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ΥΠΕΡΑΓΙΑ ΘΕΟΤΟΚΕ ΣΩΣΟΝ ΗΜΑΣ

ΟΛΕΣ ΟΙ ΟΜΙΛΙΕΣ ΤΟΥ Π. ΣΑΒΒΑ

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ΟΜΙΛΙΑ ΖΩΝΤΑΝΑ ΑΠΟ ΤΗΝ ΙΕΡΑ ΜΟΝΗ ΑΓΙΑΣ ΤΡΙΑΔΑΣ

ΟΜΙΛΙΑ ΣΤΗΝ ΚΑΤΕΡΙΝΗ

Δευτέρα, 29 Οκτωβρίου 2012

The vision of Daniel and Zachariah — I am the Alpha and the Omega...


Father Athanasios Mitilinaios
Apocalypse
Chapter 5
Revelation 1: 7-9
The vision of Daniel and Zachariah— I am the Alpha and the Omega —Sharing in the suffering and gospel of the cross.
 
Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, every one who pierced him; and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen. ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. I John, your brother, who share with you in Jesus the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.

As we were saying last time, these two verses serve as the conclusion of the initial introduction of the book but they also include the central theme of this book which is the Second Coming of Christ.
These verses also contain two Christological prophecies from the Old Testament, one belonging to Prophet Daniel and a second one to Prophet Zachariah. As far as the prophecy of Daniel goes, we see that he did not only prophesy the first coming of Christ but his Second Coming as well. More specifically we see that his prophetic eye reaches the end of history and he tells us in his seventh chapter, I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. (7:13) Here we do not have the first presence or First Coming, but the second because One like the son of man refers to the Incarnate Son of God, the God-man who is positioned next to the “Ancient of Days” or God the Father.

The Lord Himself verified this in front of Caiaphas after Caiaphas questioned Him under oath and the Lord said, I am assuring you, I tell you that after this you will see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of the power [meaning God the Father] and coming with the clouds of heaven. (Matt. 26:64) In simple terms, “You are now condemning me; you can go ahead and do that, but you will see that I will be coming back to judge you.” About Christ coming back as a judge - this identity of our Lord is spelled out in the book of the Revelation, Then I looked, and lo, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand. (14:14) This informs us that He is coming with a sickle in His hand. He is not coming as a Savior but as a judge. At His first presence He came as a Savior, so His first presence pertains to the salvation of the world, and the second to the judgment. Christ Himself said, I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. (John 12:47) He also said, When the Son of Man comes to judge theworld. (Matthew 25:31).

Consequently, we have these two attributes which pertain to two appearances of the Lord. This also brings to mind the words of St. John the Baptist, Behold the winnowing fork is in His hand and He will clean His threshold and He will gather the wheat in His storehouse, while the chaff He will burn up in unquenchable fire, fire that never goes out. (Matt.3:12) Also in the parable of the weeds, the Lord advises, allow the wheat to grow with the weeds and at the end of time the sorting out, the “cleansing” will take place. (Matt. 13:25-40) The wheat will be collected and placed in the storehouse while the weeds will be thrown in the furnace, meaning the pious people, the Christians will be gathered in the Kingdom of God and the godless and the impious in the eternal Hell, or eternal torment. Thus, the first verse refers to the prophecy of Daniel while the second refers to the prophecy of Zachariah. Zachariah writes, And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace. (12:10-14) All this refers to the first presence of Christ. I did not come to judge but to save is indicative of a spirit of grace and compassion. And they will turn to look at Me and they will be mocking Me. But they will repent when they see me as they see Me. . They will see Him, of course, on the Cross. They will begin to beat their heads and their chests; they will be uprooting their hair. And they will wail as someone wails for an only child and weep bitterly over him as one weeps over a first-born. The land shall mourn. Which land is this? It is the land of Judea, not the entire earth; it is each tribe, each individual, and each family by themselves.

The Messiah will come with much Grace. The people of Palestine will scorn Him. They will laugh at Him, but after the signs on the Cross, (the darkness, the Resurrection) they will be beating their heads. This is but a very small preview, a small foretaste of what will be taking place at the end of history. Let us all listen how. You do remember that the Centurion saw the earthquake, the darkening of the sun; he saw all these strange phenomena. When he heard the words of Christ, Father forgive them for they know not what they do, (Luke 23:34) he saw His calmness, His meekness. He was not cursing or bad-mouthing His enemies, but He was praying for them, in the midst of the most excruciating pain on the Cross. Then the Centurion said, This man is truly the Son of God. (23:47) St. Luke the Evangelist tells us that the crowds were returning beating their chests. (23:48) This was an action of repentance. What did we do? Who did we crucify? However, Israel did not believe this small preview. Those that sensed who He was in His first presence began to wail.

Now St. John the Evangelist says that when Christ comes again He will be coming with the clouds and every eye shall see Him, everyone, even those who pierced Him, or actually, speared Him. Then those who pierced Him will wail because of Him. They will be beating their chests—all the tribes of earth, meaning the entire humanity. In the first plane of the fulfillment of this prophecy, (the prophecy of Zachariah) we have the twelve tribes of Israel. In the second plane we have the entire earth, the entire world. What is significant is the fact that they will see the One that they pierced, but historically one man, a Roman soldier pierced Him. This was his duty to verify the death of the executed. It was sort of a practical death certificate that needed to be given. All of these things were because the Jews condemned Him; they wanted Him dead. They wanted Him executed. But what does this mean? Every eye shall see Him, everyone who pierced Him, all those from the entire earth, all those who denied Jesus Christ. The person who denies Christ spears Christ. This is not simply rhetoric and I will bring up some examples from Scripture, one from St. Paul and some others from Holy Tradition.

St. Paul writes to the Philippians, I grieve for those whose God is their belly. (Phil 3:18,19) These are baptized Christians who made pleasure their God. According to St. Paul, these Christians re-crucify the Son of God; it is the same thing as those who pierced Him. Now how do I take part in this awful piercing of the Body of Christ? There are two ways; first, if I have denied His God-human nature, and second, if after becoming a Christian I continue to live a life of sin. When St. Paul talks to the Philippians he is not referring to a matter of faith, but a matter of lifestyle. He talks to baptized Christians who live for their belly, who make their god their belly. Their life was such that it did not agree with the Cross-bearing spirit of the Gospel. The second example of what it means to pierce Christ we will take from the life of St Peter, Archbishop of Alexandria who was a contemporary of the heretic, Arius. Archbishop Peter had a vision in which he saw Christ as a child with a torn outer garment. His garment was ripped in half. St. Peter asked, “Lord, who ripped your cloak?” The Lord said, “Arius.” (St. Athanasios later defeated Arius, the heretic who denied the Lord’s God-human nature.) In ancient frescoes here in our monastery, we have such a fresco of the vision as seen by St. Peter, but it was unfortunately, not very well preserved.)

Do you see what it means to pierce or to spear Christ? Initially, under the Cross one person speared Christ at the recommendation of the Sanhedrin. Now all the people throughout history and from our time, of course, (and we hope that none of our listeners are included in this number of people) will say one day; “I pierced the body of Christ, I pierced Him. I speared Christ by denying Him.” This denial can be either in the area of faith, in dogma, or in the daily practice of the Christian lifestyle. The Lord says, and this is very significant, Then will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven. (Matthew 24:30) What is this sign? The Cross is the very sign that the heretics all through the ages and the scoffers, sneer and mock. Among these are the Chiliasts or Jehovah’s Witnesses, who mock the Cross of Christ. What will appear is the suffering, wounded Christ. Is Christ still suffering? Yes. Christ is forever suffering, forever wounded in Heaven with His bruises. These wounds are incurable. They are the very wounds that Thomas touched and felt. These wounds are the trophies of the Lord. These are the identifying insignia that will show everyone who Christ is, and there will be no question whatsoever that the One Who is coming is the One Whom they pierced.

The wounds are staying and they will continue to be present, not only until the end of history, but beyond history as well. When we proceed with the book of the Revelation St. John will present us with an awesome vision, a great scene which is a bit strange. He will see the Word of God as a Lamb because He was sacrificed. He will see the Son of God as a slain Lamb, standing. Again, this is rather strange. How is He standing if He is slain? This shows that Christ bears the wounds, and at the same time, He is alive. It is the same thing that Christ will tell St. John. We will probably look at these things in our next session. I became dead, (egenomin nekros)and behold, I am alive again. So as we see, the wounds stay; they are the war medals of the great victory of the Son of God. With these wounds, He saved the world. At the same time, these wounds will be the terrible, condemning evidence for all those pitiful people who did not believe in Him as the Son of God. Now they have to come face to face with the One they pierced, the One Who is the Son of God Incarnate.

Now every eye shall see Him, every eye shall see Christ when He comes. The pious will rejoice; the godless and unrepentant sinners will be cut to the heart. They will wail. At the same time, the opposite is true. The Christians, the pious, are distressed; they are crying, “Lord, how long? How long must we wait? When are you going to free us from this miserable, rotten world?” All these things will certainly be happening during the Second Coming of Christ, but we also had a bird’s eye view, a small glimpse of this during His First Coming. He told His disciples during, or a little before His Passion, “The world is full of joy and laughter, and you are crying and mourning. In a short while the world will be wailing and you will be laughing.” A short while, a couple of days from Great Thursday night until Pasca Sunday; Sunday the distress of the disciples was gone. As you can see, this mourning, this distress, this tribulation, this pain, these things are not forever. They are connected to a time-period, and time passes. So these are not permanently fixed. Christ is coming and the faithful will be rejoicing while the unbelievers will be weeping.

The Lord Himself tells us these things that St. John brings up in the book of the Revelation, Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven and all the nations, all the tribes of the world will see Him and they will lament. (Matthew 24:30) Koyontai ( kopsondai), literally means they will be cut to the heart. All the tribes of the earth, all the nations will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. By the way, do we notice how much the Gospels agree with the book of the Revelation? There is not a single point of the book of the Revelation which does not agree with the Gospels, not a single point. There is absolute agreement in the spirit, and sometimes, quite often, even in the letter between the book of the Revelation and the four Gospels. So, Christ is coming back, and here St. John the Evangelist makes a special declaration that Christ is coming back “cloud-borne;” He is riding on the clouds. The verse closes with the words, So it shall be, amen. This serves as the seal of this introduction. The Greek text here uses two words: Nai (nai) and Amhn (amen). This ending has a liturgical character. St. John uses the Greek word nai (nai), which stands for yes. This means for sure, Christ is definitely coming back. Then he uses the Semitic or Hebrew word “amen,” or Amhn (amen), which means the same thing. It also means yes. But it is a prayerful “yes”, expressing the wish that it be as soon as possible: yes, He is coming back, yes, and the sooner the better. Nai (nai), Amhn (amen).

St. Paul will use this same expression, For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we preached among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No; but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why we utter the Amen through him, to the glory of God. (II Corinthians 1:19,20) His promises are yes and amen. In other words, everything will come to pass, everything Christ said will materialize, nothing will change, not an iota. Do you see how the books agree? The spirit of the books are in total agreement. Sometimes we see an author contradict himself, often in the same book. However, here we have various authors, in different times, in total agreement. This means exactly what Christ said, that the heavens and the earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. Not even an iota will pass away unfulfilled from the words of Christ. Christ said that the heavens and the earth will vanish but my words will stay forever. Therefore, Christ said, I will return, I will come back, and He is absolutely faithful. St. Paul says PistoV o LogoV (Pistos o Logos) ; meaning the word of God is trustworthy and worthy of full acceptance. Christ will come back. The heart of a faithful man who feels all these things becomes full of hope, becomes solid in this hope, and lives with the hope of Christ, the hope that truly rejuvenates and refreshes: yes, amen. I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is and who was, and who Is to come, the Almighty. (Rev.1:8) Actually, the Greek word is so much stronger: The Pantokrator (Pantokrator), the One Who holds it all in His hand. Who is and Who was — remember when we said something about the strange grammar used by St. John in this book? In Greek, he uses an article in front of a verb. The English language is often limited, but then again so is the Greek and any language is too poor to describe the Pantokrator, the One who holds it all, holds everything together in His hands. There are no words in this world that can express the magnificence of the Almighty, the Pantokrator.

Yes, amen, I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, Who is and Who was, and Who is coming, the Pantokrator (or the Almighty). I am the Alpha and the Omega. This is another name of God. As we said earlier, God has very many names precisely because He has no name. It is impossible to define God with one name; giving God a single name will somehow restrict His infinity. When man gives an entity a name, it is to describe or define, so when we name something we give it certain boundaries or limits. However God is without boundaries, God has no limits, and that’s why when Moses questions God about His name on Mount Sinai, he receives the answer, I am Who I am. (Exodus 3:14) He [Moses] wanted a name to take back to Egypt and God told him I am the One Who is. God gave no name, but we can say this is one of the many names of God, the Alpha and the Omega. Thus because God has no name we say that He is anonymous and yet polyonymous, he has many names. The spiritually illiterate and rather blinded Jehovah’s Witnesses, or false witnesses, think that they discovered God’s name. In Greece and in different countries they present themselves as the students of the Scriptures. They are the authorities of the Scriptures, bar none, and they claim that God’s great name is Jehovah.

Well, Jehovah in Hebrew means “Lord’. However, Lord is one of the many names that the Scriptures use to talk about God. It is certainly not the exclusive name of God as they argue. There is a plethora of names for God, as we will see soon. What is this meaning of the Alpha and Omega? It is the commencement of everything created, the commencement of the entire creation. Consequently, when He says I am the Alpha and the Omega He is really saying that I am the Lord of space and time. More specifically God is outside of the Alpha and the Omega. The A and W exists in God. The beginning of the entire creation belongs to God and God alone will cause the possible termination of the entire visible creation. It is in God. Only God can create from zero. God is the only real or ontological beginning. St. John says “ en arch hn o LogoV ” (en arhi ein o Logos); In the beginning was the Word. (John 1:1) This is what it means. The Word is the Alpha; the Word—the second Person of the Holy Trinity—was present when the beginning of Creation took place from zero, ex nihilo. Now God does not want to destroy or annihilate His creation, but He can bring His creation back to Omega. He can end it if He wants to. He could bring it back to zero because He is the only Entity, the only Being that can relate to the idea of zero. Not a single created being could relate to zero: not the logical man, nor the angel. No one can bring to existence something from zero, nor can someone reverse something that exists back to zero. It is impossible, not only impossible, but even impossible to understand or grasp. God is the Alpha and the Omega. Everything exists and is contained in Him. He is Lord of space and time.

By the way, God is not limited to Alpha and Omega, but the Alpha and Omega exists in God, which is the beginning and end of all creation. God has no beginning – anarcoV (anarhos) – and simultaneously ateleuthtoV (ateleftitos) or interminable; He is never ending. Creation has a beginning and an end. Thus, the Alpha and Omega are in God and God is the Lord of time and space. Accordingly, in this last verse of the introduction of the book we have an accumulation of Divine names. The first one is the “Alpha and the Omega,” the second name is “Lord,” the third, “God,” and the fourth name “The One Who is and Who was and Who is coming,” the fifth name the Pantokrator – the one Who holds everything. With this accumulation of Divine names, we see that the source of all the divine Revelation is God and consequently anything and everything that is written in the book of the Revelation is trustworthy and true. God reveals this as man (in his human nature). What is astonishing is when we see that these Revelations, these prophesies come to pass in the progression of the centuries, then we can truly say with conviction that, yes indeed, God is the source of this book, and the book of the Revelation is of Divine origin. Here, my friends, the introduction of this book ends. We must say that the introduction is equally worthy of this book’s depth and also the book’s writer, the depth of the writer, the flying eagle of our ecclesiastical theology.

Now the main theme of this book begins, which is the appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ in front of the shocked, fearful and shaken St. John to show him the future journey of the Church, the future struggles of the Church: its adventures, its wars, and its final victory. The book of the Revelation will mainly deal with these events. At this point, with God’s help, we will enter the main topic. I John, your brother, who share with you in Jesus the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. (Rev.1:1) The Evangelist is attempting to declare and reassure the historical evidence of this book. It is of great importance to have the historical background of any book. So in order to do this, he follows the example of the prophets of the Old Testament like Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and the other prophets, much like them, he records the place where this prophecy was revealed, and this place is the island of Patmos. [Translator’s note: about the island of Patmos. In the book of Archbishop Averky Taushev, The Apocalypse, which was translated by Fr. Seraphim Rose, that by the way is an excellent book, the island of Patmos is classified as one of the islands of the Sporades cluster of islands (pg. 66). This is incorrect. The island of Patmos is one of the “Dodecanese” cluster of islands. Some of the main islands in this cluster are Rhodes, Kos, Kalymnos, Leros, Astipalaia, Carpathos, Simi, Patmos, Niseros, Tilos, Kastelorizo and Halki.]

John also reveals the time and day of his Revelation which was on the Lord’s Day; Lord in Greek is KurioV (Kyrios) and Kuriakh( Kyriaki) is the Lord’s Day, or Sunday. St. John, along with the place of his vision, reveals the reason he found himself there and the time, and all this is to certify that this book is a historical reality. These are the elements necessary to give this book a historical dimension. In other words, this is not a myth or science fiction. We can go to Patmos and into this very cave, which is open to Christians and visitors from all over the world. We say all this to eliminate any doubt, and to defend our faith when those outside of this reality will argue as to the validity of all these historical events. If they question, simply ask them to go to Patmos. Send them to Patmos and they will see everything there before their very eyes.

According to our ancient Christian tradition St. John the Evangelist was exiled to Patmos during the persecution by the Roman emperor, Domitian (51-96 A.D.). I found myself on the island of Patmos,” the Evangelist says, for preaching the word of God and witnessing for Jesus Christ. He does not use the word exile, but we can derive that from the word Qliyh (thlipsi) or suffering, or affliction. He says your brother and companion in the suffering because if Patmos was on his missionary agenda, and he went there voluntarily to evangelize to the inhabitants of Patmos, then he would not use the word suffering. In the word suffering he hides the reality of his exile. On this St. Irenaeus (c. 130-200) — who lived only one century after that — says, “The book of the Revelation has not been around for very long; it came about during our generation and towards the end of the reign of Domitian.” St. Clement of Alexandria records this, “After the death of the tyrant (meaning Domitian) John left Patmos and came to Ephesus.” St. Andrew of Caesarea further adds, “St. John was sentenced to live on the island of Patmos. He was sentenced to exile on Patmos.” But Eusebius of Caesarea, in his chronicle, places this exile during the fourteenth year of the reign of Domitian which corresponds to 94 or 95 AD and that is when the book of the Revelation was written.

It was written on Patmos and not in Ephesus. This is important to note because the Lord tells him to write and send a letter to the Bishop of Ephesus; and a letter presupposes some distance. Hence, St. John writes his Revelation right then and there, on Patmos where he saw the vision. Again, all of the above shows that the book of the Revelation was written by John while exiled on the island of Patmos. What is interesting is the beginning of the sentence, “I John ( egw IwannhV – ego Ioannis),” he does this to accentuate the name, and this is of paramount importance, especially in a prophetic book. The identity of the writer and the origin of this book need to be made known. Now this is something that he does not normally do in his Gospels, where he tries to hide very gracefully behind the disciple whom the Lord loved, and the one that fell on his chest to ask Him, ‘Lord, who is the one that will betray you?’ However, here the content is very serious: this book is prophetic and the Evangelist must record his name for the sake of authenticity.

I John, your brother . This beginning reminds us of the book of Daniel, who uses the same technique in order to declare and certify that he is the writer of his book and he is the trustworthy witness of his book. He writes in his eighth chapter, In the third year of the reign of King Balthazar a vision appeared to me, Daniel, (8: 1) This verse of John starts out with very tender words, words of endearment, I John, your brother, and companion in the suffering and Kingdom, this is so beautiful. I John, he does not use his Apostolic title – I John an Apostle of Jesus Christ (or the servant of Jesus Christ)– as Apostles do in other books, he prefers to use only John and this is possibly because Christians everywhere were being persecuted. All Christians were in tribulation, they shared this common suffering, and common suffering brings out the brotherhood of all people. Disasters, tornadoes, floods, tend to bring out the spirit of brotherhood in many small towns even today. Consequently, the recipients of this book are under fierce persecution and John is a communicant, a participant; he shares in this persecution. I John your brother and co-participant ( koinonoV  (koinonos) or companion) in the tribulation and Kingdom and patient endurance, and here, my friends, John unfolds in front of us, three enormous points, three great subjects: tribulation, kingdom and patient endurance – qliyhV (thlipsis), Basileia (Vasilia) and upomonh (Ypomoni). These are three great chapters in the Christian life and St. John unfolds these before us.

Let us look at the first one, which is qlhyhV (thlipsis), which literally means to compress, to squeeze, to pressure. The soul becomes greatly distressed. However, if the joy in the Lord is the fruit of the Christian identity then this distress or this qlhyhV (thlipsis) is the skin of the fruit; distress on the outside, but joy on the inside; outside, the shell, but inside the almond. The almond, or any fruit, cannot survive without the protection of the shell. Listen to this oxymoron; distress protects inner joy. Did you ever imagine this? This is only possible in the Christian realm. If we do not live and experience these things, we need to doubt our Christian identity. In other words, it is not possible to develop and maintain the joy and spirituality, which gives birth to the joy, in the absence of this distress. To be distressed in the Lord is not something that comes from the inside since it is the exterior covering of the fruit of joy, but it is something that comes from the outside. It is the state which the faithful find themselves in from the external reactions of the world and the devil.

As you know, the Lord warns us about this, but how many of us remember this? He says, they will deliver you up to tribulation, (Matthew 24:9) So, this is from external factors. This distress is persecution, jail, suffering and death, martyrdom. All this is from the outside and not from the inside. The Lord has named this state “the narrow gate’; and even more clearly, In the world you have tribulation, (John 16:33) In this world you will have distress; however this distress brings forth ineffable, indescribable and overflowing joy so much so that St. Paul writes, I am filled with comfort. With all our affliction, I am overjoyed. (II Corinthians 7:4) Dear St. Paul, overflowing with joy in the face of great distress? Well, that is why joy is the fruit to be found inside the shell of distress. If you eliminate and do away with this distress you will lose this inner joy. If you remove the shell you will lose the fruit. Please pay attention: qlhyhV (thlipsis) or distress, is a characteristic of those who will inherit the Kingdom of God. St. Paul once again says in the Acts of the Apostles, after his stoning at Lystra, We must go through much distress before we can enter the Kingdom of Heaven. This “must” is the connecting link that connects the inner with the outer and these two cannot be separated. The two go together. Actually, he says not just distress but many distresses, plural. We need many qliyeiV (thlipses), many distresses to enter the Kingdom of God.

However here, I must warn you about something. Our times, my friends, are attempting to create (and here we must all listen very closely because we are all infected); our times are attempting to create a Christianity with no distress—a Christianity full of compromises and comforts. We refuse to hear about any discomfort or distress. This is one of the two great dangers that threaten our Church today. The first danger is secularization, and the second danger is ecumenism, or religious syncretism. These two great dangers threaten the Church as we are speaking. I will repeat. Secularization compromises the Gospel to fit the formulas of this world. It allows the “phronema” or the mindset of the world to enter the Gospel. It offers a politically correct Gospel, so we do not offend those who are in love with their passions and it presents a Gospel that embraces the homosexual, the lesbian, the adulterer and all the liars without any need for repentance. As John Shelby Spong, [the Episcopal bishop of Newark NJ for 24 years and who retired in 2000] puts it, “Christianity must undergo radical changes if it is to be relevant in the next century.” He proposes a new theological reformation that alters the way we think about God, no more, no less, a new Christianity that fits our rationalism; to recreate God according to our passions (a tremendous danger); a Christianity without Christ, a Christianity without the God-man, a Christianity that will pave the way to worship the Antichrist.

The second danger is ecumenism, or religious syncretism which is peace at the expense of truth. The disease of ecumenism has infected a number of bishops. In 1989, the Patriarch of Alexandria affirmed that the Prophet Mohammed is an apostle and a man of god and those that are against Islam, and Buddhism, are not in agreement with God. A few bishops of Greece and a number of lay theologians protested heavily and spoke out, but only a few, only the remnant. Unfortunately, a retraction was not demanded by any one of the other Patriarchs, as far as we know, and this blasphemy was simply forgotten. All this is because today’s Christian is looking for a Christianity that does not cost anything, a spirituality in opposition to the cross, a spirituality that shuns sacrifice. This ceases to be spirituality because it lacks the presence of the Holy Spirit; and it simply becomes a cheap substitute, a bankrupt form of spirituality. Such a spirituality does not have the Holy Spirit of God and it ends up as a humanistic spirituality, the one used by the psychologists. They use this term loosely, psychologists use it, fine artists, soloists, poets, opera singers; and this spirituality has nothing to do with the Holy Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit has fled from this sort of spirituality.

The book of the Revelation, my friends, warns us, the beast was allowed to do battle with the saints and defeat them; he was allowed to open war with the faithful and overcome them. Did we hear this? God allowed the beast to defeat the faithful, the Christians. No one will be able to buy and sell without having “the mark.” This is financial boycott. You will not be able to do business—to buy, sell or trade, unless you are a member of the Masons, the Lions, or Rotary Club. By the way, every anti-Christian philosophy or activity includes this mark. Let’s not think the mark is only limited to the last three and one half years of history. The mark de-Christianizes people. It always has. As a result, if you play ball with these anti-Christian allies of the beast, you will be helped. If not, you will not be able to buy or sell, unless you have the mark of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is the faith and the patience of the saints, who are the ones who will stand, who will have the spiritual guts to say, “No way, keep your money. Keep your property. We will not be marked.” This will translate into fierce battle and persecution to force the faithful into extinction. The Antichrist will seek to destroy the true believers of Christ. All these things constitute the area of qliyhV (thlipsis) or distress, which is the skin of the fruit of joy and the prerequisite of the Kingdom of God. The Holy Script here does not talk about comfort or compromises but underlines, “here is the faith and the patience of the saints.” My friends, we have no idea what tomorrow will bring. Let’s begin to prepare.

http://www.saintnicodemos.org/
http://www.impantokratoros.gr/D9CC784E.en.aspx

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