September 20, 2005
Ch. XXXI. Q. 163. What will be the signs and the manner of Christ's Second Coming?
THE SIGNS of Christ's second coming will be, apparently, (a.) portents in the heavens: (b.) disturbances on earth: (c.) conversion of the Jews: (d.) visible unity of the Church Militant: (e.) revelation of anti-Christ: (f.) reappearance of Enoch and Elijah. But the predictions of Holy Scripture are too figurative to be interpreted with certainty before their fulfilment. Its manner will be sudden, unexpected, glorious, and in the clouds of heaven.1
2. Holy Scripture says that the sun and moon will be darkened, and that the stars will fall and the powers of heaven be shaken.2 Also that on earth there will be wars and rumors of war, famines, pestilences and earthquakes.3
3. The Jews were chosen that they might receive the oracles of God4, and convey the message of salvation to the Gentiles. But they were deprived none the less, as a race, of the benefits of the New Covenant, by reason of their hardness of heart, until the end of the world should draw near, when, it is prophesied, a remnant will be saved.5
4. The sixteenth chapter of Ezekiel is thought by some to give the future history of the Roman, Greek and Anglican Communions under the names of Jerusalem, Samaria and Sodom. If so, it would appear that, when the Greek and Anglican Communions have fully returned to their primitive principles, the Roman Communion will do likewise and will be gladly accepted in consequence as the foster mother of Churches—not by her covenant, however, i.e., not on the basis of her claim of Divine sovereignty.
5. In Holy Scripture Anti-Christ is called "the abomination of desolation"6, and is said to be human7, proud, cruel, impious and lustful.8 It is also predicted (a.) that he will try to supplant the true Christ, and will claim to be Divine on the strength of miracles calculated to deceive the elect9: (b.) that he will rule over the world for three and a half years10, and persecute the Church so as to cause a great apostacy, but without destroying the Church or its Faith.11 Some think he will be a Jew and rule from Jerusalem, this fact helping to deceive the elect. It is also thought that Enoch and Elijah will reappear in those days and encourage the faithful by their preaching, suffering martydom in consequence and being raised from the dead.12
6. The day and hour of the second coming cannot be known beforehand13, but will be heralded by the trump of Gabriel (at which the dead will rise), and will be in the clouds, as evident and glorious as the lightning shining from east to west.14
1 S. Thos., III. sup. 75, 76: Schouppe, XIX. 145-164: Mason's Faith of the Gosp., XI. 4: Percival's Digest, 177: Pearson on the Creed, VII. 517-521.
2 S. Matt. XXIV. 29: Rev. VI, 13, 14
3 S. Matt. XXIV. 6, 7
4 Rom. III. 1, 2
5 Dan. XII. 1: Rom. IX. 27
6 S. Matt. XXIV. 15-26
7 II. Thess. II. 3
8 II. Thess. II: Rev. XIII
9 S. Matt. XXIV. 24: II. Thess. 11. 4, 9
10 Rev. XIII. 5
11 S. Matt. XXVI. 21, 22: II. Thess. II. 3, 4: Rev. XX. 7-9
12 Mat. IV. 5: Heb. XI. 5: Rev. X. 1-12. Schouppe, XIX. 153, 156, 157: Blunt's Theol. Dic., "Anti-Christ."
13 S. Matt. XXIV. 36-44: S. Mark XIII. 32-37: S. Luke XXI. 34, 35:1. Thess. V. 1-3
14 S. Matt. XXIV. 27, 30, 31: S. Mark XIII. 26, 27: S. Luke XXI. 27: I. Thess. IV. 16, 17
Posted by Trevor at September 20, 2005 09:40 PM