Thursday, September 15, 2016

Concerning the Antichrist (St. John of Damascus)

By St. John of Damascus

It should be known that the Antichrist is bound to come. Everyone, therefore, who confesses not that the Son of God came in the flesh and is perfect God and became perfect man, after being God, is Antichrist.1 But in a peculiar and special sense he who comes at the consummation of the age is called Antichrist. First then, it is required that the Gospel should be preached among all nations, as the Lord said,2 and then he will come to refute the impious Jews. For the Lord said to them: “I am come in My Father’s name and you received Me not; if another shall come in his own name, him you will receive.”3 And the Apostle says, “Because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved, for this cause God shall send them a strong delusion that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”4 The Jews accordingly did not receive the Lord Jesus Christ Who was the Son of God and God, but will receive the imposter who calls himself God. For, that he will assume the name of God, the angel teaches Daniel, saying these words: “Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers.”5 And the Apostle says: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day of the Lord shall not come except there come the apostasy first and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits in the temple of God,6 showing himself that he is God;” in the temple of God he said, not our temple, but the old Jewish temple. For he will come not to us but to the Jews, not for Christ or the things of Christ: wherefore he is called Antichrist.

First, therefore, it is necessary that the gospel should be preached among all nations.7 And then shall that wicked one be revealed, even him whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, with all the deception of unrighteousness in them that perish whom the Lord shall consume with the word of His mouth and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming.8 The devil himself, therefore, does not become man in the way that the Lord was made man. God forbid! But he becomes man as the offspring of fornication and receives all the energy of Satan. For God, foreknowing the strangeness of the choice that he would make, allows the devil to take up his abode in him.

He is, therefore, as we have said, the offspring of fornication and is nurtured in secret and of a sudden he rises up and rebels and assumes rule. And in the beginning of his rule, or rather tyranny, he assumes the role of sanctity. But when he becomes master he persecutes the Church of God and displays all his wickedness. But he will come “with signs and lying wonders,”9 fictitious and not real, and he will deceive and lead away from the living God those whose mind rests on an unsound and unstable foundation, so that even the elect would, if it were possible, be made to stumble.10

But Enoch and Elias the Tishbite shall be sent and shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,11 that is, the synagogue to our Lord Jesus Christ and the preaching of the Apostles. And they (Enoch and Elias) will be destroyed by him (Antichrist). And the Lord shall come out of heaven, just as the holy Apostles beheld Him going into heaven, perfect God and perfect Man, with glory and power and will destroy the man of lawlessness, the son of destruction, with the breath of His mouth.12 Let no man therefore, look for the Lord to come from the earth, but only out of heaven as He Himself has made certain.13


1) I.e., not The Antichrist, but the denial of the perfect Divinity of Christ is an act of being as Antichrist --- anti-Christ as it were.

2) Mt. 24:14

3) Jn. 5:43

4) 2 Thes. 2:10-12

5) Dan. 11:37

6) 2 Thes. 2:3-4. And it is clear that Antichrist will reign before the second coming of Christ. But there is a deadly heresy among Protestants that Christ will come first and will reign for a period and then Antichrist will come. Followers of this heresy, called Chiliasm or Millenialism, will accept Antichrist perforce and follow him and reject Christ. Let everyone beware, therefore, of all that is taught outside the Holy Church, of all that does not come to us through the Holy Fathers and the Divine Service books, pure and unaltered as they have come down to us in the eternal truth of the Holy Church.

7) Mt. 25:14

8) 2 Thes. 2:8-10

9) 2 Thes. 2:8

10) Mt. 24:24

11) Mal. 4:6; Rev. 11:3. I.e. father to the children, because the fathers are they of the old Israel and the children of the new --- the followers of Christ.

12) Acts 1:2

13) 2 Thes. 2:8. All attempts to create a “kingdom of heaven” on earth, by whatever name are related.

From Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith