This poignant statement from Luther on tribulation in our lives can be applied to the Church when she enters into the Great Tribulation. May we cultivate this spiritual self-control if God calls this generation to suffer at the hands of Satan and his Antichrist:
We have the promise and hope of heaven, and the recompense and reward of our present misery will be so great that we shall rebuke ourselves severely for ever having dropped one tear or sigh on account of this contempt and ingratitude of the world. Why, we shall say, did we not suffer even worse things? I never would have believed that there could be such surpassing glory in eternal life; else I should not have so dreaded to suffer even much worse things (St. L. II:1237; Erl, Exeg. Opp. Lat. 9, 235.)
I was raised a Catholic, the original Christian Church, that did not teach about the Rapture – with Tribulation! There was just one accepted Church. Then, came the Reformation of Martin Luther that the Pope’s titled a heresy. Were they referring to the belief in the Rapture? Did Luther preach about the Rapture? Hubert Armstrong was considered a prophet. I am seeing things in his prophecy. Luther is very upset the UNGRATEFUL world has not converted to his brand of Christianity, and, has rejected his spiritual – GIFT! These are – THREATS!
For years I have been having trouble with the idea that I might be living next door to a Rapture End Time Christian, who wants MY WORLD to meet a ghastly and terrifying end. I suspect they LOOK DOWN on me, especially when they discover I am not – ONE OF THEM! I do not look at them as – SUBHUMAN SCUM – that deserved to die and go to hell. I have problems with them VOTING, fearing they may vote on issues that bring about the END OF THE WORLD. Their President does not believe in Global Warming, and has destroyed secular attempts to stop it. THIS IS INSANITY! I do consider if my neighbor has a right to help bring about the end of the world by interfering with a SECULAR GOVERNMENT.
Let us say I lived in a appartment complex surrounded by high weeds, and seeing this was a real fire hazard, I went out to cut those weeds down, and my evangelical neighbor stopped me, saying;
“Leave those weeds be! The End Time is coming. But, before that, I am my loved ones are going to be Raptured up, leaving you and your unholy family – TO BURN ALIVE!”
“Well – fuck you too neighbor! I know you are severely mentally ill. Now, get out of my way while I take measures to save lives and property.”
The Jews do not believe in the Rapture. Here is what Luther wants to happen to them.
Reprinted from “The Rapture Trap: A Catholic Response to ‘End Times’ Fever” by Paul Thigpen, Ph.D. with permission of Ascension Press.
Open the last book of the Bible, and you enter a strange and dazzling world. In quick succession you encounter there a baffling array of angels and beasts, saints and sinners, worshippers and warriors, celebrations and catastrophes.
There you find a great beast whose number is 666. A scroll with seven seals. Four men riding horses, each horse a different color. Hail and fire, mixed with blood. A battle named Armageddon. A star named Wormwood falling to earth. Crowned locusts with human faces, women’s hair, lions’ teeth, scales, and stinging scorpion tails. Invading nations named Gog and Magog. A red dragon with seven heads, ten horns, seven crowns.
So what does the Catholic Church officially teach about the true meaning of all these puzzling symbols, figures, and events?
The short answer: Not much.The Church has never claimed to know with certainty, for example, the true meaning of the locust with human faces. But the Church does witness to a number of important truths about Christ’s second coming and the close of the age.
A Humbling Perplexity
The Church teaches, of course, that the book of Revelation and the book of Daniel, with its similar imagery, belong among the Scriptures inspired by God. Both books extend to us God’s invitations, promises, and warnings. Both contain useful exhortations to maintain a steadfast hope and faith.
Nevertheless, much of what is contained in these books is exceedingly difficult to understand. The rule of interpreting a biblical text as far as possible in its “plain sense” does not help much in many passages we find here. The “plain sense” of a red dragon with seven heads and ten horns is just not very plain at all.
On the other hand, what the Catholic Church, by Christ’s authority, has definitively declared about the end of the world—and what is clearly implied by what it has so declared—Catholics are obliged to believe. In fact, what the Church has definitively declared, Catholics should be overjoyed to believe. After all, it’s good news! Christ’s second coming and the events surrounding it are just as much a part of the gospel as His first coming.
Essentials of Catholic Teaching on the Last Days
The Church has not yet attempted to define the precise significance of the four horsemen, the human-faced locusts, and the like. Why not? For this reason: Though the Church’s understanding of divine revelation continues to unfold as the Holy Spirit guides the Magisterium, at this point the Spirit has not yet chosen to clarify these and other matters.Nevertheless, this does not mean the Church has not spoken quite clearly about the basic revealed truths of eschatology—that is, the doctrine of the “last things.” A few of the phrases from the Nicene Creed sum up the Church’s teaching in this regard. Now we will expand a little on that understanding, drawing a few specific points from what Pope John Paul II has called a “sure guide” to faith: the Catechism of the Catholic Church [numbers in parentheses refer to the Catechism].
Jesus will return to the earth in glorious triumph. “Though already present in His Church,” says the Catechism, “Christ’s reign is nevertheless yet to be fulfilled `with power and great glory’ by the King’s return to earth” (671). Our Lord’s return “could be accomplished at any moment” (673) and will be universally visible and undeniable. No secret rapture here. This foundational truth has been affirmed many times over by the scriptural texts we have examined in earlier chapters.
First, however, the Antichrist will appear to deceive the world and persecute the Church. “The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the `mystery of iniquity’ in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of His Messiah come in the flesh” (675). The spirit of Antichrist has manifested itself many times already in history, most notably in recent times under the guise of atheistic Communism (676). Christians will be terribly persecuted at the hands of the final Antichrist, just as they have been at the hands of his forerunners.
The Church will suffer the great tribulation prophesied by her Lord. “Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a trial that will shake the faith of many believers”(675). “The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in His death and resurrection” (677). Again, we have examined a number of scriptural passages that confirm this teaching. Contrary to the rapture doctrine, Christians will not be spared the great tribulation.