In Search Of The Origins Of The PreWrath Doctrine:
Part 3: The Early Church Fathers Contradict Cutting Short The Last 3-1/2 Years
Contributed by Tim Warner

I received the following email when I was writing this section of files on Satan's wrath being cut short during the Great Tribulation and the last 6 months to 1-1/2 years of Daniel's 70th week being God's wrath. If you want to look further into the early Church Fathers in relation to the tribulation period, see Tim Warner's site (now moved to http://www.answersinrevelation.org/). It was from Tim that I received the following email, which is self-explanatory:

Hey Ed,

I thought I would resurrect the Church Fathers in defending Post-trib against pre-wrath. The following quotes where the Church Fathers made statements that contradict basic pre-wrath beliefs, and confirm post-trib beliefs. Feel free to use these in your articles, or in your posting. These are just a few that I found, by just glancing through the passages that I had highlighted. I'm sure there is more, if someone wanted to do a thorough search.


Justin, Dialog with Trypho, CX

(There are only two comings no three. PreWrath believes in Christ
coming 2,000 years ago, again to rapture the Church to heaven
and then again to bring judgment on the nations-Ed)

"[T]wo 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,..."


Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book V, XXV, 3

(Antichrist's rule will NOT cut short the 1260 days as PreWrathers claim)

"'And its ten horns are ten kings which shall arise; and after them shall arise another, who shall surpass in evil deeds all that were before him, and shall overthrow three kings; and he shall speak words against the most high God, and wear out the saints of the most high God, and shall purpose to change times and laws; and [everything] shall be given into his hand until a time of times and a half time,' that is, for three years and six months, during which time, when he comes, he shall reign over the earth. Of whom also the Apostle Paul again, speaking in the second [Epistle] to the Thessalonians, and at the same time proclaiming the cause of his advent, thus says: 'And then shall the wicked one be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus shall slay with the spirit of His mouth, and destroy by the presence of His coming.'"


Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book V, XXV, 4

(Antichrist will persecute the saints fore the entire half of the week)

"And then he points out the time that his tyranny shall last, during which the saints shall be put to flight, they who offer a pure sacrifice unto God: 'And in the midst of the week,' he says, 'the sacrifice and the libation shall be taken away, and the abomination of desolation [shall be brought] into the temple: even unto the consummation of the time shall the desolation be complete.' Now three years and six months constitute the half-week."


Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book V, XXX, 4

(Antichrist will rule for 3.5 years after the abomination)

"But when this Antichrist shall have devastated all things in this world, he will reign for three years and six months, and sit in the temple at Jerusalem; and then the Lord will come from heaven in the clouds, in the glory of the Father, sending this man and those who follow him into the lake of fire; but bringing in for the righteous the times of the kingdom, that is, the rest, the hallowed seventh day; and restoring to Abraham the promised inheritance, in which kingdom the Lord declared, that "many coming from the east and from the west should sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."


Tertullian, On the Resurrection of the Flesh, XXV

(The Christian martyrs must wait until the Antichrist has completed
his war on the Church, and this includes the time of the vials of wrath.
Our "hope is" in the very end of the world [age])

"In the Revelation of John, again, the order of these times is spread out to view, which 'the souls of the martyrs' are taught to wait for beneath the altar, whilst they earnestly pray to be avenged and judged: (taught, I say, to wait), in order that the world may first drink to the dregs the plagues that await it out of the vials of the angels, and that the city of fornication may receive from the ten kings its deserved doom, and that the beast Antichrist with his false prophet may wage war on the Church of God; and that, after the casting of the devil into the bottomless pit for a while, the blessed prerogative of the first resurrection may be ordained from the thrones; and 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. Since, then, the Scriptures both indicate the stages of the last times, and concentrate the harvest of the Christian hope in the very end of the world,..."


Hippolytus, Treatise on Christ and Antichrist, 47

(The saints will be persecuted UNTIL the Beast is killed by Christ)

"For this is meant by the little horn that grows up. He, being now elated in heart, begins to exalt himself, and to glorify himself as God, persecuting the saints and blaspheming Christ, even as Daniel says, 'I considered the horn, and, behold, in the horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things; and he opened his mouth to blaspheme God. And that born made war against the saints, and prevailed against them until the beast was slain, and perished, and his body was given to be burned.'


Hippolytus, Treatise on Christ and Antichrist, 61

(Antichrist will persecute the Church right up to the end of the 70th week)

"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, which flees from city to city, and seeks conceal-meat in the wilderness among the mountains,..."


Appendix to the Works of Hippolytus, XXV

Christians will be persecuted "in those days" [the half of the week]
the 3.5 years in which Antichrist is to reign)

"For when Daniel said, 'I shall make my covenant for one week,' he indicated seven years; and the one half of the week is for the preaching of the prophets, and for the other half of the week that is to say, for three years and a half Antichrist will reign upon the earth. And after this his kingdom and his glory shall be taken away. Behold, ye who love God, what manner of tribulation there shall rise in those days, such as has not been from the foundation of the world, no, nor ever shall be, except in those days alone. Then the lawless one, being lifted up in heart, will gather together his demons in man's form, and will abominate those who call him to the kingdom, and will pollute many souls."


Victorinus, Commentary on the Apocalypse, 20:1

(Antichrist will persecute the Church for the entire 3.5 years)

"The little season signifies three years and six months, in which with all his power the devil will avenge himself trader Antichrist against the
Church
."


Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, Book VII, Sec. II, XXXII

(Christ's coming for His saints and the resurrection
occur at the same time when Antichrist is slain)

"For in the last days false prophets shall be multiplied, and such as corrupt the word; and the sheep shall be changed into wolves, and love into hatred: for through the abounding of iniquity the love of many shall wax cold. For men shall hate, and persecute, and betray one another. And then shall appear the deceiver of the world, the enemy of the truth, the prince of lies, whom the Lord Jesus 'shall destroy with the spirit of His mouth, who takes away the wicked with His lips; and many shall be offended at Him. But they that endure to the end, the same shall be saved. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven;' and afterwards shall be the voice of a trumpet by the archangel; and in that interval shall be the revival of those that were asleep. And then shall the Lord come, and all His saints with Him, with a great concussion above the clouds, with the angels of His power, in the throne of His kingdom, to condemn the devil, the deceiver of the world, and to render to every one according to his deeds. 'Then shall the wicked go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous shall go into life eternal,' to inherit those things 'which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, such things as God hath prepared for them that love Him;' and they shall rejoice in the kingdom of God, which is in Christ Jesus."