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The Antichrist

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In Holy Scripture the term Antichrist has a twofold meaning. In a broad and general sense this word indicates every person hostile to christ's teaching (the Greek prefix Anti- signifies against).

This is the meaning St. John the Theologian used to speak of many Antichrists in his epistles. In a particular sense the name Antichrist signifies a definite person — the leading adversary of christ who is to appear before the end of the world.

The appearance of this definite Antichrist on the world scene constitutes the final and decisive sign that the Second Coming of christ is at hand.

All the growing aversion towards god on the part of mankind close to the end of the world will become, so to speak, concentrated in this definite man of sin, who will lead the final desperate battle against christianity.

A number of external factors will have to play a significant role in strengthening the power of the coming Antichrist. Possibly, during his time the threat of nuclear and biological warfare, or the specter of a horrible political and economic crisis will hang over mankind. Governments will be on the verge of collapse, and nations in turmoil and revolt.

Then, on the murky waters of a global cataclysm, a "brilliant" leader will surface as the sole savior of mankind. Backing him will be a formidable organization with the goal of global domination. With its support the Antichrist will emerge with a prepared program of socio-economic reforms, which will be actively supported and advocated by the mass media. What will be the secret of the Antichrist's persuasive power and his ability to direct world events?

We can envision him as a gifted and inflammatory orator, like Lenin or Hitler. his ideas and propositions will be readily accepted because they will express the thoughts and feelings of the masses of his materialistic epoch.

One would think that many Jews, opposed to christianity, will see in the Antichrist their long-awaited Messiah, while the majority of people will be inspired by hopes that he will put an end to wars and crises and will bring about a general prosperity. Having in mind such a blindness among people who fail to see the catastrophe hanging over their heads, St. Paul wrote: "And they shall not escape" .

The Antichrist will not be content with mere political authority and outward transformations. Praised by all, he will become so conceited that he will regard himself as a superhuman endowed with divine power. He will proclaim a new world-view — a new religion and new morality in place of "outmoded" and "unsuccessful" christian teaching. Possessed by delusions of grandeur, he will present himself as god and sit in the temple, (possibly in Jerusalem's temple rebuilt where the King Solomon's temple) used to be demanding divine worship.

According to St. Paul, the activities of the Antichrist will be extremely successful, being supported by Satan, and accompanied by lying signs, false miracles, and all kinds of unrighteous deception of the perishing. By signs and miracles of the Antichrist we should understand not only the deceptive tricks aimed to delight the crowd but also the highest accomplishments of science, which will be exploited to strengthen his rule (the false prophet had the "power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.")

The most sophisticated form of surveillance on people will be used to control their activities. Those wishing to buy or to sell anything will have to present official permission to do so ("no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.")

Radio, TV programs, and the press will strive to shape the most favorable image of the world Leader in order to strengthen his political power and admiration among people. Any person daring to question the genius of this Leader, or disagreeing with his measures, will be ridiculed, persecuted, and ultimately destroyed as a public enemy.

An image of the coming Antichrist is portrayed by the prophet Daniel in the appearance of a minor horn. Here the prophet describes the characteristics of the Syrian King Antioch Epiphanos – the cruel persecutor of the faithful Jews about 175-164 BC — as a prototype of the Antichrist.

In the book of Revelation, the Antichrist is depicted as a beast, coming out of the sea. Some of the characteristics of this monster remind us of the Roman emperors Nero and Domitian, fierce persecutors of christians in the first century AD. These emperors were contemporaries of St. John who wrote the book of Revelation. To avoid confusion, one should bear in mind that in the book of Revelation the term beast applies not only to the personal Antichrist but also to the whole governmental machine of his Anti-christian empire.

The distinctive features, personality and mode of operation of the Antichrist are described by St. Cyrill of Jerusalem in his Cathechetical Letters and by St. Ephraim the Syrian in his Homily on the Coming of the lord and the Antichrist. The famous Russian philosopher Vladimir S. Soloviev attempted to depict the coming of the Antichrist in his Tale of the Antichrist, but his representation and occasionally joking style do not convey all the horror and utter gloom which will threaten mankind in its final period of existence.

His tale is a naive idyll when compared to the horror which will dominate people who have lost god. Studying the historical prototypes of the coming Antichrist, like the king Antioch Epithanos, emperors Nero and Domitian, Lenin and similar "genius" rulers, certain general traits come to mind. All of them in general were worthless people, both in the intellectual and the governmental arena.

They came to power not because of their exceptional talents or achievements but because of favorable circumstances. They were more conspirators than governors. All of them suffered from disproportionate delusions of grandeur; in their personal lives they were liars, immoral and cruel. One may speculate that the final world Leader will be distinguished by similar traits.

If we take literally the time indicated by Holy Scripture regarding the rule of the beast, the activity of the Antichrist will last for about 3 1/2 years. It will end with the Second Coming of christ, the General Resurrection of the Dead, and the Last Judgement.

The Jews had the custom of gathering under the leadership of their elders, by the city gates, for the discussion of political, legal and social questions. These meetings were the last appeal of all litigation, and here all divine commandments were announced. They were vested with a definite authority among the people. This Jewish custom of meeting at the city gates is mentioned in the Book of Ruth.

The “gates” of hell” signifies not only the forces of hell, but in general staff of Hell’s power. Their most important meeting is dedicated to developing a plan for a general battle with the church. The church and Hell are represented as two warring powers.

All of the evil in its fullest strength which human nature can accept and endure will be concentrated in the person of the Antichrist. Thousands of years were required to develop and perfect the kind of human seed that was required to receive the purest most perfect Fruit of the human tree in the person of the Most Blessed Virgin.

Comparably, for the appearance of the most depraved fruit, capable of containing within itself all Satanic malice, an entire line of human generations will be demanded in the direction of greatest corruption and defilement of human nature, based upon mad hatred towards christ and war against his Church.

Of course, to the degree that evil strengthens in man’s will, diabolic activity within man will increase also, as the devil thus receives greater access to man’s soul. Inasmuch as the Antichrist’s personal evil will and its corruption will reach the limit of its greatest growth, the relationship of the devil to him will reach the limit of maximum nearness, which will be expressed in the devil himself continuously acting in the person of the Antichrist, “god”, says St. John of Damascus, “Foreseeing future depravity of his will (the Antichrist’s) will allow the devil to inhabit him.”
Laktancy, Gezihy of Jerusalem and Blessed Heronim, call the Antichrist the son of Satan.

In agreement with such teachings of the Holy Fathers, the life of the Antichrist cannot admit one moment free from Satanic action. It must already appear in the very birth and even in his conception, peculiar and exceptional in its depravity. “From a defiled virgin will actually be born his (the devil’s) weapon.” says St. Ephrem the Syrian. This is also confirmed by St. John of Damascus. “A man (the Antichrist) will be born from fornication.”
The Antichrist will be of Jewish ancestry, from the tribe of Dan.

In the Synaksare, stated in the Week of Lent without meat, we read that, “The Antichrist will come and be born, as St. Ippolit of Rome declares, from a depraved wife and self-styled virgin, which is from the Jews, from the tribe of Dan.”

In the prophecies of Patriarch Jacob about each of his sons becoming the progenitors of the tribes of Israel, the fate of Dan’s ancestors is depicted in such a way that can only be ascribed to the Antichrist. “Dan shall be a serpent on the way, an adder in the path…”

In the prophecies of the Apocalypse, enumerating the remainder of all the tribes of Israel, marked by the Angel for salvation, the tribe of Dan is absolutely excluded.

Of course, some resemblance of the Antichrist to christ will only be external and in essence deceitful, for the whole life and all the deeds of the Antichrist will be an incensed and blasphemous revolt against christ and his church. This false external resemblance to christ will appear in the very birth of the Antichrist.

Keeping in mind that christ was born a Virgin, the devil will produce his weapon from a virgin, not from a pure virgin, however, but from one filled with every vice and Satanic filth. Then, as the lord until he was thirty years old remained in obscurity, so the Antichrist, we assume, will, until the age of 30, remain in clandestine solitude and obscurity.

On the day when the Antichrist shall enter into Jerusalem as the false Messiah, forever and irrevocably the fate of his contemporaries will be decided. Blessed are those who, on the last day given by god for the conclusive self-determination of the people, will see the Antichrist as Satan’s servant and the inescapable peril of all mankind which recognized him. Finally, as the lord revealed Himself to the world and fulfilled his service as a Prophet, as King and as High Priest, so will the Antichrist concentrate all this triple power in his hands and complete his destructive service as the teacher of all mankind, as the monarch of an international monarchy and as the highest primate of all religions, demanding reverence for himself as god.

The FIRST PERIOD of the Antichrist from the day of birth to the moment of his social

The SECOND PERIOD of the Antichrist’s life will be opened by his thunderous entry (on the world stage – my addition) in the role of a universal teacher or “prophet”. It is very possible that he will begin his activity during a world war, when people, enduring all its horrors, will not see any way out of the calamitous dead end. All the concealed levers for the solution will be in the hands of a secret society assisting the Antichrist.

The Antichrist will offer the most successful project for solving the world crisis from the perspective of political and social wisdom, which would establish a uniform political and social order in the whole world. Exhausted from the shock of war, spiritually blinded humanity will not only by unaware that this project is a cowardly trap, enticing it into the most degrading and merciless slavery, but on the contrary, will recognize it as a manifestation of scholarship and genius.

Universal advertisement about the Antichrist as a brilliant thinker, new leader, and savior of mankind, will thunder over all nations in the shortest possible period of time.

In this period of his activity, the Antichrist will not use any force and will try to win men’s trust and affection with his deceitful and hypocritical public mask of virtue. He, according to the expression of Vladimir Soloviev, “will throw a gleaming veil of kindness and truth over the mystery of iniquity.” “He will come,” said St. Ephrem the Syrian, “in an image which will seduce everyone.

He will come as a humble, kind, hater of falsehood, rejecting idols, preferring piety and kindness, loving the poor, bearing extremely handsome features, constant, sweet to everyone, respecting especially the Jewish nation because they will be awaiting his coming…He will take sly measures to please everyone, will not accept gifts nor speak in anger, will not show an overcast countenance, but will entice the world with a decorous exterior until he is enthroned.”

As a result of such deceit, “the need to invite the Antichrist will arise” within the very temperament of man’s spirit. “A beckoning voice will resound in man’s society, expressing urgent need for a genius of geniuses, who would raise material development and prosperity to the highest degree and establish affluence on earth”.

The hypocrisy of the Antichrist in this period will reach the point that he, even in his relationship to christians, will not oppose them, but will appear ready to be their benefactor. He will try to imitate christ in the external, showy side of his life.

The majority of christians, not guided by the spiritual wisdom of the church, but by worldly wisdom, will not see this deceit, recognizing the Antichrist as christ who has come to earth a second time. The monks of the Solovetsky monastery pass on the answer given by Righteous Zosima to his disciples when he was asked how the Antichrist could be recognized. Righteous Zosima said, “When you will hear that christ has appeared on earth, know then that this is the Antichrist.” This answer is most precise. “The world or mankind will not recognize the Antichrist, it will recognize him as christ, it will proclaim him christ

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