How does the Church Understand the Middle East Crisis?
I used to think for a long time, as I pondered the meaning of history over the last decade or more, that the issue of the Jewish return to the Holy Land had nothing to do with God's Plan, that it was merely a Fundamentalist construct. What I now realize, based on the profound Scripture testimony below, is that Fundamentalism does get some of this right. What they get wrong, overall, is the mistaken idea that God is exclusively on the side of the Jews in the coming apocalyptic confrontation over a strip of land, however nice. It is the perverse zealousness and continued shortsightedness of the Jewish People and their Islamic counterparts to take such a mere physical place as end unto itself that will, most likely, be the source of part of the minor tribulation. More on this to come.
Now, 6 million Jews were slaughtered by the diabolical Nazis in the Holocaust. Then, understandably, the move was made to restore them to the land that God gave them so many centuries ago, a land that they had been forcefully ousted from by the evil Romans in 70 AD, a prefigurement of the end of the world in one view of Apocalypse.
But then, eventually, the Jews that returned to Israel killed and/or ousted hundreds of thousands of innocent Palestinians from their homes, a great unjust action that set in motion vile forms of alternating aggression back and forth, in which there is no way to tell what is right and wrong anymore. It is a can of worms.
Yes, there are faults on both sides. The Vatican is really in the middle of it. It, on the hand, sees the reintegration of the Jewish People into its original homeland as appropriate in light of the holocaust, to finally give them some respite from some 1900 years of wandering and suffering. On the other hand, it should be been done with respect for the current inhabitants. Hence, the forced ousting of hundreds of thousands of innocent Muslims and Christians from their rightful homes was gravely wrong and basically instigated this horror. Then, the Palestinians responded with unjust aggression back, and now back and forth it has gone, with no fruit. Truly a peaceful solution must be sought.
Nevertheless, this much is certain: God did not create the world to give a small people a tiny slice of physical paradise. The Holy Land was just a picture of the Catholic Church, which destroyed the great statue of all paganism and evolved out of the little stone of Daniel 2, the Anointed One, into the great mountain that filled the earth. This self-same Catholic Church has two ultimate dimensions, the earthly and the heavenly. This is the ultimate holy land that all men are called to, first, in this life, and then, hopefully, forever in the next, where, in that same next life, the Catholic Church triumphant, all the angels and saints, both known and unknown, fills heaven now and forever will, beyond the eschaton.
But, the error of the Jews is that they are still clinging to these mere pictures, these mere types. They still think that a literal lamb will take away their sins. They still think that pork is intrinsically unclean and sinful. And they still think that the holy land is their ultimate end, their ultimate salvation. Again, this shortsightedness is leading the world to the precipice of a nuclear war, in light the same errors of the Muslims, who live in an Old Testament dimension of thought as well.
This makes it possible that the Holy Land still has extrinsic value in the Divine Plan. Indeed, Christ testifies to this, despite what any liberal Catholics might say:
"And they [the Jewish People] shall fall by the edge of the sword [destruction of Jerusalem]; and shall be led away captives into all nations [the great diaspora, AD 70 to AD 1950~]; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles; till the times of the nations be fulfilled [the fullness of the Gentiles, the first “time of the nations”, or sign of the end]."
From here, we can ask, do any other Scriptures testify to these realities? I definitely believe so, as follows:
To start, effectively, Jewish apocalyptic history is very adequately summarized in the Finding of Jesus in the Temple Rosary Mystery, which forms, amongst other things, a prophetic analogy for both the diaspora and the Jewish return to the Holy Land. Let us revisit it.
The Finding in the Temple
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph went up to Jerusalem for pilgrimage. After the pilgrimage, Joseph and Mary departed with the caravan, but Jesus remained behind.
Apocalyptically, the Jews journeyed in Covenant toward the apex of historical pilgrimage: the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. Jesus remained there forever with His Church, the New Temple of God, in seed form, in the Eucharist and in the mediated fatherhood of the Episcopate. Admittedly, the Church would spread out to all the nations, but its seed would remain there in Jerusalem. But the Jews did not remain in Jerusalem. Rather, they were led by the sword into all the nations.
While Joseph and Mary were in the caravan, they realized that Jesus was not with them. They searched for him for one day.
Similarly, the Jews in Diaspora realized that the Messiah was not with them. The Messiah was supposed to come, but He had not come. So while they were scattered across the nations, they fervently looked for Him for one great age.
All of this was one evening (darkness, pagan Rome) and one morning (light, the Catholic Church’s conversion of a great part of the world to the Gospel).
After one day, Mary and Joseph returned to Jerusalem and continued to look for Jesus.
Toward the end of this first great day of Church History, the light of Catholic Christendom began to go out. First, the sky became very gray and cloudy and rainy with Protestantism. Then, into the age of Enlightenment, French Revolution, Masonry, and general climate of solo-ratio, or Reason alone, there were merely natural twilight in much of the sky. Finally, in our modern secular apostasy of the twentieth century, the sun set and there was darkness again in much of the world, as in pagan Rome: no God, no moral law, materialism, atheism, relativism, hedonism.
This sunset begins the second day, the second age of the Church. And lo and behold, just as Mary and Joseph returned to Jerusalem in the beginning of this second day, so the Jewish people, after some 1900 years of painful Diaspora in all the nations, returned to the Holy Land in the beginning of this second age, the second sunset (1948, return to Holy Land, 1967, repossession of Jerusalem, just as godlessness already arose in the East with communism, in the first portion of the 20th century and how hedonism and relativism and materialism arose in the West right in the latter 1960’s).
And in this Holy Land, the Jews are still looking for the Messiah.
Now, if Our Lady’s promises are kept, our modern darkness will be healed, if necessary by epic chastisement, and the world brought back to the Church. There will be peace and light for a great age, hence, a sunrise and light to banish our darkness, the completion of the second age, the second day.
After three days, Joseph and Mary found Jesus in the Temple. They pleaded with Him, “Jesus, how could you do this to us? For three days, your father and I have sought you in sorrow.” He responded: “Mother, did you not know that I would be in My Father’s House and about His business?”
In the third sunset of Church history, the beautiful age of Our Lady’s light will come to an end through laxity and boredom; at least one mystic testifies that parents will stop confirming their children because it is not necessary. This will pave the way for the Great Apostasy. In this third night, the Jews will begin to convert. They will begin to the see the light that had eluded them all these ages. They will find their Messiah en-mass in the last place they thought to look for Him: the NEW Temple of God, the Catholic Church.
And they shall say to Him, “Lord, how could you do this to us? For three great AGES we have sought you in sorrow!” And Jesus, the Messiah they had been looking for, will say to them, apocalyptically, “Beloved children of My Father, where else did you think I would be? For three great ages, My Bride has heralded Me in this Temple, not made of stone and wood, but of truth and grace! And, behold, since you did not know the way in full, I had must needs be about my Father’s business, to let THEE be in order that I might redeem your younger brother, the Gentiles!”
Apocalypse 11 and the Illuminative Way
Next, further profundity follows in this regard when we look at the Two Witnesses discourse of Apocalypse. Here is the text:
And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and it was said to me: Arise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar and them that adore therein.  But the court, which is without the temple, cast out, and measure it not: because it is given unto the Gentiles, and the holy city they shall tread under foot two and forty months:  And I will give unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.  These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks, that stand before the Lord of the earth.  And if any man will hurt them, fire shall come out of their mouths, and shall devour their enemies. And if any man will hurt them, in this manner must he be slain.
 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and they have power over waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues as often as they will.  And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast, that ascendeth out of the abyss, shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
This Scripture is incredible. It equates the period that the Church, witnessing through, as a possible approach to the Two Witnesses, the Written and Oral Word of God, preaches her first great doctrinal development with persistent resistance (“and if any man will harm them in this manner must be he harmed”) with the period that Jerusalem is literally trampled by the Gentiles, hence implying that once the Church completes her first great phase of doctrinal development, Jerusalem will be reacquired by the Jews AND an apostasy will occur, symbolized by the beast. The Church will be spiritually murdered and regarded as dead by the world.
How? Let us look at both dimensions.
Firstly, the trampling of the holy city by the Gentiles is said to last for 42 months. Now, 42 months is 3 and one half years, which is half of 7. 7 is the number of perfection, therefore half of 7 is great imperfection, indicative of a great period of distress.
Secondly, the period of the preaching of the Two Witnesses is effectively the same amount of time. How? Well, it is 1260 days. However, this is just 42 months, as follows: Jewish time enumerates exactly 30 days to a month, always, so that, by way of implication, a Jewish year is always exactly 360 days. Consequently,
1260 days =
1260 days / (30 days / month) =
126 / 3 months =
Indeed, then, the periods of time spanning the preaching and trampling of the holy city are the same, so that, again, when one ceases, so does the other. This would therefore imply that three events basically occur simultaneously in history, roughly speaking:
- Jerusalem ceases to have a primary presence of Gentiles
- The Church wraps up a great epoch of doctrinal testimony
- A Secular Apostasy descends upon the world that used to be Christian
Well, bingo! All these things came to fruition in the mid to late 1960's! Firstly, in 1967, for the first time in basically 1900 years, the Jews once again possessed Jerusalem.
Secondly, in the mid 60's, slightly before this Jewish recapture, the Catholic Church veritably wrapped up 2000 years of witness to the truth and mystery of Christ with an epic Council that, while not introducing any new doctrine, boldly and lovingly represented its rich and beautiful message of love and hope to a world that was, despite incomprehensible materialistic achievements, sliding into darkness and despair with its atheism and forthcoming nihilism and relativism, not to mention a defiant and arrogant hedonistic materialism.
And this, in fact, was most of former Christendom's response to the Church's sincere plea for them to reconsider a Gospel that she rightfully trumpeted could be a wonderful counterpart to the scientific development, enabling humanity to flourish in benevolence and peace if only they might reopen their hearts to the Good News of their Savior. It was rejected, right in the late 60’s, and the Church was considered dead to humanity's needs, not even afforded a respectful burial. The world celebrated the searing of its conscience from any religious or moral constraint, like the inhabitants of earth that “send gifts to one another that these two prophets had tortured them.”
If we return to this apostasy that ensued at nearly the same time, we read the profound Scripture, continuing where we left off in Apocalypse 11:
And after three days and a half, the spirit of life from God entered into them. And they stood upon their feet, and great fear fell upon them that saw them.  And they heard a great voice from heaven, saying to them: Come up hither. And they went up to heaven in a cloud: and their enemies saw them.  And at that hour there was made a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell: and there were slain in the earthquake names of men seven thousand: and the rest were cast into a fear, and gave glory to the God of heaven.  The second woe is past: and behold the third woe will come quickly.
In the next scene, the three and one half days end, the symbolic period of the apostasy, as opposed to the three and one half YEARS of the preceding great periods of preaching and trampling of Jerusalem. Note, three and one half days is still great imperfection, or distress, but this period of utter darkness is, again, 3.5 DAYS, not YEARS, which would seem to imply that the great period of preaching and trampling of Holy City would be far greater in duration than the period of darkness and apostasy. Indeed, this is the case: the former periods were effectively a century short of two millennia, whereas our modern crisis has been mainly a generation or so, about 50 years). Continuing, as this symbolic period of apostasy ends, the spirit of life enters into the Witnesses, and great fear falls upon them that see them.
Here is our current precipice: with Fatima and communism, which it prophesied, now in the exact 100th year anniversary, and the frail peace plagued by civil conflicts brewing in many nations, at least poised to, and even possibly minor or major nuclear war on the Asian peninsula or beyond, the chastisement looms. Too, the effects of artificial birth control and abortion are manifesting themselves in apocalyptic temptations to mass euthanasia because there is no one to care for the elderly. Whole nations in Europe are now guaranteed to be Muslim in a few mere decades by even secular demographers' estimates, scientists who cannot wiggle around blatant reality.
Too, revisiting our discussion of the Jews’ and Muslims’ perverse pursuit of a mere piece of land, however wonderful, a type of the spiritual place of beatitude, may surely play a role in the chastisement, perhaps growing out of the Israeli/Iranian standoff.
Indeed, the chastisement, upon which we surely stand at the edge of, will show all the errors and sins for what they are. The world will have no choice but to see the light, to fear God once again with the light of the Church, just as the owner of a clunker finally must get the things fixed that he was able to overlook in the summer but now must confront as his car lies at the side of the road unwilling and unable to go forward, the winter having closed in and rudely and abruptly forced him to deal with the deficiencies with breakdowns that leave him no choice.
The Two Witnesses will be Vindicated
Through it all, the world will repent. The Two Witnesses are caught up to heaven in glory. The teachings of the Catholic Church made glorious and proven right through apocalyptic crisis and sufferings. There is an earthquake, and the rest are affrighted and give glory to God. Non-Catholic Christians are reunited to Rome, and the world believes again, "that they may be brought to perfection as One, in order that the world may believe that [the Father] sent the [Son]"
This is our age, this is where we stand!