16 February OS 2018: Thursday of the Second Week of Lent; S. Pamphilos, Hieromartyr; S. Flavian of Constantinople, Confessor
The first reading at Vespers today is Genesis 5:1-24.
“And Enoch was well-pleasing to God; and he was not found, for God took him up.”
The holy patriarch Enoch and the holy prophet Elias have not yet died. Taken up to heaven, where they live in the flesh by the mysterious decree of God, they await the days of the Antichrist, when they will return to preach repentance, Elias to the Jews and Enoch to the Gentiles. The Antichrist will slay them, their bodies will lie in the streets of Jerusalem for three days, and God will raise them from the dead, putting terror into the hearts of Antichrist and all his followers. Then the end will come.
Our concern is not to know the “day or the hour” of their coming, but to become like them: to become like Enoch, who was well-pleasing to God, and to become like Elias, who remained faithful even when he thought he was the last prophet of the true God left on earth.
Gentle Enoch walked in the pure innocence of the early followers of the true God, and he called upon the name of the LORD. Fiery Elias denounced idolatry and immorality, calling upon Israel to renounce its adulterous worship of Baal and confess with him that the LORD alone is God.
We must do both if we hope to be saved in the midst of this adulterous generation: We must preserve our innocence, and we must confess our Faith. To do the first, we must cut out evil influences and spend more time in prayer. To do the second, we must tell the unvarnished truth in simplicity of heart, free of all desire for the praise of men. We can do neither without the divine grace helping us. Let us cry for this help without delay!