1/28/2010 | Posted in , , ,

Below are a few quotes regarding the understanding of Rapture timing according to some of the earliest known teachers.

Irenaeus (140-202AD) (Against Heresies V, XXVI, 1)
“And they shall lay Babylon waste, and burn her with fire, and shall give their kingdom to the beast, and put the church to flight. After that they shall be destroyed by the coming of our Lord."
[He gives reference to Rev. 17:15-18, where the “great prostitute” or “Babylon” is destroyed followed by Antichrist’s reign.]

Irenaeus "And for this cause tribulation is necessary for those who are saved, that having been after a manner broken up, and rendered fine, and sprinkled over by the patience of the word of God, and set on fire [ for purification ] they
may be fitted for the royal banquet".

Didache (50-100AD), Treatise on the Apostles by Early Church Fathers
"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." (Chapter 16-Rapture/2nd Coming after Antichrist)

Polycarp (69-165AD), Student of Apostle John
In addressing The Church about Revelation, “It will not be easy and it will be distinguished by trials, tribulations, and antagonisms…Stay faithful to the point of death and I will give you a crown of life.” (Epistle to Philippians-only writing)

Ignatius (35-110AD), Student of Apostle John
“The promise [kept from the hour of trial]does not imply that the Philadelphian Church should be exempted from persecutions which should come on all other portions of the Church; that by any special privilege they should be excused from fiery trials through which others should have to pass…—to be kept in temptation, not to be exempted from temptation. The great catastrophies which come upon the earth are “temptations” to the world no less than to the Church.(Epistle to the church at Philadelphia)
He Wrote “A Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation” which was addressed to the churches.
In Magnes 1:2, “In him we will, if we patiently endure all the abuse of the ruler of this age and escape, reach God.”

Papias (70-155AD), Hearer of John/Friend of Polycarp
Wrote “Interpretations of the Sayings of The Lord” stated, “there will be a millennium after the resurrection from the dead, when the personal reign of Christ will be established on this earth.” [resurrection of the dead at the end of tribulation]

The Epistle of Barnabus (90-100 AD)
Barnabas 4:3, “The last offence is at hand, concerning which the scripture speaketh, as Enoch saith. For to this end the Master hath cut the seasons and the days short, that His beloved might hasten and come to His inheritance.”(not years-see Matt. 24:22)
Barnabas 7:11, “But what meaneth it, that they place the wool in the midst of the thorns? It is a type of Jesus set forth for the Church, since whosoever should desire to take away the scarlet wool it behoved him to suffer many things owing to the terrible nature of the thorn, and through affliction to win the mastery over it. Thus, He saith, they that desire to see Me, and to attain unto My kingdom, must lay hold on Me through tribulation and affliction.”

First Epistle of Clement (95 AD)
All the generations from Adam even unto this day have passed away now possess a place among the godly, and shall be made manifest at the revelation of the kingdom of Christ… until my wrath and fury pass away; and I will remember a propitious day, and will raise you up out of your graves.” (1 Clem. 50:3-4- rapture after tribulation wrath.)

The Shepherd of Hermes (?88-170 AD)
You will tell, therefore, those who preside over the Church, to direct their ways in righteousness, that they may receive in full the promises with great glory. Stand steadfast, therefore, you who work righteousness, and doubt not, that your passage may be with the holy angels. Happy you who endure the great tribulation that is coming on, and happy they who shall deny not their own life. (Vision II-Chapter 2)

Tertullian (155-222 AD), (On the Resurrection of the Flesh)
“the beast Antichrist, with his false prophet may wage war on the Church of God…The blessed prerogative of the first resurrection may be obtained; then again, after the consignment of him to the fire, that the judgment of the final and universal resurrection may be determined out of the books.”

Justin Martyr (100-168AD),“The First Apology”-Chap.110
"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”…together with the most righteous, and only spotless and sinless Christ, we are taken away out of the earth.”

Cyprian (200-258AD)
"The Lord hath foretold that these things would come. With the exhortation of His forseeing word, instructing, and teaching, and preparing, and strengthening the people of His Church for all endurance of things to come. He previously warned us that the adversary would increase more and more in the last times." (Treatise 7)

"For you ought to know and to believe, and hold it for certain, that the day of affliction has begun to hang over our heads, and the end of the world and the time of Antichrist to draw near, so that we must all stand prepared for the battle ... “The time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service…” (Epistles of Cyprian, LV, 1,2

“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, 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)

Victorinus (269-271AD), Commentary- The Apocalypse
"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

Hippolytus (160-240AD),Treatise on Christ and Antichrist
“the one thousand two hundred and three score days during which the tyrant is to reign and persecute the Church …what remains but the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ from heaven, for whom we have looked in hope”.

Ephraim of Syrus (306-373 AD), Section X
“And when the three and a half years have been completed, the time of the Antichrist, through which he will have seduced the world, after the resurrection of the two prophets…the sign of the Son of Man…the Lord shall appear with great power…as the angelic trumpet precedes him…Arise, O sleeping ones, arise, meet Christ, because the hour of judgment has come!..Then Christ has come and the enemy thrown into confusion…And he will be bound and shall be plunged into the abyss.”

Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386 AD) Lecture XV
Hatred of the brethren makes room next for Antichrist; for the devil prepares beforehand the divisions among the people, that he who is to come may be acceptable to them. But God forbid that any of Christ’s servants here, or elsewhere, should run over to the enemy!..The Church now charges thee before the Living God; she declares to thee the things concerning Antichrist before they arrive. Whether they will happen in thy time we know not, or whether they will happen after thee we know not; but it is well that, knowing these things, thou shouldest make thyself secure beforehand”.

Martin Luther (1483-1546AD) Works of Martin Luther
"The book of Revelation is intended as a revelation of things that are to happen in the future, and especially of tribulations and disasters for the Church"
Francisco Ribera (1537-1591AD)
Believed that the second coming of Christ would come to rescue the Tribulation Church 45 days prior to the end of the tribulation period and then The Church would return with Christ at the very end of tribulation.

The Works of Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758 AD) Vol. II
“It is manifest that that is a time of trouble and great trial to the church and people of God, and that it is the same people that is first in this trouble, that, through Michael’s standing up for and appearing for them in their distress, shall be delivered out of trouble; as it is often spoken of in Scripture as God’s manner of dealing with his people, first to bring them into great distress, and then to appear or stand up for them in their extremity, and deliver them….the church; therefore for the elect’s sake God will take out many of those days for respite; so that the days of actual tribulation shall be much fewer than this whole period…The church’s sufferings properly follow Christ’s sufferings, as the church’s glory follows his; the church bears the cross after Christ, and so follows him to the crown; it is made conformable to his resurrection”.

Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892 AD) on Luke 21:25-28
"Lift up your heads." The time for you to hang your heads, like bulrushes, is over already, and will certainly be nigh. Wherefore, "look up, and lift up your heads-The great tribulation by Antichrist…First, then here is a terrible time . . .a time of fearful national trouble. When the Lord Jesus shall come, the heavens shall tell us: 'There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars.'

William Ethelbert (1837-1913 AD) “Peoples of the earth”-commentary on chapter 2-3 on Revelation.
Regarding Church of Ephesus in Rev. 2:5, “and do the first works; otherwise, I am coming to thee, quickly, and will remove thy lamp-stand out of its place, except thou repent”. “He had come before, at His first Advent, seeking fruit. But He found it not. Now He is coming again, and the cry goes forth once more, ‘Repent’…Those who are addressed here will be living in the days of the Beast, in the midst of the great Tribulations and there will be those who will "endure unto the end."

It seems that if Jesus wanted us to realize this as the rapture, He would have said “as it was in the days of Enoch, for he walked with God and was not”. But He didn’t. He said it would be as the days of Noah and Lot.


1 Response to "Early Rapture Teachings"

  1. Anonymous On January 31, 2011 at 1:55 AM

    Very interesting. Thank you for posting these. I agree with you, I think that last one is key.. the cry goes forth, "repent!" I think the pre-tribulation rapture teaching is fitting for this generation. We want the easy way out of everything, especially here in America. But God is in the business of purifying, and that through the fire. What makes our generation so special as to be removed from this when so many others have endured it? Even our Lord Jesus Himself! And even He prayed, "..not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil." Those who are sanctified by the word of truth are kept from this evil, especially the strong delusion God will send in the last days. All that said, I do believe we are the ones living in the days of the Beast.

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