THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Today, June 28, is the Feast of St. Irenaeus. This early Church Father was born in the Year of Our Lord 125, and died in 202 AD. He served as the Bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul (which is now Lyon in France). His tomb was destroyed by the Calvanists in 1562 AD, and all of his relics have since vanished.
Irenaeus was a prolific writer, and is best-known for his book Adversus Haereses or "Against Heresies," written in about 180 AD. It is a detailed attack on Gnosticism, which was then a serious threat to the Church, and especially on the system of the Gnostic Valentinus. As one of the first great Christian theologians, he emphasized the traditional elements in the Catholic Church, especially the episcopate, Scripture, and tradition. Irenaeus wrote that the only way for Christians to retain unity was to humbly accept the doctrinal authority of the Church councils.
The prophetic writings of Saint Irenaeus are more instructional than mystical. Rather than claiming to receive visions from our Lord, Irenaeus put his emphasis on faithfully transmitting the oral traditions of the apostles. From this we can gain some specific insights into the prophecies concerning the last days of the end times...
“He [The Antichrist] shall sit in the Temple of God as if he were Christ, and leading astray those who worship him. For when he is come, and of his own accord concentrates in his own person the apostasy, and accomplishes whatever he shall do according to his own will and choice, sitting also in the Temple of God so that his dupes may adore him as the Christ...”It is this last portion of this prophetic tradition from the apostles that gives us some insight into Biblical prophecy. What seems to be of particular interest is the statement that Jerusalem will be rebuilt, and it is by command of none other than the Antichrist himself.
“By means of the events which shall occur in the time of Antichrist it is shown that he, being an apostate and a robber, is anxious to be adored as God; and that although a mere slave, he wishes to be proclaimed as a king. For he being endued with all the power of the devil, shall come, not as a righteous king, not as a legitimate king obedient to God but as an impious, unjust, and lawless one; as an iniquitous and murderous apostate; as a robber, concentrating in himself a satanic apostasy, and setting aside idols to persuade men that he himself is God.
The Antichrist will deceive the Jews to such an extent that they will accept him as the messiah and worship him.
The disciples of the apostles say (from oral tradition) that they (Elias and Enoch) whose living bodies were taken up from this world have been placed in an earthly paradise where they will remain until the end of the world.
At the time of his reign Antichrist will command that Jerusalem be rebuilt in its splendor and will make it a great and populous city, second to none in the world and will order his palace to be built there.- Saint Irenaeus, source
Now at the time this apostolic prophecy was recorded by Irenaeus, the City of Jerusalem was in shambles, having been sacked multiple times by Roman forces in the Jewish uprisings against the empire. Since Irenaeus' record of this prophecy, the city has been rebuilt multiple times. First by the Christians, then by the Muslims, and now most recently by the Zionists. None of these rebuilding projects has resulted in making Jerusalem "a great and populous city, second to none in the world." Nor has any of them produced a palace for a man who would rebuild the Jewish Temple, be proclaimed the Jewish messiah, and be worshiped by his followers. So from this prophetic record we can conclude two things. (1) Jerusalem will be rebuilt again, and so by implication, (2) Jerusalem will most likely be destroyed at least one more time before this prophetic record can be fulfilled. When we consider the current tinderbox in the Middle East, and the impending firestorm that is inevitable between the Zionists and Islamists, it becomes more clear how such a future destruction could take place.
It's important also to remember the historic and traditional teaching of Orthodox Jewish rabbis. According to the few who still hold to Traditional Judaism, the Jews are supposed to wait for their messiah before they can return to the Holy Land, rebuild their temple and restore the glory that was once Jerusalem. These rabbis protest the current Zionist government that is the modern State of Israel because it defies the rabbinic teaching of nearly 1,700 years by attempting to re-establish Israel (naming Jerusalem as it's capitol) without the presence of the messiah to lead them. In other words, the Zionist agenda gets the cart before the horse, by trying to rebuild Israel (and Jerusalem) first, then hope the messiah comes to fix the whole mess. While the world waits to see which Jewish faction is correct, Traditional Jews or the Zionists, we Christians have a little insight from the prophetic oral traditions of the Church Fathers. In essence, the Zionists are wrong. The Traditional Jews are right, but only insofar as they will eventually be led back into Jerusalem by an Antimessiah (or Antichrist) whom they think is their real messiah. For this to happen, the current state of things in the Middle East must be undone, and the current Zionist regime in Israel will prophetically be uprooted.
In all likelihood, it is probable the current situation in the Middle East is temporary. The Zionist agenda is not likely to succeed. The Jews, both in the Holy Land and throughout the world, will have to wait for a messianic figure to arise and lead them back into Jerusalem. When this happens, we will know the last days of the end times have come. Until then however, what we see going on in the Middle East today is merely a dress rehearsal.