“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”
7 thoughts on “On the Antichrist: Great will be the Contest”
St. Ephraim lays out what End Times Christians will face and should prepare for.
(Ephraim’s “A Spiritual Psalter” perhaps my most-read writing of any Church Father).
The insight God gave to Saint Ephrem is simply astounding, may we read with the illumination of the Holy Spirit, and take heed!
Of course, governments in past times have placed restrictions on movement and even dictated at times who may buy what, so what is the difference between these relatively normal expressions of governmental control and the repressions indicating the advent of Antichrist? For one thing, as the Apostle indicates, there are many Antichrists in World History, who in part are expressions of that spirit, but not its full expression, so many governments in the past have participated in the spirit of Antichrist. What is this Spirit? I think we see the operations of this spirit in governance when we see control extended not only to those things which are necessarily regulated to forestall chaos, but into all areas of life; government acquires a passion for control, hungering for the very omnipotency appropriate only to the Creator. Men come to be deemed not as citizens, but as creatures of government, whose life is to perform those duties which enhance the powers of government. Probably most governments in the past have wished for this kind of power, but lacked the technological apparatus to effect it. The end comes when the powers Man has developed to allow him to control the world are turned against him by his rulers; the technologies he expected would raise him to the level of the gods are utilized instead to make him less than human.
The Antichrist spirit is the same as that which was first articulated in the Garden of Eden; reject God, and become God yourself. A later expression of the same principle was in the Tower of Babel, the attempt to take Heaven by force. Though it is somewhat more subtle, and drawn out over centuries, the impetus of Modernity is not substantially different; it was articulated very well by Nietzsche when he said, “Now that we have killed God, we must ourselves become God”. As we pile ziggurat upon ziggurat and ascend toward the heavens, we believe in the end we shall defeat all evil, and become our own Savior.
The Antichrist spirit is but a perversion of the call to become sons of God. Because it strives to do so by refusing repentance, it can only repeat every error of human history, and lead us in the end to the supreme culmination of presumptuous folly.
I have never experienced an atmosphere of untruth like the current one. It seems like people have completely abandoned the responsibility to speak truthfully. They appear to think that it’s OK to tell lies constantly because it will lead us to Star Trek, whereas if they don’t labor constantly to deceive people they may be content to live the kind of lives their ancestors did. In a way, this is a great evangelical endeavor of a new religion; they conceive of themselves as working for our salvation. Like the Inquisitors of old, they are willing to kill and torture us to bring us to the light. The corrupt will of those that cling to human tradition must be overcome, and if it cannot be, then we must be killed, lest we contaminate those that have pure faith in the deification of Humanity.
I don’t think it will take any miraculous degree of understanding to comprehend the deceptions of the enemy; look at how plainly things have unfolded in the last couple of years! And yet there are those that don’t see it. I think the ones who fall into the deception of Antichrist will be those who have essentially allowed themselves to be blindfolded by demons, and have even assisted in the operation! We currently have people willingly forgetting all of their past lives and the precepts they lived by previously. The spirit of compromise is powerful; those who don’t stand for Truth will have a mist descend on their living sight, blocking out the light of the sun, and then they will begin to follow the shadows and images which are presented to them, and call this the real world. Those that hold to Truth will continue to see the world as it is. No doubt there will be a fuller and more overt renunciation of Truth in the form of some kind of declaration of fealty to Antichrist, but it will be almost impossible for those who live in this shadow world to resist, so in reality this is the watershed moment.
St. Ephraim appears to say that in the end the Divine services will cease; may the Lord have mercy on us! Obviously the current restrictions on religious services are a preparation for this. He speaks of refuges which will be provided; may we be found worthy of such a refuge, may we be preserved from falling into delusion and protected from all the snares of the enemy.
He says that Antichrist will seem sane and reasonable after all the chaotic tumults which will afflict mankind; we must be wary of those who appear just and righteous but who attempt to seduce us into betraying our principles by instilling in us the spirit of compromise.
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