Thursday, December 14, 2006

The man of lawlessness

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Here are the notes from last Sunday which touched on the basics of Catholic teaching about the Antichrist. Next Sunday, we conclude our Advent study with the traditional "four last things:" death, judgment, heaven, and hell.

The "Antichrist" is the chief of Christ’s human enemies. Though this word is used only in 1 Jn 2:18, 22; 4:3; and 2 Jn 7, “false christs” (Mt 24:5, 24; Mk 13:22), as well as the concept of the “man of sin” or “son of perdition” in the KJV (2 Thess 2:3-10), and the “beast” (Rev 11:7; 13:1-8) is found elswhere in the New Testament. The prefix anti means "against" or "in place of." The Antichrist opposes Jesus and his Church, and sets himself in the place of God.

* There have been many antichrists through history and as well as movements that embody the “spirit
of antichrist” (see 1 Jn 2:18-27; 4:3; 2 Jn 1:7).
* The Antichrist derives his power from the Devil (see Rev 13:3).
* Before he comes, there will be a great rebellion or apostasy (see 2 Thess 2:3).
* His arrival is being restrained until the time for him to appear (see 2 Thess 2:4-8).
* He will call himself God, receive worship, and “cause sacrifice to cease.” (Mt 24:15; Rev 13:4; Dn 9:27).
* He will be haughty and blasphemous in his persecution of the Church (see Rev 13:5-7).
* He will offer demonic wonders and a false prophet will encourage his worship (Rev 13:11-17.)
* He will be publicly opposed by “two witnesses” who are then executed and resurrected (Rev 11:3-13).
* He will have great world power, but then be cast into the lake of fire (Rev 19:19-21).

By coincedence, one of todays readings from the Divine Office lays out much of the description:

2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of his mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of his coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.

For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.

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