The figure of the antichrist is presented in the christian tradition, and even in Islam. What does “antichrist” mean? Who is he? What does the Roman Catholic Church say about him? How to avoid becoming one of his followers? Thus is the topic of the show for RCF, a French catholic Radio. Interview of Rev. Fr. Martin Vivies, by Guillaume Desanges.
What does “antichrist” mean?
In the latest verbatim translation of the Bible, “antichrist” is translated as “foe of Christ”. The word “antichrist” is made up of two parts: Christ, or Messiah, toward whom all the Scriptures tend; and “anti” which means he who pretends to be Christ. He seeks to be sought by all the peoples of the world as if he were the saviour of the world.
The term “antichrist” is not to be found in the Gospel, but only in the first and second letters of John to designate the alleged Messiah. In his writings, St Paul names him the man if iniquity, the man of impiety.
Who is he?
One can assume that whomever takes on someone else’s place is on the enemy’s side, however let it be known that the antichrist is not the devil. He is merely a man, yet the Church has never defined who he is. Due to the description made by John the Evangelist, we know he is a pretender who rejects the assertion that Jesus Christ became man. Thus, from a theoritical standpoint, the Church has always called to caution against the temptation of a new messianism. The antichrist ‘s aims at stealing peoples’ hope away and steering their want of justice towards a new structure, or system, or a leading political figure. This is the wrong path for, as the Scriptures plainly state, “Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings” (Jr 17,5).
What does the Church say of him?
“Before Christ’s second coming, the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers (cf. Lk 18,8; Mt 24,12). The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth (cf Lk 21,12; Jn 15,19-20) will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Anti-Christ, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of His Messiah come in the flesh.” Catechism of the Catholic Church N° 675.
As a replacement to Jesus and to the historical Church, there will be a different individual jointly with another structure which will present themselves as the solutions to all of mankind’s problems.
This fraud emerges in the world every time one pretends to achieve messianic hope in history. Nevertheless, this achievement will only be complete subsequently to the final judgement when God re-establishes justice. Clearly a minimum of justice on earth is required, but men will never be able to institute total justice on earth. When they pretend to do so, they take the place of the Messiah, and of the juge of the final judgement. It is merely a counterfeit of the upcoming Kingdom of God.
That is what is known as the millerism which has always been reproved by the Church, specially when it took the form of atheist communism and of other major ideologies in the twentieth century or, presently, of trans-humanism for example.
How to avoid becoming one of his followers?
In the Gospel according to John, we see that the antichrist rejects the assertion that Jesus Christ became flesh. Therefore, I must reflect each day and check that I personally strive to encounter and relate to Christ made man. We can encounter Jesus made flesh in various ways:
- Charity, and charitable acts. Each person who comes to me asking for help is Jesus-Christ in the flesh. Moreover, we shall be judged on our capacity of having shown mercy.
- The Church. In order to encounter Jesus made flesh one has to assent to the fact that the Church be His Body. Not an easy task for she is made up of sinners and thus she will need to convert until the end of the world. She is constituted of factual people, full of flaws who can fall at all times. Yet, on the reverse, that very Church offers us something that is totally beyond her: true communication with Jesus.