Brief Commentary on the Book of Revelation part one

See the full commentary here ($2.99 in Kindle format).

My Understanding

There are those who say that the book of Revelation, a.k.a. the Apocalypse to John, is so obscure we cannot know what it means. After many years of study of Catholic eschatology, it is not so obscure to me; it is not a closed book, but an open book. I can explain to you what much of it means. It is one of the gifts I have received from God (by grace and providence, not a miraculous gift) to be able to understand eschatology and the passages in Scripture on the future.

Even so, Sacred Scripture is like a vast forest; every day that we walk in that forest, we see things we never saw before. And Scripture contains mysteries beyond complete human comprehension. Then of what can be understood by the fallen human mind, much of it still escapes my grasp.

In my eschatology, I have erred many times on certain points, particularly the starting dates for the first part of the tribulation. So my eschatology is speculative and fallible. But you also will not find a better understanding of the book of Revelation in any other published writings to-date.

Overview

* First part of the tribulation: 21st century, beginning within a few years or less
* Inter-tribulation period: after the Three Days of Darkness in 2040 A.D. until the rise of the Antichrist in the early 25th century A.D.
* Second part of the tribulation: the reign of the Antichrist and the subsequent Return of Jesus the true Christ.

The inter-tribulation period sees the rise and fall of several kingdoms, as explained in the book of Daniel and as mentioned briefly in the book of Revelation. The last of these kingdoms, prior to the kingdom of the Antichrist, is the kingdom of the ten kings (mentioned by Mary at La Salette).

Revelation is a Revelation of the Future

It angers me to read various modern interpretations of Revelation which propose that the book contains no predictions of future events. They say it is just an analogy of the Mass.

{9:15} And the four Angels were released, who had been prepared for that hour, and day, and month, and year, in order to kill one third part of men.

Does that sound like the Mass to you? Or this:

{11:3} And I will present my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy for one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.
{11:4} These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands, standing in the sight of the lord of the earth.
{11:5} And if anyone will want to harm them, fire shall go forth from their mouths, and it shall devour their enemies. And if anyone will want to wound them, so must he be slain.

Or this:

{12:4} And his tail drew down a third part of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman, who was about to give birth, so that, when she had brought forth, he might devour her son.

Or this:

{13:5} And there was given to it a mouth, speaking great things and blasphemies. And authority was given to him to act for forty-two months.
{13:6} And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme his name and his tabernacle and those who dwell in heaven.
{13:7} And it was given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given to him over every tribe and people and language and nation.

As the book itself teaches us, this is a revelation given to John (the gospel writer) about future events:

[Revelation 1]
{1:1} The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him, in order to make known to his servants the things that must soon occur, and which he signified by sending his Angel to his servant John;

And this series of posts will briefly explain what the book means, in so far as I understand it. The dates of these events are highly speculative, but concerning the events themselves, I am fairly certain, as far as knowledge extends which is not definitively taught by the Church.

The Seven Churches

{1:2} he has offered testimony to the Word of God, and whatever he saw is the testimony of Jesus Christ.

These predicted events are from Jesus, through the infallible inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to the writer of the Gospel of John and of this book.

{1:3} Blessed is he who reads or hears the words of this Prophecy, and who keeps the things that have been written in it. For the time is near.

Blessed is he who believes this prophecy. But may God rebuke anyone who rejects this prophecy, by explaining it away, by claiming that it is to obscure to be of any use to us, or by claiming that it contains no knowledge of future events.

{1:9} I, John, your brother, and a sharer in the tribulation and in the kingdom and in patient endurance for Christ Jesus, was on the island which is called Patmos, because of the Word of God and the testimony to Jesus.

John was exiled to the island of Patmos, where Christians were sent during an early persecution in the Roman empire against Christianity. There was a copper mine there, and the persecuted Christians were sent to be slaves to work the mines. John was too old, at that time, to work, but he was sent there in exile because he wrote the Word of God in the Gospel of John.

{1:11} saying, “What you see, write in a book, and send it to the seven Churches, which are in Asia: to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamus, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”
{1:12} And I turned around, so as to see the voice which was speaking with me. And having turned around, I saw seven golden lampstands.

The one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church on earth will unite all Christians soon. At that time, the Church will be restructured to have seven parts, that is, seven branches of one tree, seven divisions in unity. This is also predicted in the Gospels, by the five loaves and two fishes and similar symbols. The five loaves represent the five branches of the Church for the formerly Protestant churches, and the two fish represent the Latin Rite and the Eastern Rite with the Eastern Orthodox Churches. These are the Seven Churches to which the book is directed.

Even now, before Christian unity, the book is directed to the seven Churches, to the Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Churches. However, I do not know which of the seven churches of Asia, used as a figure for those seven future branches of the Church, corresponds to which of the Churches. Even so, it seems to me that the Church of Ephesus is the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church.

{2:6} But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

The Nicolaitans were an early heresy, a group which taught and justified utter sexual promiscuity. They claimed that this teaching is from Nicolas, one of the first Deacons. However, he never taught this error, never founded the group, never participated in it. They distorted some comments by him to justify their false teachings.

Figuratively, the Nicolaitans represent those Catholics who teach grave errors, especially on sexual ethics, by attributing the error to a holy person. Which are these? In the first place, the Nicolaitans are those who use the teachings of Pope Saint John Paul II on the theology of the body in order to justify unnatural sexual acts in marriage and other sexual sins. John Paul II never taught such an error; it exists nowhere in his theology of the body teachings. The error promotes utter sexual “promiscuity” — in the form of a complete lack of sexual restraint in marriage. And the error uses the name of that holy Pope to justify these sins, of which he never approved. The parallel with the Nicolaitans is complete.

And why would Sacred Scripture mention this error, among so many other errors? It is because this error worsens as time passes in the Church. This error attacks the Sacrament of holy Matrimony. This error is even adopted by those who have sex outside of marriage and who justify same-sex marriage. This error becomes so extensive as the sinfulness of the world increases toward the very end of the End Times that many souls are lost by this approval for grave sin.

And when the Antichrist and the false prophetess are devising a formal structure for the false religion of the Antichrist, they incorporate grave sexual sins into their perverted version of the Sacraments, especially of marriage (which in their false religion is entirely invalid). This use of sexual sins within religion, using the holiest words and ideas of religion to approve of base sexual acts, leads to one of the worst elements in the religion of the Antichrist, the divination and idolization of sex, as a way to promote his false worship.

I see this error even now in the writings of certain theology of the body teachers. It is the pornification of the gospel. They use ideas of religion to worship sexual pleasure. Their writings on “theology of the body” are nothing like that of the Pope-Saint. Their writings are an idolatry of sex. And they are the Nicolaitans of today. (The Nicolaitans of the second part of the tribulation will be much worse.)

The False prophetess

{2:18} And to the Angel of the Church of Thyatira write: Thus says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and his feet are like shining brass.
{2:19} I know your works, and your faith and charity, and your ministry and patient endurance, and that your more recent works are greater than the earlier ones.
{2:20} But I have a few things against you. For you permit the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants, to commit fornication and to eat the food of idolatry.
{2:21} And I gave her a time, so that she might do penance, but she is not willing to repent from her fornication.
{2:22} Behold, I will cast her onto a bed, and those who commit adultery with her shall be in a very great tribulation, unless they repent from their works.

The false prophet who assists the Antichrist is a woman, not a man. She is the Jezebel and the harlot of the book of Revelation. She will be an heretical and apostate Catholic, who calls herself a prophetess, and who teaches grave errors, including the errors of the Nicolaitans of that time. She is a part of that group in those future years. Unfortunately, many leaders of the Church in that future time permit the false teachings of those Nicolaitans, including of this Jezebel (who later becomes the false prophetess).

The food of idolatry is the abomination of desolation, which is a perverse imitation of the Eucharist. This error develops in the Church, among heretics and apostates. It is related to grave errors on the priesthood, such as the ordination of women and changes to the consecration and to the matter used (using things other than wheat bread and grape wine). The false prophetess is a promoter of this abomination among heretical Catholics in that time. She promotes both grave sexual sins and the abomination. This error begins soon, during the first part of the tribulation, and it worsens as time passes. During her time, it will be quite severe. It is the food of idolatry, connecting a false Eucharist to grave sexual sins.

She is not willing to repent. So she is permitted by God to join with the Antichrist. She proposes to him that he should devise a formal structure for his religion, so that people will worship him. Previously, the Antichrist tried to force the world to worship him by threats and acts of violence. But for the second half of his reign, he and she devise a false church, with 6 false sacraments, each a perverse imitation of sacraments in the true Catholic Church. They hope to draw faithful believers away from their religion to the religion of the Antichrist.

In the last days, only three religions survive, Catholic Christianity, Judaism, Islam. The false religion of the Antichrist draws elements from all three religions (and other religions of the past) to give a form to the Antichrist’s religion. But most of the elements of his religion are perversion of elements drawn from Catholicism (as the false prophetess is a former Catholic).

So the false prophetess adds the abomination of desolation to the false religion of the Antichrist, giving it its final and most perverse form, as part of his worship.

{2:22} Behold, I will cast her onto a bed, and those who commit adultery with her shall be in a very great tribulation, unless they repent from their works.

Verse 2:22 is a reference to Jezebel as the harlot of Revelation:

{17:2} With her, the kings of the earth have fornicated. And those who inhabit the earth have been inebriated by the wine of her prostitution.”

She seduces the people of the world to join the religion of the Antichrist by the abomination of desolation, which as a false Eucharist is referred to as a food (2:20) and as a wine (Rev 17:2). The temporal leaders of the earth are required to join the false religion of the Antichrist, with her as the prophetess appointed by the Antichrist over his religion. So they are said to fornicate with her, because spiritual unfaithfulness is a type of adultery (for Christians who lose faith) and fornication (for non-Christians who adhere to a false religion), and because she promotes grave sexual sins as if these sins were a part of true religion.

{3:9} Behold, I will take from the synagogue of Satan those who declare themselves to be Jews and are not, for they are lying. Behold, I will cause them to approach and to reverence before your feet. And they shall know that I have loved you.

The early Christians did not call themselves Christian. They still attended Jewish synagogues. They saw themselves as being still Jews. So this passage is not a condemnation of Judaism, but of unfaithfulness in Christianity, firstly, and then secondly as any grave error of any religion. The worst errors of any religion are of Satan, as religious errors, at worst, reject God just as the fallen angels rejected Him.

Within Catholicism in the end times, there will be those who, when the Antichrist rises to power, join him and depart from the Catholic Church. Among these will be many bishops, priests, and religious. They declare themselves to be faithful Catholics (figuratively called “Jews”), and yet they are a synagogue of Satan as they join the religion of the Antichrist. In the very end, some will repent from the worship of the Antichrist and return to the Catholic Church, and they will reverence before the feet of those who did not fall away in that time.

** more commentary on Revelation later

Ronald L. Conte Jr.

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