Let’s do a short recap of the prophecies we covered in this series on Daniel. In Daniel chapter two we discovered a prophecy that revealed the fall of Babylon and the rise and fall of Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. We discovered that the fall of Rome would be brought about gradually from within when the kingdom of God came to earth. The kingdom of God came in the time of Jesus. His ministry established God’s kingdom.
In Daniel chapter seven we discovered the formation of four global governments. We also discovered these four governments combine to make the end time kingdom that we see in Revelation chapter 13. We also saw the final judgment of the end time kingdom in this prophecy. This is all covered in The Book of Daniel part 1
In Daniel chapter eight we learned more about the rise and fall of the Medo-Persian Empire. We also discovered more details about the Rise of Greece and the fall of Alexander the Great. We read prophecies about the division of the Greek Empire. We also read prophecies concerning the rise of Antiochus Epiphanes. This is covered in The Book of Daniel Part 2
In Daniel chapter nine we saw a prophecy that showed when Messiah would come to Israel. We were given the reasons that Jerusalem was led away captive for 70 years. We also witnessed the establishment of the covenant of Moses and a seven-year time span in which this covenant would be in operation during the end time kingdom. This is covered in The Book of Daniel Part 3.
The study we are going to do next is going to be a long study. It will be the conclusion of our prophecy study in Daniel.
Refuting The Skeptics
Now we are about to cover the last major prophecy in the book of Daniel, and the details are tremendous. This prophecy covers chapters 10, 11, and 12 and it will be in two parts. The series of prophecies in these chapters goes into so much detail that critics of the book of Daniel claim it was written after the events took place. Many liberal scholars put a much later date on Daniel (164 BC) because of the details in these chapters. Many of them claim that the Daniel who appears as the hero in the Book of Daniel never existed. These scholars believe that Daniel had a few different authors. These same liberal scholars believe the book of Daniel was probably written in 164 B.C. and it is one of the last books in the Old Testament to be written. This is presented as fact by a few of the more liberal bible schools.
The first recorded critic of Daniel was Porphyry, a third-century A.D. philosopher. He wrote a work entitled “Against the Christians”. Porphyry became one of the biggest pagan adversaries of Christianity in his day. His goal was not to disprove Christianity’s teachings. Instead, he would attack the records within which the teachings were proclaimed.
According to Jerome, Porphyry focused his attacks on the prophecies found in Daniel because Jews and Christians pointed to the historical fulfillment of these prophecies as a decisive argument. Porphyry claimed the prophecies in the book of Daniel were written not by Daniel, but by some Jew who lived during the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. This claim puts a date of 164 B.C. on the book.
Here is Porphyry’s accusation as quoted by Jerome:
“Daniel did not predict so much future events as he narrated past ones. Finally what he had told up to Antiochus contained true history; if anything was guessed beyond that point it was false, for he had not known the future.”
Today, many of the modern skeptics follow this same line of thinking.
There are several problems with these so-called facts from these skeptics. First, it does not explain the accuracy found in the 70 week prophecy as we covered in Daniel part 3 of this series. That prophecy predicts the time when Messiah would show up in Jerusalem and then be cut off. (Read The Book Of Daniel part 3 for more details. 0) Here we see at least one prophecy that happened after the 164 B.C. time line that porphyry declared. If every prophecy was made up after prophetic events passed, then how is the fulfillment of this prophecy explained?
Second Jesus himself gives credit to Daniel and calls him a prophet.
Mat 24:15 “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand)” See Mark Chapter 13.
Let’s not forget about the rise of Rome as the global empire that replaced Greece, as prophesied in the second chapter of Daniel. This was finalized in the first century B.C. after the 164 B.C. date.
The book of Ezekiel mentions Daniel! Eze 14:14 says “Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD.”
Daniel is mentioned again in verse 20. Eze 14:20 “Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.” Most Scholars agree that the book of Ezekiel was written about 600 years before Christ.
However the nail in the coffin seems to be the Septuagint version of the Old Testament. The Septuagint derives its name from the Latin versio septuaginta interpretum, “translation of the seventy interpreters”. The Septuagint abbreviation is LXX (Roman Numerals), Seventy-two Jewish scholars were asked by the Greek King of Egypt Ptolemy II Philadelphus to translate the Torah from Biblical Hebrew into Greek. The purpose of this was to add the Hebrew Scriptures to the Library in Alexandria.
Philo of Alexandria relied extensively on the Septuagint. He says in his writings that the number of scholars were chosen by selecting six scholars from each of the twelve tribes of Israel. Josephus also relied on this translation. The Septuagint was also the main source of the Old Testament for early Christians during the first few centuries AD. Many early Christians spoke and read Greek. They relied on the Septuagint translation for most of their understanding of the Old Testament. The New Testament writers also relied heavily on the Septuagint. This is why a majority of Old Testament quotes cited in the New Testament are quoted directly from the Septuagint.
Translation of the Septuagint started in 285 B.C. and finished around 270 B.C. Daniel is among one of the books found in this collection. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has helped to verify the validity of the Septuagint. The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered by a shepherd boy in the Qumran region near the Dead Sea. A collection of Hebrew scrolls that make up the books of the Old Testament were recovered between 1947 and 1948. These scrolls are dated to as early as 200 BC and contain parts of every book in the Old Testament including Daniel. The only book not found among these scrolls is the book of Esther.
The Septuagint and the Dead Sea Scrolls establish a very effective collection of evidence for Christianity! The Old Testament prophecies of the coming Messiah unquestionably predated the time that Jesus Christ walked the earth. All theories of 1st Century AD conspiracies and prophecy manipulation go out the door when we realize that all prophetic scripture like Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22 were already written in Greek at least 200 years before Christ. These are among the number of reasons why I accept Daniel as being authentic. More than likely Daniel was written during his lifetime starting at the minimum of around 590 years before Christ.
Daniel’s Final Vision
Dan 10:1 “In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a word was revealed to Daniel, who was named Belteshazzar. And the word was true, and it was a great conflict. And he understood the word and had understanding of the vision.”
This chapter is the introduction to detailed prophecies about Israel’s future, chapter 11 is the main content and chapter 12 presents some conclusions. It is important to note that this prophetic vision covers the last three chapters of Daniel. This vision came two years after Daniel retired from government service, based on Daniel 1:21. Daniel did not return to Jerusalem in the first wave of returnees.
Dan 10:2 In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks.
Dan 10:3 I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks.
Dan 10:4 On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river (that is, the Tigris)
Dan 10:5 I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, a man clothed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist.
Daniel did not immediately understand some of his previous visions, but this one was clear to him. His understanding of the future left him in mourning. It was not a pretty picture. The Hiddekel is the Hebrew name for the Tigris River. We at least know where Daniel was located
Dan 10:5 I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, a man clothed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist.
Dan 10:6 His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a multitude.
Dan 10:7 And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision, but a great trembling fell upon them, and they fled to hide themselves.
Dan 10:8 So I was left alone and saw this great vision, and no strength was left in me. My radiant appearance was fearfully changed, and I retained no strength.
Daniel sees another vision in addition to the one he mentions in verse 1. He was an old man at this point in his life. Daniel was in the company of other men, but they were not allowed to see the entire vision. What they did experience was scary enough to leave Daniel behind. They quickly fled the scene and left Daniel alone.
Dan 10:9 Then I heard the sound of his words, and as I heard the sound of his words, I fell on my face in deep sleep with my face to the ground.
Dan 10:10 And behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees.
Dan 10:11 And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly loved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you.” And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling.
Dan 10:12 Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words.
This is a testimony to the power of prayer. The angel was sent because of Daniel’s prayers.
Dan 10:13 The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia,
Dan 10:14 and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come.”
Dan 10:15 When he had spoken to me according to these words, I turned my face toward the ground and was mute.
Dan 10:16 And behold, one in the likeness of the children of man touched my lips. Then I opened my mouth and spoke. I said to him who stood before me, “O my lord, by reason of the vision pains have come upon me, and I retain no strength.
Dan 10:17 How can my lord’s servant talk with my lord? For now no strength remains in me, and no breath is left in me.”
Dan 10:18 Again one having the appearance of a man touched me and strengthened me.
Dan 10:19 And he said, “O man greatly loved, fear not, peace be with you; be strong and of good courage.” And as he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.”
Dan 10:20 Then he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? But now I will return to fight against the prince of Persia; and when I go out, behold, the prince of Greece will come.
Dan 10:21 But I will tell you what is inscribed in the book of truth: there is none who contends by my side against these except Michael, your prince.
Daniel was greatly loved in the heavenly realm. The messenger had made the trip from the realm of God to the location of Daniel specifically to help him gain more understanding for the vision he saw. Now we find out about a book in heaven called The Book of Truth. The events that the angel describes to Daniel in chapters 11 and 12 are found already written down in this Book of Truth.
Daniel was trembling – He was shaking. God heard Daniel when he first prayed, He sent his messenger, but the response was withheld for three weeks. Humbling here included prayer and fasting. This response was clearly an answer to Daniel’s prayer.
This is a very rare look into the world of angels. This Prince of Persia was in the spiritual or heavenly realm, not on earth. He was withstanding Gabriel. We also believe that he was an evil angel because he stood against God’s messenger. The angel Michael came to assist Gabriel. There was a struggle in the heavenly realm that the earth was unaware of.
This time Daniel understood why the messenger came. This angel, whom we take to be Gabriel, had to go fight with this wicked angel, The prince of Persia, and as soon as that struggle was won, He would deliver his message and fight with him again. another wicked angelic-prince would appear on behalf of Greece. All of this sets the stage for chapter 11.So let’s see what is written in the Book of Truth.
Dan 11:1 “And as for me, in the first year of Darius the Mede, I stood up to confirm and strengthen him.
Dan 11:2 “And now I will show you the truth. Behold, three more kings shall arise in Persia, and a fourth shall be far richer than all of them. And when he has become strong through his riches, he shall stir up all against the kingdom of Greece.
The angel giving Daniel the message strengthtened Darius the Mede in his first year. This prophecy was given in the third year of Cyrus, king of Persia around 535 BC. The next four Medo-Persian kings after Cyrus were:
1 Cambyses II, his son – 530-522 BC
2 Gaumata the Magian – 522 BC
3 The Persian Darius I the Great – 522-486 BC.
4 Xerxes was the fourth king -486-465 BC.
Xerxes’ mother was Atossa, the daughter of Cyrus the Great. His father, Darius the Great, left him the task of punishing the Greeks for their part in the Ionian rebellion, (499-494 BC) and their part for the defeat of the Persian army at the battle of Marathon. (490 BC)
Dan 11:3 Then a mighty king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion and do as he wills.
After the military defeat of Xerxes by the Greeks, a number of Persian kings ruled the empire, but Xerxes defeat had set a series of events in motion for a strong Greek ruler to arise. This ruler was Alexander the Great. He defeated the Persian King Darius III Codomannus in 333 BCE at the battle of Issus. This battle took place on the Mediterranean coast in what is now southeast Turkey. This defeat signaled the beginning of the end of the Persian empire.
In the spring of 480 BC, Xerxes set out from Sardis. He was victorious at first, but when Xerxes attacked the Greek fleet under negative conditions at the Battle of Salamis on September 28, 480 BC, he lost. His naval fleet was more than three times as large as the Greek navy. Approximately 1,207 of Persia’s ships fought against 371 Greek ships. This was the battle that decided the war, and Xerxes was forced to retire to Sardis. The army which he left in Greece was finally beaten the next year. The Delian League, which is also known as the Athenian Empire, was formed in 477 BC. This was an offensive and defensive alliance of the Greek city-states against the Persians. The Greek empire had begun its rise to dominance.
Dan 11:4 And as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom shall be broken and divided toward the four winds of heaven, but not to his posterity, nor according to the authority with which he ruled, for his kingdom shall be plucked up and go to others besides these.
Alexander left a huge empire at his death. His family and his generals fought for control of this kingdom. When the dust settled, only two of his top officers remained alive. His other generals, his mother, his wife, his son, his illegitimate son, his sister, his half-sister, and his half-brother, were all dead. Of this group, only one general (Antipater) died of natural causes.
After much fighting and jockeying for position, Alexander’s empire was divided into four major portions by 301 BC:
1 Cassander ruled over Greece
2 Lysimachus ruled in Asia Minor
3 Seleucus I Nicator ruled in Babylon and Persia
4 Ptolemy I Soter ruled over the Holy Land and Egypt.
Dan 11:5 “Then the king of the south shall be strong, but one of his princes shall be stronger than he and shall rule, and his authority shall be a great authority.”
“King of the south” is in reference to the Ptolemy kingdom. It is south of Israel. In 281 BC, Seleucus I killed Lysimachus in battle. Only two dynasties remained in Alexander’s old empire – the Seleucid kings and the Ptolemaic kings. The Seleucid Kings are north of Israel and the Ptolemaic Kings are south of Israel
Dan 11:6 After some years they shall make an alliance, and the daughter of the king of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement. But she shall not retain the strength of her arm, and he and his arm shall not endure, but she shall be given up, and her attendants, he who fathered her, and he who supported her in those times.
In 249 BC, the king of the South Ptolemy II Philadelphus sent his daughter Berenice to king of the North Antiochus II Theos. His plan was to stop the Second Syrian War that was raging, and unite the two kingdoms through their marriage. Unfortunately, this plan had a major flaw. Antiochus II was already married. However, because he knew his marriage to Ptolemy II’s daughter would bring peace and allow him to regain most of the Syrian possessions his father had lost to the king of the South, Antiochus II put away his wife Laodice and married Berenice. She persuaded him to reject Laodice’s children and set up her own to succeed him on the throne.
After Ptolemy II died in 246 BC, Antiochus II renounced his marriage to Berenice and left her and their infant son to return to Laodice. However, Laodice quickly murdered Antiochus II with poison because she doubted his faithfulness to her. She then convinced her son, Seleucus II Callinicus, to kill both Berenice and her son. So, just as the prophecy said would happen, Ptolemy II king of the South, his daughter Berenice, and Antiochus II king of the North all lost in their struggle for power.
Dan 11:7 “And from a branch from her roots one shall arise in his place. He shall come against the army and enter the fortress of the king of the north, and he shall deal with them and shall prevail.
Ptolemy III Euergetes, the eldest son of Ptolemy II and brother of Berenice, was angry about the murder of his sister. He immediately invaded the Seleucid empire. His armies defeated the armies of the new king of the North, Seleucus II, who was the son of Antiochus II and Laodice. His campaign was successful, and his armies achieved victory from the Tigris River to the coasts of Asia Minor. Ptolemy III captured and put to death Laodice. He was even able to enter Seleucia, the port city on the Tigris River of the capital Antioch, and leave a garrison there.
Dan 11:8 He shall also carry off to Egypt their gods with their metal images and their precious vessels of silver and gold, and for some years he shall refrain from attacking the king of the north.
During the Third Syrian War, king of the South Ptolemy III is credited with recovering many of the sacred statues that the Persian forces of Cambyses had carried off during their conquest of Egypt some three hundred years earlier. Ptolemy III acquired gold and silver during his campaign. From Seleucia alone he received 1,500 talents of silver annually as tribute (about 10% of his annual income). He outlived Seleucus II, who died after falling from his horse, by four or five years. he died in 222 BC.
Dan 11:9 Then the latter shall come into the realm of the king of the south but shall return to his own land.
In 240 BC, the king of the North, Seleucus II, attempted to invade Egypt in response to the humiliating defeat he had suffered at the hands of Ptolemy III. He had to return in defeat after his army was lost in a storm.
Dan 11:10 “His sons shall wage war and assemble a multitude of great forces, which shall keep coming and overflow and pass through, and again shall carry the war as far as his fortress.
The sons of Seleucus II were Seleucus III Ceraunos (“Thunder”) and Antiochus III (the Great). Seleucus III was the eldest son of Seleucus II. He began a war against the Egyptian provinces in Asia Minor. He was unsuccessful in his conquest, but he was assassinated by members of his army in Asia Minor in 223 BC. Seleucus II’s younger son, Antiochus III, took the throne at the age of 18 after his brother’s death. In 219-218 BC, Antiochus III victoriously went through Judea. He almost came to the borders of Egypt.
Dan 11:11 Then the king of the south, moved with rage, shall come out and fight against the king of the north. And he shall raise a great multitude, but it shall be given into his hand.
Antiochus III met Ptolemy IV Philopater at the Battle of Raphia which is also known as the Battle of Gaza in 217 BC. Antiochus III, the king of the North, had 62,000 infantry, 6,000 cavalry, and 103 war elephants. But the forces of Ptolemy IV, king of the South, were victorious in the battle. Antiochus III was forced to withdraw into Lebanon.
Dan 11:12 And when the multitude is taken away, his heart shall be exalted, and he shall cast down tens of thousands, but he shall not prevail.
After his victory over Antiochus III, Ptolemy IV spent just three months settling affairs in the Holy Land before heading back to Alexandria. He was apparently eager to return to his decadent and luxurious lifestyle in Egypt. In his haste to go home, Ptolemy IV left the important port of Seleucia-in-Pieria on the Phoenician coast in the hands of Antiochus III. After his victory at Gaza, the Egyptian troops that were trained to fight the Seleucids began a successful guerrilla campaign against his rule in Egypt. By the end of Ptolemy IV’s reign, they had achieved total independence in the southern part of Egypt.
Dan 11:13 For the king of the north shall again raise a multitude, greater than the first. And after some years he shall come on with a great army and abundant supplies.
After the death of Ptolemy IV in 204 BC, Antiochus III rallied his forces once again to attack the kingdom of the South. The Fifth Syrian War took place from 202-195 BC. In this conflict Antiochus III came down into Judea from Syria. He retook the territory that he had occupied some eighteen years previously. When Antiochus III withdrew for the winter, the Egyptian commander Scopas reconquered the southern portions of the lost territory which included Judea and Jerusalem.
Dan 11:14 “In those times many shall rise against the king of the south, and the violent among your own people shall lift themselves up in order to fulfill the vision, but they shall fail.
Antiochus III negotiated an alliance with King Philip V of Macedonia to divide up Egypt’s Asian possessions. After some temporary setbacks (particularly at Gaza), Antiochus III’s army inflicted a crushing defeat on the Ptolemaic forces around 199 BC at Paneas, near the headwaters of the Jordan River.
The Jewish historian Josephus wrote: “Yet was it not long afterward when Antiochus overcame Scopas, in a battle fought at the fountains of Jordan, and destroyed a great part of his army. But afterward, when Antiochus subdued those cities of Celesyria which Scopas had gotten into his possession, and Samaria with them, the Jews, of their own accord, went over to him, and received him into the city [Jerusalem], and gave plentiful provision to all his army, and to his elephants, and readily assisted him when he besieged the garrison which was in the citadel of Jerusalem. -Ant. 12.3.3
Unfortunately, this Jewish assistance was not to be remembered when Antiochus IV later came against Jerusalem.
Dan 11:15 Then the king of the north shall come and throw up siegeworks and take a well-fortified city. And the forces of the south shall not stand, or even his best troops, for there shall be no strength to stand.
Following his defeat at Paneas, Scopas fled to the fortified port city of Sidon. But after Antiochus III besieged it, Scopas surrendered in 199 BC in exchange for safe passage out of the city back to Egypt. He and his troops were allowed to leave the city naked after giving up their weapons.
Dan 11:16 But he who comes against him shall do as he wills, and none shall stand before him. And he shall stand in the glorious land, with destruction in his hand.
With his final victory over Scopas at Sidon, Antiochus the Great took the Holy Land away from the Egyptians for good. Judea and Jerusalem had passed from the king of the South to the king of the North.
Dan 11:17 He shall set his face to come with the strength of his whole kingdom, and he shall bring terms of an agreement and perform them. He shall give him the daughter of women to destroy the kingdom, but it shall not stand or be to his advantage.
Young Ptolemy V had entered into a treaty with Antiochus III after his military defeat in the Fifth Syrian War. Through this treaty, Antiochus III tried to strengthen his position and expand his empire even further. Ptolemy V surrendered his Asian holdings to the king of the North and accepted Antiochus III’s daughter, Cleopatra I, as a bride. They were married in 194 BC. Through this marriage, Antiochus III sought to gain a foothold in Egypt itself through his daughter. But his plan backfired. Cleopatra I was a true wife to Ptolemy V, standing by him instead of seeking to benefit her father. Cleopatra I was beloved by the Egyptian people for her loyalty to her husband.
Dan 11:18 Afterward he shall turn his face to the coastlands and shall capture many of them, but a commander shall put an end to his insolence. Indeed, he shall turn his insolence back upon him.
In 192 BC, the ambitious Antiochus III crossed into Greece to aid the Aetolians. He sent ambassadors to Rome asking for friendship. However, the Roman senate replied that they would be friends if Antiochus III left the Greeks in Asia free and independent and if he kept away from Europe. Antiochus III refused, and went to war against Rome. With 10,000 men, Antiochus III sailed across the Aegean Sea and took some strongholds in Asia Minor.
But in doing so, he alienated his former ally, Macedonian king Philip V. The Roman army entered Asia Minor and defeated the larger forces of Antiochus III at the Battle of Magnesia in 190 BC. In the peace treaty of Apamea in 188 BC, Roman general Publius Scipio set a high cost on Antiochus III for peace. He demanded twenty hostages, including his son, Antiochus IV, a reduction of naval ships to twelve, and payment to Rome for the cost of the war. total payment would be 15,000 talents over the next twelve years. The ambition of Antiochus III had finally brought defeat to the kingdom of the North.
Dan 11:19 Then he shall turn his face back toward the fortresses of his own land, but he shall stumble and fall, and shall not be found.
As a consequence of the Roman victory over Antiochus III, the outlying provinces of the Seleucid empire again reasserted their independence. With his kingdom now reduced to Syria, Mesopotamia, and western Iran, Antiochus III was in dire need of funds with which to pay Rome for the cost of the war. In 187 BC, while attempting to plunder a pagan temple in Babylon near Susa (Shushan), Antiochus III was murdered.
Dan 11:20 “Then shall arise in his place one who shall send an exactor of tribute for the glory of the kingdom. But within a few days he shall be broken, neither in anger nor in battle.
Antiochus III’s eldest son, Seleucus IV Philopater, took over after his father’s death. Due to the heavy debt burden imposed by Rome, he was forced to seek an ambitious taxation policy on his shrunken empire. This included heavy taxation on the people of Israel. In fact, Seleucus IV even sent his treasurer, Heliodorus, to the Temple in Jerusalem to extract money.
The Roman senate decided to trade hostages, therefore they ordered Seleucus IV to send his son Demetrius, the heir to the throne, to Rome. In return, the Romans released Seleucus IV’s younger brother Antiochus IV. When he was released, Antiochus IV went to Athens.
In 175 BC, after Demetrius had been sent away to Rome, Seleucus IV was poisoned by his minister Heliodorus. Some historians think that Heliodorus desired the throne for himself, while others believe that Antiochus IV was behind the murder. Seleucus’ young son, (another Antiochus – age 5) was put on the throne in his place. However, Heliodorus was the actual power behind the throne.
Dan 11:21 In his place shall arise a contemptible person to whom royal majesty has not been given. He shall come in without warning and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.
With Seleucus IV dead, the rightful heir to the throne was the young Demetrius. However, he was no longer available, having been sent to Rome as a hostage. At the time of the murder, Antiochus IV was in Athens. However, when he heard of his brother’s death, he quickly sailed to Pergamum. Once there, he sought the help of Eumenes II, the king of Pergamum. By flattering Eumenes II and his brother Attalus, he received their support and backing.
Antiochus IV arrived in Seleucia with a powerful ally, and thwarted Heliodorus’ designs on the throne. He became co-regent and protector of Seleucus IV’s infant son (also named Antiochus). In 170 BC, the younger Antiochus was murdered while Antiochus IV was conveniently absent, paving the way for him to take sole possession of the throne.
Dan 11:22 Armies shall be utterly swept away before him and broken, even the prince of the covenant.
Because of his ability to charm people and ally himself with them, Antiochus IV Epiphanes was able to overcome all threats to his throne. Epiphanies means God Manifest, and the deluded Antiochus gave himself this name. The prince of the covenant here is a reference to the Jewish high priest Onias III. He was the high priest at the time that Antiochus IV came to the throne. A brother of Onias named Joshua had become Hellenized. He changed his name to Jason and he made a deal with Antiochus IV. Jason told Antiochus IV that he would pay a large bribe if he would remove Onias and make him high priest in his place. For this reason, Antiochus IV forced Onias out and installed his brother Jason as high priest in Jerusalem in 174 BC.
In 172 BC, Jason sent a priest named Menelaus to Antiochus IV with his tribute money. However, Menelaus took Jason’s money, added some of his own to it, and bribed Antiochus IV to secure the high priesthood for himself. Menelaus then returned to Jerusalem and deposed Jason, who fled for his life. Antiochus IV’s double-cross of Jason shows the true nature of his character.
Dan 11:23 And from the time that an alliance is made with him he shall act deceitfully, and he shall become strong with a small people.
Once again, the “king of the North” set his sights on the kingdom of the South. In Egypt, the 14-year old Ptolemy VI Philometer had become king. He was the nephew of Antiochus IV. The new Egyptian king’s mother (Cleopatra I) was Antiochus IV’s sister. Antiochus IV sought an alliance with Ptolemy VI, seeking to take advantage of what he perceived as weakness in the Ptolemaic kingdom and gain Egypt for himself. He moved through Syria and Judea into Egypt with a small army, so as to not arouse suspicion to his true motive, and seized Egypt. His cover story was that he was coming to act as the “protector” of his nephew, Ptolemy VI.
Dan 11:24 Without warning he shall come into the richest parts of the province, and he shall do what neither his fathers nor his fathers’ fathers have done, scattering among them plunder, spoil, and goods. He shall devise plans against strongholds, but only for a time.
Antiochus IV acted upon a unique agenda for gaining the Egyptian-controlled provinces. He moved into the parts of the kingdom that were the richest. Then he did something that no other Seleucid king had ever done. Antiochus IV gave away some of the spoils from his war campaigns, and he distributed them among the people in order to secure the loyalty of the people. The historical book of I Maccabees states that he spent much on the public (I Mac. 3:30). It is even reported that he would go into the streets and throw money to the citizens there. However, this was only the first part of Antiochus IV’s plan. Using his cunning, he visited Egyptian strongholds to discover their weakness and power.
Dan 11:25 And he shall stir up his power and his heart against the king of the south with a great army. And the king of the south shall wage war with an exceedingly great and mighty army, but he shall not stand, for plots shall be devised against him.
After Antiochus IV felt secure about the state of his own kingdom, he decided to take Egypt by force in the Sixth Syrian War in 170 BC. He believed that Ptolemy VI was a weak ruler, and therefore not capable of successfully waging war against him. Antiochus IV was able to move his army to the border of Egypt before he was met by the Egyptians at Pelusium, which is near the Nile Delta. The Egyptians had a large army arrayed against him there. Antiochus, risking death by riding into the midst of the battle of Pelusium, ordered the Egyptians to be taken alive instead of slain. By this policy, he gained victory over Pelusium and later took Memphis.
Dan 11:26 Even those who eat his food shall break him. His army shall be swept away, and many shall fall down slain.
Ptolemy VI’s army, although large, was not able to withstand Antiochus IV. In large part, this was due to the intrigues of Antiochus IV, who corrupted several of the Egyptian ministers and officers. This was one of the main causes of the defeat of Ptolemy VI. Those who were in his confidence and possessed the secrets of the state betrayed him to Antiochus IV. One example of this is Ptolemy Macron. He is also known as “Ptolemy the son of Dorymenes”. He had been appointed by Ptolemy VI as governor of Cyprus. However, sensing the young king’s weakness, he deserted and supported Antiochus IV, who made him governor of Coele Syria and Phoenicia.
Dan 11:27 And as for the two kings, their hearts shall be bent on doing evil. They shall speak lies at the same table, but to no avail, for the end is yet to be at the time appointed.
After he took control of Pelusium and Memphis, Antiochus IV set his sights on Alexandria. The Alexandrians had renounced their allegiance to Ptolemy VI, and had made his younger brother, Ptolemy VII Euergetes, king in his place. While at Memphis, Antiochus IV and Ptolemy VI had frequent conferences. Antiochus IV professed his great friendship to his nephew, and expressed concern for his interests, but his true plan was to weaken Egypt by setting the brothers against one another.
Ptolemy VI professed gratitude to his uncle for the interest he took in his affairs. He laid the blame of the war upon his minister Eulaeus, who was one the guardians appointed to watch over him after his father’s death. All the while, Ptolemy VI sought to smooth over things with his brother Ptolemy VII so they could join forces against their deceitful uncle, Antiochus IV.
Dan 11:28 And he shall return to his land with great wealth, but his heart shall be set against the holy covenant. And he shall work his will and return to his own land.
While Antiochus IV was engaged in Egyptian conquest, a false rumor arose in Judea that he had been killed. This prompted deposed high priest Jason to raise an army of 1,000 men and attack Jerusalem. His army captured the city and forced the high priest Menelaus to take refuge in the Akra fortress located in Jerusalem. When news of the fighting in Jerusalem reached Antiochus IV, he thought that Judea was in revolt against him.
When Antiochus IV left Egypt, he and his armies marched against Jerusalem. He commanded his soldiers to kill everyone they encountered. Men, women, and children were slaughtered in massive numbers. Within the space of three days, his forces had killed anywhere between 40,000 to 80,000 people. A similar number were captured and sold into slavery.
Antiochus IV entered the Temple in Jerusalem while guided by Menelaus. He took the holy vessels, including the golden altar, the menorah, the table for the showbread, the cups for drink offerings, the bowls, the golden censers, the curtain, the crowns, and the gold decoration on the front of the temple. He took all the silver and gold, as well as the hidden treasures which he found. After appointing the Phrygian Phillip as governor in Jerusalem, Antiochus IV then returned to Antioch.
Dan 11:29 “At the time appointed he shall return and come into the south, but it shall not be this time as it was before.
Meanwhile, in Egypt brothers Ptolemy VI and Ptolemy VII reconciled and agreed to share power. This annulled Antiochus IV’s alliance with Ptolemy VI and caused his loss of control over the Ptolemaic kingdom. Because of this, in 168 BC Antiochus IV once again sought to go to war against Egypt. However, this time he would not have the same success as he achieved previously.
Dan 11:30 For ships of Kittim shall come against him, and he shall be afraid and withdraw, and shall turn back and be enraged and take action against the holy covenant. He shall turn back and pay attention to those who forsake the holy covenant.
Because they knew that they could not defeat Antiochus IV alone, the Ptolemy brothers appealed to Rome for help. Their strategy was to appeal to Rome in order to check the threat of Greek expansion. The Romans agreed to provide the assistance needed to defeat Antiochus IV. The “ships from Kittim” here refer to the ships which brought the Roman legions to Egypt in fulfillment of the defense pact.
As Antiochus IV and his army marched toward Alexandria, they were met by three Roman senators led by Gaius Popillius Laenas in Eleusis, a suburb of Alexandria. The Roman ambassador Popillius delivered to Antiochus IV the Senate’s demand that he withdraw from Egypt. When the king of the north requested time for consultation, Popillius drew a circle around Antiochus IV with a stick he was carrying and told him not to leave the circle until he gave his response. The king of the North who claimed to be God Manifest, (Antiochus Epiphanies) was astonished at this display of Roman arrogance, but after a brief time, said he would do all that the Romans demanded.
On his return to Syria, Antiochus IV was angry. He tried to ease the sting of the humiliation he had suffered at the hands of the Romans by taking out his frustration on the Jews in Judea. His armies encircled Jerusalem and then they attacked. All those Jews who resisted were executed. However, the pro-Hellenistic Jews who allied themselves with Antiochus IV were left unharmed.
Dan 11:31 Forces from him shall appear and profane the temple and fortress, and shall take away the regular burnt offering. And they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate.
Antiochus IV’s army desecrated the Temple and stopped the daily sacrifices. On the 15th of Kislev, in December 168 BC, the Syrians built a pagan altar over the altar of burnt offering in the Temple and placed an image of Zeus Olympius upon it. Ten days later, on the 25th of Kislev, a pig was sacrificed on that altar and it was offered to Zeus. This action defiled the temple and made it unclean.
Dan 11:32 He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.
After taking his anger out upon the Jews and desecrating the Temple, Antiochus IV decreed that his entire kingdom should become one people: each person had to give up his own customs and convert to Hellenism (The Greek culture). The other Peoples under his rule accepted Antiochus IV’s command. Because of his flattering approach, many of the people of Israel also forsook the Law of Moses and adopted his Hellenistic lifestyle.
Antiochus IV commanded a change in all the ordinances of God. No sacrifices were to be offered in the sanctuary. The Sabbaths and feasts were to be profaned, and he demanded that the Jews were not to circumcise their sons. Upon pain of death, they were commanded to profane the Torah so that eventually the Law of Moses would be forgotten. Antiochus IV appointed inspectors to watch the Jews and commanded the cities of Judah to offer pagan sacrifices. Yet many in Israel stood firm and rejected the new ordinances handed down by Antiochus IV.
Dan 11:33 And the wise among the people shall make many understand, though for some days they shall stumble by sword and flame, by captivity and plunder.
Whenever Antiochus IV’s men found copies of the Torah, they tore them to pieces and burned them. Whoever was found in possession of a Torah was put to death. According to Antiochus IV’s decree, women who had their children circumcised were put to death, along with their entire families and those who had circumcised them. Even with this severe punishment, many in Israel chose to die instead of breaking the holy covenant.
Dan 11:34 When they stumble, they shall receive a little help. And many shall join themselves to them with flattery.
As the book of I Maccabees shows, the decrees of Antiochus IV eventually led to a rebellion started by the priest Mattathias and his five sons. He and his family had fled from Jerusalem to Modein when the Seleucid forces took the city. There, Mattathias killed a Hellenistic Jew who was sacrificing according to Antiochus IV’s command. He also killed the king’s officer who was forcing them to sacrifice a pig on the local altar. Fearing reprisals, and because of their rebellion, They fled Modein. A guerrilla war against the forces of Antiochus IV began. After the death of Mattathias in 167 BCE, Judas Maccabee (his son) defeated the large army of Antiochus IV’s general Apollonius. This victory helped Judas to gather a sizable force. However, only a minority of the soldiers were actually faithful men.
After this, the commander of the Syrian army, whose name was Seron, came against the forces of Judas. His army was also defeated by Judas, and his fame spread all the way to Antioch. King Antiochus IV was greatly angered by the exploits of Judas and his men. He gathered his army, and he opened the royal treasury and gave his soldiers a year’s wages. He ordered them to be on guard and ready for whatever action needed to be taken.
This strategy quickly emptied the royal treasury of funds and made it necessary for Antiochus IV to seek additional tribute and spoil from his lands. In 166 BC, he decided to go to Persia to collect or seize by force the money needed to support his army. Antiochus IV left his general Lysias in charge of his son and half of his army. He gave instructions to attack and destroy Jerusalem and Judea. Lysias gathered an army of 40,000 infantry and 7,000 cavalry and sent them into Judea. They met the forces of Judas Maccabee near Emmaus. The size Judas’ army came to aproximately 3,000 poorly equipped men. However, despite being vastly outnumbered, Judas’ army routed the Syrians, killing 3,000 and putting the rest to flight.
In 165 BC, Lysias again sent the Syrian army, which now numbered 60,000 infantrymen and 5,000 cavalry against the Jewish forces, which had risen to 10,000. This time, 5,000 Syrians were killed and Lysias fled back to Antioch. Because of his great victory, Judas and his men were able to recapture the temple in Jerusalem. The first order of business was to cleanse the Temple.
The pious Jews cleansed and renewed it, and on Kislev 25, 165 BC, exactly three years to the day after the first abominable sacrifice had been offered, the new altar was rededicated and holy sacrifices offered. The Jews celebrated the rededication of the Temple for eight days. In memory of the Jewish victory and rededication of the Temple, Judas Maccabee decreed that the Feast of Dedication (called Chanukah in Hebrew) was to be observed every year thereafter for eight days, beginning on Kislev 25. This is also known as the “festival of lights” because of the light required from the oil to cleanse the Temple.
In 164 BC, Antiochus IV’s army was defeated at Elymais, Persia when he attempted to plunder the city of its gold and silver. Shortly after this event, a messenger came from Antioch and notified him of the defeat of his armies by Judas and the Jews. Terribly shaken by these events, he fell sick and became bedridden. Antiochus IV died shortly after that.
Dan 11:35 and some of the wise shall stumble, so that they may be refined, purified, and made white, until the time of the end, for it still awaits the appointed time.
When the Gentile nations around Judea heard of their victory over the Seleucids, they became very angry. They began to kill those Jews who lived among them. Judas Maccabee and his brother Simon went out to fight against those Gentiles who sought to kill the Jews and defeated them.
Judas Maccabee died in battle in 161 BC. After his death persecution continued against the Jews,. It is recorded in historical records that many wicked Jews who had opposed Judas and his goals of preserving the Law of Moses took opportunity after his death to persecute and kill righteous Jews.
Beginning with Mattathias’ leadership of the rebellion against Antiochus IV, the rule of the Hasmoneans lasted from 168 until 37 BC. This era is named after Mattathias’ grandfather, Asmoneus. The words “until the time of the end” refer to the end of this second period of Jewish sovereignty. The “appointed time” refers to the 70 weeks of years that Gabriel had earlier told Daniel about. (Dan. 9:24-27), This led to the appearance of the Messiah.
The name “Hanukkah” derives from the Hebrew verb “חנך”, meaning “to dedicate”. So it is known as the feast of dedication. This event is also known as the Festival of Lights. Before the temple could be dedicated it had to be cleansed from the unclean sacrifice brought about through Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Light was needed to cleanse the temple. The priests used olive oil to cleanse it. The Gemara (Talmud), in tractate Shabbat, page 21b, tells of the Shabbat candles and moves to Hanukkah candles.
The story goes something like this. After the forces of Antiochus IV had been driven from the Temple, the Maccabees discovered that all of the ritual olive oil used by the priests had been profaned. After going through the temple they found only a single container that was still sealed by the High Priest with just enough oil to keep the menorah in the Temple lit for a single day. This was not enough time to cleanse the Temple. They used this, yet it burned miraculously for eight days (the time it took to have new oil pressed and made ready for ceremony).
The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus narrates in his book, how the victorious Judas Maccabeus ordered lavish yearly eight-day festivities after rededicating the Temple in Jerusalem that had been profaned by Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Josephus does not say the festival was called Hanukkah but rather the “Festival of Lights”:
“Now Judas celebrated the festival of the restoration of the sacrifices of the temple for eight days, and omitted no sort of pleasures thereon; but he feasted them upon very rich and splendid sacrifices; andhe honored God, and delighted them by hymns and psalms. Nay, they were so very glad at the revival of their customs, when, after a long time of intermission, they unexpectedly had regained the freedom of their worship, that they made it a law for their posterity, that they should keep a festival, on account of the restoration of their temple worship, for eight days. And from that time to this we celebrate this festival, and call it Lights. I suppose the reason was because this liberty beyond our hopes appeared to us; and that thence was the name given to that festival. Judas also rebuilt the walls round about the city, and reared towers of great height against the incursions of enemies, and set guards therein. He also fortified the city Bethsura, that it might serve as a citadel against any distresses that might come from our enemies.” –Jewish Antiquities xii. 7, § 7, #323
A little over 150 years after the temple was cleansed, Jesus is at the temple for this 8 day festival. Shortly before this, Jesus claimed to be the light of the world
John 9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world
John 10:22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.
John 10:23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.
If Antiochus IV Epiphanes had succeeded in wiping out the Law of Moses then the messiah could not have come. Jesus had to come and live a perfect sinless life under the Law of Moses in order to be a perfect sacrifice for our sin. This meant the temple had to be in operation. If the Hellenistic Jews had their way then the whole world would still be lost in their sin. Jesus thought enough of this feast of dedication to be in Jerusalem. He was walking around the very temple that the Maccabees cleansed and dedicated to God.
Jesus is indeed the light of the world, and we as Christians are now the living temple of God. Jesus is the light that is needed to cleanse us from our sin. He is the spotless sacrifice provided by God Himself that makes us clean, and provides the perfect substitution.
end of part one.