Consider that evidence to support one point of view, may actually be confirmation of the opposite point of view. Those who oppose a first century rapture of the church, use the argument of SILENCE to support their belief that there was no rapture at that time because no one wrote about it!
However, the argument of SILENCE is evidence that indeed the rapture had occurred in the first century because there were no Christians left on earth to write about it. They were all gone. They all had been raptured. The only writings therefore would have been by non-Christian writers who had little or no understanding of the rapture.
It is historical fact that there is no evidence of any of the apostles, disciples, or eighty-some Christians that are mentioned in the New Testament being alive and present after AD 70 (Matt. 20:21-22 the Lord promised John he would be martyred (not die an old man as mistakenly claimed by some. He was not alive past AD 70. See eschatology Study Series 16 Lesson 1). Instead there was a struggling church basically starting over again with confused traditions and speculations. Exactly what you would have expected to see if the rapture had occurred. These new “babes in faith” were probably those who had heard the gospel from their parents or friends before AD 66, but did not become believers until after AD 70, along with people who would have found some of the many New Testament scrolls (books/epistles of the New Testament) which would have been throughout the Roman Empire.
If the rapture did not occur by AD 70, why do we “not have any writings or record” of people like Timothy, Silas, Titus, Mark, and any others after that date? Especially at the very time when so much false and corrupt teaching was growing rampant and it was of most important to hear from someone in authority to “set the record straight”? Why would they not speak up when the post-70 Christians taught so much error and confusion? It is a historical fact that Jerusalem was destroyed in AD 70. Why didn’t the Jewish Christians “write anything” about that after AD 70? That surely would have been “front page” news for the Christians of that day. Instead we have absolute SILENCE from those first century saints.
After the fog clears from the almost total silence of AD 70-100, the second century writers begin to muddle their way into developing their theology, and immediately plunge into numerous ecclesiastical and doctrinal deviations such as Montanism, Ebionism, Sacerdotalism, and Chiliasm.
If some of the apostles were still around during the period AD 70-100 and were still teaching sound doctrine to their supposed disciples, how could those “apostolic fathers” in the early second century move so far away so quickly? It is not just confusion about eschatology, but chaos in every doctrinal area. I find it very hard to believe that any of the apostles, or their faithful disciples e.g. Timothy, Titus, Silas, Luke, Mark, Gaius, Aristarchus, et al) lived beyond AD 70. We don’t hear from a single one of them during the hiatus of AD 70-100.
Nor do we have any records of any of the apostolic disciples (such as Silas, Luke, Timothy or Titus) gathering disciples and teaching them the inspired apostolic traditions. Where did all these early church leaders go? Why do they vanish without a trace?
Why is the period AD 70-100 so silent, and the period AD 100-150 so confused and plagued with numerous departures from the apostolic patterns, if some of the apostles or their direct disciples were still around until well into the second century? If they were still around after AD 70, this silence, confusion and rapid descent into doctrinal deviation is incriminating. It surely looks like they were seriously derelict in their duty. This is not what we would expect to find if any of them were still around.
** The only credible answer –> they were all “caught up” (raptured) to be where the Lord is forever. (Amen!)
The only writings we do have during this hiatus period is from people like Josephus, a non-Christian, Jewish historian. Josephus was commissioned by Vespasian Caesar and his son Titus Caesar to write an ethical account of the Jewish-Roman war and the history of the Jews. His writings have been proven reliable when compared to other historical writings. Without even knowing it, Josephus used the testimony of the Jewish Priests in Jerusalem to authenticate the rapture.
Josephus described signs of angels in armor and chariots in the clouds over Israel leading up to the war. Josephus wrote: “On the 21st day of Artemisius (May AD 66), a certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appeared. I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those that saw it, and were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sunsetting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armor were seen running about among the clouds.”
“Moreover at that feast which we call Pentecost, as the Priests were going by night into the inner [court of the] temple, as their custom was, to perform their sacred ministrations, they said that, in the first place, they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise, and after that they heard a sound as of a great multitude’ saying ‘Let us remove hence.’” [Josephus, Complete Works. Wars 6.5.3 (296-300)].
The SILENCE of any letters or writings by Christians after Christ’s Parousia in AD 66-70 is unprecedented and remarkable. How could that possibly be? The answer is that the SILENCE is further evidence to support the fact that the rapture of the church had occurred in AD 66 just as Christ and the apostles had stated it would (Matt. 24:30-31; 1 Thess. 4:13- 17; 1 Cor. 15:51-54; 2 Cor. 5:1-5; Rom. 8:18-25).
See also related “Topic Studies & Terms”:
Related full “Study Series” (available upon request if not hyperlinked):
[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 14 Lesson 2 Resurrection: 1 and 2 Cor. And Acts”]
[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 14 Lesson 3 Resurrection: 1 Thess. 4:13-17”]
[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 14 Lesson 4 Resurrection: Expectations/Experiences”]