The Church Fathers on the Antichrist, Part 4 — What Holly Thinks

Hippolytus was martyred for his faith.

The popular pretribulation rapture teaching claims that Christians will be snatched off the earth before the Antichrist’s reign. But this four-part series looks at writings from some of the earliest and most respected church fathers, showing their belief that Christians will have to go through the persecution of the Antichrist. See Parts 1 and 2 and 3.

Hippolytus

Hippolytus, a leader of the church at Rome, wrote about the Antichrist in the early third century in a document titled Treatise on Christ and Antichrist. In section 60 of the treatise, he interprets Revelation 12 as a description of the Church being persecuted by the Antichrist for a period of three and a half years:

Now, concerning the tribulation of the persecution which is to fall upon the Church from the adversary, John also speaks thus: “And I saw a great and wondrous sign in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars. And she, being with child, cries, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man-child, who is to rule all the nations: and the child was caught up unto God and to His throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath the place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. And then when the dragon saw it, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man-child. And to the woman were given two wings of the great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast (out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast) out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the saints of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus.”

And in section 61, he also speaks of the Antichrist’s persecution of the Church and how the Church flees from city to city and to the wilderness:

By the woman then clothed with the sun, he meant most manifestly the Church, endued with the Father’s word, whose brightness is above the sun. … “And the dragon,” he says, “saw and persecuted the woman which brought forth the man-child. And to the woman were given two wings of the great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.” 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, possessed of no other defence than the two wings of the great eagle, that is to say, the faith of Jesus Christ, who, in stretching forth His holy hands on the holy tree, unfolded two wings, the right and the left, and called to Him all who believed upon Him, and covered them as a hen her chickens.

— Holly Pivec
8/3/08