VIEWS: 22 PAGES: 2 CATEGORY: Religion and Spirituality POSTED ON: 10/2/2010
The Orthodox patristic teaching concerning the coming antichrist.
Signs by which the Nearness of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ Can Be Judged In order to prevent various arbitrary opinions harmful to the growth of spiritual life, our Saviour indicated some important signs through which we can sense the approach and beginning of the time for His second coming. 1) The first sign - an increase in catastrophes. Questioned by His disciples as to what kind of sign would precede His coming and the end of the world, He answered them with the following: And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in diverse places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for My Name’s sake. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many,… For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened (Matt. 24:6-22). 2) The second sign – the preaching of the gospel in all the world. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for witness unto all nations (Matthew 24:14). The Antichrist shall come into the world only when the preaching of the Gospel shall have been spread over the whole universe, when all tribes and peoples shall be enlightened with the light of Christian teaching. St. John of Damascus warns: “Jesus Christ will come in order to accuse the antigodly Hebrews, after the Gospel shall have been preached to all nations” (Book 4; Ch. 7) 3) The third sign of the second coming of Jesus Christ - the lessening of faith and love among people. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold, then will follow… the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet; When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on earth? (Matthew 24:12;24:15; [Luke 18:8]). The primordial enemy, (Satan) sowing the weeds of falsehood and deceit before the end of the world, shall direct all his means and powers in order to take by force and subjugate to his destructive rule all of those called to the kingdom of heaven. 4) A fourth sign - the conversion of Jews to Christ. Thus in his Epistle to the Romans the Apostle Paul, describing the special grace of God toward the pagans who through faith were grafted from the wild to the good olive tree, and inversely, the special severity of God’s judgment toward the Jews in that they fell away from their native olive tree, at the same time pointed out that for Jews, in spite of this, by no means is it impossible or hopeless to again be grafted to their native olive tree (Romans 11:22). Fixing his gaze into the distant future, he added these words: For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits, that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved as it is written: There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob (Romans 11:25-26). 5) Finally, serving as the last and most precise sign of the approach of the second coming of Jesus Christ for judgment of the world, shall be the appearance of Antichrist. Under the special power of Satan, he will use all possible flattering and destructive means in order to shake or completely overthrow the Kingdom of Christ, so unbearable to him since it is a kingdom of truth and good. In its stead, he will seek to erect and make firm his own murky, sinful kingdom, which will continue until it is destroyed with the coming of Christ.
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