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The following is Part V in a series on Catholic teaching on the rise of the prophesied Antichrist. Read Part I here; Part II here; Part III here; and Part IV here.

(LifeSiteNews) — A key part of the Antichrist’s persecution will be in the imposition of a false religious system on the world, at the expense of the true religion. 

However, it would be more accurate to speak of several systems, in that Catholic authorities speak of a progression. For example, St. Robert Bellarmine states that there will be four parts to the Antichrist’s doctrine. According to his schema, and adding the preliminary stage of preparing for his coming, the Antichrist will:  

  1. Arrive when very many have fallen away from God and the true religion
  2. Deny the true Christ, prohibit Christian institutions, and impose Jewish laws and rites. 
  3. Proclaim himself to be the true Messiah or Christ, and will deceive the Jewish people with these claims 
  4. Proclaim himself to be God, and be worshiped as such “in the temple of God” 
  5. Curse all other gods (including the true God) and idols.[1]

In the latter stages, it seems that the Antichrist will abandon any pretense of being the Jewish Messiah. At that stage, he will persecute not only the true Catholic religion, but also all false religions and even the sects which assisted him.[2]

However, many writers believe that he will begin with a show of benevolence in his denial of Christianity and the imposition of some form of the Jewish religion. 

We have seen previously that Catholic theology and prophecy holds that the Antichrist will present himself as the Moshiach (Messiah), and that the Jewish people will accept him as such. A key reason for this is that he will successfully fulfil the conditions which they expect of their earthly Moshiach.  

In this part, we shall see that this also applies to the religious systems which will be imposed. 

Early stages of the Antichrist reign 

Many Catholic authorities draw links between the Antichrist, the Temple and the Jewish religion.  

St. Robert Bellarmine gives some examples:  

[St Cyril of Jerusalem] says in Catechism 15 that he will be very zealous for the temple in Jerusalem in order to show that he is from the race of David; finally, also [St Gregory the Great] in Book 11 in Letter 3 says that Antichrist will be a promoter of the Sabbath observance and of other Jewish ceremonies.[3]

Fr. Charles Arminjon – in a book which St. Therese warmly praised in her famous autobiography[4] – explicitly refers to the Jerusalem Temple, and links the Jewish religion with that which will be imposed by the Antichrist: 

At first Antichrist will convince the Jews that he is the Messias. In order to deceive them the more successfully, he will hide behind a mask of moderation and feigned holiness.  

When St. Paul tells us that he will have himself worshipped in the temple of God, he seems to imply that he will rebuild the temple of Jerusalem, utterly destroyed by Titus; consequently, he will prescribe circumcision and, for a time, restore the bloody sacrifices and the other rites of the Judaic religion.[5]

The religion which Jewish authorities expect from the Moshiach 

This aligns with what is expected by some Jewish authorities. For example, the enormously influential Rabbi Maimonides states that once the Moshiach has rebuilt the Temple, it will become the focus of a worldwide religion:  

He will then improve the entire world, motivating all the nations to serve God together, as Tzephaniah 3:9 states: ‘I will transform the peoples to a purer language that they all will call upon the name of God and serve Him with one purpose.[6] (Emphasis added) 

And elsewhere: 

In that era, there will be neither famine or war, envy or competition for good will flow in abundance and all the delights will be freely available as dust. The occupation of the entire world will be solely to know God. 

Therefore, the Jews will be great sages and know the hidden matters, grasping the knowledge of their Creator according to the full extent of human potential, as Isaiah 11:9 states: “The world will be filled with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the ocean bed.”[7](Emphases added) 

However, Maimonides and others definitely do not understand this to mean that the whole world would become Jewish.  

Rather, they held that the earthly Moshiach will restore the full Jewish religion for them, and that together they will teach and impose “knowledge of God” on the nations through the seven Noahide Laws  

In this way, supposedly, the Moshiach and the Jewish people will complete their role as “a light to the nations/gentiles.”   

Is this a contradiction with what Catholic writers have said about the Antichrist? 

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Will the Noahidism of the Moshiach suppress Christianity? 

The Noahide Laws are the basis of a religion consisting of a minimalist set of ethical norms and a vague recognition of monotheism (or even deism).  

According to the paradigm of the Jewish religion, the Mosaic covenant is specifically for the Jewish people – with the Noahide religion being another form of what Maimonides calls “the true faith.”[8] Rabbi Benamozegh calls Noahidism “the only religion which is incumbent on all who are not Israelites.”[9]  

Judaism and the Noahide religion are (he claims) the two expressions of the “true faith” for Jew and Gentile respectively.  

The imposition of the Noahide Laws, of which Maimonides speaks, would seem to be to the detriment of Christianity. As previously discussed, the Noahide religion and Christianity are mutually incompatible.  

Noahidism considers Christianity to be a form of idolatry and would need to be “purified” of its fundamental dogmas in order to become acceptable. In the same section, Maimonides directly denies that Our Lord was the true Messiah, and then adds:  

When the true Messianic king will arise and prove successful, his position becoming exalted and uplifted, they [the Gentiles] will all return and realize that their ancestors endowed them with a false heritage and their prophets and ancestors caused them to err.[10]  

From the Christian perspective, Noahidism is an attempt to propose what Fr. Edward Cahill called “a code of morals and a principle of human virtue and beneficence independent of God” and Jesus Christ, and is the essence of “naturalism.”[11]

Fr. Fahey explains this concept further:  

[Naturalism is a] revolt against the order of the Divine Life, when this life has been restored to us by our membership of Christ, and maintain[ing] that all social life should be organized on the basis of that denial.[12] 

Christianity cannot make peace with Noahidism, because it is a form of naturalism, in that it sets aside divine revelation and purports to make men good without regard for the supernatural order brought to us by Jesus Christ. 

It seems eminently possible that the Antichrist will restore aspects of the Jewish religion for the Jewish people, and establish the Noahide Laws, based around the Temple and the Jewish religion, for the Gentiles. 

Does St. Hildegard talk about the Noahide religion? 

The “dual approach” of the Jewish and Noahide religions corresponds with what St. Hildegard von Bingen (d. 1179) saw in her revelations about the times of the Antichrist/Moshiach. These revelations seem to have been approved by Pope Eugene III.[13]  

First, she writes that he will propose a simple and liberal doctrine, and reject baptism and the Gospel. She then puts words in his mouth which are similar to those expressed by Rabbi Benamozegh on the “purification” of Christianity in the previous parts:  

He will say, ‘Jesus of Nazareth is not the son of God, only a deceiver who gave himself out as God and the Church instituted by him is only superstition.’

The true Christ has come in his person. He will say, ‘I am the Savior of the world.’

Especially will he try to convince the Jews that he is the Messiah sent by God, and the Jews will accept him as such.[14]  

She then describes a naturalist religion very similar to the Noahide Laws, especially in that it is linked to the Jewish religion in the same way as they are:  

His doctrine of faith will be taken from the Jewish religion and seemingly will not differ much from the fundamental doctrine of Christianity, for he will teach that there is one God who created the world, who is omniscient and knows the thoughts of man and is just, who rewards the obeyers of his commands and the trespassers he chastises, who will raise all from the dead in due time.[15] (Emphases added)  

The idea of an anti-Chrisian religion “taken from the Jewish religion,” whilst being similar to Christianity in superficial ways, corresponds precisely to the Noahide religion  

St. Hildegard speaks in terms which recall all this Noahide minimalism, but more in terms of the earthly paradise of the Moshiach: 

Religion he will endeavor to make convenient. He will say that you need not fast and embitter your life by renunciation, as the people of former times did when they had no sense of God’s goodness. It will suffice to love God. He will let the people feast to their heart’s content so that they will pity the unfortunate people of former centuries.[16](Emphases added)  

St. Hildegard’s words also recall the naturalist philosophy of deism, associated with Freemasonry and the Enlightenment. Deism, itself a form of naturalism, holds that there is indeed one supreme being, but that he does not involve himself in the world.  

In a similar vein, the relationship between the Noahide adherent and God is quite unclear, with God appearing detached from the Noahide.  

The Noahide belief in God is commonly expressed merely as a prohibition of idols. Noahides are not commanded to observe the Sabbath rest in God’s honor, and Maimonides states that even such observation is worthy of death.[17]

Noahides “are not commanded to sanctify God’s name,” according to Maimonides, who at times writes as if it does not really matter if Noahides are coerced into violating these seven laws – even regarding worshipping false gods.[18]  

The Jewish writer Michael Kress notes that the Noahide religion is a relatively new movement, but that “embracing seven laws of basic morality does not a lifestyle make.”[19] He notes that it has “little or no active spiritual life, no prescribed ritual [or] liturgical life.”[20]

He calls it “a formless set of vague moral guidelines,” and explains how some Noahides have adopted certain practices taken from the Jewish religion as ways to fill “the void” and “lingering hole” left by “the lack of an active and defined spiritual life.”[21] 

St. Hildegard’s description of the religion of the Antichrist is quite similar. As such, while the Jewish religion is traditionally thought of as monotheistic, Noahidism appears to be a “practical” or “partial” deism, in which God is detached from the individual Noahide outside of a minimalist set of prohibitions – as St. Hildegard describes. 

Nor is St. Hildegard the only writer who writes as if the Antichrist’s religion – at least at the early stages – will be of a naturalist character. 

The naturalism of the Antichrist in other Catholic writers  

The much-loved F.r Frederick William Faber makes a similar point in a note about the Antichrist:  

His doctrine an apparent contradiction of no religion, yet a new religion. Comparison with French revolution.[22]

The French Revolution was the great triumph of naturalism and the ideals of Freemasonry. Fr. Bernard Kramer also suggests that the religion of the Antichrist may begin with naturalism and communism, in a continuation of the French Revolution:  

It may be communism or plain idolatrous paganism; it will comprise emperor-worship and devil-worship coupled with persecution of the true believers.  

[The elect] will know him at once as an impostor and will not be misled. He will be in league with the antichristian [naturalist] world-powers and adopt their principles of government and civil law 

As spiritual head of his empire, he may declare it treason against the state to accept Christianity or the moral law of God.[23]

In his 1898 Prophecy of the Popes, Fr. Joseph Maitre discusses the Antichrist’s religious persecution in light of the naturalism of the modern world: 

[W]e can recognize many characteristic traits in our epoch.  

One wishes, it is true, to speak of God, of religion. But religion for many is nothing more than a vague Deism which makes of the SUPREME BEING a sort of abstraction, afar off, indifferent to human affairs and the things of humanity.  

One speaks of love of men, of civism and of patriotism. But under these grand words the most odious egotism lies hidden. A vain philanthropy has replaced Christian Charity, the cult of reason and of matter has taken the place of the adoration of Christ and of respect for His Church, the source of true Charity 

And however the strong spirits, the independents allow themselves to be enchained by tyrannical bands, and abdicate their liberty for the benefit of those cursed societies which lead the modern world, Freemasonry, secret societies of every kind.[24]

The imposition of such naturalism would be a true persecution of the Church. Fr. Lémann states that the Antichrist’s persecution will entail at least two aspects: 

  • The outlawing of Christian teaching 
  • The obligation to teach error.[25]

In previous parts, we saw that the Noahide Laws and Christianity are mutually incompatible – and we can also see that these two aspects correspond to that mutual incompatibility.  

On the one hand, an imposition of the Noahide Laws could either outlaw or “purify” Christianity along naturalist lines; on the other, such an imposition could also require Christians to teach the false system of naturalism against the supernatural religion of Jesus Christ. 

Conclusion: The preparation for his coming 

Catholics know that any naturalism on the part of the Antichrist will soon give way to outright worship of the man himself. This is the implicit teaching of many authorities. This transition from naturalist humanism is also depicted in narrative form in Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson’s famous novel Lord of the World. 

However, what seems to be necessary for the early stages of Antichrist’s religious regime aligns with Jewish expectations of the earthly Moshiach, the Jerusalem Temple and the Noahide religion. 

In their respective paradigms, both Antichrist and Moshiach are expected to be accepted by the Jewish people, who will assist him in establishing and imposing a religion, linked to Judaism and based around the Jerusalem Temple – which will deny Christ and Christianity.   

Thus, those who are preparing the way for the Moshiach are, perhaps unwittingly, probably preparing the way for the Antichrist. 

This brings us to another similarity between the Catholic and Jewish views about this matter – namely, the striking alignment between exactly what will prepare the way for the Antichrist and Moshiach. 

This shall be the subject of the next part. 


1 St. Robert Bellarmine, in Controversies of the Christian Religion, p 89. From the Third General Controversy On the Sovereign Pontiff, Book III, On the Antichrist, Ch. 12. Trans. Fr Kenneth Baker, Keep the Faith Press, 2016.
2 Fr. Charles Arminjohn, The End of This Present World And The Mysteries Of The Life To Come, p 68. Sophia Institute Press, Manchester NH, 2008.
3 Bellarmine 891
4 “While reading this book my soul was flooded with a happiness quite supernatural. I experienced a foretaste of what God has prepared for those who love Him; and, seeing that eternal rewards are so much in excess of the petty sacrifices of this life, I yearned to love Our Lord, to love Him passionately, and to give Him countless proofs of affection while this was still in my power.” In Arminjon ix.
5 Arminjon 45.
6 Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, SeferShoftim, Melachim uMilchamot 11.4
7 Maimonides Ibid. 12.5
8 They [“the wicked Gentiles”] will all return to the true faith and no longer steal or destroy. Maimonides ibid. 12.1
9 Elijah Benamozegh, Israel and Humanity, p 243. Paulist Press, New York, 1995. https://archive.org/details/israelhumanity0000bena/page/243/
10 Maionides Ibid. 11.4
11 Fr Edward Cahill, The Framework of a Christian State, p 232. M.H. Gill & Son Ltd. Dublin, 1932.
12 Fr Denis Fahey, The Kingship of Christ and the Conversion of the Jewish Nation, pp 34. Christian Book Club of America, Palmdale CA., 1953
13 The Catholic Encyclopaedia writes: 

When about forty years of age Hildegard received a command to publish to the world what she saw and heard. She hesitated, dreading what people might think or say, though she herself was fully convinced of the Divine character of the revelations. But, continually urged, rebuked, and threatened by the inner voice, she manifested all to her spiritual director, and through him to the abbot under whose jurisdiction her community was placed. Then a monk was ordered to put in writing whatever she related; some of her nuns also frequently assisted her. The writings were submitted to the bishop (Henry, 1145-53) and clergy of Mainz, who pronounced them as coming from God. The matter was also brought to the notice of Eugene III (1145-53) who was at Trier in 1147. Albero of Cluny, Bishop of Verdun, was commissioned to investigate and made a favourable report. Hildegard continued her writings. 

Mershman, Francis. ”St. Hildegard.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. <https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07351a.htm>

14 Rev. R. Gerald Culleton, The Reign of Antichrist,  p 127. TAN Books, Rockford Illinois, 1974.
15 Ibid.
16 Ibid.
17 A gentile who studies the Torah is obligated to die. They should only be involved in the study of their seven mitzvot.

“Similarly, a gentile who rests, even on a weekday, observing that day as a Sabbath, is obligated to die. Needless to say, he is obligated for that punishment if he creates a festival for himself.  

“The general principle governing these matters is: They are not to be allowed to originate a new religion or create mitzvot for themselves based on their own decisions. They may either become righteous converts and accept all the mitzvot or retain their statutes without adding or detracting from them.  

“If a gentile studies the Torah, makes a Sabbath, or creates a religious practice, a Jewish court should beat him, punish him, and inform him that he is obligated to die. However, he is not to be executed.”  

Maimonides Ibid. 10.9

18 A Noahide who is forced by another person to violate one of his commandments is permitted to transgress. Even if he is forced to worship false gods, he may worship them. For Noachides are not commanded to sanctify God’s name.” 

Ibid. 10.2

19 Michael Kress, The Modern Noahide Movement, My Jewish Learning. https://web.archive.org/web/20230322212445/https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/the-modern-noahide-movement/
20 Ibid.
21 bid.
22 Fr Frederick William Faber, Notes on Doctrinal and Spiritual Subjects, Vol. 2, p 17. Edited by J. E. Bowden, Thomas Richardson and Son, London, 1866.
23 Fr Herman Bernard Kramer, The Book of Destiny, p 319. TAN Books and Publishers, Rockford IL, 1955.
24 In Culleton, 181.
25 Fahey 183