Many Christians live carelessly
and even in sin because they do not take seriously enough the upcoming
Universal Judgment; it seems to them a very remote and uncertain event. To
improve our spiritual life, we should remind ourselves that prior to that final
and ultimate Judgment there constantly occur particular Divine judgments.
Indeed, throughout all of history we see cases of particular Divine judgments
over individuals, places, and even whole nations. Vivid examples of this are
the global deluge at the time of Noah, the destruction of the cities of Sodom
and Gomorrah, the repeated ravages of Israel, the fall of ancient Assyria and
Babylon, the sudden destruction of the immoral Pompeii, and the fall of the
Roman Empire and other mighty kingdoms. Even large Christian nations such as
Byzantium and Russia did not escape God's judgment when their people deviated
from the Christian life. It always happens as Jesus explained about the
particular judgment: "wherever there appears a carcass [moral decay],
there will the eagles be gathered together" (Matt. 24:28).
In order to forewarn us about moral decay and inspire us to renew our
spiritual life, the Savior kindly warned us: "Be prepared, for in the hour
which you don't expect, the Son of Man will come." Therefore, we should be
attentive to our spiritual state. We should strive that the lamp of our faith
does not stop shining and the that garment of the soul remains clean. Then the
coming of Christ on earth will become a desirable event, as it was for the
Christians in apostolic times. This Second Coming will be perceived as the end
to all wrong doing, crimes, and calamities and the beginning of a new life in
the renewed world.
Among the already fulfilled signs of the end of the world we should mention:
a) the spread of the Gospel message over the whole globe; b) the intensifying
process of moving away from the faith by peoples who were Christians from the
early centuries; c) the beginning of the return to Jesus Christ of many Jews;
d) the increasing number of false prophets and wild cults and; e) the fall of
moral standards, with the increase of horrible crimes, witchcraft, and
As to the contemporary decrease of moral standards, we know that people were
always sinful to a larger or smaller degree. But in the past they used to
recognize their wrongdoing and attempted to correct it. A peculiarity of our
time is that sinful deeds are declared to be okay and even raised on a
pedestal. For example, supporters of abortion and groups of homosexuals
organize mass demonstrations and demand special rights for themselves. Gazing
at them, one remembers the words the Prophet Isaiah said before the destruction
of Jerusalem: "The look on their countenance witnesses against them,
and they declare their sin as Sodom. They do not hide it. Woe to their soul!
For they have brought evil upon themselves" (Is. 3:9). The other
gloomy peculiarity of our time is the obtrusive intrusion of all kinds of
depravities and vulgarities in those spheres of life which traditionally were
expressions of the most bright and noble aspects of mankind's spirit — music,
art, and literature. Evaluate from the Christian standpoint popular rock music
and heavy metal, full of cacophony and crude and voluptuous yelling; some
modern ugly paintings and sculptures; and the many movies full of violence and
vulgarity. And with alarm we observe how the growing spiritual void in people
is being filled by a dark alien force, which is leaving its imprint upon the
affairs of daily life and even the appearance of people.
Seeing all these foretold signs, we still cannot predict the exact time at
which the world will end. Nevertheless, it should not be very far away.
Predictions by our Optina elders and other pre-Revolutionary righteous people
of Russia give us reason to think that with the downfall of communism and the
beginning of spiritual rebirth in Russia, the next to the last page of world
history has been turned, following which will be the coming of the Antichrist
and the fulfillment of the predictions in the book of Revelation.
May the merciful Lord guide and protect all of us in the coming times of
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