"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11
| St. Ephraim Syrian on Antichrist|
Concerning the Coming of the Lord, the End of the World, and the Coming of the Antichrist
Shall I, the most small, sinful Ephraim, who am filled with transgressions, be in a state to express what is greater than my powers? But as the Saviour, according to His compassion, taught wisdom even to the illiterate, and by them enlightened the faithful everywhere, likewise will He make my tongue intelligible and unerring for the benefit and edification both of myself, who speak, and all who listen. Yet I shall begin my speech with pain, and with sighs shall I speak concerning the end of the present world and that most shameless and appalling serpent who will bring the whole world into tumult, and will put fear, cowardice, and terrible disbelief into the hearts of men. He will work wonders, signs, and terrifying spectacles, in so much that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect (Matt. 24:24), to delude all by false signs and indications of miracles wrought by him. For by permission of the Holy God, he will receive the power to deceive the world, because impiety will have filled the earth, and everywhere every sort of horror will be committed. Therefore, the most pure Master will permit, because of the godlessness of the people, that the world should be tempted by the spirit of falsehood, since men desired to apostatize from God and love the evil one.
Great will be the contest, O brethren, in those times, especially for the faithful, when signs and wonders will be wrought with great authority by the serpent himself; when he will show himself, in awful apparitions as being similar to God – he will fly about in the air, and all the demons, like angels, will exult before the tormentor. For he will cry aloud with might, transforming his countenance and dismaying all men without measure. Who, brethren, will then prove to be guarded, unshakable, having in his soul the faithful sign – the holy coming of the Only-Begotten Son, our God – as soon as he beholds this unspeakable affliction coming from every direction on every soul, since there will be for her utterly no comfort, neither rest, whatever, neither on the earth, nor on the sea; as soon as he beholds the whole world in turmoil, everyone fleeing to hide himself in the mountains, and some dying of hunger, others melting like wax from thirst, and no one will take pity; as soon as he sees every countenance pouring forth tears and with strong desire asking, “Is the word of God somewhere on the earth?” and hearing the answer, “Nowhere”? Who will bear these days, who will endure the insufferable affliction, as soon as he sees the mingling of the peoples, who come from the ends of the earth to see the tormentor, and many worshipping him, crying with trembling, “Thou art our Saviour”? The sea rebels, the earth dries up, the heavens do not give rain, plant life withers, and all those living in the eastern parts of the earth flee to the west because of the great terror, and likewise those living in the western parts of the earth flee to the east with trepidation. But the shameless one, having then taken power, will send the demons to all the ends of the earth to preach: “The great king has appeared in glory, come and see him.” And who will have such an adamantine soul as to endure all of these temptations? Where, as I said, will such a man be, whom all the angels would bless?
But I, O Christ-loving and perfect brethren, become horrified at just the recollection of the serpent, considering in myself that sorrow which will overtake men in that time, considering how cruel this despicable snake will prove to be to the human race, and how he will have still more malice towards the saints, who can overcome his illusory miracles. For there will be found many then who have pleased God, who will be able to save themselves with many prayers and unbearable weeping in mountains and in desert places. The Holy God, seeing their unspeakable wailing and sincere faith, will have compassion of them, as a tender father, and will cover them where they hide. Meanwhile, the most loathsome serpent will not cease to seek out the saints on the earth and the sea, thinking that he reigns already on earth, and that all have submitted to him. And not acknowledging his weakness and that pride, through which he fell, the wretch will design to make opposition at the very hour when the Lord will come from the heavens. He will bring about perturbation in the earth and terrify all by false magical signs.
All the time when the serpent shall come, there will be no calm on the earth; there will be great affliction, consternation, disorder, death and famine unto all the ends of the earth. And our Lord Himself said with His divine lips that such affliction was not from the beginning of the creation (Mark 13:19). How indeed can we sinners imagine this measureless and even unspeakable affliction, when God gave it such a name? Let everyone hold his mind with attention on the holy sayings of the Lord and Saviour, how He, according to His compassion, because of the extreme necessity and tribulation, wishes to cut short the days of sorrow, exhorting us and saying: Pray ye that your flight be not in winter, neither on the Sabbath (Matt: 20:24); and again: Watch ye therefore, and praying always that ye may be accounted worthy to escape these things ... and to stand before God (Luke 21:36), because the time is near. We are all plunged into this misfortune, but we do not believe. But let us ask unceasingly with tears and prayers, day and night prostrating ourselves before God, in order that we sinners may be saved. He who possesses tears and compunction, let him entreat the Lord to deliver us from the affliction that will come upon the earth, and that we see not this beast at all and do not hear of his dreadful spectacles. For there will be famines and earthquakes in diverse places (Matt. 24:7) and various sorts of death throughout the earth. A courageous soul will be required, that will be able to keep her life in the midst of these temptations. For if a man is proved to be even a little careless, he will easily be exposed to assaults and will be captured by the signs of the evil and cunning beast. And such a one will find no mercy for himself at the judgment; it will be revealed that he willfully believed in the tormentor.
Many prayers and tears are necessary for us, beloved ones, in order that some of us should prove firm in temptations, because many will be the illusions wrought by the beast. He is a wrestler against God, and desires to destroy all. For the tormentor will employ means such that all will have to bear the seal of the beast on themselves, when in his own time – that is at the fulfillment of time – he will come to deceive all with his wonders. At that time, only when one bears this seal will it be possible to purchase food and other necessities, and the beast will set overseers to carry out his orders. Take note, my brethren, of the boundless evil cunning of the beast and the subtleties of his maliciousness, how he begins with the stomach, in order that man, when he is brought to a state of extreme want of food, shall be forced to receive the seal of the beast, that is, the impious brand. He will not be required to receive this brand on just any member of the body, but on the right hand and also on the forehead, so that it will be impossible for a man to make the sign of the cross with his right hand, and likewise impossible to sign the holy name of the Lord and the glorious venerable Cross of Christ our Saviour on the forehead. For the wretch knows that the Cross of the Lord, signed upon a man, destroys all of his power, and therefore puts his seal upon a man's right hand, as it seals all of our members with the Cross. Similarly, on the forehead, like a lampstand, which carries the lamp of light on high, the sign of our Saviour. Wherefore, my brethren, a fearsome contest lies before those who love Christ, in order not to be dismayed before the hour of death comes, and not to remain in inaction when the snake shall brand his seal in the place of the Cross of the Saviour. For undoubtedly he utilizes such means so that even the name of the Lord and Saviour should not be named at that time. Indeed, the powerless one does this while trembling at and fearing the holy might of our Saviour. If anyone will not be sealed with the seal of the beast, then he shall not be captured by his illusory wonders. And the Lord forsakes not such ones, but enlightens them and draws them to Himself.
Brethren, we must understand with all exactness, the odious and illusory miracles of the enemy. Indeed our Lord will come to all of us in the stillness, and will repulse the subtleties of the beast for our sakes. Keeping the steadfast faith of Christ in purity, we will make the power of the tormentor falter. Let us acquire an unwavering and firm reason, and the powerless one will withdraw from us, being unable to do anything to us.
I entreat you brethren, being the least among you, let us not be lax, O Christ-lovers, rather let us strengthen ourselves even more by the power of the Cross. The inevitable contest is at the doors. Let us take up the shield of faith. Indeed, let us be ready, the faithful servants, and not receive that one. For the godless and savage thief will come beforehand, in his own time, with the intention of despoiling, blocking up, and ravaging the elected flock of the true Shepherd. Let us try to find out, O friends, under what appearance the shameless snake will come to the earth.
As the Saviour, having willed to save the human race, was born from the Virgin, and in human form trampled upon the enemy with the holy might of His Divinity, thus the enemy will contrive to take on the form of His coming that he might deceive us. Our Lord will come to the earth on light-bearing clouds, like terrible lightening; but the enemy will not come thus, because he is an apostate. In reality his weapon will be born of a defiled virgin, but this will not mean that he becomes incarnate. The most despicable one will come as a robber, in a manner such as to deceive all: he will come as one humble, meek, a hater (as he will say of himself) of unrighteousness, despising idols, giving preference to piety, good, lover of the poor, beautiful to an extreme degree, constant, gracious to all. He will especially esteem the Jewish race, since the Jews will await his coming. But together with all this, he will work signs and miracles, and dreadful spectacles with great authority; and he will use sly means to please all, so that the people will quickly fall in love with him. He will not accept bribes, speak with anger, show a gloomy countenance, but with a decorous exterior, he will take to deceiving the world, until he has become king. Whence, when the many classes and people will see such virtues and power, suddenly all will conceive the same thought, and with great joy will proclaim him king, saying among themselves, “Can another man so good and righteous be found?” He will quickly establish his kingdom, and in anger will defeat three great kings. And then this serpent will become proud in heart and vomit forth his bitterness; he will disturb the world, confront its limits, oppress all, and defile souls. Soon he will not show himself as a pious man, but at every opportunity he will act as a man who is harsh, brutal, wrathful, petulant, violent, indecent, terrible, disgusting, hateful, abominable, wicked, pernicious, shameless, who will strive to cast the entire human race into the crevice of impiety. He will work multitudinous signs – however, they will be false ones, having no reality. In the presence of a great crowd of people, who will praise him for his illusory wonders, he will give forth a mighty voice, from which the place whereon the crowd gathered before him will shutter, and he will say, “All peoples know my power and authority!” In the sight of the spectators, he will move mountains and call in islands from the sea, but all this will be by deception, and with illusion, not in reality. He will deceive the world, delude the sight of all; many will believe on him, and glorify him as the mighty God.
Then will every soul weep and sigh deeply; then all will see that unspeakable affliction pursues them day and night, and nowhere will they find food to satisfy their hunger. For the snake will appoint cruel overseers, and only he who has on his forehead and right arm the seal of the tormentor will be able to purchase a little food, whatever kind can be found. At that time infants will die on the bosoms of their mothers, and the mother will die on top of her children. Likewise, will a father perish with his wife and children in the middle of the marketplace, and there will be no one to bury them and put them in a grave. From the many corpses cast out upon the streets, there will be everywhere a stench which smites men heavily. With pains and sighs, each man will say in the morning, “When will evening come, that we might have rest?” But when evening comes, they will say to themselves with most bitter tears, “Will the dawn come soon, that we may escape the tribulation come upon us?” But there is nowhere to flee or hide because all is in turmoil, both the sea and dry land. For this reason the Lord told us: be vigilant, praying importunately to be delivered from the afflictions.
Stench on the sea, stench on dry land;
famine and earthquakes;
convulsion on the sea, convulsion on dry land;
fearful spectacles on the sea, fearful spectacles on dry land.
Much gold, silver, and sumptuous clothing will be of no use to anyone during these
trials; all men will called blessed the dead and those already buried before this great sorrow
came upon the earth.
Gold and silver spilled out in the streets,
and no one touches them,
because all this has become abhorrent.
But all hasten to flee and hide themselves,
and there is nowhere to cover themselves from the affliction.
On the contrary, during the famine, affliction, and terror,
flesh-eating beasts and reptiles will come to bite men.
Terror within; without; trembling;
day and night, corpses lie in the streets.
Stench in the streets, stench in the homes;i
hunger and thirst in the streets, hunger and thirst in the homes;
the sound of wailing in the streets, the sound of wailing in the homes;
uproar in the streets, uproar in the homes.
Men will meet one another with lamentation – father with son,
and son with father, and mother with daughter.
Friends in the streets embracing friends, end their lives;
brothers embracing brothers, die.
In all flesh, the beauty of the face fades,
and the appearance of men is that of the dead.
The beauty of women has become loathsome and odious.
All flesh and human desire will wither.
All who have believed the wicked beast and taken upon themselves his seal, the godless
brand of the foul one, will approach him suddenly and say dolorously,
“Give us to eat and drink, because we all perish, oppressed with hunger;
and also drive away from us these poisonous beasts.”
And this miserable one, not having the means for this, will give them answer with great
“From whence, people, shall I give you to eat and drink?
The sky does not wish to give the earth rain,
And the earth likewise gives neither harvest nor fruit."
The people, hearing this, will weep and shed tears, not having comfort in tribulation, but on the contrary, another unutterable sorrow is added to their affliction – namely that they so hastily believed in their tormentor. For he is poor, and has not the power to help himself, and how will he show them mercy? In those days, great will be the necessity from the many tribulations inflicted by the serpent, from terror and earthquake and raging of the sea, from hunger and thirst, and bites of beasts. And all who have received the seal of Antichrist, and have worshiped Antichrist as the good god, will have no part in Christ's Kingdom; rather they will be cast into hell together with the serpent. Blessed is he who will show himself holy and faithful, whose heart is given over incontrovertibly to God – for he will fearlessly repulse all the serpent's offers, disdaining both his tortures and illusions.
But before all this will come to pass, the Lord according to His mercy, will send Elias the Thesbite and Enoch, in order that they might proclaim to the human race the reverence of God, and boldly preach right knowledge to all, instructing them not to believe in the tormentor from fear, crying and saying: “O men, this is falsehood! Let no man believe in it at all; let no man submit himself to the wrestler against God; let no one of you become afraid because the beast will soon be brought to inaction. Behold the Holy Lord cometh from heaven to judge all who have believed in his signs.” But only a few then will wish to listen to and believe this preaching from the Prophets. The Saviour does this in order to display His unspeakable love for men, for even at that time He will not leave the human race without His preaching, in order that all will be without answer at the judgment.
Many of the saints, those who can be found at that time, at the coming of the execrable one, will shed rivers of tears before the Holy God, that He may deliver them from the serpent. With great haste they will flee into the wilderness, and with dread they will conceal themselves in mountains and caves; they will pour earth and ashes on their heads, praying day and night in great humility. And this will be granted them from the Holy God: His grace will lead them to the place determined for this, and they will save themselves, hiding in precipices and caves, not seeing the signs and terrifying spectacles of Antichrist, – because the coming of Antichrist will be made known without difficulty to those who have knowledge. But to him who has his mind on the affairs of this life, and loves the earthly, this will not be comprehensible; for he who is always tied to the matters of this life, although he even hear, he will not believe, and will despise him who says these things. But the saints will be strengthened, because they have scorned every care of this life.
All the earth and sea will weep then; the air will weep; and together the wild beasts and birds of heaven will weep; the mountains and hills and trees on the plains will weep; and the heavenly lamp will weep over the human race, because all men will have turned away from the holy God and will have believed in falsehood, taking for themselves in place of the Life-giving Cross of the Saviour, the brand of the foul one and assailant of God. The earth and the sea will weep because the sound of the psalms and prayers will suddenly cease from the lips of men. And the Church of Christ will weep with great weeping because the celebration of the divine service and offering will not be.
After the fulfillment of three and one-half years of the authority and activities of the impure one, and when all the temptations fill the whole earth, then at last the Lord shall come, according to His word, like lightening flashing from heaven. Our holy, most pure, terrible and glorious God will come with incomparable glory, the glory of the orders of the Angels and Archangels preceding Him; indeed, they are all a flaming fire. And the river of fire with terrible boiling, the Cherubim with their eyes downcast, and the Seraphim flying, covering their faces and feet with fiery wings, and crying out with trembling: “Stand up, ye who have fallen asleep, behold the Bridegroom cometh.” The graves will be opened, and in the twinkling of an eye, all the generations will awake and look aloft at the holy magnificence of the Bridegroom. Ten thousand ten thousand and a thousand thousand Angels and Archangels, innumerable hosts will rejoice with great joy. The saints and the righteous and all who did not receive the seal of the serpent, the vile one, will make merry. The tormentor, with all the demons, bound by the Angels, and likewise all who have received his seal, all the impious and sinners will be bound and led before the judgment seat. And the King will give sentence upon them of eternal damnation in the unquenchable fire. But all who did not receive the seal of Antichrist, and all who hid themselves in caves will rejoice with the Bridegroom in the eternal and heavenly bride-chamber with all the Saints until the boundless ages of ages. Amen.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
| 2020/10/12 13:56||Profile|
| Re: St. Ephraim Syrian on Antichrist|
ON THE LAST TIMES, THE ANTICHRIST, AND THE END OF THE WORLD
St. Ephraim the Syrian
Dearly beloved brothers, believe the Holy Spirit who speaks in us. We have already told you that the end of the world is near, the consummation remains. Has not faith withered away among mankind? How many foolish things are seen among youths, how many crimes among prelates, how many lies among priests, how many perjuries among deacons! There are evil deeds among the ministers, adulteries in the aged, wantonness in the youths—in mature women false faces, in virgins dangerous traces! In the midst of all this there are the wars with the Persians, and we see struggles with diverse nations threatening and “kingdom rising against kingdom’’ (Matt. 24:7). When the Roman Empire begins to be consumed by the sword, the coming of the Evil One is at hand. It is necessary that the world come to an end at the completion of the Roman empire.
In those days two brothers will come to the Roman empire who will rule with one mind; but because one will surpass the other, there will be a schism between them. And so the Adversary will be loosed and will stir up hatred between the Persian and Roman empires. In those days many will rise up against Rome; the Jewish people will be her adversaries. There will be stirrings of nations and evil reports, pestilences, famines, and earthquakes in various places. All nations will receive captives; there will be wars and rumors of wars. From the rising to the setting of the sun the sword will devour much. The times will be so dangerous that in fear and trembling they will not permit thought of better things, because many will be the oppressions and desolations of regions that are to come.
We ought to understand thoroughly therefore, my brothers, what is imminent or overhanging. Already there have been hunger and plagues, violent movements of nations and signs, which have been predicted by the Lord, they have already been fulfilled (consummated), and there is not other which remains, except the advent of the wicked one in the completion of the Roman kingdom. Why therefore are we occupied with worldly business, and why is our mind held fixed on the lusts of the world or on the anxieties of the ages? Why therefore do we not reject every care of worldly business, and why is our mind held fixed on the lusts of the world or on the anxieties of the ages? Why therefore do we not reject every care of earthly actions and prepare ourselves for the meeting of the Lord Christ, so that he may draw us from the confusion, which overwhelms all the world? Believe you me, dearest brother, because the coming (advent) of the Lord is nigh, believe you me, because the end of the world is at hand, believe me, because it is the very last time. Or do you not believe unless you see with your eyes? See to it that this sentence be not fulfilled among you of the prophet who declares: “Woe to those who desire to see the day of the Lord!” For all the saints and elect of God are gathered, prior to the tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins. And so, brothers most dear to me, it is the eleventh hour, and the end of the world comes to the harvest, and angels, armed and prepared, hold sickles in their hands, awaiting the empire of the Lord. And we think that the earth exists with blind infidelity, arriving at its downfall early. Commotions are brought forth, wars of diverse peoples and battles and incursions of the barbarians threaten, and our regions shall be desolated, and we neither become very much afraid of the report nor of the appearance, in order that we may at least do penance; because they hurl fear at us, and we do not wish to be changed, although we at least stand in need of penance for our actions!
When therefore the end of the world comes, there arise diverse wars, commotions on all sides, horrible earthquakes, perturbations of nations, tempests throughout the lands, plagues, famine, drought throughout the thoroughfares, great danger throughout the sea and dry land, constant persecutions, slaughters and massacres everywhere, fear in the homes, panic in the cities, quaking in the thoroughfares, suspicions in the male, anxiety in the streets. In the desert people become senseless, spirits melt in the cities. A friend will not be grieved over a friend, neither a brother for a brother, nor parents for their children, nor a faithful servant for his master, but one inevitability shall overwhelm them all; neither is anyone able to be recovered in that time, who has not been made completely aware of the coming danger, but all people, who have been constricted by fear, are consumed because of the overhanging evils.
Whenever therefore the earth is agitated by the nations, people will hide themselves from the wars in the mountains and rocks, by caves and caverns of the earth, by graves and memorials of the dead, and there, as they waste away gradually by fear, they draw breath, because there is not any place at all to flee, but there will be concession and intolerable pressure. And those who are in the east will flee to the west, and moreover, those who are in the west shall flee to the east, and there is not a safer place anywhere, because the world shall be overwhelmed by worthless nations, whose aspect appears to be of wild animals more than that of men. Because those very much horrible nations, most profane and most defiled, who do not spare lives, and shall destroy the living from the dead, shall consume the dead, they eat dead flesh, they drink the blood of beasts, they pollute the world, contaminate all things, and the one who is able to resist them is not there. In those days people shall not be buried, neither Christian, nor heretic, neither Jew, nor pagan, because of fear and dread there is not one who buries them; because all people, while they are fleeing, ignore them.
Whenever the days of the times of those nations have been fulfilled, after they have destroyed the earth, it shall rest; and now the kingdom of the Romans is removed from everyday life, and the empire of the Christians is handed down by God and Peter; and then the consummation comes, when the kingdom of the Romans begins to be fulfilled, and all dominions and powers have been fulfilled. Then that worthless and abominable dragon shall appear, he, whom Moses named in Deuteronomy, saying: Dan is a young lion, reclining and leaping from Basan. Because he reclines in order that he may seize and destroy and slay. Indeed (he is) a young whelp of a lion not as the lion of the tribe of Judah, but roaring because of his wrath, that he may devour. “And he leaps out from Basan.” “Basan” certainly is interpreted “confusion.” He shall rise up from the confusion of his iniquity. The one who gathers together to himself a partridge the children of confusion, also shall call them, whom he has not brought forth, just as Jeremiah the prophet says. Also in the last day they shall relinquish him just as confused.
When therefore the end of the world comes, that abominable, lying and murderous one is born from the tribe of Dan. He is conceived from the seed of a man and from an unclean or most vile virgin, mixed with an evil or worthless spirit. But that abominable corrupter, more of spirits than of bodies, while a youth, the crafty dragon appears under the appearance of righteousness, before he takes the kingdom. Because he will be craftily gentle to all people, not receiving gifts, not placed before another person, loving to all people, quiet to everyone, not desiring gifts, appearing friendly among close friends, so that men may bless him, saying, he is a just man, not knowing that a wolf lies concealed under the appearance of a lamb, and that a greedy man is inside under the skin of a sheep.
But when the time of the abomination of his desolation begins to approach, having been made legal, he takes the empire, and, just as it is said in the Psalm:—They have been made for the undertaking for the sons of Loth, the Moabites and the Ammanites shall meet him first as their king. Therefore, when he receives the kingdom, he orders the temple of God to be rebuilt for himself, which is in Jerusalem; who, after coming into it, he shall sit as God and order that he be adored by all nations, since he is carnal and filthy and mixed with worthless spirit and flesh. Then that eloquence shall be fulfilled of Daniel the prophet:–And he shall not know the God of their fathers, and he shall not know the desires of women. Because the very wicked serpent shall direct every worship to himself. Because he shall put forth an edict so that people may be circumcised according to the rite of the old law. Then the Jews shall congratulate him, because he gave them again the practice of the first covenant; then all people from everywhere shall flock together to him at the city of Jerusalem, and the holy city shall be trampled on by the nations for forty-two months, just as the holy apostle says in the Apocalypse, which become three and a half years, 1,260 days.
In these three years and a half the heaven shall suspend its dew; because there will be no rain upon the earth, and the clouds shall cease to pass through the air, and the stars shall be seen with difficulty in the sky because of the excessive dryness, which happens in the time of the very fierce dragon. Because all great rivers and very powerful fountains that overflow with themselves shall be dried up, torrents shall dry up their water-courses because of the intolerable age, and there will be a great tribulation, as there has not been since people began to be upon the earth, and there will be famine and an insufferable thirst. And children shall waste away in the bosom of their mothers, and wives upon the knees of their husbands, by not having victuals to eat. Because there will be in those days lack of bread and water, and no one is able to sell or to buy of the grain of the fall harvest, unless he is one who has the serpentine sign on the forehead or on the hand. Then gold and silver and precious clothing or precious stones shall lie along the streets, and also even every type of pearls along the thoroughfares and streets of the cities, but there is not one who may extend the hand and take or desire them, but they consider all things as good as nothing because of the extreme lack and famine of bread, because the earth is not protected by the rains of heaven, and there will be neither dew nor moisture of the air upon the earth. But those who wander through the deserts, fleeing from the face of the serpent, bend their knees to God, just as lambs to the adders of their mothers, being sustained by the salvation of the Lord, and while wandering in states of desertion, they eat herbs.
Then, when this inevitability has overwhelmed all people, just and unjust, the just, so that they may be found good by their Lord; and indeed the unjust, so that they may be damned forever with their author the Devil, and, as God beholds the human race in danger and being tossed about by the breath of the horrible dragon, he sends to them consolatory proclamation by his attendants, the prophets Enoch and Elijah, who, while not yet tasting death, are the servants for the heralding of the second coming of Christ, and in order to accuse the enemy. And when those just ones have appeared, they confuse indeed the antagonistic serpent with his cleverness and they call back the faithful witnesses to God, in order to (free them) from his seduction…
And when the three and a half years have been completed, the time of the antichrist, through which he will have seduced the world, after the resurrection of the two prophets, in the hour which the world does not know, and on the day which the enemy of the son of perdition does not know, will come the sign of the Son of Man, and coming forward the Lord shall appear with great power and much majesty, with the sign of the wood of salvation going before him, and also even with all the powers of the heavens with the whole chorus of the saints, with those who bear the sign of the holy cross upon their shoulders, as the angelic trumpet precedes him, which shall sound and declare: Arise, O sleeping ones, arise, meet Christ, because his hour of judgment has come! Then Christ shall come and the enemy shall be thrown into confusion, and the Lord shall destroy him by the spirit of his mouth. And he shall be bound and shall be plunged into the abyss of everlasting fire alive with his father Satan; and all people who do his wishes shall perish with him forever; but the righteous ones shall inherit everlasting life with the Lord forever and ever.
| 2020/10/13 6:55||Profile|
| Re: St. Ephraim Syrian on Antichrist|
Hi, I have a question, will the rapture take place during these events or before.
| 2020/10/13 17:02||Profile|
| Re: |
Hi, I have a question, will the rapture take place during these events or before.
| 2020/10/13 18:54||Profile|
| Re: St. Ephraim Syrian on Antichrist|
This was a blessing. Thank you both for posting this. As we move ever closer to the desolation these things through the illumination of the Holy Spirt will not allow us to be caught by surprise, but in Christ to be expectant knowing "It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God"through Christ Jesus.
| 2020/10/14 12:50||Profile|
| Re: |
THE ANTICHRIST FOR FUN AND PROFIT By Ken Gentry
The Antichrist is a popular and dreaded eschatological figure. This has been the case for centuries. But in our day of a dispensational hegemony in evangelicalism, this is particularly significant.
The role of the Antichrist is quite misunderstood though. Princeton theologian B. B. Warfield easily dismantled the populist conception of the Antichrist from Scripture itself. Warfield provides helpful insights into John’s teaching on the Antichrist when he notes that John “makes three declarations concerning Antichrist which appear to traverse its implications. He transposes Antichrist from the future to the present. He expands him from an individual to a multitude. He reduces him from a person to a heresy.” 
These three observations by Warfield totally undermine the bulk of modern Antichrist discussion. And ironically his presentation from Scripture is so clear that you would think dispensationalism’s literalism would easily discover the biblical conception.
John’s readers are hearing that though Antichrist is not yet on the scene, he nevertheless “is coming.” but John informs them that this “antichrist” “is now already in the world” (1Jn 4:3). As Warfield notes “that post-posited ‘already’ [carries] with it the utmost strength of assertion.” John writes: “this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world” (1Jn 4:3b). John clearly warns them that that which they “heard was coming” is “now already in the world.” In addition, he remarks: “As you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come” (1Jn 2:18). Due to the appearing of these antichrists, his readers should understand that “it is the last hour” (1Jn 2:18). They are not harbingers of a distantly future Antichrist, for their presence is the signal that “the last hour” has already “come” (gegonasin). The “even now” emphasizes the presence of that which they fear (“as you heard”).
An objection from one amillennialist theologian against postmillennialism is postmillennialism’s removal of the antichrist not only from our future expectation but from the very center of time: “more and more that kingdom of darkness comes to manifestation as time progresses. At the very center of time therefore, stands the development of the Antichristian world power. Really, postmillennialism has no room for Antichrist in its thinking. . . . Antichrist cannot be taken seriously.” 
In redirecting his readers’ focus from the Antichrist’s future to his contemporary existence, John points out that the Antichrist is a movement, rather than an individual. In dealing with the idea of “the Antichrist,” he writes: “even now many antichrists have come” (1Jn 2:18). In fact, Antichrist is a “spirit” (1Jn 4:3) that pervades these many “antichrists” (1Jn 2:18), which involve “many deceivers” (2 Jn 7). Such views as Hoekema’s are surely mistaken: “The New Testament also teaches us to look for a single, final antichrist in the future (see 2Th 2:3–4).” 
Antichrist really is not a multitude of people, but rather the “spirit” (1Jn 4:3) among them that promotes deception (2 Jn 7) regarding Christ. “Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son” (1Jn 2:22). John clearly applies the conception of the one Antichrist (ho antichristos) to the generic tendency to promote lies about the identity of Christ. He repeats this point in his second letter: “For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and the antichrist [ho antichristos]” (2Jn 7). Thus, “according to 1 John, what is to be dreaded about the Antichrist is not the unleashing of awesome destruction but the fomenting of heresy.” 
On the basis of these four references we learn that Antichrist is not an individual, malevolent ruler looming in our future. John was “not looking to the appearance of some supernatural being in the prophesied future.” Rather, Antichrist is a contemporary heretical tendency regarding the person of Christ, which is current among many in John’s day. Hoekema errs when he writes: “Yet it would not be correct to say that John had no room in his thinking for a personal antichrist, since he still looks for an antichrist who is coming.”  As we shall see below, the beast of Revelation and the man of lawlessness are also contemporary realities in the first century — though wholly distinct from Antichrist.
1. Warfield, “Antichrist,” Selected Shorter Writings, 1:358.
2. Herman Hanko, “An Exegetical Refutation of Postmillennialism,” 25–26.
3. Anthony Hoekema, The Bible and the Future, 70.
4. Robert Fuller, Naming the Antichrist, 17.
5. Hoekema, The Bible and the Future, 158.
| 2020/10/14 16:29||Profile|
| Re: St. Ephraim Syrian on Antichrist|
May I ask you Tod if you believe that the article by Dr Gentry removes all precepts of a man of sin or an end time personality who becomes as another christ?
I am not of course asking what Dr Gentry believes, as his beliefs are entirely founded on a pre 70 AD date for the Book of Revelation.
Neither am I asking so as to remove a sense of the growing wickedness of mankind towards God.
I am asking because you posted the article and did so wilfully.
| 2020/10/16 7:35||Profile|
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11
| Re: |
Why therefore do we not reject every care of worldly business, and why is our mind held fixed on the lusts of the world or on the anxieties of the ages? Why therefore do we not reject every care of earthly actions and prepare ourselves for the meeting of the Lord Christ, so that he may draw us from the confusion, which overwhelms all the world? Believe you me, dearest brother, because the coming (advent) of the Lord is nigh, believe you me, because the end of the world is at hand, believe me, because it is the very last time. Or do you not believe unless you see with your eyes?
Brothers and sisters,
It is a most important time to consider these words. The allure of the world is great, and gaining profit is without end. But growing in godliness has value for all time including endless time.
Is not the coming of the Lord near? What should our response be. The man of sin is coming and many will be drawn after him. Our focus and aim must be on Christ and His soon revealing.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
| 2020/10/17 21:06||Profile|
| Re: |
//May I ask you Tod if you believe that the article by Dr Gentry removes all precepts of a man of sin or an end time personality who becomes as another christ?//
Well, it’s not just Ken Gentry- men like RC Sproul and Hank Hanegraaff and of course many many others do not believe in a literal future world emperor called the Antichrist or the Beast.
Folks who have been here a while know that I am a partial preterist and I believe the great majority of the Olivet Discourse and Revelation was fulfilled long ago. I do believe that the Second Coming is yet future but I do not believe in a literal 7 year tribulation period and the only rapture that will occur is at the Second Coming. I believe trying to “literalize” an apocalyptic book like Revelation is fraught with difficulty and I believe such interpretations are wrong as it was never intended to be understood that way.
That being said, it does not bother me at all that people have different views on these matters. My views were much more “traditional” in my younger days until I took the time to study the scriptures more in depth and read about other end times views. I was not even aware there were other end times views until I was in my 40s. Shamefully I never even bothered to look.
| 2020/10/17 21:57||Profile|
| Re: |
Thank you Tod for your reply.
I suppose that if if one were found to have neglected the Lord' return (your end time view in its simplicity and taking account of your shame in holding to supposed traditional views) then when one takes a look one will find a mountain of views and perhaps understandably one would enter into the simplicity that Christ will return and no more.
Then take that same precept of the return of the Lord and try to understand that the man of sin is coming and when he comes the whole earth will run after him and it will be the church that heralds the way of him. I truly hope that you will not be found to run after the wrong man because you are looking for Christ to return and can see no wisdom to being concerned about the ambitions of Satan.
The Lord is raising up His servants the prophets to minister in that hour and so one day when you have found yourself in the midst of a clear falsehood your only recourse, if you are unable to flee to the caves, will be to be taken by the hand as a child is taken by the hand and to go and be with the Lord.
The consternation of that day will be fearful and the wrath of God will be like a great flood that will drive the enemies of the Cross and of Christ crucified for sin back into a snarling mob - And once the children of God who now find themselves bereft of confidence in their walk are removed peaceably then the Great Tribulation will begin. I truly hope and pray brother Tod that you are not found in that day as a man who is found without confidence.
| 2020/10/18 3:11||Profile|