Introduction

Is there an invisible thread that links all the salient events in past and contemporary history?

The answer to this question, that has fascinated historians,  philosophers, theologians and thinkers from all backgrounds and latitudes, is yes it exists and it is the Kerygma.

The term derives from the transliteration of the Greek word Κήρυγμα, and it means according to the context in which it is used ‘preaching’, ‘shout’, ‘proclamation’, ‘message’. Within the framework of the Bible, especially in the New Testament, the Kerygma is the proclamation to all nations of the mystery of Christ.

This announcement that Iesus est Kyrios – Jesus is our Lord- is the only valid key to understanding all that happens in the world that surrounds us.  To understand all the events of the past and predict what might take place in the future.

It is only in the Kerygma that we can find that linking pin that throughout time and history reveals the deep sense of the events that only appear to be distant and different from one another: from Creation to climatic change, from the infanticide of Bethlehem to legalized abortion, from the Crusades to Islamic terrorism, from to the persecution of Christians to the Holocaust of Jews, from the Inquisition to the revolution of technoscience of the 21st century.

In the mystery of Christ and in the Gospels of the last days in Christ eschatological discourse we find the answers to all questions posed by modern man.

At the beginning of the third millennium this man is scared and confused, he wavers between haughty exaltation and the darkest gloom because in front of him he sees a horizon and an abyss as never seen before.

After the end of the two World Wars and the dissolution of the deadly philosophical and political ideologies of the last century, the consolidation of democracy in the West and the preeminence  of rights, the new and increasingly compelling frontiers of science in physics, in biology, in genetics- together with the power of technology and the globalization of economies, of ideas and knowledge, all gave new life into the enlightened trust in the ever pressing progress of mankind both material and spiritual.

As the utopian ideologies of the 20th century came to an end and the threat of another World War disappeared over the horizon, there began to spread a feeling of insecurity and growing restlessness in the collective consciousness of society.

Democracy, capitalism, science and technology have been unable to prevent that our small, cherished and increasingly overpopulated world be trampled on and devastated by humankind. That the overwhelming majority of people would be afflicted by hunger, by thirst, by sickness and be tormented by a multitude of terrible conflicts fueled by never forgotten racial, ethnic and religious hatred as well as the persistent most sinister selfishness.

The social, economic and technological progress achieved in the second half of the last century quickly revealed itself to be fragile and evanescent. It was unable to prevent the consolidation of a universal system of governance in which finance took the place of economy and the economy wore away the position of politics while the ceaseless and compulsive race of consumerism and profit making imprisoned souls with invisible chains.

This system founded on the power of wealth led by anonymous technocracies, centered on production systems and massive and rapacious energy consumption, not only was unable to guarantee an equal distribution of resources to all mankind but made an inordinate use of the earth’s resources. This therefore triggered climate change and the  irreversible  damage to ecosystems that were ensured by the international scientific community. At the same time new waves of religious hate and intolerance created havoc among nations and provoking the umpteenth escalation of violence the very opposite of the fundamental elements of humanity.

This historical dynamic has led to a radical divergence of the possible scenarios that feature in contemporary times suspended between the hope in a culture of love and knowledge, and the menace of a conflict of cultures and ecological calamity constitutes the main theme of this work. It intends to examine and make the reader consider the conclusive thoughts of the Mysterium Inquitatis which at the dawn of the third millennium still firmly grips the world.

In order to grasp the essence of this work we will investigate not only  the presence of evil throughout  history, on its evolution and how it has manifested itself in different forms and ways but also how it is closely  entwined with the Mysterium Paschale of Redemption.

We will revisit briefly the last 2000 years of the Christian Era aiming to identify the transcendent vision of the main historical events. This will enable us to anticipate an explanation of the modern era based exclusively on biblical prophecies.

Through a theological reading of history, we will try to retrace some of the events of that magnificent and yet terrible 20th   century in order to find the origins in the prophecies to explain what would be the era of totalitarianism, of world wars, of the holocaust. We will also try to better understand the intrinsic reason for the continued religious conflicts in the Middle East as well as the most recent malevolent manifestation in its bloodiest form, Islamic fundamentalism.

It is in this perspective that we will try to shed light on how the establishment of  human rights in Western  democracies the revolutionary progress of scientific knowledge, the acceleration of technology but also the time of apostasy and moral anarchy, the most deplorable evil, hunger, thirst, wars in the developing and underdeveloped world, the explosion of religious fanaticism and above all the proliferation of ecological disasters such as the increase in temperature, melting of glaciers, desertification and extinction of the species, these are the pieces of that gigantic and sublime puzzle that is the story of Salvation.

All the events of past and contemporary history are intertwined as if in a geometric design, a puzzle, the solution of which can be clearly seen in the prophetic pages of the Gospels and the Revelation according to St.  John.

In this book we will start by considering the cataclysmic and relatively recent event that is the Shoah (Chapter I). We will investigate the metahistorical reasons that led to this atrocious and unforeseen drama that afflicted the chosen people, in which evil was manifested in its most violent form. This will serve as a foundation on which to base the theological thought that will be developed in the following chapters, where we will go back all the way to the roots of all the wars of religion, going through the mystery of the advent of Islam (Chapter II – Fighters on the way of the Lord) and the compelling and tormented spirituality of the Middle Ages).

In the second half we will continue our exploration retracing swiftly the fierce revolutions: religious, political, scientific and cultural, that have marked the evolution of the modern era as well as the previous frenetic and sparkling millennium we have just left behind. It is here that we will trace an historical analysis of eschatological inspiration to illustrate the ‘Gospel of the last days’, that is we are going to analyze in detail each one of the ‘signs’ that Jesus himself had predicted would happen before his second coming. (Part II- The signs of the last days).

In the third part we will complete the eschatological picture trying to put together all the events found in the magnificent mosaic of symbols and visions that is the Apocalypse according to St. John.

The dark and fascinating text of the last Book of the Bible will be scrutinized with a different approach than that of the majority of critics that have only limited themselves in obtaining universal teachings and canons, disconnected from the evolution of the history of mankind. At most they define their prophetic value embedded in the early days of Christianity.

St. John’s Revelation is a prophetic text that in its incandescent labyrinth of symbols, numbers and people that frenetically flow into each other, doesn’t just limit itself in offering an understating of the present and neither does it reveal what is hidden behind the truth of existence, time an history.

The Apocalypse reveals the eschaton, the coming of the end, that which has not yet happened nor that will happen and that which God wanted to happen. It is for this reason that we will analyze it in a different way trying to grasp the historical dynamics of his prophecies and retrace the harmonious pre-established lines towards which the cosmos converges and that has found in God the man Jesus the very center of its drive.

In this interpretation that will run in parallel with the analysis of the ‘small apocalypses’ of the synoptic Gospels we will look at the mystery of the Parousia in order to drive away anguish and fear trying to imagine if not to comprehend the immeasurable beauty of the new heavens and new world that are waiting for us after the upheaval of the Last Days (Part III-Universal Judgement).

Finally, we will close our investigation on the last things, envisaging theories that we consider to be coherent with the Scriptures, on the mystery before the advent of the Resurrected One (Part IV- The Return of Christ).

The Old Testament, the evangelical prophecies and the Revelation of John will be the frame in which we place the great tribulations and extraordinary steps forward that have propelled mankind to the present day.

The analysis that follows will be notably Christological with a view to understanding the motivation and the historical dynamics that preside over events affecting mankind.

The thesis underlying this work, upon which we intend to reflect with a methodological approach and a faithful interpretation of the biblical prophecies which have been done till now, is perfectly in keeping with the representation of Creation and the Redemption, foretold by the prophets and revealed fully in the Kerygma of the New Testament. Through this it will be possible for us to guide our understanding of the complexities of the modern era and in particular of the Mysterium Inquitatis which still holds the world with bated breath.

In a secularized culture in which the underlying currents are agnosticism, relativism, nihilism, the attitude of certain Christians seems to have lost sight of the vision of the Cross    having become secularized and denuded of transcendence. We intend to highlight with the due logic and caution how history serves as unequivocal evidence of the inexorable realization of the prophecies indicated in the Gospels and in John’s Apocalypse.

Prophecies from which it can be clearly seen, as we will try to demonstrate, that nearly all the signs that precede the second Advent of the Son of Man, and that will accompany the benevolent definitive Judgement of God on the world, have already manifested themselves.

Yes, it is the Return of Christ and the much mythicized and all too often eliminated Universal Judgement.

But take note this is not one of the innumerable works written and proliferated in the last few years which evoke improbable millenarian anxieties and cyclic fears of the Apocalypse blending and interweaving prophecies, visions and revelations coming from the most varied origins.

On the contrary, our vision which is one of joy and hope, is the only one revealed by the Sacred Scriptures.

It is not our intention however to formulate scary and ridiculous ‘horoscopes’ on the destiny of the world, neither give indications as to ‘when’ the story might reach its transcendent completion, which the Scriptures teach us that the ‘end of time’ is reserved exclusively to God:

But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mark 13,32).

Furthermore, we are well aware of how in the Gospels Jesus himself suggests to his disciples and through them, that all of us should keep watch during the waiting and not to be tricked and not to follow many who will come in His name saying “The time has come” (Luke21,8).

Based on these inescapable premises, we will try rather to bring to light the eschatological plot as outlined in the Judaic-Christian Revelation, which as we will see is has similarities in Islam, with a recurrent temporal logic of historical events. On this basis it won’t be difficult to see how nearly all that has been predicted is actually taking place.

In front of our eyes, in these first decades of the third millennium it seems that the immense stage is set for the final conflict.

From one side to the other of the planet we perceive the signs of the seductive ways of Satan, that unchained, roams the world with ravenous force “full of fury, knowing that he has little time left” (Rev. 12,12) to destroy Creation, contaminate the Church of God and lead souls into perdition.

Around the world we can glimpse increasingly clearly the signs of the cavalry of the Apocalypse, which preaches the logic of strength, the power of wealth and money sowing war, famine and disease “over a fourth of the earth” (Rev. 6,8). Just as in the firmament it seems that we can hear the songs of Saints and Martyrs that render glory to God, the voice of Angels sound the “seven trumpets”, proclaiming the insurgence of the forces of nature against the negligence and greed of mankind of contemporary times.

At the same time, glorious  signs appear in the sky a ‘woman dressed in sunlight” (Rev. 12,1), the Blessed Virgin Mary with her magnificent appearances guards over the destiny of humanity, she holds back the fury of the “Dragon” and strengthens faith in the heart. While on the horizon we can glimpse the increasingly powerful rays of the Spirit of Truth, which announces a new world, purified from the vanishing ideologies of death, illuminated by the conquest of reason and destined to be fully regenerated and redeemed by the love of Christ.

All of this takes place while everything flows and transforms itself, without mankind really noticing, in a kind of daily, inherent Apocalypse in a land in which the harvest is ripe and the good wheat is mixed with darnel.

It goes without saying that those who believe that the universe, life itself and history is simply the outcome of chaos, of chance and need, will have a problem with the theses sustained in this work. In the same way those who are afflicted by unbounded pride and believe that all the problems of mankind maybe even death itself are none other than ‘technical’ problems, which will be resolved by an algorithm, by artificial intelligence, from biotechnology, robotics and from other ‘divine powers’ which man is experimenting with in these the last days.

The eschatological and Christocentric reading of the story that we will explain might seem a little banal and foolish superstition, to others a simplistic and only partial reconstruction from the historical and theological point of view.

It is however the obvious truth for those who, like us, can glimpse the story and the path of the direction of the sweet hand of God  hanging over the shadow of the Cross.

Considering the insidious ground of the prophecies which we will explore, we would like to suggest to all, and in particular to those sceptics, people and uninitiated, with agnostic or syncretistic leanings, to distance themselves from prejudices, in order to renew their minds with curiosity and revive their hearts with a sense of amazement that was so sublime in youth, because “whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it” (Mark 10,15).