My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
THE SECOND COMING
By Dennis E, Engleman
"When your suffering shall have ended, your
righteousness shall go with you and the glory
of the Lord shall accompany you."
[Saint John Maximovitch]
It may be that our Lord Jesus Christ was thinking ahead to Antichrist when He said, "What profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" [Matthew 16:26]. For without a doubt, Antichrist will be the first and last human capable of gaining the whole world. And the cost of this great acquisition will be not only his own soul but THE SOULS OF ALL PEOPLE WHO SIDE WITH HIM.
Antichrist will become the undisputed secular and religious leader, the so-called "god’ of mankind. He will "solve" many of life’s problems, AND THOSE BEARING HIS MARK WILL ENJOY A BRIEF PERIOD OF PLEASURE AND PROSPERITY.
At that time, all the troublesome Christians will be either dead or in hiding. Worldly pursuits will preoccupy the people of earth completely. Ignorant of the disaster waiting in the wings, they will behave as though they were immortal. "And as it was in the days of Noah," says the Gospel, "so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all" (Luke 17:26-27).
Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh pointed out that the presence of Noah among his generation was both condemnation and salvation: "It was condemnation because the presence ONE MAN WHO HAD REMAINED FAITHFUL… was evidence that that was possible, and that those who were sinners, those who had REJECTED GOD…COULD HAVE DONE LIKEWISE…YET IT WAS ALSO THE SALVATION OF HIS TIME, BECAUSE HE WAS THE ONLY ONE THANKS TO WHOM GOD LOOKED WITH MERCY UPON MAN."
So shall it be AT THE VERY END. The world will have reached its apex of carnality, its nadir of spirituality. Concerns of the flesh will be all-importance. As Saint John Chrysostom noted, "Amid such evils they lived in luxury…When Antichrist is come, THE PURSUIT OF UNLAWFUL PLEASURES SHALL BE MORE EGER AMONG THE TRANSGRESSORS…BUT THEY THAT ARE HELD BY THE INTOXICATION OF WICKEDNESS SHALL NOT SO MUCH AS PERCEIVE THE DREADFUL NATURE OF THE THINGS THAT ARE ON THE POINT OF BEING DONE."
God in His mercy and love will have sent many problems and scourges, AS WARNINGS TO MANKIND that something is terribly wrong. Yet these will be explained away as natural disasters by scientists, medicated away by doctors, or just ignored. Finally, CHRIST WILL COME.
All of Sacred Scripture, all of world history, all of human experience, all of Satan’s posturing–all testify through the ages that Christ IS COMING. Yet, TO SPIRITUALLY BLIND MANKIND, the day of the Lord will appear suddenly and unexpectedly, like "a thief in the night," as Saint Paul wrote: "For when the1 y say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape" (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3).
Up until the last moment, people will behave as though this world would not last forever. "Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They [the Sodmites] ATE, THEY DRANK, THEY BOUGHT, THEY SOLD, THEY PLANTED, THEY BUILT, BUT ON THE DAY THAT LOT WENT OUT OF SODOM IT RAINED FIRE AND BRIMSTONE FROM HEAVEN AND DESTROYED THEM ALL. EVEN SO, WEILL IT BE IN THE DAY WHEN THE SON OF MAN IS REVEALED" (Luke 17:28-30).
In spite of the many admonitions, THE WORLD WILL NEVER SUSPECT ITS DANGER. Only those who treasure the words of the Lord Jesus Christ will be prepared: "But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For IT WILL COME AS A SNARE ON ALL THOSE WHO DWELL ON THE FACE OF THE WHOLE EARTH. WATCH THEREFORE, AND PRAY ALWAYS THAT YOU MAY BE COUNTED WORTHY TO ESCAPE ALL THESE THINGS THAT WILL TO PASS, AND TO STAND BEFORE THE Son of Man" (Luke 21:34-36).
The Savior WII NOT COME FROM THE EARTH OR THE SEA, BUT FROM HEAVEN, AS THE ANGELS ASSURED His Apostles sot long ago: "Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He Who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness. He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and his name is called The Word of God" (Revelation 19:11-13).
In a blinding flash, the Lord will appear to a frightened world. He will be seen in the sky, that element which has so long been the realm of Satan. "For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be," wrote Saint Matthew. "…Then the Sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the Tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN WITH POWER AND GREAT GLORY. And He will send His Angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heaven to the other" (Matthew 24:27-31).
The Sign of the Son of Man is, of course, THE Cross. "The Sign of the Cross SHALL BE A TERROR TO HIS FOES," exclaims Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, "BUT JOY TO HIS FRIENDS WH HAVE BELIEVED IN HIM, OR PREACHED HIM OR SUFFERED FOR HIS SAKE."
Saint John Maximovitch explained that Christ’s appearance WILL BRING ALL PEOPLE TO A RECOGNITION OF THE TRUTH. "And the Sign of the Son of God will appear: The Sign of the Cross. The whole world, HAVING WILLINGLY SUBMITTED TO Antichrist, WILL WEEP. Everything is, FINISHED FOREVER: Antichrist KILLED; THE END OF HIS KINGDOM OF WARFARE WITH CHRIST; THE END, AND ONE IS HELD ACCOUNTABLE; ONE MUST ANSWER TO THE TRUE GOD."
"At that time the whole earth will tremble," says the Apocalypse of Elijah. "The sun will be darkened. Peace will be removed from upon the earth and from under heaven… The sinners will cry out on the earth, saying, ‘What have you done to us, lawless one, by saying, "I am the Christ," when you are the lawless one? …Now we will be destroyed by wrath, because we disobeyed God.
Christ’s Second Advent will cause an immediate spiritual shock throughout the world. "It will not be necessary or possible for persons to communicate news of the Coming of the Son of God," wrote Saint Ignatius Brianchaninov. "He will appear suddenly… TO ALL MEN AND TO ALL THE EARTH AT THE SAME TIME."
THERE WILL BE A NEW HEAVEN, A NEW EARTH, AND A NEW HUMANITY. CHRIST’S RETURN WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING! (Source: Ultimate Things. An Orthodox Christian Perspective on the End Times)