End Times

Friday, March 28, AD 2014

 

Michelangelo Last Judgment

 

 

Steve Skojec  has an interesting post over at his blog pondering whether we are in the End Times.  It appropriately is entitled Something Wicked:

 

Is there a part of you that aches when you feel a storm coming? An old injury, a creaking joint, maybe your sinuses? For me, it was always my left arm. Could be a bright, sunny, cloudless day, but if it started throbbing in just that certain way, I knew: before too long, the dark clouds would be rolling in.

I don’t know if it’s possible for our souls to feel something similar, but I’ve talked to a number of people who have serious spiritual aches.

There’s just this feeling that something bad is coming. Nobody can put their finger on it. It could be spiritual, or temporal, or possibly even both. All I can say is that it’s as if we’re watching the world stage, and the house lights have gone down, and we can just barely make out that the scenery is being rearranged by people dressed all in black. We can’t see them with any clarity. There’s just the sense of deliberate and hasty movement, as pieces are being put into place for a big scene.

I’ve never been given to apocalyptic fantasies, but it’s hard not to wonder if when the curtain comes up, we will be witnessing the beginning of the final act.

In this essay, I hope to try to stitch together some of the disparate factors I see coalescing, and others I merely suspect. I have no special gift for divining the course of the future; I receive no private revelations. But I have a sense that something is very much not right in the world, and I am trying to address that for myself. I have chosen to also share my attempt to make these connections with you.

Go here to read it. It is a very intriguing essay and well worth the reading.  Whether we are in the End Times is a subject that I am perpetually agnostic about.  I tend to be a literalist on Christ’s statement that He will return “like a thief in the night” and as a result I have suspected that His Second Coming will be in a time of relative peace and prosperity, rather like the same conditions that prevailed during His First Coming, and that his His Second Coming will therefore come at a period when it would be least expected.  Quien Sabe?  My own personal take on how to live life each day is the same as contained in the poem Abraham Davenport, who, during the Great Darkness of May 19, 1780, go here to read about it, gave us all an example, I think, to emulate:

Meanwhile in the old State House, dim as ghosts,

Sat the lawgivers of Connecticut,

Trembling beneath their legislative robes.

“It is the Lord’s Great Day! Let us adjourn,”

Some said; and then, as if with one accord,

All eyes were turned to Abraham Davenport.

He rose, slow cleaving with his steady voice

The intolerable hush.

“This well may be The Day of Judgment which the world awaits;

But be it so or not, I only know

My present duty, and my Lord’s command

To occupy till He come.

So at the post Where He hast set me in His providence,

I choose, for one, to meet Him face to face,

No faithless servant frightened from my task,

But ready when the Lord of the harvest calls;

And therefore, with all reverence, I would say,

Let God do His work, we will see to ours.

Bring in the candles.” 

And they brought them in.

Then by the flaring lights the Speaker read,

Albeit with husky voice and shaking hands,

An act to amend an act to regulate The shad and alewive fisheries,

Whereupon Wisely and well spake Abraham Davenport,

Straight to the question, with no figures of speech

Save the ten Arab signs, yet not without

The shrewd dry humor natural to the man:

His awe-struck colleagues listening all the while,

Between the pauses of his argument,

To hear the thunder of the wrath of God

Break from the hollow trumpet of the cloud.

And there he stands in memory to this day,

Erect, self-poised, a rugged face, half seen

Against the background of unnatural dark,

A witness to the ages as they pass,

That simple duty hath no place for fear.

 

24 Responses to End Times

  • Many “right to choose” believers often hurl the accusation that pro-life individuals want to impose their beliefs, their pro-life religion on them.
    .
    Well, it is true. Pro-life religion believers believe that God is the giver of life. “I place before you life and death, choose life then that thou may be holy, for I the Lord, your God am holy.” But for those who wish to remain unholy and free to choose death, let them remember that God is the God of life, their life and all life. God makes it rain and the sun shine. God is the God of every breath they take. When God takes their breath away, they will perish like the grass. A word to the wise is sufficient.
    .
    The devil is a murderer from the beginning. To embrace Satan’s lies is to ask for death, one’s own death. Will the ‘right to choose death” mob accept their own judgment.
    .
    Isn’t this what global warming is all about? At first I thought it was a gimmick to extort taxes and tribute from the people, but it is really the “right to choose death” individuals becoming unhinged realizing that they cannot breath CO2. And shaking their fist at God’s commandments, laws that God, Himself, keeps perfectly, they cannot make a single breath of life for themselves, nor can they make the rain, rain, and the sun shine, nor can they create a single instance of life for themselves. The shoe is on the other foot, now. The abortionists are dying off.

  • Social Justice!

    Consider the following posted at Zero Hedge on 3/26/2014: ZH: “What is the shelf life of a system that rewards confidence-gaming sociopaths rather than competence? Those in power exhibit hubris, arrogance, bullying, deception and substitute rule by elites for the rule of law. The status quo rewards misrepresentation, obfuscation, legalized looting, embezzlement, fraud, a variety of cons, gaming the system, deviousness, lying and cleverly designed deceptions.

    “Our leadership was selected not for competence but for deviousness. What’s incentivized in our system is spinning half-truths and propaganda with a straight face and running cons that entrench the pathology of power.”

  • Mr Skojec’s piece called to mind the reaction of a certain Doctor of Divinity I knew at Oxford, on being informed that one of his former students, a clergyman, was writing a commentary on Revelations. He sighed and shook his head, “Oh dear! So very sad! Such a promising young man – and with a young family, too.”

  • It is always good to remember that we have been in the End Times since the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the bountiful giving of the Spirit at Pentecost.

    Now whether we are entering a particular moment in these End Times which legitimately raises eyebrows, anxiety and fear, I cannot not definitely say but I would not presume to make light of it.

  • We have been in the End Times since the Annunciation. Bad things have happened before and will happen again. I try to trust in the Lord.

  • Penguins Fan: “I try to trust in the Lord.”
    .
    “In God We Trust”

  • You are right Donald! Very intriguing… and my defense shields seem to be agnosticism.
    I think of the story of Chicken Little — the sky didn’t fall, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t real danger to Chicken, Henny Penny, Ducky Lucky etal. Foxy Loxy had his own nefarious plan. So while the gang worried about a cosmic threat (sky falling) the real personal and immediate danger was ready to pounce one at a time.

  • Botolph and Penguins Fan are right, the end times have been underway for nearly 2000 years. I personally have always taken the admonishment “No one knows the day or the hour” very seriously, and history shows that belief in the imminence of the Second Coming is a mistake, so far. However, any serious look at history will also show that really bad things are common and so no Christian can be complacent about their worldly future.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour, I like that Doctor of Divinity you knew. It reminds me of something I recently discovered: the liturgies of the Orthodox churches never make use of the Book of Revelation. It is apparently seen as too mysterious and apocalyptic (in the original ‘hidden’ meaning of the word) to be used in the liturgies.

    But then again, Wormwood DOES translate to Chernobyl in Russian…

  • I just skimmed through the Steve Skojec article. It looks like a mixed bag. Unfortunately I won’t have time for a full read until late tonight or tomorrow. I’d LOVE to read commentaries on it (hint hint).

  • Chernobyl is in Ukraine, a gift to the Ukrainian people from the Soviet Communist dictatorship.

  • Too close for comfort?

    Off of SpiritDaily today. Movie goers in LA we’re witnessing the “end of world scene,” in the first opening of the motion picture Noah. As the people in Noah started running for their lives, the 5.1 quake struck.
    The comments from the audience is mixed. Some were truly moved in their hearts…some couldn’t of cared less.

    Wake up call? 🙂

  • Pingback: Pontifical Laetare Sun. in Rome w/Bp. Matteo Zuppi - BigPulpit.com
  • Hmmm…. I’d just like to get a reaction to two statements. “It may be that the United States of America comes to an end, but the End is not yet.” “It may be that England comes to an end, but the End is not yet.”

    We tend to be just like 1st century Jews. They really could not conceive of the Temple being destroyed unless the whole world went with it, as is clear from how the Apostles asked their questions and from the answer they received. In spite of that, after the Temple was destroyed, life went on. Americans tend to have substantially more unfounded ideas that the only thing that can destroy America is the Antichrist — if, that is, even he can do that. Inspired by this confidence, we work steadily to destroy the USA ourselves, expecting that somehow the same laws of cause and effect that work everywhere else in the world will not apply here.

    I don’t think the chastisement that faces the world, and the West in particular, will be in any way miraculous. On the contrary, it will be entirely natural, and future historians will look back on our times and ask, “How could they not foresee that this would come of their actions?”

  • Howard,

    I will take a shot here in response to what you said. Your words are a bit apocalyptic but then again we are speaking about the End Times. As I stated above the End Times began with Christ’s Death [sun darkened, earth quaked] and resurrection [resurrection of the dead: Christ is the First Fruits] and the Sending of the Spirit at Pentecost[Joel’s prophecy of the abundant outpouring of the Spirit].

    I believe we are going through another cultural-civilization paradigm shift such as last took place at the Renaissance-Reformation-Tridentine Reforms. What ended back then was the Middle Ages; what began was what has been known as the Modern Age. Now we are witnessing the Modern Age coming to an end and a new one appearing “the Post-Modern Age” [I am sure they will eventually think up a better name]. While it is true that the West still has certain remnants of Western Civilization within it, the radical cultural revolution known as the Enlightenment has swept much of the tradition away (and still is doing so). The issue is this. Much of what we now have come to see as western culture and socio-political and economic life is based on the Enlightenment-including much of the United States’ own self-understanding. If the Enlightenment is ending with the end of the Modern Age……………? See what I mean? You are right, I do not understand why people cannot see what is plainly happening before their eyes. Unless America sinks our foundations deeper into Western Civilization including Natural Law what indeed will be our future?

  • @Botolph — We are on the same page. I would actually characterize my comment as anti-apocalyptic, at least as the term is usually understood. Just as none of us, I hope, thinks he is so important that his death could only come at the climax of some great, world-changing confrontation of Good and Evil, we should not mistake our familiar political and cultural institutions from being that important, either. The USA could decline slowly over centuries before breaking up, like the Ottoman Empire, or over decades, like the British Empire, or over months, like the Soviet Union, or it could come in all the violence and drama of the American Civil War, the English Civil War, or the French Revolution. The point is, though, that all these empires declined and all these wars came, but as the Gospel says, “The End is not yet.” So it will likely be with us.

  • As long as people pray, God gives more time.

  • Per Omnia Saecula Saeculorum

    In the Latin text it is
    Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto,
    Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum.
    We translate it “for ever and ever” or for ages and ages but in KJV or Anglican they say “world without end”
    As I said in my reference to Henny Penny above, we can study and look for the cosmic end or we can deal with our personal one.

  • Gloria Patri ….. et in saecula saeculorum.

    We translate it “for ever and ever” or for ages and ages but in KJV or Anglican they say “world without end”
    As I said in my reference to Henny Penny above, we can study and look for the cosmic end or we can deal with our personal one.

  • I have never understood why one should fear the end of the world more than a falling slate, or the tortoise that, according to Valerius Maximus, an eagle dropped on the bald head of Aeschylus, mistaking it for a rock.

    There is a fragment of a Greek tragedy, of unknown authorship and of which nothing else survives (Tragicorum Fragmenta Adespota, 513 Nauck):

    ἐμοῦ θανόντος γαῖα μιχθήτω πυρί•
    οὐδὲν μέλει μοι• τἀμὰ γὰρ καλῶς ἔχει.

    When I die, let earth and fire mix:
    It matters not to me, for my affairs will be unaffected.

    Perhaps, Lucretius was alluding to this verse:

    scilicet haud nobis quicquam, qui non erimus tum,
    accidere omnino poterit sensumque movere,
    non si terra mari miscebitur et mare caelo. (De Rerum Naturae 3.840-842)

    Certainly then, when we do not exist, nothing
    at all will be able to happen to us nor excite our senses,
    not even if the earth mixes with the sea, and the sea with the heavens.

  • “Certainly then, when we do not exist, nothing at all will be able to happen to us nor excite our senses, not even if the earth mixes with the sea, and the sea with the heavens.”

    Wrong. We do exist after death, in eternal life. The author of the poem does not believe in the immortal soul, and so, he undoes all of creation. Well, what about the rest of us? Thank God for Divine Providence.

  • As Miss Anscombe says, “If the principle of human rational life in E.A. is a soul (which perhaps can survive E.A., perhaps again animate E.A.) that is not the reference of “I.” Nor is it what I am. I am E.A. and shall exist only as long as E.A. exists.” St Thomas teaches the same (Summa Ia q 75:4) The soul is not the person, unless one is a Cartesian.

  • We are in the last decades of man’s existence on earth as we know it. First (because of the shenanigans and promiscuity of the last 50years) the city of Rome will go down like Jerusalem did in 70 AD; then shortly after the Lord Jesus will appear on the clouds of Heaven in Glory. All these within a generation and half a generation.
    Some people alive now, will be living witnesses to these events as they unfold.
    Read more: http://www.prophetamos3m.com

  • I see now where obstinate schism takes people.