The Antichrist And The Second Advent
The following constitutes a compilation of the teachings of the Holy Fathers about Antichrist and the Second Advent of our Lord. Although the bulk of the teachings concur on the major basic issues, some variances are noted:
I. Concerning the person of Antichrist: Some writers, namely Hippolytus and Cyril of Jerusalem, seem to think of Antichrist as an incarnation of Satan himself. The wide majority of the teachings however, is exemplified in that saying of St. Jerome: "Let us not follow the opinion of some commentators and suppose him to be either the Devil or some demon, but rather, one of the human race." St. Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:8,9: "...And then shall that Wicked be revealed...whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders." rather indicates that Satan has used one of the human race as an instrument.
II. Although it is universally accepted that the Second Coming will be heralded by the two Old Testament prophets; Enoch and Elias the Thisbite, some writers include Saint John the Theologian (the Beloved). Among these, rather uncommon writings, are those of Ephram of Antioch and Hippolytus. The former states that this belief is supported by an ancient ecclesiastical tradition interpreting Christ saying in Johur 21:22 as refering to St. John's role as a forerunner. This view, however, opposes Revelation. 11:3,4 where the number of prophets of the Second Advent was confined to two prophets.
III. As regarding the name of Antichrist, it is well to be versed in the different possible names put forward by the Fathers. This however, is not without its danger, and the teachings of the Fathers are replete with warnings to this effect. Regarding these, the reader is referred to the text. Suffice it to mention here the following admonition of St. Irenaeus: "We will not, however, incur the risk of pronouncing positively as to the name of Antichrist; for if it were necessary that this name should be distinctly revealed in this present time, it would have been announced by him who beheld the Vision."
The fourth kingdom in the prophesy of Daniel 7:7,23 was generally understood by the early Christian writers to be the Roman Empire, and its dissolution was to be speedly followed by the end of the world. The dissolution of the Roman Empire, however, was not understood in the current secular sense, corresponding to the 5th. century AD., nor to the division of the Empire into East and West after Theodosius I (379-395); but rather after the division of the Empire into ten kingdoms and the subjugation of the tatters to one tyrant: "... Let them await, in the first place, the division of the kingdom into ten; then, in the next place, when these kings are reigning and beginning to set their affair in order and advance their kingdom..." St. Irenaus.
Similarly, St. Hippolytus comments: "These things then are in the future, and the ten toes of the immage are equivalent to so many democracies and "the ten horns of the fourth beast are distributed over ten kingdoms...".
Observe here the amazing reference to "so many democracies" arising out of the Roman Empire.
The careful Orthodox observer will notice in this sober patristic outlook, a marked distinction from the current infatuated interpretations of events and dates. Such interpretations, beside being detrimental, have been marked by frustrated date-fixing and politico economic predictions.
In amassing materials for the
present work, the following patristic sources were consulted:
St. Jerome Commentary on Daniel.
St. John Chrysostom Commentaries on the Gospel of Mathew and the Pauline Epistles to the Thessalonians.
St. Hippolytus; "Treatise on Christ and Antichrist", "Fragments from Commentaries" in NPN series, and the so called "Appendix to the Work of Hippolytus."
St. Irenaeus; "Against Heresies".
St. Cyril of Jerusalem's "Lectures."
Frequent allusion to the above sources makes it cumbersome to name them in each instance. However, other sources when invoked, are explicitly named in the body of the text.
The End Of The Year
he end of the year of Martyrs AM., is an occasion during which the Holy Church transports the believer to the end of times. In preparation and warning about the human, social and religious conditions of mankind leading up to the glorious Second Coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we read in the Epistle to the Thessalonians: "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition." 2 Thess. 2:3
The Church uses the end of each time interval each day, each year as a reminder of the end of the world in general, and of the particular end of each person; both of which, but in particular the latter, is at every moment nigh at hand. The end of each day, the Church teaches, is an image, an icon of both particular and general ends. During the Office of the Twelveth Hour, the Church prays: "Behold I am about to stand before the just Judge, trembling and excedingly afraid on account of my many sins, for a life spent in pleasures deserves condemnation.", and therefore transforms this time of the day to an occasion for remembrance of sins and repentance: "...But repent, O my soul, while "you are dwelling on earth, for the dust in the grave offers no praise." The Office of the Twelveth Hour.
Likewise, the closing two week period of the Year of Martyrs, is an icon of the final consummation. The Church during this time warns us of the signs of the end of the world, announced by our Saviour and recorded in the Gospels according to St. Mark and St. Matthew. The fourth Sunday of Mes~ore (around the end of August), the passage from Mark13:3-37 is read, and the following Sunday, the same theme is read from Matthew 24:3-35. In both of which, the destruction of Jerusalem as a prototype of the end of times is prophesied in answer to two questions from the apostles: "Tell us, when shall these things be ? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world ?" Matthew 24:3. For as the destruction of the city of Jerusalem overshadows the end of the world, so also shall false prophets, which have arisen before the destruction of that city, overshadow the general apostasy from the New Jerusalem (the Church).
Inasmuch as this season in the life of the Church is marked by a solemn preparation for the Second Coming, and by sorrowful watchfulness for the period preceding this Advent, that is, the coming of Antichrist; the following week, during the Feast of Nairouz (commemorating the Christian martyrs and the New Year during the Roman reign), is marked by joyful celebration. While in the one instance the Church participates in grieving over those who have, and will fall away; in the other instance, she rejoices in those martyrs who have become members in the Church Triumphant.
When our Saviour spoke concerning the signs of the end of times saying: "Take heed that no man "deceive you. For many, shall come in my Name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear wars and rumors of wars." Matthew 24:5,6, He was referring to the wars in Jerusalem, and not everywhere else in the world. Surely there were wars in the neighbouring countries in the ancient world; about these He was not concerned, rather about the chosen people, the royal nation, was He prophesing. Likewise, the prophecy concerning His Second Advent: "For there shall rise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch as if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." Matthew 24:24, refers to the general apostasy from the New Jerusalem, the Orthodox Church, and does not bear upon others outside this "chosen generation, this royal priesthood, this holy nation, this peculiar people.", for indeed others have fallen away from times immemorial; about those the prophecy does not touch.
In participating in advance in these final events, we are constantly reminded of the Christian prospective of history as an unfolding chain of events, having a "beginning" and running its course as it unveils God's plans in history, and finally reaching its culmination in the last days, in the glorious Advent of Christ. St. Jerome commenting on the Macedonian Empire observes: "...The Empire did not result from Alexander's bravery but from the will of God". As opposed to secular view of history as a rotation, a blind repetition of events: "history repeats itself"; the Christian faith has a beginning: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth", says the Book of Genesis, and also has an end: "...Then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the "BEGINNING OF THE WORLD TO THIS TIME".
Christianity does not trade in ideas, nor even in ideologies, but is rather rooted in events, for so did the Holy Fathers choose, when formulating the Creed, to state their belief in the one Lord Jesus Christ, as One who was crucified at a point in time, namely, "under Pontius Pilate".
Finally, the theme of the "last days" is also relived in the liturgical prayers of the Church in two other occasions.
First, and of cardinal importance, on the eve of Bright Saturday, when the entire Books of Revelation and Susana are read. On this occasion however, the emphasis is different. The Church, after taking part in the redemptive events of Passion Week culminating in the Crucifixion, after looking into history and seeing the mighty work of God and His redemptive victory being unfolded, is now directing her gaze towards the eschatological events affecting her before His Second Coming. This is the intent of reading these two prophetic Books at this junction of time.
Second, the Ninth Hour of Tuesday of Passion Week, when Daniel 7:9-15 is read, followed by a homily of St. Shenoute: "Brethren it is high time that we should perform the will of God and remember that death tarries not; for we are certain to depart this world. Where are those who preceded us? Behold! They are all asleep in the graves. Let us bring forth fruits worthy of the grace of God which we have received, following after the example of Jesus Christ, the True Light."
Visions Concerning The Rise Of The Antichrist
"I Daniel beheld, and lo, the four winds of heaven blew violently upon the great sea. And there came up four great beasts out of the sea, differing from one another. The first was a lioness, and her wings as an eagle's: I beheld until her wings were plucked, and she was lifted off from the earth, and she stood on human feet, and a man's heart was given to her. And, behold, a second beast like a bear, and it supported itself on one side, and there were three ribs in its mouth between its teeth: and thus they said to it, Arise, devour much flesh. After this one I looked, and behold another wild beast as a leopard, and it had four wings of a bird upon it: and the wild beast had four heads, and power was given to it. After this one I looked, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and exceedingly stony, and its teeth were of iron; devouring and crushing to atoms, and it trampled the remainder with its feet: and it was altogether different from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. I noticed his horns, and, behold, another little horn came up in the midst of them, and before it three of the former horns were rooted out: and, behold, there were eyes as the eyes of a man in this horn, and a mouth speaking great things.
"I beheld until the thrones were set, and the Ancient of days sat; and his raiment was white as snow, and the hair of his head as pure wool: his throne was a flame of fire, and his wheels burning fire. A stream of fire rushed forth before him, and ten thousands of myriads attended upon him: the judgment set, and the books were opened. I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which that horn spoke, until the wild beast was slain and destroyed, and his body given to be burnt with fire. And the dominion of the rest of the wild beasts was taken away; but a prolonging of life was given them for certain times.
"I beheld in the night vision, and, lo, one coming with the clouds of heaven as the Son of Man, and he came to the Ancient of days, and was brought near to him. And to him was given the dominion, and the honor, and the kingdom; and all nations, tribes, and languages, shall serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and his kingdom shall not be destroyed." Daniel 7:2-14, Septuagint
"Thou, O king, sanest, and behold an image: that image was great, and the appearance of it excellent, standing before thy face; and the form of it was terrible. It was an image, the head of which was of fine gold, its hands and breast and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of brass, its legs of iron, its feet, part of iron and part of earthenware (clay). Thou sawest until a stone was cut out of a mountain without hands, and it smote the image upon its feet of iron and earthenware, and utterly reduced them to powder. Then once for all the earthenware, the iron, the brass, the silver, the gold, were ground to powder, and became as chaff from the summer threshingfloors; and the violence of the wind carried them away, and no place was found for them: and the stone which had smitten the image became a great mountain, and filled all the earth." Dan 2:31-35
Now, if we set these two visions; that of Daniel, and that of the king, side by side, we will have an exposition of the circumstances at the end of times, leading to the coming of Antichrist.
"A lioness came up from the sea
"By this he means the kingdom of the Babylonians in the world. This was also referred to by the golden head of the image." St. Hippolytus
"The kingdom of the Babylonians was not called a lion but a lioness, on account of its brutality, or else because of its lustful manner of life. Writers of natural history of beasts assert that lioness are fiercer than lions, especially if they are nursing their cubs, and constantly are passionate in their desire for sexual relations. And as for the fact that she possessed eagle's wings, this indicates the pride of the all powerful kingdom, the ruler of which declares in Isaiah: 'Above all stars of heaven will I place my throne, and I shall be like unto the most high' Isaiah 14. Therefore he is told: 'Though thou be borne on high like an eagle, thence will I drag thee down' (Ibid)." St. Hippolytus.
"And she stood upon her feet
like a human being, and she was given a human heart." 7:4
"We understand this as applying to Nebuchadnazzar, it is very evident that after he lost his kingdom and his power had been taken away from him, and after he was once more restored to his original state, he not only learned to be a man instead of a "lioness" but he also received back the heart which he had lost.
"Note the order followed here; the lioness is equivalent to the golden head of the image, the comparison here, is based on the hardness of the metal." St. Jerome.
"lioness came up from the sea." is meant the kingdom of the Babylonians in the world, which also was the head of gold on the image.
"In saying that "it had wings as of an eagle" he meant that Nebuchadnezzar the king was lifted up and was exalted against God. "the wings therefore were plucked" that is, his glory was destroyed; for he was driven out of his kingdom." St. Hippolytus.
"And behold another beast like
a bear." 5:5
"That denotes the Persians. For after the Babylonians, the Persians held the sovereign power." St. Hippolytus.
"The Persian kingdom followed a rigorous and frugal manner. This is the same as that of which we read in the vision of the statue; 'his chest and arms were of silver"(2:32), the comparison here is based on the ferocity of the bear.' St. Jerome.
"As in saying that there were 'three ribs in the mouth of it' he pointed to the kingdoms of the Persisans, and the Medes, and the Babylonians;` which were also represented on the image by the silver after the gold." St. Hippolytus.
"All of these three kingdoms were reduced to a single realm." St. Jerome.
"Stood up on one sides according to St. Jerome, the Hebrews interpret it by saying that the Persians never perpetrated any cruelty against Israel. Hence they are described in the Prophecy of Zachariah also as "white horses" Zechariah 1
"and they said to him: 'Arise and devour flesh in abundance', this refers to an order given, but never attempted, that all the Jews be slaughtered on a single day. Esther 3, thus the Prophecy says not 'He was devouring them', but rather "Thus they spake unto him." St. Jerome.
"After this I beheld, and there
was another ..." 7:6
"The third beast refers to the Greeks, for after the Persians, Alexander of Macedon obtained the sovereign power, this is also shown by the brass on the image.
"And in saying that it had 'four Clogs of a fowl.' he taught us most clearly how the kingdom of Alexander was partitioned. For Alexander, when dying, partitioned out his kingdom into four divisions." St. Hippolytus.
"It is compared to a leopard because it is very swift and impetuous. There was never, after all, any victory won more quickly than Alexander's, for he traversed all the way from Illyricum and the Adriatic Sea to the Indian Ocean and the Ganges ,River, not merely fighting battles but winning decisive victories; and in six years he subjugated to his rule a portion of Europe and all of Asia." St. Jerome.
"And power was given to it." St. Jerome says that the Empire did not result from Alexander's bravery but from the will of God.
"After this, I beheld in the
night-vision, and behold there was a fourth beast, terrible and wonderful
"The fourth empire is the Roman Empire, which now occupies the whole world, and concerning which it was said in connection with the image; "Its lower legs were of iron, and part of its feet of iron, and part of clay."
"It is very strange that he did not compare the Roman realm to any sort of beast. Perhaps in order to render the beast more fearsome indeed that he gave it no name, intending thereby that we should understand the Romans to partake of all more ferocious characteristics we might think of in connection with beasts." St. Jerome.
Devouring and crushing, and everything that was left he stamped to pieces under feet."-" This signifies that all nations have been slain by the Romans or else have been subjected to tribute and servitude." St. Jerome.
"And who are these but the Romans, which are meant by the iron?, and mystically the toes of the feet of the image mean the kings who are to arise from among them." St. Hippolytus.
"I was looking at the horns, and behold ..." 7:8 "We should concur with the traditional interpretation of all the commentators of the Christian Church, that at the end of the world, "when the Roman Empire is to be destroyed, there shall be ten kings who will partition the Roman world amongst themselves. Then an insignificant eleventh king will arise, who will overcome three of the ten kings, that is, the kings of Egypt, North Africa, and Ethiopia. Then after they have been slain, the seven other kings also will bow their necks to the victor." St. Jerome.
"And under this was signified none other than ANTICHRIST, who is also himself to raise the kingdom of the Jews. He says that three horns are plucked up by the roots by him, viz, the three kings of Egypt, and Libya, and Ethiopia, whom he cuts off in the array of battle. And he, after gaining terrible power over all, being nevertheless a tyrant, shall set up tribulation and persecution against men, exalting himself against them." St. Hippolytus.
"Let us not follow the opinion of some commentators and suppose him to be either the Devil or some demon, but rather, one of the human race, in whom Satan will take up his residence in bodily form. "...and a mouth uttering overweening boasts. For this is'the man of sin', the 'son of perdition', and that too to such a degree that he dares to sit in the temple of God, making himself out to be like God." St. Jerome.
"As these things then are in the future, and as the ten toes of the image are equivalent to so MANY DEMOCRACIES and the ten horns of the fourth beast are distributed over ten kingdoms." St. Hippolytus.
Here also what St John saw on the island of Patmos: ''And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns, like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exercised all the power of the first beast before him, and he made the earth and them which dwell therein to warship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he did great wonders:, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, kind deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast, saying to them that dwell on the earth that they should make an image to the beast which had the wound by a sword and did live. And he had power to give life l unto the image of the best, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he caused all, both small and great rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand or in their forehead; and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath count the number of the beast; for it is the number of a man, and his number is six hundred threescore and six." Revelation 8:11-18
St. Hippolytus comments on the
foregoing passage as follows:
"By the beast, then, coming up out of the earth, he means the kingdom of Antichrist; and by the two horns he means him and the false prophet with him. And in speaking of "the horns being a lamb", he means that he will make himself like the Son of God, and set himself forward as king. And the terms, 'he spake like a dragon', mean that he is a deceiver, and not truthful. And the words, "he exercised all the power of the first beast before him, and caused the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed", signify that, after the manner of the law of Augustus, by whom the empire of Rome was established, he too will rule and govern, sanctioning everything by it, and taking greater glory to himself. For this is the fourth beast whose head was wounded and healed, in its being broken up or divided into four crowns; and he [Antichrist] then shall heal it, and restore it."
Summary of the visions
The golden head of the image and the lioness denote the Babylonians; the shoulders and arms of silver, and the bear, represent the Persians and the Medes; the belly and thighs of brass, and the leopard, mean the Greeks, who held the sovereignty from Alexander's time; the legs of iron, and the beast dreadful and terrible, expressed the Romans, who held the sovereignty for a time; the toes of the feet which were part clay and part iron, and the ten horns, were emblems of the kingdoms that are yet to rise; the other little horn that grows up among them meant the Antichrist in their midst; the stone that smites the earth and brings judgment upon the world was Christ.
The Person Of Antichrist
In the following pages, we will quote some early Christian Fathers' commentaries concerning the person of Antichrist and his coming.
In general, "Everyone, who confesses not that the Son of God came in the flesh and is perfect God is Antichrist." 1 John 2:22
"But in a peculiar and special sense at the consummation of the age, is called Antichrist." Greg.Naz.,Orat.47
"The Saviour appeared in the form of man, and he [Antichrist] too will come in the form of a man." St. Hippolytus.
"Since the Saviour of the world, with the purpose of saving the race of men was born of the Evervirgin Mary; in the same manner also will the accuser come forth from an impure woman upon the earth, but shall be born of a virgin spuriously." St. Hippolytus.
"But the accuser, though he take up the flesh, will do it only in appearance; for how should he wear that flesh which he did not make himself, but against which he warreth daily? And it is my opinion, beloved, that he will assume this phenomenal kind of flesh as an instrument." St. Hippolytus, he also adds "As to the virgin bearing, this we have known only in the case of the all-holy Virgin who bore the Saviour. Moses says: "every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy unto the Lord" Exodus 34:19. This is not the case with him, but as the adversary will not open the womb, so neither will he take to himself real flesh, and be circumcised as Christ was circumcised. And even as Christ chose His apostles, so will he too assume a whole people of disciples in wickedness."
"Whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders" 2 Thessalonians 2:9, implies that Satan has used him as an instrument, working through him, for knowing that his power will soon come to an end, he wages war no more by his ministers but himself more openly" St. Cyril of Jerusalem.
That Antichrist will come from the tribe of Dan is evident from the following:
I. Dan's name is excepted from the tribes listed in Revelation 7 as being the tribes sealed in their foreheads as the servants of God.
II. The tribe of Dan also introduced imageworship in the Old Testament Church
III. Another prophetic Scripture which had its partial fulfillments in Samson who sprang from Dan and judged the people for twenty years, but will find its complete fulfillment in the Antichrist, is that which Jacob said in Genesis 49:16: "Dan shall judge his people as one of the tribes of Israel."
IV. "Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward." Gen 49:17
V. From Dan we are to hear the sound of the swiftness of his horses: the whole land trembled at the sound of the neighing, of the driving of his horses." Jer 8:16
The Reason He Is Allowed To Come
Because that the Jews did not receive the Lord Jesus Christ who was the Son of God and God, but received the impostor who calls himself God, he was allowed to come.
Because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved, FOR THIS CAUSE GOD SHOULD SEND THEM A STRONG DELUSION that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness." 2 Thess 2: 10,11,12
"Why then, you say, did God permit this to be ? and what dispensation is this ? and what is the advantage of his coming, if it takes place for the ruin of our race ? Fear not, beloved but hear Him saying: 'In them that are perishing' 2 Thess. ii: 10 What then is the advantage ? for both if he had come, and if he had not come, they would not have believed in Christ; HE COMES THEREFORE TO CONVICT THEM, that is, in order that they might be without excuse. 'who believed not the truth, but pleasure in unrighteousness.' He said "that they might be judged" (condemned), He does not say that they might be punished; for even before this they were about to be punished.
"He came that there may be no occasion to those who would say: "We did not believe, because we have heard that there is one God, now, Christ said He was God (i.e. came in the name of God), and Antichrist also likewise", for when he comes (Antichrist), he will bring nothing good, but all things unlawful, and yet he was believed from false signs." St. John Chrysostom.
The Condition Of Mankind At The Coming Of The Antichrist
The condition of mankind at the end of the time is described by St. Mathew in the following passage: "As in the days of Hoe, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating, and drinking, and marrying and giving in marriages until the day that Noe entered into the ark, so also shall the coming of the Son Man be." Matthew 24:37,38.
Lawlessness and impiety will become so great that the threatening signs of the approaching end will not be heeded. A general falling away, then, will be the prevailing condition of men in those days; in the words of the apostle Paul; "Let no man deceive you by any means, for that day shall not come except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that he sits in the temple of God." 2 Thessalonians 2:3,4.
Our Lord Himself gives another sign, and important one indeed, that is, that "the Gospel should be preached among all the nations." Matthew 24:14.
"And then shall the wicked one be revealed." 2 Thessalonians 2:8
The Name Of The Antichrist
"Here is wisdom. Let him that bath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred threescore and six." Revelation 13:18.
"There is in this beast, a recapitulation made of all sorts of iniquity and every deceit, in order that all apostate power following into and being shut up in him, may be sent into the furnace of fire. Fittingly, therefore shall his name be the number six hundred and sixty six, since he sums up in his own person all the commixture of wickedness which took place previous to the deluge, due to the apostasy of the angels. For Noah was six hundred years old when the deluge came upon the earth, sweeping away the rebellious world, for the sake of that most infamous generation which lived in the times of Noah. And Antichrist also sums up every error of devised idols since the flood, together with the slaying of the prophets and the cutting off of the just. For that image which was set up by Nebuchadnezzar had a height of sixty cubits, with breadth of six cubits; on account of which Ananias, Azarias and Misael, when they did not worship it were cast into a furnace of fire, pointing out prophetically, by what happened to them, the wrath against the righteous which shall arise towards the end of the time. For that image, taken as a whole, was a prefiguring of this man's coming, decreeing that he should undoubtedly himself alone be worshipped by all men. Then, the six hundred years of Noah, in whose time the deluge occured because of the apostasy, and the number of the cubits of the image for which these just men were sent into the fiery furnace, do indicate the number of the name of that man in whom is concentrated the whole apostasy of six thousand years, and unrighteousness, and wickedness, and false prophesy and deception." St. Irenaeus
"The number which expresses the digit six being adhered to throughout, indicates the recapitulations of that apostasy, taken in its full extent, which occured at the beginning, during the intermediate period, and which shall take place at the end." St. Irenaeus.
"Many names we find the letters of which are the equivalent of this number: such as, for instance, the word "Titan", an ancient and notable name; or "Evanthas", for it too makes up the same number" St. Hippolytus.
It is therefore more certain, and less hazardous, to await the fulfillment of the prophecy, than to be making surmises, and casting about for any names that may be found possessing the number mentioned; and the same question, will after all, remain unsolved. For if there are many names found possessing this number, it will be asked which among them shall the coming man bear. It is not through a want of names containing the number of that name that I say this but on account of the fear of God, and zeal for the truth: For the name EVANTHAS contains the required number, but I make no allegation regarding it. TEITAN, too (Teitan, the first syllable being written with the two Greek vowels E and t ), among all the names which are found among us, is rather worthy of credit. For it has in itself the predicted number, and is composed of six letters, each syllable containing three letters; and the word is ancient, and removed from ordinary use; for among our kings we find none bearing this name Teitan, nor have any of the idols which are worshipped in public among the Greeks and barbarians this appellation. This word contains a certain outward appearance of vengeance, and of one inflicting merited punishment because he (Antichrist) pretends that he vindicated the oppressed. And besides this, it is an ancient name, one worthy of credit, of royal dignity, and still further, a name belonging to a tyrant.
"Inasmuch, then, as this name "Titan" has so much to recommend it, there is a strong degree of probability, that from among the many names suggested, we infer, that perchance he who is to come shall be called "Titan". WE WILL NOT, HOWEVER, INCUR THE RISK OF PRONOUNCING POSITIVELY AS TO THE NAME OF ANTICHRIST; FOR IF IT WERE NECESSARY THAT HIS NAME SHOULD BE DISTINCTLY REVEALED IN THIS PRESENT TIME, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED BY HIM WHO BEHELD THE APOCALYPTIC VISION.
"But as for those who, for the sake of vainglory, allay it down for certain that names containing the spurious number are to be accepted, and affirm that this name, is that of him who is to come; such persons shall not come forth without loss, Because they have led into error both themselves and others. Now, in the first place, it is loss to wander from the truth, and to imagine that as being the case which is not. Moreover, another danger, by no means trifling, shall overtake those who falsely presume that they know the name of Antichrist. For if these men assume one name, when he shall come having another name, they will be Easily led away by him, as supposing him not to be the expected one, who must be guarded against.
"Let them await in the first place, the division of the kingdom into ten; then, in the next place, when these kings are reigning, and beginning to set their affairs in order, and advance their kingdom. Let them learn to acknowledge that he who shall come claiming the kingdom for himself, and shall terrify those men of whom we have been speaking, having a name containing the aforesaid number, is truly the abomination of desolation. this too, the apostle affirms: 'When they shall say, peace and safety, then sudden destruction shall come upon them.' 1 Thessalonians 5:3" St. Irenaeus.
We have mentioned that the beginning of Antichrist will be obscure, having been born from a defiled woman, we now move to examine his'ministry', as it were, on earth.
The beginning of his rule
In the beginning of his rule he will assume the role of sanctity, but when he becomes master he will persecute the Church of Christ and displays all his wickedness.
"At first indeed he shall put on a show of mildness, as though he were a learned and discreet person, and of soberness and benevolence. And by the lying signs and wonders of his magical deceit having beguiled the Jews, as though he were the expected Christ, he shall afterwards be characterized by all kinds of crimes of inhumanity and lawlessness, so as to outdo all unrighteous and ungodly men who have gone before him; displaying against all men, but especially against Christians, a spirit murderous and most cruel, merciless and crafty.
"Since the demons and apostate spirits are at his service, he through their means performs wonders, by which he leads the inhabitants of the earth astray.
"He shall remove his kingdom into the city of Jerusalem, and shall sit in the Temple of God, leading astray those who worship him as if he were Christ." St. Irenaeus.
"Antichrist is to restore the kingdom of the Jews, to collect them out of every country of the Dispersion, making them his own, as though they were his own children, and promising to restore their country, and establish again their kingdom and nation, in order that he may be worshipped by them as God, and he will lead them on to persecute the saints i.e. the Christians." St. Hippolytus.
"The adversary taking occasion of the second coming of Christ and the expectation of the Jews (i.e. concerning the first coming of the Messiah), brings a certain man who is a magician,* and most expert in sorceries and enchantments of beguiling craftiness; who shall seize for himself the power of the Roman Empire, and shall falsely style himself Christ, by this deceiving the Jews, who are looking for the Anointed and seducing those of the Gentiles by his magical illusions." St. Cyril of Jerusalem.
His Coming To Power
The coming of Antichrist to earth power after the earth has been ruined and devastated is depicted in Daniel: "The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down and break it in pieces." Daniel 7:23, then, he continues, "shall rise up together ten kings, and after these an eleventh, the Antichrist, who by his magical craft shall put down three kings and the remaining seven he shall keep in subjection to himself.
"And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy" and he goes on: "there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months." Revelation 13:1,5.
The "forty and two months" here are those of three and half years (three and half weeks) of Daniel 7:25, and the thousand two hundred and ninety days in Daniel 7:7.
By subduing three of these ten kingdoms, he will become the eighth king, "And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goes into perdition." Revelation 17:11
"A blasphemer and lawless [Antichrist], not having received the kingdom from his father, but having usurped the power by means of sorcery." St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Lect. XV
"Since the demons and apostate spirits are at his service, he through their means performs wonders, by which he leads the inhabitants of the earth astray." St. Irenaeus.
"He will come with signs and lying wonders." 2 Thessalonians 2:9, fictitious and not real, and he will deceive and lead away from the living God those whose mind rests on an unsound and unstable foundation, so that even the elect shall, if it be possible, be made to stumble.
"Who opposeth and exulteth himself against all that is called God, so that he seateth himself in the temple of God." 2 Thessalonians 2:4. If he comes to the Jews as Christ, and desires to be worshipped by them, he will make great account of the Temple, that he may more completely beguile them; making it supposed that he is the man of the race of David, who shall build up the Temple which was erected by Solomon." St. Cyril of Jerusalem
"And when the three horns are cut off, he will begin to show himself as God, as Ezekiel has said aforetime: 'Because thy heart has been lifted up, and thou hast said, I am God' 28:2, and also 'Wilt thou yet say to those who slay thee I am God? but thou shalt be a man, and no God.' 28 :9
"Above all he will love the nation of the Jews. In his first steps he will be gentle, loveable, quiet, not allowing idolatry; loving, says the Scriptures, reverencing the priests, honoring his elders, repudiating fornication, detesting adultery, giving no heed to slanders, not admitting oaths, kind to strangers, kind to the poor, compassionate. And then he will work wonders, cleansing lepers, raising paralytics, "expelling demons, proclaiming things remote just as things present, raising ,the dead, helping widows, defending orphans.
"And all this he will do corruptly and deceitfully, and with the purpose of deluding all to make him king. For when the peoples and tribes see so great virtues and so great powers in him, they will all with one mind meet together to make him king. And above all others shall the nations of the Hebrews be dear to the tyrant himself, while they say one to another, Is there found indeed in our generation such a man, so good and just?
"And at first indeed, that deceitful and lawless one, with crafty deceitfulness, will refuse such glory; but the men persisting, and holding by him, will declare him king. And thereafter he will be lifted up in heart, and he who was formerly gentle will become violent, and he who pursued love will become pitiless. Then he is: elevated to his kingdom, he will marshal war; and in his wrath he will smite three mighty kings, namely Egypt, Libya, and Ethiopia. And after that he will build the temple in Jerusalem, and will restore it again speedily and give it over to the Jews. And then he will be lifted up in heart against every man; yea, he will speak blasphemy also against God, thinking in his deceit that he shall be king upon the earth for ever. For when Daniel said: 'I shall make my covenant for one week.' Daniel 9:27, he indicated seven years; and one half of the week is for the preaching of the prophets, and for the other half ,of the week, that is, for three years and half, Antichrist will reign upon the earth." St. Hippolytus.
The Two Prophets
The prophets alluded to in the previous passage are Enoch and Elias mentioned in other OT. Passages.
"Enoch and Elias the Thisbite shall be sent and shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children" Hal 4:6, that is the synaguogue to our Lord Jesus Christ and the preaching of the apostles.
"And one week will make a covenant with many and it shall be that in the midst (i.e.half) of the week my sacrifice and oblation shall cease." Dan
"By one week [i.e. seven years according to the reckoning of the Jews], he meant the last week which is to be at the end of the whole world; of which week the two prophets Enoch and Elias will take up the half. For they will preach one thousand two hundred and sixty days clothed in sackcloth." St. Hippolytus.
"I will send to you Elias the Thisbite before the day of the Lord, the great and notable day, comes; and he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, lest I come and smite the earth utterly." Mall 4:5,6.
"These then shall come and proclaim the manifestation of Christ that is to be from heaven; and they shall also perform signs and wonders, in order that men may be put to shame and return to repentance for their surpassing wickedness." St. Hippolytus.
"And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth." Revelation 11:3
"These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. "And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.
"These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over water to turn to blood, and to smite the earth with plagues, as often as they will." Revelation 11:4-6, by this, reference is made to the two prophets Enuch and Elias the Thisbite.
"And after perpetrating such things for three years and six months, he shall be destroyed by the glorious second advent from heaven of the Onlybegotten Son of God, who shall slay him 'with the breath of his mouth', and shall deliver him over to the fire of hell." St. Cyril of Jerusalem.
"The Lord shall come out of heaven, just as the apostles beheld Him going into heaven, and will destroy the man of lawlessness, the man of destruction, with the breath of his mouth." Acts 1:11
"For as fire merely coming on even before its arrival makes torpid and consumes the little animals that are afar off; so also Christ, by His commandment only and coming. It is enough only to "be present, and all these things are destroyed. He will put a stop to the deceit, by only appearing. "St. John Chrysostom.
"These things, then, coming to pass, beloved, and the one week being divided into two parts, and the abomination of desolation being manifested then, and the two prophets and forerunners of the Lord having finished their course, and the whole world finally approaching the consummation, what remains but' the coming of our Lord and Saviour from heaven, for whom we have looked in hope? who shall bring the conflagration and just judgment upon all who have refused to believe on Him." St. Hyppolitus.
He also says: "Then shall the son of perdition be brought forward, that is the accuser, with his demons and his servants by the angels, And they shall be given over to the fire that is never quenched, and to the worms that never sleep. For the Jews shall see Christ in human form, as He appeared to them when they crucified Him, for it is said: 'they shall look upon Him whom they have pierced." Zechariah 12:10; John 14:37.
Christ And The Antichrist
As our Lord came into the world in the circumcision, Antichrist will also come from the Jewish race (the tribe of Dan); as the Saviour gathered together the scattered sheep (John 11:52), the Deceiver likewise will bring together the Jews that are scattered, but to everlasting damnation; the Lord sent apostles among all nations, Antichrist also will send his deceivers; the Lord gave seal to those who believed on Him, the other will give his abominable seal unto everlasting destruction. For the deceiver likes to liken himself in all things to the Son of man.
Christ was prefigured as a lion (Revelation 5:5 & Genesis 49:8), on account of his royalty, in like manner Antichrist was spoken of as a lioness, on account of his violence. As Christ springs from the tribe of Judah, so likewise the Scriptures speak of Antichrist as a lion's whelp springing from the tribe of Dan (Deuteronomy 33:22); Christ is a King, so also Antichrist is an abominable earthly king.
The Saviour was manifested as a lamb (John 1:29), so also he will appear as a lamb to deceive and to destroy. The Saviour appeared in the form of Man and showed his Holy Flesh like a temple (John 2:19), the other will also raise the stone Temple of Jerusalem.
The Two Advents Of Our Lord
Throughout Scriptures we are instructed about two advents of the Christ and Saviour.
The first, was after the flesh in humiliation, because He was manifested in a lowly state.
The second, is declared to be in glory, for He comes from heaven with power, and angels, and the glory of His Father. His first advent had John the Baptist as its forerunner, His second, in which He is to come in glory, will exhibit Enoch, and Elias. "Behold the Lord's kindness to man; how even in the last days He shows His care for mortals, and pities them. For He will not leave us even then without prophets, but will send them to us for our instruction and assurance, and to make us to heed the advent of the adversary." St. John Chrysostom.
The Second Advent
"And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
"Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before.
"Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son "of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." Matthew 24:4,5 and 23-31.
"His Second Coming, unlike the first one, will not be in secret in a small corner of the world; but it will, rather be, openly with all circumstances leading to it. He would show Himself at once everywhere by reason of the shining forth of His glory, this is the same as the way the lightning shines, it needs not a herald, but rather shows itself in an instant even to those who are inside their houses or in their rooms. 'As the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west...'. Not so is the coming of Antichrist, for he will be in one place.
He assures them saying: 'Go not forth into the deserts, enter not into the secret chambers.' He did not say: 'Go and do not believe', but 'Go not forth neither depart thither.' Because great will be the deceiving, because for this purpose of deceiving miracles are wrought.
"Note that the sun shall be darkened (not destroyed), overcome by the light of His presence. And the stars shall fall from heaven, for what shall be the need of them thereafter, there being no night. And the powers of heaven shall be shaken to see so great a change coming to pass. For if when the stars were made, it is said: 'All angels praised Me with a loud voice.' Job 38:7, much more seeing all things in course of change, and those who have lived from Adam unto "His coming, having an account demanded of them, how shall they but tremble, and be shaken?
"The sign of the cross will be greater than the sun, since this latter will be darkened. The cross would not have appeared in the heaven unless it were far brighter than the sun. The cross appears to show the shamelessness of the Jews. This time, there shall be no need for accusation when they see the cross and 'shall the tribes mourn', that by His death they benefited nothing, because they crucified Him, whom they ought to have adored; for it is written concerning them that "They shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him." Zechariah 12:10.
"This time, they shall see the Son of man coming, no longer on the cross, but 'in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.' This time the sign of the cross is associated with manifest power and glory, as it was then associated with hidden power over the enemy when it was then regarded with shame and cursing. The sign of the Son of man appears here that their sins may be self condemned, their mourning here is an indication of self condemnation.
"Although the Lord comes openly, He still calls his elect by His angels in order to HONOR them in this way. The sound of the trumpet is for arousing, for gladness to manifest the amazing nature of the things then enacting.
"Here is a contrast between the 'mourning tribes' upon seeing the sign of the Son of man and the honor of the elect, when they are gathered together, and the sound of the trumpet together with He Himself in the cloud which shall catch them." St. John Chrysostom.
The following is taken from St. John's commentary on the Gospel of St John 5:43
"I am come in My Father's name and you do not receive Me; if another shall come in his own name, him you will received
DO YOU SEE that He everywhere declares that He has been "sent", that judgment has been committed to Him by the Father, that He can do nothing of Himself, in order that He may cut off all excuse of their unfairness? But who is it that he says shall come "in his own name"? He is alluding here to Antichrist and giving an indisputable proof of their unfairness. "For if as loving God you persecute Me, much more ought this to have taken place in the case of Antichrist. For he will neither say that he is sent by the Father, nor that he cometh according to His will [i.e. the will of the Father], but in everything to the contrary, seizing like a tyrant what does not belong to him, and asserting that he is the very God over all, as Paul says, 'Exalting himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, showing himself that he is God' 2 Thessalonians 2:4 This is to 'come in his own name'. I do not do this, but am come in the name of My Father..." That they received not One who said that He was sent by God, was a sufficient proof that they did not love God; but now from the contrary of this fact, from their being about to receive Antichrist, He shows their shamelessness. For when they received not One Who states that He was sent by God, and are about to worship one who does not know Him, and who says that he is God over all, it is clear that persecution proceeds from malice and from hating God. On this account He puts two reasons for His words; the first the kinder one, "that you may be saved" 5:34 and, "that you may have life" 5:40; and when they would have mocked at Him, He puts the other which was more striking, showing that even though His hearers should not believe, yet that God was wont always to do His own works. Now Paul, speaking concerning Antichrist said prophetically, "God shall send them strong delusion, that they all might be judged who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." 2 Thessalonians 2:11,12
The following is taken from St. John's commentary on Hebrews 8: 8,9
"Jesus Christ the same yesterday and today and for ever. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines."
In these words, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday and today and forever," "yesterday" means all the time that is past: "today," the present: "for ever," the endless which is to come. That is to say: You have heard of a High Priest, but not an High Priest who fails. He is always the same. As though there were some who said, 'He is not, another will come,' he says this, that He who was "yesterday and today," is "the same also for ever." For even now the Jews say, that another will come; and having deprived themselves of Him that is will fall into the hands of Antichrist.
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