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11 - Antiochus and Antichrist Revisited
This chapter contains one of the most specifically fulfilled prophecies of the
Bible, predicting history over some 375 years, and to the end, with amazing
The chapter is so specific, that many critics who deny supernatural revelation,
have insisted that it is history,
written after the fact, fraudulently claiming to be prophecy.
Because of the detail of the prophecy, we will be forced to frequently
summarize; and the fulfillment of the prophecy will be observed as it is
Commentator Joyce Baldwin explains the mindset of late-daters:
"Though all of this is presented as if it were future, the considered
opinion of most scholars is that the writer was using an accepted literary
form, which would have deceived no-one. The intention would be to show that the
course of history was under God’s direction, and so achieving His purposes . .
. When the history becomes prophecy the transition can be detected, because
events proved him wrong."
Such a view must undermine confidence
in the entire book. If the late dating theory is correct, then "the
so-called revelation was in fact nothing of the sort . . . it follows that the
preparation for the vision in chapter 10 was also a fiction put in as local
colour for the sake of effect."
division of the Greek Empire.
(2) Four future kings.
And now I will tell you the truth: Behold, three more kings
will arise in Persia, and the fourth shall be far richer than them all;
by his strength, through his riches, he shall stir up all against the realm of
Three more kings will arise in Persia:
Simply, the angel tells Daniel that there will be three more kings in Persia until a fourth arises. The fourth king will be strong, rich, and oppose the realm of Greece. This strong, rich fourth king was fulfilled in the Persian King
In fulfillment, there were actually four kings from the time Daniel speaks of
until Xerxes, the one who did stir up all against
the realm of Greece. Either the angel omitted the current king
(Cyrus), looking only to the future or he ignored King Smerdis of Persia
(522-21 b.c.) because he ruled
less than one year and was an imposter to the throne.
These visions and insights regarding the future of the Persian and Greek
Empires were relevant because at some time, each empire attempted to wipe out
the people of God.
The Persian Empire tried to wipe out the Jewish people during the reign of
Xerxes, through the plot of Haman (as shown in the Book of Esther).
The Greek Empire tried to wipe out the Jewish people during the reign of
Antiochus IV, when he attempted to kill every Jew who did not renounce their
commitment to God and embrace Greek culture.
2. (3-4) The rise of a mighty king.
Then a mighty king shall arise, who shall rule with great
dominion, and do according to his will. And when he has arisen, his kingdom
shall be broken up and divided toward the four winds of heaven, but not among
his posterity nor according to his dominion with which he ruled; for his
kingdom shall be uprooted, even for others besides these.
Then a mighty king shall arise: The
angel told Daniel of a mighty king with a great
dominion - but his kingdom would not endure, and it would be divided
after the death of the mighty king.
Shall rule with great dominion and do according
to his will: This is fulfilled in Alexander the Great, who certainly
was a mighty king. Alexander died at
32 years of age of a fever after a drunken party in Babylon.
Not among his posterity: Afterward
Alexander's death, none of his descendants succeeded him. It wasn't for lack of
trying. Alexander did leave three possible heirs: a half brother named Philip,
who was mentally deficient; a son who was born after Alexander died; and an
illegitimate son named Hercules. The half-brother and the posthumous son were
first designated co-monarchs, each with a regent. But fighting amongst the
regents eventually resulted in the murder of all possible heirs.
Divided towards the four winds of heaven:
After the death of all Alexander's possible heirs, four generals controlled the
Greek Empire, but none of them according to his
The rest of this prophecy focuses on two of the four inheritors of Alexander’s
realm, and the dynasties they established. Only two are focused on because they
constantly fought over the Promised Land, because it sat between their centers
kings of the North and the kings of the South.
(5) The strength of the king of the South.
Also the king of the South shall become strong, as well as one
of his princes; and he shall gain power over him and have dominion. His
dominion shall be a great dominion.
The king of the South shall become strong:
One of the four inheritors of the empire of the mighty king will become
stronger and greater than the others.
This was fulfilled in Ptolemy I of Egypt, who exerted his control over the Holy
Land. Soon after the division of Alexander's Empire, the Ptolemies dominated
Ptolemy I had a prince named Seleucus, who rose to power and took dominion over
the region of Syria. He became more powerful than his former Egyptian ruler.
The Seleucids are identified with the Kings of the North, and the
Ptolemies were the Kings of the South.
The dynasties of the Seleucids and the Ptolemies fought for some 130 years. The
stronger of the two always held dominion over the Holy Land.
(6) A marriage between the families of the kings of the North and the kings of
And at the end of some years they shall join forces,
for the daughter of the king of the South shall go to the king of the North to
make an agreement; but she shall not retain the power of her authority, and
neither he nor his authority shall stand; but she shall be given up, with those
who brought her, and with him who begot her, and with him who strengthened her
in those times.
They shall join forces: Joined by a
marriage, the kings of the North and South will be allies for a while, but the
arrangement will not last.
This was fulfilled in the marriage between Antiochus II (of the Seleucids) and
Berenice (daughter of Ptolemy II). There was peace for a time because of this
marriage, but it was upset when Ptolemy II died.
Shall not retain the power of her authority:
Once Ptolemy II died, Antiochus II put away Berenice and took back his former
Neither he nor his authority shall stand:
Laodice didn’t trust her husband Antiochus II; so she had him poisoned.
She shall be given up, with those who brought her:
After the murder of Antiochus II, Laodice had Berenice, her attendants, and an
infant son of Antiochus II and Berenice killed.
After this reign of terror, Laodice set her son (Selecus II) on the throne of
the Syrian dominion.
(7-9) From the South, an army defeats the kingdom of the North.
But from a branch of her roots one shall arise in his
place, who shall come with an army, enter the fortress of the king of the
North, and deal with them and prevail. And he shall also carry their gods
captive to Egypt, with their princes and their precious articles of
silver and gold; and he shall continue more years than the king of the
North. Also the king of the North shall come to the kingdom of the king
of the South, but shall return to his own land.
Who shall come with an army: The angel
told Daniel that a branch of her roots
will come from the South and prevail
over the kings of the North.
This was fulfilled in the person of Ptolemy III. He was the sister of Berenice
(the branch of her roots). Avenging
the murder of his sister, Ptolemy III invaded Syria and humbled Selecus II.
He shall continue more years than the king of the
North: Ptolemy III lived four years past Selecus II.
(10) The sons of the king of the North and their victory.
However his sons shall stir up strife, and assemble a
multitude of great forces; and one shall certainly come and overwhelm
and pass through; then he shall return to his fortress and stir up strife.
His sons shall stir up strife: The
sons of the kings of the North will continue the battle. One of the sons will
conquer the Holy Land (overwhelm and pass through)
which stood as a buffer between the kings of the South and the kings of the
This was fulfilled in Seleucus III and Antiochus III, the two sons of Seleucus
II. Both were successful generals, but Seleucus III ruled only a short time and
was succeeded by his brother.
In a furious battle, Antiochus III took back the Holy Land from the dominion of
(11-12) The king of the South gains an upper hand over the king of the North.
And the king of the South shall be moved with rage, and go
out and fight with him, with the king of the North, who shall muster a great
multitude; but the multitude shall be given into the hand of his enemy.
When he has taken away the multitude, his heart will be lifted up; and he will
cast down tens of thousands, but he will not prevail.
The king of the South shall be moved with rage:
The angel tells Daniel that the king of the South will attack and meet a great multitude of soldiers from the king of
the North. The king of the North will lose in battle and his multitude will be defeated.
This was fulfilled when Antiochus III was defeated at the battle of Raphia.
Because of that loss he was forced to give back dominion over the Holy Land to
(13-16) The king of the North and his occupation of the Glorious Land.
For the king of the North will return and muster a multitude
greater than the former, and shall certainly come at the end of some years with
a great army and much equipment. Now in those times many shall rise up against
the king of the South. Also, violent men of your people shall exalt themselves
in fulfillment of the vision, but they shall fall. So the king of the North
shall come and build a siege mound, and take a fortified city; and the forces
of the South shall not withstand him. Even his choice troops shall
have no strength to resist. But he who comes against him shall do according
to his own will, and no one shall stand against him. He shall stand in the
Glorious Land with destruction in his power.
The king of the North . . . shall certainly come
at the end of some years with a great army: The angel told Daniel
that the northern dynasty would answer back and defeat the king of the South in
an extended siege. This victory will give the king of the North dominion over the Glorious Land.
i. "The land of ornaments -
that is, Judea, which, lying betwixt these two potent princes, was perpetually
afflicted, as corn is ground asunder lying betwixt two heavy millstones."
This was fulfilled when Antiochus III invaded Egypt again, gaining final
control over the armies of Ptolemy V and over the Holy Land.
Many shall rise up against the king of the South:
Jews living in the Holy Land helped Antiochus III defeat the king of the South. This was because the Jewish
people resented the rule of the Egyptian Ptolemies (violent
men of your people shall exalt themselves in fulfillment of the vision).
He who comes against him shall do according to
his own will . . . with destruction in his power: The Jewish people
of the Glorious Land initially
welcomed Antiochus III as a liberator from Egyptian rule. Their decision to
support Antiochus III proved unwise when he turned destruction
upon the Glorious Land and its people.
(17) The king of the South will give his daughter to the king of the North.
He shall also set his face to enter with the strength of his
whole kingdom, and upright ones with him; thus shall he do. And he shall give
him the daughter of women to destroy it; but she shall not stand with him, or
be for him.
He shall also set his face: The king
of the North who ruled over the Holy Land would also attempt to dominate and
destroy the king of the South. He would make one attempt by giving the king of the
South the daughter of women to destroy,
but this plot would not succeed.
This was fulfilled when Antiochus III gave his daughter Cleopatra to Ptolemy V
of Egypt. He did this hoping to gain permanent influence and eventually control
in Egypt. To the great disappointment of Antiochus III, the plan did not
succeed because Cleopatra wasn't faithful to her Egyptian husband at all.
This was not the Cleopatra most famous from ancient history, but this was the
ancestor of the more famous Cleopatra. The more famous Egyptian woman lived
some 100 years after the time of this Cleopatra.
(18-19) The king of the North is stopped and stumbles.
After this he shall turn his face to the coastlands, and
shall take many. But a ruler shall bring the reproach against them to an end;
and with the reproach removed, he shall turn back on him. Then he shall turn
his face toward the fortress of his own land; but he shall stumble and fall,
and not be found.
He shall turn back on him: After the
disappointing effort through the daughter, the king of the North will turn his
efforts towards the coastlands - until
he is stopped by one formerly under reproach,
until he shall stumble and fall, and not be found.
b. This was fulfilled when Antiochus III
turned his attention towards the areas of Asia Minor and Greece. He was helped
by Hannibal, the famous general from Carthage. But a Roman General, Lucius
Cornelius Scipio, defeated Antiochus in Greece. Antiochus planned to humiliate Greece but was humiliated instead.
He returned to his former regions, having lost all that he gained and died
After this defeat Antiochus III had an inglorious end. Needing money badly for
his treasury, he resorted to pillaging a Babylonian temple and was killed by
enraged local citizens.
(20) The brief reign of the succeeding king of the North.
There shall arise in his place one who imposes taxes on the
glorious kingdom; but within a few days he shall be destroyed, but not in anger
or in battle.
There shall arise in his place: After
the inglorious end of the king of the North, his successor will raise taxes and
meet a soon end.
This was fulfilled in the brief reign of Seleucus III, the eldest son of
Antiochus III. He sought to tax his dominion (including the glorious kingdom, the Holy Land) to increase
revenues. His plan to pillage the Jerusalem temple was set aside when his
ambassador had an angelic vision of warning.
i. Within a
few days he shall be destroyed: Seleucus III was assassinated, probably by
his brother Antiochus IV.
Antiochus IV, known as Antiochus Epiphanes: A
(21) The vile person comes to power.
And in his place shall arise a vile person, to whom they
will not give the honor of royalty; but he shall come in peaceably, and seize
the kingdom by intrigue.
In his place shall arise a vile person:
The angel told Daniel that after the brief reign of the former king of the
North, the next king would be a vile person.
He would not be recognized as royalty,
but shall take power by intrigue.
This was fulfilled in the successor of Seleucis III, who was named Antiochus IV. He
did not come to the throne legitimately because it was strongly suspected that
he murdered his older brother, the previous king. The other potential heir (the
son of Seleucus III) was imprisoned in Rome.
He shall come in peaceably: Apart from
the murder of his older brother, Antiochus IV didn't use terror to gain power.
He used flattery, smooth promises and intrigue.
ii. "He flattered Eumenes,
king of Pergamus, and Attalus his brother, and got their assistance. He flattered
the Romans, and sent ambassadors to court their favour, and pay them the
arrears of the tribute. He flattered the Syrians, and gained their
Antiochus IV took the title "Epiphanes," meaning
"illustrious." Others derisively called him "Epimanes,"
(22-27) The vile person fails to
conquer the king of the South.
With the force of a flood they shall be swept away from
before him and be broken, and also the prince of the covenant. And after the
league is made with him he shall act deceitfully, for he shall come up
and become strong with a small number of people. He shall enter
peaceably, even into the richest places of the province; and he shall do what
his fathers have not done, nor his forefathers: he shall disperse among
them the plunder, spoil, and riches; and he shall devise his plans against the
strongholds, but only for a time. He shall stir up his power and his
courage against the king of the South with a great army. And the king of the
South shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he
shall not stand, for they shall devise plans against him. Yes, those who eat of
the portion of his delicacies shall destroy him; his army shall be swept away,
and many shall fall down slain. Both these kings' hearts shall be bent
on evil, and they shall speak lies at the same table; but it shall not prosper,
for the end will still be at the appointed time.
He shall act deceitfully: The angel
tells Daniel that the new king of the North (the vile person of Daniel
11:21) will attempt a deceitful covenant with the king of the South. This will
fail, and there will be a great battle that will not change the balance of
This was fulfilled when Antiochus Epiphanes carried on the feud between the
dynasties but pretended friendship and alliance to catch them off guard.
Despite massive efforts and epic battles, Antiochus Epiphanes did not stand, and his
army was swept away.
The defeat of Antiochus Epiphanes at his second campaign against Egypt was
important, because Egypt beat Antiochus with the help of Rome. At the end of it
all, Antiochus Epiphanes and his kingdom were under the dominion of Rome.
In a famous battle, the Roman Navy defeated the navy of Antiochus Epiphanes.
After the battle, a Roman general drew a circle around Antiochus in the dirt
and demanded to know if he would surrender and pay tribute to Rome - and
demanded to know before he stepped out of the circle. From then on, there was
no doubt: Antiochus Epiphanes took his orders from Rome and was under Roman
Those who eat of the portion of his delicacies
shall destroy him: This was fulfilled in the treachery against Anitochus IV by his own
(28-35) The vile person turns on the
Holy Land with violence.
While returning to his land with great riches, his heart
shall be moved against the holy covenant; so he shall do damage and
return to his own land. At the appointed time he shall return and go toward the
south; but it shall not be like the former or the latter. For ships from Cyprus
shall come against him; therefore he shall be grieved, and return in rage
against the holy covenant, and do damage. So he shall return and show
regard for those who forsake the holy covenant. 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. Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with
flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great
exploits. And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for
many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering.
Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help; but many shall join
with them by intrigue. 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.
His heart shall be moved against the holy
covenant: When the vile person returns to his land he will attack
the land, people, and the temple of Israel. It will be a time of great courage
and great treachery among the people of God.
This was fulfilled when Antiochus Epiphanes returned from Egypt, bitter from
defeat. He vented his anger against Jerusalem, which was already reeling
because Antiochus sold the office of High Priest and persecuted the Jewish
people to conform to Greek culture, forsaking the faith and traditions of their
i. While returning to his land with great riches:
Failing in his invasion of Egypt, Antiochus Epiphanes returned home with only great plunder
to salve his wounded pride.
from Cyprus shall come against him: This was naval assistance from the Romans, who helped
the Egyptians turn back Antiochus Epiphanes.
They shall take away the daily sacrifices, and
place there the abomination of desolation: Antiochus Epiphanes set
up an image of Zeus at the temple altar. He demanded sacrifice to this image,
and later desecrated the temple by sacrificing a pig on it. "It was in
truth an abomination, which brought a desolate condition to the Temple, for now
no one would come to worship at all." (Wood)
Those who do wickedly against the covenant he
shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong:
When Antiochus Epiphanes turned on Jerusalem the Jewish people were divided.
Some forsook their covenant with God and embraced Greek culture. Those who knew
their God made a stand for righteousness in the face of incredible persecution.
For many days they shall fall by sword and flame,
by captivity and plundering: In his attack on Jerusalem Antiochus IV
is said to have killed 80,000 Jews, taken 40,000 more as prisoners, and sold
another 40,000 as slaves. He also plundered the temple, robbing it of
approximately $1 billion.
Until the time of the end; because it is still
for the appointed time: This terror could only last for as long as
God had appointed it and God had a purpose even for such persecution and
Antichrist: the "last days Antiochus Epiphanes."
(36) "The willful king": a shift to a future fulfillment.
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.
He shall exalt and magnify himself above every
god: The angel explained to Daniel that this king will blaspheme God
and exalt himself until the wrath has been
accomplished and what has been
determined shall be done.
Here we shift from what was fulfilled in the Ptolemies and the Selucids
to what will be fulfilled in the Antichrist, the final world dictator.
Daniel was told that this revelation pertained to the latter days (Daniel 10:14), and Daniel 11:36 begins to look
more towards this final world dictator, who is sort of a "last days
i. We know that everything about this prophecy was not
fulfilled during the career of Antiochus Epiphanes. Jesus specifically said the
real abomination of desolation was still in the future (Matthew 24:15).
The Apostle Paul paraphrased Daniel 11:36 in reference to the coming
Antichrist: Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come
unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of
perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that
is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that
he is God. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)
Antiochus Epiphanes is important, but mostly as a historical preview of the
Antichrist. This is why so much space is given to describing the career of one
evil man - because he prefigures the ultimate evil man. Antiochus Epiphanes is
the "trailer" released well before the Antichrist, who is like the
He shall exalt and magnify himself above every
god: Antiochus Epiphanes certainly did this in the general sense
that all sinners oppose God. Yet he remained loyal to the Greek religious
tradition, which revered the entire Olympian pantheon. Antiochus Epiphanes put
a statue of Zeus in the temple, not of himself. This will be far more
precisely fulfilled in the Antichrist, who sits as God in the temple of God,
showing himself that he is God. (2 Thessalonians 2:4).
Shall prosper till the wrath has been
accomplished: Antichrist will do much damage, but he is on a short
chain and will only work into God’s plan. God's purpose will be accomplished.
(37-39) The character and authority of the "willful king."
He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the
desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all.
But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses; and a god which his
fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones
and pleasant things. Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign
god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he
shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain.
He shall regard neither the God of his fathers
nor the desire of women: Based on this, some Bible scholars believe that
the Antichrist will be of Jewish descent, and perhaps will also be a
homosexual. These things may not be popularly known about the man, but they may
be true nonetheless.
But many commentators believe that the desire of
women refers to Jesus, in that all women desired the honor of
bearing the Messiah and understanding "desire" as it is used in
Haggai 2:7. Seeing the desire of women
as Jesus makes most sense in light of the flow of context.
He shall honor a god of fortresses:
The Antichrist will take and hold power with military might and the shrewd use
of great riches.
(40-45) The final conflict.
At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack
him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with
chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries,
overwhelm them, and pass through. He shall also enter the Glorious Land,
and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his
hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. He shall stretch out his
hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. He shall
have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious
things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his
heels. But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he
shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many. 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.
At the time of the end: The angel
described to Daniel a confederation of kings coming against this great leader,
with a battle in and near the Holy Land.
Prophetically speaking, a precise identification of peoples mentioned is
difficult. The king of the South may
be Egypt or represent the Arab community. The king
of the North may be the Antichrist’s domain (as the "new
Antiochus Epiphanes") or it may be Russia.
The precise points may be cloudy, but the general idea is clear. The end will
be marked by great conflict, culminating in the world’s armies gathering at the
Promised Land to do final battle.
Yet he shall come to his end, and no one will
help him: In the end there is no hope for the Antichrist or for any
of his followers.
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