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Topic: Historic peace treaty … or preparation for the antichrist?

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DunkingDan

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English Fr. Seraphim Rose and the Signs of the Times Part I
« Reply #42 on: September 23, 2020, 05:58:29 PM »
It is, then, perhaps a good time to reflect soberly upon Orthodox teachings about how to recognize the End Times when they do arrive; and we can find no better guide for this than Fr Seraphim Rose, who unlike many moderns takes prophecy quite seriously, while always holding up its interpretation to the light of patristic teachings.
By Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose)
WHY STUDY THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES?

The subject of this talk is, watching for the signs of the times.1 First of all, we have to know what it is meant by the phrase “signs of the times.” This expression comes straight from the Gospel, from the words of our Savior in Matthew 16:3. Christ tells the Pharisees and Sadducees who came to Him, “Ye can discern the face of the sky,” that is, tell what the weather will be; “but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” In other words, He’s telling them that this has nothing to do with science, or with knowing our place in the world, or anything of the sort. It’s a religious question. We study the signs of the times in order to be able to recognize Christ.   

[img width=594 height=334.188 alt=Landscape]http://anothercity.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/landscape-910x512-1.jpg[/img][/color]

During the time of Christ, the Pharisees and Sadducees did not study the signs of the times in order to see that Christ had come, that the Son of God was already on earth. There were already signs that they should have recognized. For example, in the book of Daniel in the Old Testament, there is a prophecy concerning the seventy weeks of years, which means that the Messiah was to come about 490 years from the time of Daniel. Those Jews who read their books very carefully knew exactly what this was all about, and at about the time that Christ came they knew that it was time for the Messiah.

But this is an outward sign. More importantly, the Pharisees and Sadducees should have been watching for the inward signs. If their hearts had been right with God, and if they had not been merely trying to fulfill the outward commandment of the law, their hearts would have responded and recognized God in the flesh when He came. And many of the Jews did—the apostles, the disciples, and many others.

This same passage in the sixteenth chapter of St. Matthew speaks further about signs. Our Lord told the Jews, “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah.” The events of the Old Testament contain prefigurations of events in the New Testament. When Jonah was three days in the belly of the whale, this was a prefiguration of our Lord’s being three days in the tomb. And this sign—the sign of Jonah—was given to the people of Christ’s time.

Our Lord was telling the Pharisees and Sadducees that an evil and adulterous generation seeks for spectacular events—that is, fire coming down from heaven, or the Romans being chased away, angels manifesting themselves and banishing the foreign government of the Romans, and things of that sort. Christ told them this kind of sign would not be given. An evil and adulterous generation seeks after this, but those who are pure of heart seek rather something more spiritual. And the one sign that is given to them is the sign of Jonah. Of course, it is a great thing that a man should be three days in the grave and then rise up, being God.

Thus, from our Savior’s words, we know that we are not to watch for spectacular signs, but we are rather to look inwardly for spiritual signs. Also, we are to watch for those things, which according to Scripture must come to pass.

THE SIGNS GIVEN US BY CHRIST

We Orthodox Christians have already recognized and accepted the signs of Christ’s First Coming. The very fact that we’re Orthodox Christians means that we’ve done this. We know what these signs mean: for example, the sign of Jonah, the 490 years of Daniel, and many other things that our Lord fulfilled. Our Orthodox Divine services are filled with Old Testament prophecies, which were fulfilled in the coming of Christ. These we all see and recognize—it all seems clear. But now we have to look for different kinds of signs, that is, the signs of the Second Coming of Christ. The whole teaching about the Second Coming of Christ and the signs which will precede it is set forth in several places in the Gospels, especially in the twenty-fourth chapter of St. Matthew. St. Mark and St. Luke also have chapters about this.

This chapter of St. Matthew tells of how our Lord departed from the Temple, and how his disciples came to him to show him the buildings of the Temple. Of course, in those days the Temple was the center of worship. Every Jew had to come to the Temple at least at Pascha—the Passover—for here alone was where God could be worshipped in the right way.

Our Lord looked at the Temple and told His disciples, “See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you: There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” To tell a believing Jew at that time that the whole Temple is to be thrown down, that nothing is to be left of it, is like saying it’s the end of the world, because the Temple is precisely the place where God is supposed to be worshipped. How are you going to worship God if there’s no Temple? So these words of our Savior made the disciples start thinking about the end of the world. They immediately said, “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?” In other words, they already knew that He was going to come again and that this would be bound up with the end of the world.

Then our Lord gives a whole set of signs that are to come to pass before He comes again. First of all He says, “Take heed that no man lead you astray. For many shall come in My name saying, ‘I am Christ’; and shall lead man astray.” That is, many false Christs will come. This we’ve already seen throughout the history of the Church: those who have risen up against the Church, those who have pretended to be God, pretended to be Christ.

Secondly, in the next verse He says, “Ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars. Se that ye be not troubled, for these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” Of course, from the very beginning of the Christian era there have been wars and rumors of wars, and even more so in our time. “Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquake in diverse places.” Again, wars, then famines, earthquakes. And He says, “All these things are the beginning of tribulation.”

Then comes the next sign, which is: persecutions. “Then shall they deliver you up unto tribulation, and shall kill you, and ye shall be hated of all nations for My name’s sake.” So, first we have false Christs, then wars, rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes, persecutions—and then a very important sign for our times concerning the growing cold of love: “Because iniquity shall be multiplied, the love of many shall wax cold.” This is the most deadly of all the signs, because the sign of Christians, as St. John the Theologian tells us, is that they have love for each other. When this love grows cold, this means that even the Christians are beginning to lose Christianity.

Then another sign, in the next verse of the twenty-fourth chapter: “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a testimony unto all the nations, and then shall the end come.” This sign of the Gospel being preached unto all the nations we see about us now. The Gospel itself is produced in hundreds of languages now to almost all the tribes of the earth, and Orthodox Christianity is being preached in almost every country of the world. In Africa there are great missions: in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, the Congo, and spreading out from there.

Then a more difficult place: our Lord speaks concerning the abomination of desolation which is spoke of by Daniel the prophet. “When you see the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place (let him that readeth understand).” That is, you’re supposed to understand this from something else. This is another sign. It is concerned, of course, with the Temple in Jerusalem and some kind of desecration of it.

Then, in the twenty-first verse, there is the sign of great tribulation: “Then shall be great tribulation such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall be.” That is, it will be the worst and most difficult time of suffering in the whole history of the world. You can read history books and find that there have been many times in the history of the world when there was great suffering. If you read about what happened to the Jews when Jerusalem was taken after the death of Christ, you will find that such suffering as went on then was unparalleled. In other places there has been almost as much suffering. And yet the great tribulation at the very end will be much worse. Of course, it will be worldwide and involve everyone, not just one people, and will be something of a very impressive character. It will be called, “such tribulation that the world has never seen.”

Just after this time, something even worse begins to come. Verse 29 reads: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.” Such an event, of course, has never been before, and this obviously refers to the time just at the end of the world, when the whole of creation prepares to be annihilated in order to be refashioned.

Finally, the next verse: “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven,” that is, the sign of the Cross will appear in the sky. “And then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” That is, the very coming of Christ shall be in the heavens with the sign of the Cross—and that is the very end of everything.

After telling all this about the signs of the end, our Lord gives a final command, saying, “Watch, therefore, for you know not on what day your Lord cometh…. Therefore, be also ready, for in an hour that you think not, the Son of Man cometh.”

All this is in the twenty-fourth chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew. But all of this, for anyone not thoroughly acquainted with Scriptures and the writings of Holy Fathers, almost raises more question than it solves. We must understand what the meaning is of all these prophecies. How can we know when they are really being fulfilled? And how can we avoid false interpretations? Because there are many false Christs, false prophets, false prophecies, false interpretations. How can we know what is the true interpretation and what are the true signs of the times? If you look about you and go to any religious bookstore, you will see shelves containing many books of commentaries on the Book of Revelation (The Apocalypse), books with interpretations about the coming end of the world. In fact many Christians who are not Orthodox have a very definite feeling that these are the last times, but they all give interpretations based upon their own opinions.

THE BASIS FOR UNDERSTANDING THE SIGNS

The first thing we must have if we are going to have the true interpretation of the signs of the times is something we can call, basic Orthodox knowledge. That is, knowledge of the Holy Scripture, both the Old and New Testaments (and not just according to the way it seems, but according to the way the Church has interpreted it); knowledge of the writings of Holy Fathers; knowledge of Church history; and awareness of the different kinds of heresies and errors which have attacked the Church’s true understanding of dogma, and especially of the last times. If we do not have a grounding in sources such as these, we will find ourselves confused and unprepared. That is precisely what our Lord tells us: to be ready, to be prepared. Unless we have this basic knowledge, we will not be prepared and we will misinterpret the signs of the times.

A few years ago a book was printed in English which has become a fantastic bestseller for a religious book. It has sold over ten million copies in America. It’s called The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey, a Protestant Evangelical in Texas. In a rather superficial style he gives his interpretation of the signs of the times. He believes it’s the last times we are living in now. He believes that everywhere around us there are being fulfilled these signs which our Lord talked about. If you read this book, you find that sometimes he gets something more or less correct according to our Orthodox understanding, sometimes he is totally off, and sometimes he is partly wrong, partly right. It’s as though he’s just guessing, because he reads the Scripture according to his own understanding. He has no basic Orthodox Christian knowledge, no background in the true knowledge of the Scriptures and the Holy Fathers. Therefore, if you read this book seriously, you will find that you become very confused. You don’t know what to believe any more. He talks, for example, about a millennium that is supposed to come before the end of the world. He talks about the rapture, when Christians are supposedly gathered up into the heavens before the end of the world, and then watch how the people suffer down below. He talks about the building of the Temple in Jerusalem as though this is a good thing, as thought this is preparing for Christ’s coming.

If you read such books as this (there are many other books like it; this one happens to be a bestseller because the author caught the imagination of people just at one particular time), and if you take them all as truth, you will find that instead of recognizing Christ—which is the whole reason for our understanding about the signs of the times—you will be accepting Antichrist.



Miniature of the Apocalypse
Miniature of the Apocalypse

Take, for example, the very question of the Temple in Jerusalem. It is true, according to Orthodox prophecies, that the Temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem. If you look at people like Hal Lindsey, or even the Fundamentalist Carl McIntire, they are also talking about the building of the Temple, but they’re talking about it as though we are building it in order for Christ to come back and reign over the world for a thousand years. What they are talking about is the coming of Antichrist. The millennium, according to the Protestant interpretation, as being a special thousand-year reign at the end of the world, is actually the reign of Antichrist. In fact, there have already been people who have arisen and proclaimed their thousand-year kingdom, which is going to last until the end of the world. The last one was Adolf Hitler. This is based upon the same kind of chiliastic idea: that is, interpreting the millennium in a worldly sense. The actual thousand years of the Apocalypse is the life in the Church which is now, that is, the life of Grace; and anyone who lives it sees that, compared to the people outside, it is indeed heaven on earth. But this is not the end. This is our preparation for the true kingdom of God, which has no end.



There are many books of basic Orthodox knowledge now available. Those who are seriously concerned about studying the signs of the times should first be very well versed in some of these books, and they should be reading them, seriously studying them, and having them as daily food. The best books to read are not someone’s interpretation of Revelation (the Book of Apocalypse) because right now there’s not really any Orthodox interpretation of this in English [see Commentary on the Apocalypse by Archbishop Averky (Taushev), published after this talk was given.—O.C.].

The best books are the basic spiritual textbooks. First of all there are basic texts of Orthodox dogmas, the various catechisms. One of the best is the eighth-century work of St. John Damascene, On the Orthodox Faith, which goes through the whole of the catechism. An even earlier one is St. Cyril of Jerusalem’s Catechetical Lectures, that is, lectures prepared for people about to be baptized, which goes through the whole Creed and tells what the Church believes. There are many similar books of catechism, both in ancient times and in more modern times. More recently we have the catechisms in Russian of Metropolitan Platon and Metropolitan Philaret, which are a little shorter and simpler.

Then there is a different kind of book: commentaries on Holy Scriptures. There are not too many of these in English [see St. Cyril of Alexandria’s commentary on the Scripture (Logos, six volumes) and The Explanation of the New Testament by Blessed Theophylact, Archbishop of Ochrid and Bulgaria (Chrysostom Press) published after this talk], but we do have some of the commentaries of St. John Chrysostom. This area is a little bit weak in English, because there are many good books in Russian that are not in English yet, including more recent books of commentaries on the Scriptures, even on the Apocalypse. Archbishop Averky’s books are very good, but they’re just being put into English now. God willing, before too long, they will be out.2

Then, besides these two kinds of books—basic catechism and commentaries on Scripture—there are all the books on Orthodox spiritual life. These include the Lausiac History (which tells about how the monks lived in Egypt, and how they fought spiritually), the Dialogues of St. Gregory of Rome, the Lives of Saints, The Ladder [of Divine Ascent] of St. John, the Homilies of St. Macarius the Great, the books of St. John Cassian, the Philokalia, Unseen Warfare and St. John of Kronstadt’s My Life in Christ. These books deal with basic Orthodox spiritual life, spiritual struggle, how to discern the wiles of the demons, how not to fall into deception. All of them give a basic foundation by which to understand the signs of the times.

Then there are the works of more recent writers who are in the same patristic spirit as the ancient Holy Fathers. The main examples are the two great writers of nineteenth century Russia, St. Theophan the Recluse and St. Ignatius Brianchaninov, whose works are now coming out gradually in English. Bishop Ignatius’ book The Arena and various articles by St. Theophan are in English [now in English are St. Theophan’s Kindling the Divine Spark, Path to Salvation, The Spiritual Life and How to Be Attuned To It]. These two writers are very important because they transmit the patristic teaching down to our times. They have already explained many questions that arise concerning how to understand the Holy Fathers. For example, the new Orthodox Word has a whole text of Bishop Ignatius on the toll-houses which the soul meets after death. Sometimes, in reading the Holy Fathers, one has questions on such subjects and doesn’t quite know how to understand what the ancient Fathers say, and these more recent Father explain these texts.

There are the histories of the Church, which tell of God’s revelation to men and how God acts with regard to men. It is very instructive to read the stories of the Old Testament, because exactly the same things repeat themselves in the New Testament. Then one should read, along with he New Testament, the histories of the New Testament Church. For example, there’s a pocketbook of Eusebius’ History of the Church, which traces the history of the Church down through the first three centuries, written from an Orthodox Christian point of view. It’s very important to see what early Church writers saw was important in the history of the Church: the martyrs, the apostles, and so forth.

So, all these different kinds of writings help to prepare us with basic Christian knowledge; that is, catechisms, commentaries on Scripture, books on spiritual life, more recent patristic books in this same spirit, and histories of the Church. Before we do too much reading about what specifically the signs of the times mean, we should have a basic background in all of these categories of books. All of them prepare one to understand something about the signs of the times. Once one has begun to prepare oneself like this, it is not merely a matter of adding knowledge up in one’s head and being able to repeat by heart certain phrases, to have exactly the right interpretation of a Bible verse, or anything of the sort.

SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT

The most important thing that one acquires through reading such basic Orthodox literature as this is a virtue called discernment. When we come to two phenomena which seem to be exactly alike or very similar to each other, the virtue of discernment allows us to see which of them is true and which is false: that is, which has the spirit of Christ and which might have the spirit of Antichrist.

The very nature of Antichrist, who is to be the last great world ruler and the last great opponent of Christ, is to be anti-Christ—and “anti” means not merely “against,” but also “in imitation of, in place of.” The Antichrist, as all the Holy Fathers say in their writings about him, is to be someone who imitates Christ, that is, tries to fool people by looking as though he is Christ come back to earth. Therefore, if one has a very vague notion of Christianity or reads the Scriptures purely from one’s own opinions (and one’s opinions come from the air, and the air is not Christian now, but anti-Christian), then one will come to very anti-Christian conclusions. Seeing the figure of Antichrist, one will be fooled into thinking that it is Christ.

We can give a few examples of how the virtue of discernment can help us to understand some fairly complicated phenomena. One such phenomenon is the charismatic movement. There is a Greek priest, Fr. Eusebius Stephanou in Indiana,3 who is spreading this movement in the Orthodox Church. He has a rather large number of followers and sympathizers. He’s even been to Greece and is going again soon, and there too people are sometimes quite overwhelmed by him.

One can see that part of the reason for his success is that he comes from an Orthodox church atmosphere in which people, being born Orthodox, go to Orthodox church, receive sacraments, and take the whole thing for granted. Since it becomes with them a matter of habit, they do not understand that the whole meaning of the Church is to have Christ in the heart, but that one can go through the whole of Orthodox Church life without having one’s heart awakened. In that case, one is just like the pagans. In fact, one is more responsible than the pagans. The pagans have never heard of Christ, while the person who is Orthodox and does not know what spiritual life is simply has not yet awakened to Christ.

This is the kind of atmosphere from which Fr. Eusebius comes. Seeing that this is a spiritual deadness—and it’s quite true that much of what is in the Orthodox Church is spiritually dead—he wants to make it come to life. But the trouble is that he himself belongs to the same spirit. In fact, you very seldom see that he reads the basic Orthodox books. He picks one or two that seem to agree with his point of view, but he does not have a thorough grounding in the Orthodox sources. He does not think that they are the most important things to be reading.

If you look deeply at what he and other people in the charismatic movement are saying—and our book The Religion of the Future goes into detail on this subject—you see that what they call a spiritual revival and a spiritual life is actually what more recent Fathers like Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov carefully described as deception, that is, a kind of fever of the blood which makes it look as though one is being spiritual when actually one is not even grasping spiritual reality at all. In fact, it’s as different from true Christian life, which is reflected in these very basic Orthodox books, as heaven is from earth.

Quite apart from the details of how they pray and what kind of phenomena manifest themselves at their services, you can see that the very basic idea which Fr. Eusebius and these charismatics have is a false idea. Yesterday we received an issue of Fr. Eusebius’ magazine, Logos. There he talks about the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the last times preparing for the coming of Christ. All Christians are supposed to be renewed, to receive the Holy Spirit, to be speaking in tongues. This prepares for the coming of Christ, and there will be a great spiritual outpouring before Christ comes.

If you read the Scriptures carefully, without putting your prejudices into them, even without the patristic commentaries you will see that nowhere is anything said about a great spiritual outpouring at the end of the world. Christ Himself says the contrary. First he gives His teaching concerning how we should pray and have faith and not be faint. He presents the example of the woman who goes to the judge and keeps begging him to intercede in her case, and He tells us that this is how we should continue to pray and pray and pray until God hears us and gives to us. This is a very solid example about praying. Then He says, “Nevertheless” (that is, despite the fact that I’ve given you this teaching and this is the way to pray), “nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” In other words, despite the fact you’ve been given all this, there will be practically no one left who is a Christian at the end of the world. “Will He find faith on the earth?” means He will find almost no one left. There will not be flocks of people who are praying and inspired with the Holy Spirit at the end of time. All Holy Fathers who speak about this subject speak about the great terrible times at the end, and say that those who are true Christians will be hidden away and will not even be visible to the world. Those who are visible to the world will not be the true Christians.

Today there are tremendous charismatic revivals at Notre Dame University, and in Jerusalem there is every year now a charismatic conference on the Holy Spirit. Sixty, seventy thousand people come together and pray and raise up their hands, and they all speak in tongues. It looks as though the time of the Apostles has come back, but if you look at what goes on there, you see it’s not the right spirit; it’s a different spirit.

Therefore, when Fr. Eusebius speaks about St. Symeon the New Theologian, and about how you must know Who the Holy Spirit is and receive Him consciously, this is fine, this is good teaching—but if you have the wrong spirit, that teaching does not apply. And this is not the right spirit. There are many signs evident that it is a different spirit and not the Spirit of God.

Here is one case where, if you have discernment from basic Christian knowledge, you can look at a phenomenon which claims to be apostolic and just like the times of the early Church preparing for Christ’s Second Coming, and if you look closely you can see it is not the same thing. In fact, if anything, it’s just like those who want to build the Temple for Christ. They’re building for Antichrist; it’s totally the opposite.

Again, you can see how discernment enables us to evaluate other phenomena which may not be identical with Orthodox phenomenon, but are new things. When you first look at them, you wonder what they are all about. This is characteristic of intellectual fashions: something gets into the air, everybody grabs it because the times are ripe for it, and then everybody begins to talk about it and it becomes the fashion of the times. Nobody quite knows how; it’s just that everybody was ready for it, and all of a sudden somebody mentioned it and it began to circulate everywhere.

End of Part I.


FOOTNOTES

1. A talk given at St. Herman’s Womens’ conference in Redding, California, in the summer of 1980. This talk was transcribed from the tape archives of the St. Herman Brotherhood. Fr. Seraphim gave another talk on the same subject in May of 1981, at the University of California, Santa Cruz. That talk, entitled “Signs of the Coming of the End of the World,” is available on cassette tape from the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood.

2. In addition to translating the whole of Archbishop Averky’s Commentary on the Apocalypse, Fr. Seraphim translated some portions of his Commentary on the Gospels and epistles.
3. June 15, 1924 – May 23, 2016. Although Fr. Eusebius was treading dangerous ground by imitating the Pentecostal movement, he is remembered by many as a Greek priest who tried to break out of the purely ethnic church regime.




https://russian-faith.com/fr-seraphim-rose-and-signs-times-part-i-n3199
President Harry S. Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings…  If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.”

Cincydawg

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Re: Historic peace treaty … or preparation for the antichrist?
« Reply #43 on: September 23, 2020, 07:13:57 PM »
I am pretty sure one could take the "prophetic words" from the Bible and construe nearly anything for just about any period of time.

The world has been through very dramatic events far exceeding anything we're seeing today, and no Second Coming, no Antichrist figure, no end of time, however much some may wish for same.

But, people of course keep trying, and they keep being wrong.  Some at least make some money off it, like Lindsay and his books.

The good news today is gravity still works, my uncharged rear end is still secured to my uncharged seat.

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Re: Historic peace treaty … or preparation for the antichrist?
« Reply #44 on: September 23, 2020, 09:56:57 PM »
There are at least 500 thousand million zillion Godless Whateverists who enjoy sharing, or are compelled to share, their belief in nothing in particular on the interwebby thingy.

I have encountered way more than my share of them.
 
They are virtually interchangeable.  And indistinguishable. 

They all think the same things.  They all say the same things.  In the same way — they “sound” the same; the same flippant, ironic, sarcastic, arrogant tone.  They all share the same indoctrination into the same menu of lies; the unifying framework being that microbes were assembled by unguided processes in a mindless, unguided universe.  And turned into men over time. 

A fairy tale for grownups.

I have settled into a sort of pattern with them.  Cordial introduction.  Then an introduction into the belief system that is Christianity.  Which leads to an interchange that gradually changes in tone from civil to contentious; and often into confrontational and beligerent.

I don’t mind.  As I’ve said — I look at it as a sort of penance for a misspent youth; to wander the internet like the Ancient Mariner — or is it Diogenes? — endlessly presenting the antidote for poisonous materialist subjectivism for the benefit of the indifferent Whateverist mindset.  Because you never know when you might find an open mind; that rare individual who is actively searching for truth…

Otherwise, past a certain point, prolonged engagement is both futile and a waste of time.  At that point it is time to begin the process anew, with the next in the endless line.  Leaving the latest Whateverist behind, and to their own prosaic, truncated, close-minded view of a world which consists solely of that which is not so.  And to their own muddled misunderstanding.

Ah, well.

Jesus loves them.

And I’m tryin’…. ;)



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Re: Historic peace treaty … or preparation for the antichrist?
« Reply #45 on: September 23, 2020, 10:02:49 PM »
It is, then, perhaps a good time to reflect soberly upon Orthodox teachings about how to recognize the End Times when they do arrive; and we can find no better guide for this than Fr Seraphim Rose, who unlike many moderns takes prophecy quite seriously, while always holding up its interpretation to the light of patristic teachings.
By Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose)
WHY STUDY THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES?

The subject of this talk is, watching for the signs of the times.1 First of all, we have to know what it is meant by the phrase “signs of the times.” This expression comes straight from the Gospel, from the words of our Savior in Matthew 16:3. Christ tells the Pharisees and Sadducees who came to Him, “Ye can discern the face of the sky,” that is, tell what the weather will be; “but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” In other words, He’s telling them that this has nothing to do with science, or with knowing our place in the world, or anything of the sort. It’s a religious question. We study the signs of the times in order to be able to recognize Christ. 

[img width=594 height=334.188 alt=Landscape]http://anothercity.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/landscape-910x512-1.jpg[/img][/color]

During the time of Christ, the Pharisees and Sadducees did not study the signs of the times in order to see that Christ had come, that the Son of God was already on earth. There were already signs that they should have recognized. For example, in the book of Daniel in the Old Testament, there is a prophecy concerning the seventy weeks of years, which means that the Messiah was to come about 490 years from the time of Daniel. Those Jews who read their books very carefully knew exactly what this was all about, and at about the time that Christ came they knew that it was time for the Messiah.

But this is an outward sign. More importantly, the Pharisees and Sadducees should have been watching for the inward signs. If their hearts had been right with God, and if they had not been merely trying to fulfill the outward commandment of the law, their hearts would have responded and recognized God in the flesh when He came. And many of the Jews did—the apostles, the disciples, and many others.

This same passage in the sixteenth chapter of St. Matthew speaks further about signs. Our Lord told the Jews, “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah.” The events of the Old Testament contain prefigurations of events in the New Testament. When Jonah was three days in the belly of the whale, this was a prefiguration of our Lord’s being three days in the tomb. And this sign—the sign of Jonah—was given to the people of Christ’s time.

Our Lord was telling the Pharisees and Sadducees that an evil and adulterous generation seeks for spectacular events—that is, fire coming down from heaven, or the Romans being chased away, angels manifesting themselves and banishing the foreign government of the Romans, and things of that sort. Christ told them this kind of sign would not be given. An evil and adulterous generation seeks after this, but those who are pure of heart seek rather something more spiritual. And the one sign that is given to them is the sign of Jonah. Of course, it is a great thing that a man should be three days in the grave and then rise up, being God.

Thus, from our Savior’s words, we know that we are not to watch for spectacular signs, but we are rather to look inwardly for spiritual signs. Also, we are to watch for those things, which according to Scripture must come to pass.

THE SIGNS GIVEN US BY CHRIST

We Orthodox Christians have already recognized and accepted the signs of Christ’s First Coming. The very fact that we’re Orthodox Christians means that we’ve done this. We know what these signs mean: for example, the sign of Jonah, the 490 years of Daniel, and many other things that our Lord fulfilled. Our Orthodox Divine services are filled with Old Testament prophecies, which were fulfilled in the coming of Christ. These we all see and recognize—it all seems clear. But now we have to look for different kinds of signs, that is, the signs of the Second Coming of Christ. The whole teaching about the Second Coming of Christ and the signs which will precede it is set forth in several places in the Gospels, especially in the twenty-fourth chapter of St. Matthew. St. Mark and St. Luke also have chapters about this.

This chapter of St. Matthew tells of how our Lord departed from the Temple, and how his disciples came to him to show him the buildings of the Temple. Of course, in those days the Temple was the center of worship. Every Jew had to come to the Temple at least at Pascha—the Passover—for here alone was where God could be worshipped in the right way.

Our Lord looked at the Temple and told His disciples, “See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you: There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” To tell a believing Jew at that time that the whole Temple is to be thrown down, that nothing is to be left of it, is like saying it’s the end of the world, because the Temple is precisely the place where God is supposed to be worshipped. How are you going to worship God if there’s no Temple? So these words of our Savior made the disciples start thinking about the end of the world. They immediately said, “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?” In other words, they already knew that He was going to come again and that this would be bound up with the end of the world.

Then our Lord gives a whole set of signs that are to come to pass before He comes again. First of all He says, “Take heed that no man lead you astray. For many shall come in My name saying, ‘I am Christ’; and shall lead man astray.” That is, many false Christs will come. This we’ve already seen throughout the history of the Church: those who have risen up against the Church, those who have pretended to be God, pretended to be Christ.

Secondly, in the next verse He says, “Ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars. Se that ye be not troubled, for these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” Of course, from the very beginning of the Christian era there have been wars and rumors of wars, and even more so in our time. “Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquake in diverse places.” Again, wars, then famines, earthquakes. And He says, “All these things are the beginning of tribulation.”

Then comes the next sign, which is: persecutions. “Then shall they deliver you up unto tribulation, and shall kill you, and ye shall be hated of all nations for My name’s sake.” So, first we have false Christs, then wars, rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes, persecutions—and then a very important sign for our times concerning the growing cold of love: “Because iniquity shall be multiplied, the love of many shall wax cold.” This is the most deadly of all the signs, because the sign of Christians, as St. John the Theologian tells us, is that they have love for each other. When this love grows cold, this means that even the Christians are beginning to lose Christianity.

Then another sign, in the next verse of the twenty-fourth chapter: “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a testimony unto all the nations, and then shall the end come.” This sign of the Gospel being preached unto all the nations we see about us now. The Gospel itself is produced in hundreds of languages now to almost all the tribes of the earth, and Orthodox Christianity is being preached in almost every country of the world. In Africa there are great missions: in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, the Congo, and spreading out from there.

Then a more difficult place: our Lord speaks concerning the abomination of desolation which is spoke of by Daniel the prophet. “When you see the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place (let him that readeth understand).” That is, you’re supposed to understand this from something else. This is another sign. It is concerned, of course, with the Temple in Jerusalem and some kind of desecration of it.

Then, in the twenty-first verse, there is the sign of great tribulation: “Then shall be great tribulation such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall be.” That is, it will be the worst and most difficult time of suffering in the whole history of the world. You can read history books and find that there have been many times in the history of the world when there was great suffering. If you read about what happened to the Jews when Jerusalem was taken after the death of Christ, you will find that such suffering as went on then was unparalleled. In other places there has been almost as much suffering. And yet the great tribulation at the very end will be much worse. Of course, it will be worldwide and involve everyone, not just one people, and will be something of a very impressive character. It will be called, “such tribulation that the world has never seen.”

Just after this time, something even worse begins to come. Verse 29 reads: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.” Such an event, of course, has never been before, and this obviously refers to the time just at the end of the world, when the whole of creation prepares to be annihilated in order to be refashioned.

Finally, the next verse: “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven,” that is, the sign of the Cross will appear in the sky. “And then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” That is, the very coming of Christ shall be in the heavens with the sign of the Cross—and that is the very end of everything.

After telling all this about the signs of the end, our Lord gives a final command, saying, “Watch, therefore, for you know not on what day your Lord cometh…. Therefore, be also ready, for in an hour that you think not, the Son of Man cometh.”

All this is in the twenty-fourth chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew. But all of this, for anyone not thoroughly acquainted with Scriptures and the writings of Holy Fathers, almost raises more question than it solves. We must understand what the meaning is of all these prophecies. How can we know when they are really being fulfilled? And how can we avoid false interpretations? Because there are many false Christs, false prophets, false prophecies, false interpretations. How can we know what is the true interpretation and what are the true signs of the times? If you look about you and go to any religious bookstore, you will see shelves containing many books of commentaries on the Book of Revelation (The Apocalypse), books with interpretations about the coming end of the world. In fact many Christians who are not Orthodox have a very definite feeling that these are the last times, but they all give interpretations based upon their own opinions.

THE BASIS FOR UNDERSTANDING THE SIGNS

The first thing we must have if we are going to have the true interpretation of the signs of the times is something we can call, basic Orthodox knowledge. That is, knowledge of the Holy Scripture, both the Old and New Testaments (and not just according to the way it seems, but according to the way the Church has interpreted it); knowledge of the writings of Holy Fathers; knowledge of Church history; and awareness of the different kinds of heresies and errors which have attacked the Church’s true understanding of dogma, and especially of the last times. If we do not have a grounding in sources such as these, we will find ourselves confused and unprepared. That is precisely what our Lord tells us: to be ready, to be prepared. Unless we have this basic knowledge, we will not be prepared and we will misinterpret the signs of the times.

A few years ago a book was printed in English which has become a fantastic bestseller for a religious book. It has sold over ten million copies in America. It’s called The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey, a Protestant Evangelical in Texas. In a rather superficial style he gives his interpretation of the signs of the times. He believes it’s the last times we are living in now. He believes that everywhere around us there are being fulfilled these signs which our Lord talked about. If you read this book, you find that sometimes he gets something more or less correct according to our Orthodox understanding, sometimes he is totally off, and sometimes he is partly wrong, partly right. It’s as though he’s just guessing, because he reads the Scripture according to his own understanding. He has no basic Orthodox Christian knowledge, no background in the true knowledge of the Scriptures and the Holy Fathers. Therefore, if you read this book seriously, you will find that you become very confused. You don’t know what to believe any more. He talks, for example, about a millennium that is supposed to come before the end of the world. He talks about the rapture, when Christians are supposedly gathered up into the heavens before the end of the world, and then watch how the people suffer down below. He talks about the building of the Temple in Jerusalem as though this is a good thing, as thought this is preparing for Christ’s coming.

If you read such books as this (there are many other books like it; this one happens to be a bestseller because the author caught the imagination of people just at one particular time), and if you take them all as truth, you will find that instead of recognizing Christ—which is the whole reason for our understanding about the signs of the times—you will be accepting Antichrist.



Miniature of the Apocalypse
Miniature of the Apocalypse

Take, for example, the very question of the Temple in Jerusalem. It is true, according to Orthodox prophecies, that the Temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem. If you look at people like Hal Lindsey, or even the Fundamentalist Carl McIntire, they are also talking about the building of the Temple, but they’re talking about it as though we are building it in order for Christ to come back and reign over the world for a thousand years. What they are talking about is the coming of Antichrist. The millennium, according to the Protestant interpretation, as being a special thousand-year reign at the end of the world, is actually the reign of Antichrist. In fact, there have already been people who have arisen and proclaimed their thousand-year kingdom, which is going to last until the end of the world. The last one was Adolf Hitler. This is based upon the same kind of chiliastic idea: that is, interpreting the millennium in a worldly sense. The actual thousand years of the Apocalypse is the life in the Church which is now, that is, the life of Grace; and anyone who lives it sees that, compared to the people outside, it is indeed heaven on earth. But this is not the end. This is our preparation for the true kingdom of God, which has no end.



There are many books of basic Orthodox knowledge now available. Those who are seriously concerned about studying the signs of the times should first be very well versed in some of these books, and they should be reading them, seriously studying them, and having them as daily food. The best books to read are not someone’s interpretation of Revelation (the Book of Apocalypse) because right now there’s not really any Orthodox interpretation of this in English [see Commentary on the Apocalypse by Archbishop Averky (Taushev), published after this talk was given.—O.C.].

The best books are the basic spiritual textbooks. First of all there are basic texts of Orthodox dogmas, the various catechisms. One of the best is the eighth-century work of St. John Damascene, On the Orthodox Faith, which goes through the whole of the catechism. An even earlier one is St. Cyril of Jerusalem’s Catechetical Lectures, that is, lectures prepared for people about to be baptized, which goes through the whole Creed and tells what the Church believes. There are many similar books of catechism, both in ancient times and in more modern times. More recently we have the catechisms in Russian of Metropolitan Platon and Metropolitan Philaret, which are a little shorter and simpler.

Then there is a different kind of book: commentaries on Holy Scriptures. There are not too many of these in English [see St. Cyril of Alexandria’s commentary on the Scripture (Logos, six volumes) and The Explanation of the New Testament by Blessed Theophylact, Archbishop of Ochrid and Bulgaria (Chrysostom Press) published after this talk], but we do have some of the commentaries of St. John Chrysostom. This area is a little bit weak in English, because there are many good books in Russian that are not in English yet, including more recent books of commentaries on the Scriptures, even on the Apocalypse. Archbishop Averky’s books are very good, but they’re just being put into English now. God willing, before too long, they will be out.2

Then, besides these two kinds of books—basic catechism and commentaries on Scripture—there are all the books on Orthodox spiritual life. These include the Lausiac History (which tells about how the monks lived in Egypt, and how they fought spiritually), the Dialogues of St. Gregory of Rome, the Lives of Saints, The Ladder [of Divine Ascent] of St. John, the Homilies of St. Macarius the Great, the books of St. John Cassian, the Philokalia, Unseen Warfare and St. John of Kronstadt’s My Life in Christ. These books deal with basic Orthodox spiritual life, spiritual struggle, how to discern the wiles of the demons, how not to fall into deception. All of them give a basic foundation by which to understand the signs of the times.

Then there are the works of more recent writers who are in the same patristic spirit as the ancient Holy Fathers. The main examples are the two great writers of nineteenth century Russia, St. Theophan the Recluse and St. Ignatius Brianchaninov, whose works are now coming out gradually in English. Bishop Ignatius’ book The Arena and various articles by St. Theophan are in English [now in English are St. Theophan’s Kindling the Divine Spark, Path to Salvation, The Spiritual Life and How to Be Attuned To It]. These two writers are very important because they transmit the patristic teaching down to our times. They have already explained many questions that arise concerning how to understand the Holy Fathers. For example, the new Orthodox Word has a whole text of Bishop Ignatius on the toll-houses which the soul meets after death. Sometimes, in reading the Holy Fathers, one has questions on such subjects and doesn’t quite know how to understand what the ancient Fathers say, and these more recent Father explain these texts.

There are the histories of the Church, which tell of God’s revelation to men and how God acts with regard to men. It is very instructive to read the stories of the Old Testament, because exactly the same things repeat themselves in the New Testament. Then one should read, along with he New Testament, the histories of the New Testament Church. For example, there’s a pocketbook of Eusebius’ History of the Church, which traces the history of the Church down through the first three centuries, written from an Orthodox Christian point of view. It’s very important to see what early Church writers saw was important in the history of the Church: the martyrs, the apostles, and so forth.

So, all these different kinds of writings help to prepare us with basic Christian knowledge; that is, catechisms, commentaries on Scripture, books on spiritual life, more recent patristic books in this same spirit, and histories of the Church. Before we do too much reading about what specifically the signs of the times mean, we should have a basic background in all of these categories of books. All of them prepare one to understand something about the signs of the times. Once one has begun to prepare oneself like this, it is not merely a matter of adding knowledge up in one’s head and being able to repeat by heart certain phrases, to have exactly the right interpretation of a Bible verse, or anything of the sort.

SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT

The most important thing that one acquires through reading such basic Orthodox literature as this is a virtue called discernment. When we come to two phenomena which seem to be exactly alike or very similar to each other, the virtue of discernment allows us to see which of them is true and which is false: that is, which has the spirit of Christ and which might have the spirit of Antichrist.

The very nature of Antichrist, who is to be the last great world ruler and the last great opponent of Christ, is to be anti-Christ—and “anti” means not merely “against,” but also “in imitation of, in place of.” The Antichrist, as all the Holy Fathers say in their writings about him, is to be someone who imitates Christ, that is, tries to fool people by looking as though he is Christ come back to earth. Therefore, if one has a very vague notion of Christianity or reads the Scriptures purely from one’s own opinions (and one’s opinions come from the air, and the air is not Christian now, but anti-Christian), then one will come to very anti-Christian conclusions. Seeing the figure of Antichrist, one will be fooled into thinking that it is Christ.

We can give a few examples of how the virtue of discernment can help us to understand some fairly complicated phenomena. One such phenomenon is the charismatic movement. There is a Greek priest, Fr. Eusebius Stephanou in Indiana,3 who is spreading this movement in the Orthodox Church. He has a rather large number of followers and sympathizers. He’s even been to Greece and is going again soon, and there too people are sometimes quite overwhelmed by him.

One can see that part of the reason for his success is that he comes from an Orthodox church atmosphere in which people, being born Orthodox, go to Orthodox church, receive sacraments, and take the whole thing for granted. Since it becomes with them a matter of habit, they do not understand that the whole meaning of the Church is to have Christ in the heart, but that one can go through the whole of Orthodox Church life without having one’s heart awakened. In that case, one is just like the pagans. In fact, one is more responsible than the pagans. The pagans have never heard of Christ, while the person who is Orthodox and does not know what spiritual life is simply has not yet awakened to Christ.

This is the kind of atmosphere from which Fr. Eusebius comes. Seeing that this is a spiritual deadness—and it’s quite true that much of what is in the Orthodox Church is spiritually dead—he wants to make it come to life. But the trouble is that he himself belongs to the same spirit. In fact, you very seldom see that he reads the basic Orthodox books. He picks one or two that seem to agree with his point of view, but he does not have a thorough grounding in the Orthodox sources. He does not think that they are the most important things to be reading.

If you look deeply at what he and other people in the charismatic movement are saying—and our book The Religion of the Future goes into detail on this subject—you see that what they call a spiritual revival and a spiritual life is actually what more recent Fathers like Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov carefully described as deception, that is, a kind of fever of the blood which makes it look as though one is being spiritual when actually one is not even grasping spiritual reality at all. In fact, it’s as different from true Christian life, which is reflected in these very basic Orthodox books, as heaven is from earth.

Quite apart from the details of how they pray and what kind of phenomena manifest themselves at their services, you can see that the very basic idea which Fr. Eusebius and these charismatics have is a false idea. Yesterday we received an issue of Fr. Eusebius’ magazine, Logos. There he talks about the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the last times preparing for the coming of Christ. All Christians are supposed to be renewed, to receive the Holy Spirit, to be speaking in tongues. This prepares for the coming of Christ, and there will be a great spiritual outpouring before Christ comes.

If you read the Scriptures carefully, without putting your prejudices into them, even without the patristic commentaries you will see that nowhere is anything said about a great spiritual outpouring at the end of the world. Christ Himself says the contrary. First he gives His teaching concerning how we should pray and have faith and not be faint. He presents the example of the woman who goes to the judge and keeps begging him to intercede in her case, and He tells us that this is how we should continue to pray and pray and pray until God hears us and gives to us. This is a very solid example about praying. Then He says, “Nevertheless” (that is, despite the fact that I’ve given you this teaching and this is the way to pray), “nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” In other words, despite the fact you’ve been given all this, there will be practically no one left who is a Christian at the end of the world. “Will He find faith on the earth?” means He will find almost no one left. There will not be flocks of people who are praying and inspired with the Holy Spirit at the end of time. All Holy Fathers who speak about this subject speak about the great terrible times at the end, and say that those who are true Christians will be hidden away and will not even be visible to the world. Those who are visible to the world will not be the true Christians.

Today there are tremendous charismatic revivals at Notre Dame University, and in Jerusalem there is every year now a charismatic conference on the Holy Spirit. Sixty, seventy thousand people come together and pray and raise up their hands, and they all speak in tongues. It looks as though the time of the Apostles has come back, but if you look at what goes on there, you see it’s not the right spirit; it’s a different spirit.

Therefore, when Fr. Eusebius speaks about St. Symeon the New Theologian, and about how you must know Who the Holy Spirit is and receive Him consciously, this is fine, this is good teaching—but if you have the wrong spirit, that teaching does not apply. And this is not the right spirit. There are many signs evident that it is a different spirit and not the Spirit of God.

Here is one case where, if you have discernment from basic Christian knowledge, you can look at a phenomenon which claims to be apostolic and just like the times of the early Church preparing for Christ’s Second Coming, and if you look closely you can see it is not the same thing. In fact, if anything, it’s just like those who want to build the Temple for Christ. They’re building for Antichrist; it’s totally the opposite.

Again, you can see how discernment enables us to evaluate other phenomena which may not be identical with Orthodox phenomenon, but are new things. When you first look at them, you wonder what they are all about. This is characteristic of intellectual fashions: something gets into the air, everybody grabs it because the times are ripe for it, and then everybody begins to talk about it and it becomes the fashion of the times. Nobody quite knows how; it’s just that everybody was ready for it, and all of a sudden somebody mentioned it and it began to circulate everywhere.

End of Part I.


FOOTNOTES

1. A talk given at St. Herman’s Womens’ conference in Redding, California, in the summer of 1980. This talk was transcribed from the tape archives of the St. Herman Brotherhood. Fr. Seraphim gave another talk on the same subject in May of 1981, at the University of California, Santa Cruz. That talk, entitled “Signs of the Coming of the End of the World,” is available on cassette tape from the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood.

2. In addition to translating the whole of Archbishop Averky’s Commentary on the Apocalypse, Fr. Seraphim translated some portions of his Commentary on the Gospels and epistles.
3. June 15, 1924 – May 23, 2016. Although Fr. Eusebius was treading dangerous ground by imitating the Pentecostal movement, he is remembered by many as a Greek priest who tried to break out of the purely ethnic church regime.




https://russian-faith.com/fr-seraphim-rose-and-signs-times-part-i-n3199

What happened after that? 
1919, 20, 21, 28, 29, 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 42, 44
WWH: 1952, 54, 55, 57, 58, 60, 61, 62, 63, 65, 67, 68, 70, 72, 74, 75
1979, 81, 82, 84, 87, 94, 98
2001, 02, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19

Cincydawg

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Re: Historic peace treaty … or preparation for the antichrist?
« Reply #46 on: September 24, 2020, 08:13:25 AM »
What happened after that?
Part 2 happened.  Do you really want it posted here?


Cincydawg

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Re: Historic peace treaty … or preparation for the antichrist?
« Reply #47 on: September 24, 2020, 08:25:06 AM »
All this is a great example of how different folks, all apparently reasonably well versed in the Bible, create rather drastically different "interpretations".  Why should I think one of them is right and the other 50 or so are wrong?  My impression is they are all wrong.  They all have been to this point obviously.

The big event in the lives of the folks who wrote the first four books of the NT was the sacking of Jerusalem when the Romans got serious about shutting down this rebellious province.  From what I've read, it was quite severe, no doubt leaving a strong impression on any Jew/Christian in the region.

They were writing in the aftermath of this, and the apocalyptic nature of it all clearly shows.

Cincydawg

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Re: Historic peace treaty … or preparation for the antichrist?
« Reply #48 on: September 24, 2020, 09:51:25 AM »
Is there anyone out there today claiming to be Christ?  I imagine there are some in the mental hospitals somewhere.

Anyone of note?

DunkingDan

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Fr. Seraphim Rose and the Signs of the Times Part II
« Reply #49 on: September 25, 2020, 03:46:59 PM »
In these times of global pestilence, it is easy to engage in speculations about whether the Last Days are upon us, seizing upon things uncommon or extraordinary as signs of Apocalypse. Anything from the arrival or locusts in East Africa to corona shaped hailstones in Mexico may be taken as coded messages from God. It is, then, perhaps a good time to reflect soberly upon Orthodox teachings about how to recognize the End Times when they do arrive; and we can find no better guide for this than Fr Seraphim Rose, who in Part Two of his lecture, helps us to “read” a number of perplexing “signs of the times” and understand them in relation to Orthodox teachings.
Read Part I.
By Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose)
THE DISTORTION OF CHRISTIAN EQUALITY
We have one particular idea right now that’s taking possession of people: the so-called idea of women’s liberation. This takes the form of women priestesses in the Anglican Church, and also in the Catholic Church, which is preparing for it now.
Of course, if you look at this seriously, sit down and think about it, and you read what St. Paul says about women and so forth, you have no problems. It’s all very clear that this is some kind of crazy new idea. But it is also very interesting to look at this more deeply and see where it comes from—why is there such an idea, what is it, what’s behind it?—because if you understand the strategy of the devil, you’re a little better equipped to fight against it.
Fr. Seraphim Rose and the Signs of the Times Part II
This particular idea of women’s liberation can be traced back at least two hundred years. Of course, you can go back even before that, but its present form goes back at least two hundred years, to the forerunners of Karl Marx, the early Socialists. These Socialists were talking about a great new utopian age, which is going to come when all the distinctions of class and race and religion and so forth are abolished. There will be a great new society, they said, when everybody is equal. This idea, of course, was based originally upon Christianity, but it distorted Christianity, and amounted to its opposite.
There was a particular philosopher in China in the late nineteenth century who brought this philosophy to its logical conclusion, as far as it could go. His name is K’ang Yu-Wei (1858-1927). He’s not particularly interesting except as he incarnates this philosophy of the age, this spirit of the times. He was actually one of the forerunners of Mao Tse-Tung and the takeover of China by the communists. He based his ideas not only on distorted Christianity, which he took from the liberals and Protestants in the West, but also on Buddhist ideas. He came up with the idea of a utopia that was to come into being, I think, in the twenty-first century according to his prophecies. In this utopia, all ranks of society, all religious differences, and all other kinds of differences that affect social intercourse will be abolished. Everyone will sleep in dormitories and eat in common halls. And then with his Buddhist ideas he began to go beyond this. He said that all distinctions between the sexes would be abolished. Once mankind is united, there’s no reason to halt there—this movement must go on further. There must be an abolition between man and animals. Animals also will come into this kingdom, and once you have animals… The Buddhists are also very respectful to vegetables and plants; therefore, the whole vegetable kingdom has to come into this paradise, and in the end the inanimate world, also. So, at the very end of the world, there will be an absolute utopia of all kinds of beings who have somehow become intermingled with each other, and everybody’s absolutely equal.
Fr. Seraphim Rose and the Signs of the Times Part II
Of course, you read about this and you say the man must be crazy. But if you look deeply, you see that this is coming from a deep desire to have some kind of happiness on earth. No pagan philosophy, however, gives happiness; no man-made philosophy gives happiness. Only Christianity gives hope for a kingdom that is not of this world. The idea to have a perfect kingdom comes from Christianity, but since the early Socialists did not believe in the other world or in God, they dreamed of making this kingdom in this world. That is what communism is all about.
We see what happens, of course, when this idea is put into practice. You have the experiment of the French Revolution, which had apparently good ideas—liberty, equality, fraternity—or the Bolshevik Revolution, or in more recent times the various other communist revolutions. Last of all you have Cambodia, a poor little country that for three years suffered absolute communism and found that at least one-fourth of its population was exterminated because it didn’t fit. Everyone who had more than a high-school education had to be eliminated, everyone who thought for himself, and so forth. Now the regime has been overthrown by people who are a little less ruthless, but there’s nothing much to cheer about.
This shows that once you try to put these ideas into operation, you get, not paradise on earth, but more like hell on earth. In fact, the whole experiment in Russia for the last sixty years has been a proof of this, that there is no paradise on earth, except in the Church of Christ, with sufferings (cf. Mk. 10:30). Our Lord prophesied that already in this life we would receive back a hundredfold what we give, but it must be with persecutions and sufferings. Those who wish to have this happiness on earth without suffering and persecutions, and without even believing in God, make hell on earth.
“CHRISTIAN” INTEREST IN UFOS


Still from the 1977 film, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”.
A second example of a new phenomenon, which at first sight one doesn’t know what to make of, is the now very common phenomenon of UFOs, flying saucers.

There is a particular Protestant evangelist, the above-mentioned Carl McIntire,1 who is extremely strict and righteous and very Bible-believing. He has a radio program, the Twentieth-Century Reformation, and a newspaper. He is absolutely upright—you have to separate from all people who are in apostasy—and his ideas are very nice. He’s anti-communist. He calls Billy Graham an apostate, together with everyone who deviates from the strict line of what he thinks is right. From this point of view he’s very strict, and yet you see the strangest things in his philosophy. For example, he’s building himself the Temple of Jerusalem, in Florida. He has a model of the Temple, and he wants to build it so as to make it compete with Disneyworld.2 People will come and pay to see the great Temple that is soon going to be built for Christ to come to earth. This is supposed to provide a good opportunity to witness Christianity.
He goes in for the flying saucers, also. In every issue of his newspaper there’s a little column called “UFO Column,” and there they talk, to one’s great astonishment, about all the wonderful, positive things these flying saucers are doing. They give conferences and make movies about them.
Just recently there have been several Protestant books about UFOs, showing quite clearly that they’re demons. The person who writes the column in this newspaper got upset about this, and said that some people say that these beings are demons, but we can prove they aren’t. He says that maybe a couple of them are demons, but most of them aren’t. He cites a recent case in which some family in the Midwest saw a flying saucer. The flying saucer came down, landed, and the family saw inside little men—they’re usually four and half feet tall or so—and they sang “Hallelujah.” They stopped and looked and then they flew away; I guess they didn’t talk to them any more. And that set the family to thinking; they began to think, “Hallelujah”; they began to think about Christianity; they looked in their Bibles, and they finally ended up going to a Fundamentalist church and being converted to Christianity. Therefore, he says, these beings must be some kind of people who are helping God’s plan to make the world Christian because they said, “Hallelujah.”
Of course, if you read St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov), you will know about all the deceptions which the demons perpetrate: the demons “pray” for you, the demons make miracles, they produce the most wonderful phenomena, they bring people to church, they do anything you want, as long as they keep you in this deception. And when the time comes, they will suddenly pull their tricks on you. So these people, who have been converted to some kind of Christianity by these so-called outer-space beings, are waiting for the next time they will come; and the next time their message may have to do with Christ coming to earth again soon, or something of the sort. It’s obvious that this is all the work of demons. That is, where it’s real. Sometimes it’s just imagination, but when it’s real this kind of thing obviously comes form demons.

Fr. Seraphim Rose and the Signs of the Times Part II
Still from the 1977 film, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”.
This is very elementary. If you read any text of the early fathers, any of the early Lives of Saints or the Lausiac History, you find many cases where beings suddenly appear. Nowadays they appear in spaceships because that’s how the demons have adapted themselves to the people of the times; but if you understand how spiritual deception works and what kind of wiles the devil has, then you have no problems in understanding what’s going on with these flying saucers. And yet this person who writes the UFO column is an absolutely strict Fundamentalist Christian. He is looking, actually for new revelations to come from beings from outer space.

WHY WE MUST HAVE AN ORTHODOX WORLD-VIEW
So, to repeat the first point: we watch the signs of the times in order to recognize Christ when He comes, because there have been many false Christs, many more false Christs will come, and at the very end of the world there will finally come one who is called Antichrist. The Antichrist will unite all those who are deceived into thinking he is Christ, and this will include all those whose interpretation of Christianity has gone off. Often you can look at some people who confess Christianity, and it seems that many of their ideas are correct—they go according to the Bible. Then you look here and there, and you see that here’s a mistake, there’s a mistake.


Fr. Dimitry Dudko
Just recently Fr. Dimitry Dudko,3 in the little newspaper he puts out, said there came to him someone who claimed to be Christian. As he began to talk to him, he began to feel that this person wasn’t Orthodox, and he said, “What confession are you?” “Oh, that’s not important. We’re all Christians. The only important thing is that we be Christians.” He said, “Well, no, no, we have to be more precise than that. For example, if you’re a Baptist and I’m an Orthodox, I believe that we have the Lord’s Body and Blood, and you don’t.” We must be precise because there are many differences. It’s good to have the attitude: I have respect for you, and I won’t interfere with your faith, but nonetheless there’s a true way of believing and there are ways that go away from the truth. It must be according to the truth.

In the same way we can see that many people who are not Orthodox have many good things about them, and then they go off in some respect. In the end it’s up to God to judge, not to us. But we can see what will happen if all these little ways people go off now are projected into the last times, if people still believe that way when the last times come. These mistakes cause people, when they see Antichrist, to think that he is Christ. There are very many sects now that believe that Christ is coming to rule for a thousand years form the Temple in Jerusalem. Therefore, when the Jews start building the Temple, these sects will only rejoice because, to them, this is the sign of Christ’s coming. On the contrary, we know that this is the sign of the Antichrist coming, because Christ will no more come to the Temple. The Temple has been destroyed. Christ comes only at the end of the world to begin the eternal Kingdom of Heaven. The only one who will come to the Temple is Antichrist.
So, this is why the correct Orthodox Christian understanding and preparation based upon this understanding are absolutely necessary. The closer we get to the very last times, the more indispensable this understanding and preparation are.
A LOOK AT SPECIFIC SIGNS
Now let us look for just a moment at some of the signs in our times that the Second Coming of Christ, preceded by the coming of Antichrist, is close. Concerning the prophecies set forth in the twenty-fourth chapter of St. Matthew—first of all, the false christs who will come, then the wars, famines, earthquakes, persecutions—it is difficult to judge, because all these things have been happening for almost two thousand years now. It’s true that they are now on a bigger scale than ever before, but it is also true that they can be much worse yet. These signs are the beginning of signs, and are not yet so severe that we can say we are right in the very last days.

Fr. Seraphim Rose and the Signs of the Times Part II
Judas in the 1973 film of the rock opera, “Jesus Christ Superstar”.
One sign, however, is very interesting and very indicative of our times; that is that Christ is now depicted on the stage. In previous times it was never allowed that Christ should be depicted on the stage, because an actor gives his own human interpretation, and Christ is God. In Orthodoxy there is perhaps no particular canon about this, but the whole Orthodox Christian outlook is against it; and any Protestant or Catholic until the last few years would have been horrified at the idea of some actor playing the part of Christ. Now this has become common, and not only in religious contexts, but in contexts which are far from religious. Godspell, Jesus Christ Superstar, and so forth: all these are actually blasphemous parodies which present Christ in secular form for people to see. This is very symptomatic of our times because it presents even to unbelieving people an image of Christ so that when Antichrist comes they will say, “Aha, I saw on the stage something like that. Yes, that must be it.”

THE GROWING COLD OF LOVE
Another very symptomatic sign of our times is the next one mentioned in this chapter of Matthew: that the love of many grows cold. This seems to be a definite characteristic of our times, to a quite greater degree than at any time in past history. One can see this in what can be called nihilism. People commit crimes for no particular reason, not for gain but just for a thrill because they do not have God inside them. In all kinds of places now, one can see the lack of normal human relationships in families, which produces cold people. It is this kind of people who, in a totalitarian society, are used as slave drivers, working in the concentration camps and so forth.
Recently we had the tragedy in Jonestown, which was composed of American citizens. The people there were idealists who devoted themselves utterly to a cause. Although it’s come out now that it was actually a communist commune, still the people were supposed to be Christians. The leader was a minister of the so-called Church of Christ, one of the mainline denominations. And yet these people, supposedly having some awareness of God and Christianity, coldly killed each other. Those who drank and administered the poison to their children did so with calm faces. There’s no problem: that’s just your duty, that’s what you’re told to do. This kind of coldness is what Christ is talking about. Any kind of normal human warmth has been abolished because Christ has gone out of the heart; God is gone. This is a frightful sign of our times. In fact, the very thing that happened in Jonestown is a warning because it looks as though much worse things are going to come. This is satan’s work, quite obviously.
Just a year or two before that occurred, we heard of what happened in Cambodia. A small party of men—some ten or twenty altogether—took a whole country in their hands and killed off at least two million people quite ruthlessly, based on some abstract ideas. We’re going to get back to the country, they said; therefore, everybody is to leave the cities. If you can’t leave the city, you die. People in the hospitals had to go from their operating tables, and if they couldn’t go, they died—they were shot and left in a ditch. Corpses were piled up in the cities—it was frightful.
This was the same kind of thing as what occurred in Jonestown: coldness based upon the idea—which looks idealistic—of bringing communism to earth. It turns out that Dostoyevsky was right. In his book, The Possessed, written in the 1870s, there was a Russian character named Shigalov, a theoretician, who had an absolute theory of how communism could come to earth. He believed that the ideal state upon earth will be true communism. Unfortunately, he said, in order to make sixty million people happy, you have to kill a hundred million people. But those sixty million people will be happier than anyone else has ever been happy, and the hundred million people will be like fertilizer for the future world paradise. It so happens that in Russia there have been exactly a hundred million people missing since 1917, of which at least sixty million were killed by the Soviets themselves.
So this sign is very, very present in our times: that love grows cold. This occurs among Christians also, not just in the world at large.
Then another sign, which in our times has reached greater dimensions than ever before, is that the Gospel is being preached in the whole world. This, of course, is true in that the very text of the Gospel is being spread in almost all the languages which are spoken on the earth now—at least a thousand languages, I think. Moreover, the Orthodox Gospel is being preached all over Africa now. We send our magazines to Uganda and Kenya, and receive letters back—very touching letters from young African boys who are converts to Orthodoxy. They have the utmost respect for their bishop; they go to seminary. It’s obvious that a very Orthodox feeling is being given to these people in Africa. They are very simple people. Orthodoxy does not have to be complicated if there are very simple people to preach the Gospel to. It’s only when others come in to challenge it and to say that the Scripture means something else, trying to give over-literal interpretations, which mean doing away with priests and bishops, etc., that the people begin to get mixed up. If they’re preached the Orthodox Gospel, simple people respond now in the same way that they’ve always responded in the past. The problem is, rather, with complicated people.
THE TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM
Then there is the sign of the abomination of desolation and all that relates to the Temple in Jerusalem. For the first time in history, this has now become a possibility. The rebuilding of the Temple was tried only once before, in the fourth century. Knowing about this is a very good example of how reading Church history enlightens one. We can find several sources about it from the fourth century: St. Cyril mentions it, as do several of the Church historians at that time. Julian the Apostate, because he had such a passion to overthrow Christianity, decided that, since Christ had prophesied that not one stone of the Temple would be left on the other, if he rebuilt the Temple, he would prove that Christ was an impostor, and therefore paganism could be restored. So he deliberately invited the Jews back to Jerusalem, and they began building the Temple with the blessing of Julian the Apostate. They would build a little in the daytime, and the next morning they would come and all the stones would be on the ground. They tried again and balls of fire began to come out of the earth. All the historians agree on this. In fact, modern rationalist historians, because they see that they cannot deny the texts and that something did actually happen, begin to say things like, “They must have struck oil,” or “There were underground gas flues.” It was obviously a miracle of God to keep the Temple from being built, because it was not the time—the Temple is to be built only at the very end of the world. Anyway, they finally failed in their attempt and gave up the operation. Of the few stones that remained, not one was left on the other. So the prophecy was fulfilled in the time of Julian the Apostate.

[img width=594 height=268.969 alt=Fr. Seraphim Rose and the Signs of the Times Part II]http://anothercity.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/rose-2-7.png[/img][/size][/color]
“The Holy Land Experience” theme park in Orlando, Florida.
But now, since 1967, the site where the Temple was before is now in the hands of the Jews. Therefore for the first time, it becomes quite possible that the Temple could be built. The only thing interfering is the Great Mosque that the Moslems have there. If that’s destroyed, there will probably be a war.

Only since 1948 has there been a separate state of Jews in the Holy Land. It is to the unbelieving Jews that the Antichrist will come. He will come first to the Jews and then to the whole world through the Jews; and only as this is happening will the faithful remnant of Jews finally be converted to Christianity in the very last times.
So this sign of the Temple is a very big one. When we see the Temple being built, then we know that the time is at hand, because that is definitely one of the signs of the very end. So far, of course, it’s not being built, but there are all kinds of rumors that plans have been laid, that stones are being gathered, etc. It’s obvious that the Jews are thinking about it.
OTHER SIGNS
Another sign is the fact that when Antichrist comes he is to be the ruler of the world, and only in our times has it been a practical reality that one man can rule the entire world. all world empires up until now have been only over part of the earth, and before modern communications it was impossible for one man to rule the entire world.
Furthermore, with increased communications, with atomic bombs and more advanced weapons, the possibility of a worldwide tribulation now becomes much greater than ever before. It’s obvious that the next war will be the most destructive in the history of mankind, and probably will cause, in its first few days, more damage than all the wars in history. Besides atomic weapons, there are various bacteriological weapons for spreading plagues among people, poisonous gases and all kinds of fantastic things that in an all-out war could come into play.
Also, the fact that all the peoples of the world are bound up more with each other means that when some great catastrophe comes to one country—a depression, or something of the sort—then all the rest of the world will be affected. This we already saw in the 1930s when there was a Great Depression in America and it spread to the rest of Europe. In the future it’s obvious that something much worse can occur. If one country begins to starve, or if the crops fail one year in Canada, Australia, America and Russia—all those four great countries that supply wheat—just imagine how the whole world is going to suffer.
A WARNING TO THOSE ATTRACTED TO GLOOM AND DOOM
[img width=594 height=371.672 alt=Fr. Seraphim Rose and the Signs of the Times Part II]http://anothercity.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/rose-2-8.jpg[/img][/color][/size]
All these signs of the times are very negative. They are signs that they world is collapsing, that the end of the world is at hand and that the Antichrist is about to come. It’s very easy to look at all these negative signs of the times and get into such a mood that we look only for negative things. In fact, one can develop a whole personality—a negative kind of personality—based on this. Whenever some new news item comes in, one says, “Aha, yes of course, that’s the way it is, and it’s going to get worse.” The next one comes in and one says, “Yes, yes, it’s obvious that’s what’s going to happen, and now it’s going to be worse than that.” Everything one looks at is seen merely as a negative fulfillment of the horrible times.
It’s true that we have to be aware of these things and not be unduly optimistic about contemporary events, because the news in our times is seldom good. At the same time, however, we have to keep in mind the whole purpose of our watching the signs of the times. We watch the signs of the times not just so that we can see about when Antichrist is going to come. That’s rather a secondary thing. We watch the signs of the times so we can know when Christ is going to come. That is a very fundamental thing we have to keep in mind so that we do not get overwhelmed by gloom, depression, or stay to ourselves, storing up food for the great calamity. That’s not a very wise thing. We have to be, rather, all the more Christian, that is, thinking about other people, trying to help others. If we ourselves are cold and gloomy and pessimistic, we are participating in this coldness, which is a sign of the end. We have to ourselves be warm and helping each other out. That’s the sign of Christianity.
If you look at history (in fact, this is another good reason for reading Church history), you see that throughout the whole history of mankind, throughout the Old Testament, the New Testament and all the Christian kingdoms afterwards—and if you look at the pagan world, the same story—there’s a continual time of sufferings. Where Christians are involved there are trials and persecutions, and through all of these Christians have attained the kingdom of heaven.
Therefore, when the time of the persecutions come, we are supposed to rejoice. There was a good little incident related in Fr. Dimitry Dudko’s little newspaper. A woman in Russia was put in a psychiatric clinic for making the sign of the Cross in the wrong place or for wearing a cross, or something like that. Fr. Dimitry and his spiritual children traveled to Moscow, went to the clinic, made an appointment and talked to the doctor, and they finally persuaded him that she shouldn’t be there. Fr. Dimitry says, “They’re actually afraid of us, because when you press them about it, they say they haven’t really got any law by which they can keep her there.” So finally they agreed to let her go, after she had been there for a week. When she was there they gave her various drugs and “inoculations,” trying to break her down and get rid of her religion. When she came out she was a little shaken up. She sat down on a bench someplace outside the clinic and began to talk. “You know,” she said, “when I was there and they were treating me so awful, I felt calm because I felt there was Someone there protecting me; but as soon as I got out here, all of a sudden I’m afraid. Now I’m all upset and scared that they are going to come after me again, that the secret police are looking right around the corner.” It’s obvious why this is so. When you’re in conditions of persecution, Christ is with you because you’re suffering for Him. And when you’re outside, then there’s the uncertainty of whether you might not get back into that condition. You begin to go back to your own human understanding. When you’re there you have nothing else to rely on, so you have to have Christ. If you haven’t got Christ, you have nothing. When you’re outside, you begin to calculate and to trust yourself, and then you lose Christ.
Source: Orthodox Christian
FOOTNOTES
  • May 17, 1906 – March 19, 2002.
  • In fact, a theme park was built in Orlando, Florida, home of Disneyworld, called “The Holy Land Experience”, which contains a replica of the Temple of Solomon. It opened in 2001.
  • February 24, 1922 – June 28, 2004.


http://anothercity.org/fr-seraphim-rose-and-the-signs-of-the-times-part-ii/
President Harry S. Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings…  If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.”

DunkingDan

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Re: Historic peace treaty … or preparation for the antichrist?
« Reply #50 on: September 28, 2020, 01:35:27 PM »
There are at least 500 thousand million zillion Godless Whateverists who enjoy sharing, or are compelled to share, their belief in nothing in particular on the interwebby thingy.

I have encountered way more than my share of them.
 
They are virtually interchangeable.  And indistinguishable. 

They all think the same things.  They all say the same things.  In the same way — they “sound” the same; the same flippant, ironic, sarcastic, arrogant tone.  They all share the same indoctrination into the same menu of lies; the unifying framework being that microbes were assembled by unguided processes in a mindless, unguided universe.  And turned into men over time. 

A fairy tale for grownups.

I have settled into a sort of pattern with them.  Cordial introduction.  Then an introduction into the belief system that is Christianity.  Which leads to an interchange that gradually changes in tone from civil to contentious; and often into confrontational and beligerent.

I don’t mind.  As I’ve said — I look at it as a sort of penance for a misspent youth; to wander the internet like the Ancient Mariner — or is it Diogenes? — endlessly presenting the antidote for poisonous materialist subjectivism for the benefit of the indifferent Whateverist mindset.  Because you never know when you might find an open mind; that rare individual who is actively searching for truth…

Otherwise, past a certain point, prolonged engagement is both futile and a waste of time.  At that point it is time to begin the process anew, with the next in the endless line.  Leaving the latest Whateverist behind, and to their own prosaic, truncated, close-minded view of a world which consists solely of that which is not so.  And to their own muddled misunderstanding.

Ah, well.

Jesus loves them.

And I’m tryin’…. ;)

Understand
@Volbrigrade/oU I will respond in part. I had not heard of this about Ephraem The Syrian, nor have I seen anything that I could recall in my readings from many of the Early Fathers, so I took some time to check. Before I get any further, I have decided in a few weeks I will start watching the Bible Studies offered by some of our Priest/Theologians and I might start with Revelation and some of the Prophets. If I should find anything there that points to this, I will eat my hat so to speak and say dang son you were right. However, what I found says it was not what you think it was. It is no fault of your own Missler’s ,as I do not think the Church had looked at it in detail until recently (we’re old, we move slow – LOL joke and yes the Orthodox Church is old and moves slow in many ways).

I found a couple items one is a pdf document and you can read it here https://biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/eq/2008-2_143.pdf and other was a  discussion
Said it was ‘’’ challenged for authenticity and is known and labeled as written by Pseudo-Ephraim. Seems there was a large cash prize being offered by some Rapture-types for proof of their belief in the Early Church. One of their ilk dug this long- known, suspect quote and tried for the $500,000.’’. and another said the ‘’ text was found in 1995 by researcher and author Grant R. Jeffrey’’.  So, who knows. IF I have a change to ask Father Lawrence this Sunday I will as it is his last here.

I had a link about the way the Church views what Paul had to say and they were rather pointed he was not talking of a rapture and went into why, but I seem to have deleted it as well (Deleted a lot of links lately)

Anyhow as we have discussed, I am going to agree to disagree. As I said if I find anything that says different in the video lessons, I will post it to you.  However, I am, going to add the exert from a book for those who wonder some about our beliefs at the end of this post.

I do find it telling our resident atheist/agnostic/Satanist/whateverist/etc. seem hell bent to try to argue about what they don’t believe in, have limited to no knowledge of and are just doing it because they cannot control themselves. Mostly it is an attempt to shame us into silence as the topics bother their spiritual being and you and I know why that is. One is like a dog in a field of fire hydrants racing from one to another and he is getting paid for it he claims by @Drew4UTK (gee I wish I could get paid to stir the pot), others just drop a pile of stink to encourage him or the other who knows nothing and is just here to stir trouble or to troll or do both.

No matter how much you try to explain to them the deeper they dig their holes of self-deception while demanding we give credence to it.  One of the best examples of that was a recent thread in which I used a number that was 1 to more than all the atoms in the universe that we were created vs came from nothing and the self-deception was, and I am paraphrasing, well given enough times it would have happened. I am glad my mouth was empty of I would have had to clean my monitor, keyboard, etc.

When we speak (write) our words they do not comprehend them or as some say hear them. They listen to another who whispers in their ear and can not hear though their heart. Sadly, it is hardened. One of my most fervent prayers is that they hear and comprehend before it is too late. 

The Tower of Babel thread is another example I pointed out and again I paraphrase (and expanded explanation) that as with parables it does not matter if it was a historical event or not. It is more important the lessons we can learn not only how it is sued in the rest of the Bible to help us draw nearer to God but in many other ways as well. I have given many examples and probably have some more that I will post to it. Sad that what you would call Sunday School students at an early grade level grasp this concept willingly and quickly, but others. They bitch that the posts are to long, or try to find something ridiculous to learn from it such as you should not use bricks to build tall structures, along with many other unfounded allegations and accusations brought on by the being to damned lazy to read and employ their brain and that is sad and pathetic, at best. 

As I have told him and others so many times the point went over your head, either by toon or something that gives me a good laugh by saying quick look up in the sky. It’s Superman. No, it’s De Plane, De Plane. No, it’s just that damn bird Point. Hey, I have to entertain myself.

From the book I told you about in a earlier thread, and mentioned briefly above, about the Orthodox view on End Times (Ultimate Things). A bit long of a read but….
The Rapture: Emancipation or Entrapment?
If any person feels within himself a strong heart to wrestle with Satan, let him remain (for I do not despair of the Church’s strength of nerve), let him remain and let him say, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”
—Saint Cyril of Jerusalem
On the way to work in the morning, faced with the mundane reality of rush-hour traffic, drivers may find themselves confronted with extraordinary messages. One such is the bumper sticker which admonishes: “WARNING! In the event of Rapture, this car will be left driverless!”
Contemplation of such a scenario produces astounding mental images: Without warning, people begin to float up from the freeway, executives waving briefcases and truckers still clutching C.B. radio microphones, while their abandoned vehicles careen wildly or (with God’s merciful intervention) coast safely to a stop. The sky is gradually filled with the gently ascending, cheering bodies of the Elect. Below, those who are left behind stare dumbfounded, anxious and resentful. “Who are these people, and why are they flying?” they ask.
Such a visible and large-scale forsaking of the laws of nature cannot be hidden or disguised for long. Sooner or later someone realizes that all the Christians are gone! The churches are empty. Only “unbelievers” are left on Planet Earth. After the initial shock, however, these intransigents (why else would they be unbelievers?) go on about their business. “Good riddance!” they snort.
And from this point on, all the grim events of the last days begin to unfold—without any Christians on hand to suffer through them.
Escaping Tribulation
The appeal of “the rapture” to the modern mentality is easy to understand. It is comforting for believers to speculate that they will suddenly and effortlessly be whisked away into heaven without the trouble of dying first. In God’s Kingdom they will crowd around the Throne and watch like spectators at a cosmic sporting event as the unfortunate ones remaining on earth endure the Great Tribulation. Having been removed from the playing field before the final period gets underway, they will be impervious to the deceptions and persecutions of Antichrist as he overpowers the whole world.
Because of its promise to spare Christians the onslaught of the end times, belief in the rapture has attained immense popularity in recent years. Its sudden prominence is less a function of believers’ rekindled faith, however, than of its own newness as a doctrine. The rapture was, in fact, unheard of before the nineteenth century, and represents a recent and radical reinterpretation of Scripture. That such a theological reworking has been unquestioningly, even enthusiastically, accepted by a great many people is indicative of a subtle and profound change in contemporary Christian thought, the real effect of which needs to be understood.
Saint Paul’s First Epistle to the Thessalonians is generally cited as the primary scriptural basis for the rapture: “We who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up [“raptured”] together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:15–17).
A supporting argument for the rapture is sometimes based on the observation that, in the Revelation of Saint John, the Church is mentioned by name only in the first five chapters, and (supposedly) not at all after the Great Tribulation begins. This is taken to indicate that the Church has been “raptured” into heaven by then.
The most telling critique of this doctrine is simply the fact of its newness. It developed from a series of visions experienced by a Scottish woman named Margaret Macdonald in 1830. She believed that a “spirit of prophecy” had revealed to her that, prior to Christ’s Second Coming, He would come secretly to remove all Christians from the earth. This novel idea was quickly adopted into both Catholic and Protestant doctrines, and spread throughout Europe and America.
Following Macdonald’s “visions,” Christ’s words to the church of Philadelphia were marshaled in support of the “rapture” concept: “I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth” (Revelation 3:10). The Lord’s High Priestly Prayer shows, however, that He will keep His followers “from the hour of trial” not by removing them from the world, but rather by protecting them from the world’s evil: “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one” (John 17:15).
The concept of Christ rapturing believers was completely unknown during the first thousand years of Christian history, during which time there was but one Christian Faith throughout the world. The Seven Ecumenical Councils of A.D. 325 through 787, in which all the essential doctrines of Christian Truth were declared, never mentioned a rapture.
Father Michael Pomazansky points out the traditional Christian teaching on this subject: that “even the elect will suffer on earth during the ‘tribulation’ period, and that for their sake this period will be shortened (Matt. 24:21–22).”
It has been suggested by various modern writers that the term “elect” refers not to pre-Tribulation Christians, but to those Jews, allegorically 144,000, who are to convert to Christ in the heat of the last days. But the Scriptures teach otherwise. Saint Peter addresses his first epistle to “the pilgrims of the Dispersion … elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father” (1 Peter 1:1, 2, emphasis added). Saint Paul admonishes the Colossian Christians, “Therefore, as the elect of God … put on tender mercies” (Colossians 3:12, emphasis added). From these passages it is clear that the “elect” are all faithful Christians.
Nor will Christ come secretly, as He Himself declared: “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look … He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it” (Matthew 24:26). The Fathers affirm that the Lord’s Return will be unmistakably and suddenly apparent to all mankind: “For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:27).
What Does it Mean?
In order to recapture the traditional understanding of the event Saint Paul is describing to the Thessalonians in the passage quoted earlier, one needs to be clear on when it is to take place. Saint Paul is speaking of the moment of Christ’s Second Coming—that is, not before the Great Tribulation, as the rapturists teach, but at the culmination of it: “we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord …” (1 Thessalonians 4:15).
Saint Matthew is in agreement, and describes the scene in detail: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:29–31).
This being “caught up … in the clouds” and being “gather[ed] … from the four winds” is a portrayal of the instantaneous spiritual transformation that will occur after the Great Tribulation, when the Lord returns in glory: “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51, 52).
The Countdown
The Word of God cannot fail. Someday everything that is prophesied to happen will happen. “When the transgressors have reached their fullness, a king shall arise, having fierce features, who understands sinister schemes” (Daniel 8:23). When the time is ripe, Antichrist will arrive on the world stage. He will not appear as a devil, but as a wise benefactor to humanity. Through deception, he will induce virtually all mankind to love and accept him, and even proclaim him king. Everyone will acknowledge his authority because of his apparent goodness and generosity. But once he has attained complete worldly power, he will show his true intent: to compel all people to worship him as god.
Once Antichrist has seized worldwide control of politics, economics, and religion, he will thoroughly and systematically annihilate any resistance to his authority. Then the persecution of those who have not surrendered to him will become so intense that, as the Lord says, “unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved” (Matthew 24:22).
Christians will be imprisoned, tortured to make them deny their faith in Christ, brutally murdered, deprived not only of home and sustenance, but even of the means to purchase food. Those will be times of unparalleled horror, of complete spiritual darkness, of such unimaginable suffering that even the communist Gulag was just a dress rehearsal by comparison. It will be the greatest agony of blood and tears that the world has ever seen, or will ever see. “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21).
When these awesome events transpire, what will be the fate of those who have expected the rapture to isolate them from the Great Tribulation? It is safe to assume they will be unprepared to face the crisis. What’s worse, they will not understand what is really happening! They will reason that, since they are still on earth, the Antichrist cannot possibly have come yet. This attitude was articulated by the respected Protestant theologian Arthur W. Pink: “The Antichrist cannot appear before the Rapture of the saints,” he asserted. As long as the rapture has not yet occurred, “then, here is proof positive that the Antichrist has not yet appeared.” Not expecting the Deceiver, those awaiting the rapture could be completely taken in by his deception and unwittingly become his disciples.
A Satanic Deception
What could be more diabolically clever than for Antichrist to persuade his victims they need never fear even meeting him? Viewed from this perspective, the common conception of the rapture as a pre-Tribulation “emergency eject” seems to be far more than just a minor misinterpretation of Scripture. It is instead a demonic subterfuge designed to lure many into dangerous complacency. What is more trustworthy—a vision of one person from the nineteenth century or the consensus of the undivided Church of Jesus Christ?
The rapture theory is not so much an outright falsehood as a subtle corruption of truth, a beguiling invitation to be at ease and sleep just when the most stringent wakefulness and caution are needed. Such deception or twisting of God’s Word is exactly the technique that Satan, Antichrist’s source of power, has used successfully against mankind, beginning in the Garden with Adam and Eve.
Satan’s deceptions are beyond mere human ability to resist or even detect. “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24). Whether by astounding miracles or seemingly insignificant distortions of the gospel, Satan continues to dupe humans just as he has from the beginning.
One of Satan’s greatest achievements has been to separate people from the living traditions of the Church and to instill in their minds the notion that each person has the right and ability to interpret Scripture for himself. The contemporary concept of the rapture is a logical result of this mistaken attitude.
The Protection of Tradition
Holy Tradition, the living repository of Christ’s teachings, has appropriately been called “the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church” (Vladimir Lossky, contemporary Orthodox theologian). Without this Spirit-filled Tradition, the gospel cannot be correctly understood, nor can Satan be defeated.
Saint Basil the Great, writing in the fourth century, declared, “Concerning the teachings of the Church … we have received some from written sources, while others have been given to us secretly, through apostolic tradition. Both sources have equal force in true religion. No one would deny either source—no one, at any rate, who is even slightly familiar with the ordinances of the Church. If we attacked unwritten customs, claiming them to be of little importance, we would fatally mutilate the Gospel.”
In these perilous times, it is imperative that Christians look beyond the shallow interpretations and speculations of modernity, to the firm ground of authentic Christian teaching, rooted in the Holy Scriptures. The witness of the Holy Spirit in Christendom is a millennium of unified thought, beginning with the times of the Apostles, upon all the questions which confront believers even today. And it is from this wealth of consistent Christian thought that doctrines such as the rapture can be seen as the dangerous ploys they really are.


President Harry S. Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings…  If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.”

Volbrigade/oU

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Re: Historic peace treaty … or preparation for the antichrist?
« Reply #51 on: September 28, 2020, 03:30:07 PM »
Hey Dan — thanks for the read.

Chuck Missler used to like to borrow from Feynman’s quip about  quantum physics, and paraphrase it for The Rapture doctrine:

“I think it is safe to say that no one understands quantum mechanics... in fact, it is often stated of all the theories proposed in this century, the silliest is quantum theory. Some say that the only thing that quantum theory has going for it, in fact, is that it is unquestionably correct.”

Missler said the same applied to The Rapture doctrine.  It is a strange, some would say “silly” idea —

but it is unquestionably the teaching of the “whole counsel of God”.

Which doesn’t mean you have to agree with it.  You can be be a regenerate, believing Christian; a good soldier in the spiritual war; and fully believe that when the Great Tribulation starts, you’ll just have to suffer through it, if you happen to be alive at that time.

I see no harm in believing this.  Unless it is that it does impinge on the doctrine of imminency.  Instead of waiting for the return of our Lord, we are waiting for a whole laundry list of items to occur.  Including the rise of the antiChrist, and the Confirmation of the Covenant (with Israel); the violation of which, that features “the Abomination of Desolation”, acting as a “midcourse correction” in the “7th Week of Daniel” — i.e., the onset of the 3.5 year “Great Tribulation”.

That oughtta shake off the riffraff… ;)

Christians alive at that time would also be treated to the Two Witnesses; the seal, bowl, and trumpet judgments, etc.

So there would be no doubt that God’s final judgment, and Christ’s return to rule in His Millennial Kingdom, were on the way.  You could set your calendar by it.

But Scripture insists that no man knows the hour and day of His return.  And we are instructed to watch, and be ready; that for those who don’t, He will come “like a thief in the night.”

I believe there will be Believers on earth when all those afore-mentioned things happen.  But they will be of a different category than the Church, because they will not be saved by faith ALONE.  They will have observational, empirical confirmation of the veracity of Prophesy.  And untold numbers will come to put their faith ands trust in the Lord Jesus, as a result.  And pay DEARLY for it.  As for those that “dwell upon the earth” — those whose faith and trust and interests are solely on, and in, this world, and this life:  they will be sent a “great deception”, so that they WILL NOT believe.

Those that come to Christ in the Tribulation are the “The Tribulation Saints”.  They are mentioned specifically in Revelation and Daniel — I don’t have time to look up and cite the passages right now, will try to later (typing as fast as I can on this message).  They are “The Holy Ones” in both books, who are “overcome” and “conquered” by The Beast (aka “the little horn), e.g., in Rev. 13:3-7 (had to look that one up).

This is categorically different from The Church.  We, who “believe WITHOUT seeing, are specially blessed; and CONQUERORS through Christ Jesus. 

It looks like the main two objections in your paste are:

The “newness” of the Rapture Doctrine — i.e., Darby, early 19th century. 

But that is not so.  As evidenced by Ephraem the Syrian.  But also by the whole counsel of God.  There are numerous passages in the OT that allude to it (I’ll try to cite some later).  And Paul’s case is pretty strong in favor of it. 

Rather than being a “new” doctrine, many think it is the ORIGINAL and correct doctrine.  Which was gradually gotten away from, as the Church became a governmental, ruling institution after the Fall of Rome.

For one thing:  it’s pretty hard to emphasize Christ coming in wrath to execute judgement on wicked world rulers, when it was the institutional, legalistic medieval Church that ruled the world!

2.  The author cited doesn’t like the idea of people on a crowded freeway “wafting up into the sky”, and filling it up.

That’s fine.  But it is also a straw man.

For one thing:  it is becoming increasingly evident that there may not be that many Biblical, believing Christians to BE raptured.

Jesus Himself wondered whether, when He returns, He will find faith on earth. 

I can foresee a development where, combined with the aforementioned “great deception”, the sudden disappearance of many people is explained away.  “Scientifically”.  Just as all aspects of God’s Biblical sovereignty are explained away now (e.g., the m2m nonsense).  It might be said “we don’t know what happened — but it ain’t THAT”.

Keep in mind, most of the raptured saints may be in the Third World and China; their disappearance either unreliably reported — i.e., “rumored” — or the reports suppressed.

Raptured saints in the Godless West may be are rare as hen’s teeth.  And therefore, their disappearance inconclusive.  “We don’t know what happened to him…”.

And I wouldn’t leave out the role of extradimensional extra-terrestrials in all of this.

Also, the event is said to occur “in the twinkling of an eye.”  Missler likes to think this is the time it takes for a photon to pass through the cornea — in essence, a nano-second.  It is a transformation, an instantaneous “translation”.  Not something visible.

All of which is pure speculation.

Anyway — all of for now.

Again — this is an area where serious, dedicated Christians are obviously free to disagree.     




Cincydawg

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Re: Historic peace treaty … or preparation for the antichrist?
« Reply #52 on: September 28, 2020, 04:05:02 PM »
Interesting side point, light travels a foot in one nanosecond.

There are a lot of different interpretations by apparently well intentioned learned people on such topics.  People even differ on the rather central case of what is required to be saved.

Volbrigade/oU

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Re: Historic peace treaty … or preparation for the antichrist?
« Reply #53 on: September 28, 2020, 07:11:55 PM »

Quote
Interesting side point, light travels a foot in one nanosecond.


Close enough for gov’t work.  ( ^ ;

Quote
There are a lot of different interpretations by apparently well intentioned learned people on such topics.  People even differ on the rather central case of what is required to be saved.


“People differ” on literally everything.

The Bible doesn’t differ on what it takes to be saved.

John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.   

John 3:36 - He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.  

1 John 5:11-13 - And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

Romans 10:9-14 - That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

Mark 16:16 - He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

John 1:12 - But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

John 11:25-26 - Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

Acts 16:30-31 - And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

1 John 5:1 - Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.

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Cincydawg

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Re: Historic peace treaty … or preparation for the antichrist?
« Reply #54 on: September 28, 2020, 07:17:31 PM »
So, you need to be baptized?

Even Demons?

Volbrigade/oU

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Re: Historic peace treaty … or preparation for the antichrist?
« Reply #55 on: September 28, 2020, 08:28:28 PM »
So, you need to be baptized?

Even Demons?
Baptism is an outward sign of an inward regeneration.  It is a way of showing, publicly, that you have accepted Christ as your Savior.  It is a symbolic joining in His death and Resurrection.

It is not a requirement.  Deathbed conversions, the thief on the cross…

“…if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

That doesn’t mention anything about Baptism.  And the “confess with your mouth” obviously presupposes the ABILITY to do so.

It is faith in Christ that saves us.  Not baptism.  Nor any other “work”.

A personal note:

I cannot pinpoint the moment I was saved. 

I grew up in a denomination — Church of Christ — that has an “altar call” every Sunday, at the close of service.

There were many times when I felt like I should respond — especially the deeper I got into my teens.  But I couldn’t:  that would have made me a bigger hypocrite than even my repressed conscience would’ve allowed.  I KNEW I had me some sinnin’ to do.  And looked forward to the opportunity.  Which I availed myself of, in many different ways, casually and frequently.

I thoroughly rejected the Churchianity of my youth, becoming a thorough-going atheist.  But always seeking, searching, for answers.  For the truth.

When I inadvertently discovered C. S. Lewis, I found arguments that I realized were unassailable.  It helped that he, too, was a former atheist.  There will be a long line in Heaven, of former standard-issue, run-of-the-mill atheist/agnostic Whateverists (like me) who owe their salvation, in part, to that brilliant and great man.

But even then — this was my early-mid twenties — I had to keep the truth at arm’s length.  By all manner of cerebral gymnastics.  Because, well… women are just so dang beautiful.  And sinnin’ is just so much dang FUN.

Until it isn’t.  Until the bill comes due…

Long story short… by my mid-late 30s, I was a believer.  And growing steadily in the knowledge of what I believed in.

As that became clear — first, to me; gradually, to others —

my dear late Mom would say to me “you need to get baptized.”

I would tell her “Mom, the next time I step foot in a church house (growing up CoC, I assumed EVERYBODY did the weekly altar call.  I have since discovered that is not so), I’ll get baptized.”

I was true to my word.

I went to my Mom and Dad’s church one Sunday.  And responded to the call.  And got dunked, as a man in my early 40s.

I always tell folks:  “I came up out of that water, and fully expected it to be BLACK with the sins that were washed off me.”

So, that’s my story.

I wasn’t saved because I was baptized.

I was baptized, because I was saved.


 

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