|Table of Contents | Words: Alphabetical - Frequency - Inverse - Length - Statistics | Help | IntraText Library|
|Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky|
Orthodox dogmatic theology
IntraText CT - Text
The signs of the Second Coming of the Lord
It was not pleasing to the Lord — for our own moral benefit . to reveal to us the time of the
“last day” of the present heaven and earth, the day of the Coming of the Son of Man, “the Day of
the Lord.” “Of that day and hour knoweth no man, not the angels in heaven, but My Father
only” (Matt. 24:36). “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath
put in His own power” (Acts 1:7). The fact that the time is unknown should arouse Christians to
a constant spiritual vigilance: “Take ye heed, watch and pray, for ye know not when the time is...
And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch” (Mark 13:33, 37).
However, the unknowability of the time of the Lord should not prevent Christians from reflecting
deeply on the course of historical events and discerning in them the signs of the approach
of the time of the “last day.” The Lord taught: “Now learn a parable of the fig tree: When his
branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh. So likewise ye, when
ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors” (Matt. 24:32-33).
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” (Matt.
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 wax cold” (Matt. 24:12). The Apostle
Paul says: “In the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own
selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers ... lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God,
having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (2 Tim. 3:1-5). Faith in general will
grow weak: “When the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the 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 Sacred Scripture in two meanings: In a broad, general
sense it indicates every enemy of Christ; this is the meaning when “antichrists” are spoken of in
the first and second epistles of St. 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 the Apostle Paul:
“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 opposeth
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... For the mystery of iniquitydoth already work; only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And
then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His
mouth, and shall destroy by the brightness of His Coming; even him, whose coming is after
the working of satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness
of unrighteousness in them that perish, because they received not the love of the
truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion,
that they should believe a lie” (2 Thes. 2:3-11).
The image of this adversary of God is presented also in the Prophet Daniel (Chapter 7 and 11),
and in the New Testament in the Apocalypse of St. John the Theologian (Chapters 11-13). The
activity of Antichrist will continue until the very day of Judgment (2 Thes. 2:8). The character of
the person of Antichrist and a description of his activities are depicted hypothetically, but in detail,
by St. Cyril of Jerusalem in his Catechetical Lectures (the fifteenth), and by St. Ephraim the
Syrian in his “Homily on the Coming of the Lord and Antichrist.” (See, in the Eerdmans translation of
St Cyril's Catechetical Lectures, pp. 106-110. St. Ephraim's homily, “Concerning the Coming of the Lord, the End of
the World, and the Coming of Antichrist,” has been translated into English in Orthodox Life 1970, no. 3.)
d) In the Apocalypse of St. 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 (Apoc. 11:3-12). (According to the universal
interpretation of the Holy Fathers, these “two witnesses” (mentioned also in Zachariah, ch. 3) are the Old Testament
righteous ones Enoch and Elijah, who never died but were carried up alive into heaven, and endure their earthly
death only during the reign of Antichrist.)