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Fifth Monarchy men

Fifth Monarchy men. A movement of extreme millenarians, arising in 1649 and radiating from two centres: London, where Christopher Feake and John Simpson preached, and Wales, where its evangelists were Vavasor Powell and Morgan Llwyd. Fifth Monarchists interpreted the four beasts in Daniel's dream (Dan. 7) as the four great empires of the ancient world. The fourth, the Roman, had been usurped by the papacy, alias Antichrist, or the Beast in Revelation (Rev. 11–20). The fifth monarchy was to be that of Christ, exercised on his behalf by his saints for 1,000 years (Rev. 20: 3–5), until he returned in person to pronounce the Last Judgement. Such beliefs were held by many orthodox puritans; the Fifth Monarchists differed from them in relating the scriptural prophecies very literally to current events, especially the regicide; in setting an early, precise date for the destruction of Antichrist; and in confidently identifying themselves as the saints. Above all, they believed it was their mission to overturn all remnants of ‘carnal’ government and erect the promised kingdom by their own efforts, though they differed as to its precise form. One accused Cromwell to his face that he ‘tooke the Crowne off from the heade of Christ, and put it upon his owne’. They disagreed over using force, but the militants attempted risings in London in 1657 and 1661. Thereafter they gradually declined.

Austin Woolrych

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Fifth Monarchy Men

Fifth Monarchy Men, religious group active during the time of the Commonwealth and Protectorate in England. They were millenarians expecting the imminent coming of Jesus to rule the earth. His monarchy was to be the fifth kingdom described in Dan. 2.36–45; according to their intepretation, the first four were the Assyrian, Persian, Greek, and Roman empires. The Fifth Monarchy Men objected to the Established Church and believed it their duty to establish Christ's reign by force, if necessary. They attempted an uprising in 1657 and again, after the restoration of the monarchy, in 1661. Their leaders were seized and executed for treason, and the group dissolved.

See studies by L. F. Brown (1912, repr. 1964), P. G. Rogers (1966), and B. S. Capp (1972).

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Fifth Monarchy Men

Fifth Monarchy Men. Members of a short-lived elitist millennarian movement in England in the mid-17th cent. Its members, mainly artisans, journeymen, and apprentices, anticipated the establishment of the ‘fifth monarchy’ of Daniel 2. 44. Following Venner's rebellion (1661) the movement died out.

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