The End of the World is NOT anytime soon

A recent news story states that author David Meade believes the world will end on 23 April 2018 — a week and a half from now: End of the world 2018: Will the Rapture occur on April 23? SHOCK prediction says YES (Daily Express News Story). His theory is based on the alignments of various celestial bodies: sun, moon, stars, Jupiter, Venus, Mars, Mercury, etc. He claims that Revelation 12:1-2, “a woman clothed with the sun”, is this type of alignment of stars and moon.

Contrary to what the news media reported, Meade’s theory is that the 7 year period of tribulation, prior to the Return of Jesus, is what begins in April of 2018. And he does not seem to say anything about a Rapture occurring at that time. Even so, from the point of view of Catholic eschatology, his timeline cannot be correct.

The common opinion among Catholics who write eschatology is that the tribulation (the end times) is divided into two parts, the first part is called the lesser tribulation, and the second part is called the greater tribulation. At the end of the second part of the tribulation, Jesus returns. The seven year period of tribulation is entirely in the second part of the tribulation; it is the 7-year reign of the Antichrist. But those events occur during the second part, and the first part of the tribulation has not yet happened. Then, between the first and second parts of the tribulation, there is a long inter-tribulation period, during which time several kingdoms rise and fall.

The Biblical texts on the end times, especially Revelation and Daniel, but also the eschatological discourse of Jesus in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, all propose a lengthy period of time for the tribulation, during which time one kingdom after another rises, falls, and is replaced by the next kingdom. So these events, altogether, could not be fit in one 7-year period starting anytime soon.

My eschatological timeline has the first part of the tribulation beginning for this generation, sometime within the next several years. Then the lesser tribulation unfolds over a few decades, followed by a time of peace and holiness on earth. Subsequently, there is a long inter-tribulation period, lasting a few hundred years. The second part of the tribulation does not occur until several centuries from the present time. So the reign of the Antichrist and the Return of Jesus Christ are in the distant future, several generations in the future.

As for the Rapture, that is a Protestant idea. The Catholic Faith does not teach a Rapture, at any time. And among Protestants, it is mostly Evangelicals and Fundamentalists who believe in a Rapture. Therefore, Catholic authors would not give a date for the Rapture, since we believe it does not occur ever.

The idea proposed by Meade, that the end times would be indicated by the position of celestial bodies is not, in my opinion, supportable from Scripture. I don’t believe that the arrive of Jesus Christ at His birth was foretold by the position of stars and planets, nor do I think that the passage from Revelation, about the woman clothed with the sun, being seen in the sky, is a constellation of planets with a certain position of the moon. Such things occur regularly in astronomy, and they do not indicate any divine intention.

In my view, the woman clothed with the sun is a sign that will be seen by everyone on earth, in the very distant future, at the start of the 7-year tribulation (the second part of the tribulation, not the first). What is shown to the world is not stars that are always seen, but a miraculous sign in the sky, so that everyone will realize that the end times — the last days before the Return of Jesus — have begun. But that is for a future generation.

The end of the world is not anytime soon. Consider the text of Matthew 24:

[Matthew 24]
{24:3} Then, when he was seated at the Mount of Olives, the disciples drew near to him privately, saying: “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of your advent and of the consummation of the age?”
{24:4} And answering, Jesus said to them: “Pay attention, lest someone lead you astray.
{24:5} For many will come in my name saying, ‘I am the Christ.’ And they will lead many astray.
{24:6} For you will hear of battles and rumors of battles. Take care not to be disturbed. For these things must be, but the end is not so soon.
{24:7} For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be pestilences, and famines, and earthquakes in places.
{24:8} But all these things are just the beginning of the sorrows.
{24:9} Then they will hand you over to tribulation, and they will kill you. And you will be hated by all nations for the sake of my name.
{24:10} And then many will be led into sin, and will betray one another, and will have hatred for one another.
{24:11} And many false prophets will arise, and they will lead many astray.
{24:12} And because iniquity has abounded, the charity of many will grow cold.
{24:13} But whoever will have persevered until the end, the same shall be saved.

This first part of the eschatological discourse of Jesus indicates the first part of the tribulation. But “all these things are just the beginning of the sorrows.” It is not the very end, but rather the beginning of a long period of time, eventually leading to Christ’s return. Verse 13 indicates the end of the first part of the tribulation. Then verse 14 reveals the time of peace and holiness after the first part:

{24:14} And this Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached throughout the entire world, as a testimony to all nations. And then the consummation will occur.

The second part of the tribulation begins a few centuries later, after the rise and fall of the several kingdoms mentioned by Daniel. The start of that second part is indicated by the abomination of desolation also described by Daniel:

{24:15} Therefore, when you will have seen the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place, may he who reads understand,
{24:16} then those who are in Judea, let them flee to the mountains.

The abomination is a false Eucharist used within the false religion of the Antichrist. So the Antichrist is of the second part of the tribulation, not the first. And all those events take place in the distant future, not in our generation.

Much more on the topic of Catholic eschatology in my books here.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

Please take a look at this list of my books and booklets, and see if any topic interests you.

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1 Response to The End of the World is NOT anytime soon

  1. Mark P. says:

    Relevant Radio had a good segment on today about the errors of the rapture and how it is a relatively new, non-Catholic position about the end times. You will also see some Protestant Bibles still claim that the “Whore of Babylon” may be the Catholic Church, which is preposterous since the Church existed for about 1800 years until that theory was promoted. Apparently the Lord just let the “Whore of Babylon” lead the faithful for well over a millennium and a half before the Protestants figured out the truth. They will say ludicrous things like, “look, the woman is dressed in purple and scarlet just like Catholic bishops and cardinals!” As if the Catholic Church would assemble the Bible, interpret it, and then purposely dress in the colors of a traitor against Christ.

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