First English edition of the Nuremberg chronicle: being the Liber chronicarum of Dr. Hartmann Schedel…

God created the world (as was stated in the beginning of this book) and the wonderful works of nature, in six days, and in the manner set forth in the Holy Scriptures; and he sanctified the seventh day, on which he rested from his labors, Seven is a perfect number; for there are seven days in the week, seven stars which never set, and seven stars, called the erring ones, whose irregular course and movements cause variations in time and matter. And as the Sixth Age has been completed, we shall now speak, firstly of the antichrist, and secondly of death and the end of all things; and finally of the Last Judgment and of the Seventh Age, or the repose of the souls.

Of the Antichrist

We have two definite indications that the end of time is now at hand,- firstly, the opposing view of the Jews, of which there is no sign; and secondly, of the reign of and persecution by the antichriSt. This persecution, as the belief of the Church holds, will endure for four and a half years. But in order that this may not come as a surprise, ensnaring those who are unprepared, Enoch and Elijah, the great prophets and teachers, will, as it is said, come before it begins, and convert the Israelites to grace, and make the chosen ones invulnerable to the pressure of this great fury. And when they have preached for four and a half years, and (as the prophet Malachy prophesied of Elijah) have converted the hearts of the fathers, and through atonement have reconciled them to the ancient faith, and have implanted love for the saints into the minds of those then living, this cruel and furious persecution will first of all crown Enoch and Elijah with the power and virtue of martyrdom, and will then disperse the rest of the faithful, either as glorious martyrs to Christ, or as condemned apostates. The antichrist will come out of Syria or, as others have said, out of Babylonia, of the tribe of Dan, and will be conceived of the Evil Spirit a perverter and destroyer of mankind,- a most wicked being and a prophet of lies, who will name and, set up a god of his own and demand that he himself be worshipped as his son. He will claim that power was given him to perform miracles, and, through the employment of the black arts and by devilish intercourse, will seduce the people to worship him. He will command fire to descend from the heavens, and the sun to stand still, and will destroy the images; and all of this is to happen at his command. And by such wonders he will incite wise men. He will then undertake to destroy the temples of God, and to persecute the righteous. There will be such oppression and bruising as has not been known since the beginning of the world. Those who believe in him and come to him will be branded like cattle, while those who refuse to be branded will be compelled to flee to the mountains, or suffer death by extraordinary tortures. He will confine and place in bondage the righteous, together with the books of the prophets, and will have the power to devastate the earth for forty-two months. This will be the time when righteousness will be abandoned and scorned, and innocence despised. The evil will war against the good. There will be no law, no order, no knightly discipline; and all things will be dispersed and intermingled contrary to nature and decency. Neither age, youth, childhood, sex, dignity, honor or office will be spared, and the entire earth will be overrun and reduced to naught by general plunder and murder. When these things occur, the righteous and the followers of truth will sever themselves from the wicked, and flee to the hermitages and the wilderness. When antichrist comes to Jerusalem he will circumcise himself and show himself to the Jews as ChriSt. They will adhere to him and rebuild his temple. He will present many gifts to the deceived, and by avarice bring some to subjection. He will send forth into the world legates and emissaries; while Enoch and Elijah, who will have lived in Paradise until then, will, as heretofore stated, pay the penalty of death. Finally, according to the vision of Daniel, this antichrist will appear upon the top of the Mount of Olives, from which the Saviour ascended to heaven, and from thence he will vanish. And when the son of perdition is slain by the Lord (as some say) or by the archangel Michael, and condemned to eternal wrath, it is not credible that the day of judgment will be at hand; otherwise mankind would know the time of the Last Judgment, which is to come four and a half years after this persecution by the antichriSt. No one is privileged to know how long after the devastation by the antichrist the judgment day will come. The hour of its advent is fittingly looked forward to by all the pious, and they crave its early arrival. But those who presume to know or preach that this hour is near or remote are on perilous ground; for Christ, the Son of God, our Saviour in speaking of the Last Judgment said that no one, not even the angels in heaven, but God alone, knows the hour. And so St. Jerome says, "Blessed are those who, beyond the death of the antichrist, 1290, that is four and a half years, will tarry 45 days, in which time the Lord and Saviour will return to his sovereignty.