The Apocalypse in the Teachings of Ancient Christianity (Part II)

Saint George (John) of Georgia

Saint George (John) of Georgia

My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.

THE APOCALYPSE (REVELATION) IN THE TEACHINGS OF ANCIENT CHRISTIANITY (Part II)
By His Eminence Archbishop Averky and Father Seraphim Rose

Chapter Thirteen

The Beast: The Antichrist and the Beast: The Antichrist and his Helper: The False Prophet

13:12 "And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat and great authority."

By this "beast which rises up out of the sea" almost all interpreters understand Antichrist who comes out of the "sea of life," that is in the midst of the human race which is agitated like a sea. From this it is clear that Antichrist will not be some kind of spirit or demon, but a heinous offspring of the human race. He will not be an incarnate devil as some have thought, but a man. Some by this beast have understood a God-fighting government such as during early Christian times was the Roman Empire and in the last times will be the worldwide kingdom of Antichrist. The holy seer of mysteries, Saint John, depicts in dark colors this last enemy of the Church of Christ. He is like unto a leopard with feet like a bear's and with the mouth of a lion. Thus in the person of Antichrist is united the characteristics, the qualities of the most wild beasts. He has likewise seven heads just like the devil, the dragon himself, and these heads are crowned with names, blasphemous names, for the open depiction of his inward impiety and his despising of everything holy. His ten horns are crowned by diadem as a sign of the fact that he will make use of his God-fighting power with the authority of a king on earth. This authority he will receive with the help of the dragon or the devil who will give him his throne (compare Daniel 7:2-6 and the three empires).

13:3-4 "And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?"

Saint John notes that one of the heads of the beast is as it were, mortally wounded. But his mortal wound has been healed, and this has astonished the whole earth which follows after the beast. And this has caused frightened people to submit both to the dragon who gives power to the beast and to the beast himself. All bow down to him saying, "Who is like unto this beast? Who can compare with him?" All this signifies that it will not be easy for Antichrist to acquire authority over all mankind; but at the beginning he will have to wage fierce wars and even experience a mighty defeat. But then there will follow his astonishing victories and his reign over the world. The words, "I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death" indicates either that one of his princes, being put to death, through the magic charms of Antichrist will be falsely shown as resurrected, in a way similar to what Simon the sorcerer did for which he was accused by the chief Apostle Peter; or that the Roman Empire, having endured a kind of death through a division from the autocracy of Antichrist, will be seen to be restore as was Caesar Augusts" (St. Andrew, ch. 36). [This false resurrection is a kind of parody of Christ's Resurrection, a part of the imitation of Christ by Antichrist--tr.]

13:5-6 "And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven."

Thus his reign will not be long, since otherwise, in the words of the Savior, "no flesh would be saved" (St. Matthew 24:22).

"The tabernacle of God" is dwelling of God the Logos/Word in the flesh--that is, His incarnation and repose in the saints, against whom--just as against the angels--the beast will direct his blasphemy" (St. Andrew, ch. 36).

"And he said, 'The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom on earth, which shall excel all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and trample and destroy it. And his ten horns are ten kings that shall arise: and after them shall arise another, who shall exceed all the former ones in wickedness, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change time and law: and power shall be given unto his hand for a time and times and a half a time" (Daniel 7:23-25).

13:7-10 "And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints."

In these verses is indicated the manner of the activity of Antichrist. He will be distinguished by blasphemy, by violence against men who d not submit to him and "it was given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them," that is, the power to force them to submit to him--of course in a purely outward fashion--for only those will bow down to Antichrist whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb. Only by patience and faith will the saints be able to defend themselves against Antichrist. And they are consoled by Saint John with the assurance that "He that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword," that is, that a righteous recompense awaits the Antichrist. (Compare St. Matthew 10:22: "He that endureth to the end will be saved.")

13:11-13 "And behold another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he speaks as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven are the earth in the sight of men."

In these verses Saint John speaks of the helper of the Antichrist--the false prophet--and his activity. This is also a beast, in Greek thyrion, which signifies a beast whose beastly nature is especially manifest, as for example in wild animals--hyena, jackal, tiger. But he is depicted not as coming out of the sea like the first one, but out of the earth. This signifies that all his feelings and conceptions are entirely earthly, of a sensuous character. He will have "two horns like a lamb." In the explanation of Saint Andrew this is so as to "cover with lamb's skin the murderous nature of a hidden wolf, and because in the beginning he will strive to have an image of piety. Saint Ireneaeus of Lyons says that this is 'the weapon-bearer of the Antichrist and the false prophet. To him will be given a power of signs and miracles so that before the Antichrist he might prepare his path of perdition. The healing of the wound of the beast we say is either a seeming union for a short time of the divided kingdom, or a swiftly passing-away restoration by the Antichrist of the dominion of Satan which was destroyed by the Cross of the Lord; or a false resurrection of someone from the dead who was close to him. He will speak like a serpent, for he acts and speaks according to the qualities of the founder of evil, the devil" (St. Andrew, ch. 37).

Imitating the Lord Jesus Christ, he will use for the establishment of authority of the Antichrist, two powers--the power of the word and the power of miracles. But he will speak "like a dragon," that is, blasphemously, and the fruit of his talking will be atheism and extreme impiety. For the deception of men, he will perform "great wonders" such as bringing down fire from heaven.

"The forerunner of the apostate--the false christ-- will perform everything through sorcery and deceit for the deception of men, so that Antichrist might be considered as God. He will be glorious performer of such miracles and worthy of undoubted glory, like Saint John the Baptist who brought believers to the Savior; for the lie also, for the deception of men, will strive to imitate the truth. Therefore it is not at all astonishing that for deceived eyes fire will be seen coming down from heaven, since from the history of Job we know that, by God's allowance, fire came down from heaven by the activity of Satan and burnt his flock" (St. Andrew, ch. 37). But these will be not true miracles, as God alone performs, but "false miracles" (cf. 2 Thess. 2:9). They will consist of cunningness, of the deception of the senses and of the use of natural but hidden powers of nature, with the help of the devil within the limits of the authority of his diabolic powers.

"He will deceive those whose hearts have their constant dwelling upon earth; but he will not deceive the senses of those who have acquired a dwelling in the heavens--they will be made perfectly firm by the prophesy of his coming" (St. Andrew, ch. 37).

(To be continued)

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MY BLESSING TO ALL OF YOU

The Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

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"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"-Saint John Chrysostom

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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George