|"Here is wisdom. He who has understanding, let him calculate
the number of the beast, for it is the number of The Man; and its number is six hundred
and sixty-six." (Apocalypse 13:18)
"Let no one deceive you in any way, for the day of the Lord will not come until the apostasy comes first, and The Man of Sin is revealed, The Son of Perdition who opposes and is exalted above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he sits in the temple of God and gives himself out as if he were God. ...you know what restrains him, that he may be revealed in his proper time. For the mystery of iniquity is already at work.... And when the wicked one is revealed, whom Jesus will slay with the breath of His mouth and will destroy with the brightness of His coming. The Antichrist comes, by the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders and with all wicked deception to those who are perishing. For they refused to accept the love of truth by which they could be saved. Therefore, God sends them a misleading influence that they may believe falsehood, that they may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have preferred wickedness." (Thessalonians 2:3-12)
There have been many Antichrists who have come throughout history and by their actions have opposed Christ. But toward the end of time there will be a man who, by deception, shall lead astray almost the entire world. (Mark 13:6;21-23) All the other Antichrists have had followers because being possessed by powerful devils they had influence over those who were filled with sin and error. But there were always those who saw the evil and resisted them. These Antichrists were eventually defeated either by force or by death. But at the End of the Age a man, born in obscurity, will bring solutions to all those things that have plagued man since the fall of Adam and Eve. He will be comely in appearance, handsome and attractive. His forked tongue will have the eloquence of angels, his honeyed words will pierce to the very heart those who hear him. His arguments and positions will be so well presented that even those who recognize him will be hard pressed to resist what he has to say. He will "heal" the sick, raise the dead to life, walk on water, call down fire from the sky in what seems to be in a miraculous manner. In short, he will ape Christ. His kindness will be so renowned and his generosity to those who follow him so unmatched that the whole world will run after him. The ignorant will believe that this is Christ come in the flesh again. They will actually believe that this is the second coming which Jesus predicted. Not having studied the scriptures or knowing that Jesus will not be born again but that in His Second Coming He will come in the glory of the angels on the clouds of heaven, they will worship this False Christ, (Apocalypse 13:4). He will promise his followers Utopia; a thousand year reign of glory, power, health and prosperity. After he convinces everyone in the middle east that he is truly the long awaited Messiah he will consolidate his power and authority and will cause revolutions in the nations where the governments still oppose him. He will quickly and decisively defeat his enemies because of their weakened internal divisions and eventually he will rule the world. Because of his kindness and non-retribution toward his defeated enemies even they will come to pay him homage.
It is one of man's innate desires to be lead by someone in who he can believe. He is always impressed by those who have power and authority and can exercise that authority with what appears to be justice and mercy. Antichrist will be a leader par excellence. In fact, all other charismatic leaders of the past will be but shadow images of this man and his influence over the peoples of the world. The hysteria of the German people that Hitler inspired will be nothing to the madness that will infect at least 90% of the world's population.
Antichrist will be born of Israelite parents who are most probably from the tribe of Dan (Genesis 49:17) (Jer. 8:16) (Apocalypse Chap. 7). He may be born in Rome or Iraq (Daniel 11) but it is certain from Sacred Scripture and Holy Tradition that he will be a child of Israel. There are two references that indicate that the Israelites will see in him their long awaited messiah.
" I have come in the name of my Father and you do not receive Me. If another comes in his own name him you will receive."
(John 5:43) And (Thess. 2:3-12)
This of course could never happen if he himself were not an Israelite. He will not be the product of witchcraft, in the sense that he will be born of a jackal as is portrayed in the movie "The Omen" but rather will have a natural birth. However, it is most likely that Satanic rituals will surround the conception and birth of the child and it will be certain that from the very beginning his life will be surrounded by those who will teach him the ways of the evil one. As soon as he is capable in reason and will he will submit his will entirely to Lucifer. He will embrace him as his father and Lucifer will possess him entirely. This will be Satan's greatest opportunity to mock the Blessed Trinity and to attempt to undo all that the redemption of Jesus accomplished. He will instruct his adopted "son" in all the ways of evil and Satan shall give to him all his power and authority (Apocalypse 13:2) in imitation of all that God the Father gave to Jesus as Son of Man.
Antichrist will imitate his "father" perfectly. In fact, Satan himself will infuse his own knowledge into Antichrist, giving him an almost angelic intelligence. Now as we know Satan is "...a murderer from the beginning, and has not stood in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie he speaks from his very nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (John 8:44).
Antichrist's deception of the whole human race will be complete. (Matt. 24:24). He will outwardly pretend to live entirely by the Mosaic laws. An Israelite of Israelites he will come as Jesus did but unlike Jesus who disappointed the Israelites by allowing Himself to be crucified Antichrist will take possession of Israel and then quickly and decisively he will conquer all the nations of the middle east. During this time he will be incredibly generous to his followers. Prosperity and affluence will surround him and all those who follow him. Satan will reveal to him all the hidden treasures of the earth and before he comes to power he will take possession of this wealth giving him great influence and power (Daniel 11:43). He will be despised at first as he presents himself to his people but then through deception and stealth he will assume the reigns of power in Israel (Daniel 11:21). Once in power he will demonstrate his power through signs and wonders which will only be more deception. They will be "preternatural" wonders wrought by the demons that are constantly surrounding Antichrist and with whom he has been in complete communion since birth.
The Israelites Will Believe He is the Messiah
Once he has convinced everyone that he is the Messiah sent by God he will set up his seat of power in Jerusalem. He will conquer all remaining enemies and make the leaders of their individual nations governors under himself. The conquest of his enemies will come very quickly. The majority of the world's population will welcome his governing of the world. They will have all longed for a leader with such a charismatic presence and one who seemingly has brought peace, prosperity and security to every corner of the earth. They will remember the Great Monarch (Apocalypse 12) who had united the world under the standard of Christ the great golden age of the Church and they will believe this is Christ come again. In fact, Antichrist will "prove" himself to be "the Christ". By the power of his outward "miracles" he will convince even his worst critics that he is who he claims to be. Where the Jews rejected Jesus, despite the true miracles he performed for all to see, they will accept Antichrist because he will fulfill their long awaited hopes for a messiah who will conquer their enemies and bring the reign of peace.
Antichrist Rebuilds the Temple in Jerusalem
After consolidating his power and setting up his government in Jerusalem Antichrist will rebuild the Temple of Solomon upon the original sight of the ancient Temple. This will be completed within about two years into his reign. He will re-institute the Sabbath laws and will begin the ancient sacrifices of the Mosaic laws. Though the genealogies of the Israelites have been lost and knowledge of who is of the tribe of Levi, Antichrist will provide a faked genealogy that will be accepted by the Israelites. Antichrist will, through great eloquence and argumentation convince the majority of the world's people that Jesus the True Messiah and Christ was merely a magician and sorcerer who deceived millions. Incredibly but just as all the servants of Satan have done he will accuse his Enemy of the very crime of which he himself is guilty and the people will believe him. Thus the great Apostasy will begin. Millions will turn away from the Church. Millions will blaspheme the one true Christ and will instead worship the Antichrist. (Apocalypse 13)
The Man of Sin
All the while as the people are convinced by this man's lies he will be living not according to the laws of Moses as he pretends but rather he will be corrupt and lascivious, a libertine from the beginning. He will be filled with demonic pride and lust. All of the deadly sins will find their perfection in him. Yet all the while his propaganda machine will convince the people that he is truly holy and pure.
After the great apostasy of the majority of Catholics from the One True Faith, Antichrist will begin the most fierce persecution of the Church ever perpetrated by any man or government in all of human history. Using the false prophet as his instrument to incite the people he will systematically hunt down and kill any Roman Catholic who can be found. He will institute an economic system based upon credit and technology where an image (that is, the name or number of Antichrist , 666) will be stamped on the back of a person's right hand or on their forehead. This mark will identify a person as a follower of the Antichrist and an active citizen of his world government (Apocalypse 13:16). Without this mark it will be impossible for anyone to purchase anything or to sell anything. This economic system will end the use of money. It will be a part of the "utopia" that Antichrist sets up. A cashless society. The people who refuse to have the mark placed on their bodies will be automatically excluded from this utopian society. They will have to hide and use black markets to get food and the mere necessities of life.
Under the pretext of righting the wrongs of anti-Semitism which according to the Antichrist will have its origins in the Catholic Church he and the False Prophet will execute hundreds of thousands of Catholics. They will attempt to outdo Hitler's "Final Solution" and attempt to exterminate all those Catholics left on earth who refuse to bow down in worship of the Antichrist. Our best example of this can be found in Hitler and his propaganda minister Paul Goebbles, or Hermann Goring, his Reichsmarschall. Antichrist will also have such men surrounding him but the False Prophet will be a thousand times more powerful and effective than were these predecessors.
A Place of Refuge
God will protect His People. He will not allow Antichrist to destroy the Church or to completely overcome her. (Matthew 16:18) She will be taken into the desert and protected from the full blows of the persecution. (Apocalypse 12:6). The gates of Hell will not prevail against the Church not now and not in the future. This, of course will be a great irritation to Antichrist. His pride will demand that he have no opposition from anyone especially the Catholics whom he knows will know who and what he really is. His hatred for them will grow daily.
The Conversion of the Jews
In his demonic pride, having made himself the true ruler of the world, he will finally change the names of the month and the seasons. He will change the times of the years and make the first year of his reign the first year of the new calendar. He will believe that his reign will last for 1000 years and Satan will convince him that he has nothing to fear from God because in his pride Lucifer will actually believe that he can defeat the forces of Christ once and for all.
Finally, Antichrist will set up a new religion. He will make the False Prophet his "Pope" and will enter the Temple he has rebuilt. There he will set up a throne within the Holy of Holies and there he will sit and proclaim himself God.
By this time Antichrist will not be able to continue to seduce the majority of Israelites. The pretence of holiness will fade and they will realize they have been duped. It is at this point that the prophecies will be fulfilled and Israel will convert to the Catholic faith completely and entirely, especially through the preaching of Elijah and Enoch (Malachi 4:5; Ecclesiasticus 48:10; Romans 11:25-27; 2 Corinthians 3:16; Apoc. 7:5).
Elijah and Enoch
Both of these men have been preserved from death in order to appear at the end of time to give testimony to the truth which will have been suppressed by Antichrist and the False Prophet (Genesis 5:22-24; Ecclesiasticus 44:16; Hebrews 11:5; 2 Kings 2:11; Ecclesiasticus 48:9; 1 Maccabees 2:58; Matthew 17:11).
These two men are the two prophets spoken about in the Apocalypse 11:3-12. They will come to proclaim Jesus as Lord and will demonstrate the truth of the gospel to the Israelites. It is because of their preaching and miracles that the Israelites will ultimately be converted to the Faith. Antichrist will oppose them and attempt many times to kill them but he will be prevented from doing so. He will call down fire from heaven to consume them but with a wave of their hands they shall disperse the fire and it shall not come near them. This will be a great frustration to Antichrist and he will kill thousands of people to get to Elijah and Enoch.
As Moses and Aaron did in Egypt so will Elijah and Enoch do in Israel. They shall strike the Mediterranean sea and turn the waters to blood. They shall shut up heaven and it shall not rain while they are in Jerusalem and Israel. They will have the power to bring about plagues upon the followers of Antichrist. The plague of boils will be especially severe. (Apoc. 16:10) Antichrist will do everything in his power to heal these boils but will be unable to do so. (Apocalypse 11:3-6) Finally, the time of their prophecy will end and they will suffer the fate of their Lord. Their is a pious legend that says Antichrist will crucify them. This makes sense since they will be proclaiming Christ and Him crucified. Then their bodies will be thrown in the middle of the city square where they will lie as an example of Antichrist's power. All the followers of Antichrist will rejoice when they see their dead bodies lying in the street.. No one will be allowed to bury them and there will be great rejoicing over their death. (Apocalypse 11:7-10)
3 1/2 days later God will resurrect the bodies of Elijah and Enoch before a great number of people. His voice will be heard in the heavens bidding them to come to Him and they shall rise into heaven upon a cloud. At that moment the followers of Antichrist will be struck with terror and a massive earthquake will rock Jerusalem. 7000 people will perish and a tenth of the city will be in ruins. (Apoc. 11:12-13)
The Death of Antichrist
In order to undo the damage that the resurrection and assumption of Elijah and Enoch have done to Antichrist's reputation within the minds of his followers he will proclaim the assumption of the two prophets a trick of his enemies and will boast that he himself can ascend into heaven by his own power. (Daniel 11:45) He will stand upon Olivet in imitation of Jesus and with the whole world watching he will ascend into the firmament just as Elijah and Enoch had done. Remember he has been given angelic powers. It will be at that point that Christ will slay him in the air by a simple puff of this breath. (2 The. 2:8) The earth will open and will receive the Antichrist and the False Prophet and they will be cast into hell. (Apoc.19:20)
The Time Line
As you must realize this brief article cannot describe every event that will take place before the death of Antichrist and before the end of the world. But I will give you my opinion as to the scenario of events that will take place between now and the end of the world. This is not prophecy but educated conjecture using all that the Sacred Scripture, Holy Tradition, the Fathers, the Doctors and the Saints have to say. I do not make any claims here and leave everything to the judgment of the Roman Catholic Church but in my humble opinion we will not see The Antichrist in our life time.
First will come the three days of darkness around the year 2000. This will be a "minor Judgment" where all men will be shown the extent to which they have offended God. 3/4 to 5/6 of the world's population will be destroyed during the chastisement and those who are left through a special revelation will become Catholic if they are not Catholic already. The first 3 years after the chastisement will be very difficult but then because the earth has been cleansed and purified and the people have been formed into God's holy people a great era of peace will be granted to the world. This will be the reign of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and will be the fulfillment of the prophecies of Isaiah 11. This Golden age of the Church will last nearly 1000 years. It is a time in which Satan will be chained and will no longer seduce the nations. After this time men will have forgotten the great and terrible things the Lord did to save His people. They will know about it but will have no feeling for it and the fallen nature of man will no longer be suppressed by love or fear. Men will grow violent again and evil will fill the earth. It will be during this time that Antichrist will appear and at the same time so will Elijah and Enoch.
The reign of Antichrist will last 1290 days, 31/2 years (Daniel 12:11).. The preaching of the two prophets will last 1260 days (Apoc. 11:3). Antichrist will reign 30 days after the death and resurrection of the prophets then he will be slain as he mocks God and His Christ. After his death God will give the peoples of the world 45 more days in which to repent. (Daniel 12:12) Then Jesus will come upon the clouds of heaven. He will destroy the heavens and the earth with fire. He will then raise the dead to life and he will judge all the peoples of all the nations according to their works.
The Spirit of Antichrist
Let it suffice to say that there have always been the followers and imitators of Antichrist. As St. John says anyone who denies that Jesus is Lord is Antichrist. We must , therefore, always be on guard for those around us, in government and even within the Church who have embraced the spirit of Antichrist and have chosen to fight against Christ. Recognize their spirit and reject their seductions. Remember there will be false christs and false prophets who will come with lying tongues to deceive, if possible, even the Elect.