I'm not bothered by the Church Fathers being wrong on the Rapture. Daniel 12 foretells that Knowledge of God's word would increase. And the Post-Trib error is the unavoidable consequence of replacement theology. Jesus returning more then once simply makes no sense if you don't understand there are two Covenant peoples he's returning for. This replacement theology was born out of the Church's reactions to the persecutions they faced from Jews during the Bar-Kochba revolt. These latter Christians weren't able to follow the example of Stephen. I said this before in my post on Ephream the Syrian.
Hippolytus like most early Christians believed the Witnesses were Enoch and Elijah. He believed Rome had to fall first and the 10 Horns were Kingdoms that would arise out of Rome's fall. Those are things I feel he was right on.
He also believed The Antichrist would be a Jew of The Tribe of Dan, and would claim to be The Jewish Messiah. He may be right on that too.
But he was also a date setter. He had an understanding of Chronology (partly based on the problematic Septuagint) that told him Jesus was crucified in the 5500th from Creation. And so he believed the Sabbath Millennium would start in 530 AD. That he didn't date set within his own life time shows a lack of personal bias. His date was wrong of course, but admittedly during the time period leading up to that date, the Western Empire had just fallen, and there were Messianic Samaritan and Jewish Revolts in the Holy Land. If there were people at the time familiar with him, it might have seemed like his predictions were coming to pass.
Among the ideas that critics of Dispensationalism like to accuse of being made up by Darby and others in the 1800s, is the idea of gaps in certain Old Testament Prophecies, particularly Daniel 9 and 11. And I've seen them abuse quotes from Hippolytus to try and back that up.
However reading his commentary on Daniel shows, that he viewed the first 69 Weeks as ending with Jesus, but that the 70th was yet Future. And likewise in Daniel 11, he viewed the first 35 verses as being The Hellenistic age, but that verses 36-45 were about a yet future Antichrist.
The source I copied that from has apparent typos I chose not to correct. I assume "Test of the week" should mean "rest of the week".39. Thus, then, does the prophet set forth these things concerning the Antichrist, who shall be shameless, a war-maker, and despot, who, exalting himself above all kings and above every god, shall build the city of Jerusalem, and restore the sanctuary. Him the impious will worship as God, and will bend to him the knee, thinking him to be the Christ. He shall cut off the two witnesses and forerunners of Christ, who proclaim His glorious kingdom from heaven, as it is said: "And I will give (power) unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth." As also it was announced to Daniel: "And one week shall confirm a covenant with many; and in the midst of the week it shall be that the sacrifice and oblation shall be removed"--that the one week might be shown to be divided into two. The two witnesses, then, shall preach three years and a half; and Antichrist shall make war upon the saints during the test of the week, and desolate the world, that what is written may be fulfilled: "And they shall make the abomination of desolation for a thousand two hundred and ninety days."
What might surprise one even more is to discover some Rabbinic Jewish sources who agree the 70th Week could be yet future, as well as the last part of Daniel 11.
Britam is a Rabbinic Jewish website that supports it's own unique form of British Israelism, but without any of Christian aspects of the idea. I don't desire to endorse British Israelism, but the site's commentaries on Daniel 9 and 11 are interesting.
[Daniel 9:27] AND HE SHALL CONFIRM THE COVENANT WITH MANY FOR ONE WEEK: AND IN THE MIDST OF THE WEEK HE SHALL CAUSE THE SACRIFICE AND THE OBLATION TO CEASE, AND FOR THE OVERSPREADING OF ABOMINATIONS HE SHALL MAKE IT DESOLATE, EVEN UNTIL THE CONSUMMATION, AND THAT DETERMINED SHALL BE POURED UPON THE DESOLATE.And
These verses are also applicable to future events leading up to the Messianic Age.
They don't see Jesus in the first 69 weeks of course, but that's not the point I'm seeking to prove here.
Until now the account has quite faithfully followed the historical developments that did indeed occur exactly as described. From here on Scripture seems to depart somewhat and enter another future realm.
In effect we may say that this present chapter of Daniel although apparently dedicated to the Maccabee Period and what preceded it in effect is proto-typical. It is referring to the end times and using historical events as a pattern for future end-time prophecy.
Update September 2015: I no longer agree with the message of this post. A I have explained here.