The Didache, the Antichrist, and the Resurrection

The Didache—written during the first generation after Christ—is the earliest statement in church history depicting the relationship between the Antichrist and the church. It states explicitly that the Antichrist will arrive before the resurrection.

CHAPTER 16

Warning that the end is at hand

1 “Watch” over your life: “let your lamps” be not quenched “and your loins” be not ungirded, but be “ready,” for ye know not “the hour in which our Lord cometh.” 2 But be frequently gathered together seeking the things which are profitable for your souls, for the whole time of your faith shall not profit you except ye be found perfect at the last time; 3 for in the last days the false prophets and the corrupters shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall change to hate; 4 for as lawlessness increaseth they shall hate one another and persecute and betray, and then shall appear the deceiver of the world as a Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders and the earth shall be given over into his hands and he shall commit iniquities which have never been since the world began.

5 Then shall the creation of mankind come to the fiery trial and “many shall be offended” and be lost, but “they who endure” in their faith “shall be saved” by the curse itself.  6 And “then shall appear the signs” of the truth. First the sign spread out in Heaven, then the sign of the sound of the trumpet, and thirdly the resurrection of the dead: 7 but not of all the dead, but as it was said, “The Lord shall come and all his saints with him.” 8 Then shall the world “see the Lord coming on the clouds of Heaven.”

(from: Apostolic Fathers, Kirsopp Lake, 1912 (Loeb Classical Library))

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