“Children, it is the last hour, and just as you heard that the antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. We know from this that it is the last hour” (1Jn 2:18 NET)
by Nikita Grigoriev, excerpt from “Faith And Delusion” (p. 229).
The mystery of iniquity has been long at work in the world and the spirit of the anti-Christ continues to grow stronger. Wherein does this spirit of the anti-Christ lie? In one word – it lies in “prelest” (spiritual delusion). Prelest is a spiritual counterfeit. Every person unfortunately is afflicted by prelest, to a greater or lesser degree. Most of us humans, in our fallen condition, tend to live between spiritual apathy and indifference on the one hand, and spiritual conceit and delusion on the other. It is only with much sustained and prolonged effort and with much help from God that we begin to acquire that spiritual sobriety that allows us to see spiritual phenomena for what they really are. The anti-Christ will not be a clear and open enemy of Christ, by no means! He will imitate Christ in all ways, in order to convince people that he is Christ Himself. His moniker is derived from the prefix “anti”, which means “instead of”; and “Christ”, which means God’s Anointed One, or Messiah.
In appearance, he will be kind, gentle, patient and merciful. He will attract everyone by his “love” and will amaze everyone with his “miracles” but this “love” will be false just as the “miracles” will likewise be false. Moreover, this “love” will not be salvific for the people, but destructive because it will not call people to genuine repentance, to take up one’s Cross, to spiritual rebirth through the Holy Spirit in the Church of Christ . . . . No, the anti-Christ’s love will condone human passions.
From the very beginning, in Paradise, when man fell, he did not want to hear about his sin; he did not wish to repent and be forgiven. He wanted to remain in his sin and justify it. The anti-Christ will not rebuke passions and call people to genuine contrition of heart in order to forgive and heal them, but on the contrary will justify them just as they are. It will make people feel good about themselves as they are.
Christ offers us salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, through each person bearing his own cross, in other words, through the humbling of one’s pride, obedience to God, and through God’s Grace. The anti-Christ, the one who is instead of Christ, offers man false “salvation” but only through self-justification, through sustaining one’s pride, vanity and through the false anti-Christ “grace” – prelest.