forget that their world almost ended with materialistic power and science divorced from God, his truth, and his grace. They shall return to their vomit like the dog. The dove, then, shall go out a final time from the ark, the bark of the Church: the great apostasy.

Once again, they are without excuse, having been given the supreme learning lesson and blessing from God, the minor chastisement and the subsequent age of peace.

Hence, when, as this great apostasy starts to bring back what was a thing of the past: war and tribulation, I foresee that one man, the most wicked man of all existence, will rise up and say, “I can solve your problems, I can give you heaven on earth. You just need to hand yourselves over to me and check your faith and morals at the door.” And at that time, I also foresee the Catholic Church rising up and challenging this ultimate Antichrist, saying, “Sir, if we can solve, as you say, all world problems with just science, technology, materialistic grandeur, and wonder and, at the same time, without God and religion, and, if you say, in fact, that religion actually has to be utterly removed from public life to secure peace and prosperity, how do you explain that an age ago the world almost ended with the great worldly power lacking God, but that with great worldly power and religion, the world flourished in peace?

Now I foresee that the Antichrist shall commit the ultimate blasphemy ever uttered by man and humanity, an unforgivable, apocalyptic sin: He shall say, “That the world almost ended without religion is purely circumstance. Humanity got into a rut. But it didn’t have anything to with lack of your Church, to whatever degree; and the reason there was peace in your so-called age of Our Lady’s Triumph was only because of the worldly power, science, and prosperity. It had nothing to do with your religion!”

Blasphemy of blasphemies! The Lord forgave blasphemy against the Father, where humanity said that Caesar was God Almighty, for they had not received the Gospel in conversion. They did not fully understand Christians. Too, the Lord will forgive our current blasphemy of the Son because the Son is admittedly messed up. There are 102 versions of Jesus currently: one form of Jesus with a supreme Apostolic Successor, general Apostolic Succession, and the Bible; one form of Jesus with all that but a supreme Successor; and a hundred primary forms of Jesus with just the Bible, not to mention moral scandals galore, hatred, bloodshed, sexual crimes, and so forth. So God says, I can forgive this; the image of my Son has been tainted by my wayward children, and so I sympathize with a world that cannot have faith. I will fix it. Then shall the world know that I am the searcher of hearts, and the vindicator of my People.

But, if God shows the world the incomprehensible horror of what happens with materialistic wonder and complexity when it leaves all religion in the dust, and, if that were not enough, brings them all back to his Sacred Heart and his Mother’s Immaculate Heart, bringing peace, love and unity, and with the materialistic wonder and complexity restored—one faith, one Lord, one Baptismthen, if, after all that, the world spits in God’s face, and says they don’t need religion, and worse, that the peace and prosperity of this great age that is coming from Our Lady’s bosom had nothing to do with that same Woman of women, with Her Heart, with the Spirit, and with the dove that animates it, can God forgive that?

Apocalyptic-ally, no! For, the world will be blaspheming the Holy Spirit. How? As follows: saying that, all along, the only reason there was peace was because of the powers of this world will be saying that the dragon of strife was restrained, or cast out of history, by the powers of this world, and that will be saying that the prince of this world was bound and cast out by the powers of the prince of this world [science, technology, affluence]. And where have we seen a passage in Scripture where some evil men said that the devil was cast out by the power of the devil? The Pharisees! And what was their sin? Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit! And what did Jesus say regarding this? He said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, all blasphemy and sin shall be forgiven men. And if men blaspheme the Son, it shall be forgiven them. But whosoever blasphemes the Holy Spirit, shall never be forgiven, neither in this age, nor the age to come!”

This can then give us a meaning to this mysterious “neither in this age”. The Catholic Church effectively condemns any belief that someone can commit a sin that is unforgivable before death. The sacraments of confession and anointing of the sick disprove ante-death unforgivable sin. The fountain of grace and mercy remains ever available unto the last breath. Saint John Paul II discussed this in his encyclical on the Holy Spirit: “Why is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit unforgivable? How should this blasphemy be understood? St. Thomas Aquinas replies that it is a question of a sin that is 'unforgivable by its very nature, insofar as it excludes the elements through which the forgiveness of sin takes place.”;20 for St. John Paul, the one who blasphemes the Holy Spirit is in fact rejecting the very action of the Holy Spirit to “[convince] concerning sin.” Such a person is “[radically refusing] to accept forgiveness,” “claiming to have a right to persist in any evil,” and considering conversion and remission of sins inessential to one’s life.21 Ultimately, St. John Paul attributes this sin to final impenitence, hence, making Christ’s words hyperbolic.

But the mystery persists: why would Jesus say, “in this age [will not be forgiven]...”? The apocalyptic theology above enables the solution: no individual human being will ever be unforgivable before death. Jesus will always take you back, right till the millionth of a second before your demise, but corporately, humanity will be unforgivable at the end of the world, an unforgivable apocalyptic sin; we see this for several reasons that are parallel to our consideration of St. John Paul above and the earlier discourse on the beast:

  • The rejection of the need for salvation: this calls into being the indifference that will exist at the end of time, just as how, above, St John Paul II envisions the sinner who does not consider salvation relevant to his life; I highlighted this indifference in my apocalyptic essay regarding the mystical “frogs”, or “unclean spirits” of Apocalypse 16;22 there, the frog symbolized humanity who exalts itself above God, even as the Egyptians exalted frogs above themselves as being gods,. Also, the frog’s amphibious capacity to live either on the foundation of land or the chaotic waters imaged that humanity considered itself able to live on the foundation of religion but also in the chaotic waters of godlessness. That is, you can have religion if you like, but you don’t have to. There is always the water. The very essence of this attitude implies indifference to the faith. This is humanity in any age of darkness but especially the last, and since humanity will have been shown the final lesson with the fullness of religion in chastisement, this depraved rejection of the same religion becomes the supreme blasphemy.

  • Comparison to the demons, a radical, irrevocable, and complete rejection: “Scripture speaks of a sin of these angels. This ‘fall’ consists in the free choice of these created spirits, who [radically and irrevocably rejected] God and his reign. .... It is the irrevocable character of their choice, and not a defect in the infinite divine mercy, that makes the angels' sin unforgivable.”23 (emphasis mine) Per St. Faustina in the Divine Mercy Diary, she petitions Jesus as to why humanity was given probation and mercy, as it were, but not the angels, who were immediately confined to damnation upon their fall. She is told, “Because of their profound knowledge of God. No person on earth, even though a great saint, has such knowledge of God as an Angel has.”24 Indeed, at the end of time, as we once again note, the world is rejecting the fullness of divine revelation, doctrinal development having been made relatively complete in the age of peace, although culminating with the mystery of iniquity at the very end,25 so that her culpability is on par with the demons in a historical degree. Too, with the beauty and love of temporal and spiritual blessings immediately in the past in the age of peace, shewing forth that with God, all things are possible, that with faith and love, there can be peace, and only by such, they are supremely spitting in the face of God in an ultimate sense.

Concluding, this sin will have reached the ultimate stab wound to the creator’s divine heart: even after Jesus will have put to death sin and wickedness in human history, perishing and resting toward the earth on the cross with his first four wounds of hands and feet, —even as His grace will rest on the earth in men’s hearts—still humanity will rise up and pierce his divine side to verify that he is indeed dead, the final thrust!

Indeed, again, the Antichrist ascribes the binding of the devil [“peace on earth”] to the powers of this world [materialistic power and affluence], and hence to the devil himself, who is “the prince of this world.” This is the supreme blasphemy, greater than against the Father, as with Caesar, and greater than with the Son, as when humanity today rejects and slanders the Son because his message is confounded and scandalized by sin in the Church and amongst Christians.

Consequently, the Spirit will not return, and humanity must then begin the process that their fallen nature has brought themselves to: annihilation, so much so, that if Jesus did not interrupt the process, “no flesh should be saved.” Yet, Jesus, out of love for his Church, in order that His apocalyptic promise be fulfilled to the end, that the gates of hell should not prevail against it, shall come early like a thief, “for the sake of the elect.”

Hence, in this final time that the dove went out from Noah, he did not return, even as the Holy Spirit will not be able to return humanity to the ark of the Church in the final darkness. Only the Second Coming can usher in the light, the light that shall never end, the fire of judgment that shall form the New Creation, even as God drew the new world out of the water of judgment, the Flood!

"And as it came to pass in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man." (Lk 17:26)

The Parable of the Unclean Spirits

A surprising support of our theology can be found in the parable of the unclean spirits in Matthew chapter 12. In this Gospel, an unclean spirit who inhabits a house is cast out, and the house is swept; later, the spirit returns with seven others that are even worse than the original, and the house is subsequently also worse than when it started.

And when an unclean spirit is gone out of a man he walketh through dry places seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith: I will return into my house from whence I came out. And coming he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then he goeth, and taketh with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is made worse than the first. So shall it be also to this wicked generation. (Mt 12:43–45)

As far as some Biblical commentary, St. Thomas’s Catena Aurea on Matthew contains interesting quotes from certain Fathers on the text, which we can summarize here. Effectively, Sts. Chrysostom and Jerome see the house and man as the Jews, to whom the demons return when the Gentiles convert. Remigius sees similarly that the first spirit can find nowhere to rest in the Gentiles, since they converted. Blessed Rabanus sees the casting out of the devil as Baptism. St. Augustine sees the parable as of a man who believes at first, but has not the strength to persevere and so lapses, leaving the new state of worse affairs to involve not merely the iniquities but also hypocrisy.26 Effectively, these are all fine in and of themselves, but, for our purposes, I suggest the most broad layer possible: all human history and the ages of the fall, or of sin, therein, which is to say, also, our beast kings of the discourse.

Let us work it out. In short, the parable can be seen as an image of the fall within human history, with the unclean spirits as the fallen nature itself manifested throughout the divine plan, from beginning to end, inclusive, in the phases of sin or darkness that we have studied thus far.

The beast "was": this passage can image the first spirit. More specifically, as we saw with the Apocalypse discourse, in the beginning, before the Flood, the fall ruled the house of the world. No substantial redemptive action had, as of yet, been wrought by God. Hence, the fall was the prevailing force in human history at that time. The beast was.

The beast "is not": but with the Flood, the world was cleansed of all wickedness, the spirit of the fall was cast out the first time in history, and the house was swept clean. The fall ceased to be the prevailing force of human history because God was beginning to renew man, to recreate him in his image and likeness. Hence, although greater subsequent phases of sin would still arise after the Flood (namely, the other seven spirits), they are secondary manifestations of the fall (with the exception of the very last one, see below) because they are still in the process of being renewed at the progressive phases. Only at the end, when a supreme culpability and wickedness comes—one that, within human history, practically cannot be cured (namely, the great apostasy and Antichrist)—will the fall be back to stay and, therefore, the prevailing force of human history once again, as just before the Flood. This represents the final state of the house after the inhabiting of all seven spirits as they return with the original. Put another way, the revisitation of the same first spirit along with the seven can image this representation of the fall that was first manifested in the beginning, except this time, full culpability of man is attained.

Seven additional spirits: as just mentioned, after the Flood, the fall would then go on to re-exert itself in seven additional punctuated manifestations in human history. Too, we have seen, by all estimates, that we are in the seventh overall, leaving only the eighth to come at the very end, the great apostasy and Antichrist.

  1. Babel
  2. Egypt
  3. Intermediate Pre-Exile Jewish Apostasy
  4. Maccabees
  5. Pagan Rome
  6. The Fall and Noah's Day
  7. The Minor Apostasy [our current age]
  8. The Great Apostasy [yet future, to follow Our Lady's Age of Peace]

The Unclean Spirits Get Worse, the Ages of Sin More Culpable

As we see Jesus saying that the seven additional spirits “are even worse than the first” each successive "spirit of the fall", or king of the beast, in our ages discourse earlier is worse than all others before it! Why? Because of the culpability of the ones that embrace the darkness, so as to make humanity falling farther and farther down to the ultimate sin at the end, the great apostasy.

Let us look deeper: In Noah's day, no substantial divine revelation or chastisement had ever taken place, saving the minor revelation of the Flood. Hence, though the world is wicked in Noah's day, the historical culpability of the human race is minimal. They do not even have the Old Law, the signs of the Exodus, much less the New Law of Christ.

Too, without going through the full set of ages, let us look at two more sets of examples: firstly, let us probe the comparison between the Jewish apostasy of Maccabees with the one prior to the Babylonian exile. Clearly, when some Jews fell away and apostatized during Maccabees, they were more culpable than when the Jews who were wicked just before the exile in Babylon. That is, in Maccabees, the Jews had far more intimate history in their hindsight than the Jews before the exile did. The Jews in Maccabees had a renewed love of God after the exile that was stronger than when they had been so dreadfully wicked before that same exile. Moreover, the prophets were vindicated by the exile and restoration. Therefore, with such greater profundity and heart-felt love behind them, the Jews who apostatized in the times of Maccabees were worse, or more culpable, than the ones before the exile.

The second and final example just reexamines what we have seen in the discourse on the blasphemy against the Persons of the Trinity. There, to re-encapsulate, the world of pagan Rome is least culpable, since they are just beginning to understand the Church. The Church has not converted the world yet, the age of the Father. They must be given time.

When we graduate to the age of the Son, humanity is now more culpable for their rejection of the Gospel, for it has made its first great imprint in the mystery of human history. The world, at least much of it (effectively European civilization and its derivatives), has known the way—the truths of Christ—to some substantial degree, and the moral law to follow. But the way in this first age of labor, as we saw it—where the Church has had needs to work and slave to teach and purify against spiritual adversaries of all kinds—has been just that: a mess. So much division, hatred, bloodshed, scandal. For this reason, the world finds it hard to have faith. It rather places its faith in the powers of this world. Because of this, whereas its culpability is greater than pagan Rome, its culpability is not supreme.

When we graduate to the final age, however—the great apostasy—we once again see the supreme culpability of man: mocking the apocalyptic learning lesson that showed [will have shown] how humanity will perish without God even if he has unfathomable materialistic power, and, if that were not enough, God grants the world a period of grace: all Christians are one and a world of love, the will of the Father finally realized on earth as it is in heaven. Hence, the world of the great apostasy cannot tell God that they didn’t know the consequences of their sins and errors. They will have learned them an age ago, in incomprehensible horror, every last jot and tittle. Nor can they tell God, like today, that they have never seen the full fruits of the Gospel. God will have given them that in the age of peace. Hence, in this final age of the Holy Spirit, the world is fully culpable, which is to say, the last of the seven spirits is the worst of them all, and who is mystically also present with the first, who, as it were, comes back with them, which can image the re-visitation of the fall. That is, the world at the end is immeasurably worse than when it started, and seven spirits span the gap, as it were, seven great ages of sin.

“And the beast which was, and is not: the same also is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into destruction.” (Rv 17:11)

Thus, this parable does great justice to the theology of the beast.

The Analogy of Analogies: The Joyful Mysteries of Advent

As a final argument for this discourse, one would presumably ask, what in the world do the Joyful Mysteries of the rosary have to do with the beast kings, the days of creation, and all human history? Well, herein is something astounding that I never thought I would have discovered but that is, quite frankly, mind-blowing, at least in and of itself, sparing whether there is divine intention here, and it is this: what if, instead of at the beginning or end of Scripture in epic fashion, as with Genesis and Apocalypse, God left somewhere in the middle of Scripture a little scene of soft whispers that conveyed this mystery, something obscure and humble and small, kind of like the familiar passage with Elijah and the mountain, where the Lord sends great manifestations of power but only in the soft wind and whisper is he present? “And he said to him:

Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord: and behold the Lord passeth, and a great and strong wind before the Lord over throwing the mountains, and breaking the rocks in pieces: the Lord is not in the wind, and after the wind an earthquake: the Lord is not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire: the Lord is not in the fire, and after the fire a whistling of a gentle air. And when Elias heard it, he covered his face with his mantle, and coming forth stood in the entering in of the cave, and behold a voice unto him, saying: What dost thou here, Elias?” (1 Kgs 19:11–13)

And that little breeze is the Joyful Mysteries pregnancies!

The first question we might ask is, where do we begin? That is, how would we even start to argue that the full narrative of the pregnancies of St. Elizabeth and Mother Mary image, from beginning to end, the whole divine plan, from the fall all the way to the New Creation, inclusive? Well, for starters, the very end of the sequence does symbolize the end of history, namely, that by our very Advent Tradition, the birth of Our Savior, that is, his First Coming, is a type, or foreshadowing, of his Second Coming! That, then, seals the final endpoint of the pregnancies with the corresponding end of history. From there, we have only to conclude that the beginning of the sequence, that is, the time of St. Elizabeth’s conception, is the beginning of history (possibly, here, as well, the very beginning is the angel’s visitation to St. Zachariah, where he doubts the message.)

Particularly, then, the great intermediate event of the pregnancies is clearly the birth of St. John the Baptist, and, dare we say, we can surmise this would be appropriate for the greatest intermediate event of actual history, which is the First Coming of Christ. Indeed, this will be the case, but we need to work it out.

Preliminarily, it seems warranted that, in order to make a case for the general comparison between the pregnancy scenes and the ages of history that we have seen in the days of creation and beast, a numerical correlation for timing of the respective events should be accomplished first, so let us proceed with this to start. At first glance, there is not much help. In the days of creation and beast kings, the total ages of history are eight, from beginning to end inclusive. The pregnancy scenes, on the other hand, are way off. Effectively, as would be evident, the unit of time measurement in pregnancy is the month, and, regardless of what a month might stand for, there are effectively roughly fifteen of them in the first three Joyful Mysteries. How?

Well, let us probe it. Obviously, any one pregnancy is nine months. This, then, accounts for the first great period, the gestation of St. John the Baptist culminating with his birth. Then, the question remains how long after St. John is born is Jesus born. The answer is almost six months. This is because when Mary conceives Jesus, Elizabeth has already been pregnant for almost six months. “And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren” (Lk 1:36) That is, if Mary conceives in the sixth month after St. Elizabeth does, then she will give birth in the sixth month after St. Elizabeth does. Six full months after the end of nine months is 9 + 6 = 15. Hence, Mary will give birth somewhere in the fifteenth month overall in the pregnancy scenes.

Unfortunately, nine, six, and fifteen don’t help us. None of these figures are eight, or even five, as with the Old Testament ages. Well, here is the solution: just to the right of nine is ten, and similarly, sixteen is just to the right of fifteen. One would react, “And this helps us how?”. It helps us because half of these numbers are five and eight, respectively, and five and eight are numbers we need, meaning, eight total ages and five ages for the Old Testament. Now we can ask, how can we derive ten from five and similarly sixteen for eight? The answer is, whereas there are eight days of creation, each “day” has two parts, “evening” and “morning.” Aha! More specifically, each age of human history has two parts, first darkness, or sin, and then light, or redemption. Hence eight total ages of history makes 8 * 2 total parts = 16 parts. Moreover, five ages of the old law is 5 * 2 = 10 total ages. Now we are on to something.

Toward this end, to get a clearer picture of our comparison of the month chart versus the ages by creation days, let us list this here:

Old Testament

Day 1:
Darkness: Fall
Light: Flood

Day 2:
Darkness: Babel
Light: Confounding of Tongues, Formation of Hebrew People (Abraham)

Day 3:
Darkness: Egypt Enslaves
Light: Exodus, Red Sea, King David

Day 4:
Darkness: Pre-Exile Wickedness of Jews
Light: Exile, Repentance, Restoration to Holy Land and Temple

Day 5:
Darkness: OT Antichrist Antiochus, Maccabees
Light: First Coming of Christ

New Testament

Day 6:
Darkness: Pagan Rome Persecutes
Light: Catholic Christendom, Doctrinal Development

Day 7:
Darkness: Intermediate Gentile Secular Apostasy [today]
Light: Sabbath Rest, Our Lady's Age of Peace [future]

Day 8:
Darkness: Great Apostasy, NT Antichrist [future]
Light: Eternal Sabbath, Second Coming of Christ [future]

And now with the phases of darkness and light numbered like the months:

Old Testament

  1. Darkness: Fall
  2. Light: Flood
  3. Darkness: Babel
  4. Light: Confounding of Tongues, Formation of Hebrew People (Abraham)
  5. Darkness: Egypt Enslaves
  6. Light: Exodus, Red Sea, King David
  7. Darkness: Pre-Exile Wickedness of Jews
  8. Light: Exile, Repentance, Restoration to Holy Land and Temple
  9. Darkness: OT Antichrist Antiochus

New Testament

  1. Light: First Coming of Christ
  2. Darkness: Pagan Rome Persecutes
  3. Light: Catholic Christendom, Doctrinal Development
  4. Darkness: Intermediate Gentile Secular Apostasy [today]
  5. Light: Minor Chastisement, Gentile Renewal, Our Lady's Age of Peace [future]
  6. Darkness: Great Apostasy, NT Antichrist [future to now]
  7. Light: Second Coming of Christ [future to now]

Now, the ages of the old law, we saw, were five, and with our fleshing of this out to ten parts, we see that the tenth part is actually New Testament, the First Coming of Jesus himself (see above with the month chart). This, then, leaves nine parts for the Old Testament proper. Bingo! More specifically, as we carefully examine the above, note that St. Elizabeth carries the child that culminates the Old Testament for the same nine months, pointing to nine phases of spiritual activity that alternate between darkness and light—consisting of five nights partitioned by four lights, leaving, again, a succeeding fifth light as the birth of God into history itself.

This is entirely appropriate, for if we can view St. John the Baptist as embodying the whole Old Testament himself, how much more incredible sense does it make for his progressive development in his holy mother’s womb to image the very self-same development of the Old Testament history, so that his birth images the birth of the God-Man into history, heralded literally as it was by the adult St. John the Baptist. Wondrous, also, is it to correlate this analogy with Apocalypse 12, the woman who wails aloud in travail to give birth, a sign, most assuredly, not only of the Virgin giving birth to Jesus, but also of the Old People themselves passing through the great trials of the Old Testament to give birth to that same child that is destined to rule the nations with a rod of iron. (Rv 12:1–5) In this way, pregnancy becomes, epically, a type of the Old Testament ages. Please note, as well, that this is not arbitrary numerology or wild association. To the contrary, these phases of Old Testament activity have been drawn in this discourse from Sacred Tradition, and while admittedly built upon, have been so also built upon with straightforward spirituality and theology, even appropriate theology. In this vein, to say that the nine lesser ages of Old Testament history are mirrored in woman’s nine month beauty of carrying and developing a child is not far-fetched but sensible and, dare we say, profound.

As space is scarce, we can quickly cover three other aspects and leave further details for an outer source of the author. The next element can be St. Zachariah. In the beginning of this sequence, he doubts the message of the angel and is struck dumb through discipline until the birth of St. John, at which time he speaks and proclaims the name of John for the child. Long story short, St. Zachariah can image the Gentiles, or fallen humanity, until the time of Christ: in the beginning of the human drama, God gave the message to man of His benevolence and the fecundity to which he called his apocalyptic spouse. Man, by falling, disbelieved in God’s benevolence and so merited great disciplinary punishment, beginning with suffering and death, and then expressed through the two epic chastisements we have seen above: the first two great ages of man, anti-Baptism, or the Flood, and anti-Marital disposition toward God, or Babel and the confounding. Indeed, at Babel, humanity’s “tongue is tied,”, so as to render each nation dumb unto the others, unable to communicate, in much the same way in which St. Zachariah cannot speak to those around him. Indeed too, this is reflected in the CCC:

This state of division into many nations is at once cosmic, social and religious. It is intended to limit the pride of fallen humanity united only in its perverse ambition to forge its own unity as at Babel. But, because of sin, both polytheism and the idolatry of the nation and of its rulers constantly threaten this provisional economy with the perversion of paganism.27

But at the Coming of Christ, the Gentiles are loosed from the prison of paganism, nationalism, and confounded tongue at Pentecost and enter the kingdom of God, the Catholic Church, proclaiming, “Jesus is Lord!”, just as Zachariah proclaims “His name is John,” recalling, again, that the birth of St. John is an image of the First Coming of Christ in our theology.

As for the second element, let us fast forward to the endpoint that we did not fully resolve: in the days of creation model, Christ returns in the eighth light, which, by the factor of two we have seen, becomes part 16 (see the outline above). Hence, if it is true that Jesus comes the first time at the very end of part nine and beginning of part 10, as in the months, we would expect that Jesus returns, by the similar number 16 here, at the very end of month 15 and beginning of month 16. However, as we saw earlier in analyzing the Annunciation and its implications for the full duration of the pregnancy narratives, by the particular detail of St. Gabriel’s salutation to the Blessed Mother, Mary conceives not at the end of month six but in the sixth month of St. Elizabeth’s pregnancy. Hence, this extends the implication out to the time Mary giving birth: not at the end of month fifteen but within month fifteen. At this point, the analogy seems to fail slightly.

However, let us more closely examine these last parts, that is, fifteen and sixteen. Firstly, and admittedly, the very end of month 15 and beginning of month sixteen would seem to image when Christ should come back: the very precipice of the end of history and the inauguration of the world to come, seeing as part sixteen is that very Second Coming and New Creation. Hence, that Mary gives birth before this precipice, that is, before the end of the month in question, seems to have Christ coming prematurely. But, aha! Jesus does come prematurely! “For there shall be then great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, neither shall be. And unless those days had been shortened, no flesh should be saved: but for the sake of the elect those days shall be shortened.” (Mt 24:21–22) Again: “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” (Rv 16:15; similar passages: Mt 24:36–51; 1 Thes 5:2) Effectively, using the theology we have already developed, and in particular remembering Hebrews 6 (which reveals that, practically speaking, apostates don’t tend to come back if they have fully tasted the Gospel before their departure (Heb 6:4–8)), we note that humanity is practically incurable spiritually at the very end and so will not en-mass repent (which is one of the reasons that the world is ending, since, when no further substantial redemption of the human race is possible, there is no longer reason for a self-same history to continue; why? This is because the ultimate objective of post-fallen-man history is the redemption of man). Consequently, if no meaningful repentance is possible in history at that time, there is no nothing to hold back the self-destruction of the world, for the end of a world that is incurably spiritually dead is a world that is definitively physically dead; recall our theology that science without faith spells doom for humanity; in fact, it will have been only the counterpart en-mass repentance of the world in the minor tribulation that will have prevented humanity from killing itself off; see also the theological argument from the Armageddon article:

Godless empires that are decadent, materialistic, and blasphemous (the harlot, man fornicating figuratively with the world, instead of marrying God) almost always have a “fornicating partnership” with the negation of the Ten Commandments (the ten horns of the beast). That is, they care neither for God (no true religion, no care for God), nor for their fellow man, and the human-to-human moral law (disrespect of authority, drunkenness, abortion, gossip, sexual immorality of all kinds, greed, dishonesty, and the like …). Too, for a time, the fraternity lasts, just like the fornicating and drunken teenager enjoys his illusory lifestyle. But lo and behold, eventually, the corruption (the negation of the Ten Commandments, the ten horns of the beast.) starts to catch up with the materialism and decadence (the harlot), just as the teenager begins to suffer the consequences of immorality (addiction, failed relationships, selfishness, and so forth). Then, it slowly burns her up and eats her, as Apocalypse (The Book of Revelation) 17 reads.28

Hence, now we see why Jesus comes early. If Jesus lets the era of the great apostasy and tribulation run its full course, he would return to an empty world, no life as we know it. This then would explain the fifteenth month of our discussion above. Jesus does not “wait” until the fifteenth month is complete. He returns “early” so as to save the world from total destruction, and that some remnant of his Church might survive for the real “rapture.” This also enhances our earlier discussion of the parallel between day one, or king one of the beast, Noah’s day and the Flood, and the end of the world, or day eight. Here, just as Christ must step into history early to prevent self-extinction of man, so in the beginning, man’s stubborn resistance to repentance prior to the Flood would create a similar situation, namely, that without repentance, humanity in Noah’s day also faces extinction; subsequently, the Flood, far from being divine wrath in the proper sense, is rather mercy, mercy to prevent humanity from annihilating itself in this early ignorance and selfishness.

The subsequent corollary to this is that by the fact that Our Immaculate Lady gives birth to the Christ child, again an image of the Second Coming by Advent Tradition, within the fifteen month, and not at the end, explains perfectly why Christ “breaks into the great apostasy early.” Consequently, both endpoints of the pregnancy narratives as well as the midway birth of St. John the Baptist, symbolizing the First Coming of Christ, perfectly image all human history, from beginning to end.

A final anecdote can be the sixth month itself. Might there be meaning in the first six parts of human history? There certainly is. Let us examine this last element. In particular, St. Elizabeth, upon miraculous conception, withdraws into seclusion and says, “Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he hath had regard to take away my reproach among men.” (Lk 1:25) The connotation lends itself to the notion that the Lord is acting “on behalf” of St. Elizabeth. Further, since Mary’s conception of Jesus enters almost immediately within the sixth month with no further discussion of Elizabeth therein, it would seem to imply that her seclusion persists until the Visitation. So also, then, would the Lord’s activity on behalf of her persist as well. For this reason, we can argue that God’s representative and beneficial activity runs all five months and a partial month.

Now, from our parts model, this would seem to imply in analogy that God will act mightily on behalf of the just for the first six parts of human history. Bingo! It does! Just look at the parts!

Old Testament

  1. Darkness: Fall
  2. Light: Flood
  3. Darkness: Babel
  4. Light: Confounding of Tongues, Formation of Hebrew People (Abraham)
  5. Darkness: Egypt Enslaves
  6. Light: Exodus, Red Sea, King David

The first six parts of history have three lights, parts two, four, and six. And what do we see in these lights but supreme divine intervention by God on behalf of the just! Just follow it:

The first great light is the Flood, and it doesn’t get any more supreme than that: God acts on behalf of Noah with one of the greatest forces of his discipline in human history: the Baptism of the world of its wickedness and the formation of a new world, a world that is beginning to be redeemed.

The second great light is the confounding of the tongues at Babel and the calling of Abraham. Again, Babel is supreme divine intervention to restrain man’s selfish and perverse pursuit of materialistic union apart from God. Too, the extensive direct communication of God with Abraham is substantial involvement.

Finally, the third light, or sixth part overall, is the Exodus, wandering in the desert, and establishment of the Old Testament kingdom. Need we say more about the supreme miracles wrought by God upon Pharaoh and his Egyptian people: the epic parting of the Red Sea, and the great miracles in the desert, including the Manna from heaven, the healing from the snake bites by looking upon the serpent upon the staff, the striking of the rock to bring forth water, the pillar of fire, and so forth. All these mighty deeds of intervention, as with Noah and the Flood, were done “on behalf” of Moses and the Israelites.

Now, note, again, that St. Elizabeth’s seclusion and God acting on her behalf effectively ends with Mary’s visit. The scenery now changes to dialogue, love, and help between St. Elizabeth and Mary, a time of waiting and watching. Too, after the sixth part of history, and in particular with David, major divine miracles and intervention on behalf of the just taper off, and Jewish history now becomes largely a time of the prophets, a time of waiting and watching for the Messiah; after David and before Jesus, the history of the Jews simply doesn’t contain mega-miracles like the Flood, Babel, or the Exodus. Miracles are mainly small, and the age of the prophets sets in.

Finally, this sixth month has another dimension. More specifically, just as we have that the sixth part is light three of Augustine’s five ages of the Old Law, so we note that that same third light happens to be David by the same testimony of Augustine:

  1. From Adam to Noah
  2. From Noah to Abraham
  3. From Abraham to David.29

So David is light three and in the midst of part six, just as Mary conceives Jesus in the sixth month. And what did the angel Gabriel say to Mary at the time of this conception that relates to David? “Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end.” Yes! Amen! David, in the sixth part of history, is the seed of the ultimate reign of Jesus Christ, who brings his lineage to complete fulfillment at, first, Jesus’ First Coming, secondly, in his reign through the Church, and finally, at his Second Coming, just as Mary conceives the seed of Her Son in the sixth month of St. Elizabeth.

A supplemental observation can be made: St. Elizabeth is much older than Mary. This mirrors some Fathers’ treatment of the prodigal son: the older son is the Jews and the prodigal [younger] son is the Gentiles. That is, the Jews are born into God’s family first through Abraham, then the Gentiles much later through Christ, hence, why they are younger. So also, that Elizabeth carries the Old Law in her being, whereas Mary carries the New Law is only reinforced by the age contrast.

In conclusion, we have just shown, flawlessly, that the entire series of events in the Joyful Mysteries’ narratives of the pregnancies of Mary and Elizabeth provide a perfect analogy for the entire plan of God, from the fall to the Second Coming, inclusive. Final remarks in summary are now pending:

Objections

I would like now to deal with what would be common objections to the theology discussed.

Objection 1: The Vatican’s official Scripture position on Apocalypse is effectively preterism. How can you give interpretations not in line with this layer?

Answer: Admittedly, the formal, literal sense that the Church sees at this time, although non-dogmatically, is effectively the preterist mode, or at least the view that ties most of the book to the first century of Church history. We should note, however, that the Church, in saying that this is most likely the literal sense, is not condemning other earlier layers of meaning.

Admittedly, futurism is the least valuable layer of interpretation since there is no way of knowing, at least now, that we are at the very end of history (and, in fact, in light of the approved revelations we have looked at, we are most likely not at the end of the world at this time.) And this is even beyond the point, namely, that the type of data that fundamentalists concoct from the text regarding this mode of interpretation through sensationalist eisegesis is laughable since it misses the end of the text: nations, kingdoms, wars, earthquakes, literal time periods of known duration, and helicopters are not the subject of divine revelation. “It is not for you to know times or seasons.” (Acts 1:7) “ And you shall hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that ye be not troubled. For these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be pestilences, and famines, and earthquakes in places: Now all these are the beginnings of sorrows.” (Mt 24:7–8)

Toward this end, I have endeavored to show that the meaning of human history does not really depend on petty details of any specific time period—whether beginning, middle, or end history—but the ages themselves that are governed according to spiritual characteristics, as in, but not limited to:

  • The Age of Intermediate Secular Apostasy: Anti-Reason, Atheistic Materialism, and Relativistic Materialism
  • The Age of Protestantism
  • The Age of Supernatural Death (rejection of all supernatural essence of existence and retention of merely natural existence: solo-ratio, including Enlightenment, French Revolution, Renaissance, Masonry, and so forth)
  • The Age of the Martyrs, or Pagan Rome
  • The Age of the Trinitarian and Christological Heresies
  • The Glorious Age of Catholic Renewal, and so forth
  • The Middle Ages

Each of these ages is governed by spiritual characteristics of negative or, sometimes also, positive elements that form the prima causa for the essential history of the age, barring minor exceptions. What the minor temporal history is within these ages is of no avail, as we see above with the testimony of our Savior.

For example, to get at a clear item of objection implied above, the beast kings of Apocalypse 17, suppose we have many parallel worlds like our own, worlds that have fallen and received an Old Covenant, and, after their respective Incarnations, have a persecuting worldly power on the New People of God. We have analyzed our beast kings as ages of sin, but by the Vatican estimate, they are Roman emperors in the first century. Toward that end, does it really matter that there were five emperors who fell before St. John wrote, that one reigned while he wrote, and that one or possibly two came later? What is the meaning or wisdom in that? In each of these parallel worlds, there could be endless possibilities of how the emperors are laid out in this first age of darkness for the worlds, but it wouldn’t matter. For example, if we let 5 | 1 | 2 denote “five have fallen, one is, [and so forth]”, we could have 4|2|9, 3|1|3, 8|3|6, and what would be the difference? For, regardless of how long any one emperor reigns to help contribute to the emperors’ chronological delineation, is not his spiritual condition the same: to consider himself divine and want to put to death anyone that does not recognize it? How then would the trajectory of major history for any of these worlds be any different, since, in the end, we know that the same spiritual principle will apply: the love and heroic courage of the martyrs will progressively move the empire to conversion, casting out the dragon as ruler above of this Gentile world forever and ushering in the first great victory of the Church: “And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying: Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: because the accuser of our brethren is cast forth, who accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of the testimony, and they loved not their lives unto death.” (Rv 12:10–11)

Similar arguments can be made against the five months of the first great woe. (Rv 9:5,10) In preterism and common evangelical futurism, the five months are taken literally in either case; in the case of preterism, it is the time that it took Roman soldiers to destroy Jerusalem; in the common futurist view, it is the time that it takes for helicopters to try and kill Jews; either way, if, again in our parallel worlds, we had the old place of worship under attack, knowing that it will destroyed by divine chastisement on the old people for rejecting the time of their respective Messiah. So again, what if the durations of time for the destruction of this edifice or such, however measured in each world, varied widely. Would just variances cause a radical change in the greater historical ages of those worlds? Obviously not, since, in the end, the place of old worship, or “temple,” is destroyed. The worldly persecution of the Church will follow, regardless of how many emperors reign and to what length, and in the end, the empire will still be converted, all without regard for these minuscule, inconsequential details.

This, consequently, brings us to the reality that it really wouldn’t make sense if many of the details of not only futurism but also preterism would ever be defined dogma, since they are useless data in and of themselves. On the other hand, the meaning and the theology of the ages, which we have pursued here in this writing, do provide profound meaning for the development of God’s plan, to the degree that this is speculative theology. As a consequence, I ask the reader to ask himself which is more appropriate from the traditional Catholic wisdom: largely temporal details of the very beginning or very ending of Church history, or a theology of the great phases of divine redemptive activity in all history, that is, spiritual historicism?

 

Objection 2: The interpretation of the millennium of Apocalypse 20 as the Catholic age of peace is condemned. The only permitted meaning of that text is what Protestants call amillennialism. See the Catechism.

Answer: Let us cite the Catechism:

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.30

Now, it is true that since St. Augustine gave us the perennial understanding of the millennium, one of a few ways that he suggested, this view that is called by heretics “amillennialism” is effectively the standard view that the Church takes down through the centuries. It is also true that, per the quote above, any view that takes the literal, bodily return of Our Lord as anytime within human history, that is, at any time prior to the end of time, is condemned. It is also true that the Church condemns any permanent realization of a civilization of love and peace, even if by Christ’s merits, such that the age of love would persist right up until the parousia. And even if a period of love might be attained before the end but not persevere, the Church would condemn any view, per above, that would have such civilization of grace having been attained progressively. Finally, and most importantly, the Church decisively and virulently condemns any age of peace that should be attained on merely secular means, as if the powers of this world should secure an age of human brotherhood, whether temporary or permanent.

Good. But the age of peace does not fit any of these. Firstly, in the age of peace, Jesus has in no wise come again in the sense of the dogmatic reality of the Second Coming. Jesus still remains, in terms of a revelatory presence, in heaven; the reign of Jesus is spiritual in the age of peace, just like Augustine’s time between the two comings. Secondly, the age of peace is not permanent, for, as we have seen, it eventually, at some point, disintegrates into the great apostasy, so that Public Revelation of the state of great lack of faith at the very end is not abrogated. Thirdly, it is not attained through a progressive ascendancy of the Gospel but rather an epic crisis of faith, morals, and chastisement. Indeed, the last 500 years have been anything but an upward mobility of the Gospel but rather three great woes, steps down to the pit: Protestantism, age of solo-ratio, and secular apostasy. And finally, we have gone out of our way in this discourse to show that the only means that such age of peace is attained and maintained is by the grace of God, through His Church, showing, definitively, that a world without God perishes, the despicable futility of secular messianism.

The reality, rather, is that the age of peace interpretation is pretty much the same as St. Augustine’s typical view, sparing a detail: the age of peace is a proper portion of the whole age of the Church, instead of the whole age of the Church itself, as with St. Augustine. That is, in the Augustinian view, the millennium is the entire age of the Church, whereas in the age of peace view, it is a partial age toward the end of history, that period of light between the two apostasies of the end, the minor and the major.

It should also be noted that the resurrections on either end of the thousand-year reign are spiritual. In the typical view, the Christian rises to new life through baptism, and the Church comes to life again through the martyrs’ reign in heaven. Too, in the age of peace version, the resurrection of the just can image the glorious rising of the Church back to life spiritually after the horror of the minor apostasy and tribulation. Here, she draws back to herself the separated Christians and renews the whole world. Also, in both views, the resurrection of darkness at the end of the millennium symbolizes the resurgence of apostasy at the end of the world, when, after having renewed the Gentiles to maturity, humanity rebels in the great apostasy.

 

Objection 3: But, since in the millennium Jesus is reigning, and the age of peace view places this reign merely in that time of history, and not the whole age of the Church, it attacks the notion that Jesus’ kingdom is present from the outset, at Pentecost, through to our own age, into the age of peace, and beyond. Jesus’ kingdom is present because of the Eucharist from coming to coming.

Answer: Admittedly, Jesus Christ, the God-Man, reigns from the tomb to his ending of the human drama at the close of time. Too, the Eucharist means that from Pentecost unto the last breath of the last human, Jesus Christ is literally on earth in full presence—Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. So, the age of peace interpretation would indeed be heretical if it confined Jesus’ kingdom to Our Lady’s reign.

Here, I would appeal to the dragon scenes as a whole and the places where the Christ dwells in the context of the entire drama with the dragon, and not merely the millennium. Toward that end, we see that Jesus also reigns in Apocalypse 12 from above, or heaven, starting from the very point of his Ascension. (Rv 12:5) Toward that end, for all the subsequent scenes of the dragon until the chaining of chapter 20, Jesus, or the Christ-child, is reigning in heaven, yet we would never question in all these moments that Jesus’ Church is not in fact also present on earth, which is the very expression of his reign. Indeed, and in fact, after this very Ascension, the woman goes on to have several interactions of activity with the dragon, and we know from Catholic theology that the woman is not merely the Virgin Mother Mary but also the Church. In this precise view, then, we can view the collective scenes of the dragon in Apocalypse, from chapter 12 to, sporadically, chapter 20, as an image, if it were possible, of the entire age of the Church, and not merely idealistic pieces of recurrence. Then, without being able to fully lay out the interpretation for now, the sequence can be a revelation of the degree that Christ’s truth, grace, and Church reign in humanity at any one age, so that, in particular, whereas the dragon causes much trouble for the Church in Apocalypse 12, 13, 16, and such, he is brought into great subjection through his chaining in the abyss in chapter 20, symbolizing, again, that sin and iniquity are greatly diminished in the age of peace.

 

Objection 4: Isn’t this dispensationalism? Or chiliasm? It is one thing to say that there were five ages of the Old Law. But what we are to do with your supposed three ages of the New? St. Augustine omitted seven and eight for a reason: “It is the last hour.” (1 Jn 2:18) The age of the Church is the final age to end all ages. There are no other ages. It is the seventh that is eternity, not the eighth, which is an allegory. There are two dispensations, that is it: Old and New.

Answer: Admittedly, there are only two dispensations, the Old and the New. Yet, by the very theology of St. Augustine, the Old dispensation can be broken into five lesser ages. Are these five lesser ages themselves dispensations? Obviously not. But they are a way to divide up the Old Testament into lesser phases of redemptive activity on the part of God. God is still dealing with the Jewish People according to the same principles of charity: he expects the person of the Old Testament to try his best to find and keep the religious and moral truth that has been given to him or is available, so help him God. This is the same criteria God uses in New: the implicit desire for Baptism is the way that God expects, and so forth for those who have access to Baptism and know of its obligation. Yet, again, the Old Way still had five sub-periods. So why can there not also be sub-periods for the New? Yes, the New is the final dispensation, but are there not also sub-ages? For, is not the world of pagan Rome different from the world that saw the empire fall, which is different from the world of the Middle Ages, which is different from the world of Protestantism, which is different from the world of Enlightenment and French Revolution, which is different from the world of the modern godless irrationality, which will be different from the world of peace coming, a wondrous renewed Catholic Christendom?

Therefore, if the Old dispensation can have sub-ages, even five, and yet be such that the sub-ages are not dispensations but just a way to theologically partition the divine redemptive activity within that overall Old dispensation itself, and since the New dispensation has also exhibited phases of spiritual development that still remain confined to this self-same New dispensation and yet are not dispensations themselves, then we can argue that there is no reason to reorient the interpretation of the creation days or beast kings in a way that eliminates the seventh or eighth, especially considering that, in our analysis, the age-of-peace scenario that gives us eight total phases of darkness for human history in God’s plan perfectly fits the symbolism of the same creation days and beast kings.

Also, as an addendum, in our Joyful Mysteries analogy discourse above, at the close of the writing proper, it was not made explicit but implied by the entire argument that the full eight day, or sixteen part, layout for human history was used, so that the model in question is vindicated by the self-same Joyful Mysteries. That is, the only way to work out the Joyful Mysteries analogy is to assume the new, renewed view of the ages of New rather than using the current Augustinian model. Here, also, since all other data in the pregnancies fits wonderfully for the Old Law, and considering that there is no way to allegorize away any particular month or months, it is fitting to argue that since the completion of the model absolutely requires the new eight-day scenario, the Joyful Mysteries provide powerful argumentation for our analysis of history.

Conclusion

In conclusion, brothers and sisters, we have seen that human history in God’s plan truly does follow, in the big picture, a trajectory of alternating darkness and light, spiritually speaking. Moreover, we see the ages of such, especially using fully approved private revelation, to truly match the Early Father testimony of the days of creation as eight total: five in the old, and three in the new. Moreover, we have a theology of those ages for the old law as two preeminent ages in the beginning to digest the two great lies of the fall, and then the prefiguring people journeying the three ages of the way of the saint. The new ages are then three likewise, the same three ways of the saint historically.

Further, we have seen that there really are two sabbaths in the divine plan: one imperfect sabbath in this world, the reign of Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart, and the one beyond this world, the eschaton, the New, Eternal Creation. We have seen the profound parallels between the first age of history and the last age of history. “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the Son of Man.” We have seen that the Lord shall grant, before the first sabbath, a learning lesson, a dress rehearsal for the end of the world, followed by a glorious vindication of his love and truth, such that, a subsequent apostasy will be without excuse, warranting then, the ultimate sabbath, the Second Coming.

We have seen that this final spit in the face of God will be a veritable apocalyptic manifestation of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, a practically unforgivable insult to the love and immeasurable goodness of God, in much the same way in which the angels were not forgiven when they fell.

Also, we have seen that the parable of the unclean spirits provides a surprisingly appropriate analogy for our historical theology. As well, we have seen an astounding, theology-packed analogy in the Joyful Mysteries narratives on Mary and Elizabeth’s pregnancies that fully vindicates our entire discourse, in order that Scripture might, as we conjectured, contain a wonderful, humble, obscure, midway image of the plan in contrast to the more epic Scriptures of Genesis and Apocalypse at the poles of the Bible.

We have also handled objections. To wrap up then, we note that at the end, humanity will have full culpability before God, seeing as God will have shown them that science without faith spells ruin, but with faith, gives peace and prosperity. They will have no other option than to conclude that faith and love are absolutely necessary for relative beatitude in this side of the end of time, that without this faith and love of the Church, the world must necessarily face ruin. Hence, again, when they go back to godlessness after this coming age of glory and love, and, if it were not bad enough, betray the action of the Holy Spirit in this age by ascribing merely to the powers of this world the prima causa of peace and prosperity, they will be blaspheming God in the supreme sense. This explains why, not individually but historically, the world will be practically unforgivable at the end.

But that very end time is not our time, brothers and sisters. We are in the blasphemy of the Son, not the Spirit. Consequently, we can hold our heads high that very soon in history, the Virgin shall triumph, and the world will come back to God one final time, a time of wondrous love and serenity. Let us therefore rejoice that this time of darkness, too, shall pass, and we shall have light!

1Colin Donovan, "End Times, Millennium, Rapture," EWTN Global Cathoilc Network, Faith > FAQ, http://ewtn.com/expert/answers/endtimes.htm

2Joseph Pronechen, “Archbishop Sheen’s Warning of a Crisis in Christendom,” National Catholic Register, July 29, 2018, http://www.ncregister.com/blog/joseph-pronechen/fulton-sheen-answers-for-a-christendom-crisis

3Colin Donovan, "End Times, Millennium, Rapture"

4St. Augustine, On the Catechising of the Uninstructed, ch. 22:39, http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1303.htm

5New Catholic Encyclopedia, McGraw-Hill Pub., NY, 1967, Vol. IX, 742

6Colin Donovan, "End Times, Millennium, Rapture"

7Commentary on the Apocalypse, St Andrew of Caesarea, ch.54

8Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, (Rockford, Illinois, 1974), 236

9Catechism of the Catholic Church: Revised in Accordance with the Official Latin Text Promulgated by Pope John Paul II. 2nd ed. [Vatican City]: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 387

10CCC 27

11Scott Pauline, "Armageddon and the 'Kings from the East'; Probing Deeper into the Meaning of Strife," Homiletic Pastoral Review, November 6, 2017, https://www.hprweb.com/2017/11/armageddon-and-the-kings-from-the-east/

12CCC 1997, 310

13St. Augustine, On the Catechising of the Uninstructed, ch. 22:39

14Scott Pauline, 'Sacramental Ecclesiology in the Loaves and Fishes," Homiletic Pastoral Review, September 27, 2016, https://www.hprweb.com/2016/09/sacramental-ecclesiology-in-the-loaves-and-fishes/

15Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, 81–82

161970 Roman Cathoilc Missal, Rite for the Baptism of One Child, Renunciation of Sin and Profession of Faith, B

17Ibid.

18Ibid.

19The Messages of Kibeho, The Miracle Hunter, http://www.miraclehunter.com/marian_apparitions/messages/kibeho_messages.html

20(ST II—II:14:3)

21Dominum et Vivificandem 46

22Scott Pauline, “Armageddon,” Homiletic Pastoral Review, https://www.hprweb.com/2017/11/armageddon-and-the-kings-from-the-east/

23CCC 392–393

24St. Faustina Kowalska, Divine Mercy in My Soul, (Marians of the Immaculate Conception, Stockbridge, MA, 3rd ed., 1996), par. 1332

25CCC 675

26St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, commentary on Mt 12:43–45

27CCC 57

28Scott Pauline, “Armageddon,” Homiletic Pastoral Review, https://www.hprweb.com/2017/11/armageddon-and-the-kings-from-the-east/

29St. Augustine, On the Catechising, http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1303.htm

30CCC 676

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