Do you like a good mystery? The Bible has a lot of them. But I especially enjoy the many hidden mysteries that are contained in Daniel chapter 11. One of those hidden mysteries has to do with the spiritual connection between the king of the Grecian Seleucid Empire, called Antiochus Epiphanes, and the end time kingdom of Antichrist. What is not commonly understood is that these two men are intertwined in end time prophecy. They are, for lack of a better definition, “spiritual twins.” These two men are nearly mirror images of each other in their dealings with the Jewish people. If you want to learn more about this hidden mystery, keep reading.
The Hidden Mystery in Daniel 11
Second in a Five-Part Series
By Karen Thompson
In our last post, we delve into the controversy about how there are some so-called Bible scholars who purport that the book of Daniel was written by an imposter, a man who claimed to be living in Daniel’s time in the sixth century but really was living during the time of Antiochus (175–164 BC). Why do they believe that? Well, up to verse 35 in the chapter, the prophetic predictions have been uncannily accurate. Everything Daniel prophesied about Antiochus Epiphanes was precisely accurate. But then, beginning in verse 36, the uncanny accuracy ends. Nothing in the last 10 verses can be applied to the life of Antiochus Epiphanes. These skeptics claim that instead of predicting the future, the imposter simply looked back on history and wrote his supposed prophetic predictions until he reached the time when he himself was alive. Beginning in verse 36, they claim this imposter simply guessed as to what Antiochus’ future could be or what he wanted it to be and wrote it as prophecy.
With all of these seemingly glaring inaccuracies, Daniel’s skeptics came to the conclusion that the book of Daniel had to have been written by an imposter. They came to that conclusion because they were looking at it solely from a natural perspective and not a spiritual one. All discerning Christians, however, acknowledge that the last portion of the chapter is not talking about Antiochus Epiphanes. It is, instead, talking about the future end times Antichrist who will rise to power at the beginning of Daniel’s 70th week.
Where Antiochus Ends and Antichrist Begins
The passage of scripture in Daniel 11:21–35 talks about Antiochus Epiphanes, and then verses 36–45 talk about the end time Antichrist figure. Without a doubt, these verses in chapter eleven are written in an odd way. It takes us through the history of Antiochus Epiphanes and his persecution of the Jews. But then it stops talking about Antiochus Epiphanes in the sixth century BC and begins talking about the end times Antichrist. But the subject matter switch is not made clear to the reader. In fact, it’s written in a way that the reader is made to think the subject matter is still Antiochus Epiphanes when it’s really talking about the future end times Antichrist. Was the way this section of chapter 11 written a mistake? No, it was not a mistake. It was deliberate.
What is interesting about Daniel’s prophetic word about the wars between the kings of the north and the kings of the south is that we know from history there were 26 Seleucid kings; Antiochus Epiphanes was the eighth in the list of 26 kings. Yet Daniel’s prophetic word about the kings of the north and the kings of the south ended with Antiochus Epiphanes. Why didn’t Daniel prophesy about any of the kings after Antiochus? Is there any significance as to why the prophecy stops at Antiochus Epiphanes?
Yes, indeed, the significance is huge.
The Grecian Empire of Antiochus Is Placed Back to Back With
the End Time Kingdom of Antichrist
Matthew 18:16 says every word may be established by two or three witnesses. So let’s look at another witness that will bring understanding as to the connection of Antiochus and Antichrist. If you recall in Daniel’s vision of the four beasts, the Grecian Empire was placed back to back with the future end time Antichrist kingdom (Dan. 7). Daniel prophesied about four beasts rising up out of the sea. The four beasts symbolized the empires of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and the end time kingdom of Antichrist. Many eschatologists are confused as to why Rome didn’t come after the Grecian beast. Some erroneously concluded that the end time Antichrist kingdom is the Roman Empire come back in a different form. But that is not the case.
In the vision of the four beasts, there is a reason why the Grecian Empire was placed back to back with the end time kingdom of Antichrist. It’s the same reason why the Grecian Seleucid Empire ruled by Antiochus is placed back to back with the end time kingdom ruled by Antichrist in Daniel chapter 11. The significance is that the end time Antichrist will be a mirror image of Antiochus Epiphanes. That’s why these verses in Daniel chapter 11 were written in a way that makes the reader think the subject matter is still talking about Antiochus Epiphanes when it’s really talking about the end-times Antichrist. Spiritually, these two men are twins.
Here are a few ways in which Antiochus Epiphanes and Antichrist mirror one another.
Antiochus ruled the Grecian Seleucid Empire from 175–164 BC.
Antiochus chose the name “Antiochus Epiphanes,” which means “God manifest.” He called himself God; this means he was full of pride and had a giant ego.
He invaded Jerusalem and killed many of its citizens.
He persecuted the Jewish people that were still alive.
He desecrated the holy temple and installed a statue of Zeus in it with the likeness of his face and commanded the Jewish people to worship it.
He put a stop to all sacrifices.
He tried to Hellenize the Jewish people by forcing them to reject their God and their culture and worship Greek gods and adopt Greek culture.
If they did not submit to the Hellenization of all of Israel, they were either persecuted or killed or both.
The Jewish people rose up in rebellion against Antiochus and his reforms and won.
Judah Maccabee and his army of rebels were able to reclaim the city of Jerusalem and the temple after three and one-half years of the rebellion.
Antichrist will also invade Jerusalem and kill many Jewish people.
Like Antiochus, he too will be full of pride and have a giant ego.
He will persecute the Jewish people.
He will put a stop to temple sacrifices (there is no temple now, but they will rebuild it).
He will be exalted as a god and will force people to worship him as God. Anyone that does not submit will be killed.
He will desecrate the holy temple and burn it down.
The Jewish people will rise up in rebellion against Antichrist and set Jerusalem free.
The Jewish rebel army will reclaim the city after three and one-half years of rebellion.
There is so much more these two men have in common, but this is just a sample to show you how these two characters mirror each other. It’s important to pay attention to the personage of Antiochus Epiphanes and the Grecian Empire. Both Antiochus and the Greek Empire are intertwined with end time prophecy. It’s imperative for any eschatology student to study and be familiar with historical events involving the Jewish people and the nations whose histories are intertwined with them. Having historical knowledge of all things Israel is one of the necessary keys needed to correctly interpret end time prophecy.
In the next post, we’ll study the verses in Daniel chapter 11 that describe what kind of man the future end time Antichrist will be.
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