« PreviousContinue »
the name of the Lord shall be saved; for in Mount Sion and in Jerusalem shall be salvation, as the Lord hath said, and in the residue whom the Lord shall call.” 1
This opinion that at the coming of Christ a remnant of mankind will escape destruction, seems also to derive some strength from the following passages of the New Testament :
lst. Our Divine Saviour, in St. Matthew's Gospel says, " Then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn. And they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with much power and majesty." The people who are here represented as mourning at the sight of the cross, and at the vision of Christ, are mortal men, because their mourning happens before the dead are risen to life, as appears from the next verse, which says, “ And He shall send His angels with a trumpet and a great voice; and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest parts of the heavens to the utmost bounds of them.”3
2ndly. The Apostle St. Paul, in his first letter to the Thessalonians, speaks of some being alive at the second coming of Christ: “ The Lord Him- . self,” says he, “ shall come down from heaven with commandment, and with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God: and the dead who are in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, shall be taken up together with them in the clouds, to meet Christ in the air, and so shall we be always with the Lord.” 4
Joel ii. 30, 31, 32. 3 Ib. xxiv. 31.
2 Matt. xxiv, 30.
3rdly. The Apostles, taught by their Divine Master, and inspired by the Holy Ghost, openly declare in their creed, that Christ “shall come to judge the living and the dead.”
On which the great doctor St. Augustine thus writes : “ The living and the dead who are to be judged at our Lord's coming, signify not only the just and sinners, as Diodorus thinks, but also those who shall then be found living in mortal flesh, who still shall have to die.” 1 And again : “In the rule of faith, we profess to believe that the Lord shall come to judge the living and the dead; we must not think that by the living are here signified the just, and by the dead the unjust, though both just and unjust are to be judged; but the living, mean those who at the coming of Christ shall not as yet have left their mortal flesh, and the dead mean those who shall then have already left it." 2
Quod autem dicimus in simbolo, in adventu Domini vivos et mortuos judicandos, non solum justos et peccatores significat, sicut Diodorus putat, sed et vivos eos qui in carne inveniendi sunt, credimus, qui adhuc morituri creduntur. (Lib. de Eccles. Dogmat. cap. 8.)
? In regula fidei confitemur venturum Dominum judicaturum vivos et mortuos, ut non hic intelligamus vivos justos, et mortuos injustos, quamvis judicandi sint justi et injusti, sed vivos quos nondum exiisse, mortuos autem quos jam exiisse de corporibus adventus ejus inveniet. (Epist. cxciii. n. 11.)
THE BINDING OF SATAN.
CARIST took upon Himself our mortal frame, suffered and died
upon the cross in order to destroy the power of Satan, and draw all things to Him. self. “ Now is the judgment of the world,” said He, on the raising of Lazarus, “now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be sifted up from the earth, will draw all things to myself.” 1
This triumph over the powers of hell as regards the fulness of the satisfaction offered to the offended Majesty of God, was completed by the passion and death of Christ. Hence the Apostle St. Paul having said, “He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross,” adds, “For which cause God also hath exalted Him, and hath given Him a name which is above all names : that in the name of JESUS every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that the Lord JESUS Christ is in the glory of God the Father.”! And after His resurrection Christ said, “ All power is given to me in heaven and in earth.” 3 And, foreseeing this power which the eternal Father had decreed to bestow upon Him from all eternity, before His agony, lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said : “ Father, the hour is come, glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son may glorify Thee. As Thou 1 John xii. 31, 32.
? Philip. ii. 8—11. 3 Matt. xxviii. 18.
hast given Him power over all flesh, that He may give eternal life to all whom Thou hast given
When, therefore, Christ rose gloriously from the dead, He might, if He had willed it, have bound entirely the devil, and restrained him from using any more influence upon mankind. But seeing, in His infinite wisdom, that the greater shame of this His infernal enemy, the greater triumph of His elect, and the greater glory of His Divine Father, required, that men should fight valiantly after His own example with the powers of hell, He would not at once destroy them, but chose to do it gradually, according as the greater glory of God, and the greater triumph of His elect required. Hence St. Paul, writing to the Corinthians, tells them that the actual and total destruction of all diabolical power will only take place after the final resurrection, at the end of all things, when Christ shall deliver His kingdom to His Father. “ Afterwards, the end,” says the apostle, “when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God and the Father, when He shall have brought to nought all principality, and power, and virtue. For He must reign until He hath put all His enemies under His feet. And the enemy Death shall be destroyed last. For He hath put all things under His feet. And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then the Son also Himself shall be subject unto Him, that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.” ?
Now, as our Lord Jesus Christ is pleased to destroy by degrees the power of Satan, it seems also his pleasure, that soon after His second John xvii. 1, 2.
3 1 Cor. xv. 24-28.
coming, the devil should be bound for a thousand years, confined in the bottomless pit, and that for that time he should no more seduce the nations. This is thus described by St. John, in the Apocalypse : “And I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit, and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon the old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. And he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should no more seduce the nations, till the thousand years be finished.” 1
Several Catholic writers, supported by the authority of St. Augustine, by the thousand years of Satan's captivity in the bottomless pit, understand the time between the passion of Christ and the coming of Antichrist. And they support their opinion by saying that during this time, the devil has been greatly checked by the passion of Christ. Yet there are some very cogent reasons which militate against this opinion. First, it is an undeniable fact, that the devil, from the time of the coming of Christ until now, far from being bound and confined in the bottomless pit, and far from being hindered from seducing the nations, has been continually going about as a roaring lion, and has effected great ruin everywhere. Hence the apostle St. Paul, writing to the Ephesians, tells them : “ Brethren, be strengthened in the Lord, and in the might of His power. Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this
Apoc. xx. 1-3.