THE ANTICHRIST AND THE POPE
According to the expectations of the New Agers on the Internet
"...the mystery of iniquity doth already work"[i]
Ecclesiastic Tradition portrays the eschatological figure known as the Antichrist using the darkest colours: «In this mysterious man, nothing sacred and holy will exist... Bearing inside him all the energy of Satan, he will display a superhuman power, but an inhuman character and feelings.»[ii].
It is in him, that the full acceptance of Satan's false promise of "you shall be as gods" through knowledge[iii] will be realized, because the Antichrist will be a human who will want to substitute God, through Satan's power. As Saint John Chrysostom notes, God will permit his presence, so that those who decidedly do not want to be saved will be judged: when, during the Second Coming, the faithless will try to justify themselves to Christ, by saying that "we did not believe in You because you claimed to be God", they will be inexcusable, as they will have acknowledged the Antichrist as God, who will not actually be coming in the name of God the Father, but in his own name[iv].
The New Age of Aquarius - a movement (or a network of movements) with tens of millions of followers around the world and whose roots can be found in the teachings chiefly of two leaders of the Theosophical Society (founded in New York, USA in 1875): Helena Blavatsky (a co-founding member of the Society) and Alice Bailey (1880-1949)[v]. From the beginning, and in accordance with its official texts, the Theosophical Society has determined as its purpose: a) the creation of a nucleus of a universal brotherhood of mankind with no discrimination of race, faith, caste, gender or colour; b) the encouragement of studies on syncretistic religious science[vi], philosophy and science; and c) the exploration of the unexplained laws of nature and man's latent powers[vii]. Similarly, the New Age with the even more progressive ideas of Alice Bailey as its immediate source, is promoting an economic-political and religious union of mankind, placing emphasis on occultism and the expectation of a "Christ" of the new astrological age of "Aquarius"[viii].
Of course, the first internationally prevalent form of religious syncretism was Masonry - Freemasonry - particularly after the changes it underwent through "Anderson's constitution" in 1723. The admittance of members from various religious communities into the Lodges, coupled with the Masons' conviction that they themselves are "enlightened" whereas all the uninitiated in Masonry are "profane", indicates that a Lodge professes "knowledge" and "enlightenment" unattainable in other churches or religions, and as such, is a super-religion. The faith of its members in dogmas or religions is underrated, as Masonry limits itself to an abstract general faith to some "Grand Architect of the Universe", while inherent human morality and the Masonic mysteries are considered sufficient for man's perfection and deification[ix]. And while it is a fact that the origin of the champions of Theosophy springs from Masonic Lodge circles or their offshoots[x], nevertheless we do not know from the available Masonic texts of any expectation of a Messiah, as is the case with Theosophy and its "daughter", the New Age.
We considered it expedient to present the New Agers' expectations regarding their "Christ", the way they are presented on the internet - not projected only from their point of view, but in comparison to the Tradition of the Church, namely, the teaching of the Holy Prophets, Apostles and Fathers. Regardless whether one trusts the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ and God and the predictions of the Holy Fathers on the final Antichrist, one cannot help noticing a remarkable similarity in the descriptions of the Antichrist, both by the Saints and by the Aquarian followers of the "son of perdition". And, even if those same New Agers are presently moving within the sphere of fantasy or misinformation, nothing should hinder us from presenting their views alone, as the desire and expectation on their part for a universal spiritual totalitarianism and as a propaganda that serves only their own declared objectives; we will mainly focus on their Messianic expectations, which are usually overlooked. In essence, their predictions are nothing more than a description from "the other side" of the terrible things that will precede the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Accordingly, what follows does not aspire to a compositional presentation of the New Age movement as it originated from the age-old occult systems: secret societies and eastern religions (ancient Gnosticism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Kabbalah, Masonry, Rosicrucians, Theosophical Society e.a.), nor to a general exposition of the Church's teaching on the Antichrist. References to and comparisons with universal unification tendencies at many levels (Globalization, Ecumenism, religious syncretism, world leadership by one man, e.a.) as well as the ever-spreading occultism on television, music, the press and elsewhere are all left to the careful and compositional thoughts of the well-meaning and "prudent as a serpent" reader.
The recording of everything planned by the antichrists aspires to respond to the exhortation by Saint Cyril of Jerusalem: "Therefore, secure yourself, O man. You know the signs of the Antichrist. And these you should not remember alone but you should relay them to everyone plentifully. If you have a child of your flesh you should admonish him, starting now; if you have given birth to someone through catechesis, you should also protect him in advance, so that he does not end up accepting the false one as if he were the real one; for ‘the mystery of iniquity doth already work'[xi]"[xii]. And while we must not attempt to predetermine when these events will come to pass, Saint Cyril says that we must also not relax our vigilance: "And do not dare to opine when these will take place, nor should you sleep in peace, for it is said ‘be watchful, for the Son of man will come at a time that you do not expect Him'.[xiii] But since we had to learn the signs of the end, and because we are waiting for Christ, in order not to die deceived and deluded by the liar Antichrist, the Apostles, motivated by divine will, have, through providence (oekonomia) come to the true Teacher and asked Him: ‘Tell us when these things will take place and what is the sign of your Coming and of the end of the age'[xiv]. We are waiting for You to come again, but Satan transforms himself into an angel of light[xv]. Protect us therefore, lest we worship someone other instead of You."[xvi]
The presentation of the New Agers' views regarding their Aquarian "Christ", who is "at the gate", was based on information provided on the internet by the most important, perhaps, representative of New Age Messianism, the London auhtor and speaker Benjamin Creme. Over the past 20 years, his activities include 300 television and radio broadcasts in the US alone, seven books on the "Maitreya Christ" which have been translated into seven languages, as well as the joint publication with the Department of Public Information at the United Nations of the monthly, international "Share International" magazine, circulating in at least seven different languages in 70 countries of the world[xvii].
Below we will be very briefly presented only some of the basic "theological" positions of New Age, as presented by B. Creme and his like-minded ideological partners in Share International and re-circulated on the internet. According to Crème, his teachings especially stem from his spiritual communication either with the "Teacher Christ" Maitreya or with other "Teachers" and from older occult beliefs; in other words, they are nothing more than the fruits of mainly spiritualist "contacts", i.e., the teachings of demons.
1. The "theology" of the New Age of Aquarius
The New Age of Aquarius does not admit the existence of a personal God, much more the existence of a Holy Trinity of Persons. "God" is the sum of all the laws and all the energies governed by those laws, and they create whatever we can or cannot see. God is also called the Cosmic Being (Logos) that animates our planet. The etheric - natural expression of this planetary Logos and Lord of the world is Sanat Kumara, who comes from the planet Venus, and who lives in the energy centre of Shamballa, somewhere above China's Gobi desert.
There is also a group of superior, more evolved beings, of teachers and initiates, whilom common men, who all together constitute the Spiritual Hierarchy (otherwise known as the White Brotherhood, the Society of Illuminated Minds, the Powers of the Light, or "Mahatmas") divided in 49 groups, the Ashram. Each Ashram is also under the rule of one Master of Wisdom. Each time the Hierarchy has a new head he is called Christ or Universal Master or Master of Masters, an office currently held for the astrological Age of Aquarius (whose duration is estimated to be approximately 2,150 years) by Master Maitreya, who possesses the "energy of the Cosmic Christ", the "Christ Conscience". The Christ is not identified here with Jesus of Nazareth whom Christians believe to be the Christ.
Occasionally, spiritual beings of a higher evolution, either human or from outer space or even cosmic, known as the Avatars, respond to the calls of humanity for help and accept to teach humans the path of evolution[xviii].
2. The anthropology of the New Agers
Man is nothing else but God, a spark of God[xix]. Knowledge of God is nothing else but knowledge of our selves[xx]. The Law of Rebirth, of Reincarnation, has no other purpose than to gradually lead us (through the course of many lives) to the union and assimilation with God[xxi]. Beyond every other element, body, spirit, or mind, there is a divine Self, the "Ego", which we must set free to develop. For this reason, we must not follow others or be constrained by others: "Be what you are" is the New Agers' motto. Freedom is the most important thing that has been granted to man while loneliness is the highest blessing that man can achieve[xxii].
The spiritual element does not coincide with the religious element, but does include even science[xxiii]. Gradually, through evolution, piety must give way to knowledge and occultism[xxiv].
In order for man to free himself from the lower elements he must concentrate on three things: knowledge (awareness), environment and independence (detachment). Do not follow others[xxv], but also do not be self-sufficient in your views; mother of all evil is man's perception that "I am right, I am OK". This form of self-sufficiency is the greatest evil[xxvi].
There is no such thing as sin, since this is merely an invention of the Church; there is only perfection and imperfection[xxvii]. Evil is considered to be anything that goes against the evolutionary process, namely the course to the theosis (deification) of man and of the world per nature, the "de-spiritualization" of matter[xxviii].
3. The teaching of the New Agers regarding the presence of the Antichrist
Every religious community awaits its Messiah in the same way, as the New Agers teach. This way is none other than the one evangelised by New Age. The Christ of the Christians during His Second Coming, the expected Messiah of Judaism, the Imam Mahdi of the Mohammedans, the reincarnation of the Krishna of the Hindus, and the Fifth Buddha (i.e. Maitreya, the kind one) of the Buddhists are none other but one and the same person: the Master Maitreya who will soon walk among men[xxix]
The "Christ" Maitreya comes to men as a man; however not as just any man, but a man who has achieved "the fullness of divinity"[xxx].
He has already made about 200 miraculous appearances on different parts of the planet and he has performed many "miracles", among them the appearance of luminous crosses, the gushing of water and many others[xxxi].
The "Christ Maitreya", who apparently hails from the Himalayas, has shaped himself a body (mayavipura) which will be the appropriate dwelling for him so that he can live together with men during the New Age[xxxii]. As an Aquarian, he comes to flood humanity with new powers: "My work will be to channel these waters of life through you. I am the Aquarius. I am the vessel of the truth."[xxxiii]
Preparations for his coming have begun a long time ago and almost everything needed to establish his dominion has been completed, as soon as the world realises the need for his coming, in order to establish social justice and equal distribution of goods: "there is now a huge army ready to follow his guidance; they appear in every country, demanding justice and freedom". Everything is so much in accordance with the plan that few people today can doubt that an invisible hand (that of Maitreya) is directing international developments[xxxiv].
His official worldwide public appearance will take place on a particular day in the future, known as the "Day of Declaration", so that the entire world will come to know his presence. This announcement is necessary, for otherwise the "Master" would largely pass unobserved[xxxv].
The presence of the newly appearing "Christ" will be perceived by as many people as possible through television and radio, where he will be invited to speak through a global satellite transmission. Maitreya will not actually speak to the mass media outlets but he will "telepathically" address his message to mankind (of justice etc.) in his "incarnated" form; each man will internally understand his message in their own tongue, and thus this day will resemble the Christian Pentecost. Those who do not have access to the specific mass media outlets used will feel the "Day of Declaration" in a particularly perceptible manner (also in a bodily fashion), which will be confirmed through an "overshadowing", an "embracement". This way, "Christ" Maitreya will convince even the "fundamentalist" Christians whom he will overshadow that he is the real Christ, the Universal Master himself, and that he is the common leader of all people, religious and non-religious alike. His coming will be accompanied by the appearance of hundreds of thousands of healings around the world. In fact, these will also constitute the three signs of his coming[xxxvi] and the beginning of his work.
The "Christ" will not seek to undertake political-governmental duties. However, when his advice is sought on hard-to-solve problems, he will help those in power to solve them[xxxvii]. The leaders, hard-pushed by the nations, will apply his counsel after an international economic crash that will begin in Japan, which Maitreya has already foreseen[xxxviii]. After all, he has already come in contact with many leaders and agents, whose help will be asked before the "Day of Independence" commences[xxxix].
After his illustrious coming, Maitreya will receive help from three other "Masters", Kuthumi, Morya and "Jesus"[xl](besides, in many places texts present the coming of the Aquarian "Christ" as the crowning of the coming of the "Masters", of the "externalization of the Hierarchy" [xli]). He will also be helped by beings that we knew as extra-terrestrials, who are however brothers of ours living in outer space (Space Brothers) and who are already ensuring that the earth's orbit is maintained and that terrible ecological disasters are averted[xlii].
Apart from these beings, Maitreya will also be followed by the "Army of Light", a "celestial army" of angels (Devas) who will aid his victory against the darkness, an army initially invisible to men[xliii]. His presence will signify the beginning of a New Order of collaboration between angels and men and aspiring to "theosis"[xliv].
These beings of "light", the "Elder Brothers", are already said to be proclaiming the following, through their New Age "intermediaries" (commonly known as "mediums"):
"We, your Elder Brothers are here; the calling has reached even the ancient refuges: ‘Return, return - the hour has come', which is why some of us each time retrace our steps, returning once again to the world of people. We do this with pleasure; it is with pleasure that we accept the opportunity to serve and to cultivate. Our joy is undiminishing, as we see the people ahead of us, welcoming the new relations with mankind. In collaboration with them, we shall create the glorious future that awaits all of mankind."[xlv]
The "Christ" Maitreya claims that he will not use violence against his opponents[xlvi]. And yet, he claims elsewhere that people have only two choices: to accept Maitreya or passively await the ensuing developments[xlvii]. The "Sword of Cleavage" - which is his love - will bring about a polarity to the world, between those who will accept the new situation and those who will persist in the old paths of disintegration, which inevitably lead the world to chaos[xlviii]. The "Powers of Light" will succeed in dominating over the "Powers of Darkness" of the old civilisation[xlix]. Maitreya will cause as little a rift as possible[l]. "many will accept me, but not all. Nevertheless, my Army of Light will surely triumph"[li] he apparently has claimed. We would add that this statement can of course be interpreted in many ways, especially when we take into consideration the fact that those who insist on old "forms" are considered by the New Agers as "those responsible for continuous divisions"[lii] while the "Christian totalitarianism" will be "the last one to disappear"[liii]. After all, let us not forget that according to New Age "evil" is considered to be anything opposing the evolutionary process of de-spiritualizing matter.
Maitreya's domain will primarily exhibit a concern for the confronting of hunger worldwide, through an equal distribution of foods, and immediately afterwards, the confronting of ecological catastrophes. Under the supervision of the United Nations, an organisation that will comprise the uniform government of the entire world[liv], the distribution of food will be realised through a global system of exchange of goods, which will replace the current system of economy, despite the reactions of some of today's privileged ones, who will be set aside[lv]. Through their perception that the earth itself is a "God" just like they are (as well as every other being), people will become conscious of their unbreakable bond with "Mother" Earth (the Great Mother of all). The earth will in turn reveal to mankind its secret laws, with which man will be proved to be God[lvi].
Through use of the new "Light technology", crime will disappear: as soon as someone attempts to commit a crime he will be "frozen" in place by the controlling media. Terrorism will disappear, as terrorists will have nowhere to hide[lvii]. Maitreya has already contributed towards global warming; and when he undertakes to restore the world's balance through use of a special energy for that purpose (equilibrium) which he has received from the Avatar of Synthesis, the increase of food production on the planet will then be beyond every expectation[lviii].
Maitreya's sojourn in this world will last for the entire "Age of Aquarius", i.e. for the next 2,500 years[lix]. He will gradually begin to reveal various truths to mankind, beginning with those pertaining to the unity of men, the soul, the distribution of commodities, the law of cause and effect (i.e. of karma), of reincarnation, of innocence[lx]. Eventually, he will leave the earth, to return at the end of the seventh "cosmic cycle", as a superior: the "cosmic Maitreya"[lxi].
Given that Maitreya has the ability to appear and to disappear out of nowhere, he cannot be harmed by anyone, let alone be killed[lxii]. After all, "as Christ" he has already passed through the "fourth degree of initiation" (namely self-sacrifice, Crucifixion).
4. Maitreya and Pope: "Master and Servant"
Of extreme interest and beyond one's expectations is the revelation by Benjamin Creme's New Agers on the role that the Papal institution is expected to play in the preparation for Maitreya's coming.
As we have already said, New Agers make a distinction between the person of the Christ (Maitreya) and that of the historical Jesus of Nazareth. According to them, the man Jesus was the reincarnation of Joshua, of Isaiah and of the Jesus mentioned by Prophet Zechariah[lxiii], who had accepted the "overshadowing" of the Christ Maitreya during His baptism in the Jordan River[lxiv]. After His Crucifixion, He was reincarnated into Apollonius Tyaneus[lxv], when he also became a "Master" (Master Jesus) and went to India. For the last 600 years he has been reincarnated in the body of a Syriac, and since 1984 has been living in Rome. He belongs to the "Spiritual Hierarchy" and he is nothing more than a disciple and assistant to the "Christ" Maitreya[lxvi].
The posting of a new article on the internet in February of 2000, and another one in April of 2001, completed the portrait of "Jesus" to date; the first article, by Aart Jurriaanse, regarding the salvation of the West by the "Master Jesus" says the following: "All this is the responsibility of the Master Jesus - and what a task! But there is no doubt that progress is being made, and he ["Jesus"] hopes to achieve greater success through a new approach by the Christian Churches,thus also paving the way in Europe and America for the return of the Christ. ... It is foreseen that the Master Jesus will even take over the throne of the Pope of Rome, and that from that post, he will then be able to re-inspire and re-orient the entire space of the Christian religion, diverting it from its present political and secular trends, towards a more spiritual approach"[lxvii].
In the second article, B. Creme himself confirms the words of Jurriaanse: "He [Jesus] currently resides in the body of a Syrian, who is about 600 years old, and has his base in Rome. He has, in the last 2,000 years, been working in very close collaboration with the Christ, conserving his time and energy where possible, and has special work to do with the Christian Churches. He is one of the Masters who will very shortly return to external work in the world, undertaking the throne of St. Peter in Rome. He will seek to transform the Christian Churches, to the point of making them "flexible" enough to respond properly to the new reality that the return of the Christ and the Masters will create."[lxviii]
The "Jesus", who has already guided many theologians and clerics of every confession to the recommended path[lxix] of "esotericism", will remain at Maitreya's side after his universal proclamation, working together with him and revealing that he is a disciple of Maitreya, giving the Gospel its "correct" occultist interpretation [lxx]. From that point onwards in the New Age, thanks to the presence of Maitreya himself, theologians and priests will not be necessary, for the interpretation or misinterpretation of his teachings[lxxi].
The objective therefore of Maitreya and the other "Masters" is not the abolishing of religions, but the re-assignment of a new meaning to them and the projection of their common meaning. This way, a uniform, One World Religion will inevitably be realized[lxxiii], with pyramid-shaped (tetrahedral) temples[lxxiv]. It is expected that the institution of the Pope will be playing an important role here, as the guide of the divided Christianity of West and East towards unification (wrapped -we would add- in the power of "infallibility"). Besides, even Maitreya will embark on a series of trips around the world, per the Pope's model, and immediately after his universal proclamation, with the aim of making himself known -close up- to the different populations[lxxv]. By visiting the temples that he himself will have built, Maitreya will initiate those who are receptive to his teaching, into the reality that he himself carries. The Churches, the Mosques and other temples will be common places of worship for everyone[lxxvi].
Creme asserts that certain Vatican officials have already become aware of the presence of "Christ" on earth, while two Cardinals, members of the Curia (the Synod surrounding the Pope) are followers of the "Christ" Maitreya. On this subject, a cleric of the Vatican (also a follower of Maitreya) gave an interview to the magazine National Examiner, whose views however were denied by the Vatican. One way or another, Creme hopes that after the day of Declaration, the Pope will be a close collaborator of the "Master Jesus"[lxxvii]. However, the orthodox Christian leaders (he could be referring here to the conservatives[lxxviii] of every confession) will be the last to accept Maitreya; who is not the Son of God, but the "Big Brother" of mankind[lxxix].
Apart from the aforementioned rumours, the all-too-familiar initiative of the "Holy See" to promote the inter-religious dialogue and common prayers with Buddhists and Muslims, is alone an indication that perhaps the New Agers' expectations on the future role that the Vatican will play in the promotion of the Pan-Religion, the one that would be so favourable for the ascent of any "Maitreya", may not be that utopian after all.
5. The distortion of the warnings of the Holy Bible
Based on the aforementioned information, it is hardly necessary to add that there is not a single spot in the word of God and the teaching of the Church, which has remained untouched by the delusions of the New Age. A theological debunking of these delusions would demand a summary of the entire anti-Gnostic and anti-Nestorian theological literature!
Nevertheless, we need to point out here that through his "mystics", Maitreya distorts very many meanings which were preserved for entire centuries in the Christian world as a reminder of the final apostasy of End Times; characteristic distortions are also the following:
Satan does not exist as an entity, as a person; he is only the personification of the evil that exists inside us. The notion of Lucifer is positive: as the name suggests (lux fero), it symbolises the imparting of light[lxxx]. Besides, we need to note that in many places we find the New Age being called the "Age of Light" (also cf. technology of light, powers of light etc.)[lxxxi]
The "mystics" also distort the Christian perception of the Antichrist, claiming that the Antichrist is not a specific person, but a catastrophic energy of the will of God, who paves the way before every astrological age, destroying the old conditions. The energy of the Antichrist before Christianity ("Age of Pisces" according to the New Age) was incarnated by Nero, and prior to Maitreya, by Hitler; consequently we must not expect another Antichrist for at least another 3,000 years[lxxxii].
Finally, the attempt to associate the number 666 to some future tyrant is erroneous according to them, because the number 666 refers exclusively to the Emperor Nero[lxxxiii]. This view of the New Agers does not come as a surprise, since many decades ago the "spiritual mother" of all New Agers, Alice Bailey, had propagandized that the number 666 is a number with divine attributes and that its frequent use accelerates the arrival of the New Age[lxxxiv].
Many distortions of the Holy Bible and the Prophecies regarding the Second Coming are contained in texts by the former Methodist pastor and now New Age propagandist, Ray Carey[lxxxv].
6. Observations based on ecclesiastic Tradition
By necessarily summarizing to an immense degree such huge topics, we hereby present very sketchily certain points about the coming of the Antichrist, based upon our ecclesiastic Tradition, and looking only at the most important testimonies[lxxxvi].
The first warning on the coming of the person of the Antichrist comes from the very lips of our Lord Jesus Himself, in a point in the Gospel according to John, whose significance to our topic is barely detected at first glance. The Lord, when complaining about the Judeans' disbelief in Him, reveals that, while the Judeans did not accept Him even though He had come in the name of the Father, they will accept someone else who will come and will be bearing His name as a guarantee of his opus: "I came in my Father's name, and you did not receive me: if another comes in the same name, you will receive him"[lxxxvii]. Here we note that someone, who will become accepted by the Judeans as their Messiah, will not come as one sent by God the Father but as an autonomous saviour; also, that the reason for the Judeans' disbelief towards the true Christ was their love for human glory and not for the glory given by God[lxxxviii].
To the particular question posed by the disciples on the signs of End Times, the Lord provided them with a series of signs indicating the coming of the Antichrist, which, according to the synoptic Evangelists[lxxxix] and according to the mention of Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, they are the following: a) the emergence of many false "Christs"; b) the waging of wars; c) the spreading of epidemics, hunger, earthquakes and adverse weather conditions ("terrors from heaven and long winters"[xc]); d) the increase in scandals, hatred, misadelphia (brotherly hatred), and in general the freezing of love; e) the propagation of the Gospel to all the nations. After all these events, "the abomination of desolation" will appear "in the holy place" and a terrestrial "Christ" will be advertised[xci]. But Christ warns us: " If at that time any man should say unto you, behold, here is Christ, or there", believe it not. For there shall arise false christs, and false prophets, and will show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they would deceive even the elect. Behold, I have informed you in advance. If they should say to you: Behold, he is in the desert; do not go there: behold, he is in remote chambers; believe it not. Because, just as lightning appears in the east and can be seen even in the west; thus will also be the coming of the Son of Man."[xcii]
Apostle Paul also notes a few "prosopographical" characteristics of the Antichrist, elucidating to the first Christians of Thessaloniki the events that must necessarily precede the Second Coming. These signs in verses 1-12 of the second chapter of 2 Thessalonians are the following: a) that preceding the Second Coming of Christ, there will first come an apostasy from God and then the emergence of the "man of transgression", the "son of perdition"; b) that this man will raise himself above every god and everything sacred, in an attempt to prove that he is God; c) that this man will put himself in God's place, inside God's temple[xciii]; d) that there is something that hinders the realization of all these events, even though "the mystery of iniquity doth already work", even in those days; and finally, e) that the man of perdition, the Antichrist, will perform every type of miracle (powers, false signs and wonders) with the power of Satan, but only misguiding (with God's condescension) those who do not want to be saved, so that those who would be condemned will be those who had loved falsity, for they will be found to be inexcusable (as we already explained in the beginning of the article)[xciv].
Saint John the Chrysostom, as well as other interpreters (Saint Irenaeus, Tertullian, Lactantius, Saint John the Damascene, Theophylactos, Zigavinos), all agree that the "holder" that is hindering the coming of the Antichrist is the Roman Empire (Romanity); its abolition is what will signal the elevation of the Antichrist. Less broadly known are the views that the term "holder" signifies the boundary that God has set (per Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoretus of Cyrus, Photius the Great), or the non-fulfilled evangelization of all nations (per Theodoretus), or the Holy Spirit (per Severianus)[xcv].
Theodore, the bishop of Mopsuestia, has very astutely pointed out here that the devil created heresies and religions as a scaffolding upon which he will build an "arch" - his worship - in the person of the Antichrist. After this worship is finally "constructed", the scaffolding will be useless, and so the Antichrist will then abolish all heresies and religions, every "god" and every "worship site", in order to openly establish his own worship, like an "arch" that has been built on top of the (now useless) scaffoldings[xcvi].
However, the Book of Revelations by Saint John the Theologian (95 AD) is the Book of the New Testament, where one can par excellence locate positive points with regard to the Antichrist's activities, according to the interpreters[xcvii].
The 13th chapter of the Apocalypse, where the events that Prophet Daniel had also foreseen[xcviii] are described in more detail, mentions two beasts: one emerging from the sea, where the sea denotes the nations or the turbulent and unstable lifestyle[xcix], and the other originating from the earth, which relates to the false prophet mentioned later on[c] and plays an auxiliary role to the former. The first beast, which according to all the interpreters relates to the Antichrist, "was given his power and his throne and immense power" by the dragon - Satan. Thereinafter, it is mentioned that one of his seven heads shall revive from a fatal wound (perhaps he will resurrect one of his collaborators, or perhaps this implies a re-composition of the Roman Empire united[ci]), which will be the cause for the entire world to admire him; furthermore that he will war against the faithful and conquer them; and that he will also blaspheme God and the Saints and that the entire world will bow before him, except for those whose names are written in the Book of Life. The second beast, the false prophet with his two horns resembles a lamb, but utters satanic words ("and he spoke like a dragon"); based on the first beast's power he will deceive the whole world by performing unprecedented miracles so that the world may bow before the Antichrist - the beast that emerged from the sea. He will also convince people to construct an image of the first beast, which will somehow come to life "spiritually" (he means "through an evil spirit[cii]") and will speak. Those who will not bow before this image will be put to death, while the right to buy and sell will be granted only to the people of every social class who will accept the branding on their right hand or on their forehead of the mark signifying the name of the beast or the number of his name; the number of the beast's name is "the number of a man" and it is 666[ciii]. In another verse, the Apocalypse presents the ten kings who will ally with the beast and will offer him their power and authority in common agreement[civ]. Satan's power during this period is compared to the power that he had, prior to Christ's salvific opus; thus, the Dragon, who had been bound for 1,000 years in the abyss in order to not deceive the nations (for the duration of the terrestrial polity of the Church), will be released towards the end of History, and as he rises up from the abyss, he will summon the nations to war against the Church[cv]. The tyranny of the beast will be preceded by the preaching of repentance by two prophets and martyrs, who will be put to death by the beast[cvi]. It should be noted that all the interpreters agree in common that the second beast, the false prophet, is a carrier of spiritual and in fact hieratic authority[cvii]; furthermore, that the beast's image will be worshipped all over the world, as made apparent by the text itself.
Apart from the sacred texts of the Holy Bible, the Holy Fathers have recorded in their works many elements pertaining to the Antichrist, which are either divine revelations that the Saints themselves had received, or are earlier oral traditions and interpretations of biblical passages. We quote herebelow a few indicative testimonies of just a very few Fathers.
Under the name of Saint Hippolytus of Rome (AD 170-236) are attributed two homilies relevant to our topic: "On the Christ and the Antichrist" and "On the end of the world"[cviii]. The latter is a pseudepigraph, a creation of the 7th century, a revision of the authentic first homily with elements from the works of Saint Ephraim [cix] mixed in.
Saint Hippolytus, whose authentic work consists almost in its entirety of a composite presentation of all the verses of the Holy Bible that refer to the Antichrist, traces the Antichrist's lineage (as had Saint Irenaeus bishop of Lugdunum-London before him) to the Jewish tribe of Dan[cx].
In the pseudepigraph work "On the end of the world" we made a note of the record of two more pieces of information: The Antichrist will initially persistently refuse to undertake the kingdom of all humanity, until, with their continual persistence, he will agree to it, and furthermore, through his own mouthpieces (men and demons, perhaps even anthropomorphic demons)[cxi] he will advertise that he can provide food for the people, because the earth and the sea will obey him: "come ye all, to see the might of his power; behold, he shall provide us with wheat and shall give away wine to us, and also opulent wealth and immense honours. To his command, all of earth and the sea shall obey."[cxii]
Saint Ephraim the Syrian (AD 306-373) has written four (among many other equally wonderful) homilies that refer (among other things) to the Antichrist[cxiii]; from his extensive presentation of all those things that shall come to pass during that time, we borrow only the following, which are also common to many other Fathers:
The Antichrist will appear at first to be extremely virtuous, humble, serene, and just; he will hate idols and bribery, he will be pious, benevolent, charitable, handsome, calm, cheerful to all, meek, honouring the Jewish excessively - so much so, that people will gladly offer him authority themselves, as being the most suitable. But as soon as he undertakes power, he will vanquish three great kings and immediately after, will show his exact opposite, true character: arrogant, cruel and so on[cxiv].
The Dragon, as the Antichrist is named by Saint Ephraim, will "instil cowardice, neglect and a dreadful faithlessness inside the hearts of men" and will perform "signs and wonders and create awesome phenomena so that if possible, he might deceive even the elect, and fool everyone with the fake miracles and the imaginary monstrosities that will be done by him"[cxv]. He will walk upon the sea, he will appear to move mountains, and he will gather around him birds and serpents[cxvi].
The Antichrist "will present himself as a god, using fearsome illusions, of flying in the air, and all the demons hovering high up in the air, like angels, in front of the tyrant; for he will be crying out powerfully, changing shapes, causing immense fear to all men". There will be a great tumult in the nations, as they will "be coming from the ends of the earth to see the tyrant"; many will bow before him and cry out in fear: "you are our Saviour". After the Antichrist has taken over power, "he will send his demons to the furthest reaches of the world, so that they will outspokenly preach that ‘A great king has appeared in glory; come and see him'". The faithful who will not worship him will be persecuted by him on land and sea, but they will be preserved by God, as a caring Father.
Given that he knows that his fake miracles are powerless against the power of the Cross, he will set as a necessary prerequisite for the distribution of foods the placing of his mark on the forehead or on the right hand, with the intention of annulling the power of the sign of the Cross and the fortification of Christians through Christ. Apart from this method, namely of pressuring people into accepting his mark through starvation, he will seek to entirely eradicate the commemoration of the name of Christ from the face of the earth[cxvii]. He himself will never tolerate uttering the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit[cxviii]. His assistants in the opus of marking and distribution of foods will be governors that will be appointed by him[cxix]. This of course presupposes that he has already acquired complete control over the distribution of goods; furthermore, it is obvious from the text that the marking will precede the pseudo miracles of the Antichrist, because any Christian who has not received the mark will not be deceived by those miracles, as Saint Ephraim expressly mentions.
Saint Cyril of Jerusalem (AD 313-387) also notes (apart from things already mentioned above) that the devil engendered the divisions between the nations in order for the Antichrist to become more easily accepted: "for the devil is preparing schisms among the nations in order for the one who comes [Antichrist] to become admissible". He also adds that the Antichrist will seize the Roman power by dint of his magical art, at a time when ten Roman kings will be ruling ten different kingdoms during the same time period, and vanquishing three of them. The Antichrist will deceive the Jews by pretending to be the Messiah and the gentiles through his "miracles". Given that the Antichrist will be a formidable opponent, the Lord advised all those Christians who are too weak to stand up to martyrdom to take refuge in the mountains[cxx]. The Antichrist's reign will last only three and a half years, as already described in Daniel's prophecy[cxxi]. He will rebuild the destroyed Temple of Solomon, which is where he will also be enthroned (but not in the Temple of the Resurrection of course).[read also here].
Saint John the Damascene (AD 680-784) includes in his "Dogmatics" (i.e. in his work "Precise description of the Orthodox Faith") a small chapter referring to the person of the Antichrist. In this chapter he underlines among other things that a necessary precondition for his coming is the preaching of the Gospel to all nations. The Antichrist will be born through fornication and will be raised secretly; he will revolt suddenly and seize all authority. In the beginning he will feign sanctity but later on, his hatred for the Church will become evident. His false miracles will fool only those with a spiritually unsound and unstable mindset. He will be enthroned in the Temple of Jerusalem; not the Christian one but the Jewish one. Enoch and Elijah the Tishbite will be sent forth to preach against him and they will be put to death by him. This will be followed by the coming of the Lord from heaven. And Saint John concludes: "So, let no one wait for the Lord to come from the earth, but from heaven, as He personally assured us"[cxxii].
Finally, we would mention as very characteristic the information (among many other things) recorded by Andrew of Caesarea (6th century) in his memorandum on the Book of Revelation: the Antichrist will hail from lands east of the Persian land[cxxiii].
Of course, the "Antichrist" topic includes many other facets, the way that they are unfolded in the Holy Bible and Patristic texts: the tyrannical rule of the Antichrist, his furious persecutions against the Church and the preservation of many faithful through their intensive prayer and tortuous self-exile (and naturally not through militant resistance)[cxxiv], his inability to save his worshippers from hunger and the natural catastrophes that are the outcome of their apostasy from the true God, the limit of his tyranny to three and a half years; but also the final and eternal perdition of the Antichrist himself, Satan - as well as the false prophet and all those who were convinced by them - in the river of fire, these cannot all be presented here - for the sake of brevity - which is why we refer the reader to the already cited holy texts.
If the aforementioned expectations of the New Agers are interpreted on the basis of a non-believing logic, then they can only be considered as utopian desires of aspiring world rulers. However, after comparing what they have to say about the future status quo to the prophecies of the Holy Apostles and the Fathers, we are led to two possibilities: a) either that the New Agers after having read the Christian prophecies are striving to render them verifiable (something rather impossible to achieve) or b) that the prophecies that were uttered in the Holy Spirit were describing the present-day preparations of the followers of the Antichrist, thousands of years ago, based on the infallible uncreated foreknowledge of God, which the prophesying Prophets, Apostles and Fathers were partakers of. Of course, we do not know when God will eventually permit the successful fruition of their plans; nevertheless, informing, spiritual vigilance and spiritual resistance are all imperative:
"By all those who have a knowledge of God and prudence, the coming of the tyrant will be immediately recognized; however, by those whose minds are focused on mundane things and desirous of earthly ones, it will not be easily discernible. Because the one who is constantly attached to mundane things, even if he does hear of it will show faithlessness, as he avoids the one who speaks of it. That us why the faithful are encouraged to depart: because they have renounced every care of this life."[cxxv].
[i] 2 Thess. 2:7
[ii] A. Theodorou, The Antichrist idea, p.7
[iii] Gen. 3:1-5
[iv] St. John Chrysostom, On the Gospel according to John 41, PG 59:236. Ibid. On 2 Thessalonians 4:1, PG 62:48
[v] M. Basilea Schlink, New Age from a biblical viewpoint, Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary, Great Britain 1988 (first English edition), p.7ff
[vi] Comparative religion is the branch of the science of religion that usually studies the world's religions and their diachronic evolution through comparison. This trend to compare became popular in the science of religion for the first [vii] Shirley J. Nicholson, "Theosophical Society", in The Encyclopedia of Religion 14 (1987) 464. For a general critique on Theosophy, cf. P. N. Trembelas, Theosophy, ed. "O Soter", Athens 19883. time in the 19th century and has flourished since
[viii] M. Basilea Schlink, New Age from a biblical viewpoint, op. cit., p.10ff. Cf. Protopresbyter Anthony Alevizopoulos, Occultism, Guruism, New Age, ed. H. M. Nicopolis, Preveza 1990, pp.100-108. Also cf. P. Skaltzes, Gnosticism, "New Age" and the Orthodox tradition, ed. H.M. Serres and Nigriti, Serres 1994.
[ix] Indicatively, cf. P. N. Trembelas Masonism (Freemasonry), ed. "O Soter", Athens 19865, pp. 23ff. 122ff. Archimandrite Epiphanios Theodoropoulos, Masonry under the light of truth, ed. "Orthodox Press", Athens 19885, pp. 95-107. The fundamental position of humanist and relativist ethics accepted in Masonry is accepted by the Freemasons themselves: "In der Sittlichkeit findet die Freimauererei das allen Religionen Gemeinsame, die Religion, in der alle Menschen ubereinstimmen konnen, die aber nicht al seine gottliche Offenbarung aufgefabt witd" (Eugen Lennhoff - Oskar Posner, Internationales Freimauer - Lexikon, Amalthea Verlag, Wien - Munchen 1975 v.1466)
[x] P. N. Trembelas, Theosophy, op. cit. p.13. Protopresbyter Anthony Alevizopoulos, Occultism in the light of Orthodoxy, issues 4-10, Athens 1996, p.124ff.
[xi] 2 Thessalonians 2:7
[xii] St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechesis for the Illuminated 15:18 PG 33:896A
[xiii] Cf. Matthew 24:44 Mark 13:33 Luke 21:36
[xiv] Matthew 24:3
[xv] 2 Corinthians 11:14
[xvi] St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechesis for the Illuminated 15:4 PG 33:876AB
[xvii] Share International magazine, http://www.shareintl.org/magazine/SI_main.htm . Benjamin Creme: a messenger of hope, http://www.shareintl.org/background/bcreme/bc_main.htm
[xviii] Glossary of esoteric terms, http://www.shareintl.org/background/glossary/g_main.htm and also The Ageless Wisdom Teachings in brief, http://www.shareintl.org/background/awteachings/AWT_main.htm .
[xix] The art of Self-realization, http://www.shareintl.org/archives/M_teachings/Mt_art-self-realiz.htm
[xx] Maitreya's teachings on religion (2), http://www.shareintl.org/archives/AgelessWisdom/aw_Mt-religion.htm : "Self-realization is God-realization. The teaching of the Master inspires you to look within. This has nothing to do with religion, politics or any form of ideology".
[xxi] Glossary of esoteric terms, op. cit.
[xxii] The practice of Self-realization, http://www.shareintl.org/archives/M_teachings/Mt-pract-Self-realiz.htm. A Prayer for the New Age, http://www.shareintl.org/archives/M_teachings/Mt-prayer-newage.htm.
[xxiii] Benjamin Creme, Frequently Asked Questions, http://www.shareintl.org/background/FAQ/faq_main.htm
[xxiv] Maitreya's teachings on religion (1), http://www.shareintl.org/archives/M_teachings/Mt_religion.htm
[xxv] The practice of Self-realization, op. cit.
[xxvi] The Law of Cause and Effect, http://www.shareintl.org/archives/M_teachings/Mt_law-cause-effect.htm
[xxvii] Maitreya's teachings on religion (1), op. cit.
[xxviii] Glossary of esoteric terms, op. cit.
[xxix] Free Newsletter, http://www.shareintl.org/newsletter/newsletter.htm
[xxx] By the Master, through Benjamin Crème, The Son of Man, http://www.shareintl.org/archives/M_mission/mm_sonoman.htm: "The Christ comes as a man among men, but a man who has achieved the fullness of divinity".
[xxxi] Maitreya's worldwide appearances, http://www.shareintl.org/maitreya/Ma_wwa.htm . Signs and miracles, http://www.shareintl.org/background/miracles/MI_main.htm
[xxxii] Benjamin Creme, Frequently Asked Questions, op. cit.
[xxxiii] Benjamin Creme, The esoteric work of the Christ, http://www.shareintl.org/archives/M_mission/Mm_bcesoteric.htm
[xxxiv] By the Master, through Benjamin Creme, His name is Love, http://www.shareintl.org/archives/M_teachings/Mt_mas-name-love.htm
[xxxv] By the Master, through Benjamin Creme, The Son of Man, op. cit.: "So far from the general notion is He that He would pass unnoticed in the crowd... Only His Declaration before the world will establish Him in the sight and hearts of men".
[xxxvi] Highlights of Maitreya's public emergence, http://www.shareintl.org/maitreya/Ma_emerge.htm
[xxxvii] Benjamin Creme, Frequently Asked Questions, op. cit. Free newsletter, op. cit.: "As the benevolent changes he inspires become realities, he awaits an invitation from humanity to enter into full public life".
[xxxviii] The Law of Cause and Effect, op. cit.
[xxxix] Free newsletter, op. cit.
[xl] Peter Liefhebber, Jesus of Nazareth and Maitreya the Christ, http://www.shareintl.org/archives/AgelessWisdom/aw_pl-JnM.htm
[xli] By the Master, through Benjamin Creme, The Masters in the world, http://www.shareintl.org/archives/AgelessWisdom/aw_mas-masters.htm
[xlii] UFOs - Frequently Asked Questions, http://www.shareintl.org/archives/UFOs/faq_UFOs.htm
[xliii] Maitreya's teachings on religion (2), op. cit.: "He does, indeed, come with a ‘celestial army', which will be largely invisible to the bulk of humanity for a very long time to come. Many great and powerful Angels (Devas) attend the Christ and carry our His plans".
[xliv] By the Master, through Benjamin Creme, Co-workers with God, http://www.shareintl.org/archives/AgelessWisdom/aw_mas-co-works.htm
[xlv] By the Master, through Benjamin Creme, The Guardians, http://www.shareintl.org/archives/AgelessWisdom/aw_mas-guardians.htm
[xlvi] Maitreya's teachings on religion (1), op. cit.
[xlvii] By the Master, through Benjamin Creme, The return of the Christ, http://www.shareintl.org/archives/M_teachings/Mt-mas-return.htm
[xlviii] Ageless Wisdom teachings and spirituality, http://www.shareintl.org/archives/AgelessWisdom/faq_trad-ageless.htm
[xlix] By the Master, through Benjamin Creme, Maitreya's Call, http://www.shareintl.org/archives/M_teachings/Mt_mas-M_call.htm
[l] By the Master, through Benjamin Creme, The return of the Christ, http://www.shareintl.org/archives/AgelessWisdom/aw_mas-returnofX.htm : "The task before the Christ will be so to guide this mounting cry for freedom, sharing and peace that the minimum cleavage results."
[li] Benjamin Creme, Frequently Asked Questions, op. cit.: "Many will accept me, but not all. Nevertheless, my Army of Light will surely triumph".
[lii] Maitreya's teachings on religion (1), op. cit.: "Those who cling to old forms will create division after division"
[liii] Maitreya's priorities, http://www.shareintl.org/maitreya/Ma_prior.htm : "It will be the last to disappear, but eventually totalitarianism in the churches will go. Then humanity will know freedom for the first time: political freedom, economic freedom and justice, and freedom of thought and belief".
[liv] Glimpses of the future, http://www.shareintl.org/archives/archives/M_teachings/Mt-future.htm
[lv] Maitreya's priorities, op. cit.: "A sophisticated form of barter, on a global scale, will eventually replace the present economic system".
[lvi] Free newsletter, op. cit.
[lvii] Science, medicine and technology in the Age of Light, http://www.shareintl.org/archives/M_teachings/Mt_sci-med-tech.htm
[lviii] Glimpses of the future, op. cit. The environment will become the number one issue, http://www.shareintl.org/archives/M_teachings/Mt_environment.htm
[lix] Benjamin Creme, Frequently Asked Questions, op. cit.
[lx] Glimpses of the future, op. cit.
[lxi] Benjamin Creme, The esoteric work of the Christ, op. cit.
[lxii] Benjamin Creme, Frequently Asked Questions, op. cit.
[lxiii] Zechariah 3:1
[lxiv] This is a view that immediately brings to mind the adoptive-related heretical theological systems of the first centuries of the Ecclesia and of Nestorianism. In these there is mention on "adoption" of the person of Jesus of Nazareth by an impersonal power-Logos (Paul of Samosata) or by the person of the Son and Logos who is God (Nestorius) respectively; in none of these cases do we meet a divine hypostasis (Son) in two perfect natures (divine and human).
[lxv] Apollonius of Tyana (1st century AD) was a Pythagorean philosopher from Cappadocia, a traveller, a fervent lover of the idolatrous ethics, a miracle-worker and a man of strictly ascetical behaviour. The Neo-Platonic philosophers Hierocles and Porphyrius projected him as a counterpart to the person of the Lord Jesus.
[lxvi] Peter Liefhebber, Jesus of Nazareth and Maitreya the Christ, op. cit.
[lxvii] Aart Jurriaanse, The Master Jesus, http://www.shareintl.org/archives/AgelessWisdom/aw_ajJesus.htm (last modified 28 Feb. 2000)
[lxviii] Benjamin Creme, Frequently Asked Questions, op. cit.
[lxix] Aart Jurriaanse, The Master Jesus, op. cit.
[lxx] Maitreya and Jesus, http://www.shareintl.org/maitreya/Ma_&jesus.htm : "With the emergence of Maitreya, the Master Jesus is playing a major role for the second time. This open collaboration, which will be visible to all, will end any lingering doubts concerning the true relationship between Maitreya the Christ and his disciple, the Master Jesus". With "Christ's" coming, "freed of the man-made dogmas and doctrines, the Christian Bible will find a new lease of life in the demonstration of the age-old story of initiation through the Gospel of the life of Jesus, and as a constant reminder of the interaction of God and man in man's long journey to divinity" (Maitreya's teachings on religion (1), op. cit.)
[lxxi] Benjamin Creme, Frequently Asked Questions, op. cit.
[lxxii] Maitreya's teachings on religions (1), op. cit.: "There is really no contradiction between the different religions. Religions have been trapped through words and slogans into vying with each other. This competition will disappear and the essence will remain. Hindus, Christians, Muslims, Jews and Buddhists will all experience Oneness".
[lxxiii] Aart Jurriaanse, Individual Masters, http://www.shareintl.org/archives/AgelessWisdom/aw_aji-masters.htm "One of the special projects on which Master KH is at present engaged, in close collaboration with the Masters Morya and Jesus, is to find a basis for the synthesis of Eastern and Western religious thought, with the objective of eventually developing the One Word Religion, which will serve as the common bond for the unification of humanity".
[lxxiv] Free newsletter, op. cit.
[lxxv] Benjamin Creme, Frequently Asked Questions, op. cit.
[lxxvi] Maitreya's teachings on religion (1), op. cit.: "Churches, mosques and temples will become meeting places, as well as centres where those in need can be helped by others ... Maitreya will go from country to country and in the temples which will be set up in various countries He will act as the Initiator for those ready for this experience".
[lxxvii] Maitreya's teachings on religion (1), op. cit.
[lxxviii] Religious Science terminology uses the term "orthodox" to signify the "fundamentalists" of every religion: Orthodox Judaizers etc. It does not necessarily refer to Orthodox Christians.
[lxxix] Benjamin Creme, Frequently Asked Questions, op. cit.: "It may be that the orthodox Christian leaders will be among the last to recognize the Christ. He is not the one and only Son of God, but the friend and Elder Brother of Humanity".
[lxxx] Maitreya's teachings on religion (1), op. cit.
[lxxxi] After 1885, Helena Blavatsky was already publishing a magazine entitled "Lucifer".
[lxxxii] The Ageless Wisdom Teachings in brief, http://www.shareintl.org/background/archives/AgelessWisdom/aw_pl666.htm
[lxxxiii] Peter Liefhiebber, 666 and other misunderstandings, http://www.shareintl.org/archives/AgelessWisdom/aw_pl666.htm
[lxxxiv] M. Basilea Schlink, New Age from a biblical viewpoint, op. cit. p.17ff.
[lxxxv] Rev. Howard Ray Carey, Bible prophecy & the second coming, http://www.shareintl.org/archives/AgelessWisdom/the_joy/aw_hcBprophecy.htm
[lxxxvi] An extensive presentation of the hagiographical and patristic witness on the subject of the person of the Antichrist is made by Professor A. Theodorou, op. cit. Also in a recent edition of the same study by A. Theodorou, The hour of the Antichrist, ed. "Parousia", Athens 1997.
[lxxxvii] John 5:43
[lxxxviii] John 5:44: "How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?"
[lxxxix] Matthew 24. Mark 13. Luke 21.
[xc] Luke 21:11
[xci] St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechesis of the Illuminated; 15:5-9. PG 33:876A-880B
[xcii] Matthew 24:23-27
[xciii] Apart from the Temple of Jerusalem (viz. the Judaic one of Solomon), St. John Chrysostom and Theophylact also include all the Christian Churches. Theodoretus and Ecumenius include only the Christian Churches and not the Temple of Jerusalem. St. Irenaeus, St. Hippolytus, St. Cyril of Jerusalem and Origen include only the Temple of Solomon. John Galanis, The Second epistle of Apostle Paul to the Thessalonians, Interpretation of the NT 11b, ed. P. Pournaras, Thessalonica 1989, pp. 178ff.
[xciv] St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite mentions that even if we examine only the words of Apostle Paul, that the Antichrist will be a "man of perdition" and that he will attempt to prove himself as God, these suffice to condemn the view of those who make the Antichrist to be whole nations or states. St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite, Interpretation on the 14 Epistles of Apostle Paul, Tome III, ed. "Orthodox Kypseli", Thessalonica 1990, p.113, footnote 14
[xcv] John Galanis, op. cit. pp.185ff.
[xcvi] On 2 Thessalonians PG 66, 933C: "Ώσπερ δε αψίδος σφιγγείσης και λαβούσης την οικείαν κατασκευήν, η υποσκευή αίρεται, μένει δε μόνη η αψίς στερρά, ούτως ο διάβολος τας αιρέσεις τας πολλάς και τας της πλάνης οδούς αντί υποσκευής υπέθηκεν, ώσπερ αψίδα, μεγίστην την εαυτού προσκύνησιν προκατασκευάζων, ίν' όταν έλθη εκδικών πάσας τας αιρέσεις και αυτός καταργή, γυμνήν την εαυτού προσκύνησιν εισάγων ανθρώποις".
[xcvii] We are aware that the Holy Monastery of Devout Nicodemus in Goumenissa, Kilkis, is preparing a special edition on the Antichrist and his mark, which we await with great interest.
[xcviii] Daniel 7.
[xcix] Aretha of Caesarea, Memorandum on Revelation 36, PG 106:672A. Cf. Andrew of Caesarea, Interpretation on Revelation 36, PG 106:332D. P. Bratsiotes, John's Revelation, ed. Ch. P. Synodinus, in Athens, 1955, p.208.
[c] As can be seen by the name quotes in Revelation 16:13; 20:10; and especially 19:20
[ci] Andrew of Caesarea, op. cit. 36:37, PG 106:333BC.337A
[cii] As Andrew of Caesarea underlines, ibid. 37, PG 106:340
[ciii] Rev. 13:1-18
[civ] Rev. 17:12-14
[cv] Rev. 20:1-10
[cvi] Rev. 11:3-13; the Fathers, the older interpreters and also some of the contemporary ones agree that these two martyrs are the prophets Elijah and Enoch, who have not yet known death (cf. Gen. 5:24. 4 Kings 2:11). Cf. P. Bratsiotes, op. cit. p.180
[cvii] Cf. also P. Bratsiotes, op. cit. p.214ff. Archimandrite Joel Yannacopoulos, Interpretation of the Book of Revelation, ed. P. Pournaras, Thessalonica 19912, p.144-148; S. Agourides, John's Revelation, Interpretation of the NT 18, ed. P. Pournaras, Thessalonica 1994, p.315
[cviii] Also relevant but in an indirect kind of way is his hermeneutical work On Daniel, PG 10:637A-669A.
[cix] P. Christou, Greek Patrology, Tome II ed. PIPM, Thessalonica 1978, p.736ff.
[cx] On the Christ and the Antichrist, PG 10:737A-740A
[cxi] On the end of the world 26, PG 10:929A
[cxii] On the end of the world 28 and 24.25, PG 10:932B. 928AB
[cxiii] Homily on Christ's coming, on the end of the world and on the coming of the Antichrist; also three homilies On the Coming of Christ, in the Works of Devout Ephraim, Text - translation - commentary K.G. Franjola, ed. "The Garden of Panagia", tome IV, 1992, pp.111-128, 180-184, 185-191 and 192-199
[cxiv] Homily on the coming of the Lord, and on the end of the world, and on the coming of the Antichrist, op. cit. p.119ff
[cxv] Homily on the coming of the Lord, op. cit. p.111ff
[cxvi] On the coming of the Lord, op. cit. p.189ff
[cxvii] Homily on the coming of the Lord, op. cit. pp.112-114. 117
[cxviii] On the coming of the Lord, op. cit. p.191
[cxix] On the coming of the Lord, op. cot. P.182
[cxx] Matthew 24:16
[cxxi] Daniel 7:25. 12:7. St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechesis of the Illuminated 15:9. 11. 12. 15. 16.PG 33:880C. 884B-885C. 889A-893A
[cxxii] Detailed description of the Orthodox Church 4 (26) 99 PG 94:1216A-1217C
[cxxiii] Andrew of Caesarea, Interpretation on Revelation 51, PG 106:368C
[cxxiv] As indicated by verse Rev. 13:9 that urges a passive resistance of the Christians, as befits a time of persecution. Cf. P. Bratsiotes, op. cit. p.212
[cxxv] Devout Ephraim the Syriac, On the Coming of the Lord 3, op. cit. p.197