A Brief History
Adso of Montier-en-Der was born about 910 CE. He was a member of reforming monastic circles and noted hagiographer. Much is not known about Adso's life, but it is clear that he was educated and was greatly influenced by the monastic order to which be belonged, although it is unclear which it was. In the same vain as Ademar of Chabannes, Adso was privy to the conditions surrounding him and based much of his eschatology on these circumstances.
Adso lived in a time of great flux for the Holy Roman
Empire. After Constantine's shift of the capital to his new city
on the border of Europe and Asia, the Roman Empire went under a time of
"orientalization". By 950 CE this process, along with the massive
displacement of people by invasions, produced a Roman Empire that was in
the classical sense no longer Roman. The turmoil that arose during
this period was heightened by the millennial and apocalyptic expectations
mentioned in the Peace of God movement.
Adso's Importance to Apocalypticism and Millennialism
Adso took a very mixed stance concerning the environment around him. In some ways it was very pessimistic, while in others it was splashed with optimism. The decay of the Roman Empire around him led him to look toward the scriptures and his spirituality for guidance. In response, Adso wrote Letter on the Origen and Time of the Antichrist to the Frankish Queen Gerberga around 950 CE. This letter has become one of the primary sources concerning the now very popular figure of the Antichrist. The prime reason for Adso's letter, which is full of apocalyptic imagery, was prompted by the status of the Roman Empire. For it was passages like 2 Thess 2:3, "Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction," Matt 24: 23-24, "Then if anyone says to you, 'Look! Here is the Messiah!' or 'There he is!' - do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and produce great signs and omens, to lead astray, if possible, even the elect," and Rev 13:13-14, "It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in the sight of all; and by the signs that it is allowed to perform on behalf of the beast,it deceives the inhabitants of earth," that provided Adso with his inspiration and imagery.
In the treatise of the Letter on the Origen and Time
of the Antichrist, Adso traces the appearance of the Antichrist and
traces what will occur in the events following his coming. For example,
Adso speaks of the two witnesses mentioned in Rev 11 as Elijah and Enoch.
They will come to protect the earth, but will be slain in their attempt.
After that the rest of the earth will be persecuted and whoever shall have
believed in him will receive his brand on the forehead (Rev 20:4).
Adso follows this with the coming of Jesus to deliver the earth from the
Antichrist. He does not tell of the day or time when this will begin,
but it was evident by his pilgrimage to Jerusalem that he might have thought
it to be soon.