One of today’s best known—and, happily, one of the most solidly Catholic—biblical scholars, Father William Kurz, S.J. of Marquette University, has prepared an easily readable review of what the Bible does (and does not) say about end times. Through a careful examination of key biblical themes, symbols, and images from Genesis through Revelation, Kurt urges that the Bible is not some kind of puzzle designed to allow us to construct an intricate end-times scenario, but a body of divine revelation by which God wants to show us how best to cooperate with his salvific plan, including mysteries like the end times, for which he has chosen to reserve knowledge about the details.
Kurz shows at length that many of the most common fundamentalist interpretations of the scriptures on these questions are faulty. Perhaps it is the understandable desire to supply from the imagination what seems missing, even when it means running beyond the evidence. But whatever the motive for their convoluted reasoning, these attempts often reach beyond what is possible in principle to grasp when claiming to predict the way in which God will conclude history. What will be much more helpful, Kurz maintains, is a careful study of the biblical evidence of how God wants us to be ready at all times, without fear of our personal death or of end times, but always prepared by living faithfully in Christ. The believer should be mindful of God’s abiding intent to free us from our sins and, as the Lord’s Prayer emphasizes, to deliver us from evil. The reason for our hope about the Second Coming resides in the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus at his First Coming.
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