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Fatima. Historical dates Category: History Meaning of history

History
End of history
According to Fr. Sergei Bulgakov

An individual eschatology of death and of the world beyond the tomb has partially replaced the general eschatology of the second coming. From time to time the sentiment of waiting for the Christ Who comes, the prayer: “Come, Lord Jesus,” burns with a new flame in human souls and illumines them with a glimmer of another world.

Sergius Bulgakov
The Orthodox Church
Orthodox Eschatology

End of history and the joy of the future age

Затем я двинулся, словно по какому-то внутреннему велению, вперед, из этого мира туда — к Богу. Я несся с быстротой и свободой, лишенный всякой тяжести. Я знал каким-то достоверным внутренним чувством, что я прошел уже наше время и теперешнее поколение, прошел еще следующее поколение и за ним уже начал светиться конец. Загорелись неизреченные светы приближения и присутствия Божия, свет становился все светлее, радость неизъяснимее: "несть человеку глаголати"[1].

Мне приоткрылась тогда загробная жизнь и радость будущего века, вместе с продолжением и концом истории.


[1] Слова из первой молитвы Светильничной, исполняемой во время Всенощного бдения.

Прот. Сергий Булгаков
Софиология смерти
(1940)

History has its end

The life of the world does not end with history. It is followed be a new aeon: meta-history.

But this history also has an end, to which both the Old Testament and the New Testamtnt eschatologies bear witness. … The life of the world does not end with history. It is followed be a new aeon: meta-history.

Sergius Bulgakov
The Bride of the Lamb
Sec.II. Ch. 6. History. p.316

The time of the coming of the end of this creation, beyond which the transfiguration of the world will take place, is known only to God. The coming of the end is a new action of God upon the world upon the world, analogous to its creation[1].


[1] “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind” (Isa 65:17; also see 66:22). “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2Pe 3:13). “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea” (Rev 21:1).

Sergius Bulgakov
The Bride of the Lamb
Sec.II. Ch. 6. History. p.319

The world created by God is fulfilled by man. Man creatively fulfills the tasks entrusted to him by God in creation. Such a creative completion of the creation entrusted by God to the humanization of the world by man is required for the appearance of the fullness of the universe, to achieve the end of history.

Having created man in the fulness of his potential tasks, God entrusts to him their fulfillment. In this sense, the world created by God is completed by man, not as a creator "out of nothing" of course, but as the accomplisher of God's design. Man accomplishes this mission according to the modalities of creaturely creative activity. Without this accomplishement the fullness of the universe cannot be manifested, and the universe cannot attain its end and its ultimate transfiguration, the passage in the new state of the future age.

Sergius Bulgakov
The Bride of the Lamb
Sec.II. Ch. 6. History. p.321

Hisotry is a certain state of becoming being. History is not a bad infinity.

First of all, history is not a bad infinity, a negative eternity, without begining or end. One cannot apply to history the antinomy of time and eternity that holds for all of creation in its relation to God. History takes place within the limits of creation. It belongs to "this age," which is on the threshold of "the life of the future age". History has a beginning and an end. Chasms bound it on both sides: The beginning is bounded by the creation of man; the end is bounded by the beginning of the new time and the future age. In this sense, hisotry is a certain state of becoming being that is included in being in a definite way: an additional creation of the world within itself, as it were.

The life of the world does not end with history. It is followed by a new aeon: meta-history.

Sergius Bulgakov
The Bride of the Lamb
Sec.II. Ch. 6. History. p.315

God created this world on an unshakable foundation and He gave the proper life to this world.

One cannot annul this proper life of the world, whose foundation has been laid by God, by conceiving of a kind of divine arbitrariness which does not take into account the proper work of God Himself, who created this world on an unshakable foundation. “Learn a parable of the fig tree” (Matt 24:32); “let both grow together until the harvest(Matt 13:30).

Sergius Bulgakov
The Bride of the Lamb
Sec.II. Ch. 6. History. p.322

History matures for its end

A consequence of this positive content of human history is the fact that the latter is a closed whole. As the image of God, man is inexhaustible as the image of God in its dynamics, in its infinite development and manifestation, in the variations of its themes. But these themes or tasks are determinate and, in this sense, exhaustible in their content. They are a closed circle, a positive infinity, in contradiction to "bad infinity," indeterminacy, boundlessness, and thus contentlessness, inasmuch as it is deprived of the determinateness of content. This determinate possession of content, the thematics of history, is precisely what makes history self-contained. History cannot arbitrarily or randomly break off at any point; it must end inwardly, mature for its own end. “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh” (Matt 24:32).

God's actions correspond to the age of the world itself, the times and seasons of its organic being.

The end of this world and its transfiguration are depicted both as God's action upon the world and as the ripe fruit of the world's life, comparable to a butterfly flying out of its cocoon or a chick breaking through its shell. There is no incompatibility or contradiction here. God's actions correspond to the age of the world itself, the times and seasons of its organic being. But the history of the world and its ripening toward its end are not determined only by its organic development. Human freedom and creative activity participate in this history. The humanization of the world and of man himself, the manifestation of the fullness of powers implanted in his humanity, is man's creative act over himself and over the world.

Man is not a thing or only an object of creation; he is also its subject. Creative freedom is interwoven into the world's being, together with its organic nature.

Sergius Bulgakov
The Bride of the Lamb
Sec.II. Ch. 6. History

В XIV главе Откровения Ангел повелевает обрезеать "гроздья винограда на земле, потому что созрели на нем ягоды" (Откр. 14, 18). Описанное здесь созревание винограда соотносится с 1000-летним царством. Но это не есть еще конец истории и Страшный суд.

Этот образ созревания ягод можно применить ко всему итогу истории, включая в него дела как праведников, так и грешников. Однако дальнейшие слова относятся преимущественно, если не прямо исключительно к последним: "и поверг Ангел серп свой на землю" (еще раз здесь можно видеть подтверждение того, что "сидящий на облаке" есть только ангел, но не Сын Божий, а как бы Его представитель или посланник (ср. Мф. XIII, 41): "и пошлет ангелов Своих и соберут из Царства Его все соблазны и делающих беззаконие"). "И обрезал (Ангел) виноград на земле и бросил в великое точило гнева Божия". Этот образ, очевидно, означает суд Божий над людьми, который соответствует и событиям человеческой истории, выражающим собою общий исторический кризис. Однако и это не есть конец истории и Страшный суд (который, по Откровению же, совершается Отцом: XX, 11 сл.). Скорее, это есть исторический суд, выражающийся во внешних катастрофах и внутренних потрясениях после шестой печати: VI, 12-16. В отличие от того, он изображается как жатва винограда, которая совершается в точиле гнева Божия. В каком соотношении находится она к Тысячелетнему царству? Происходит ли она до него или же после него? Такого соотношения здесь не устанавливается, так же как и в связи с землетрясением VI главы. Эгзегетически же нет необходимости его и предполагать, поскольку то и другое суть параллельные, хотя и соотносительные, внутренне связанные между собою события, однако имеющие для себя каждое свое собственное происхождение: первое в судах Божиих в истории, второе в особом действии силы Божией в первом воскресении. Можно лишь предположительно высказать, допустить, что одно предшествует другому.

Прот. Сергий Булгаков
Апокалипсис Иоанна
(Опыт догматического истолкования)
Глава XIV

The thousand-year kingdom is a positive goal for history, its inner ripening to a good end.

This idea [of the thousand-year kingdom] is an expression of the Christian notion of progress, where the latter is liberated from its limited naturalistic conception. … This idea grounds the validity of history with its supreme achievements in this world; moreover, it presupposes and commands these achievements. The end of history is not due to an arbitrary deus ex machina, to a divine act of violence that interrupts the contentless bad infinity of human history. On the contrary, a positive goal is set for history: its inner ripening to a good end, although this end comes convulsively and catastrophically.

Sergius Bulgakov
The Bride of the Lamb
Sec.II. Ch. 6. History

In general, the millennium is a symbol of historical creativity.

The thousand-year kingdom makes possible the end of history, although it itself is not yet that end, but only its harbinger.

Thus, history does not end naturally but breaks off, as with an ellipsis, which corresponds to its transcensus into the life of the future age. In this sense, the millennium is like the line of the horizon, which constantly recedes as one approaches it. This "transcendental" character of the millennium as a moving goal makes it unattainable but always sought.

Thus, we return to the idea that, besides being a specific epoch or episode of history, the millennium is also where the continuous revelation of the Church in history mysteriously abides. In this sense, one can say that the millennium is repeated in history, and this repetition reaches its greatest intensity in history's creative epochs, in their principal themes and creative achievements. In general, the millennium is a symbol of historical creativity. But this does not contradict the idea that all of these diverse goals and achievements lead to a higher synthesis: the thousand-year kingdom in the strict sense. This kingdom makes possible the end of history, although it itself is not yet that end, but only its harbinger. The end arrives by a transcendent act of the Father's will.

Sergius Bulgakov
The Bride of the Lamb
Sec.II. Ch. 6. History

The tragedy of the last battle

The fundamental, guiding idea of this historiosophy is that the history of the Church is not a peaceful "progress" that leads to a harmonious resolution within the limits of this time, but a battle and a tragedy that end in a universal-historical catastrophe and a universal fire. And only out of this is the phoenix of the future age born. And the whole of world history consists of the growth in intensity of this spiritual antagonism and combat.*) This is history growing toward its maturity.

Can we characterize as pessimism this philosophy of history as the "philosophy of the end"? By no means. On the contrary, it is the most vital and energetic of worldviews. But neither is it optimism, for, within the limits of history itself, there is no resolution for this tragedy. It is true that, as the end approaches, the dawn becomes brighter and brighter, illuminating the heavens, and the sensitive ear already hears hymns of victory coming from there. But, down below, the black armies of Gog and Magog amass for the last time, encircling the camp of the saints, preparing for the battle of Armageddon (Rev. 20:8-9). And, in response to this, the armies of heaven and earth gather around the one sitting on the white horse, the one whose name is "The Word of God" (19:11-13), until the arrival of the end of history and the universal resurrection and judgment.


*) The spiritual "petty-bourgeoisie," like Marx and the socialists, see in this struggle only an economic content, whereas it is actually fought for ultimate spiritual values.

Sergius Bulgakov
The Bride of the Lamb
Sec.II. Ch. 6. History

God may reveal «the times or the seasons»

The end of this age is God's business, a determination of the Father's will: "Of that day and hour [it is said in the anthropomorphic language of our time] knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven [neither the Son, according to Mark 13:32], but my Father only" (Matt. 24:36). "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power" (Acts 1:7). This means that the end of the age is due to a creative act of God, which depends on the power of the Father, the Almighty, the Creator.

Only God Himself, through his prophets, can reveal the end to us. Christ, as the God-man, bore witness to it in accomplishing His prophetic, humanly kenotic ministry, in the course of which He Himself, in His self-diminution, did not know the time of the end (Mark 13:32), although, after His glorification, He already knew it. The Apocalypse powerfully bears witness to this: "The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him" (Rev. 1:1).

Sergius Bulgakov
The Bride of the Lamb
III. 2. The End of This Age

Уместно думать, может быть, не о конце, но скорее о начале истории.

… история не только не стоит уже пред раздирающим концом, но еще внутренно не окончена, а потому и история Церкви еще имеет пред собой новое, нераскрытое будущее и пред лицом этого будущего уместно думать, может быть, не о конце, но скорее о начале истории.

Sergius Bulgakov
The Orthodox Church
Apocalyptic Thoughts

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