“Many prayer and tears are necessary for us, beloved ones, in order that some of us should prove firm in temptations” St. Ephraim the Syrian.
To discern the times around us we must be somewhat (at least) proficient in discerning underlying spirits. To do so, the Christian must be reading the Holy Scriptures and the holy Fathers.
In this post, I provide below a link to a PDF of St. Ephraim the Syrian “On the Antichrist.” In it clearly indicated are the methods and means that are of the antichrist spirit. Please download it; please read it.
For example, St. Ephraim teaches, “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 light of the above, it is clear that systems that seek to mandate certain passports, or such things, for “everyday” participation in society are but operating in the antichrist spirit. It is very important to understand this. Ultimately, these modes of social control will culminate in the Antichrist. Those that support such things are supporting an antichrist spirit.
The saint instructs that for the true Christian, he must keep steadfast the Faith. “Keeping steadfast the faith of Christ in purity, we will make the power of the tormentor falter … 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 intention of despoiling, blocking up, and ravaging the elected flock of the true Shepherd.”
So, we should not be too surprised when and as we witness an all-out assault on Truth. Another identifying feature of the antichrist spirit is that it aggressively seeks to despoil, block up, and ravage the Truth. Such a strong agenda is very evident in our times. One of the major purveyors of this agenda is the ecumenist (ecumenical) movement, which dark spirit even some Orthodox have embraced.
St. Ephraim admonishes us, “Let us try to find out, O friends, under what appearance the shameless snake will come to the earth.” Why? So that we will not be led into apostasy. Note again – the saints instruct that a Christian should be “finding out” what forms and appearances the evil one will strive to use, so to deceive the faithful.
St. Ephraim’s work is not a light read. It is very sobering. Yet, he writes for our instruction and warning. Clearly, he calls Christians to repentance; to a true return to the Most High God.
Who is ultimately responsible for the rise and acceptance of Antichrist? We are. Antichrist (and all the antichrists) will only be the manifestation of humanity’s desire to live without God – our godlessness. Hearts will be drawn to Antichrist because these hearts first rejected Christ Jesus, the Truth. St. Ephraim instructs, “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.”
If Antichrist is the ultimate culmination of mankind’s sin and rebellion then the only way in which to reject him is by turning our hearts fully to the Lord. Heartfelt repentance is the antidote. But will it be applied?
The saint teaches, “all who have received the seal of Antichrist, and have worshipped Antichrist as the good god, will have no part whatsoever in Christ’s kingdom … 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, distaining both his tortures and illusions.”
If we as Christians hold fast to Christ the Lord and His Holy Truth, Orthodoxy, while also offering sincere repentance, if we reason not according to the false “wisdom” of this world but rather according to the Heavenly Wisdom, then, the saint tells us, “the coming of the Antichrist will be made known without difficulty to those who have knowledge.” That is, the Holy Spirit will grant understanding to those seeking to be faithful. “But, the saint teaches, “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 ever hear, he will not believe, and will despise him who says these things.”
The reader may find the full text of St. Ephraim’s work in PDF format here- “On The Antichrist”