St. Cyril of Jerusalem- On Antichrist

(from Catechetical Lecture XV, c. 348 A.D.)

But this aforesaid Antichrist is to come when the times of the Roman empire shall have been fulfilled, and the end of the world is now drawing near. There shall rise up together ten kings of the Romans, reigning in different parts perhaps, but all about the same time; and after these an eleventh, the Antichrist, who by his magical craft shall seize upon the Roman power; and of the kings who reigned before him, three he shall humble (Dan. vii. 24), and the remaining seven he shall keep in subjection to himself.

At first indeed he will put on a show of mildness (as though he were a learned and discreet person), and of soberness and benevolence: and by the lying signs and wonders of his magical deceit having beguiled the Jews, as though he were the expected Christ, he shall afterwards be characterized by all kinds of crimes of inhumanity and lawlessness, so as to outdo all unrighteous and ungodly men who have gone before him; displaying against all men, but especially against us Christians, a spirit murderous and most cruel, merciless and crafty.

And after perpetrating such things for three years and six months only, he shall be destroyed by the glorious second advent from heaven of the only-begotten Son of God, our Lord and Savior Jesus, the true Christ, who shall slay Antichrist with the breath of His mouth (2 Thess. ii. 8), and shall deliver him over to the fire of hell.

Now these things we teach, not of our own invention, but having learned them out of the divine Scriptures used in the church, and chiefly from the prophecy of Daniel now read; as Gabriel also the Archangel interpreted it, speaking thus: “The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall surpass all kingdoms” (Dan. vii. 23). And that this kingdom is that of the Romans, has been the tradition of the church’s interpreters. For as the first kingdom which became renowned was that of the Assyrians, and the second, that of Medes and Persians together, and after these, that of the Macedonians was the third, so the fourth kingdom is that of the Romans.

Then Gabriel goes on to interpret, saying, “His ten horns are ten kings that shall arise; and another king shall rise up after them, who shall surpass in wickedness all who were before him;” (he says, not only the ten, but also all who have been before him;) and he shall subdue three kings; manifestly out of the ten former kings; but it is plain that by subduing three of these ten, he will become the eighth; and he shall speak words against the most high (Dan. v. 25). A blasphemer the man is and lawless, not having received the kingdom from his fathers, but having usurped the power by means of sorcery.

[Note that Cyril is keeping very close track with the Scriptures. It is to be marveled at, that men continue to place these prophecies as ‘past fulfillment,’ knowing, however, that nothing of the sort ever occurred in the world’s history. The wise man will say, Mellonta tauta.“–B.A.S.]

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