If we look at the Biblical quotes in my last post, we can see why many of the early Church members thought that the Lord's coming at the end of the world was not far away. Perhaps one of the most dramatic statements that Christ makes is: "...when you see all these things, you may know that the end is near, at the very door. I tell you this: the present generation will live to see it all." (Mt. 24:34) Obviously, it didn't happen! And the people of that time had to adjust and change their interpretation of this passage. So what did Our Lord mean?
I have always had difficulty with passages such as this until I read Vassula Ryden's True Life in God messages. Not only are they extraordinary messages, but they are also very enlightening! Other than Sacred Scripture itself, nothing I have ever read compares to her writings of over 1100 pages! As I read them I began to understand how necessary it was to realize that God often speaks, not just in parables as Jesus does in the New Testament, but figuratively, metaphorically. It seems to me that those things that God wants to say to us cannot be expressed in human language. He wants to raise us up as close to His level as possible; to point to the unlimited horizons of which He is trying to give us some insight. He wants us to expand our minds to the utmost and yet He also wants to help us understand how unable we are, with our limited human intelligence, to comprehend Him as He is. The I AM.
An example that I find helpful, is to consider us humans as if we were to God, in a certain way, as a dog or some other beloved animal is to us. How precious a dog can be to its human master. It seems to me that the dog owner often feels that he can communicate with the dog in different ways. For example, the owner feels that the dog understands what the owner says to it. Or the owner understands the dog’s body language and different sounding barks, etc. There is no question that there is an important relationship between the dog and its owner. Imagine if you could talk to the dog in a language that the dog could understand. Even if the dog understood your words, there still would be no possible way to convey to the dog what it is like to be a human being. Then think about how you would feel if you were God and you wanted to tell humans that you love them? What if you wanted to let humans do whatever they pleased? They could return your love or not as they pleased? How would you communicate with them, yet respect the very free will that you had given them?
I don’t have the answers to these questions. But I think about them from time to time. It makes me realize that when God uses human words to communicate with us, He is immediately limiting Himself! That is, the very words He uses to define Himself and His actions are by their nature reducing God to our level. Yet, because He is infinite, it is not possible to contain God within the limits of any human languages! These thoughts serve to help me reserve judgment when I am puzzled by certain passages in Scripture. And more so now that I have read The True Life in God (TLIG) messages given by the Triune God to Vassula Ryden, the Greek Orthodox mystic and visionary
Somewhere in the TLIG Messages God speaks to Vassula about raising the dead to life and Vassula indicates, by a footnote, that God in that particular instance was talking about those individuals who were dead in sin, not those who were physically dead. Likewise, God does not always make it clear in Scripture whether he is speaking of physical death or spiritual death. For example, in the Book of Revelation we read: “These came to life again and reigned with Christ for a thousand years, though the rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were over. This is the first resurrection.” (Rev. 20:4-5) In these passages is God speaking about physical death or spiritual death?
The most recent statements of the Catholic Church’s position that I could easily find in the Catechism relative to the resurrection of the dead, is in its description of the eschatalogical judgment. It reads: “The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through the final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection. The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven.” (Cat. #677)
What then is my view of the Second Pentecost? I believe in the Church’s position on the final judgment, but I can see no reason why there cannot be a time in the Church’s history when God will again shed His Mercy on a world which has been deceived by Satan and has turned its back on God to a degree that has never before been seen in human history. To such a degree that even the earth we live on seems to be rebelling. Not only that, but I can conceive of a God who loves us so much, that no matter how much we turn from Him, and continue to disregard His commandment of Love, that this God, Our Father, will respond by showering His Holy Spirit on us in a way that has never before been experienced in history! A Second Pentecost!