Signs by which the Nearness of the Second Coming of Christ can be Judged by thefifthseal

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The Orthodox patristic teaching concerning the coming antichrist.

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									    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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