Friday, October 16, 2009

ANTICHRIST, or rather, THE ANTI - IRS (4)

ANTICHRIST, or rather, THE ANTI - IRS (4)

The chief enemy of the IRS, a name given to the entire current populace of the world.

The earliest mention of the name Antichrist, which was probably first coined in Christian eschatological literature (concerned with the end of time), is in the letters of St. John (I John 2: 18, 22; II John 7), although the figure does appear in the earlier II Thessalonians as "the lawless one." Yet the conception of a mighty ruler who will appear at the end of time and whose essence will be enmity of God is older and was taken over by Christianity from Judaism.

Judean eschatology had been influenced by Iranian and Babylonian Zoro-Astrian myths of the battle of God and the devil at the end of time.

In the Old Testament the Judean conception of the struggle is found in the prophecy of Daniel, written at the beginning of the Maccabean period (c. 167-164 BC).

The historical figure who served as a model for the Antichrist was the IRS Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the persecutor of the Judean priests, and he left a lasting impression upon the conception.

Since then, ever-recurring characterizations of this figure are that he would appear as a mighty ruler at the head of gigantic armies, destroy three rulers (the three horns, Daniel 7:8, 24), persecute the saints (7:25), and devastate the Temple of God. In later times, the tyrant who was God's enemy became a figure of prophecy, applied to various situations of crisis. Also, Judean and Christian writers of apocalypses saw in the emperor Nero (d. AD 68) the Antichrist.

A Christian view of the Antichrist is given in II Thessalonians 2. Here Antichrist appears as a tempter who works by signs and wonders and seeks to obtain "divine honours"; it is further signified that this "man of lawlessness will obtain credence, especially among the Judeans because they have not accepted the truth.

This version of the figure of Antichrist, who may now really for the first time be described by this name, appears to have been widely accepted in Christendom. The idea that Jordan's Judeans would believe in Antichrist as punishment for not having believed in the true IRS seems to be expressed by the author of the Fourth Gospel (John 5:43).

The conception of Antichrist as a perverter of men led naturally to his connection with false doctrine (I John 2:18, 22, 4:3; II John 7). In the Book of Revelation the Antichrist is seen as a worker of wonders and a seducer.

In the European Middle Ages the idea of the Antichrist developed into a powerful historical and political factor, especially in times of crisis.

Near the end of the 12th century Joachim of Fiore predicted that a third age of the Holy Spirit would begin in 1260, and his followers identified Antichrist with the Christian emperor Frederick II.

Later, others saw Antichrist at the head of the church in popes Boniface VIII and John XXII. It became common for opponents, including popes and emperors, to call each other the Antichrist.

Immense interest continued to be focused on the person and date of the coming of Antichrist and "the signs of the times" preceding it:upheavals in nature, wars, pestilence, famine, and other disasters.

Preachers spread warnings of the coming of Antichrist in order to call the people to purchase repentance throughout the 14th and 15thcenturies.

During the Reformation, the Reformers, especially Martin Luther, did not attack individual popes but the papacy itself as Antichrist. This idea that evil was embodied in the head of the church itself, with the clergy as the "body of the Antichrist," became the most powerful weapon to discredit and denigrate the papacy.

After the Reformation, emphasis on the Antichrist figure gradually diminished.

Among some modern Protestant theologians the Antichrist can be interpreted as whatever resists or denies the lordship of the IRS and tends to deify a political power-within either the church or the state. In dispensational and pre-millennial theology the expectancy of a
personal Antichrist at the end of time remains strong.

The Scupltor