Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Christ and Antichrist
In this season in which the birth of Christ is celebrated, we might recall another archetypal player in the divine mystery, namely the Antichrist.
The Mayan Calendar ending in 2012 has differentiated two distinct camps of expectation: those who anticipate the beginning of a new Golden Age of bliss, and those who anticipate extreme planetary distress and destruction.
Against these another camp is finding its voice and articulating the idea that 2012 will initiate the Age of Satan. In this period, according to their model, Antichrist will be Satan’s henchman, commissioned to assume total earthly power and subjugate virtually all humanity. This viewpoint also embraces planetary upheaval as a necessary element of Antichrist’s reign.
It must be admitted that many religious traditions describe a satanic, destructive entity capable of ensnaring the unwary and initiating global catastrophe. The Christian Scriptures in particular are quite detailed in this regard and speak both of Antichrist, and of unprecedented natural calamities befalling an unbelieving mankind.
The same Scriptures also make it clear that all this unpleasantness is temporary. Christ Himself is supposed to return -- both to restore order and to justify those who have been faithful to truth in spite of tribulation.
This third “Antichristian” camp may have something valuable to contribute to the 2012 contemplation. J.R.R. Tolkien’s Ring Trilogy derives its plot energy from a culminating battle between light and darkness at the conclusion of a mythical “Third Age” of the earth. Now, according to the Mayan Calendar, we are at the endpoint of the Fourth Age. The Bible speaks unequivocally of a final battle to occur between Christ and Antichrist at Armageddon - in which evil is to be defeated once and for all.
There are those professing exact knowledge of the future satanic world ruler who have no qualms about identifying him. This is more information than the Bible offers, where only the inscrutable and mysterious “666” points to Antichrist. Many names have been associated with 666 throughout history, and though those thus associated may have been antichristian, they were evidently not Antichrist.
The tale of Antichrist’s antecedents, according to such supposed insiders, is a conspiracy of astonishing detail. It spans centuries of dark plotting and generations of careful planning. One begins to feel clammy just reading the complex intrigues.
If these suppositions are true, one might ask why generations and centuries of conspiratorial effort should be directed at putting ultimate evil into power for just a limited time. For the Bible offers many assurances that Antichrist will have a “short” reign of only seven years, and thereafter be defeated.
The most meaningful explanation is that world domination is only a means to an end. The ultimate goal is the subjugation of human souls, which would remain thereafter in Satan’s power and control. Frankly, this is a threat that should be taken seriously.
One might claim: “I believe in Jesus Christ (or Allah, or Buddha or whatever), therefore I will be impervious to Antichrist’s influence if and when he appears.” Unfortunately, conceptual belief is no defense against evil – either in the committing or receiving of it. Human history has demonstrated this fact beyond all doubt. Whatsoever the mind conjectures it can quickly un-conjecture, especially when experiencing pain or any stimulus above its comfort level.
In addition, there are varying concepts about what is morally “right” or eternally “true.” This in itself undermines the argument that belief provides either a refuge from demonic deception or a valid claim for preferential treatment from God.
Conceptual belief is a mental activity – it consists of thought forms residing in the mind. And “mind” is characterized mystically as being of the AIR element.
There is a popular notion that Satan resides underground, but the Bible plainly indicates that air is his actual realm: “In time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience” (Eph 2:2).
For further substantiation of this, consider that the conclusive battle between Christ and Antichrist is to occur in AIR - the field of mentality: “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done” (Rev. 16:16-17).
This airy realm is called a “heaven” and Satan’s power therein will be diminished or obliterated after Christ’s victory: “And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken” (Mark 13:25). After this Satan will be cast out: “And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven” (Luke 10:18).
However, before the satanic defeat there is prophesied to be a worldwide falling away from truth. "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition" (2 Th 2:3). The victims of the "Son of Perdition" will be anyone whose identity or sense of self comes from the air of their own mind – in other words practically everyone.
Protection cannot come from any conceptual thought or belief, for this occurs in the mental realm. The only possible escape will be through wholesale reformation of the consciousness in which one dies to the personal “self” that is vulnerable to fearful threats and coercion. St. Paul says to “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Php 2:5). This mind that “was also in Christ Jesus” cannot simply be a modification of one’s former mentality or addition to the existing belief structure, but something radically different.
St. Gregory Palamas calls it a transformation into being authentically human - by becoming consciously divine. It is an awareness that is knowingly unified with God, a partaker of the supernatural life here and now on this earth. To a person with this awareness, Antichrist is irrelevant.
Posted by DEE at 12:00 PM