It is written:
“And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time. 36 “Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done.” (Daniel 11:35-36)
“But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” (Daniel 12:4)
“And one said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?” 7 Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished.” (Daniel 12:6-7)
“But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days.” (Daniel 12:13)
Daniel 11 provides several prophecies, the majority of which were fulfilled during the Intertestamental Period (408 B.C.-3 B.C.). However, in Daniel 11:36, Daniel shifts focus to “the time of the end,” which we have noticed is a reference to the Christian Age.
Many believe that Daniel is continuing to talk about the figure he has been describing, a wicked ruler named Antiochus Epiphanies IV.
Could it be that this passage is strictly speaking about Antiochus IV?
Or could it be that Antiochus IV is a “type” of the king that is here described?
What are the facts?
Antiochus Epiphanies IV was a Seleucid king who lived from 5-163 B.C. He attempted to turn the land of Palestine into a Greek province. He instigated several horrible persecutions of the Jews.
“As if these steps were not bad enough, Antiochus took the ultimate drastic step of converting the holy temple into a pagan shrine. The process involved several steps. First, the altar dedicated to Jehovah was desecrated through the sacrifice of unclean animals, in this case pigs. Second, an altar of idols— three meteorites representing the three principal deities of the pagan cult (accounts differ on what was actually erected)—was placed on or over the one dedicated to the Lord. Third, sacred prostitution was established within the walls of the temple. The day was an intolerably dark one for most Jews…Thousands were killed when they disobeyed the new edict. In one case, officers tied the dead bodies of the two young infants whom they had killed to their mother’s neck before she was also executed. Her crime was that she had had them circumcised according to God’s commandment. In effect, the edict condemned not only the young infants and their mother but also the father and the man who performed the circumcisions. Antiochus’ persecution was a first, for Jews died not in battle defending their country against invaders but for simply practicing their faith. It is not unthinkable that people believed their way of life was in mortal jeopardy. Antiochus’ twopronged policy of attacking the institutions that bound the people together and simultaneously forcing conversion of the Jewish people could have easily made it impossible for Jews and Judaism to survive as they were.” (S. Kent Brown & Richard Neitzel Holzapfel, Between The Testaments: From Malachi To Matthew, 852-870 (Kindle Edition))
Some believe that Daniel 11:36-12:13 continues to foretell the downfall of Antiochus. However, there are at least three major problems with that viewpoint.
First of all, as we have noticed in our previous study, the specific phrase “sunteleia” would seem to place the events of this period well into the Christian period. The fact that Jesus Himself used this phrase and applied it to the end of the Christian Age is powerful evidence that this was not talking about Antiochus.
Second, the statements made in Daniel 11:36-12:13 do not fit very well with Antiochus. In fact, in some ways, they do not fit at all!
For example, this text claims that the “wicked king” of this passage would exalt himself above every god (Daniel 11:36-38). Yet it is well known that Antiochus was a firm and committed worshiper of the Greek gods.
“These who adhere to the Maccabean thesis maintain that vv. 36–45 continue to speak of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. However, there are serious problems with this position, not the least of which is the fact that much of the historical data set forth in these verses (even in vv. 36–39) is impossible to harmonize with Antiochus’s life.83 For example, Antiochus did not exalt himself above every god (vv. 36–37), reject “the gods of his fathers,” or worship “a god unknown to his fathers” (v. 38); on the contrary, he worshiped the Greek pantheon, even building an altar and offering sacrifices to Zeus in the Jerusalem temple precincts.” (Stephen R. Miller, The New American Commentary: An Exegetical And Theological Exposition Of Holy Scripture Volume 8-Daniel, 305 (Kindle Edition); Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group)
Again, notice that this passage is very clear that the “king” in consideration would die in Palestine.
Daniel 11:45-And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him.
However, Antiochus died far from Palestine. The writer of 1 Maccabees describes the death of this wicked ruler:
1 Maccabees 6:8-13-When the king heard this news [that the Jews had torn down the abomination he had erected upon the altar in Jerusalem], he was astounded and badly shaken. He took to his bed and became sick from grief, because things had not turned out for him as he had planned. He lay there for many days, because deep grief continually gripped him, and he concluded that he was dying. So he called all his friends and said to them, “Sleep departs from my eyes and I am downhearted with worry. I said to myself, ‘To what distress I have come! And into what a great flood I am now plunged! For I was kind and beloved in my power.’ But now I remember the evils I did in Jerusalem. I seized all her vessels of silver and gold; and I sent to destroy the inhabitants of Judah without good reason. I know that it is because of this that these evils have come upon me; and behold, I am perishing of deep grief in a strange land.”
Third, the Jewish people often claim that Daniel 11:36-12:13 is not referring to Antiochus IV. For example, one third century Christian speaking of this text in Daniel, records:
“As another has translated it, “for in him shall be the consummation.” The Jews believe that this passage has reference to the antichrist, alleging that after the small help of Julian a king is going to rise up who shall do according to his own will, and shall lift himself up against all that is called god and shall speak arrogant words against the God of gods. He shall act in such a way as to sit in the temple of God and shall make himself out to be God, and his will shall be prospered until the wrath of God is fulfilled, for in him the consummation will take place. We too understand this to refer to the antichrist.” (Jerome, Commentary on Daniel 11.36.)
Surely the Jewish people would have been the first to realize if this passage were speaking of Antiochus. Yet they attribute it to an antichrist like figure.
In light of these facts, it is hard to see how these verses could apply strictly to Antiochus.
What I have come to believe is that Antiochus was a kind of “type” or “forerunner” of an antichrist like figure who will arise at the end of the Christian Age, and that this passage (Daniel 11:36-12:13) uses Antiochus to help describe what this wicked ruler will be like. There are many similarities in this passage to Antiochus.
For example, the text tells us here that one of the things to take place would the setting up of the abomination of desolation. We are told earlier in Daniel about Antiochus:
Daniel 11:31-And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation.
Antiochus was responsible for setting up “the abomination of desolation” in the Temple at Jerusalem.
1 Maccabees 1:57-On the fifteenth day of the month, Casleu, in the hundred and forty-fifth year, king Antiochus set up the abominable idol of desolation upon the altar of God, and they built altars throughout all the cities of Juda round about:
1 Maccabees 6:7-And that they had thrown down the abomination which he had set up upon the altar in Jerusalem, and that they had compassed about the sanctuary with high walls as before, and Bethsura also, his city.
What exactly was the abomination of desolation? Many do not realize the meaning of the word “abomination,” believing it simply to be something which is repugnant to the senses. However, the word also carried with it the idea of a religious desecration. Antiochus set up a horrible abomination in the Temple, which led to the Maccabean war between the Jews and the Greeks.
“As if these steps were not bad enough, Antiochus took the ultimate drastic step of converting the holy temple into a pagan shrine. The process involved several steps. First, the altar dedicated to Jehovah was desecrated through the sacrifice of unclean animals, in this case pigs. Second, an altar of idols— three meteorites representing the three principal deities of the pagan cult (accounts differ on what was actually erected)—was placed on or over the one dedicated to the Lord. Third, sacred prostitution was established within the walls of the temple. The day was an intolerably dark one for most Jews.” ((S. Kent Brown & Richard Neitzel Holzapfel, Between The Testaments: From Malachi To Matthew, 856-861 (Kindle Edition))
There were definite connections between the abomination of desolation and the exalting of the Greek religions. As Whitworth has noted:
“As Lucas explains, the phrase “abomination of desolation” is a derogatory pun on the name “Baal Shamen,” the Aramaic form of “Zeus Olympios,” the god to whom Antiochus sacrificed the swine (2 Macc 6:2). To get an idea of just how blasphemous and offensive this was to the faithful in Israel, Russell likens it to a wave of vandalism in London about thirty years ago in which Jews found the tombstones of their deceased marred by swastikas. “What they saw was an obscenity, a spitting in the face of God.” (Michael Whitworth, The Derision Of Heaven: A Guide To Daniel, 140 (Kindle Edition); Bowie, TX; Start2Finish Books)
Notice that the king mentioned in Daniel 11:36-12:13 would also set up an abomination of desolation:
Daniel 12:11-And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days.
While Antiochus IV Epiphanies does not fit the description of the king in Daniel 11:36-12:13, he does serve as a powerful forerunner of this wicked king that will arise during the Christian Age.
Yet all of this raises still more questions.
Is this “king” in the passage rightly and correctly called “the” antichrist?
Doesn’t the New Testament teach that there are many antichrists who have been around since the first century A.D.?
Furthermore, what does this passage teach us about the state of the world when this “king” would arise?
Do the Gog and Magog passages of Ezekiel 38-39 relate to this study?
These are some of the questions that we will soon be turning our attention to.
That question will be the focus of our next study.