Prophecy From a Catholic Perspective, Part 17

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Continuing through the Catechism of the Catholic Church as it relates to prophecy:

585 On the threshold of his Passion Jesus announced the coming destruction of this splendid building, of which there would not remain “one stone upon another”. By doing so, he announced a sign of the last days, which were to begin with his own Passover. But this prophecy would be distorted in its telling by false witnesses during his interrogation at the high priest’s house, and would be thrown back at him as an insult when he was nailed to the cross.

586 Far from having been hostile to the Temple, where he gave the essential part of his teaching, Jesus was willing to pay the Temple-tax, associating with him Peter, whom he had just made the foundation of his future Church. He even identified himself with the Temple by presenting himself as God’s definitive dwelling-place among men. Therefore his being put to bodily death presaged the destruction of the Temple, which would manifest the dawning of a new age in the history of salvation: “The hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.”

Jesus not only provided a near prophecy regarding his own death and Resurrection in talking about the destruction of the Temple and the rebuilding of it in 3 days, He also provided a further prophecy that foretold the actual destruction of the Temple, which occurred in 70 AD. Many of the prophetic Scriptural passages have layered levels of prophetic meaning. The Apocalypse is a remarkable work, which has woven within it the historical, the present, the near-prophetic, the far-prophetic, the Liturgical, and the allegorical. Many argue that it must mean one thing or another, whereas I am convinced it means all of them, which only lends to the idea that it is divinely inspired.

This doesn’t mean all interpretations of the Apocalypse of John are valid or correct. However, like much Scripture, while there are specific doctrinal elements in the Word of God that are either correct or incorrect, there are many other things to take away from Scripture that is subject to personal viewpoint or interpretation. These are either things that are “lesson-oriented” (for example, the lesson that – whatever you think the specifics of the book are referring to, the general lesson is that good will ultimately triumph in completeness over evil), and some things are subject to interpretation, and short of being specifically in contradiction to the Church’s interpretation, are legitimate considerations. The book of Revelation is filled with possible interpretations, and good scholars will debate their viewpoints with brilliant reasoning, cross-references within the Bible, references to the writings of the time, prayer and discernment, and then come to uniquely different conclusions! And it is these times that I say, “maybe they’re all correct, to one degree or another.” We will eventually look at some of these things and attempt to reconcile them.

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