Our Enemy As Foretold In The Prophecy Of St. Paul

BY APOSTOLOS MAKRAKIS

Delivered in Concord Square the City of Athens, Greece – July 10, 1866

When someone sues a man and takes him to court, the law and the jury require of the plaintiff that he prove his charges with witnesses and irrefutable testimony in order that the just claims against the defendant may be properly carried out. The number of witnesses is set at three, for every word is confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses [“That every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses” – Matthew 18:16]. Our enemies and opponents are the disciples of the anti-Christ Mohammed who laid waste our cities and lands, who desecrated our holy churches, who disgraced our fatherland and pater­nal heritage, and who are even now holding in subjugation our brethren [The Greeks remaining under Turkish rule in Macedonia, Epirus, Thrace, Asia Minor, Crete and Cyprus] with the consent of the ten horns of the beast but whose end is at hand. We must judge and condemn this enemy before the whole world by means of witnesses and irrefutable testimonies in order that he may receive deserving punishment for his wickedness and that truth and justice may be satisfied. In our two previous speeches we pointed out the nature of his crime by means of two witnesses who are reliable references of the first order. These included Daniel, that extraordinary man of the spirit, and the “son of thunder,” St. John the Divine. Today we come to confirm the testimonies of these two men with a third witness, who while still living on earth was lifted to the third heaven [“I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven . . . and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.” – II Corinthians 12:2] and who won distinction and immortality in the firmament of the Church of Christ.

In his second epistle to the Thessalonians, the Apostle Paul writes as follows:

“Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our assembling to meet him, we beg you, brethren, not be quickly shaken in mind or excited, either by spirit or by word, or by letter purport­ing to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come, unless the apostasia (rebellion) comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you this? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity is already at work; only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, and the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by his appearing and his coming The coming of the iniquitous one by the activity of Satan will be with all power and with pretended signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are to perish, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends upon them a strong delusion, to make them believe what is false, so that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” – II Thessalonians 2:1-12.

The Apostle writes these things to the Thessalonians in order that they may not await the coming of Christ before the rebellion or apostasy occurs and the man of sin, the “son of perdition,” is revealed. If the apostasia (rebellion) does not come first, He says, and the man of sin is not revealed – the ‘son of perdition’ – Christ shall not come, and beware O Thessalonians, lest anyone deceive you in any way saying that the day of Christ has arrived. When a provincial lord, or a commander, or a governor is insubordinate to the king of the capital city, and proclaims himself as absolute and autocephalous, his act is one of apostasia (rebellion) and he is called an apostates (rebel). Such an act did the Bishop of Rome perpetrate by denying submission to the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ, and by declaring himself the absolute sovereign and head of the Church.

This, then, is the apostasy or rebellion which according to St. Paul had to come to pass before the second coming of the Lord. The rebellion has in fact taken place and indeed we have it right before us. The man of sin and “son of perdition” is the anti-Christ Mohammed, as shall be very clearly explained. St. Paul calls him the man of sin with the purpose of revealing the cause of the rise and the spread of this evil one, and to indicate that God permitted his birth and rise in wickedness on account of the sins of men. He also calls Mohammed the “son of perdition” in order to show what his end will be and that of all his followers.

By speaking of this man St. Paul teaches us these three things : 1) the time of his appearance, 2) his nature, deeds, and progressive obli­teration, and 3) the manner in which he can be obliterated. Now he teaches these things not prophetically; i.e. with imagery and allegory, but rather, simply by means of natural and instructive language which does not conceal realities beneath the veil of metaphor and allegory. Whatever St. Paul states in a simple manner concerning our adver­sary is in complete agreement with that which was said allegorically by Daniel and St. John, and we shall see the comparison.

Let us first consider the time element. When is the man of sin, “the son of perdition,” revealed according to St. Paul? After the fall of Roman rule, for he says: “And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity is already at work; only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the iniquitous one will be revealed . . .” Who held sway and reigned supreme over the whole civilized earth at the time St. Paul wrote these things to the Thessa­lonians? The Romans, obviously. He says then that since he who is doing the restraining is now out of the way, once the rule of pagan Rome falls, the iniquitous one will be revealed.

History confirmed the prophecy of the Apostle. At the time Mohammed appeared, the dominion of Rome had fallen and was out of the way according to the Apostle’s expression. The blasphemous horn which Daniel envisioned also grows on the fourth beast during the same period of time. It is then also that there emerged from the sea the terrible and destructive beast which St. John had foreseen. Thus all three prophecies refer to one and the same thing; each one. however, depicts it from a different perspective. The prophecy of Daniel points in particular to the blasphemous worship of the minaret which, being built high like a horn, has in its middle a round struc­ture and an opening from which the caller to worship speaks great blasphemies against God. The prophecy of St. John depicts by means of the beast specifically the lands and the nations of which the exten­sive kingdom of the anti-Christ was formed, and especially the hostil­ity and beastiality of his followers. St. Paul’s prophecy is particularly focused upon the prince and son of perdition himself.

The three prophecies taken together provide us with complete knowledge of the enemy, that, is, from the three perspectives we have cited. We have already seen the nature and the deeds and the rise of the man of sin. His presence, says St. Paul, is due to the activity of Satan in full power and in the signs and wonders of falsehood, and in every deception of unrighteousness warranting perdition. History relates that the means by which Mohammed gathered around him­self the barbarous peoples of Asia and extended his rule, are first false signs and wonders which the Arabs and the Turks and as many nations which followed him still believe and relate. The second means employed is the formidable power of weapons to which barbarians easily succumb. The third means is deceit, i.e. the lure of carnal pleasures, the only reward on earth for which those who fight for the propagation of the blasphemous Koran. The paradise of Mohammed, as is commonly known, is filled with women and all kinds of food for the satiation of the belly and the pleasures of the flesh, and for the fulfillment of every other barbaric and hedonistic desire.

Falsehood, coercion, arid debauchery – these are the means by which the son of perdition prevailed. These means are all the power of Satan, who, having become incarnated in his own son, worked through him deeds of perdition. God permitted this because the people did not accept the love of the Truth that they may be saved. St. Paul preached the Gospel of Christ in Arabia, just as he did in Greece. The Arabs, however, did not accept the love of the truth as we did. The Gospel was preached not only in Arabia, but also in Persia, India, and China, but was met with little or no response there.

The blasphemous Koran, on the other hand, was widely received in those lands. The reason for this is that while the Paradise of the Gospel, full of grace and truth as it is, opens its gate only to those souls which love truth and righteousness, it excludes everyone who loves the pleasures of the flesh. Fornicators and adulterers and greedy persons and drunkards and insolent persons shall not inherit the Kingdom of God [Galatians 5:21], but rather, those who are chaste and righteous and beneficent. The paradise of the Koran, however, being void of truth and full of everything unclean, opens its gate to the herd of the mire-­loving swine, whom entering, the demons push over the cliff and plunge into the abyss [Luke 8:33]. Thus since the barbarians rejected the love of the Truth for their salvation, God sent the man of sin and son of perdition to them, in order that they may suffer perdition together with him. “Therefore,” affirms St. Paul, “God sends upon them a strong delusion; to make them believe what is false, so that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

Now these words of St. Paul agree with those of St. John the Divine. St. Paul says that the presence of the man of sin is due to the workings of Satan in every power and signs and wonders of false­hood, and in every deceit of perdition. St. John states that the dragon, i.e. Satan, gave the beast its power and its throne and great authority, and that all they whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb shall worship the dragon and the beast. History relates that Mohammed was possessed by a devil, and that he attributed this malady to the appearances of the angel Gabriel from whom, he said, he received the oracular responses and the revelations. But the angel of Mohammed was an angel of darkness and not of light. It was, according to St. Paul, a strong delusion of perdition, since men did not accept the love of the Truth so that they may be saved.

St. Paul, moreover, characterizes the man of sin as opposed to and exalted above every deity or object of worship. It is evident that Mohammed is opposed to God and to Christ, for as Daniel states, he attempted to change the times and the law; he tried to overthrow the New Testament of God and to replace the Gospel with the Koran. Because of all these things, he is called ”the adversary,” [1 Peter 5:8] which is equal to the “anti-Christ:” He also exalts himself above every deity or object of worship. By deities in this sense, according to Holy Scripture, are meant all the prophets. Christ himself bears witness to this, saying: “. . . He called them gods to whom the word of God came and scripture cannot be broken . . . ” [John 10:35]

Mohammed exalts himself above every deity or object of worship, for he claims to be the greatest of all prophets, and teaches that men should revere but one God in one person, and one Mohammed, the Prophet and His Apostle! The Imams [Mohammedan priests who call their faithful to worship from the top of the minaret] shout out these blasphemous words which Daniel approximately one-thousand two-hundred years ago heard proceeding from the horn which has the mouth of the minaret and speaks blasphemies unceasingly. The marvel is that St. Paul foretells also the desecration of the Church of the Holy Wisdom of God [Commonly known as the Cathedral of Santa Sophia converted to a mosque in 1453 when Constantinople was captured by the Turks] is by means of these words: ”. . . So that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.”

When Mohammed II who succeeded Mohammed I captured the holy polis, his first deed was the desecration of the Church of the Holy Wisdom of God – his ascent upon the altar and utterance of blasphemous words. The Turks, insulting Christ and the saints said: ”Where is Christ and the saints to save their polis? Infidels, do you not see that Mohammed is the greatest prophet of God, and that you should believe in him as the one having received from God the authority over all?” Thus on the basis of the capture of the polis of Christ and the desecration of the holy Church, they were trying to prove that Mohammed is the greatest of all those who are called gods. And the prophecy of St. Paul was fulfilled, saying: “. . . So that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.” This prophecy agrees amazingly with that of Daniel and St. John and in a way complements them.

Daniel foresees that the horn of the anti-Christ engages in battle against the saints and overcomes them. St. John envisions that the beast which emerges out of the sea fights the saints and conquers them. The great Apostle foresees the man of sin, the son of perdition-he who is opposed to and exalts himself above everyone considered a god or an object of worship-in the Temple of God, seated as a deity and worshipped by persons deceived. That which St. Paul envisions is the outcome of things which Daniel and St. John foresaw.

In order that the anti-Christ may sit in the Temple of God as a deity, he first had to fight and conquer the saints. St. Paul’s prophecy, therefore, presupposes what is said by the other two prophecies and is in agreement with them, just as the result agrees with the cause. Now it is obvious that it also complements them: we already have full knowledge of our enemy, because we have seen from the three witnesses of the truth that our foe is the blasphemous and arrogant minaret which is raised like a horn and speaks great blasphemies; the beast which is made up of the wildest of beasts, and has the throne, the power, and the authority of the dragon; finally, that our adversary is the man of sin, the son of perdition, he who is opposed to and exalts himself above every god or object of worship; who sat in the Temple of God and still sits there, worshipped as a deity by deceived people.

This ungodly criminal is destined to condemnation and death by the ”Ancient of days.” This verdict, according to the prophecy of St. John the Divine, shall be executed by Him who is mounted upon the white horse. This shall be done by means of the sword proceeding out of His mouth. The opportune time for the execution of the divine verdict is when the beast is apprehended. And if he has been taken captive, it is clear that the right time has arrived when our enemy shall undergo due judgment for crimes perpetrated. And St. John proclaims that the beast has been apprehended. See for yourselves that it has indeed been captured and has been shackled, to quote Aeschylus, “with lasting bonds in unbreakable fetters.” The testi­monies of the three witnesses of the truth are, so to speak, the lasting bonds with which the beast of Satan has been shackled and from which he can in no way escape.

Now what do hunters who cage wild animals do when the animals can no longer do harm? They lead them around in the cities for display, and all come, to behold the spectacle. Come then, let us do the same thing and let us carry the beast first to England to the crystal palace where wondrous things are being exhibited. Let us invite to the exhibition first the lords of Parliament and the ministers of the crown. They enter, they look, and in wonder they ask, what is this? This, gentlemen, is your friend. What? Yes, your friend, for whom in Crimea you sacrificed so many treasures and so many noble off­spring of England. Be of good cheer, sir, and do not slander us maliciously. In Crimea we sacrificed the noble offspring and the treasures of England for the sovereign rights of the Sultan and for the integrity of Turkey, and not for this horrible and abominable monster. Learn, however, that the sovereign rights of the Sultan are identical with those of the man of sin, the son of perdition. The integrity of Turkey is identical with the salvation of this horrible and abominable monster.

Behold the testimonies of Daniel, St. John the Divine, and St. Paul. Either censor these witnesses as false and their testimonies as untrue, or admit that this terrible beast is your friend for whom you sacrificed so many sons of England and so many fortunes. So imprudent have you become that you declare that the preservation of this beast is in the interest of England – the rule of the man of sin and son of perdi­tion who four times every day blasphemes the God whom you worship. How foolish can you be? Since the “Ancient of days” condemned this criminal to consuming fire, how can his friendship and preservation be in your interest? Why do you not come to your senses and repent as quickly as you can, lest you suffer perdition along with the son of perdition? Depart now hence and consider carefully what must be done, lest the common people who are now entering the exhibition stone you when they learn what you have done.

The lords of Parliament depart downcast and sorrowful, while the masses of people and many women in black who lost loved ones in Crimea enter the exposition. What is this? What is this thing? everyone asks in amazement. This is a friend and ally of your freedom-loving and constitutional government. Explain yourself, stranger, for we do not know what you are talking about. Do you not know that the Sultan and the Arabs and they who ascend the minaret are the best friends and allies of England, or rather, of the lords of Parliament and the ministers of the crown? But what relation is there between this monstrous beast, the civilized Sultan, and civilized Turkey which has become a member of the great European family of nations?

O, you most silly Englishmen! The civilized Sultan is identical with this man of sin and son of perdition. The civilized Turks whom you call a member of the European family of nations are identical with this ugly beast. These who ascend the minaret are identical with this horn which four times a day blasphemes the God whom you worship. If you disbelieve my words, behold the testimonies of the prophet Daniel, of St. John the Divine, and of St. Paul in whose honor you have dedicated your Cathedral [A reference to the famous St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, England]. Either censor these wit­nesses and their testimonies as false, or admit that this beast is a friend and ally of your freedom-loving government which in Crimea sacri­ficed so many noble sons of England and so much money for the man of sin and son of perdition whom the “Ancient of days” condemned to consuming fire.

And you, O women in black! Mourn and wail not because your children and husbands died, but rather because they died fighting for the integrity and salvation of this freakish monster. ”May the lords and the ministers of the crown be anathema!” cry out the women. “They are deserving of death for what they have done!” exclaim the people. They are rather worthy of forgiveness, we respond, if they repent for what they did. Otherwise, go and stone them. For to sin knowingly is unforgiveable. But we depart hence for Paris in order that we may exhibit the beast also to the freedom-loving French.

We enter the newly built palace of expositions bringing the beast bound. The Emperor, the Empress, the ministers, and the society of zoologists enter to see the display. They behold it and ask in amaze­ment, “What kind of a freakish monster is this? Science has yet to come to know of such a beast”, remarks a zoologist. The Emperor asks, ”where does this beast come from, and how was it ever captured?”

This beast makes its home on the three continents of the Old World. It was captured by the sword which proceeds from the mouth of Him who is mounted upon the white horse.

“Stranger, explain yourself more clearly. The French language is not fond of metaphors and allegories.”

I explain myself:

The kingdom of Mohammed extends from Asia to Europe and to Africa. Mohammed and the man of sin are one and the same. They who ascend the minaret and this apocalyptic horn of blasphemy are one and the same. The Arabs and the Turks and all the nations espousing the Koran are one and the same with this beast. Behold the testimonies of the three witnesses of the truth. Behold in the Book of Revelation the One mounted on the white horse. Behold also the sword proceeding out of His mouth by means of which the beast, hitherto unknown, was captured.

Did you understand, your Excellency, or did you not? I believe you do understand, for you do not lack wisdom. Consider what you should do in order to remove the shame of your deed. You were pro­claimed sovereign for the good of your subjects and the nation, and yet, in Crimea, you fought for this beast which suppresses nations. Such an inconsistency of policy makes you share in the ugliness of the beast. Therefore, make amends for your crimes as soon as you can by aligning yourself with the decision of the “Ancient of days” who condemned this beast to burning fire. Now then attend to what you mould do, for many people are coming to see the beast on display.

The Emperor and his court exit in a pensive mood. Many other people enter the scene. Everyone looks and wonders, “What is this thing? What kind of monstrous beast is this?” ”How horrible!” one exclaims. “How abominable!” adds another. And yet for this terrible and abominable monster many Frenchmen fought bravely and gave their lives in Crimea. The friends and allies of this beast also occupied Piraeus and Athens in order to protect it from another danger. O, freedom-loving Frenchmen! It is noble and glorious to fight for freedom and to die for one’s fatherland. But what is your glory in fighting for the salvation of this beast which instills horror and abomination in all? When ancient heroes would hear of the appear­ance of a certain wild beast plaguing the people and the countryside, they would take arms and slay it. But you took arms, slew, and captured human beings to protect this beast that it may four times every day blaspheme the God whom you worship.

Behold also the prophetic affirmation of Daniel, St. John, and St. Paul. Have you anything to say contrary to their testimonies? The Emperor is the one to blame. It is he who is wholly responsible; but we will vindicate ourselves for we have been disgraced. Go and seek out your vindication. We are leaving from this place in order that we may display the beast elsewhere as needed.

Where should we bring the beast after Paris? To Vienna. Perhaps there we shall find the Austrians in conflict with the Prussians. Seeing the beast, they will make a truce until they look at it. While they are looking at it, we shall say to them both: O Prussians! If today you are conquering the Austrians, the reason is that the Austrians love this beast and the son of perdition, with whom, if they do not repent, they shall suffer perdition. You, O Austrians, what relation or likeness do you have with this beast? For while your fathers rose up to kill it, you were contriving to save the beast and do away with your fore­fathers who never did you any wrong. For this reason we today are saving ourselves from the beast, as you can see, by capturing and enchaining it with the sword of Him who is mounted on the white horse. You, however, as accomplices of the beast, are running and greatest danger. While we depart from here to continue the exposition of the beast, you take care of propitiate the “Ancient of days” who condemned the beast to’ consuming fire.

After Vienna, where should we go? To Germany to show the beast to the professors and teachers of the universities and academies, and especially to the professors of history. For by misinterpreting history and judging the facts erroneously, these people do a greater injustice to the fatherland than they in Crimea who are struggling for the salvation of the beast. First of all, they extol this man of sin and son of perdition as a man of great intelligence and a great political leader. They hold him as one of the great benefactors of mankind, for, they say, he delivered so many barbarous peoples from idolatry.

The German professors of history go even beyond these erroneous assertions in drawing parallels between Christ and Mohammed, thus in no way differentiating between Christ and the anti-Christ. They also slander and censor as verbose and vain our Fathers who fought for the Truth with every virtue and self-sacrifice, who bore the Truth before Gentiles and kings and sons of Israel. Our spiritual Fathers are criticized as spending their time in theological hair-splitting of no value; as being godly to extremes; and as sacrificing the empire and political freedom for the sake of dogmatic formulations and scholastic terms. And what do these German historians not say against our Fathers? [Makrakis refers to Ritschl, Harnack and other German theologians who held that the Church Fathers distorted the Gospel teachings by stating them in categories of Greek philosophy]. Monasteries and prayers seem to be a great crime in the eyes of these intellectuals. If, they say, the Byzantines had as many soldiers as they had monks, they would have saved the empire from the inva­sion of the barbarians. The capture of Constantinople and all the evils occurred because of the great number of monks, the many prayers, and religious fanaticism!

Thus, they conclude, modern Greece should come to its senses and do away with the monasteries, the monks, and the priests. It should throw off the religion of the fatherland in order that it may become distinguished and that it may recover its ancient glory and splendor. By distorting the truth in this manner the German historians assassin­ate our fatherland with falsehood. They instill in the souls of the young generation a hatred for Christ and the fatherland. Nothing else remains for them but to become asses and Masons!

Behold! O great intellectuals, what kind of man your benefactor (i.e. Mohammed) of humanity really is. Take a good look and admire this great man! This frightful political leader and diplomat. Learn the true causes of the historical phenomena, and learn that our Fathers, as a people of God, could not belie God’s prophecies and escape the capture and enslavement foretold by Daniel. It is to what you consider as the futile writings of our Fathers, to their prayers, to the monasteries and the monks that we owe our existence and salva­tion. And the glory which our God has reserved for us cannot be compared with our sufferings. The Lord humbled us in order that we may learn His just claims upon us, and in order that He may exalt us; and you shall see our glory.

Now that we have said these things to the German intellectuals, let us carry the beast from Germany to St. Petersburg [the capital city of Russia in the days of the author].

When the beast arrives to be observed by the Emperor and his court, let us tell them: “This beast is not an ill man, as your father of blessed memory mistakenly took it to be. It is rather the criminal who wronged the saints, and whom the ‘Ancient of days’ condemned to the burning fire. It is God’s decision that we, the wronged, take over the kingdom and hold it forever. Thus when your father of blessed memory asserted that with all his might he would obstruct our Byzantine Empire, he was saying nothing else but that he would upset the decision of the ‘Ancient of days’ – while he was a Christian and an Orthodox one at that! The raising up and the tearing down of kingdoms is the right and work of God, not that of men, though they be Emperors of all Russia. The sin of your father resembles the foolishness of the rich man of the Gospel, who thought that he was going to be enjoying his worldly goods forever, little realizing that on the same night he had to give up his spirit. Likewise did your father not know the hour of his death. As a mortal man having a Lord in heaven, he should have thought otherwise about the fall and rise of the Lord’s people.”

“Give up with all your might your father’s sin which he committed unknowingly, and speak out in contradiction to his words. Say that I will cooperate to the best of my ability in order that the kingdom which the ‘Ancient of days’ wills to rise may do so, and may God be merciful to my father’s sin. All of us pray for this same thing.”

From St. Petersburg let us carry the beast to Constantinople. As we show it to His All-Holiness [the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople] and the holy bishops, let us say to them, “behold what you consider the government of your fatherland which paternally protects and provides for the people of God, whom you, for this reason, altogether ignore and do not care for at all. You have also set up regulations with the approval and sanction of this fatherly government to whom you have recently entrusted the respon­sibility of your salaries so that the paternal government may care for the pastors as well as for the spiritual fold. Behold in this mirror your transgressions and sins, and seek out the mercy of the Lord whom you have angered!”

“For, instead of purifying His people, you are rather still holding them in bonds and keeping them in sin, for which this man of sin and son of perdition was born. Whoever is congenial to sin and the son of perdition is himself also doomed to perdition.”

After this admonition to the bishops of Constantinople, we have nothing to do but cast the beast into the Sea of Marmara that it may suffer perdition, as it has been written concerning its fate. Amen!

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