“And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also” (Acts 17:6).
Eschatology: “That branch of systematic theology which deals with the doctrines of the last things (ta eschata). The Greek title is of comparatively recent introduction, but in modern usage it has largely supplanted its Latin equivalent De Novissimis. As the numerous doctrinal subjects belonging to this section of theology will be treated ex professo under their several proper titles, it is proposed in this article merely to take such a view of the whole field as will serve to indicate the place of eschatology in the general framework of religion, explain its subject-matter and the outlines of its content in the various religions of mankind, and illustrate by comparison the superiority of Christian eschatological teaching.” (See: Eschatology Catholic Encyclopedia)
Millennium and Millenarianism: The fundamental idea of millenarianism, as understood by Christian writers, may be set forth as follows: At the end of time Christ will return in all His splendour to gather together the just, to annihilate hostile powers, and to found a glorious kingdom on earth for the enjoyment of the highest spiritual and material blessings; He Himself will reign as its king, and all the just, including the saints recalled to life, will participate in it. At the close of this kingdom the saints will enter heaven with Christ, while the wicked, who have also been resuscitated, will be condemned to eternal damnation. The duration of this glorious reign of Christ and His saints on earth, is frequently given as one thousand years. Hence it is commonly known as the “millennium”, while the belief in the future realization of the kingdom is called “millenarianism” (or “chiliasm”, from the Greek chilia, scil. ete). (See: Millennium and Millenarianism Catholic Encyclopedia)
Pessimistic eschatology: Christ and his kingdom have been defeated throughout history, and are defeated now. Christ’s kingdom will only triumph at some distant, future time. Today Satan is victorious – in time and on earth – and the world will be getting worse over time.
Optimistic eschatology: Christ conquered sin, death, hell, the grave, and Satan when he suffered, died, was buried, and rose again. Christ and his kingdom have been victorious ever since his glorious resurrection, are victorious now – in time and on earth – and will be victorious in the future. The world is gradually getting better.
“Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)
pessimism (ˈpɛsɪˌmɪzəm) — n
1. the tendency to expect the worst and see the worst in all things
2. the doctrine of the ultimate triumph of evil over good
3. the doctrine that this world is corrupt and that man’s sojourn in it is a preparation for some other existence
[C18: from Latin pessimus worst, from malus bad]
optimism (ˈɒptɪˌmɪzəm) — n
1. the tendency to expect the best and see the best in all things
2. hopefulness; confidence
3. the doctrine of the ultimate triumph of good over evil
4. the philosophical doctrine that this is the best of all possible worlds
[C18: from French optimisme, from Latin optimus best, superlative of bonus good]
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VATICAN CITY—Pope Benedict XVI, carrying a tall, lit candle, ushered in Christianity’s most joyous celebration with an Easter vigil service, but voiced fears that mankind was groping in darkness, unable to distinguish good from evil.
Easter for Christians commemorates Christ’s triumph over death with His resurrection following His crucifixion.
“Life is stronger than death. Good is stronger than evil. Love is stronger than hate. Truth is stronger than lies,” Benedict, wearing white robes in a symbol of new life, told the faithful in a packed St. Peter’s Basilica on Saturday midnight.
Still, Benedict worried in his homily: “The darkness that poses a real threat to mankind, after all, is the fact that he can see and investigate tangible material things, but cannot see where the world is going or whence it comes, where our own life is going, what is good and what is evil.”
“The darkness enshrouding God and obscuring values is the real threat to our existence and to the world in general,” the Pope said.
“If God and moral values, the difference between good and evil, remain in darkness, then all other ‘lights,’ that put such incredible technical feats within our reach, are not only progress but also dangers that put us and the world at risk,” he added.
Jesus turns the fallen world upside down!
The Son of Man Must Be Lifted Up – “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” John 12:27-36
Our Father, Who art in heaven
Hallowed be Thy Name;
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13)
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. (Habakkuk 2:14)
They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:9)
The Mustard Seed and the Leaven
He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”
And again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.” (Luke 13:18-21)
[A]nd many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:3)
But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:
“‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says concerning him,
for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
my flesh also will dwell in hope.
For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One see corruption.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’
“Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.’
Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”
And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. (Acts 2:14-41)
Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place. And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this:
“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter
and like a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he opens not his mouth.
In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who can describe his generation?
For his life is taken away from the earth.”
And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea. (Acts 8:26-40)
“Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.” (Galatians 3:7-9)
Considered thus, the Church is divided into the Church Militant, the Church Suffering, and the Church Triumphant.
It is further employed to signify the Church Militant of the New Testament. Even in this restricted acceptation, there is some variety in the use of the term. The disciples of a single locality are often referred to in the New Testament as a Church (Revelation 2:18; Romans 16:4; Acts 9:31), and St. Paul even applies the term to disciples belonging to a single household (Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:19, Colossians 4:15; Philemon 1-2).
Moreover, it may designate specially those who exercise the office of teaching and ruling the faithful, the Ecclesia Docens (Matthew 18:17), or again the governed as distinguished from their pastors, the Ecclesia Discens (Acts 20:28). In all these cases the name belonging to the whole is applied to a part. The term, in its full meaning, denotes the whole body of the faithful, both rulers and ruled, throughout the world (Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:18). It is in this meaning that the Church is treated of in the present article. As thus understood, the definition of the Church given by Bellarmine is that usually adopted by Catholic theologians: “A body of men united together by the profession of the same Christian Faith, and by participation in the same sacraments, under the governance of lawful pastors, more especially of the Roman Pontiff, the sole vicar of Christ on earth” (Coetus hominum ejusdem christianæ fidei professione, et eorumdem sacramentorum communione colligatus, sub regimine legitimorum pastorum et præcipue unius Christi in Terris vicarii Romani Pontificis. — Bellarmine, De Eccl., III, ii, 9). The accuracy of this definition will appear in the course of the article.
Hebrew prophecy relates in almost equal proportions to the person and to the work of the Messias. This work was conceived as consisting of the establishment of a kingdom, in which he was to reign over a regenerated Israel. The prophetic writings describe for us with precision many of the characteristics which were to distinguish that kingdom. Christ during His ministry affirmed not only that the prophecies relating to the Messias were fulfilled in His own person, but also that the expected Messianic kingdom was none other than His Church. A consideration of the features of the kingdom as depicted by the Prophets, must therefore greatly assist us in understanding Christ’s intentions in the institution of the Church. Indeed many of the expressions employed by Him in relation to the society He was establishing are only intelligible in the Light of these prophecies and of the consequent expectations of the Jewish people. It will moreover appear that we have a weighty argument for the supernatural character of the Christian revelation in the precise fulfillment of the sacred oracles.
A characteristic feature of the Messianic kingdom, as predicted, is its universal extent. Not merely the twelve tribes, but the Gentiles are to yield allegiance to the Son of David. All kings are to serve and obey him; his dominion is to extend to the ends of the earth (Psalm 21:28 sq.; 2:7-12; 116:1; Zechariah 9:10). Another series of remarkable passages declares that the subject nations will possess the unity conferred by a common faith and a common worship — a feature represented under the striking image of the concourse of all peoples and nations to worship at Jerusalem. “It shall come to pass in the last days (i.e. in the Messianic Era] . . . that many nations shall say: Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways and we will walk in his paths; for the law shall go forth out of Sion, and the word of the Lord out of Jerusalem” (Micah 4:1-2; cf. Isaiah 2:2; Zechariah 8:3). This unity of worship is to be the fruit of a Divine revelation common to all the inhabitants of the earth (Zechariah 14:8).
The necessary means of salvation
It should be observed that those who are thus saved are not entirely outside the pale of the Church. The will to fulfill all God’s commandments is, and must be, present in all of them. Such a wish implicitly includes the desire for incorporation with the visible Church: for this, though they know it not, has been commanded by God. They thus belong to the Church by desire (voto). Moreover, there is a true sense in which they may be said to be saved through the Church. In the order of Divine Providence, salvation is given to man in the Church: membership in the Church Triumphant is given through membership in the Church Militant.
See: The Church – Catholic Encyclopedia
“Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.” ~ Gospel According to Saint John (12:31)
“Now is the judgment of this world” – Greek: “crisis.” This expression, doubtless, has reference to his approaching death, and whatever he means by judgment here relates to something that was to be accomplished by that death. It cannot mean that then was to be the time in which the world was to be finally judged, for he says that he did not come then to judge the world John 12:47; John 8:15, and he has clearly declared that there shall be a future day when he will judge all mankind. The meaning of it may be thus expressed: “Now is approaching the decisive scene, the eventful period – the crisis – when it shall be determined who shall rule this world. There has been a long conflict between the powers of light and darkness between God and the devil. Satan has so effectually ruled that he may be said to be the prince of this world; but my approaching death will destroy his kingdom, will break down his power, and will be the means of setting up the kingdom of God over man.” The death of Christ was to be the most grand and effectual of all means that could be used to establish the authority of the law and the government of God, Romans 8:3-4. This it did by showing the regard which God had for his law; by showing his hatred of sin, and presenting the strongest motives to induce man to leave the service of Satan; by securing the influences of the Holy Spirit, and by his putting forth his own direct power in the cause of virtue and of God. The death of Jesus was the determining cause, the grand crisis, the concentration of all that God had ever done, or ever will do, to break down the kingdom of Satan, and set up his power over man. Thus was fulfilled the prediction Genesis 3:15, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
“Now shall the prince of this world” – Satan, or the devil, John 14:30; John 16:11. He is also called the god of this world, 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 6:12; “The rulers of the darkness of this world” – that is, the rulers of this dark world a well-known Hebraism. He is also called “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience,” Ephesians 2:2. All these names are given him from the influence or power which he has over the men of this world, because the great mass of men have been under his control and subject to his will.
“Be cast out” – His kingdom shall be destroyed; his empire shall come to an end. It does not mean that his reign over all men would entirely cease then, but that then would be the crisis, the grand conflict in which he would be vanquished, and from that time his kingdom begin to decline, until it would finally cease, and then be free altogether from his dominion. See Luke 10:18; Colossians 1:18-20; Acts 26:18; 1 Corinthians 15:25-26; Revelation 20:14.
Source: Barnes’ Notes on the Bible