The Signs Of His Coming

Page Three (3)


Ever since Enoch (Heb. xi.5) was the first to announce a "General Judgment" in the words of Jude i.14: "Behold the Lord has come with thousands of holy ones to execute judgment upon all", the world has anticipated "The Day of the Lord." Without this final judgment there is no effective victory of God over evil; if He does not once and for all time finally overcome it, then evil becomes as eternal as God Himself.

"Let the nations come up into the valley of Josaphat, for there I will sit to judge all nations round about. Put ye in the sickles for the harvest is ripe" (Joel iii. 12). As Christians, the ultimate end and destiny of each of us is to be ready for our individual judgment. For each man, "the day of judgment" is the day on which his reception of Christ and His teachings or the rejection of Christ and His teachings is made permanent. Although we know the believer is not judged, but the unbeliever is already judged by his unbelief (cf. John ii.10; v. 24), the Church and her teachings and preaching emphasizes the individual or particular judgment. The "Second Coming" for the individual, therefore, is immediately following death. The General Judgment will not alter it, but will only proclaim it and portray its justice. It will "come as a thief in the night... you know not the day nor the hour."

It is the Church's teaching that we will have a Second Coming of Christ and a General Judgment. As Christians we are suppose to be waiting for His Coming, expecting it, hoping for it. It should not be an event to be feared (1 Cor. xvi.22), for perfect charity casts out fear (1 John iv. 18), and charity rejoices in the truth (1 Cor. xiii.1-13; McKenzie, John L., S.J., Dictionary of the Bible, Touchstone, New York, 1965).

The Parousia (or Second Coming) has been one of the most confusing of the Church teachings. Pope Leo X, at the Fifth Lateran Council (1512-1516) placed a ban on the preaching of the Second Coming and that which related to it because of the abuses of clerics and vagabond preachers. He forbade anyone to declare a precise day of the General Judgment or the Coming of Antichrist unless permission was first obtained from Rome (Apostolic See), or in the case of the impossibility of presenting it to Rome, permission could be obtained from the local Ordinary to make public the announcement.

Why is it, as we find taught, "No one knows when the end will come"? Perhaps because the bishops and clergy all assumed that with these conditions just mentioned, permission would probably never be granted. Also adding to the complication, in the 1930's, the United States started adopting Adolph Tanquery's Dogmatic, Moral, and Spiritual Manuals for the Seminaries. A French theologian, his works were translated into English. Unfortunately Reverend Tanquery misquotes the Council by saying the end of the world will not be announced or revealed. The truth is the Church never taught that this doctrine would "never be revealed". Since the Church speaks for the Holy Ghost, one would have to reason that the principle of "same will" (the will of God and His Church) would have to apply here. How can we reconcile what seems to be a contradiction? Let's take a closer look at what Pope Leo X said. The ban is on declaring a "fixed date" or exact date; he did not say there was no fixed date. In this much the Pope and Council seem to have chosen wisely because there is perhaps no exact date in public Revelation only because of one statement that Our Lord tells us in Matthew. It prohibits any chance of a fixed date being revealed. This one statement is, "Unless those days had been shortened no flesh should be saved" (Matt, xxiv.22). This one statement makes it impossible to fix an exact date for the General Judgment and nowhere else in public Revelation is there any change to this statement.

On the other hand, the signs of the Second Coming are revealed, the season is revealed, and the day of the week that it takes place on is revealed. This is what is known as a paradox, or a statement that seems to be a contradiction. Remember, neither Our Lord Jesus Christ nor the Catholic Church teaches that this truth would never be revealed. The confusion begins in Matthew

(xxiv:37) when Our Lord said: "But the day and the hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, but the Father only." But, no where will find it written that the Father is never going to reveal this to anyone! Why then would Our Lord make this statement public if He knew that the Father could reveal these truths if He wanted to? Lets look at what seems to be a contradiction more closely. Christ wanted the Church members to be concerned with their individual judgment, and not to be concerned with an event two thousand years in the future. He couldn't give the day since it was the Fathers will not to do so at this time and being Sunday had not yet been established as "The Lord's Day ", as the Church is subject by the moon calendar, Christ (speaking from His human knowledge), would have to know where the full moon would be between March and April two thousand years in the future to come up with an exact date, or Sunday.
Sunday as the day of the General Judgment will be discussed later, but first to illustrate to you that the Father does reveal things, let's look at St Matthew (xvi:17-18). When Our Lord asked the Apostles, "Who am I?" St. Peter replied, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God." To this Christ responded," ... for flesh and blood has not revealed mis to thee, but my Father in heaven." Here you have a revelation from the Father and Christ acknowledges it as such. This revelation is attributed not from the Holy Ghost, but from the Father.

A Scriptural passage often used to deny any revelations for the Day of the General Judgment is 1 Thess. (v: 1-11). Here you have another paradox. St. Paul says: "The day of the Lord is to come as a thief in the night" But in verse 4, he says: "You, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you as a thief." And then St. Paul gives us one of the signs, which is "peace" and "security" What St. Paul seems to be saying is this: Night time is an analogy for sin. Therefore, sinners (lacking the light of grace) will not be able to recognize the signs of His

corning. Hence the end times will not be recognized by sinners. But the faithful will see it. This solves the paradox.
Another scriptural passage which is used to support that no one can know the time of His Coming is found in the Acts of the Apostles (i.6). Here the Apostles asked Our Lord, "Wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" Christ's reply is, "It is not for you to know the times or dates which the Father has fixed by His own authority." But we must consider that according to the footnotes of the Challoner Douay-Rheims, these words seem to indicate the Apostles were asking about a nationalistic Israel (which we have today), not the Day of Judgement. In addition, Christ infers the Holy Ghost is also to reveal the Day of the General Judgment, for He says in John (xvi.12): "Many things yet I have to say to you, but you cannot bear them nmv. But when he, the Spirit of Truth, has come, he will teach all the truth." If Christ didn't wish to reveal all the particulars about the General Judgment before His Crucifixion, He most certainly indicates after His Resurrection the Holy Ghost and the Father will be partakers in this revelation, as it is revealed by St. John in the Apocalypse.(Cf. Pope Gregory I, Sicut aguafrigida, 600 AD.)

In the Saint Andrew's Bible Missal, (DDB Publications, 1962-63.) under the title of, Cycle of Sundays, page 632, there is stated:


At each appearance of the Lord, the Disciples were assembled as the Scriptures clearly tell us (Luke xxiv.33; John xx. 19; Acts i.6, ii.l, and xx.7). The Jews held liturgical

assemblies three times during the year (Deuteronomy xvi.16), but the life rhythm of Christians is much more intense. They have more assemblies because they have greater and more precise religious needs. Christ's presence on Sunday is therefore most important. His presence and power and rite actually make the assembly. Most Christian Churches have generally * agreed on the fact and necessity of Sunday assemblies. On Sunday the Church is assembled in the organized manner in which Christ enjoined to prepare the Parousia. On Sunday, the Church fulfills her vocation and mission in the world. For then the assembly, the Church, unites to worship God and to seek the lost and scattered sheep. On Sunday, the highest degree of charity and unity among Christians is attained (1 Cor. 11 and 14; and how severely does St. Paul judge petty divisions!) The Sunday assembly is the visible charity of the Church; it is the presence of the Lord among us.


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