The Big Picture Bible Course
Session 12 End Times
Christ has died,
Christ is risen,
Christ will come again.
Revelation 1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega” says the Lord God, who is, who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful and kindle within them the fire of Your love.
Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created.
And You shall renew the face of the earth.
Let us pray
I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit
was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son
is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
I believe in one, holy,
catholic and apostolic Church.
I confess one baptism
for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
The study of the end times (eschatology) is a fascinating field of bible study and therein lies a problem. It can be so fascinating that it can distract us from the job at hand of being witnesses for Christ in the world and workers for the harvest.
It can cause anxiety for those of us with family members and friends who don’t know God, though that should be a spur to evangelism.
We should be reassured that the overall message of the end times is “Jesus wins.”
Trying to work out all the details can give us a real headache.
In the DVD David Payne said how the opening and closing chapters of the Revelation of John, are quite easy to understand but the middle ones were more of a struggle. Another way of studying those chapters is to look at what is happening in heaven and how it relates to the Mass.
For instance we see an altar, a throne, white robes, lampstands, incense and a Lamb that seemed to have been slain.
We hear that great song of praise;
“Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God the Almighty” Rev4:8
From which we have;
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts,
Heaven and earth are full of your glory,
Hosanna in the Highest.
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord,
Hosanna in the highest.
(also combining Isaiah 6:3 and Matthew 21:9)
Scott Hahn’s book “The Lamb’s Supper – The Mass as Heaven on Earth” takes this approach.
Scott Hahn has also contributed to the notes for the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible – New Testament (Revised Standard Version)
In trying to understand what will happen during the end times we have the Catechism of the Catholic Church as our guide. In the Big Picture Bible Course book there are more references to the Catechism than for any other of the sessions. I would suggest that that would be the basis of a really good bible study as each Catechism reference has scriptures associated with it.
Just listing these by number we have CCC 1042, 670, 997, 1021, 1023, 1024, 1030, 1033, 1042, 1060, 681, 682, 1059, 1405.
There is a whole section on “From thence he will come again to judge the living and the dead” from the creed; CCC 668-682.
“Critique of the Course” and “What next?”
In starting Big Picture Bible Course what I had in mind was that it would;
- Introduce us to the bible.
- Help us get to grips with finding our way around the whole bible.
- Help us to grow in confidence in looking up bible references.
- Help us to see connections across the bible.
- Make us notice things in the Liturgy of the Word during Mass.
- Help us to pray the bible, pause and reflect as we read.
- Inform our minds, warm our hearts and enable our spirits to soar.
I hope it has done all that.
We might also consider;
What worked and what didn’t.
What was helpful and what wasn’t.
How helpful the course book was.
How useful were the things it asked you to do.
How much input you would like from the leadership, Father Eddy, myself and the table hosts.
Its approach involved a lot of jumping around the bible. Was this useful or would a more systematic, beginning to end, approach be helpful?
There is another course available which is a more from Genesis to Revelation (systematic) course which is also produced by the Bible Society and lasts eight weeks.
The BPBC was produced by Café (Catholic Faith Exploration) and the Bible Society. Café have produced materials for another course on the Holy Spirit called the Gift which we could run in the Autumn. It lasts six weeks.
What should we do next?
i.e. Parish bible study groups following the lectionary.