Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
October 12th, 2016 by Joel Watts

St Jerome on your fable of the millennium

I thought this was a hoot… given how much dispensationalism still runs rampant:

Verses 17, 18. “These four great beasts are the four kingdoms which shall arise from the earth. But the saints of the Most High God shall take the kingdom.” The four kingdoms of which we have spoken above were earthly in character. “For everything which is of the earth shall return to earth” (Eccl. 3:20). But the saints shall never possess an earthly kingdom, but only a heavenly. Away, then, with the fable about a millennium! [Cesset ergo mille annorum fabula.]1

The fourth beast, by the way, is Rome.

  1.  Jerome, Jerome’s Commentary on Daniel (trans. Gleason L. Archer Jr.; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1958), 81.
Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Comments

3 Responses to “St Jerome on your fable of the millennium”
  1. “The fourth beast, by the way, is Rome.”….according to Jerome.

    My New Oxford Annoted NRSV commentary on Dan 7:17 says “The four kings are the kingdoms of Babylon, Media, Persia, and Greece”.

    • If Dan 7 is a reflection/elaboration of Dan 2, then it would seem more likely that the four kingdoms are Babylon, the Medo-Persians, Greece, and Rome.

      • Maybe. But,

        If Dan 7 is a reflection/elaboration of Dan 8, then it would seem more likely that the four kingdoms are Babylon, Media, Persia, and Greece.

        Daniel 8:19-21 “19And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the latter time of the indignation; for it belongeth to the appointed time of the end. 20The ram which thou sawest, that had the two horns, they are the kings of Media and Persia. 21And the rough he-goat is the king of Greece: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.”

        Latter time:
        Babylon is a given, #1 kingdom.
        The ram, two horns. Note “kings” is plural, thus two kings, thus two kingdoms. Media is #2 kingdom, Persia is #3 kingdom.
        The he-goat is specifically named. Greece is the #4 kingdom.

        Concerning dispensationalism, Jerome seemed to buy into the end times as being his current times, thus Rome. But the heavenly kingdom didn’t happen in 476 AD, when Rome fell. Jerome expecting the end times “soon”; the same as David Jeremiah expecting the end times “soon”, now. Jerome was wrong, and a victim of the chaos on his day.

        Jerome’s Commentary, Book of Daniel, written around ~407 AD. Roman Empire divide, East and West, 395 AD. Fall of West, 476 AD. Written in chaos of what was perceived as his surrounding’s “end times”. Similar to current dispensationalists attitude about our “end times”.

        Jerome’s commentary:
        “The fourth empire is the Roman Empire, which now occupies the entire world”.

        “We should therefore concur with the traditional interpretation of all the commentators of the Christian Church, that at the end of the world, when the Roman Empire is to be destroyed, there shall be ten kings who will partition the Roman world amongst themselves.”

        “In the one empire of the Romans, all the kingdoms at once are to be destroyed, because of the blasphemy of the Antichrist. (670) And the [succeeding] empire shall not be an earthly empire at all, but it is simply the abode of the saints which is spoken of here, and the advent of the conquering Son of God.”

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