Jerome and Antichrist: An Example of Single-Fulfillment Hermeneutics

A couple years ago, I uploaded a paper I wrote defending a single-fulfillment approach to interpreting biblical prophecy, particularly as it relates to prophecies about Christ. I alluded to Augustine as an example of how this looks in practice, where he likewise saw in the example of 2 Samuel 7:4-17 Christ alone fulfilling the prophecy, Solomon falling short of it, and Solomon thus only picturing the fulfillment rather than actually fulfilling the prophecy to whatever degree there is correspondence. Like the Apostle Peter at Pentecost, Augustine does not take such prophecies of Christ to be fulfilled both there and here, but instead proudly tells us it was not fulfilled there, but rather here — i.e., in the Person of Jesus Christ, the one greater than David and Solomon.

In preparing for a lesson on Daniel that I gave at church, I came across another very good example of this principle in practice from Jerome’s commentary and I thought it would serve as a good supplement here. May it be a blessing to others who seek to read the Old Testament more like the Apostles and the ancient church.

Verse 24. “And there shall stand up in his place one despised, and the kingly honor shall not be given him; and he shall come privately and shall obtain the kingdom by fraud. And the arms of the fighter shall be overcome before his face and shall be broken, and the prince of the covenant as well. And after friendly advances he shall deal deceitfully with him, and shall go up and shall overcome with a small people. And he shall enter into rich and prosperous cities, and shall do things which his fathers never did, nor his fathers’ fathers. He shall scatter their spoil and their booty and their wealth, and shall undertake plots against the best fortified cities, and shall continue thus for a time.” Up to this point the historical order has been followed, and there has been no point of controversy between Porphyry and those of our side. But the rest of the text from here on to the end of the book he interprets as applying to the person of the Antiochus who was surnamed Epiphanes, the brother of Seleucus and the son of Antiochus the Great. He reigned in Syria for eleven years after Seleucus, and he seized Judaea, and it is under his reign that the persecution of God’s Law is related, and also the wars of the Maccabees. But those of our persuasion believe all these things are spoken prophetically of the Antichrist who is to arise in the end time. But this factor appears to them as a difficulty for our view, namely the question as to why the prophetic discourse should abruptly cease mention of these great kings and shift from Seleucus to the end of the world. The answer is that in the earlier historical account where mention was made of the Persian kings, only four kings of Persia were presented, following after Cyrus, and many who came in between were simply skipped over, so as to come quickly to Alexander, king of the Macedonians. We hold that it is the practice of Scripture not to relate all details completely, but only to set forth what seems of major importance. Those of our school insist also that since many of the details which we are subsequently to read and explain are appropriate to the person of Antiochus, he is to be regarded as a type of the Antichrist, and those things which happened to him in a preliminary way are to be completely fulfilled in the case of the Antichrist. We hold that it is the habit of Holy Scripture to set forth by means of types the reality of things to come, in conformity with what is said of our Lord and Savior in the Seventy-first [i.e Seventy-second] Psalm, a psalm which is noted at the beginning as being Solomon’s, and yet not all the statements which are made concerning can be applied to Solomon. For certainly he neither endured “together with the sun and before the moon from generation to generation,” nor did he hold sway from sea to sea, or from the River unto the ends of the earth; neither did all the nations serve him, nor did his name endure before the sun; neither were all the tribes of earth blessed in him, nor did all races magnify him. But in a partial way these things were set forth in advance, by shadows as it were, and by a mere symbol of the reality, in the person of Solomon, in order that they might be more perfectly fulfilled in our Lord and Savior. And so, just as the Savior had Solomon and the other saints as types of His advent, so also we should believe that the Antichrist very properly had as a type of himself the utterly wicked king, Antiochus, who persecuted the saints and defiled the Temple.

Jerome, Commentary on Daniel, 11:24 (

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