Interesting read from another blog:
The Gospel from St. Luke, as well as in the Gospels of Saints Matthew and Mark, Jesus warns us: “Do not be deceived, for many will come in my name saying, ‘I am he.’” Here Our Lord is speaking of many false Christs, or “antichrists,” who will come throughout the centuries and will lead people away from His true Gospel and the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church that He founded on Peter.
In his first epistle, St. John the Evangelist speaks of “many antichrists” who will come; he describes them in these words: “Who is the Antichrist? He who denies that Jesus is the Christ, and who denies the Father and the Son, is an antichrist (1 Jn. 2:22). In fact, there have been many antichrists throughout history – precursors of the final Antichrist; some who were religious leaders: like Arius (the 4th century priest who denied that Jesus was the eternal Son of God), Mohammed, the founder of Islam (who likewise denied that Jesus was God), and Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism (which embraces polytheism); some who were secular leaders: like the Emperor Nero, and more recently, Hitler, Stalin and Mao Zedong.
But immediately before Jesus’ Second Coming, the final Antichrist will come – he of whom St. Paul refers in 2 Thessalonians as “the lawless one” and the “man of perdition” (2:3) who “exalts himself above every so-called god . . . claiming that he is a god” (2:4). This is the man St. John, in the Book of Revelation, refers to as “the Beast” (ch. 13) and assigns him the mysterious number of “666” (13:18). This “man of iniquity” will openly deny Our Lord Jesus Christ to be the Son of God who came in the flesh. Christ came in the name of His Father; the Antichrist will come, as Jesus tells us, “in his own name” (Jn. 5:43).
What will be the signs, and what will pave the way, for worldwide acceptance of this great deceiver, the Antichrist? St. Paul reveals to us in 2 Thess. that before the “man of perdition” appears, there must first come “the great apostasy,” i.e, the great falling away from the faith by masses of people throughout the world. Once people have fallen away from the true faith and belief in Jesus Christ, they will be ready to accept someone who deceives them into thinking that he is the Messiah.
Saints and scholars are of the opinion that the Antichrist will come at a time when there will be great upheaval in the world, possibly when powerful nations will be on the brink of war; the Antichrist will then appear on the world scene, masquerading as a man of peace. He will deceive government leaders throughout the world, who will hand over to him all political and economic power; then, when his power is consolidated, he will try to impose a false religion, false worship, and ultimately demand worship of himself.
Both the Prophet Daniel and the Book of Revelation reveal that the Antichrist will rule the world for 3 ½ years (in imitation of Christ’s 3 ½ years of public ministry); during which time he will bring a true reign of terror upon the Church, and will unleash the last and greatest persecution upon the faithful that the world has ever seen. The Prophet Daniel says: “It shall be a time unsurpassed in distress since nations began until that time. . . . many shall fall away and evil shall increase” (Dan. Ch. 12).
Some saints think that the persecution will be so great that, during the reign of the Antichrist, the Mass will not be offered publicly anywhere in the world, based on the Prophet Daniel’s words: “He [the Antichrist] will abolish sacrifice and oblation” (i.e., the Sacrifice of the Mass).
But it will also be the time of the greatest saints and martyrs, those who are most devoted to Our Lady – because, as the Book of Genesis (3:15) tells us, the battle will be between the serpent (Satan) and “the woman” (Mary), between his seed and Her seed (i.e., Mary’s Son, Our Lord), and She will crush his head.
Finally, Jesus will bring the Antichrist’s reign to an end, at which time, with his Second Coming, Christ’s Kingdom will be definitively established.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church gives us sound teaching and guidance on these matters:
675 “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. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo [or false] messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.”
677 “The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, . . . only by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil, . . . God’s triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgment after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.”
When will all these things happen? When will the Antichrist make his appearance? Could we live to see the day?
In a 1957 interview, Lucia with Fr. Augustine Fuentes, who at that time was the postulator for the cause of canonization of the other two Fatima visionaries, Jacinta and Francisco, Sister Lucy said this to him:
“Father, the Most Holy Virgin did not tell me that we are in the last times of the world, but She made me understand this for [the following] reasons. The first reason is because She told me that the devil is in the mood for engaging in a decisive battle against the Virgin. And a decisive battle is the final battle where one side will be victorious, and the other side will suffer defeat. Hence from now on we must choose sides. Either we are for God or we are for the devil. There is no other possibility.”
“The second reason is because She said to my cousins as well as to myself that God is giving two last remedies to the world. These are the Holy Rosary and Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
AVE MARIA ET LAUDETUR CHRISTUS JESUS!