Originally posted on http://digitaldiatribes.wordpress.com on February 28, 2008.
Part One of my discussion on Catholic Prophecy is here, but before I delve into too much information on the subject, I want to make one thing clear. I claim very few of the insights as my own. I have read a number of resources that have shaped my opinions, and much of what I am going to write on the subject of Catholic Prophecy are from notes I have taken over the course of a number of years. So, I may well be re-stating something in a way that has been stated in someone else’s work, without explicit accreditation. At the very least, I owe my sources the courtesy of being up-front about that, and listing the texts I have read on the subject.
Also, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, while it does not delve into the subject matter greatly, holds a few very key teachings regarding eschatology and its proper Biblical interpretation.
“Trial, Tribulation, and Triumph – Before, During and After Antichrist” by Desmond A. Birch (1996) is an incredibly thorough book on the examination of private revelation in the lives of the Saints, and much is drawn from that on that topic.
“The Rapture Trap” by Paul Thigpen.
“The Apocalypse Explained” by H.M. Feret
“The Antichrist” by Vincent P. Micelli
”Tower of Light” by Michael Brown
”The Lamb’s Supper by Scott Hahn.
Catholic Scripture Study International: The Book of Revelation by Scott Hahn and Mark Shea, with lectures by Father Matthew Kauth and discussions by Carl Olson.
It is also important to gain insight from a non-Catholic perspective. The following books have been read with different degrees of seriousness. At minimum, it gives insight into theological differences that have arisen. In some cases, there is some additional and valuable insight to be gained. In any case, whether for entertainment or serious study, it is only recommended that these sources are read and studied once a Catholic has a firm grasp of the Church’s position on this subject, in order to recognize errors on a scholarly basis, and not be unduly influenced by them.
”The Sign” by Robert Van Kampen. Of all non-Catholic books, I found his most scholarly, though there are still glaring deviations from the Catholic perspective, including the tired and uninspired attachment of the Whore of Babylon to the Church in a footnote in the back. However, once a Catholic has a good grasp of Eschatological matters, this is an interesting read. One thing I will note, is that it is one of the few Protestant sources I’ve read that does not embrace a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, though it does still embrace a Post-Midpoint (termed a Pre-Wrath) rapture, and does embrace millennialism (the belief that Christ will reign for 1000 years on earth).
All the following texts embrace a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, as well as a 1,000 year reign of Christ on Earth. Both of these positions are condemned by the Catholic Church as erroneous.
”The Late, Great, Planet Earth” by Hal Lindsay is one of the most read books of the last half-century. Don’t buy it. Nearly everything is wrong. However, the link provided will actually take you to a place where you can read it online. This was, unfortunately, one of the first books on prophecy I read, and the second was…
”There’s a New World Coming” by Hal Lindsay. I find it pretty amazing that Mr. Lindsay has been so wrong about so many things and still continues to have an audience. My brief story here is that his books did serve one very good purpose: it piqued my interest and got me to read the Book of Revelation. Unfortunately, it really screwed up my mindset on the prophetic meaning of the Book of Revelation. Thankfully, I did not close my mind to the subject and I eventually delved into much more sound theology. It is due to my own experience that I warn readers to use these resources only after gaining a good understanding of good, sound, theology on the subject. There is value in knowing what other teachings are, but it should be not what you use to form your understanding.
Planet Earth: A.D. 2000 by Hal Lindsay. One of the values of Lindsay is that he is the poster child for why you should not try to assign dates to God’s plan. This work was basically an attempt to explain away previous errors and provide brand new ones.
The Left Behind Series by LaHaye and Jenkins. If you want a good indication of the most fundamentalist reading of Biblical Prophecy written in a manner that is at least somewhat entertaining, then borrow these books from somebody. I read them all from book #1 to book #12. The ridiculousness of their position is the absence of almost all symbolism in the Book of Revelation. In La Haye’s world, a weird scorpion-like creature inflicting pain means a weird scorpion-like creature inflicting pain. There are ghost horses. There is some really strange “running like the wind” thing going on in book #12 that I never have understood. Basically, the most simplistic way a person could read the Book of Revelation is presented in these books as some thorough theological insight. Their value is in understanding the position from which they come. Of course, the authors are well-known in their belief that Catholics are not only in error, but so gravely so that their salvation is highly questioned. One might think it was nice of them to have raptured the Pope, until it is realized that he was only saved after embracing Martin Luther. Thus, don’t buy these books.
I may well be forgetting some other resources I have read along the way. If I think of any, or read more, I will add them to the list. In addition to what I have read are any number of shows I’ve seen on the subject and any number of internet resources as well. My intent here is to focus on the Catholic aspect of things, but depending on how ambitious I feel, I may delve into the differences between the Catholic perspective and other perspectives.