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On interpreting prophecies about the end times.

I have been asked how the prophecies about the coming war (and the 30 year peace after that) actually reconcile with the clear signs we can observe today pointing to an imminent coming of the Antichrist? Various Holy Fathers seem to have different opinions on how close we actually are to the arriving of the man of sin.

The general tendency i can observe today is that people like to choose one interpretation (or what they think that interpretation is) of a prophecy (or two), but completely ignore other prophecies. For example St Lavrentii of Cernigov was telling some young nuns in 1948 that they would live to see the antichrist. Other prophecies (of greek origin) talk about a coming war and a 30 year period of relative peace after that, before the coming of the Antichrist. The general observation is that the prophecies of Russian origin seem to be more of the opinion that the arrival of the antichrist is nearer than what those of Greek origin would say. So how does one reconcile these apparently different positions?

Surely, for me personally pick-and-choosing is not satisfactory, as that does not really offer an answer.

My position relative to this situation is to reiterate what Fr Seraphim Rose said: watching the signs of the times. That is the only absolute criteria we have. And we can see all the signs are here already. How the prophecies are interpreted is usually a relative thing, more or less. If we ignore these clear signs and rely only on a specific prophecy (while ignoring other prophecies that seem to contradict that particular point of view) we risk falling in yet another trap: of thinking that the end is too far off to worry, or it will happen tomorrow. Of course both options still remain a possibility but we must not be too hard-rooted in our position. This could be a real trap. We must remain very vigilant and open minded at the same time. The devil is very inventive and nimble, and he knows all the prophecies too (which he will try to use to his advantage).

I firmly believe the problem is not with the prophecies themselves (i am sure all of them will turn out to be true). I believe the problem is trying to be too rigid into interpreting them, which will most likely land us on a wrong path as well! Here we have yet another trap we can fall into and we must be careful.

And i will give you an example. Blessed Iustin Parvu fully acknowledged that the prophecy about the 30 year peace after the war was valid, but left the door open to the idea that the war could have already happened or is happening while the 30 year period may very well be in progress. He suggested that in this instance “war” may not refer to a physical war (as common wisdom would normally dictate). It may be a spiritual war rather than a hot war. Here is what he said in an interview in 2010:

“But a fierce war will come, and after the war there must be those 30 years of peace, after which the antichrist will be crowned. But the war has already begun. We are already in a climatic and biotronic war. Do not you see how they can cause earthquakes, and floods, and drought, and fires?”


Wow. So here we have the key: thinking that we may fully grasp the literal understanding of various prophecies may land us on the wrong track! Sometimes with prophecies they do not become clear until after the fact. This is a very important aspect we must not omit. Rather, as i suggested, i believe that watching the signs of the times gives us a better indication on how close or far we may be from the final act of the apocalypse.

“In due course, faith will collapse in Russia. The brilliance of earthly glory will blind the mind. The word of truth will be defiled, but with regard to the Faith, some from among the people, unknown to the world, will come forward and restore what was scorned.” Elder Porphyrius of Glinsk (+1868)

From the Prophecies of Elder Nectarius of Optina from a book printed in Romania that is also available online (link below)
“I see a huge plain, where there is a fierce battle between a mob of countless apostates and a small army of Christians. All apostates are well armed and fight following all the rules of the science of war, but the Christians are unarmed, at least I do not see them possessing any weapons. And I could already guess, to my horror, the conclusion of this unequal battle: the total victory of the countless apostates, because of the Christians have been left almost no one. All the apostates, together with their wifes and their children celebrating triumphantly.

Suddenly, an insignificant and very small group of Christians, among whom are women and children, run an unexpected attack against the apostates and in a moment the immense battlefield is cover with bodies of atheists and the countless gathering of apostates is reduced to nothing, moreover, to my astonishment without using any weapons.”

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