Ich finde etwas anders...
"The idea that Christians should hope to avoid persecution by being translated out of it supernaturally was not taught by the early Church Fathers. Quite the contrary in fact."
Check these references:
Early Church Fathers Taught a First Rapture Before the Tribulation http://biblocality.com/forums/showthread.php?3255-Early-Church-Fathers-Taught-a-First-Rapture-Before-the-Tribulation Clement of Rome 68 or 97 AD
In Clement's Epistles to the Corinthians: "Let us take (for instance) Enoch...Noah...and the Lord saved by him the animals which, with one accord, entered into the ark. On account of his hospitality and godliness, Lot was saved out of Sodore
when all the country round was punished by means of fire and brimstone, the Lord thus making it manifest that He does not forsake those that hope in Him." Ephraem the Syrian (4th century AD)
of the Byzantine Church wrote about the Lord's return as being imminent in his sermon "On the Last Times, the Antichrist, and the End of the World." He stated, "All saints and elect of God are gathered, prior to the tribulation
that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins." Pseudo-Ephraem claims that his sermon was written by Ephraem of Nisibis (306 A.D.—373 A.D), considered to be the greatest figure in the history of the Syrian church." The Shepherd of Hermas (95-150)
"You have escaped from the great tribulation on account of your faith,
and because you did not doubt in the presence of such a beast. Go, therefore, and tell the elect of the Lord His mighty deeds, and say to them that this beast is a type of the great tribulation that is coming. If then ye prepare yourselves, and repent with all your heart, and turn to the Lord, it will be possible for you to escape it, if your heart be pure and spotless, and ye spend the rest of the days of your life serving the Lord blamelessly." Victorinus (Well known by 270 and died in 303 A.D.)
His commentary notes in Revelation 6:14
indicate a pretrib reference: "'And the heaven withdrew as a scroll that is rolled up.' For the heaven to be rolled away, that is, that the Church shall be taken away. 'And every mountain and the islands removed from their places' intimate that in the last persecution all men departed from their places; that is, that the good will be removed, seeking to avoid persecution
Considering first rapture according to readiness
is a deeper truth (Luke 21.36
; Rev. 3.10
-you wouldn't expect a lot of early church fathers to get it. It is usually only understood and appreciated by spiritual Christians
. The quotes posttribers use to argue the church fathers only taught posttrib rapture usually only deal with the fact of His return and the last trumpet resurrection. But in no way does this preclude their awareness of a first rapture of an advanced party of overcomer believers who keep the word of His patience, are prayerful and watchful. Since Matthew (24.42), Mark (13.32), Luke (21.36), Paul (1 Cor. 15.23
) and John (Rev. 3.10
) all taught a first rapture according to readiness, should we not accept it? The Early Church Fathers Were Premillennial
http://www.essentialchristianity.com/pages.asp?pageid=21918 Two Pretribulational References in the Early Church
1. The Shepherd of Hermas (95-150)
The Shepherd of Hermas was written between 96-150 AD. This document provides a statement that resembles a teaching of a pre-trib rapture doctrine. Though it is not exactly as found in modern day scholarly pretribulational writings, it still shows that an idea existed in some degree that God's people could escape the future tribulation that was to come on the whole earth. The text reads:
"You have escaped from the great tribulation on account of your faith, and because you did not doubt in the presence of such a beast. Go, therefore, and tell the elect of the Lord His mighty deeds, and say to them that this beast is a type of the great tribulation that is coming. If then ye prepare yourselves, and repent with all your heart, and turn to the Lord, it will be possible for you to escape it, if your heart be pure and spotless, and ye spend the rest of the days of your life serving the Lord blamelessly."
This is not a systematic teaching, nor does it answer all of the questions that one may have. But it does give a reference to the possibility that God's people can escape the great tribulation.
2. Victorinus ( Well known by 270 and died in 303 A.D.)
Victorinus wrote a commentary on the book of Revelation. In one place he made an interesting statement that reflects his idea that the church would be removed prior to the tribulation. Of course his ideas were not systematic, and some will argue that he contradicts himself in other places, which may very well be true. But even with such an admission it still serves us well to see that early in the church history someone taught in some sense that God's church could escape the tribulation period by being removed from the earth. His commentary notes in Revelation 6:14 indicate a pre-trib reference of some sort:
"And the heaven withdrew as a scroll that is rolled up." For the heaven to be rolled away, that is, that the Church shall be taken away. "And every mountain and the islands removed from their places intimate that in the last persecution all men departed from their places; that is, that the good will be removed, seeking to avoid persecution.
This reference gives light into a developing idea in the earliest periods of the church. There was an idea that God's people could be spared the terrible time of wrath thatGod would pour out on the earth by removing the saints. The saint's departure from the earth would occur so they would not undergo the terible wrath at the beginning of the judgments of God upon the sinful unbelieving world.
Three Clear Summary Points from the Early Church Fathers' Teachings
- These early church fathers expected Christ to physically return to earth followed by a 1000 year kingdom rule on earth.
- By many of the writings we can see they believed in the possibility of an any moment return of Christ with some statements that resemble a pre-trib view point.
- Even though the early church was under heavy persecution these teachers believed there would still come a distinct time of great tribulation in the future.