Additional evidence to confirm the early background of the six-thousand year tenet:
JOHN NEPIER (Neper) (1550-1617), distinguished Scottish mathematician and devoted adherent of the Protestant cause. Napier is celebrated as the inventor of logarithms and devised certain formulas in trigonometry and introduced the present use of the decimal point. He looked for the day of judgment about the year 1700 and believed the latter-day “beginneth to approch.” This view he based on the sex-thousand-year premise, and on the fact that God had given the time prophecies of Daniel and of Revelation by which the approach of the judgment might be known.
JOSHUA WILLIAM BROOKS (1790-1882), prebendary of Lincoln Cathedral, author, and editor of The Investigator, as well as compiler of A Dictionary of Writers on the Prophecies, was prominent in prophetic exposition circles between 1831 and 1844. The Investigator, published by Brooks from 1831-1836, indicated approaching end of 6,000 years for about 1836, which Bengel had set and which was looked to by John Wesley, W. A. Holmes, and Joseph Wolff. This had stimulated the “general expectations of some great crisis being at hand” irrespective of differences in detail.
FREDERICK NOLAN (1784-1864), Nolen notes the 6,000-year argument, with the seventh thousand years as a Sabbath of rest, which originated with the rabbinical Jews, “passed into the Christian Church,” and was adopted by the early Fathers.
For instance, the final editor of the “Slavonic Enoch” was a Hellenistic Jew in Egypt. (The Secrets of Enoch, also called the Slavonic Enoch, or sometimes 2 Enoch.) Confirmed date is between A.D. 1 and 50. This is the first time in Jewish literature the equation that one day of creation corresponds to one thousand years of world history. Here the stage was set for speculation of a world-week of seven thousand years—six thousand years of labor and toil from creation to the judgment, followed by a millennium of rest.
IRENAEUS held to the 6,000 year theory from Jewish tradition. Hippolytus apparently was the first to fall into the error of setting a specific date for the second advent calculation, fixing upon A.D. 500 on the basis of the generally held six-thousand-year theory of the world’s duration. He assumes, like Irenaeus his teacher, that, inasmuch as God made all things in six days, and these days symbolize a thousand years each, in six thousand years from the creation the end will come.
As a reminder, I compiled the information provided in the above list from Leroy Froom’s The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, Volumes I-III.
In addition to making available from Froom’s books selected names of various early writers who taught the six-thousand year belief, tomorrow, I will add Froom’s comments about the influence of pagan concepts upon Christianity in this matter.