Prophecies"Prophecy consists in knowledge and in the manifestation of what is known. The knowledge must be supernatural and infused by God because it concerns things beyond the natural power of created intelligence; and the knowledge must be manifested either by words or signs, because the gift of prophecy is given primarily for the good of others, and hence needs to be manifested. It is a Divine light by which God reveals things concerning the unknown future and by which these things are in some way represented to the mind of the prophet, whose duty it is to manifest them to others." The end-time beliefs of Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism have certainly had an effect on various cultures. But it is the apocalyptic teachings of Christianity that have had the greatest influence on society in the Western world.
The time of tribulations preceding the appearance of the Messiah
"Most religions contain teachings that anticipate a time, beyond the present era of suffering and injustice, when human history will be consummated by a decisive act of God. Evil will be destroyed and goodness will triumph.
Typically, the course of events includes three phases: a time of tribulation and confusion when evil and suffering grow more and more rampant; the Last Judgment when God intervenes decisively to destroy all evil; and the coming of a new age of bliss, often called the Kingdom of Heaven. Furthermore, this decisive transformation is often said to require a great leader, a Messiah, who will wield divine authority to destroy evil, establish the saints, and found a new age of unlimited happiness.
Teachings about eschatology are found in most religions, though they are most characteristic of the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic scriptures. Judaism anticipates the coming of the Messiah who will inaugurate an age of peace and justice on earth. Christianity teaches broadly that Christ, the Messiah, has already come to offer salvation, and he will come again to judge the world; In Islam the Last Judgment is a cardinal doctrine. While it is sometimes understood as a spiritual judgment of the individual soul after death, many passages in the Qur'n clearly describe it as a world-transforming event to occur at the end of time, when the earth will be destroyed and all people will see their just reward as they are sorted into groups bound either for Paradise or hell.
Hinduism, Buddhism, and Zoroastrianism contain teachings that the world is going through a cosmic cycle in which morals and religion have gradually decayed and have reached a state of dire corruption in this present age, identified as the Kali Yuga or Age of Degeneration of the Dharma. This Kali age will give way to a renovation of faith as the cycle turns and the earth enters a new golden age, the Krita age. Some texts predict that this cosmic change will be initiated by the advent of the new Avatar (Hinduism), the Maitreya Buddha, or the Saoshyant (Zoroastrianism.)
Millenarian beliefs are a minor part of the teaching of most religions ... Christianity itself began as a messianic sect of Judaism; Muhammad preached Islam, believing that the Last Judgment was imminent; and the Baha'i Faith began as a messianic movement within Islam, to cite three examples. Millenarian movements among the oppressed indigenous peoples of Africa and the Americas have been significant forces which have fostered self-respect and encouraged economic and political independence. Considering the unprecedented pace of social change in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the unparalleled social dislocations and cultural challenges which have resulted from the world wars, liberation movements, industrialization and technological change, the atomic bomb, the environmental crisis, and the shrinking Global Village, it is not surprising that a large number of new religions and new sects of old religions have arisen which believe that the present is the time of tribulations preceding the appearance of the Messiah, and that their leader is either a forerunner of or is himself the long-awaited Avatar or Messiah who will destroy the evil world-system, establish true religion, and inaugurate a new age."
World Scripture, International Religious Foundation
Paragon House Publishing, 1995, p. 773-74.
CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Prophecy
Definition of Prophecy
"Prophecy consists in knowledge and in the manifestation of what is known. The knowledge must be supernatural and infused by God because it concerns things beyond the natural power of created intelligence; and the knowledge must be manifested either by words or signs, because the gift of prophecy is given primarily for the good of others, and hence needs to be manifested. It is a Divine light by which God reveals things concerning the unknown future and by which these things are in some way represented to the mind of the prophet, whose duty it is to manifest them to others...
By reason of the object there are three kinds of prophecy according to St. Thomas (Summa II-II: 174:1): prophecy of denunciation, of foreknowledge, and of predestination.
- In the first kind God reveals future events according to the order of secondary causes, which may be hindered from taking effect by other causes which would require a miraculous power to prevent, and these may or may not happen, though the prophets do not express it but seem to speak absolutely...
The second, that of foreknowledge, takes place when God reveals future events which depend upon created free will and which he sees present from eternity...
The third kind, the prophecy of predestination, takes place when God reveals what He alone will do, and what he sees present in eternity and in His absolute decree. This includes not only the secret of predestination to grace and to glory, but also those things which God has absolutely decreed to do by His own supreme power, and which will infallibly come to pass.
The objects of prophecy may also be viewed in respect to human knowledge:
- — when an event may be beyond the possible natural knowledge of the prophet, but may be within the range of human knowledge and known to others who witness the occurrence ...
— when the object surpasses the knowledge of all men, not that it is unknowable but that the human mind cannot naturally receive the knowledge ...
— when the things that are beyond the power of the human mind to know are not in themselves knowable because their truth is not yet determined, such as future contingent things which depend upon free will. This is regarded as the most perfect object of prophecy, because it is the most general and embraces all events that are in themselves unknowable.
God can enlighten the human mind in any way he pleases. He often makes use of angelic ministry in prophetic communications, or He Himself may speak to the prophet and illuminate his mind...
Recipient of Prophecy
The gift of prophecy is an extraordinary grace bestowed by God. It has never been confined to any particular tribe, family, or class of persons. There is no distinct faculty in human nature by which any normal or abnormal person can prophesy, neither is any special preparation required beforehand for the reception of this gift. Hence Cornely remarks: "Modern authors speak inaccurately of 'schools of prophets', an expression never found in the Scriptures or the Fathers" (Comp. Introduction in N.T., n. 463). Neither was there ever any external rite by which the office of prophet was inaugurated; its exercise was always extraordinary and depended on the immediate call of God...
It is also important that those who have to teach and direct others should have rules for their guidance to enable them to distinguish true from false prophets. A summary of those prescribed by theologians for our guidance may be useful to show practically how the doctrine is to be applied to devout souls in order to save them from errors or diabolical delusions:
- — the recipient of the gift of prophecy should, as a rule, be good and virtuous, for all mystical writers agree that for the most part this gift is granted by God to holy persons. The disposition or temperament of the person should also be considered, as well as the state of health and of the brain;
— the prophecy must be conformable to Christian truth and piety, because if it propose anything against faith or morals it cannot proceed from the Spirit of Truth;
— the prediction should concern things outside the reach of all natural knowledge, and have for its object future contingent things or those things which God alone knows;
— it should also concern something of a grave and important nature, that is something for the good of the Church or the good of souls. This and the preceding rule will help to distinguish true prophecies from the puerile, senseless, and useless predictions of fortune-tellers, crystal-gazers, spiritualists, and charlatans. These may tell things beyond human knowledge and yet within the scope of the natural knowledge of demons, but not those things that are strictly speaking the objects of prophecy;
— prophecies or revelations which make known the sins of others, or which announce the predestination or reprobation of souls are to be suspected. Three special secrets of God have always to be deeply respected as they are very rarely revealed, namely: the state of conscience in this life, the state of souls after death unless canonized by the Church, and the mystery of predestination. The secret of predestination has been revealed only in exceptional cases, but that of reprobation has never been revealed, because so long as the soul is in this life, its salvation is possible. The day of General Judgment is also a secret which has never been revealed;
— we have afterwards to ascertain whether the prophecy has been fulfilled in the way foretold. There are some limitations to this rule: (1) if the prophecy was not absolute, but containing threats only, and tempered by conditions expressed or understood, as exemplified in the prophecy of Jonas to the Ninivites. and that of Isaias to King Ezechias; (2) it may sometimes happen that the prophecy is true and from God, and the human interpretation of it is false, as men may interpret it otherwise than God intended...
There are many other private prophecies concerning the remote and proximate signs which will precede the General Judgment and concerning Antichrist, such as those attributed to St. Hildegarde, St. Bridget of Sweden, Blessed Anna Maria Taigi (the "three days' darkness"), the Cure d'rs, and many others. These do not enlighten us any more than do the Scriptural prophecies as to the day and the hour of that judgment, which still remains a Divine secret."
CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Prophecy
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12473a.htm (Retrieved March 7, 2012)
Happy ending will be collectively "realized by the coming of the Messiah" (repeated homepage article)
Huston Smith Can Religion Save Us?
Tradition, Transcendence, and Ultimate Reality
An interview with Huston Smith
by Jessica Roemischer
WIE: So, will the "happy ending" or final salvation that the traditions prophesy actually manifest? And, if so, do you believe that will eventuate—as the traditions predict, through divine intervention—in the "second coming"?
HS: For my part, I do say unequivocally that one of the strengths of the great religions is that they promise a happy ending that burgeons after horrendous problems are faced and overcome. But here's the decisive thing that our culture is not ready to hear: they want to see the second coming as changing human history, the course of human history on this planet, which we may annihilate like a supernova. Now, there are phrases in the Bible that point toward it manifesting here—"Thy kingdom come on earth." Or, as in the basic Hindu view, the material world and its history are like an accordion that comes out and it goes back through the four yugas (ages), ending with the Kali Yuga, the worst one, which goes to the dogs completely. But then a new cycle begins. Whatever the metaphors and the analogies, it's our obligation to try to see it happen; we should do our very best to see that it happens on our planet. And, in fact, none of the traditions claim that that happy ending is realizable on our planet; they say that individuals will experience that happy ending in the afterlife, and collectively it will be realized by the coming of the Messiah when time as we know it closes down (the wording differs from religion to religion).
Huston Smith, arguably today's foremost authority on the world's great religions, has, for over half a century, dedicated himself to transmitting the wisdom of the traditions through books, television, and film and in the classroom. His best-known volume, The World's Religions, has been the standard introductory textbook in college religion courses for thirty years and has sold several million copies. Dr. Smith has produced three PBS television series and was the focus of Bill Moyers' five-part PBS special, "The Wisdom of Faith with Huston Smith." His documentaries on Tibetan Buddhism, Hinduism, and Sufism have received international acclaim. Having devoted a lifetime to the study of the august traditions of the world, Huston Smith was our preeminent choice to answer the question: Are the religions equipped to navigate the myriad challenges of the third millennium?
Initially, Huston Smith responded to our interview request with a letter saying, "I am hesitant to take part in your projected article for fear of sounding like a spoilsport. I gather that you want to come down hard on the perils that threaten our planet while giving your readers grounds for hope. My personal judgment is that my perspective differs so markedly from the mind-set of your readers that you would do better to bypass me on this one ..." We were hooked. What would the dean of comparative religious scholarship have to say in response to perhaps the most important spiritual question of our time, and why did he feel that our readers would not want to hear it? Could there indeed be no cause for hope?
In his innovative and incisive critique of postmodernity, Why Religion Matters, Smith writes, "The sandwich man between placards announcing that the end is near is telling us something important... . He is not just protesting our reigning culture. However falteringly, he is gesturing toward a heavenly city that offers an alternative to this earthly one, which is always deeply flawed." Indeed, that man could be Huston Smith himself. And, visiting with this wise and generous octogenarian in his modest Berkeley home, for the interview that he did eventually agree to, we found why he believes that, in the face of apocalyptic times, the traditions may help us hope for a good outcome, but they may not be equipped to actually help us manifest it—at least not here on Earth!
EnlightenmentNext Magazine Issue 23 / Spring—Summer 2003
i. Regathering of Jews back to Israel"Will occur right before the return of the Messiah"
ii. "Quran explicitly refers to the return of the Jews to the Land of Israel before the Last Judgment"
iii. "Until Moshiach comes, Judaism is simply a 'religion,' seemingly relegated to its houses of worship"
iv. "The coming Messiah would inaugurate the age of salvation with the pouring out of the Spirit on all flesh"
Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
"I am what I am. I have been that. I'm not going to grow any more or less. This is an Eternal Personality. It is now for you to get out of Me whatever is possible, to make use of your birth in these Modern Times, to grow to your full maturity, to be able to work out the complete design that the Divine wants to do through you. As soon as the dedication starts you become dynamic. Cling on to that."
Shri Anandinidhana Devi
July 31, 1982
Anandinidhana (296th): Having neither birth nor death
"So what a terrible situation was there, for Adi Shakti, to assert Herself. Then also there was very big problem about these religions asserting themselves, their own ideas, their own conditionings on people, and absolutely blind. So it was a turmoil. It was a turmoil and at this turmoil state only Adi Shakti had to come to establish the dharma."
Shri Mula-vigraha-rupini Devi
June 6, 1993
Mula-vigraha-rupini (840th): The Primordial Power from who originate the various energies.
"If you believe in the Goddess, then know that She is extremely powerful, She's very intelligent and if She has to protect you She'll protect you out and out, in such a way that you will not know how you have been protected. But this faith has to be developed. Faith has to be developed by experience also; how you have been protected always, how you have been helped always, how you came out of so many crises. But despite that, if you get upset, worried, if some clouds appear in the sky of your life, then if you get upset, that means you are still weak.
So first thing, if you are really worshipping the Goddess then you should have no worry at all of any kind and you should have no fear at all. Go ahead, fearlessly, whatever you are doing, do it fearlessly.
But at the same time I have to tell you the other side, that one should not go about like a zombie. It doesn't mean that; saying all kinds of nonsensical things of the right side. But if you have to do something, do it with clear cut ideas and also without any fear so all Her powers will start manifesting within you."
Shri Bahirmukha-sudurlabha Devi
October 9, 1994
Bahirmukha-sudurlabha (871st): Very difficult to be attained by those with externalised mental activity, i.e. She must be first sought within.
"Most prophecies are channeled information recorded in one form or another by the prophets old and new. They speak about our timeline as the return to a Golden Age after the chaos of physical reality, and the restorations of souls through healing, balance, and awareness, in the alchemy of time and consciousness. Prophecies sometimes mention the return of a savior, in the light, to guide the way."
"Jesus vs Messiah
The answer to the above question is one of the fundamental differences between Judaism and Christianity. Two thousand years ago, a large faction occurred among the Jewish people: there were those who saw Jesus as divine and those who saw him as human. The first devotees of Jesus Christ were in fact devout Jews. Some of those believers in Jesus remained faithful to Judaism and considered themselves part of the Jewish community, though they viewed Jesus as the Messiah. Another group of followers broke off completely from the Jewish community; this group eventually became known as Christians.
The fundamental difference between Judaism and Christianity is that Chritians believe the Messiah, Christ, came two thousand years ago, while Jews are still awaiting their Messiah. So the question is then this: Why didn't the ancestors of today's Jews believe that Jesus was the Messiah?
According to Judaic thinking, Jesus did not uphold the two primary elements of the Messiah and the messianic age: justice and peace. (For more information on Biblical references to the Messiah, see Biblical Messiah) The book of Isaiah is where most of these messages are found.
And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks:nation shall not life up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. (King James Verion, Isaiah 2:4)
The Messiah is supposed to usher in a time of justice; he will judge all nations. And yet, injustice and corruption were still rampant after Jesus was crucified. He failed to bring about the major prophecy of justice that the true Messiah would have completed.
The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. (KJV, Isaiah 11:6)
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (KJV, Isaiah 11:9)
Jesus also failed to fulfill the prophecy of world peace. Jews expected a time when they could get along with their enemies, the wolves, and war would no longer exist. On the contrary, Christians used war more and more to gain power and control. Jews couldn't imagine that the messianic age was upon them when believers in Jesus were causing so much bloodshed.
Current Jews' views towards Jesus
The current Jew still does not believe that Jesus was the Messiah. As starters, they believe that He was one of many first and second century Jews who claimed to be the Messiah, but in truth were imposters (see Failed Messiahs). Jews certainly don't think that Jesus meant to start a religion based on His ideas, let alone one to start a religion that would snowball into one of the most popular religions in the world. Jews actually believe that Christ didn't found Christianity, they think that Paul (Saul) founded it by communicating Jesus' word to followers."
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