My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
Christ is in our midst! He was, is, and ever shall be.
"And He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons
which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall
receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and
you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem and in all Judea
and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:7-8).
"It is not for you to know the times or the seasons,
which the Father has put in His own power" (Acts 1:7).
However, the fact that the time is UNKNOWN should arouse Christians, TO A CONSTANT SPIRITUAL VIGILANCE: "Take heed, watch and pray, FOR YOU DO NOT KNOW WHEN THE TIME IS" (Mark 13:33).
From the earliest days of the Church, Christians lived always in anticipation of Christ’s return or His Second Coming. Reflecting on the course of historical events and discerning in them the SIGNS of the approach of the time of the "LAST DAY." Our Lord Christ taught: "Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near" (Matthew 24:33).
Here are some of the signs indicated in the word of God:
a. The spread of the Gospel to the whole world: "And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached IN ALL THE WORLD FOR A WITNESS UNTO ALL NATIONS; AND THEN SHALL THE END COME" (Matthew 24:14).
b. On the other hand, there will be an extraordinary MANIFESTATION OF THE POWERS OF EVIL: "Because INIQUITY SHALL ABOUND, the love of many shall grow cold" (Matthew 24:12). The holy Apostle Paul writes: "But know this, that in the LAST DAYS perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, LOVERS OF MONEY, BOASTERS, PROUD, BLASPHEMERS, DISOBEDIENT TO PARENTS, UNTHANKFUL, UNHOLY, UNLOVING, UNFORGIVING, SLANDERERS, WITHOUT SELF-CONTROL, BRUTAL, DESPISER OF GOOD, TRAITORS, HEADSTRONG, HAUGHTY, LOVERS OF PLEASURE RATHER TAH LOVERS OF GOD, HAVING A FORM OF GODLINESS BUT DENYING ITS POWER. AND FROM SUCH PEOPLE TURN AWAY" (2 Timothy 3:1-5). Faith in general WILL GROWN WEAK: "When the Son of Man comes, will He really FIND FAITH ON EARTH? (Luke 18:8).
c) The devil will raise up warfare against the Kingdom of Christ through his instrument, ANTICHRIST. The name "ANTICHRIST" is used in Holy Scripture in two meanings: In A BROAD, GENERAL sense it indicates EVERY ENEMY OF Christ; this is the mean when "antichrists" are spoken of in the First and Second Epistles of Saint John the Theologian. But IN A PARTICULAR SENSE, "ANTICHRIST" signifies A DEFINITE PERSON–the ADVERSARY OF CHRIST who is to appear BEFORE THE END OF THE WORLD. Concerning the qualities and actions of this Antichrist, we read in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-11, "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 appeareth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God… "
The image of this ADVERSARY of God is presented also in the Prophet Daniel (chapters 7 and 11, and in the New Testament in the Revelation of Saint John the Theologian (chapters 11-13). The work of the Antichrist will continue UNTIL THE VERY DAY OF JUDGMENT (2 Thessalonians 2:8). The character of the person of Antichrist and a description of his activities are depicted hypothetically, but in detail, by Saint Cyril of Jerusalem in his Catechetical Lectures and by Saint Ephraim the Syrian in his "Homily on the Coming of the Lord and Antichrist."
d) In the Book of Revelation of Saint John the Theologian there is indicated THE APPEARANCE OF "TWO WITNESSES" during the period of the Antichrist’s activity; THEY WILL PROPHESY of the truth and PERFORM MIRACLES, and when they finish their testimony they will be killed, and then after "three days and a half" will be resurrected and ascend into heaven" (Revelation 11:2-12).
According to the universal interpretation of the Holy Fathers, these TWO WITNESSES" (mentioned also in Zachariah, chap. 3) are the Old Testament righteous ones Enoch, and Elijah, WHO NEVER DIED BUT WERE CARRIED UP ALIVE INTO HEAVEN, and endured their earthly death ONLY DURING THE REIGN OF ANTICHRIST. (Source: Orthodox Dogmatic Theology by Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky)
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostom
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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George