Salvation history presented in this book turns out to be very ordered. It is not a sum of fortuitous events following one another like the water of a torrent precipitating downwards in a chaotic and unpredictable manner. In fact, salvation history is composed of five eras with a total of fourteen cycles (see here). Three eras take place entirely on earth, each of which contains four cycles. They are surrounded by the era of the angels and crowned by the era of the millennium, each of which comprises only one cycle.

This reminds us of the theory of Joachim of Fiore, according to which history succeeds to three kingdoms each representing the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (see Marjorie Reeves, Joachim of Fiore and the Prophetic Future, 1999). Joachim of Fiore believed that the reign of the Spirit would coincide with the millennium, which should have begun in 1260. According to salvation history presented here, however, the Trinitarian Kingdoms are subdivided quite differently: the Kingdom of the Father corresponds to the era of the patriarchs, the Kingdom of the Son to the era of the children of this patriarchs, that is, to the era of the Israelite people, and finally the Kingdom of the Spirit to the era of spiritual kinship (see figure 22).

This is why salvation history reveals a symmetric order, which is possibly the best prove for the historicity of the Bible, because it is composed of more than seventy books according to the Roman Catholic canon and has several authors from different times. This is why the fact that a symmetric order of salvation history can be extracted out of these books exemplarily shows that a guiding Author is behind the Bible.

This also contradicts interpretations relegating certain prophecies to the realm of pure symbolism. For instance, the return of Christ from Heaven: St. Paul writes that the Christians would be “of all people most to be pitied” if Christ was not truly resuscitated (1 Co 15:17-19). This is closely associated with his return, for if Christ was not resuscitated, he would not have ascended to Heaven and hence would not return to earth. It is precisely this return on which doubt is often cast. There are theologians who claim, for example, that the apocalyptic events already have taken place and that Jesus, surrounded by a celestial army beating “the kings of the earth with their armies” (Rev 19:11-21), has symbolically returned with the fall of the Roman empire and the establishment of the State Church. Accordingly, the millennial reign would correspond, they pretend, to the reign of this State Church during the Middle Ages from the fifth to the fifteenth centuries. They argue also that the first Christians hoped for an imminent return of Christ. They thus insinuate the naiveté of their faith and the eventuality that Christ will never return, since his second advent is still to be fulfilled after two thousand years.

If this is true, what will happen next? Are we already on the way to eternity? Is the substitution of religion through science the final state that will solve all problems and bring us everlasting happiness and possibly eternal life in a near future? It is true that the majority of the first Christians expected the end of the world. What counts, however, is that they were not sustained by biblical prophecies predicting such imminence. The cause for this expectation was simply ignorance. They did not know when the end would come, since one cannot know it (Mk 13:32). Consequently, it can arrive at any time. So it could also have arrived during their epoch. However, if the second advent of Christ had taken place in the first centuries of our era, salvation history would be asymmetrical, which is improbable. In addition, the eras of salvation history reveal that two thousand years are not abnormal. The era of the patriarchs lasted thousands of years and that of the Israelite people approximately 1900 years.

On the other hand, the proportions of the cycles of salvation history also indicate that the end will certainly not be delayed for thousands of years: the last two eras were composed only of four cycles each. There is nothing in the prophecies to indicate that this structure will be different during the era of spiritual kinship, in which we currently live. On the contrary, they also announce four cycles, of which the last one is already almost consummated since present history goes to the end of the first phase, which is always considerably the longest as compared with the sin and judgment phases. This phase has hitherto lasted approximately 1500 years.

The perspective of an end of the world is certainly dreadful and everyone mentally healthy can only wish that it does not arrive. Some people think that the belief itself in a worldwide destruction will possibly cause it. So in order to avoid it, one must just stop to believe in it. This is of course intended to blame the Church and its presumably archaic and outdated beliefs. Refusing to believe in the end of the world mostly means refusing all biblical predictions, religion in general and God, or God as taught by the Bible and/or the Churches. However, it is precisely this attitude that will contribute to cause the end of the world because one is certainly better prepared to avoid dangers by taking them seriously rather than by voluntarily ignoring them.

Finally, if one believes in the end of the world, one also believes that it is only an event among others, a transition to a better future. So one hopes that all will finish well because salvation history will indeed end well. Hence, there is no reason to sink into a nihilistic pessimism by believing in the end of the world.

Modern society consequently does not run towards a radiant future that will solve all its problems thanks to the continual progress of science and high technology. It does not distance itself at all from a so-called bygone age and a presumably fictitious and constricting God, but on the contrary, goes toward his encounter. God waits at the other end of the tunnel for all to be accomplished as predicted:

Whither shall I go from thy Spirit?
Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
If I ascend to heaven, thou art there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, thou art there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there thy hand shall lead me,
and thy right hand shall hold me.
If I say, ‘Let only darkness cover me,
and the light about me be night’,
even the darkness is not dark to thee,
the night is bright as the day.
For thou didst form my inward parts,
thou didst knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise thee, for thou art fearful and wonderful.
Wonderful are thy works!
(Ps 139:7-14).


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Cycles of Salvation History

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