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Antichrist: The universal enemy of mankind, who will in the latter days be sent to scourge the world for its wickedness. According to the Abbot Bergier, Antichrist is regarded as a tyrant, impious and excessively cruel, the arch enemy of Christ, and the last ruler of the earth. The persecutions he will inflict on the elect will be the last and most severe ordeal which they will have to undergo. Christ, himself, according to several commentators, foretold that they would have succumbed to it if its duration had not been shortened on their behalf. He will pose as the Messiah, and will perform things wonderful enough to mislead the elect themselves. The thunder will obey him, according to St. John, and Leloyer asserts that the demons below watch over hidden treasures by means of which he will be able to tempt many. It is on account of the miracles that he will perform, that Boguet calls him the "Ape of God," and it is through this scourge that God will proclaim the final judgment and the vengeance to be meted out to wrong-doers.
Antichrist will have a great number of forerunners, and will appear just before the end of the world. St. Jerome claims that he will be a man begotten by a demon; others, a demon in the flesh, visible and fantastical, or an incarnate demon. But, following St. Ireneus, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, and almost all the fathers. Antichrist will be a man similar to, and conceived in the same way as all others, differing from them only in a malice and an impiety more worthy of a demon than of a man. Cardinal Bellarmin, at a later date, and contrary to their authority, asserts however, that Antichrist will be the son of a demon incubus and a sorceress.
He will be a Jew of the tribe of Dan, according to Malvenda, who supports his view by the words of the dying Jacob to his sons: "Dan shall be a serpent by the way— an adder in the path; "—by those of Jeremiah:—"The armies of Dan will devour the earth"; and by the seventh chapter of the Apocalypse, where St. John has omitted the tribe of Dan in his enumeration of the other tribes.
Antichrist will be always at war, and will astonish the earth with his miracles. He will persecute the upright, and will mark his own by a sign on the face or the hand.
Elijah and Enoch will come at length and convert the Jews and will meet death at last by order of Antichrist, Then will Christ descend from the heavens, kill Antichrist with the two-edged sword, which will issue from His mouth, and reign on the earth for a thousand years, according to some; an indefinite time, according to others.
It is claimed by some that the reign of Antichrist will last fifty years: the opinion of the majority is that his reign will last but three and a-half years, after which the angels will sound the trumpets of the day of judgment, and Christ will come and judge the world. The watchword of Antichrist, says Boguet, will be: "I abjure baptism." Many commentators have foreseen the return of Elijah in these words of Malachi: "I will send Elijah, the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord." But it is not certain that Malachi referred to this ancient prophet, since Christ applied this prediction to John the Baptist, when he said: "Elias is come already, and they knew him not;" and when the angel foretold to Zacharias the birth of his son, he said to him: "And he shall go forth before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elias."
By Antichrist may probably be meant the persecutors of the Church. Again, the Protestants give the name to the Pope and the Catholics to all their enemies. Napoleon even has been called Antichrist.
The third treatise in the Histoire Veritable et Memorable des Trois Possidees de Flandre, by Father Sebastien Michalies, dominican friar, throws much light in the words of exorcised demons, on Antichrist. "Conceived through the medium of a devil, he will be as malicious as a madman, with such wickedness as was never seen on earth. An inhuman martyr rather than a human one, he will treat Christians as souls are treated in hell. He will have a multitude of synagogue names, and he will be able to fly when he wishes. Beelzebub will be his father, Lucifer his grandfather."
The revelations of exorcised demons show that Antichrist was alive in 1613. It appears that he has not yet attained his growth "He was baptised on the Sabbath of the sorcerers, before his mother, a Jewess, called La Belle-Fleur. He was three years old in 1613. Louis Gaufridi is said to have baptised him, in a field near Paris. An exorcised sorceress claimed to have held the little Antichrist on her knees. She said that his bearing was proud, and that even then he spoke many divers languages. But he had talons in the place of feet, and he wore no slippers. He will do much harm, but there will be comforters, for the Holy Ghost still lives." His father is shown in the figure of a bird, with four feet, a tail, a bull's head much flattened, horns and black shaggy hair. He will mark his own with a seal representing this in miniature. Michaelis adds that things execrable will be around him, He will destroy Rome on account of the Pope, and the Jews will help him. He will resuscitate the dead, and, when thirty, will reign with Lucifer, the seven-headed dragon, and, after a reign of three years, Christ will slay him.
Many such details might be quoted of Antichrist, whose appearance has long been threatened, but with as yet no fulfilment. We must mention, however, a volume published many years ago at Lyons, by Rusand, called, Les Precurseurs de l'Antechrist. This work shows that the reign of Antichrist, if it has not begun, is drawing near; that the philosophers, encyclopedists and revolutionaries of the eighteenth century were naught but demons incarnated to precede and prepare the way for Antichrist. In our own time it has frequently been averred that Antichrist is none other than the ex-Kaiser of Germany.
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