TRUMPETS of Warning-Part V laid the groundwork for what I believe is now rapidly approaching this generation. The picture is becoming clearer, the signs speaking louder, the winds of change blowing harder. And so, our Holy Father looks tenderly at us once again and says, “Hope” …for the coming darkness will not triumph. This series of writings address the “seven year trial” which may be approaching.
These meditations are the fruit of prayer in my own attempt to better understand the Church’s teaching that the Body of Christ will follow its Head through its own passion or “final trial,” as the Catechism puts it. Since the book of Revelation deals in part with this final trial, I have explored here a possible interpretation of St. John’s Apocalypse along the pattern of Christ’s Passion. The reader should keep in mind that these are my own personal reflections and not a definitive interpretation of Revelation, which is a book with several meanings and dimensions, not the least, an eschatological one. Many a good soul has fallen on the sharp cliffs of the Apocalypse. Nonetheless, I have felt the Lord compelling me to walk them in faith through this series. I encourage the reader to exercise their own discernment, enlightened and guided, of course, by the Magisterium.
THE WORDS OF OUR LORD
In the Sacred Gospels, Jesus speaks to the Apostles about the “end times,” giving a picture of events that are both near and in the distant future. This “snapshot” includes both local events, such as the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70A.D., as well as broader events such as the conflict between nations, the coming of an Antichrist, great persecutions etc. Jesus seems to conflate events and timelines. Why?
Jesus knew that the book of Daniel was sealed, not to be opened until “the time of the end” (Dan 12:4). It was the Father’s will that only a “sketch” of things to come was to be given, and the details to be revealed in a future time. In this way, Christians of all times would continue to “watch and pray.”
I believe the book of Daniel has been unsealed, and its pages are turning over now, one by one, our understanding deepening day by day on a “need to know” basis.
The Book of Daniel speaks of an Antichrist figure who appears to establish his rule over the world for a “week.”
And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week; and for half of the week he shall cause sacrifice and offering to cease; and upon the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator. (Dan 9:27)
In the Old Testament symbolism, the number “seven” represents completeness. In this case, God’s just and complete judgment of the living (not the Last Judgment), will be permitted in part through this “desolator.” The “half-week” Daniel refers to is the same symbolic number of three and a half years used in Revelation to describe the time of this Antichrist figure.
The beast was given a mouth uttering proud boasts and blasphemies, and it was given authority to act for forty-two months. (Rev 13:5)
So the “week” is equivalent to “seven years.”
We see types of this seven year period throughout the Sacred Scriptures. Most relevant is the time of Noah when, seven days prior to the flooding, God brings him and his family into the ark (Gen 7:4). I believe the Illumination will begin the proximate time of the Seven Year Trial which consists of two three and half year periods. This is the beginning of the Day of the Lord, the beginning of the Judgment of the living, starting with the Church. The door of the Ark will remain open, even possibly during the period of Antichrist (though St. John indicates throughout the period of Antichrist and accompanying chastisements that the people would not repent), but will close at the end of the Trial after the Jews have converted. Then will commence the Judgment of the unrepentant in a flood of fire.
For it is time for the judgment to begin with the household of God; if it begins with us, how will it end for those who fail to obey the gospel of God? (1 Peter 4:17)
THE TWO HARVESTS
Revelation refers to two harvests. First, the Harvest of Grain which Jesus placed, not at the end of the world, but at the end of the age.
Another angel came out of the temple, crying out in a loud voice to the one sitting on the cloud, “Use your sickle and reap the harvest, for the time to reap has come, because the earth’s harvest is fully ripe.” So the one who was sitting on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested. (Rev 14:15-16)
I believe this is the first three and a half year period accompanying the Illumination. The remnant will swing the sickle of the Word of God, announcing the Gospel, and gathering those who accept His mercy into the Ark… into His “barn.”
However, not all will convert. Thus, this period will also serve to sift the weeds from the wheat.
…if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn… The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. (Matt 13:29-30, 39)
The weeds are those apostates who remain in the Church yet rebel against Christ and his vicar on earth, the Holy Father. The apostasy we are living in now will manifest openly in a schism created by those who do not convert through the Illumination. The Coming Counterfeit will serve as the sieve which will “collect” those who refuse to accept Jesus, the Truth, from His followers. This is the Great Apostasy which will prepare the way for the Lawless One.
Those who accept Jesus will be marked by His holy angels, the harvesters:
After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth so that no wind could blow on land or sea or against any tree. Then I saw another angel come up from the East, holding the seal of the living God. He cried out in a loud voice to the four angels who were given power to damage the land and the sea, “Do not damage the land or the sea or the trees until we put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God. (Rev 7:1-3)
Now you see why we are feeling the winds of change in the natural realm through manifestations of powerful storms: we are nearing the Day of the Lord when the time of Mercy ends and the days of Justice begin! Then, the angels at the four corners of the earth will be fully released for the judgment of those who are not sealed. This is the second reaping, the Harvest of Grapes—a judgment upon the unrepentant nations.
Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven who also had a sharp sickle… “Use your sharp sickle and cut the clusters from the earth’s vines, for its grapes are ripe.” So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and cut the earth’s vintage. He threw it into the great wine press of God’s fury. (Rev 14:18-19)
This second harvest begins with the latter three and a half years during the open reign of Antichrist, and culminates in the purification of all wickedness from the earth. For it is during this time that Daniel says the desolator will abolish the daily sacrifice, that is, the Holy Mass. This will bring about a travail upon the earth never experienced before in both nature and the spiritual realm. As St. Pio put it:
It is easier for the earth to be without the sun than without the Mass.
In Part II, a closer look at the two periods of the Seven Year Trial.