However, in order to supply people with a “spiritual” basis for one world government, there has to be something higher than Communism. A spiritual philosophy is needed to unite all men. The chiliastic philosophy of the “free world” supplies a part of this element, and in the idea of the United Nations, for example, we see something which looks like a spiritual answer.
The very existence of such an organization as the U.N., which is to unite all the governments of the world, is a sign of our times. The speeches and propaganda of the U.N. are filled with chiliastic ideas, vaguely based on Christianity but without Christian dogmas: it strives for permanent world peace, no more wars – which of course is possible only if human nature changes and becomes different from what it is now. St. Paul spoke of one of the signs of the end: “The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. For when people will say,’There is peace and security,’ then sudden destruction will come upon them” (1 Thes. 5:2-3). Never has there been more talk of “peace and security” than today. One of the chief organs of the U.N. is the Security Council, and organizations for “world peace” are everywhere. It men do achieve finally a semblance of “peace and security,” it would seem to contemporary man to be a state like heaven on earth – a millennium. The practical way to do this is to unite all governments under one. For the first time in history such an ideal becomes a possible goal of practical politics – a world ruler is conceivable now. For the first time, the Antichrist becomes a historical possibility.
The U.N. claims to be for the foundation of one world government which will not be a tyranny, based not on any particular idea like Communism, but on something very vague, with no particular Christian basis. In fact, about twenty years ago they built a meditation chapel in the U.N. building, and at that time they had a big discussion about what would be the object of worship in it. If you have a Cross, you’re immediately branded as Christian; you can’t have anything Moslem or Hindu because again you’re also identified. It has to be above all religions. Finally they decided upon a black stone block. If you go there and bow down to it, it is like bowing down to an idol. But this indicates a very vague kind of religious interest. But such a vague thing is exactly what the devil likes to grab hold of. In any particular religious belief you may be mistaken, but at least you put your heart to it, and God can forgive all kinds of mistakes. But if you do not have any particular religious belief and you give yourself over to some kind of vague idea, then the demons come in and begin to act.
For example: after being conservative, even anti-revolutionary, during the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Roman Popes have now come close to joining the revolution, as Dostoyevsky predicted they would in the 19th century. Roman Catholicism has become a great worldly institution preaching the same chiliasm as the representatives of the U.N. Pope Paul VI’s visit to the U.N. in New York in 1965 reveals this clearly. He was given a hero’s welcome in New York by the American people, mostly non-Catholics, precisely because he is seen as the most eminent religious figure who preaches the chiliast dream which is now so strong in the air. In his speech at the U.N., the Pope justified these expectations, and called on the U.N. to bring about the prophecies of Holy Scripture concerning when swords will be turned into plowshares and the lion will down with the lamb – in a millennial kingdom on earth.
Another sign that the end times are approaching is the present state of the Jews in Israel, in the city of Jerusalem. According to the prophecies of Scriptures and the Holy Fathers of the Orthodox Church, Jerusalem will be the world capital of Antichrist, and there he will rebuild the temple of Solomon where he will be worshipped as God. There are events that are to come right before the very end of the world. Of course, it is very significant that only since 1948 has Jerusalem been once more in the hands of the Jews, and only since 1967 has the place where the temple was, the Mosque of Omar, been in their hands, since this had been in the part held by the Moslems. Therefore, all that prevents them – that is, technically – from building the temple is this Mosque of Omar. If they can destroy the mosque, they can erect the temple on this site. It is also significant that Jerusalem is now constantly in the news. The Jews have returned to Palestine for the first time since Christ. This makes it possible for the Antichrist to come first to the Jews, as the prophecies state, and then rule the whole world from Jerusalem. And the very idea of chiliasm comes from the Jews, because they rejected Christ just because He did not establish a worldly kingdom.
If you were to ask anyone who is aware at all of political events in the world a question: “What would be the ideal city to have as the world capital if there’s going to be a world empire?” – it is obvious what the answer would be in most people’s minds. It cannot be New York, because that is the center of capitalism; it cannot be Moscow, because that is the center of Communism. It cannot even be Rome, because Roman Catholicism is still some kind of limited tradition. The logical place is Jerusalem, because there three religions come together, three continents come together. It is the most logical place where could be peace, brotherhood, and harmony: all those things which look good, but unless they have a solid Christian foundation are not God-pleasing – those things which can be used by Antichrist.
Another aspect of the Jewish question is that many young Jews are becoming interested in Christianity, because among Jews also there is the same kind of religious seeking and problems that occur among other people. Some of them are being converted to Christianity, and some of them are coming to Orthodoxy. This is already a sign, a preparation for the fact that at the end of time the Jews will be restored to Christianity, to Christ. St. Paul expresses this by saying that, if the falling away of the Jews meant “riches” to the Gentiles – because when the Jews fell away the Gentiles were invited into the Church – then the restoration of Israel will be like a rising from the dead. And this event will come right before the end.
We should say a word about Antichrist. He is not simply a cruel dictator who is anti-Christian. I think most people, when they think of Antichrist, think of someone like Hitler, who was a persecutor, or Stalin, who persecuted Christians and was against religion. But that is not what Antichrist is, though he has that aspect. “Anti” means not just “against”; it means “in place of.” He will be someone who will come and take the place of Christ; it says quite clearly that he will be in the temple of Jerusalem, worshipped as God. You don’t go and worship an ordinary dictator; at least, the whole world could not very easily do that. But he will come as a world dictator who is accepted as God, as someone very positive; thus he will try, in every possible way, to imitate Christ, to take the place of Christ.
Therefore, the Apostle emphasize very strongly in their warning about the end of the world that we must beware of deception. St. Paul says in II Thessalo-nians 2:9-11: “The coming of the lawless one, by the activity of Satan, will be with all power and sings and lying wonders… God shall send (that is, allow) a strong delusion, that men should believe a lie.” That is, it will be something very deceptive.
In fact, we know that the elect themselves might be deceived if the times will not be cut short. Christ Himself warns, in speaking of the last days, that “false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect” (Matt. 24:24). And in the Apocalypse, St. John states that the last times will be characterized by “demonic spirits working wonders” (Apoc. 16:14). Therefore, one of the sings of the coming of the end is the multiplication of demonic signs and wonders, i.e. false miracles and things of that sort.
Do we see any signs of satanic activity, miracles and signs that are leading people astray today? Yes, this has become one of the leading characteristics especially of the last decades. I mean in particular, for example, the increase in the last several decades of outright Satanism – Satan-worship – which only in these last twenty years or so has achieved such openness and notoriety. People openly call themselves witches. Perhaps few call themselves Satanists, but it has become a recognized religion in our society, and very many are seriously involved in the practice of witchcraft. (The widely publicized ritual murders of recent years are only the surface of a deep current of evil and demon-worship.)