ΑΝ ΠΕΘΑΝΕΙΣ ΠΡΙΝ ΠΕΘΑΝΕΙΣ, ΔΕ ΘΑ ΠΕΘΑΝΕΙΣ ΟΤΑΝ ΠΕΘΑΝΕΙΣ

(ΠΑΡΟΙΜΙΑ ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΩΝ ΜΟΝΑΧΩΝ)

Πέμπτη, 27 Σεπτεμβρίου 2012

Should we expect the End of the World in December of 2012?



As December of 2012 approaches, most assuredly the unrest among people has been increasing, who, after being influenced by texts, reports and movies, are considering it quite possible that a worldwide catastrophe will actually be taking place then.

However, it is not only the prophecies of the Mayans or other ancient civilizations that speak of the end of the world. We Christians also have a prophecy which gives reliable and important information on this subject. Its reliability has been documented by the thousands of saints of all the centuries - those who became united with God, who saw with their own eyes the mysteries of the heavens and whose souls acquired the gifts of the Holy Spirit, not only after death, but also before their death.

Saints such as those have continued to exist even during the closing of the 20th century; for example the great Elders like Paisios of the Holy Mountain, Porphyry of Kafsokalyvia, Jacob Tsalikis, Cleopas Ilie of Rumania, Sophrony of Essex, and many others. All of them had views about life and death, about eternity, God and the Truth, about perfection, and about the end of the world – and their view is not less reliable and less considerable than the views of the Mayans or anyone else. In fact, we would say that they are far more reliable and considerable, because they are personages of our time, whereas we do not see the Mayans and the other ancient civilizations having any corresponding, God-bearing saints in our day, and, if they do, they are more reminiscent of sorcerers than saints.

The spiritual experiences of prophets and teachers of the various religions are familiar and have been scrutinized by the holy teachers of Christianity, who have carefully evaluated them and surpassed them through their personal, sublime experience of deification (theosis) – that is, through their in-Christ union with the Trinitarian God. They have also evaluated them through the spiritual science of discernment of spirits, by which they determine if spirits are benevolent or malevolent – a science that is missing from all other traditions, with the exception of Orthodoxy.

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In the same manner, the Orthodox saints have lovingly but also very carefully evaluated the views as well as the spiritual experiences of Christians who are members of the various heresies that appeared during the course of Time and differentiated themselves from the roots of ancient Christianity, which Orthodoxy alone continues to adhere to. Such heresies are Catholicism (Papism), Protestantism, Pentecostalism, as well as the assorted “reborn” Christians, the “pre-Chalcedonian” Churches (“Oriental Orthodox Churches”) e.a..

The prophecy that we have on the matter of End Times is contained in the Holy Bible. We are familiar with the references in the Book of Revelations by John the Evangelist, but we also find analogous references being made by Jesus Christ Himself in the Gospel (for example in Matthew, chapters 24 and 25), by the Apostle Paul (for example in his Epistle 1 to Thessalonians, chapters 4 and 5), and by the Apostle Peter (in his Epistle 2, chapter 3), etc..

From the information that the aforementioned have provided, we can surmise the following:

1) It is impossible for mankind to calculate exactly when the end of the world will take place. When asked by His disciples, Jesus Chris had replied that the end would come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night, and that only God the Father knows the day and the hour that it will take place (see Matthew 24:36 and 42-44). The same is also repeated by Paul (see 1 Thess. 5:2-4). Therefore we should not be expecting “the end” on a specific day or year, but be prepared for it, during our entire lifetime.

2) The end of the world will not literally be the end - not by far. It will be “the Day of the Lord, the great and awesome” (Acts of the Apostles, 2:20), with events that Christians since the beginnings of Christianity have yearned for, from the depths of their heart! Christ will return, bathed in light and accompanied by His holy Angels (Matthew 25:31). There will also be the resurrection of all the dead! (Gospel of John, 5:25, Epistle 1 to Thessalonians 4:16, Book of Revelations 20:11-13 etc.). Evil will be fully defeated, Death will cease to exist, and the never-ending day of Paradise will dawn (Book of Revelations chapters 21-22). Therefore we should not be waiting in fear for the end, but with joy, like the first Christians (the Book of Revelations itself closes with the prayer “Yes, come, o Lord Jesus!)
Prior to the end, calamities will be taking place (Matthew chapter 24, Acts chapter 2:19-21); the face of the world will be altered (2 Peter 3:7-13), but “those who shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts, as prev.); new heavens and new earth shall come, where justice will prevail (2 Peter, as prev.) and in this kingdom of Light, where its “sun and moon shall be God Himself”, there will be no pain and tears, nor will any evil enter it (Revel. Chapters 21-22).

3) Before the end, there will be “signs” that will give bearings to Christians, but not as to when exactly it will take place – only that it is approaching. We could say that the foremost of those signs is the Antichrist, the Beast, the “man of sin” (Revelation ch.13, 2 Thessal. Ch.2), who will convince almost all of mankind to worship him and will relentlessly persecute those who will refuse to (because they will be worshipping the true God), who will then become martyrs and saints (Revel. 20:4). The Antichrist does not appear to have arrived yet – the seven years of his reign which have been prophesied, and the great war that will overthrow his power, have not yet taken place. So how can people claim that “the end is here”? 

Gurus, the Young Man and Elder Paisios, The
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Perhaps the end is close. Perhaps the “melting pot” of all religions that is being shaped by the so-called “New Age movement of spirituality”, with the inclusion of fads like Yoga, astrology, para-psychological powers; with so many other beliefs from the numerous idolatrous religions of peoples from all over the world (from Buddhism, Zen, Hinduism, through to the Indians, the ancient Egyptians or the ancient Greeks, the Druids, the Wiccans etc.) – all these could well be a scheme by sinister circles intended to cultivate the ground necessary for the worship of the Antichrist eventually. Perhaps even all the hype about “the end” that “will take place in 2012” is also a trick intended to deceive many, especially those who do not believe in Christ but in their confusion seek the truth in idolatrous “prophets”, strange methods of “spiritual experience” or “perfection” and exotic religions. The time of the Antichrist may well be near, (or maybe not, because he may come at another time, more suited to the Apocalypse); the fact remains however that we have not seen him yet. So, do not concern yourself: we are not expecting the end of the world this year or the next…
4) Christ, however - and His holy Disciples - have also prophesied about the appearance of deceivers, false prophets and pseudo-Christs, who will fool people by often presenting themselves with supernatural powers, by talking to them about The End and about “truth and salvation”, but they will be telling lies and will be steering those poor souls into other directions, diverting them away from Christ, and causing them to lose the truth and salvation (see Matthew 24:23-26).

Could perhaps all those who talk about “The End”, who also provide you with a specific date and who plant panic and despair in your heart (but who make no mention whatsoever about the Coming of Christ, the resurrection of the dead and about Paradise – all of which are going to accompany the “End”) are in fact such pseudo-Christs and false prophets, who are setting a trap for you? If you want our advice, do not believe them. We have already given you enough quotes from the Holy Bible, where you can do your own research and reach conclusions on your own.

We, in the Orthodox Church – the ancient faith of Christians, the faith of the saints – do not expect the world to end in 2012! Instead, we anticipate at every moment of our lives the Coming of Christ - Whom we shall encounter anyway at the time of our death, which could be today or tomorrow. The “End” will come when HE wants it and we look forward to it with joy, because we shall be resurrected along with all of the deceased, from all nations and from all Time. 


 
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But before “The End” comes, the day of our personal encounter with Christ will come. Will we be ready to face Him? Are we ready if it is today - if we are to depart today? Are you prepared for today, if you are to “leave” today, dear brother? Have you prepared your loved ones, your children, your friends? We do not know when that day or moment will be. It is very easy to become ill. It is very easy to fall victim to a fatal accident. What will death be for me: joy, or eternal condemnation?

We stress this, because the Light of God will not be felt the same by everyone. Those who will look upon it through the distortion of their ego, their malice or even their faithlessness, will feel it like a consuming fire – which is the outermost darkness and the “everlasting fire” that Christ spoke of (see Matth.25:41) and the Apocalypse (see Rev.14:10-11), as well as the holy teachers of Christianity in general.

If you are afraid of the “End”, then come to Orthodoxy. Here, we do not expect any “ending”; we expect Christ. Here also there is no sadist God threatening poor souls with the punishment of “Hell”; instead, there is a path that many have walked and have become united with God.
 


Youth of the Apocalypse: And the Last True Rebellion
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There is also God’s help, so that we might see Him as Light and not as “consuming fire” – the help which He offers to anyone who wants to make the effort to cleanse his heart and be ready to meet Him.

We do not speak with ornate words (the way we hear others), nor do we resort to tricks. We speak the language of truth and – from there on – each one should decide for him/her self.

We are not “already saved”; we are invited to struggle every single moment with our falls, our mistakes, our weaknesses and our passions. Christ is our guide, and the saints are our role models. They are the ones who teach us lovingly about the way we can become one with Him and with all people – even with all beings; in the way by which they have become one, both in this life and in eternity.

Hope, truth exist here; this is the “lobby” leading to eternity, not to a certain “end of the world” today or tomorrow.

Do your own research if you like. Research the Holy Bible, learn about the saints, learn about the meaning and the essence of Orthodoxy. And do whatever you decide, our brother. You are free. Or, to put it more correctly, “With the Grace of God, become free”. 

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