08 Early Church Father on End-Times

Archive for the ‘Church History’ Category


Alan Kurschner – October 2nd, 2011

Cyprian (c.200–c.258)


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; nor consider anything but the glory of life eternal, and the crown of the confession of the Lord; and not regard those things which are coming as being such as were those which have passed away. A severer and a fiercer fight is now threatening, for which the soldiers of Christ ought to prepare themselves with uncorrupted faith and robust courage, considering that they drink the cup of Christ’s blood daily, for the reason that they themselves also may be able to shed their blood for Christ. (Epistle 55, 1)

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 above him comes Christ also. The enemy goeth about and rageth, but immediately the Lord follows to avenge our sufferings and our wounds. The adversary is enraged and threatens, but there is One who can deliver us from his hands. (Epistle 55, 7)

Hippolytus (c.185–c.235)

http://prewrathrapture.com/2011/10/hippolytus c-185%E2%80%93c-235.php

Alan Kurschner – October 1st, 2011

Hippolytus (c.185–c.235)

When the times are fulfilled, and the ten horns spring from the beast in the last (times), then Antichrist will appear among them. When he makes war against the saints, and persecutes them, then may we expect the manifestation of the Lord from heaven. (On Daniel, II, 7)

[I]n order that when those things [Antichrist’s mark of the beast] come to pass, we may be prepared for them, and not deceived. For when the times advance, he too, of whom these thing are said, will be manifested. (Treatise on Christ and Antichrist, 50)

Now, concerning the tribulation of the persecution which is to fall upon the Church from the adversary . . . . That refers to the one thousand two hundred and threescore days (the half of the week) during which the tyrant is to reign and persecute the Church. (Treatise on Christ and Antichrist, 60, 61)

Tertullian (c.145–c.220)


Alan Kurschner – September 30th, 2011

Tertullian (c.145–c.220)

Heresies, at the present time, will no less rend the church by their perversion of doctrine, than will Antichrist persecute her at that day by the cruelty of his attacks, except that persecution make seven martyrs, (but) heresy only apostates. (The Prescription Against Heretics, IV)

[A]nd that the beast Antichrist with his false prophet may wage war on the Church of God. (On the Resurrection of the Flesh, 25)

Now the privilege of this favour [be alive when Christ comes back] awaits those who shall at the coming of the Lord be found in the flesh, and who shall, owing to the oppressions of the time of Antichrist, deserve by an instantaneous death [i.e., raptured/translation], which is accomplished by a sudden change, to become qualified to join the rising saints; as he writes to the Thessalonians [1 Thess 4:15–17]. (On the Resurrection of the Flesh, 41)

Irenaeus (c.120–c.202)


Alan Kurschner – September 29th, 2011

Irenaeus (c.120–c.202)

And they [the ten kings who shall arise] shall lay Babylon waste, and burn her with fire, and shall give their kingdom to the beast, and put the Church to flight. (Against Heresies, V, 26, 1)

And therefore, when in the end the Church shall be suddenly caught up from this, it is said, “There shall be tribulation such as has not been since the beginning, neither shall be.”For this is the last contest of the righteous, in which, when they overcome they are crowned with incorruption. (Against Heresies, V, 29, 1)

It is therefore more certain, and less hazardous, to await the fulfillment of the prophecy [Antichrist], than to be making surmises, and casting about for any names that may present themselves, inasmuch as many names can be found possessing the number mentioned; and the same question will, after all, remain unsolved. . . . But he indicates the number of the name now, that when this man [Antichrist] comes we may avoid him, being aware who he is¬¬. (Against Heresies, V, 30, 3, 4)

For all these and other words were unquestionably spoken in reference to the resurrection of the just, which takes place after the coming of Antichrist . . . . [A]nd [with respect to] those whom the Lord shall find in the flesh, awaiting Him from heaven, and who have suffered tribulation, as well as escaped the hands of the Wicked one. (Against Heresies, V, 35, 1)

Justin Martyr (c.110–c.165)


Alan Kurschner – September 28th, 2011

Justin Martyr (c.110–c.165)

He [Jesus Christ] shall come from heaven with glory, when the man of apostasy [Antichrist], who speaks strange things against the Most High, shall venture to do unlawful deeds on the earth against us the Christians¬¬. (Dialogue with Trypho, CX)

The Shepherd of Hermas (c.95–c.150)


Alan Kurschner – September 27th, 2011

The Shepherd of Hermas (c.95–c.150)

[Blessed are] you who endure the great tribulation that is coming on, and [blessed are] they who shall not deny their own life. (Vision 2:2)

Those, therefore, who continue steadfast, and are put through the fire, will be purified by means of it. . . . But the white part is the age that is to come, in which the elect of God will dwell, since those elected by God to eternal life will be spotless and pure…This then is the type of the great tribulation that is to come. (Vision 4:3)

Epistle of Barnabas (c.80–c.100)


Alan Kurschner – September 27th, 2011

Epistle of Barnabas (c.80–c.100)

In this epistle, the church is exhorted to persevere in this evil present time so it can stand firm when it encounters the future Antichrist.

The final stumbling-block (or source of danger) approaches . . . We take earnest heed in these last days; for the whole [past] time of your faith will profit you nothing, unless now in this wicked time we also withstand coming sources of danger, as becometh the sons of God. That the Black One [Antichrist] may find no means of entrance, let us flee from every vanity, let us utterly hate the works of the way of wickedness. Do not, by retiring apart, live a solitary life, as if you were already [fully] justified . . . Take heed, lest resting at our ease, as those who are the called [of God], we should fall asleep in our sins, and the wicked prince, acquiring power over us, should thrust us away from the kingdom of the Lord (Epistle of Barnabas, 4).

The Didache: The Very First Commentary on the Olivet Discourse in Church History


Alan Kurschner – June 28th, 2011

The following is a brief note on the very first commentary in church history on the Olivet Discourse, which corroborates the biblical veracity of the prewrath position.

Prewrath eschatology affirms that the Bible teaches expectancy, not imminency of our Lord’s return. We believe that Christ could come back in any generation of the church, not at any moment. Pretribulational imminency, however, is a relatively new British/American teaching in church history that originated in the early 19th century by the Plymouth Brethren theologian John Nelson Darby. And if it is found in other parts of the world, it is only because it has been exported by American or British pretribulational missionaries since then. In contrast, the fundamental belief of the prewrath view reaches back to the very first century of the church.

The earliest attested Christian document outside of the New Testament writings is called, The Didache, written sometime between A.D. 50–120. There are two parts to it: (1) an instruction on the “Two Ways” and (2) a manual on church practice. The document concludes with a brief but salient commentary on Jesus’ Olivet Discourse. What is highly significant about the earliest commentary on Jesus’ teaching is that it explicitly places the coming of Christ to resurrect the dead after the Antichrist’s great tribulation, not before. Thus, it recognizes that the apostle Paul’s teaching on the resurrection in 1 Thessalonians 4 is the same teaching that Jesus taught in Matthew 24. The Didache states:

“(4) For as lawlessness increases, they will hate and persecute and betray one another. And then the deceiver of the world [Antichrist] will appear as a son of God and “will perform signs and wonders,” and the earth will be delivered into his hands, and he will commit abominations the likes of which have never happened before [great tribulation]. (5) Then all humankind will come to the fiery test, and “many will fall away” and perish; but “those who endure” in their faith “will be saved” [delivered from the day of the Lord] by the accursed one himself. (6) And “then there will appear the signs” of the truth: first the sign of an opening in heaven, then the sign of the sound of a trumpet, and third, the resurrection of the dead [resurrection]—(7) but not of all; rather, as it has been said, “The Lord will come, and all his saints with him.” (8) Then the world “will see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven” [shekinah glory] (The Apostolic Fathers, Second Edition, Ed. Michael W. Holmes, 16:4–8). Here is an online text of the document.

As is clearly shown the resurrection of the righteous follows after the Antichrist’s great tribulation.

The label “prewrath” is new, but its fundamental beliefs are ancient. Pretribulationism must wait 1,800 years to produce a document that teaches their theology!


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