Anyone familiar with Revelation 20? It’s kewl. Come along for the ride.
Let’s look at the text.
The dragon had seduced humanity in the sixth bowl of wrath to follow the frogs which emerged from the diabolical trinity. This was chapter 16, and it was like Armageddon. We have dealt with this idealism before.
So the next scene is to skip ahead to chapter 19: Jesus comes down to earth in the supposed coming. He grabs the beast and the false prophet and casts them into the lake of fire. But the following is puzzling: he does not cast the dragon in the fire but takes him and chains him in the abyss for a thousand years. Then the martyrs who did not take the mark of the beast come to life again and reign with Jesus for those thousand years.
After the thousand years, the dragon is released. Then the resurrection of the presumed persons who did take the mark, that is, the bad people, resurrect and the dragon goes out and seduces the nations again with Gog and Magog. They surround the holy city but fire comes down and destroys them all. Then the last judgment comes for all where the just go into paradise, or the New Creation, and everybody else goes into the lake of fire.
Whew, that is a lot to digest, isn’t it?
Problems with Literal Interpretation
Now for the problems. All of this cannot be taken literally. Why? As follows:
Firstly, when Jesus comes again at the end of the world, the world is destroyed by fire, and that is when good and bad alike arise for the judgment, not separated by some thousand years, or any other finite period of time. Jesus’ Second Coming represents the definitive end of human history and the bridge into eternity. At that time, again, the whole universe is destroyed and recreated, all men rise to recompense, and the just go into Eternal Sabbath of New Creation, while the damned into Eternal fire. “He shall come to judge the living and the dead.” Jesus cannot return and reign a thousand years. He returns for eternal time.
Now, Augustine provides a good solution for now:
For him, the martyrs reign with Christ during the age of the church, symbolized by the thousand years, a long period of time. The martyrs of the church reign from heaven. We also rise to new life through baptism. And in our baptism we reign with Christ because we are baptized into him.
At the end of the age of the church, or the thousand years, the devil will go out and seduce the nations for the great apostasy. After this, fire will come down at the end of the world and then we'll have the real Second Coming and great judgment. The second resurrection of the bad also fits here: the darkness of pagan Rome with its vile, persecutive wickedness and materialism, comes back in the same condition of the great apostasy. That is, the second resurrection is also figurative like the first. It is not literal.
Ok, so here is a renewed suggested interpretation for this text. So in my view, the dragon scenes beginning in chapter 12 evolve over the whole Church history. We can walk through them in brief.
The Dragon Scenes
After the Christ child ascends to heaven to rule the heavens with a rod of iron, the dragon wages war. Obviously, when the Gospel goes out at Pentecost, the devil is enraged to stop it. He uses the Empire and false accusations against the Christians to persecute them. But by the blood of their witness, they conquer the Empire and bring freedom to the Church, the dragon cast to earth. The dragon no longer rules much of the world with paganism. (Tertullian: the blood of the martyrs is the seed of Christians).
The devil pursues the Woman. This is like the Woman in the wilderness, journeying toward the kingdom of Catholic Christendom, the progressive Christianization of Europe.
She is given wings and flies to a rest, the Middle Ages. The Church’s influence over man was never greater unto now than in the Middle Ages. Yes, the Crusades, but hard-core persecution like Rome is largely absent here. Wings. In Daniel 7, the leopard, Greece, had four wings. Now what do wings do except elevate the human spirit above a brute materialism. Indeed, Greece had four such elements of its culture that it seemed to do better than anybody: Philosophy, Art, Drama, Athletics. Lo and behold, the Catholic Church took from that same Greece Philosophy and Art and it enhanced the faith so wonderfully. Scholasticism, the magnificent cathedrals, paintings, statues, architecture!
Moving on, the flood from the mouth of the dragon is spewed to attempt to carry away the Woman into oblivion. The Middle Ages ended abruptly with the unfathomable torrent of heresies in Protestantism, followed later by the same confusion of natural truths with reason, such as Enlightenment, philosophy, psychology, and the like. But the earth swallowed the flood and saved the woman, just as the solid foundation and ground of truth, the Magisterium, swallowed all the lies and replaced them Her perennial wisdom, thereby preventing the faithful from succumbing to error and confusion.
The dragon runs off to make war. Kind of like Leo XIII’s locution, no?
The twentieth century unto our own day has seen the beast of godlessness spat into the face of God with atheism, relativism, existentialism, nihilism, and the like, and a brute materialism that reduces man’s end merely to this world. This is darkness not seen since pagan Rome, and these are supreme false prophecies since they contain no light whatsoever, unlike the various errors from Constantine down to just before this infamous epic, which always still contained some light (Arianism [and all the other Trinitarian and Christological heresies], Islam, Orthodoxy, Protestantism, and even deism and rationalism since they have the natural light of a Creator).
Humanity is indeed deceived today by a perverse, hyper-inclusive secular messianism that insinuates that peace and prosperity can be built in the world independent of any religion or moral code. [“Who is like the beast and who is able to wage war with it?”]
But the end of a world that has not peace with God is a world that has not peace with itself. Chastisement. The majority of fully approved private revelations place us on the precipice of an epic chastisement. Again, the diabolical trinity, the frogs and symbolic Armageddon. (Note, too, there is idealism here: any world or society that turns its back on God risks ruin. Hence the fall of so many kingdoms in history. For this reason, the beast scenes can apply to any phase of darkness in God’s Plan.)
Now we go back to Apocalypse 20. Here is how we can continue the narrative: the first resurrection is the resurrection of faith and of the church in Our Lady’s Triumph of the Age of Peace. The same private revelations largely suggest that our imminent chastisement is not meant by God to condemn the world but save it. For, when it is through, Christians will be reunited to Rome and it WILL enable the world to believe, a beautiful civilization of love where faith and science are finally reconciled.
Hence, just as today in our minor apostasy, the church is regarded as dead, it will come to life again for “thousand years”, also symbolic of a long time, and where the dragon is truly chained from most activity, and not just the vague impediment with Augustine. Christ does not literally come down to earth, but his grace rests upon the earth
Recall the five great wounds of Christ. The five wounds we saw as the five sub ages of the period of the church. This is the way of the saint broken down into darkness and light. After all, if Jesus’ Body is already an image of the Church, and if individual saints, with an individual body, walk the path of the ways, why shouldn’t the Church do so as well. It fit perfectly. The ages were:
Darkness: Purgative Way of Darkness, Dark Night of Senses, Pagan Rome
Light: llluminative Way of Light, Doctrinal Development of the Church
Darkness: Illuminative Way of Darkness, Dark Night of Soul, the Minor Apostasy
Light: Unitive Way of Light, the Age of Our Lady’s Peace
Darkness: Unitive Way of Darkness, Martyrdom, Great Apostasy, Antichrist
Note with the fourth wound, the age of pure light comes, when sin and darkness have been “put to death”, Jesus’ grace resting on earth in men’s hearts. Awesome! After the fourth wound, Jesus dies. Yes, He dies before the fifth wound, and that also puts sin and death to rest, His body resting toward the earth.
The final wound is the wound of the great apostasy: even after Jesus puts to death sin and wickedness and gives the world the full fruits of the Gospel, man still stabs the Christ, to make sure that He is dead!
Of the thousand years, 1000 years or a day of creation. The seventh day of creation is a day of imperfect rest in the Old Creation. Too, the age of peace, the seventh age of the Divine Plan, is a rest in human history, but it is imperfect since it will not last but be interrupted by darkness.
And so the dragon is released at the end. Humanity releases the dragon, not God. Humanity gets tired of prosperity and gets antsy, lazy. The resurrection of the damned then symbolizes the coming back of evil that existed in our current apostasy but has been vanquished in the age of peace. Hence, the great apostasy.
The Christ casts the beast and the false prophet into the fire but not the dragon, who waits. Here it can mean that Christ is conquering evil to the greatest possible extent in this world but the final conquering of evil awaits the very end.
There is also symbolism and idealism: every time evil is conquered and goodness arises up it is like a resurrection. And every time evil comebacks it is like a resurrection. (Wounding of a beast head [resurrection of light], and its healing [resurrection of evil]). But evil is the final phase within human history.
Moreover, there are disparities with Augustine: it doesn't make sense to say that someone was a martyr for Christ and is then baptized; how can they get baptized when we're already a Christian? Exactly.
There are then two supreme redemptions within God’s Plan. The first is imperfect in the age of peace. The second is the general Resurrection, the ultimate Redemption beyond history, never to be interrupted.
There's also the notion of the second fall of man. Yes, the seventh-day Sabbath is imperfect since it is interrupted and the Eternal Sabbath, the eighth light, is perfect it is never interrupting, and its love and wonder is beyond anything we can conjecture or fathom.
About the final resurrection of evil: the final resurrection of human history is a renewal of the Fall of man. How so? Let us probe it. Remember the first fall has least culpability: Noah's day. The only truths they have are the revelation of the flood and natural law. They have no Mosaic Covenant, no history of the Red Sea, no exile, no prophets. Much less the Christ and the Church’s dogmas. This world Is baptized by water.
But once humanity fully digests the gift and they fall, they are no longer curable, so the fall is back, the prevailing force of history. The fall reigns at the beginning of history but is curable. The beast was. The the fall reigns at the end of history but incurable. The beast is again.
I don't think Augustine could have seen these things because he didn't have enough information and history. He didn’t have sixteen centuries of fully approved apparitions that speak of an intermediate apostasy in Church history followed by a glorious spiritual rest. So the fall has been making its way back all the way through history. Progressively worse.
The Two Resurrections
Each of these two resurrections represents the greatest form of the day of creation on both sides. The one side of the day of creation is the light and the second side is the night. What these two resurrections mean is that the final two phases of human history will be the greatest spiritual resurrection of light and darkness in the entirety of the drama. Meaning first comes in the resurrection of light: the greatest renewal of love and light in the world that shall ever be within this side of the end of time. The greatest phase of redemption. A near whole world of practicing, faithful Catholics living in love and peace.
The second resurrection is the greatest return of evil in human history, the supreme evil. Humanity has first been shown apocalyptically what happens when you don’t listen to the Church, and then given the fullness of the Gospel, with the fullness of knowledge of the doctrines of Christ in doctrinal development. They are without excuse.
The greatest manifestation of redemption in history and the greatest manifestation of the fallen history!