4 Predictions for the Orthodox

Living in unprecedented times, history will be made. Now is the time for the faithful to arise and be the Church.

Prediction #1 – The Church Will Refocus on the Health of Body and Soul

Among the many things we learn, from the Holy Mother of God, is the sacredness of the body. Singing her praise, we declare she provided the “most pure body.” But what does this mean? What does it mean for us as modern believers?

If our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, then we must take proper measures to maintain its good use in this life. You only get one. If you trash it, you cannot blame God when sickness comes or your time is cut short. God’s salvation was clearly there, but you chose to cooperate with evil.

Both healing and repentance have been part and parcel of Orthodoxy since Jesus walked the shores of Galilee and healed the sick. If you listen, you will hear a recurring theme of healing for the body that is fully interwoven into our liturgy, the prayers, and other practices of the Church.  We are clearly taught to expect miracles. If we do not have miracles in our parishes today, perhaps we are missing something?

St. Luke the SurgeonMany saints were “wonderworkers” or healers. Many utilized herbal medicines to cure. There was a wisdom we seem to have lost that brought health and healing through prayer, diet, fasting, physical anointing, and through natural medicines—things in God’s creation—to make us well. Even more modern saints, including those with medical training, have continued to believe in the power of prayer, Holy Water and anointing with oil.  St. Luke the Surgeon, Archbishop of Simferopol, is a 20th Century saint famous for saying, “Drink Holy Water, the more often, the better. It is the best and most effective medicine. I’m not saying this as a priest, I’m saying it as a doctor, from my medical experience.”

Despite the extravagant promises it makes, modern medicine is now showing its dark underbelly—vaccines, mandates, genetic modifications, scorched earth chemotherapy, a disregard for diet, the pursuit of profit. We have allowed modern medicine to replace the ancient traditions, and this is extracting a terrible toll especially when it comes to “modern” chronic diseases; cancer, stroke, heart attack.

It would behoove us to return to the old ways in which we treated man holistically (mind, body, and spirit). In the ancient Hebrew practice, as well as among early Christians, salvation for the body—healing, health—went along with salvation for the soul (3 john 2). It seemed reasonable to the ancients, if you could become relatively free from the passions, you could also be reasonably free from sickness.  There is much wisdom in this, because so many uncontrolled passions lead to physical harms (gluttony, substance abuse, rage) as well as spiritual harms. Disciplined life within the Church leads to dispassion which brings us closer to God and restores us in both body and spirit.

I predict the return of healing through prayer. I also predict a return to ancient healing through natural means. God has deposited wisdom in His Church to avoid the unique health hazards of our modern epoch. Now is the time to recover our humanity by putting distance between our holy bodies and modern medicine which more and more treats us, even children, as little more than profitable experiments.

Prediction #2 – Restoration of the Father

Things seem to be going badly in our society. One cause stands out above all else – the lack of true Fathers. Without them, we meander along inviting God’s wrath upon us. The hearts of the fathers must be focused on their children above all else. An ancient prophet put it like this:

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. (Malachi 4:5,6 KJV).[1]

Everything about the Orthodox Faith is multi-generational. As the world has squeezed God’s people into its model of fathers (and mothers) working outside the home, among the faithful this has become a big problem because it impedes generational transfer of the faith.

God’s design is for the family to raise children for the Church, and not the other way around. But we’ve been doing it backwards.  Too often, the father in the home leaves the spiritual obligations up to the parish priest and/or his wife thinking that if he brings home the bacon, he has done his job.

If the closing of parishes is a “sign of the times”, what is God trying to work out in His Church in this regard? Probably two things: on the one hand we must never take for granted what has been bequeathed through the Church, and, on the other hand, the Church is not a building, but people. People who have differing functions in the Body. The home is a church within the Church where each husband/dad is the priest.

What does a family do when their church is shut down? How about, having the father of the home lead the whole family in prayers? How is this not better than a flat-screen-priest miles away? After all, the father is the man who conceived these children, puts food on the table, and carries the largest responsibility for the spiritual welfare of his family? Why not have him lead family worship? This is how the Church will carry on if/when there is full military style shut down. In the ancient Hebrew tradition, rituals were held in the home as well as the synagogue; and originally the Church was built around this template. If we want a vital priesthood in the future, fathers in the home must take spiritual responsibility rather than shirking it.

Every heart has a father-void, a space filled initially by the primary father, then accessory fathers, then eventually Father-God. On the psychological and social levels, nothing is more impactful on any person than his relationship with his father growing up. This alone will define largely how a person views the universe, his place in it, and will be the lens through which he views Father-God. If the primary father is either not present or totally disengaged, other father-figures in the parish need to step in and fill the void for young men.

If we want to appease God’s wrath at this point in time, it would be best to heed the prophet and start turning the hearts of fathers back to their children, away from their careers and other distractions of this world. Fathers must reconnect with their children in a godly manner. As our society plunges into waves of crime and other dysfunction, we ignore this warning at our peril.

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Prediction #3 – The Return of the Church as a Covenant Community

As soon as the ancient Romans figured out that the Church was not a subset of the Jews—with which the Empire had many dubious alliances—the persecution ensued. In persecution, only those with political alliances (“we have no king but Caesar”) are safe. Historically, the Church has avoided these political entanglements like the plague; because they mean treason against Christ.

If we go back and study this infant Church, we will once again figure out how to live. Pliney (the younger) noticed this about those “Christians.”

They asserted, however, that the sum and substance of their fault or error had been that they were accustomed to meet on a fixed day [Sunday] before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as to a god, and to bind themselves by oath [Latin: sacramentum], not to some crime, but not to commit fraud, theft, or adultery, not falsify their trust, nor to refuse to return a trust when called upon to do so. When this was over, it was their custom to depart and to assemble again to partake of food—but ordinary and innocent food [agape meal]. (Pliny to Trajan, brackets added).[2]

This is a voice from the past, a snapshot of how our spiritual progenitors lived toward God and each other. These are the voices of our brothers and sisters in the infant Church. What scared the hell out of Pliney was not just their devotion to the King not-Caesar, but their commitment one to another. What he saw in those first Christians was a commitment to each other that would forge an unbeatable force. In alarm, he was seeking permission from his superior officer to persecute and eliminate the threat at hand. His accusation is one of the greatest compliments paid to the fledgling Church.

Bottom line: their covenant with God produced a covenant with each other to live upright looking out for the welfare of each other.  In modern terms, “they had each other’s back!”

Not only were the Christians making oaths to Christ, but they made oaths to each other. As Pliney was trained and versed in Roman law, he knew all too well what it means when members of a sect make iron clad commitments to each other; they can never be defeated.

Prediction #4 – Jurisdictions will shuffle

Everything that can be shaken will be shaken (Hebrews 12:27 para). Obviously, many Orthodox jurisdictions are being shaken. And as things are shaking out, what is being revealed is who can be trusted and who cannot be trusted. Only the unshakable, trustworthy things will remain. As the early Christians knew (prediction 3) at the foundation of every functioning relationship is the most prized virtue: TRUST.[3]

While Jesus said to love my neighbor, He never said I had to trust my neighbor. Even if I love my bishop, that does not guarantee I can trust him. When trust is broken, it’s very difficult to put back together again. Our Lord did say, I must trust Him, and prove myself worthy of His trust in me, so that I would never deny Him or knowingly injure the innocent.

Facing persecution as we are, the sheep are moving to higher ground, to safer pasture, and under the leadership of those who can be trusted. Some jurisdictions will gather more sheep during this process. Others may practically disappear.

John Lee – an Orthodox Christian

[1] While the KJV is not as authoritative as the LXX, it does provide a good Jewish commentary or expansion on things not related to Christ.

[2] www.earlychistianwritings.com

[3] BTW: In the OSB (with notes), surnames for trust—testament/covenant—are mention over 1700 time; 500+ in the old KJV.

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4 Predictions for the Orthodox