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Th. Vassilikos[play]

When will the end of the world come?

In the fall of 1992, the already anxious life of Petersburg was extremely disturbed. On the pages of newspapers, from advertising sheets, the obtrusive words sounded: "October 28 — the day of Christ’s second coming." South Korean missionaries, overflowing with the knowledge of their own all-knowing, took upon themselves the "great" deed: to convince, within one month, unenlightened Russia of the necessity of repentance, of leaving all earthly chores and to wait the end of the world.

The less time that remained until the pronounced date, the greater the pressure of the atmosphere of waiting. Oil was added to the fire and the increasing weight of the first year of "reforms," through which one wanted to transfer to heaven, into the kingdom of the righteous. And then the day arrived…

The South Koreans were far from being the first to predict the "precise" date of the Second Coming. Such "prophets" consistently arrived once or twice in a century. They existed in Rus, in the era of the great schism, among the Old Believers. Then they predicted that God’s Judgment would come in 1703 (through a strange coincidence the year Petersburg was founded). In the 20th century these predictions increased remarkably, particularly with the appearance of the Seventh Day Adventists sect.

The fate of people who believed the false prophets was tragic. At best there was disappointment and desperation, in the worst — suicide. But the deceivers collected "dividends" from their lies in the form of money and property of the deceived — who needs earthly goods, if the end of the world is tomorrow?

Of course, the South Korean missionaries also turned out to be deceivers. The Lord did not come to judge the living and the dead on October 28. Instead of asking forgiveness for the disturbance they brought on, the eastern prophets "transferred" the date to… 2116 (counting on the fact, that the great-grandchildren of those fooled would already die by then).

A non-Church person, following this history, may easily begin to get the impression, that "Judgment Day — is a story for the elderly," as sang Vissotsky, and that the end of the world will never come, except maybe after a nuclear war.

But the Church teaches differently. In the 7th statement of the Creed it says: "I believe… in one Lord Jesus Christ… " But the exact date of the Second Coming is hidden from the world. From the pages of the Gospel we hear the warning words of the Savior: "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons" (Acts 1:7); "But that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father" (Mark 13:32). Anyone, who dares to announce the day and year of the world’s end — is a deceiver and an enemy of Orthodoxy.

At the same time the Lord did not leave us without signs of the time of the Last Judgment. He gave us indications, by which we could deduct that the end is approaching. Based on the words of Christ (Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21), the Apostle Paul (2Thes. 2) and John the Theologian (Revelations), one could list the following as indications:

  • The preaching of the Gospel throughout the world;
  • The appearance of multiple false prophets, performing various "miracles" for the attraction of people, and false Christs — those who call themselves Christ;
  • Wars and social disturbances;
  • Epidemic drop in morality and the increase of lawlessness in the world;
  • The diminishment of people’s love for each other;
  • Discord and Church strife, the appearance of insolent abusers of the Church;
  • Universal departure from Christianity and the strengthening of various occult teachings;
  • Massive conversion of many Jews to Christ;
  • Epidemics of horrible illnesses, earthquakes in places and other natural disasters;
  • Universal exhaustion of people from fear of approaching disaster.

The final disaster, before the Second Coming, will be the arrival of the Antichrist — the enemy of Christ and his complete opposite (Greek "anti" — "instead," "against"). He will be raised to the height of power through world Judaism and will unite under his rule all countries and religions for three and a half years. The preparation for the appearance of the Antichrist, performed in the world through the dark powers, the Apostle Paul calls "mystery of iniquity" (2 Thes. 2:7). The Antichrist’s rule will be a time of great sorrows, previously unseen, and of the worst persecution of the Church. The Lord Himself will bring his end, Who will come on the earth in glory "for as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west" (Matt. 24:27). Before the Second Coming the sun will darken and the Holy Cross will appear in the sky — the sign of the Son of Man, visible to all. Then the time for the existence of our world will be fulfilled and the eternal Kingdom of God’s glory will commence.

Are we close to the days of the Last Judgment? One cannot say exactly, but many signs of the end of the world are being fulfilled in front of our eyes.

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