The Signs of the End
By Vladimir Moss
Thus blessed is he that reads this book, not in isolation, but in conjunction with the signs of the times, which the Lord commanded us to discern with care: ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? (Matthew 16.3). We must, with God’s help and in all humility, at least attempt to discern the signs of the times by comparing them with this, the most significant of books for our time. For, as Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow writes, “None of the mysteries of the most secret wisdom of God ought to appear alien or altogether transcendent to us, but in all humility we must apply our spirit to the contemplation of Divine things.” Moreover, as Archbishop Theophanes of Poltava writes, “everybody who loves the Truth must not only take note of the signs of the times, but also follow these observations to their logical conclusion.”
And these signs are indeed apocalyptic. Wars and rumours of wars, especially of a nuclear and biochemical Armageddon threatening the extinction of the whole of humanity; famines and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places, including the inexorably increasing pollution of the planet; the many false prophets; the persecution of the Faith, the falling away of many, the increase of iniquity and especially the cooling of love even among those who are called Christians – all this must convince the discerning Christian that he is at least at the beginning of sorrows, and that only he that shall endure to the end.. shall be saved (Matthew 24.6-13).
Other signs of the end are the extraordinary growth of science, the return of the Jews to Israel, the unprecedented apostasy from, and persecution of, the Christian faith, and the appearance of false Christs and antichristian religions in bewildering abundance. As Fr. Seraphim Rose writes in his translator’s introduction to Archbishop Averky’s commentary: “We do seem, indeed, to be living in the last times of this world’s existence, when the prophecies of the Apocalypse relating to the end of the world are beginning to be fulfilled. The time is surely ripe – especially in view of the numerous false interpretations of this book which fill the contemporary air.”
One of the passages from the Apocalypse that has found an almost exact fulfilment in our time is the description of the star called Wormwood – “Chernobyl” in Ukrainian – which falls from heaven and poisons the waters (8.10-11). Even the most hardened sceptics have been forced to admit that this is a quite remarkable foreshadowing of the nuclear catastrophe that took place at Chernobyl in the Ukraine in 1986, which has contaminated the water supply of the region. Again, the advances in modern computer and laser technology have thrown unexpected light on the possible meaning of the number 666 (Revelation 13) in terms of bar-codes and microchips implanted under the skin, and how it might form part of a world-wide food distribution system controlled by the Antichrist.
Thus the Christian must see that he refuses not Him that speaks both through the Divine Scriptures of the Apocalypse and through contemporary events. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall we not escape, if we turn away from Him that speaketh from heaven: Whose voice then shook the heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we, receiving a Kingdom that cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire... (Hebrews 12.25-29).