Living in the End Times
Five years ago, in 2016, Cardinal Raymond Burke, quoting the late Servant of God Father John Hardon, stated, “Catholicism is in the throes of the worst crisis in its entire history.” And Father Hardon made this observation nearly 20 years earlier, just a few years before he died.
God will not abandon His True Church. But that does not mean that we can stand by and do nothing. God is asking that we share with others whatever charisms we may receive from His providential Love, so that we may guide others to remain on the narrow path, no matter what storms may assail against His Church or assault our journey in faith, and there will truly be many storms in the years to come which will test our beliefs in all that we have been taught.
Even Jesus Himself once said, “But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8b).
However, in spite of all that I have posted in this weekly series to help you better understand the unfolding of future events, there are still some who read this and question the veracity and truthfulness of what I am presenting to you. Sadly, one even called me an antichrist!
And yet, I must place my confidence in God’s grace and the encouragement to evangelize God’s Truth through this Apostolate, no matter what cynics and non-believers may say. For I am encouraged by the words of Saint Paul:
“Proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching. For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths” (2 Timothy 4:2-4).
And it is the myths which I am attempting to dispel and discredit! It is God’s Truth which I am attempting, with the help of His grace, to convey to each of you so that you may prepare yourselves for the difficult times that many of us will face ahead. Some of us may be called before these events begin to unfold, either due to age, illness, violence or accident.
I may be wrong, but it is my personal belief that many of us will experience, in the years ahead, what is prophesied to unfold, and none of it is easy to accept or swallow! But we are each called to place our abiding and unquestioning trust in God’s Divine Providence!
Last week, we reflected upon the apocalyptic world-wide events of the Visible Sign and the Three Days of Darkness, a Chastisement which will purify the Earth of all that is evil. And there truly is much evil in our world today!
All we need to do is reflect upon all that is happening in the hearts of God’s children throughout the world who have abandoned God’s Love to live their own perverted sense of irrational thinking – egoism, greed, hatred and biased thinking – a prejudicial way of thinking and acting which spawns violence, even murder!
Today, I would like to spend some time reflecting upon two realities presented to us in Sacred Scripture – the False Prophet and the Antichrist, two terms which we find presented to us in the New Testament, especially the Book of Revelation.
The False Prophet
We read in Sacred Scripture, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit” (Matthew 7:15-17).
And from the Book of Revelation, “Then I saw another beast come up out of the earth; it had two horns like a lamb’s but spoke like a dragon. It wielded all the authority of the first beast in its sight and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound had been healed. It performed great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in the sight of everyone” (Revelation 13:11-13).
“[The second beast, the False Prophet] deceived the inhabitants of the earth with the signs it was allowed to perform in the sight of the first beast, telling them to make an image for the beast who had been wounded by the sword and revived. It was then permitted to breathe life into the beast’s image, so that the beast’s image could speak and [could] have anyone who did not worship it put to death. It forced all the people, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to be given a stamped image on their right hands or their foreheads, so that no one could buy or sell except one who had the stamped image of the beast’s name or the number that stood for its name” (Revelation 14-17).
I will grant you that the language is oftentimes difficult to understand, for it is filled with an extreme amount of symbolism. But for almost two millennia (almost 2,000 years), Scripture scholars have studied the Book of Revelation and the Book of Daniel and determined that what is presented pertains to both past and future events.
It is not my attempt today to render a study of the apocalyptic language Saint John employed in writing Revelation, but to focus on only our main topics of interest today. The beast from the Earth is the False Prophet , the “first beast” is the Antichrist, and the dragon is Satan.
Saint Ambrose (a Father and Doctor of the Church), Tertullian (a theologian and ecclesiastical writer) and others say that, just as Our Lord had His precursor, Saint John the Baptist, who pointed to Him and told the people that Jesus was the Messiah, “Behold the Lamb of God…”, so also will the Antichrist have his False Prophet who will make the people worship him.
They also say that the phrase for the second beast, “like a lamb”, indicates that he will most likely be an apostate Catholic, probably a priest or bishop. Just as Our Lord’s precursors were priests of the order of Levi from the Old Testament, so the Antichrist’s precursor will be a priest of the order of Melchisedech, in other words an ordained priest in the Catholic Church.
We can discern from the Book of Revelation that there will be seven characteristics of the False Prophet, which will help guide us into recognizing him:
- He will speak with deceitfulness instead of as a true follower of Jesus Christ. The False Prophet will act Christ-like, but he will speak misleadingly. He will sound religious and helpful, but he will not serve the True Christ, for he has another agenda (Rev 13:11b);
- He will promote the worship of the Antichrist, even though people will not recognize him as the Antichrist. The relationship of the False Prophet to the Antichrist will mirror that of the relationship between the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ (Rev 13:12);
- He will develop a ministry of religious deception, based upon the signs that he will perform, power given to him by Satan himself. In essence, the False Prophet will become a servant to the Antichrist (Rev 13:13);
- He will deceive people to follow the Antichrist, for people will falsely believe that the Antichrist is the Messiah. Instead of listening to the Word of God, the False Prophet will convince people to make an image of the Antichrist. In essence, he will be promoting idol worship of the Antichrist. Note: this image does not have to be a statue or painting, it could be anything secular. (Rev 13:14);
- He will authorize the elimination/termination of people who do not follow the Antichrist. Refusing to follow the False Prophet or the Antichrist could result in death for those who are found protesting (Rev 13:15);
- He will enslave people through physical control and oppression (Rev 13:16); and
- He will promote a false gospel of economic salvation and security. The Holy Spirit inspires, leads, guides, and counsels the true Christian. The False Prophet will manipulate and control people through fear. With the Holy Spirit, there is freedom for the Christian. Conversely, those who follow the False Prophet will be oppressed (Rev 13:17-18).
There is much speculation that the False Prophet currently exists in the Church today. However, I have listed above the seven characteristics given to us by Sacred Scripture to help us properly discern the person who will be the servant to the Antichrist. All seven of the above conditions must exist. If only one or two of the conditions exist, then the person is probably not The False Prophet, but one of many “…false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves” (Mathew 7:15).
There have been several antichrists over the past 2,000 years, including various godless Roman Emperors, Stalin, Lenin, Hitler, Mussolini, to name only a few, for they would fulfill what Saint John the Evangelist said in his First Letter, “Who is the liar? Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Whoever denies the Father and the Son, this is the antichrist” (1 John 2:22).
Saint Paul, in his Second Letter to the Thessalonians, even went into much greater detail, “Let no one deceive you in any way. For unless the apostasy comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one doomed to perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god and object of worship, so as to seat himself in the temple of God, claiming that he is a god…” (2 Thessalonians 3-4).
And Paul goes on to write, “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord [Jesus] will kill with the breath of his mouth and render powerless by the manifestation of his coming, the one [the Antichrist] whose coming springs from the power of Satan in every mighty deed and in signs and wonders that lie, and in every wicked deceit for those who are perishing because they have not accepted the love of truth so that they may be saved. Therefore, God is sending them a deceiving power so that they may believe the lie, that all who have not believed the truth but have approved wrongdoing may be condemned” (2 Thessalonians 8-12).
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us even greater insight into the times in which the final Antichrist, the evil spawn of Satan, will arrive:
- § 675 “Before Christ’s Second Coming, the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers (cf. Luke 18:8; Matthew 24:12). The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on Earth (cf. Luke 21:12; John 15:19-20) will unveil the ‘mystery of iniquity’ in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy [a denial or desertion] from the Truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of His Messiah come in the flesh.” (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:4-12; 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3; 2 John 7; 1 John 2:18, 22) and
- § 677 “The Church will enter the glory of the Kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in His Death and Resurrection (cf. Revelation 19:1-9). The Kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause His Bride to come down from Heaven (cf. Rev 13:8; 20:7-10; 21:2-4). God’s triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgment after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.” (cf. Revelation 20:12; 2 Peter 3:12-13)
Over the centuries, there have been various saints, Apostolic Fathers and Doctors of the Church who have received Divine insight into the days of the Antichrist and what will happen in those times:
- Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), a Doctor of the Church, wrote, “As in Christ dwells the fullness of the Godhead, so in the Antichrist the fullness of all wickedness. Not indeed in the sense that his humanity is to be assumed by the devil into unity of person…but that the devil by suggestion infuses his wickedness more copiously into him than into all others. In this way all the wicked that have gone before are signs of the Antichrist.” And St. Thomas explains that the “miracles” which he effects will not be true miracles, but rather outward signs of evil.
- Another Doctor of the Church, Saint Augustine (354-430), tells us that Christ will not come until after the “Antichrist, His adversary, first comes to seduce those who are dead in soul…[Christ’s] Presence shall be after the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:9), and with all seduction of unrighteousness in them that perish. For then shall Satan be loosed, and by means of [his] Antichrist shall work with all power in a lying though a wonderful manner.”
- In the eighth century, Saint John Damascene (676-749), another Church Doctor, wrote, “During the first part of his reign – of his tyranny rather – he plays more the part of sanctity; but when he gains complete control, he persecutes the Church of God and reveals all his wickedness. ‘And he shall come in signs and lying wonders’ (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:9) – sham ones and not real – and he shall seduce those whose intention rests on a rotten and unstable foundation and makes them abandon the Living God, ‘in as much as to scandalize, if possible, even the elect…’” (Matthew 24:24b).
- St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), declared a Doctor of the Church in 2012 by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, prophesied:
- “After the birth of the Antichrist, heretics will preach their false doctrines undisturbed, resulting in Christians having doubts about their holy Catholic faith.”
- “After his birth, false teachers and doctrines will appear, followed by wars, famines, and pestilence. His mother will seldom let anyone see him, and yet by magic art, she will manage to gain the love of the people for him.”
- “When he has grown to full manhood he will publicly announce a hostile doctrine on religion. He will lure and attract the people to himself by granting them complete exemption from the observance of all Divine and Ecclesiastical Commandments, by forgiving them their sins and requiring of them only their belief in his divinity. He will spurn and reject Baptism and the Gospel. He will open his mouth to preach contradiction. He will say, ‘Jesus of Nazareth is not the Son of God, only a deceiver who gave Himself out as God; and the Church instituted by Him is only superstition.’ The true Christ has come in his [the Antichrist’s] person. He will say, ‘I am the Savior of the world.’”
- “He will grant entire freedom from the Commandments of God and the Church and permit everyone to live as his (or her) passions dictate. By doing so, he hopes to be acknowledged by the people as deliverer from the yoke, and as the cause of prosperity in the world.”
- “He will preach free love and tear asunder family ties. He will scorn everything holy, and he will ridicule all graces of the Church with devilish mockery. He will condemn humility and foster proud and gruesome dogmas. He will tear down that which God has taught in the Old and New Testaments.”
- One of the early Fathers of the Church, Saint Hippolytus (170-235), described how the Antichrist will “…liken himself in all things to the Son of God. Christ is a lion, so the Antichrist is also a lion; Christ is a king, so the Antichrist is also a king. The Savior was manifested as a lamb (John 1:29); so he too, in like manner, will appear as a lamb, though within he is a wolf. The Savior came into the World in the circumcision, and he will come in the same manner. The Lord sent Apostles among all the nations, and he in like manner will send false apostles. The Savior gathered together the sheep that were scattered abroad, and he in like manner will bring together a people that is scattered abroad. The Lord gave a seal to those who believed in Him (Revelation 7:3), and he will give one in like manner…”
- Saint Irenaeus (c. 125-203), another early Father as well as Doctor of the Church, wrote, “He [the Antichrist], being an apostate and a robber, is anxious to be adored as God; and that, although a mere slave, he wishes himself to be proclaimed as a king. For he [the Antichrist] being endued [endowed] with all the power of the devil, shall come, not as a righteous king, nor as a legitimate king in subjection to God, but an impious, unjust, and lawless one; as an apostate, iniquitous and murderous; as a robber, concentrating in himself [all] satanic apostasy, and setting aside idols to persuade [men] that he himself is God.”
- Saint Bridget of Sweden (c.1303-1373) said, “The time of the Antichrist will be near when the measure of injustice will overflow and when wickedness has grown to immense proportions, when the Christians love heresies and the unjust trample underfoot the servants of God…and…tread spirituality and justice under foot…This should be the sign that the Antichrist shall come without delay.”
- Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824) wrote about a vision she had received: “When the time of the reign of the Antichrist is near, a false religion will appear which will be opposed to the unity of God and His Church. This will cause the greatest schism the world has ever known. The nearer the time of the end, the more the darkness of Satan will spread on Earth, the greater will be the number of the children of corruption, and the number of the just will correspondingly diminish…”
And this is just some of the many insights from Saints who were inspired with future happenings and who have shared what they know about what is to unfold in Ecclesial and world events both before and during the time of the Antichrist.
And Our Blessed Mother, herself, has also spoken of the Antichrist. At La Salette, France, in 1846, one of the formally-approved apparitions by the Catholic Church, Our Blessed Mother said:
“Nature is asking for vengeance because of man, and she trembles with dread at what must happen to the Earth stained with crime. Tremble, Earth, and you who proclaim yourselves as serving Jesus Christ and who, on the inside, only adore yourselves; tremble, for God will hand you over to His enemy, because the holy places are in a state of corruption. Many convents are no longer houses of God, but the grazing-grounds of Asmodeus and his like.
“It will be during this time that the Antichrist will be born of a Hebrew nun, a false virgin who will communicate with the old serpent, the master of impurity…At birth, he will spew out blasphemy; he will have teeth, in a word, he will be the devil incarnate. He will scream horribly, he will perform wonders, he will feed on nothing but impurity. He will have brothers who, although not devils incarnate like him, will be children of evil.
“Rome will lose faith and become the seat of the Antichrist. The demons of the air together with the Antichrist will perform great wonders on Earth and in the atmosphere, and men will become more and more perverted. God will take care of His faithful servants and men of good will. The Gospel will be preached everywhere, and all peoples of all nations will get to know the truth.”
Finally, in messages that Our Lady gave to Father Stefano Gobbi, in the Marian Movement of Priests, she stated:
- (June 17, 1989) “Calculate now its number, 666, to understand how it indicates the name of a man. The number, 333, indicates the Divinity. Lucifer rebels against God through pride, because he wants to put himself above God. 333 is the number which indicates the mystery of God. He who wants to put himself above God bears the sign 666, and consequently this number indicates the name of Lucifer, Satan, that is to say, of him, the Antichrist, who sets himself against Christ…Take courage! Be strong, my little children. To you befalls the duty, in these difficult years, of remaining faithful to Christ and to his Church, putting up with hostility, struggle and persecution. But you are a precious part of the little flock, which has the task of fighting against, and in the end of conquering, the powerful force of the Antichrist.” (#407)
- (September 8, 1990, the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary) “I am brilliant as the sun, because I am called to become the Mother of Jesus Christ, who is the Eternal Splendor of the Father. I am terrible as an army drawn up in battle array, because the task which has been entrusted to me by the Lord is that of conquering Satan; of crushing the head of the ancient serpent; of enchaining the huge red dragon and of casting him into his abyss of fire; of struggling with and of defeating the one who opposes himself to Christ, namely the Antichrist, in order to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus, who will restore His Glorious Reign among you.” (#431)
- (May 19, 1991, Solemnity of Pentecost) “The Holy Spirit will make you understand the signs of your time. They are the times foretold by Holy Scripture as those of the great apostasy and of the coming of the Antichrist. They are times of great tribulation and of innumerable sufferings for all, which will bring you to live through these final events in preparation for the Second Coming of Jesus in glory.” (#450) and
- (September 29, 1994, Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael) “To the Archangel Michael is entrusted the task of leading the cohorts of the Angels and of my faithful children into the battle against the trained and well equipped armies of Satan, of evil, of the satanic and masonic forces, now organized on a worldwide scale into a single great force, in order to set themselves against God and against His Christ. Saint Michael will above all intervene to fight against the ancient enemy, Lucifer, who in the final hour will appear with all the dark power of the Antichrist. His [St. Michael’s] is the task of fighting against him and of conquering him, of driving him out into his reign of darkness and fire, offering to your Heavenly Mother the chain [the Rosary] with which she will bind him, and the key with which to lock the door of the abyss, from which he will no longer be able to come out to harm the world.” (#528).
But for those who must live through these horrific times under the blasphemous rule of the Antichrist, we find hope in the Book of Revelation, “The beast was given a mouth uttering proud boasts and blasphemies, and it was given authority to act for forty-two months” [3½ years] (Revelation 13:5).
And “…the Lamb will conquer…for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called, chosen, and faithful” (Revelation 17:14).
I know that I have given you much today upon which to reflect. None of this is meant to alarm or frighten you, but rather to inform and prepare you for what is to unfold in the future. As I had mentioned near the beginning of this Part 8, there will be those of us who will be called before these events even begin to unfold – either due to age, illness, violence or accident.
But for those of us who remain, it is always better to be spiritually prepared through the frequent reception of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist. For these are the Sacraments which strengthen us and help us to remain in a holy and intimate relationship with our Creator, our Savior and our Sanctifier, who is always calling us into oneness with Himself.
And, if it is God’s will, I have consecrated myself to help you through these most difficult times, and I have consecrated my home and property as a place of refuge and prayer during all that is to unfold.
Next Friday in the continuing series of “Living in the End Times”, I will begin to discuss what Sacred Scripture and the Church teaches us about the “four last things” – death, judgment, Heaven and Hell.
Again, I ask that you please pray that I may be able to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit in all that He wishes for you to learn, in all that He wishes for you to know as we enter and live in these final days of the “End Times”.
And take to heart always the words which our Lord spoke, “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20b), for His True Church shall truly survive within the hearts of His faithful children, until He comes again in all His Wondrous Glory!
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
- Part 1: https://ev-apostolate.org/2021/01/22/living-in-the-end-times-part-1/
- Part 2: https://ev-apostolate.org/2021/01/29/living-in-the-end-times-part-2/
- Part 3: https://ev-apostolate.org/2021/02/05/living-in-the-end-times-part-3/
- Part 4: https://ev-apostolate.org/2021/02/12/living-in-the-end-times-part-4/
- Part 5: https://ev-apostolate.org/2021/02/19/living-in-the-end-times-part-5/
- Part 6: https://ev-apostolate.org/2021/02/26/living-in-the-end-times-part-6/
- Part 7: https://ev-apostolate.org/2021/03/05/living-in-the-end-times-part-7/