We know that Christ, before the Resurrection, and IN His Human Nature, was not aware of certain things on account of the limitations of His Human Nature. For example, "And He grew in wisdom [and stature]....". In another Gospel passage, He asks, "Where is he/she?"
Hence, we can probably conclude that in His Human Nature, and again before the Resurrection, Christ did not know all the temporal details of future Church history.
Hence, the Christ knew nothing of names like Martin Luther, Thomas Aquinas, Hitler, nor the literal name of the man who shall be antichrist in the very end.
However, does this imply Christ was totally oblivious to what lied ahead for His People in the age of the Church in a spiritual sense?
Obviously, we could not deny that the mystery of the spiritual ages that the Church would traverse were quite probably evident to Christ even in His Human Nature. Hence, whereas Jesus knew of no literal empires and kings that would follow Rome, nor great figures of various spiritual conditions, He must have somehow been aware of the spiritual process that the Church was to traverse to complete the Plan of Salvation of His Father.
We now know what remains spiritually for Church history if the mystics' general scenario is correct. If they are correct, what remains is a minor tribulation, followed by the reunion of Christians and the restoration of Catholicism throughout the whole Gentile world, which in turn will usher in the great "age of peace." After the age of peace, comes the Great Apostasy, Antichrist, Great Tribulation, the conversion of the Jews, and the end of time.
In view of this, the path of the Church becomes strikingly similar to not only the spiritual stages of Jewish history that led up to Christ's First Coming, but that both of these spiritual paths of the People of God, of Old and New Covenants, respectively, really seem to be nothing but a macro form of the spiritual way of the individual saints of the Catholic Church: the People of God walk the same spiritual path as the individual saint . Hence, it is highly probable that Christ not only knew the spiritual ways of the saint [the three greater stages: the purgative, the illuminative, and the unitive ways ], but that He knew that the Church would walk this path, so that the history is as follows from a spiritual standpoint:
First, the Church would have to pass through the purgative way (initial pagan resistance to conversion and their similar persecution of the Church, e.g., pagan Rome).
Then, secondly, She would traverse the illuminative way, where She would develop the Deposit of Faith, growing in doctrinal knowledge -- but at the expense of an outer world that is ever colder to her message, progressing toward the dark night of the soul.
After the dark night of the soul would come the vindication of her doctrinal development through the intermediate chastisement [Minor Chastisement of the mystics], fulfilling the Jewish exile.
This then leads into the third or final greater stage of her history, the unitive way: the reunion of His Father's divided children and the age of peace. Finally, there would come the darkness that ends the unitive way, martyrdom , fulfilled in the great apostasy, persecution and tribulation, the end of time.
Assuming these things, we can probe further. Based on Christ's Eucharistic prayer that "they may be one", it seems that Christ surely foreknew the lesser ages of the illuminative way, which is the apocalyptic playing out of the question of the unity of His Disciples.
This is another way of saying that Christ, even in His Human Nature, foreknew the sources of Divine Truth that His Church would have to reveal doctrine to the world and the various degrees of Revelation that emanate from these sources. This would mean that Jesus understood a great mystery: That the greater the degree of truth available from a source, the less evident was the legitimacy of the source. Or, more specifically, that the deeper the source of truth, the more hidden was it from the unbiased eye. That is, the greater treasures are more hidden than the lesser ones. And what are these five sources of truth, that Christ was aware of even in His Human Nature? Clearly, in that very order of highest degree of truth to least degree, and, at the same time, from least evident to most evident:
I. The Nature of the Trinity and Incarnation
II. The Petrine See, or Supreme, Unifying Apostolic Successor
III. The General Apostolic Succession and Oral Tradition
IV. The Scriptures
To elaborate, Christ, even in His Human nature, understands the mysteries of the Trinity and Incarnation as far as the Church ever will. That is, He knows all future dogmas of the Church on the Trinity and Incarnation that would later be proclaimed in the early years of the Church's freedom, ie. from like 300-600 AD.
Similarly, He knows that He intends to confer mediating roles to the Apostles and successors to them in the Bishops and Priests, giving them also an Oral Word that explicitly lays out doctrine and also giving them the fullness of Sacraments to confer through their mediation.
He also knows that Peter will be the prince of them all, so that His Successor rules atop them with the fullness of the charism of infallibility in teaching.
He also knows, obviously, not only of the Scriptures of Old but that New Scriptures will be written in the wake of His first Coming in the Apostolic Age and yet also that they will be highly susceptible to misinterpretation without the mediating father's Oral Word.
Finally, He knows that even reason, the human intellect, has testimony to God's existence and a natural moral law, as in "If you love those who love you, what good is that? Even the pagans do as much!"
Based on this, we can also conjecture that Jesus knew that the illuminative way would consist precisely in the Gentile's questioning of these various sources of His Divine Revelation and that He foreknew the order of these stages and the logic behind them, the logic simply being common sense based on what we just discussed about the nature of a treasure, a treasure being more hidden the greater its depth: the subages of the illuminative way are simply correlated to the five primary sources of Divine Truth in such a manner that the sources are questioned by the Gentiles in the precise order of most reliable to least reliable , which again is, from least evident to most evident .
Therefore, it is highly probable that Christ, even in His human nature, knew that the stages of the illuminative way of His Bride would follow these five sources in the precise order laid out above. Further, I conjecture that Christ could see the fuller delineation as seven stages, based on His Divine Nature.
Before we examine them, let us remind ourselves that Christ only knows the stages, in terms of their nature, and their order of succession, not the literal duration of the stages in terms of time.
Hence, if the Apostles would have asked Christ, "How long, O Lord, shall we endure the persecutions of the purgative way, before we are freed to begin to contemplate the Deposit?"
Christ would have said, "I do not know, neither is it for any man to know, for such is not important. All that is necessary is that you understand the ages as they must come, by the nature of the spiritual order and the fall, not how long. For 'no one knows the day or the hour', nor is it given unto you to know 'times and seasons'".
Similarly, Christ would not have known how many centuries or years, as a general figure, until the heretical rebellion, or any other age. Which harkens back to an earlier essay on wisdom: the literal times and seasons are not important, only the spiritual ones. It is therefore useless to conjecture the duration of the age of peace, for example, for such knowledge is not important. It only matters for the Church to understand the general ages, their nature, and their order of succession.
That being said, let us first conjecture and extrapolate possible poetic words of Christ spoken to the Apostles regarding this mystery, and then look at the reasoning behind it in a rigorous fashion. So first, possible poetic words of the Christ spoken to the Apostles:
Possible Poetic Words of Christ on a Deeper View of the Disunity of His Future Disciples
Our Lord could have said this:
Little children of my Father, understand that your oneness must be in order that the world may believe that I am from the Father and that the Father sent me.
And now I shall explain to you what must come to pass. Behold, in order to convert the world initially, you must suffer much. For the flesh of the heathens shall rebel against you and persecute you, as did Egypt of old to the first children of My Father.
But, behold, the witness of thy blood, shed for the sake of My Name, shall in effect be the sign and means that is able to obtain the world’s conversion, the first conversion.
But, understand, little children, that the salvation of the world will not yet be complete in this. For, behold, even though the dragon shall be cast out of heaven as the ruler of this world, you know that the fallen nature continually drageth man down. Hence, it is predetermined that no sooner does the sun rise from the darkness of heathen unbelief and persecution, than that the darkness shall cometh up gradually again.
And how does the darkness come?
Behold, herein is what you must know: there are five fountains of truth that emanate from Me, My Father, and the Spirit between us. And the five fountains are these, sources of Our Truth:
The first fountain is Us, the Triune God that made you all, My Father, I, the Incarnate One, and the Spirit. From Our love and mystery flows all truth. Therefore, this is the highest source.
And the second fountain is thee, Peter, which is why I have prayed for thee. For, you are the sign of the oneness of Us. Therefore, guard what you have and feed the sheep. Be careful not to fall, lest you cause schism.
And the third fountain is thee, My little children, you as the Fathers that pass on in general the Oral Words that I give to thee, that you shall speak in the proper time. Unto you is given the fullness of Sacramental life. Be careful, therefore, not to fall, lest you cause the greater division that is heresy and the loss of the Sacraments that must have thee, the five that are neither Baptism nor Marriage.
And the fourth fountain is the Scriptures, the ones ye have now, the message of Old, and the Writings that shall come from thy guidance at a later time, after I have been taken up.
And the final source, the fifth , is even the light of Reason, the natural way of the intellect, which can already comprehend the existence of My Father and that the Creation bears forth signs of Divine Mysteries and a law that is evident even the heathen.
I tell you these things because, since the fallen nature cometh as it must, so then the setting of the sun after the world believes the first time cannot be avoided.
And so I tell you, that seven ages shall transpire after the time of the first victory over the flesh, and these ages shall follow the fountains I have told you of.
Therefore, I tell you, the first two ages of decline shall make war against the first source, which is Us and Myself in Our Nature and Essence.
In the first stage, heretics shall arise, because they are driven according to pride and other sins, that shall attack in partial ways the things of Us but still accept that I am the final Word and Messiah. And in this, who We are and Who I am shall be confounded, as it were.
Then, the second age shall utterly attack Us, utterly denying the Threefold Family that the Father, I, and the Spirit are, that **I AM** and, if this were not enough, go on to suggest that there is a word that surpasses Me.
In the third age, Peter, you shall fall, so that the other brothers of thee that are great, like thee in most respects, shall become bitter and leave thee. And this is the greater schism that cometh.
But behold, My little children, much worse things shall come later. For, eventually, in the fourth age, the dragon shall cause ye others that remain with Peter to fall morally and to give scandal.
And this shall give rise to the terrible fifth age of the eruption of division never before seen. For, seeing the sins of thee, men of great spiritual wrath, driven by pride and anger, shall rise up and rebel against thee, no longer accepting the Oral Words that ye have, but rather despising them and considering the Writings to be the only path to the knowledge of Me.
But, dear children, this crisis shall be grave, for, since they shall no longer believe in thee, they shall scatter the sheep, seeing as they have not the foundation of thee. Hence, they shall twist these Writings to their own destruction and the destruction of some of their victims. Behold, little children, I have told you all this beforehand, so that ye shall discern it when it happens.
And because of the scattering of the sheep, and because they will not love another and only divide more and more, so then, in the sixth age, an even greater tragedy shall occur: the world will grow tired of pursuing Me as a Savior, casting aside not only the Sacred Writings but even the whole of the sense of My Father's Revelation and Intervention in this world, descending, as it were, unto the supernatural death, accepting only the natural light of reason, thinking that they can find My Father's truth and keep His commandments on their own power. And the woes that follow from this shall be great, my children, therefore, recognize when that hour has come.
But, behold, children, the worst darkness shall follow. For, humanity shall divert their reason even away from the natural knowledge of My Father and toward only this world. Because of this, for a time, the world shall acquire great power and wisdom over this creation, and many signs and wonders shall cometh from it.
And yet, little children, as the world acquires this great worldly wisdom, they shall nevertheless become arrogant and blaspheme My Father claiming, in the final, that is, seventh , age, that they need not even reason or religion to be fulfilled. In this way, they shall utterly turn away from the pursuit of divine knowledge and shall live as they wish, worshiping the world instead of My Father.
Behold, children, I have told you all beforehand, so that you may recognize these things when they cometh.
However, I shall be able to restore the world to thee, to the fullness of faith. For, after the deception that is the type of the evil on in its fullness in the seventh stage, the consequences of these lies shall be shown for what they are, so that what was thought to be light by those in error shall be shown for rather the darkness that it was. Then shall I gather all the Peoples from the foreign spiritual lands to their home, the My Church, founded on thee, Peter. And thenceforth, the Gentiles shall enter the Church in full, and this is the imperfect Sabbath day rest that is coming, the Sabbath in this old creation, the seventh "day".
Explanation for the potential Poetic Words of Christ
Now for the rationale for the Christ's mysterious knowledge:
To begin, we see Christ foreknew that the first two stages of the illuminative way would question the highest source itself, the Trinity and Incarnation. The first age, consisting of the preliminary Trinitarian and Christological heresies, would only question this source in part and not to the degree of claiming a surpassing revelation to Christ.
However, it would seem the Christ could foresee the second stage of attack on the Trinity and Incarnation as a type of Islam, in that, progressing beyond the preliminary errors against the Nature of God, [eg, Arians, Monophysitists, Nestorians, etc] there should arise a religion that utterly removes the Trinity and Incarnation from the Gospel, retaining but the implicit shell, and , as it were, going beyond the initial errors by proposing a surpassing Revelation to Christ, hence, making the attack on the Christ and Trinity complete, but whereas to retain the remaining elements more or less.
Next, Christ knew that the questioning of the Gentiles would then progress to the mediated sources of truth, again, beginning at the top. Hence, because Christ was aware of the supreme unifying role of the Petrine Apostolic Successor, He knew the third stage would be the questioning of the very infallible role that Peter plays, hence, foreseeing the Great Schism.
Next, Christ is keenly aware of the greater form of separation, heresy, which is to say, He foresees, especially in His Prayer for the unity of His Father's Children, the devastating catastrophe of the rejection of the general mediated fathers that govern His children, and not merely Peter, that is, He is keenly aware of the inevitable loss of unity of the more serious form, where whole communities in great and terrible numbers shall be severed not only from Peter, but the whole of the Apostolic Succession, so that the heretics retain only the Writings that the Christ foresees being composed by His Apostles in the wake of His return to Heaven.
But because Christ is also keenly aware of the spiritual causes of rebelling against legitimate authority, Christ knows that before such a terrible rift can occur, the necessary antecedent is scandal . Christ constantly treats of scandal in the Gospels, for He is very much aware of the horror and consequences of men in authority failing gravely in their vocation to shepherd.
Therefore, the Christ foresees the fourth stage as the greater scandal that cometh, a more serious laxity and sloth that arises from the evil one in many of the legitimate shepherds that remain with Peter.
Then, of course, Christ foresees the greater heretical rebellion itself, the fifth stage, the Protestant Rebellion, which is the radical casting aside of the Oral Tradition and college of Apostolic Successors and the wrath of the men who shall claim Scripture alone as their guide.
Further, Christ knows that the confounding of His doctrines shall be the inevitable fruit of casting aside the stable foundation of the mediated father and that this lack of unity in His Father's children shall intrinsically cause a loss of faith in the outer world. Hence, Christ foresees the terrible loss of Christian unity as the very seed to undo the world's first acceptance of the Gospel, and to hence begin the progression toward the dark night of the soul, when the Gentiles shall intermediately apostatize.
Further, that the knowledge of Christ might be further conjectured, I argue that Christ even knew of the two substages of the loss of Christian faith that comprise stages six and seven , namely, that the loss of faith is not immediately utterly depraved, but that is broken into two substages, which we shall hitherto refer to as:
vi. The great supernatural death that retains natural religiosity, and finally,
vii. The full dark night of the soul, the secular apostasy itself.
The stage that then partitions the great heretical rebellion from the supreme apostasy is, again, the supernatural death that retains natural religiosity, otherwise known as the so-called "Enlightenment." The nature of this stage is as follows: driven by the severe disillusionment with man's pursuit of supernatural religion [namely, the divisions and bloodshed amongst Catholics, Muslims, Orthodox, and Protestants], the Gentiles shall then question not only the Scriptures, which was the final supernatural source (along with the implied Trinity and Incarnation) retained by the heretics, but they shall question the whole sum of the notion of supernatural religion, which is to say, they shall question whether the Divine God that can be known from reason ever intended to impart Divine Revelation, or to assist man [miracles, grace, etc.].
The result is the refutation of ANY semblance of supernatural religion, which is to say, man shall negate his necessity to be helped in either faculty of soul by God. Hence, the deist shall deny that God ever intended to intervene in this world [the will] and the rationalist shall deny that God ever intended to reveal anything to us [the intellect]. The result is man's retention of the minimal goodness possible in any sense, "natural religion," where, although recognizing that a supreme Being as Creator must exist, that a natural law of morals is clearly embedded in the Creation, and that man should seek to work out these truths of God and follow them, it is nevertheless of a disillusioned arrogance that presumes that such ends are attainable purely on the human natural power alone, with a reason and will that is unaided by either revelation or grace.
We should digress: if the rationalists attempted to contemplate the truths of natural religion, so they also shall be confounded even worse than the heretics, who at least had the basis of Scripture. So then, a secondary consequence of the supernatural death is a loss of the Gentiles' consideration even of the natural order of religion, so that his mind is carried away even from the Creator that is known from reason and is led to try to solve his problems merely from a worldly standpoint, without reference to even a natural religiosity. So then, if the first development of stage six is what we could call "worldly heresies" [natural religion, on the level of the 'world'], so the secondary part of stage six is "pure worldliness".
Of course, the final stage is utter depravity, the casting aside of even reason itself, which the rationalists retained, leaving one in utter spiritual ruin.
I conjecture, therefore, that Christ foreknew all these stages, and may have even communicated them to the Apostles, namely because, Christ knows the sources of Divine Truth, and their hierarchy, and the nature of the fall, that causes humanity to continually question the truth that God feeds to the world.