Hate amongst brothers, according to Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, will give ground to the Α nt ί christ; because the Devil prepares the schisms of peoples, so that he who is coming can become acceptable. St. Cyril places above all martyrs, those who at the time of the Α nt ί christ - will witness with piety for the
name of Christ; because the former struggled only with people, whereas the martyrs of the Α nt ί christ's time will fight with Satan himself ίη person.
The temptation to define the time of the events of the reve-
lations is limited by the terms of Saint Irenaeus, who says: "It is
safer and less dangerous, to await the outcome of the prophecy, rather than to ponder and guess at the name" (Contra Hares. 30:3), and elsewhere he tells us: "Every prophecy before being fulfilled is an enigma and something irrational to people. When, however, the time comes and that which has been prophesied is realized, then it achieves the most precise explanation." While Saint Andrew of Caesarea says: "Time and experience will reveal to those who are vigilant."
The Antichrist wil precede the 2nd Coming of Christ. He will preach ο n earth a worldwide persecution against the faithful, and for this reason great attention and spiritual wakefulness is demanded; so that we not be deceived ί n any way, as the Apostle Paul proclaims to the Thessalonians.
The Α nt ί christ will be a natural person, who will place himself against the God-man Christ, His teaching and His Orthodox Church. Antichrist means he who is coming instead of Christ and is opposed to Christ. He is essentially the opponent, according to the Apostle Paul, of Christ and His world saving work.
The Evangelist John tells us (1 John 2:22) "This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son." While Saint John Damascene assures us, that "he who does not confess the Son of God having come in the flesh and that he is perfect God and has become a perfect man, after being God, is antichrist" (P.G. 94, 1216). Whoever, that is, rejects the incarnation of Christ is antichrist. Whoever again are enemies of Christ's Faith, opponents of the Gospel of the Lord, are antichrists. There existed many forerunners of the Antichrist in the past, but also very many who are working today in his own plans, as are the heresies, sorceries, Zionism and many international political and financial organizations.
Additional signs of the last days will be: the appearance of many false prophets; the increase of destructive wars; hunger; dreadful and mortal illnesses; earthquakes in places; and the scandals of lay people and clergymen. Saint Cyril of Jerusalem writes ίη relation: "Bishops against bishops and clergymen against clergymen and peoples against peoples unto blood". The Ηο ly father urges us not to pay attention to those things which are happening, but to those which have been written; nor should the per chance evil conduct of the clergy be a cause, for our own perdition.
Another eschatological sin is the lessening of love and the
increase of hating brothers before the coming of the Antichrist ''And because wickedness is multiplied, most men's love will grow cold", as the Evangelist Matthew mentions in chapter 24 verse 12.
Another sign is the preaching of the Gospel to all the world, independently of whether the people believe or not: "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come." (Mat. 24: 14).
The planned superinflation will aid in the nations being subjected to the electronic money system. ΑΙΙ exchanges and buying/selling will occur through the electronic means of exchanging values, and will be conducted with the "mark": "AIso it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked ο n the right hand or the forehead, so that n ο one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let him who has understanding reckon the number of the beast, for it is a human number, its number is six hundred and sixty-six." (Revelation 13: 16-18).
The Α ntichrist's coming is being prepared by his forerunners, who with impious and sinful works will lead humanity to great apostasy and uselessness; and to idolatry, in order to accept the Antichrist. They will pursue the joining of the currents of
politics, of economy and of religion with the aim of the creation of a worldwide state with a worldwide Governor-Dictator, and a pan-religion with the Antichrist as God.
The heresies, many satanic organizations, as well as the atheistic material systems are forerunners of the Α ntichrist; which cause confusion, disbelief in Christ's Church, and lead unsupported people to perdition. With all these things they strive to wound Orthodoxy, in order to work unbattered for Satan and his ungodly instruments. The most effective manner of facing the forerunners of the Α ntichrist, and of the Α ntichrist himself, are t ο know Christ and place Him c ο rrectly inside us with such intensity, that we will love Him first and above all; so that, henceforth, it is n ο t possible for anything t ο separate us from Him.
The par excellence Antichrist will be him whom God will allow t ο appear to the world a little prior t ο the 2nd Coming of Christ "he who is coming during the close of the world", according t ο St. John Damascene, "to fight the Church of Christ and the faithful disciples of Christ". He will perform in a word whatever Satan dictates t ο him, as if Satan is acting in person through him. He will be the person through whom Satanwill act.
God will allow the Α ntichrist t ο come for the unbelieving, the Jews and the believers. According t ο Saint John Chrysostom he will n ο t be powerful ο n the believers, but ο n all those who follow the road of perdition, as well as unrepentant believers.
Saint Ephraim the Syrian tells us in relation, that "by the allowance of Holy God, he (the Antichrist) will receive authority to deceive the world; because the impiety of the world has multiplied and everywhere he works hardships"
Let us forbear, beloved, the satanic violence with bravery in our wicked days, t ο avoid the Antichrist's deception.
Saint Cyril of Jerusalem stresses t ο us: "So man, guard please your own self. Υο u now have all the signs to know before hand of the Antichrist. And do not just think about it, but also tell them and inform the others, as many more as you can."
"While the Son of God", according t ο Athanasios the Great, "coming will destroy him" (BEPES 35, 150).
So, while we don't know the precise year of the coming of the Antichrist, we know from the Holy Scriptures and the Godbearing fathers quite a few things about his dark person and his actions.
Ι n our wicked generation many international organizations work for the more general plan of people being governed by the Antichrist. The complete giving over of people to the demon is being pursued by the dark powers. So let us be wakeful, because faith is a delicate thing and we should not deny it either with words or actions; so that we not lose the Grace of Holy Baptism.
We are called to pay attention, because whoever accepts the mark denies holy Baptism, the faith of Christ; and he can ηο longer repent. For this reason, a careful Christ ί an life is demanded and great attention; so that we never accept the deceiver Α nt ί christ as true. It is necessary that we be ί n a state of repentance and spiritual readiness. And we must not forget such sacred words of our Lord as: "Now the Κίη gd ο m of heaven has suffered violence, and men of violence take it by force." (Mat. 11: 12); and "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour ίη which the Son of Man is coming." (Mat. 5:13). The Lord will come again suddenly to judge the world as we also say ίη the Symbol of Faith: "And He will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead, Whose kingdom shall have n ο end... ."
The Lord will come as the flood of Noah, that is, suddenly: ''As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. (Mat. 24:37) Like the thief: "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night" (2 Peter 3:10). Like lightning! "For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man." (Mat. 24:27) That is, it will be felt like lightning, and will be seen all over the earth and to all people.
The Lord will come again ο n earth with the same manner that He left. The angels Who were present with the disciples of the Lord in His Ascension assured this: "This Jesus, Who was taken υρ from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven." (Acts 1: 11). Τ ill then, let us cultivate inside us this sweet expectation -- with worthy works of repentance and virtue, love and holiness.
In chapter 24, verse 30 of the Evangelist Matthew we read: "Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man (the precious Cross) in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming ο n the clouds of heaven with power and great glory".
While in the first chapter of Revelation verse 7 is written. "Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, every one who pierced Him; and all tribes of the earth will wail ο n account of Him."
Christ will not leave His faithful people, so long as we walk the path of the Saints of our Church: Το live with the fear of God, with humility, with prayer, with charity, with repentance, with patience, with love. Let us walk the path of truth, of light, of grace, of sanctification, studying the Ηο ly Scripture, patristic works, the lives of our Saints, partaking worthily in the sacramental life of our Church; and the philanthropic and soul-saving Lord will not leave us helpless. Our Lord assured us of this with the following consoling words of His: "And lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age." (Mat. 28:20).
We are called completely to entrust ourselves to God, to strive to serve the truth, to do that which pleases God; and to never forget, neither God's Judgment nor the Recompense. Then, and only then, the peace of God and His divine protection will accompany us and guard us always.
IN GENERAL ABOUT THE CLOSE OF THE AGE, THE ANTICHRIST AND THE 2ND COMING OF CHRIST