(Condensed from: Rev. Morgan Edwards Taught a Pre-Tribulation Rapture in the 1740s! by Gary Stearman)
2. Ephraem of Nisibis:
Several manuscripts ascribed to Ephraem the Syrian (AD 306-373) clearly teach that believers will be Raptured to Heaven before the Tribulation. Ephraem was from Nisibis on the eastern edge of the Roman Empire (about 100 miles NW of Nineveh). He Ephraem was a well-known and prolific Syrian writer and witness to early Christianity. That he was a sound believer is demonstrated by his refutations of "... the heresies of Marcion, Mani, and the Arians." (Thomas Ice: Examining an Ancient Pre-Trib Rapture Statement).
Following is part of Ephraem's sermon called, "On the Last Times, the Anti-christ, and the End of the World." It is said to be among the most interesting of apocalyptic texts from the early Middle Ages. The sermon describes the events of the last days, beginning with the rapture, the Great Tribulation of 3 1/2 years duration under the Antichrist's rule, followed by the Second Coming of Christ. The translation from Latin (there are 4 known manuscripts) of the sermon includes the following segment:
"For all the saints and Elect of God are gathered, prior to the Tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins." (English translation of the Latin text [Christiania, 1890, pp. 208-20] provided by Cameron Rhoades, Latin instructor at Tyndale Theological Seminary, Ft. Worth, TX.)
In Ephraem's book, The Book of the Cave of Treasures, written about A.D. 370, he expressed his belief that the 69th Week of Daniel ended with the rejection and crucifixion of Jesus the Messiah (The Book of the Cave of Treasures, p. 235). This dispensational teaching also supports the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. It has been proven that the end of the 69th Week (Dan. 9:26, cf. Dan. 9:24-27) ended when the Lord Jesus was hailed as King (or Prince) at His Triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Sunday, 31 March 30 AD or 10 Nisan (Ex. 12:3, cf. 12:1-6). The Thursday after that was Passover, 14 Nisan or 4 April. On Sunday, 10 Nisan many received Jesus as King, but on Thursday others crucified Him as Daniel prophesied (Dan. 9:26; cf. Zech. 9:9; Matt. 21:1-11; Mk. 11:1-10; Lk. 19:28-44; Jn. 12:1, 12-16). Daniel's 70 Weeks [of year: 70 x 7 = 490 years] stopped ticking at the 69th Week with 7 years yet to go (See this article for details).
(This information on Ephraem of Nisibis was condensed from: Byzantine Text Discovery: Ephraem The Syrian by Chuck Missler. Ephraem's prophetic treatise is just under 1500 words preserved in four Latin manuscripts. Three date from the eighth century and are ascribe to Ephraem; the fourth manuscript is from the ninth century and claims Isidore of Seville (d. 636 AD) as the author. For this reason the author of this ancient pretribulation work is also called Psudo-Ephraem.)
3. Two additional ancient statements showing an imminent return of Christ view:
"Of a truth, soon and suddenly shall His will be accomplished, as the Scripture also bears witness, saying, 'speedily will He come, and will not tarry.'" (The 1st Epistle of Clement of Rome [written about 96 AD] pastor at the Church in Rome [Phil. 4:3])
"Be vigilant over your life; let your lamps not be extinguished, or your loins ungirded, but be prepared, for you know not the hour in which our Lord will come." (The Didache 16:1; 70-180 AD)
Premillennialism was condemned as heretical by the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD. The apostasy that swept over Christendom caused a lack of prophecy commentary from about that time until the 1600s. Later the Bible was forbidden and the people were not allowed soul liberty, but were spoon-fed false doctrine by Catholicism. It wasn't until the early seventeenth century that we begin to see an increase in statements that reflect the pretribulation view.