To show the end-time viewpoint of the writer of the Didache.
The Didache was written around 60-100 A.D.
This book does not support the premillennial viewpoint (although premillennialists cite it as premillennial).
Analysis of this passage and conclusions
The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles
16:1 Watch concerning your life; let not your lamps be quenched or your loins be loosed, but be ye ready, for ye know not the hour at which our Lord cometh.
- Could refer to (1) the death of the believer,or (2) the second coming of Christ.
16:2 But be ye gathered together frequently, seeking what is suitable for your souls; for the whole time of your faith shall profit you not, unless ye be found perfect in the last time.
- The phrase "in the last time" could refer to (1) at the final judgment when God confirms the faith of the believer, or (2) at the death of the believer.
- In either case the emphasis is on the perseverance of the believer.
16:3 For in the last days false prophets and seducers shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall be turned into hate;
- The phrase "last days" appears to refer to a time future to the writing of the Didache. But it appears to have direct relevance to the first readers (rather than being written for people thousands of years later) so it must refer to the general apostasy that will plague the church over the centuries.
- This verse seems to assume there were false prophets and seducers already in existence in the Church, but this trend would intensify over time.
16:4 and because iniquity aboundeth they shall hate each other, and persecute each other, and deliver each other up; and then shall the Deceiver of the world appear as the Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders, and the earth shall be delivered into his hands; and he shall do unlawful things, such as have never happened since the beginning of the world.
- This is merely a continuation of the previous verse in which the deception gets worse and worse. It does not necessarily imply that these events follow one another chronologically — but rather, that the trend of apostasy is that it can get very bad. If we interpret this list of events as strictly chronological then we get a very weird result.
- Perhaps refers to the person referred to as the Antichrist.
16:5 Then shall the creation of man come to the fiery trial of proof, and many shall be offended and shall perish; but they who remain in their faith shall be saved by the rock of offence itself.
- Seems to refer to persecution and martyrdom. The ones who are offended are those who leave the faith under persecution.
- Perhaps refers to a Great Tribulation associated with the Antichrist.
16:6 And then shall appear the signs of the truth; first the sign of the appearance in heaven, then the sign of the sound of the trumpet, and thirdly the resurrection of the dead
- After this long period of time of persecution (lasting even until today) Christ will come in His second coming.
- Christ's second coming will not be instantaneous but will occur in stages.
16:7 — not of all, but as it has been said, The Lord shall come and all his saints with him;
- Notice only the deceased believers are resurrected to glory. The unbelievers are raised for judgment.
16:8 then shall the world behold the Lord coming on the clouds of heaven.
- The chronological sequence of events:
(1) appearance in heaven (to deceased believers)
(2) sound of the trumpet (to believers yet living)
(3) resurrection (of all believers)
(4) second coming of Christ
- There is no hint of the rapture or the 1,000 yearmillennium in these passages.
This is the end of the book.
Premillennialists generally believe that the Didache supports the premillennial viewpoint but I don't agree. Some key things to notice:
- In verses 6–8 there is no mention of a 1,000 yearmillennium.
- In verse 8 the Lord comes on the clouds. For premillennialists, the image of clouds in conjunction with the coming of Christ is usually associated with the rapture. But notice that in verses 4 - 5 there is a description of a "great tribulation." If this refers to the great tribulation of the premillennialists (and I don't think it does) then the rapture would occur after the great tribulation — thus the author of the Didache would support a post-tribulational rapture.
- In verse 5 the phrase "they who remain in their faith shall be saved" appears to refer to the phrase "found perfect in the last time" (verse 2). It seems that the Lord coming in verse 8 refers to the final judgment and the end of the world, not a 1,000 year millennium.
- Why does the Didache end with the second coming (rapture?) and not mention a 1,000 year millennium? The most obvious explanation is that the author had no concept of a 1,000 year millennium after the second coming.
End Time Prophecy Leads to Rome | The Kingdom of Israel