The System of Antichrist and September 11 by Charles Upton
<a href="http://www.seriousseekers.com/News%20and%20Articles/article_upton_sept11_antichrist.htm">The System of Antichrist and September 11</a>
by Charles Upton
(Excerpted from the book, <a href="http://www.seriousseekers.com/Books/Books_trad_friends_1_5_7/books_upton_c_system.htm">The System of Antichrist</a>)
Globalism and Antichrist (pp. 41-44)
Globalism and One World Government, in my opinion, are not the system of Antichrist, though they are among the factors which will make that regime possible. I believe the system of Antichrist will emerge—is in fact emerging—out of the conflict between the New World Order and the spectrum of militant reactions against it.
In Jesus’ time, the One World Government was the Roman Empire. The Zealots were the anti-Roman revolutionaries and/or militias. Jesus was careful not to be drawn into making statements which would compromise the Zealot cause and make him appear as a Roman collaborator. But he also related to Roman military officers, and toadies of Rome like the Jewish tax collectors, in ways that scandalized many Jewish nationalist patriots. He emerged from the common people oppressed both by Rome and by the colonial Jewish ruling classes who did Rome’s dirty work, and he denounced those sectors of the ruling class—the Scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees and Herodians—who made common cause with the Empire, while speaking no word against the Zealots and Essenes, who did not. But he did not identify with the violent “vanguard” who acted in the people’s name. So we can say that if Christ worked to avoid being identified either with the Roman Empire or with its militant opponents, by the same token we should be careful not to strictly identify Antichrist either with One World Government or with anti-globalist terrorism. Together they will provide the milieu out of which he will emerge; but just as Christ avoided being claimed by either party because it was his mission redeem not the Jews alone but all humanity, so Antichrist will “play both sides against the middle” in the latter days to build his power over all aspects of the human soul. Antichrist is not primarily the enemy of democracy or national autonomy, in other words, but of Humanity itself, considered as made in the image and likeness of God. In its deepest essence, the battle between Christ and Antichrist is not between freedom and tyranny (though where true freedom is, the Antichrist cannot come), nor between traditional religious bodies and secular society (though the field of this conflict may, at least in some cases, be closer to the real war), but that between the sacred presence of God in the human heart, and the sacrilegious violation of that presence: “When ye therefore shall see the Abomination of Desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whoso readeth, let him understand), then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains” (Matthew 24:15-16).
Globalism is in the process of destroying all traditional and national cultures, undermining and compromising all traditional religious forms. But to simply oppose all planning and action on a global scale is also problematic. The ironic truth is that given globalism, we need globalism. If business is international, unions must be international too, or wages might eventually be driven below the subsistence level everywhere. If epidemics are global, public health efforts must cross national boundaries. If pollution is global, efforts to limit it must be global. If crime is global, the police must be also. If “emerging” nations and terrorist gangs develop weapons of mass destruction, efforts must be made to limit their spread. We have no choice but to try and manage the earth on a planetary level. But the struggle to accomplish this is itself producing ambiguous results. If the powers that be can use environmentalism, public health efforts, armed peacemaking and the war against international crime, terrorism and the drug trade to further consolidate their power, they will. Or rather, they are. Anyone who opposes the effort to save the environment or cut into the international drug trade or limit the possibility of nuclear terrorism is working against the best interests of humanity and the earth. But anyone who identifies with these efforts or places his or her hopes in them is deluded. The earth cannot be managed on a planetary level because the forces of globalism which aspire to do the managing—global business and finance in other words, followed and not led by the trend toward political unification—are the same forces which are creating these problems in the first place. The global spread of industry and exploitation of resources—originated and presently driven, despite the communist interlude, by trans-national capitalism—are the origin of environmental degradation. By destroying traditional subsistence economies and proletarianizing labor—helped greatly in this by the brutal collectivization of agriculture, at the expense of tens of millions of lives, in communist Russia and China—by exploiting cheap labor and threatening national and religious cultural identities, the forces of global capitalism have themselves created the global underground trade in drugs, weapons, endangered animal species, slaves....all monuments to the entrepreneurial spirit. Only a One World Government could possibly limit the destructive power of these international economic forces. But when and if such a government emerges, even though it may have some mitigating influence on global disasters, it will be the agent of these forces, not their adversary.
Politics is the art of the ephemeral. Whatever of human value is gained through political action is temporary, ambiguous and corruptible. This is the nature of time and history—of matter itself. Action for social justice, action to save the environment are laudable. Every person who can avoid being crushed by circumstances without becoming an exploiter and oppressor of others is a blessing to the race. Every species which can be saved from extinction remains as an incomparable mirror of one unique aspect of the Divine nature, and may (or may not) add to the biodiversity available in the next cycle of terrestrial manifestation, since we can’t absolutely know whether or not the end of this aeon must entail the total destruction of all life on earth, or even all human life; all we know is that it will be the end for “us.”
But the battle against Antichrist is on a different level. Though for some it may include a political expression, it is essentially spiritual. “My kingdom is not of this world.” It is a struggle to save, not the world, but the human soul—starting, and finishing if necessary, with one’s own.
The Transcendent Unity of Religions vs. The System of Antichrist (pp. 489-491)
According to Apocalypse 20:7-8, “....when the thousand years are expired [the millennium during which the devil is bound, identified by Orthodox theologians as the church age], Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.” According to The Apocalypse of St. John: An Orthodox Commentary by Archbishop Averky of Jordanville, the meaning of Gog in Hebrew is “a gathering” or “one who gathers”, and of Magog “an exaltation” or “one who exalts”. “Exaltation” suggests to me the idea of transcendence as opposed to unity, “gathering” the idea of unity as opposed to transcendence. The implication, here, is that one of the deepest deceptions of Antichrist in the last days of the cycle will be to set these two integral aspects of the Absolute in opposition to each other in the collective mind, and on a global scale, in “the four quarters of the earth”. As for the economic and political expression of this barren satanic polarity, the false cohesion of left-wing tyranny, as well as today’s global capitalism, would fall under Gog, while both the false hierarchicalism of right-wing tyranny and the violent absolutism of the various “tribal” separatist movements opposed to globalism, both ethnic and religious, would come under Magog. In terms of religion, those liberal, historicist, evolutionist, quasi-materialist and crypto-Pagan theologies which emphasize God’s immanence as opposed to His transcendence are part of Gog, while those reactionary theologies which exalt transcendence over immanence, look on the material world as a vale of tears, denigrate the human body, and view the destruction of nature with indifference if not secret approval, since the best we can hope for is to get it all over with, are part of Magog. The conflict between the two is precisely the satanic counterfeit of the true eschatological conflict described in Apocalypse 19:11-20, between the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and the Beast with his false prophet. Those who can be lured to fight in a counterfeit war between elements which ought to be reconciled, because they are essentially parts of the same reality as seen in a distorting mirror, will miss their call to fight in the true war between forces which neither should nor can be reconciled: those of the Truth and those of the Lie. (NOTE: Globalism, insofar as it sets the stage for the emergence of Guenon’s “inverted hierarchy,” also contains the seed of Magog, while tribalism, as the common inheritance of all who are excluded from the global elite, holds the seed of Gog: in the latter days, no party or class or sector can long retain its ideological stability; the “rate of contradiction” approaches the speed of light.)
In a world profoundly polarized between the Gog of syncretist globalism and the Magog of exclusivist “tribalism”—a word which is beginning to denote what used to be called “nationalism” or “patriotism” or “loyalty to one’s religion”—the Transcendent Unity of Religions clearly represents a middle path, or third force, at least in the religious field. It is equally opposed to the universalism of the global elites and the violent self-assertion of the fundamentalist “tribes” oppressed and marginalised by these elites. Perhaps this is one reason why groups and individuals who hold to this doctrine have been subjected to the immense degree of psychic pressure which observers on the outskirts of the Traditionalist School, such as myself, cannot fail to note. It is reasonable to conjecture that Antichrist would like nothing better than to subvert and discredit the Traditionalists, since the Transcendent Unity of Religions is one of the few worldviews that could possibly stand in the way of the barren and terminal conflict between globalism and tribalism which is the keynote of his “system” in the social arena.
If all possible alternatives to the struggle between globalism and tribalism disappear from the collective mind, then Antichrist has won. He can use economic and political globalism and the universalism of a “world fusion spirituality” to subvert and oppress all integral religions and religious cultures, forcing them to narrow their focus and violate the fullness of their own traditions in reaction against it. He can drive them to bigoted and terroristic excesses which will make them seem barbaric and outdated in the eyes of those wavering between a global and a tribal identification, and set them at each other’s throats at the same time. Unite to oppress; divide and conquer.
In this light, we can see that the exclusivism of conservative and/or traditional Christianity is both its greatest strength and its greatest weakness; the same could be said, with certain reservations, of Judaism and Islam. The exclusivism of these Abrahamic religions allows them to consciously fortify themselves against the System of Antichrist -- Christianity by its “catacomb spirit,” its ability, ultimately derived from monasticism, to build spiritual fortresses against the world, and Islam by the fact that dar al-Islam remains the largest bloc of humanity which, in part, is still socially and politically organized around a Divine Revelation, although to greatly varying degrees, as were Medieval Europe and the Byzantine Empire. On the other hand, their very exclusivism has prevented these religions, in all but a few instances, from making common cause against and globalist universalism and secularism. They remain vulnerable to the “divide and conquer” tactics of the system of Antichrist, a phase which could well be the prelude, if traditional eschatological speculations such as those found in Dennis E. Engleman’s Ultimate Things are to be believed, to a later “unite to oppress” phase —a capitulation by the exhausted exclusivists, longing for the end of endless conflict, to the satanic universalism of Antichrist himself.
According to Ultimate Things, Antichrist will reveal himself in Jerusalem and proclaim himself King of the Jews; the Jewish nation, as well as many Christians, will accept him. From the Islamic perspective, however, any world ruler who begins as a King of the Jews and is later submitted to by the Christians would be immediately and universally recognized as Antichrist himself. It is inconceivable, unless traditional and even fundamentalist Islam were to virtually disappear, that such a figure could tempt Muslims to accept him as the Mahdi or the eschatological Jesus. So if the predictions Engleman recounts are in any way accurate, he is in fact presenting, as the most likely eschatological scenario, a mass apostasy of Jews and Christians which would leave only the Muslims aware of who Antichrist really is, and ready to do battle with him. How then could Antichrist emerge as a true global monarch, albeit a satanic one? Perhaps the militant opposition of an Islam discredited in the eyes of the rest of the world to an almost universally admired “savior” is the very thing which will ultimately consolidate his power. I hasten to say that this is in no way a prediction; God forbid. I am simply allowing myself to imagine various scenarios based on the quality of ultimate irony and self-contradiction which is the keynote of all historical forces in these latter days.
The looming One World Government shows many signs of being the predicted regime of Antichrist. But as I have already pointed out, it’s not quite that simple, since the “tribal” forces reacting against globalism are ultimately part of the same system. According to one of many possible scenarios, the satanic forces operating at the end of the Aeon would be quite capable of establishing a One World Government only to set the stage for the emergence of Antichrist as the great leader of a world revolution against this government, which, if it triumphed, would be the real One World Government. Or the martyrdom of Antichrist at the hands of such a government might be a deliberate or even staged self-sacrifice, counterfeiting the death of Christ and leading to a counterfeit resurrection. I am not saying that this will happen; I am not prognosticating. I only wish to point out that Antichrist, as a counterfeit manifestation of the Divine universality, will have the capacity to use all sides in any conflict, including a global one, to build his power—except the ultimate Messianic Conflict, called Armageddon in the Apocalypse, which is initiated and concluded by God Himself….
It is quite astounding to realize that, according to one view of the situation, the same socio-political “slots” exist in Palestine today as in the time of Jesus, two thousand years ago, though they are occupied by profoundly different forces. The Israeli Government stands where the Scribes and Pharisees then stood. The militant Palestinians occupy the niche of the Zealots. The United States and/or the U.N. can stand-in for the Roman Empire. And the unique position of Jesus, at the crux or cross where all contemporary social forces converged, is now occupied by Yasser Arafat, crucified as he is on the horns of every contradiction....but clearly Arafat is no Jesus; he in no way transcends the conditions he occupies; he is merely the puppet of them.
Jesus of Nazareth was deeply aware of contemporary political forces. On the human level, he had to be. This did not mean, of course, that he was some kind of political revolutionary; he may in fact have needed a certain political savvy simply to avoid being forced to take sides -- for or against the party of the Temple in its accommodation with Rome, for or against the Zealots—in a world where everyone apparently had to take sides, where everything was moving inexorably toward the Jewish Revolt of 66 A.D. For example, when his opponents challenged him to answer, in public, whether or not in was lawful to pay the Roman tax, they thought they had him. If he had said “yes,” he would lose his following in the Zealot sector, who, because they interpreted the tax an act of emperor-worship, which had been officially established in some Roman provinces, considered it a blasphemy against Yah-weh, especially since the Roman denarius in which the tax was to be paid bore an image of the emperor, seen by the Zealots as an idol, a “graven image.” He would also have lost his moral authority to criticize the Scribes and Pharisees, who had made an accommodation with the Roman colonial government. He would have been drawn into the party of the temple authorities, at least in the eyes of the people, which would have alienated him from both the Zealots and the Essenes. On the other hand, if he said “no,” he would have been simply identified with the Zealots, and would have lost touch with his wider public. He would also have been liable to premature arrest on a provable charge of sedition; consequently his death would have meant no more than the death of, say, someone like Barabbas. Like thousands of others, he would have died as a “one-dimensional” rebel against Rome, and been forgotten.
His way of passing through the “symplegades” of this socio-political contradiction represented a masterpiece of “sublimation,” and may give us a clue as to how to avoid being drawn into false or narrowly-defined conflicts, and travel instead the path which leads to the true war. First, he asked someone in the crowd to hand him the coin of tribute, thus demonstrating, first, that he had no money himself, that he was of the “poor” to whom he came to preach the “good news”—in Arabic, fuqara, the plural of fakir which synonymous with “Sufi”—and secondly that the “idolatrous” coin in question was in free circulation. Secondly, when he asked “whose image is this?” and was answered “Caesar’s,” he was distancing himself from the Zealots by clearly demonstrating that the coin could not be an idol for the simple reason that Caesar was not God, which is why one could render to Caesar what was Caesar’s without committing blasphemy. At the same time he was saying, in effect, that to send the image of the little false god back to him was in no way to worship him, but could even be seen as an act of condescension on the part of the Jews, who knew and worshipped the Living God; their self-respect, their privileged position as the chosen people could in no way be violated by humoring the petty narcissism of these little self-appointed Caesars. So without a marvelous degree of political and psychological savvy, Jesus would have inevitably have been drawn into political conflict, and his mission would have failed. (This, of course, is the situation seen from the standpoint of Jesus’ humanity; from the point-of-view of His Divinity, His mission was ordained by God; it could not fail.) And this object-lesson on how to avoid being drawn too far into premature and narrowly- defined political conflicts which compromise one’s spiritual perception and one’s readiness to heed God’s true call also has its esoteric side, as a “parable-in-action” of how to pass beyond the pairs-of-opposites and realize the Absolute. The Eastern Orthodox Christians interpret “what is Caesar’s” as the coin’s weight in gold, and “what is God’s” as the shape of a human being stamped upon it, made in the image and likeness of God. The matter of our lives will always belong to this world; our wealth will pass to others, as our bodies to the earth. But our form belongs to God in eternity, unto ages of ages. This is why, in the resurrection, it is capable of being newly “incarnated” in a glorious and incorruptible substance. The lesson is: that it is not the matter of our lives we must protect from the Antichrist—as certain survivalists clearly believe—but our form. In the latter days, as always, the real struggle is not to retain our possessions, or even our lives, but to avoid losing our souls. Ultimately, this is all that is required of us.
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