Antichrist, by Saint Robert Bellarmine, Reviewed

<em>Antichrist</em>, by Saint Robert Bellarmine, Reviewed
SIGNORELLI, Luca (b. ca. 1450, Cortona, d. 1523, Cortona) Sermon and Deeds of the Antichrist 1499-1502 Fresco, width 700 cm Chapel of San Brizio, Duomo, Orvieto It is quite likely that the Deeds of the Antichrist is intended as a reference to Savonarola, the Dominican friar hanged and burnt at the stake in Florence on 23 May 1498. In a 'Papist' city like Urbino, and in the case of an artist like Signorelli who had been a Medici prot?g? and who thought of himself basically as a victim of persecution from the Florentine democratic government (a fact we learn from Michelangelo), this identification of Savonarola with the Antichrist is very plausible; it is also supported by a famous passage in Marsilio Ficino's Apologia, published in 1498, where the Ferrarese monk is again identified as the false prophet. There is no doubt that Signorelli has given us a very convincing portrayal of the sinister and mysterious atmosphere evoked in the prophecies of the Gospels in the huge fresco showing the Sermon and Deeds of the Antichrist. Against a vast and desolate background, dominated on the right by an unusually large classical building, depicted in distorted perspective, the false prophet is shown disseminating his lies and spreading his message of destruction. He has the features of Christ, but it is Satan (portrayed behind him) who tells him what to say. The people around him, who have piled up gifts at the foot of his throne, have clearly already been corrupted by the iniquities the Gospel has warned us of. And, starting from the left, we have a description of a brutal massacre, followed by a young woman selling her body to an old merchant, and then more aggressive and evil-looking men. In the background of this scene all sorts of horrors and miraculous events are taking place. The Antichrist orders people to be executed and even resurrects a man, while a group of clerics, huddled together like a fortified citadel, resist the devil's temptations by praying. Lastly, to the left, Signorelli shows us how the age of the Antichrist is rapidly reaching its inevitable epilogue, with the false prophet being hurled down from the heavens by the Angel and all his followers being defeated and destroyed by the wrath of God. That this scene is the masterpiece of the whole cycle (at least in terms of originality of invention and evocation of fantastic imagery) even Signorelli himself must have realized, and he has placed himself, together with a monk (traditionally identified as Fra Angelico) on the left-hand side of the composition. --- Keywords: -------------- Author: SIGNORELLI, Luca Title: Sermon and Deeds of the Antichrist Time-line: 1451-1500 School: Italian Form: painting Type: religious

Some establishment media is still based: you can find good stuff if you know where to look. Like in the PI. Take this op-ed in the Manila Times, by one Richardo Saludo. “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith?

…let’s go to Paragraph 675 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 675), the compendium of doctrines the faithful must profess. Subtitled “The Church’s ultimate trial”, the section predicts:

“Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth 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.”

So, before the last judgment and salvation when Jesus returns, the Catechism warns of a final apostasy or turning away from the faith…

…if Catholicism morphs into a religion heeding man’s wishes, not God’s, then that sounds like apostasy from the faith Christ founded. Indeed, it would fulfill the Catechism’s warning about “the Anti-Christ, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorified himself in place of God and of his Messiah” (CCC 675). This deception “already begins to take shape” when it’s claimed that humanity can attain in this world “the messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history” (CCC 767).

In such a disoriented time, God Himself must come and set things right. Amen.

Some fun can be had imagining a hacker snuck (you heard me: snuck) that in to the New York Times. Perhaps we might request the intercession for such a miracle from Saint Robert Bellermine, who wrote of these things in Antichrist, newly translated by Ryan Grant.

Antichrist is part of the larger body of work Disputationes de controversiis christianae fidei, published in parts around 1590. The book is an apologia for Catholicism, answering various protesting-Christian heresies which claim the Pope was, or a Pope would be, the Antichrist, these errors being then new.

Today, only a few small hard-core evangelical, Jack-Chick-tract-welding Dan-Brown-reading sects still believe the Roman Catholic Church will be the Whore of Babylon spoken of in the book of Revelation. Their arguments aren’t nearly as sophisticated as those put forth, and now forgotten, by early protesting Christians and answered by Bellarmine.

Most Christians of any stripe don’t anyway believe Antichrist will come in the form of a real person, whose presence and reign will signal the End Of The World. The literal end. The Final Finis. The Big Bye Bye. The Terminal Ta-Ta. The —- (you fill some in).

Because of all this, there is not much point spending time explaining the mistakes about the Pope Bellarmine took such pains to refute. We can still do something interesting with his book, for though it wasn’t his main purpose, Bellarmine, a Doctor of the Catholic Church and thus a man to be heeded, provided us with a primer on who the real Antichrist will be.

First, he will be a real person and not a concept. Before he arrives, Christ tells us the Gospel must be preached to the “whole world”. That seems almost a done deal, the exposure being complete except for a very few remaining isolated tribes.

Second, the complete “desolation of the Roman Empire” must happen.

[I]t must be known that the Roman empire was divided into ten kings, none of whom will be called “King of the Romans,” although all will occupy some provinces of the Roman Empire in the same way the King of France, the King of Spain, the Queen of England and by chance some others hold parts of the Roman Empire; at length they are not Roman kinds or emperors, but until they cease to hold these dominions Antichrist cannot come.

This is derived from various prophecies in the Book of Daniel and Revelation and was the opinion (or deduction) of Church fathers. After this desolation, “Satan will be loosed” and “Then there will be a great tribulation, such as had not been from the beginning of the world, nor will be” (Matthew 24). Enoch and Elijah, who never died, will return and tell the world exactly what it doesn’t want to hear. They will be killed for their troubles, be hung out to dry for three days, be resurrected, that miracle causing many to come to their senses.

Now everybody knows that 666 is the number of the Beast, but nobody has any proof of what that means precisely, though there have been a plethora of theories from a host of amateur numerologists. Bellarmine dissects a number of attempts, all of which (as is clear) have proven false. Some saints say curiosity kills, especially in regard to 666, as it could encourage worship of Antichrist. My idea is that this number will turn out to be banal and thus dismissable by those confronted with it.

Everybody also has heard that all will be required to have “the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” on their forehead or right hand to buy or sell. That seemed far-fetched until the rise of our surveillance state and the au courant practice of banks excluding dissident right accounts. Implementing a world-wide system to do this systematically is still, we might guess, a decade or two out. The world is a big place, but shrinking rapidly. There is a reason for the neologism globohomo.

That bit should be emphasized, because it is clear, though Bellarmine does not stress it, that Antichrist worship will be worldwide, with events happening and with people coming to knowledge of those events with some rapidity. That kind of instantaneous communication and marshaling of official action would never have been possible even fifty years ago.

Antichrist’s birth will not be miraculous, though it may be painted as such. He will not be the devil incarnate, though he will be possessed by Satan, perhaps from birth. He will be a real man, made from a man’s seed, however implanted, in a real woman. The woman could be a prostitute or similar; she will at least be unmarried. She will be a Jew, probably from the tribe of Dan.

1) Antichrist will come particularly on account of the Jews, and will be received by them as if he were a Messiah; 2) He is going to be born from the nation and race of the Jews, be circumcised, and shall observe the Sabbath, at least for a time.

…Therefore, just as Christ first came to the Jews to whom he had been promised and by whom he had been awaited, and at length also joined the nations to himself, so also Antichrist will first come to the Jews, by whom he is awaited…

Antichrist will rule from Jerusalem, which will be “spiritually called Sodom and Gomorrah” (Rev. 11), and he will be the “king” of three nations, perhaps Israel, Syria and Egypt. his “kingdom” will subjugate the other seven of the ten remnants of the Roman Empire. This subjection won’t necessarily be by force, but could be obtained through diplomacy and could merely mean that Israel sets the pace. Rome itself, which is to say the Seat of the Church, will be overthrown, this time literally.

Antichrist, “will show himself zealous for Jewish laws”, and will attempt to or will rebuild the Jewish Temple, though Bellarmine thinks the attempt will ultimately fail. The “abomination of desolation” will be the mandatory ceasing of offering of the Mass. “Antichrist will command all temples of the world to be converted to his worship, and he will make he own person worshiped.” This implies a one-world, ecumenical-to-the-nth-degree religion. Note that this only has to be promulgated by leaders, and not embraced by all people. This no longer seems an impossible prospect.

Not surprisingly, Antichrist will openly deny Jesus is Christ. He will insist he himself is Christ. He will permit no idolatry. He will work miracles, all of which will be demonically assisted fakes. He will feign death via an injury to his head, and wondrously come back from simulated death. My own guess is that he will say he is harnessing quantum powers of the universe, or some such thing, and that others could do miracles, too, once they reached his, Antichrist’s, level of enlightenment; he’ll say that he is somehow the conduit for these powers. People will need such a greedy reason to follow him. I imagine many very minor “miracles”, also demonically assisted, occurring around the globe.

The Jews, always wanting a militaristic Messiah, will believe and follow Antichrist, and will probably find satisfaction in the great persecution (payback?) of Christians that follows.

But the Jews might not be the only tribe which enthusiastically accepts Antichrist. Muslims are awaiting the Twelfth Imam whose presence signals the End. But Muslims also believe Jesus himself will return and slay Antichrist. Buddhists see Maitreya coming, who again shows up for the final battle. Hindus say it will be Vishnu. And so, curiously, on. The world has always been waiting for its end.

What might not be clear is that many Christians might also accept Antichrist. This could be due to a false interpretation of Revelation 20, from which is derived a millennialism or chiliasm, a supposed 1000-year reign of Jesus on earth, a time in which there will be no war or pain.

In Revelation 20, John saw an angel bind Satan: the angel “set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.” The Church says we are in this period now, where the “thousand years” is lyrical for a long time.

“Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea.” We are waiting for the expiration of these 1,000 years, after which it will be in the most frightening sense Hell on earth.

Yet some protesting Christians think this binding will happen after the Antichrist’s reign. These people say Antichrist’s advent will be preceded by a “rapture”, where the sinless (?) are snatched away before Antichrist wreaks his havoc. Others say the Millennium will first happen, then possibly a rapture, then a short period of Antichrist’s rule. Either way, it is thus not a stretch to see how these well-meaning but mistaken folks can be fooled into thinking Antichrist is on their side, since Antichrist will, at first, provide the peace they are anticipating. It is also likely not a coincidence that these Christians are ardent supporters of modern-day Israel.

After Armageddon, Antichrist will be slain. Satan will attempt to raise his body toward the heavens in a cloud, in mimicry of Christ’s Ascension; but he will be cast down on the way up.

There will be only two months left of this earth after Antichrist dies. A final moment for the survivors to make their last decision. After which, “the heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare” (2 Peter 3:10).


Bellarmine had the opinion, which he conceded was a guess, that mankind would get some 6,000 years of history (to pattern after Genesis’s six days), which in 1590 meant we had about 400 years to go. This coincides, thereabouts, with the same guess the Mayans made about 2012. Which is to say, about now.

It is true many have said “the time is now”, but that is nothing. We must avoid the One True Spartacus Fallacy, which says that because every man claimed to be Spartacus, there was no true Spartacus. Because so many have guessed wrong does not mean everybody will guess wrong.

My own prediction, not well thought out, is that we have some time left. If I was to wishcast, I’d say within two decades. But, more soberly, I’d say the End won’t come in our lifetimes. My reason is that this book review exists. There are still many in the world who avow Christianity, though the number of orthodox is shrinking fast. Too many people know about these prophecies. It would be bad strategy for Antichrist to come at a time when many are on the watch for him.

On the other hand, we have scripture (Luke 17:26-29):

And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.

Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.

In other words, expect the Lord to come like a thief in the night. Motus in fine velocior.

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  1. c matt


    As I always say, the end has to come sometime. As for the great apostasy, I doubt Scripture meant 100% apostasy. Hard to say where we are now, but I would not be surprised if true believers (meaning those who actually hold the true faith reasonably accurately) amount to ca. 10%. Maybe 20% being the generous fellow that I am. That sounds like a pretty large apostasy, given that the faith probably was in the upper 80s at least at its peak, and in Bellarmine’s time. But like they say, it’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future.

  2. Sheri

    It’s not 666, it’s three sperm signifying the complete perversion of sexuality. We seem to be well on our way, with anyone not practicing sexual perversion vilified. The “mark” is already required to sell—you must approve of perversion or be run out of business, as is noted in the post.

    The end of the earth will come when women attain complete power in the world. Eve took us out of Eden, women will cause the destruction of the world. Women took us out of marriage and pushed for fornication and prostitution. If the prediction in the blog is correct, this would explain how and why it happened that the anti-Christ is a popular illegitimate child.

    The anti-Christ will be a soy-boy, who runs the world as the figurehead for the women. The power will be behind him, not in him, but as the world becomes an estrogen lake, the soy-boy will have much power and be worshipped by all, though not always by choice.

    “That kind of instantaneous communication and marshaling of official action would never have been possible even fifty years ago.”
    It’s not the communication, it’s the mass stupidity that makes it possible. The communication would be useless if humans used their brains.

    “People will need such a greedy reason to follow him.” Not any more. See the paragraph above. Stupidity works.

    “the elements will be destroyed by fire” Global warming, of course.

    This does not mean we are at the end. We may simply kill off millions in a horrendous war, as happened in the past, and move on until we reach the appointed time. The past is full of predicted apocalypses.

  3. Sander Van Der Wal

    Regarding the parts of the Roman Empire governed by kings, England and Spain are still monarchies, so are Belgium and The Netherlands. Luxembourg is a Grand Duchy. Whether these monarchies are good enough remains to be seen. Morocco is a monarchy too, with a king who is quite powerfull.

    All other parts of the Roman Empire are now governed by presidents. Italy, France, Portugal, Switserland, Greece, the Balkan States, Turkey, Syria, Irak, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Tunesia.

    There are a couple of toy states, Monaco, Andorra, which are Duchys, or Principalities.

  4. c matt

    Well, technically I guess England and Spain have monarchies, but are they really ruled by them?

    By the way, I mis-typed England as “Engaldn” and the auto-correct offered “Bengal” as the only option, wtf?

  5. Joy

    Follow the money…who’s bearing the news? Who’s paying for the stories?
    Don’t you think your response is precisely where authors of fake news get their kicks? Proper responses are made difficult, divide and conquer, arbitrary binning, rinse and repeat.

    Those sixes will just swim in circles, you want oldie worldie font to get anything resembling something that might swim straight.
    Nines aren’t much better, they don’t know which way up they are. All done up, nowhere to go.

    Then there’s legs eleven, she’s no better than “she ought to be.”
    Then there’s the treble two? Very suspish’ young swans? signets?

    However, this font is easier to see. The blue’s refreshing, too.

    Can we keep Donald Trump?
    Or let me rephrase that, We’re keeping him.
    You can have Hilary or the other one.

    “No need to resort to tin foil hats….he’s ours now!”

  6. John Watkins

    An excellent summary of St. Bellarmine. As for The End, I think we have much water yet to pass under the bridge before we are there. Specifically, the Fatima prophecy seems to place a chastisement (and subsequent peace, for a time) between now and The End. At least, I’m hoping (praying) that this is so. Until Russia converts, visibly, and yields to authority (the Orthodox Church, that is), I see only continued trouble. But who knows, she just might do it!

  7. Uncle Mike

    Why is the Book of Revelation even in the Bible? It’s a farce of Dark Age pagan voodoo babble. On whose “authority” is it the Word of God?

    So much of Catholicism is poorly revised pagan claptrap. The actual Message of Jesus is buried in such nonsense. Yet even so-called moderns seem to need the wacky stuff; witness the hysteria over the allegedly pending Hotpocalypse.

    You all decry Muslims for saying “There is no God but God” — claiming with absolutely no logic that there are three or four Gods: God the Father, God the Son, Ghost God, Mrs. God, etc. It’s like 3rd graders berating 4th graders for their lack of sophistication.

    Plus the obsession with boss angels, sub angels, pinhead dancing angels, angels in the smoke, personal angels, space alien angels, and all manner of supernatural demigods — it’s all pandering to paganism for what purpose? What was useful in 300 AD ain’t so much anymore.

    I’m not an atheist but gee whiz, do we all have to knuckle under to theo-gibberish to get a gold star from the “true” believers? Grow up, please. You, not the Pope, are dismantling Christianity.

  8. Joy

    Uncle Mike, well put. On angels, structuring of heaven, the pope, lizards, aliens, more like pranksters. I nearly dismissed the whole thing altogether. There really are pranksters though, human ones. Very amateur. Seem to think they’re saving the planet
    Changes nothing. Nobody has the answer. Just sound logic or no.
    “Nature teaches beats to know their friends.”
    It was wrong to only read the article as far as ta’-ta’ TTFN, tatti’flelarious “see ya’ wouldn’t wanna be ya’, world”,
    Decided Mr Briggs didn’t believe it given the prediction and all the satan talk.

    Noted the suggestion “curiosity”, with “the beast”. Why of course! the cat!

    Our Larry the number 10 cat, took refuge under the beast when ‘inside it’ wasn’t permitted, he refused to move for security!
    (Normally has his own security staff (policeman) at hand to open doors for him. He don’t need no stinking badges! 🙂

    “Pussy cat pussy cat where have you been?
    “I’ve been to London to visit the queen!”
    Apparently he refused to move for Theresa the day she announced her resignation, they had to pick him up and put him indoors. when she walked back in tears, he sat in the middle of the mat and she had to walk round him. Must have made her smile.

  9. The Forerunner to the Antichrist will come first.
    And he will be a Nationalist…..
    “A forerunner of the Antichrist, with his troops gathered from several nations, will fight against the true Christ, the only Saviour of the world. He will shed much blood and will want to annihilate the worship of God to make himself be looked upon as a God. Our Lady of La Salette 19 Sept. 1846 (Published by Mélanie 1879)
    Try to identify the Forerunner to the Antichrist.

  10. It is the Forerunner to the Antichrist who will with his Nationalist Army will murder the Fatima Pope and Faithful on top a Steep Mountain:

    Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father’. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. The third part of the secret revealed at the Cova da Iria-Fatima, on 13 July 1917.

    Try and identify this steep Mountain where the Forerunner to the Antichrist Murders the Fatima Pope….

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