DID THE EARLY CHURCH BELIEVE WE SHALL BE RAPTURED BEFORE THE ANTICHRIST APPEARS ON THE SCENE?
MANY MODERN SO CALLED TEACHERS WILL TRY TO CONVINCE YOU THE EARLY CHURCH BELIEVED IN A PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE. BUT WHERE IS THEIR PROOF? IT IS VERY SCANT INDEED.
SURELY WITH ALL THE WEALTH OF ANCIENT PARCHMENTS IN OUR POSESSION WE SHOULD FIND SOME HINT OF WHAT THE CHURCH FATHERS BELIEVED WOULD HAPPEN IN THE END TMES.
THE FACT IS MODERN TEACHERS DO NOT SHOW YOU WHAT THE EARLY CHURCH BELIEVED BECAUSE IT CUTS RIGHT ACROSS THE PRE-TRIB RAPTURE.
SO IN PLACE OF CLEAR ANCIENT TEACHING TODAY'S PRE-TRIB EXPERTS COME UP WITH A FEW AMBIGUOUS PHRASES HERE AND THERE. AN ASSUMPTION ON THIS VERSE AND A PICTURE REGARDING THE INTERPRETATION OF THIS PASSAGE.
AND THEY SAY THE EARLY CHURCH DIDN'T HAVE CLEAR BELIEFS CONCERNING THE LAST DAYS. REALLY?
WELL LET'S SEE WHAT THE CHURCH FOLLOWING THE APOSTLES ACTUALLY BELIEVED. AND REMEMBER SOME OF THESE WRITERS WERE THE DISCIPLES OF MEN SUCH AS JOHN THE APOSTLE.
I LEAVE IT TO YOU TO JUDGE IF THEY WERE PRE OR POST TRIBULATIONISTS.
OR IF THEY WERE "UNCLEAR ABOUT THE END TIMES."
Didache (AD 100) "then shall appear the world-deceiver as Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders, and the earth shall be delivered into his hands, ...but they that endure in their faith shall be saved from under the curse itself. And then shall appear the signs of the truth; first, the sign of an out-spreading in heaven; then the sign of the sound of the trumpet; and the third, the resurrection of the dead; yet not of all, but as it is said: The Lord shall come and all His saints with Him. Then shall the world see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven." (Didache - Chapter 16)1
Justin Martyr (AD 100-168) "Two advents of Christ have been announced: the one, in which He is set forth as suffering, inglorious, dishonored, and crucified; but the other, in which He shall come from heaven with glory, when the man of apostasy, who speaks strange things against the Most High, shall venture to do unlawful deeds on the earth against us the Christians, (First Apology of Justin, Chapter 110)2
Tertullian (AD 150-220) that the beast Antichrist, with his false prophet may wage war on the Church of God; (On the Resurrection of the Flesh, 25)3
Irenaeus (AD 140-202) and put the church to flight. After that they shall be destroyed by the coming of our Lord." (Against Heresies V, XXVI, 1)4
Cyprian (AD 200-258) “The time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service…” Nor let any one wonder that we are harassed with increasing afflictions, when the Lord before predicted that these things would happen in the last times, (Epistles of Cyprian, LV, 1,2) Nor let any one of you, beloved brethren, be so terrified by the fear of future persecution, or the coming of the threatening Antichrist, as not to be found armed for all things by the evangelical exhortations and precepts, and by the heavenly warnings. Antichrist is coming… but immediately the Lord follows to avenge our sufferings and our wounds. (Epistles of Cyprian, LIII, p.722)5
Victorinus (AD 269-271) "He shall cause also that a golden image of Antichrist shall be placed in the temple at Jerusalem, and that the apostate angel should enter, and thence utter voices and oracles... The Lord, admonishing His churches concerning the last times and their dangers, ... three years and six months, in which with all his power the devil will avenge himself under Antichrist against the Church." (Commentary on the Apocalypse, 20:1-3) 6
Hippolytus (AD 160-240) " ... the one thousand two hundred and three score days (the half of the week) during which the tyrant is to reign and persecute the Church …” (Treatise on Christ and Antichrist, 61)7
Augustine (AD 354-430) “... the kingdom of Antichrist shall fiercely, though for a short time, assail the Church... " (The City of God, XX, 23)
MAY I CHALLENGE THE PRE-TRIB LEADERS TO PRODUCE EQUALLY CLEAR STATEMENTS FROM THE EARLY CHURCH IN SUPORT OF A PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE.