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The Mighty Angels of Daniel 11: Maccabees Revolt
By Nathan Jones
Nathan Jones: Once Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated the Temple by sacrificing a pig on the altar and erected a statue of Zeus in the Holy of Holies, the profane act both shocked those loyal to Yahweh God and caused the rise of the priestly Maccabee family to rise up and wage war against the tyrant. Led by their father, known as Judah Maccabee or Judas Maccabeus, the family would live on to set up a lineage that would become known as the Hasmonean Dynasty. For about 70 years this family resisted the Antichrist-type character Antiochus and subsequent other foreign invaders.
Once the Maccabees were able to drive out the Syrians under Antiochus, they purified and rededicated the Temple so that the building could be once again used in the worship of Yahweh God. The Jewish people to this very day continue to celebrate Hanukkah, known as the Festival of Lights, in memory of the Maccabean Revolt and subsequent cleansing of the Temple.
This Jewish festival lasts eight days and is celebrated from the 25th day of the month of Kislev to the 2nd of Tevet, which falls near Christmas time. Jewish families set out their menorah candle stands. Each night of the festival a branch of the menorah is lit. The branches of the candle sticks represent the miracle of the cleansing of the Temple, when one paltry day’s worth of lamp oil lasted the entire eight days.
Vic Batista: Exciting miracle! I serve in the Aventura area of Miami where our The Truth Will Set You Free Ministry is located. A heavily Jewish populated area, every Hanukkah menorahs are set up all around for the holiday. The menorah has remained for millennia a beautiful reminder of the Lord’s provision. This symbol, just like the Jewish Star of David, ties the Jewish people back to the biblical accounts of God’s provision and protection to His faithful remnant.
Nathan Jones: The menorah stands apart as one of the oldest symbols of the Jewish people. As a matter of fact, decades later, in 70 AD when the Jews were marched into a second exile by the Roman General Titus after he had conquered Jerusalem, the Arch of Titus, located on the Via Sacra in Rome, was built to commemorate the general’s victories. Murals etched on the arch picture the massive Temple menorah being carried away as spoil, along with other various objects stolen from the destroyed Temple. The very same menorah that was used by the Maccabean family to purify the Temple is believed to be the one depicted on the Arch of Titus. That menorah became the template for the ones used today to celebrate Hanukkah.
How amazing that for over 2,000 years to this day, the Jewish people have been celebrating God’s provision during the Maccabean Revolt!
The Fight For Right
Vic Batista: As God raised up the Maccabeans to fight the evil of Antiochus Epiphanes, so God is raising up individuals today to continue to fight against Satanic forces.
In Daniel 11:32 we read, “Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery, but the people who know their God shall be strong.” Satan corrupts those who are self-centered, but God always keeps a remnant who remains loyal to Him; a people who believe in God and put Him first. Today, that is the Christian. The torch has been passed to the Church for the purpose of standing up and fighting for what is right and good.
Nathan Jones: How God works methodically throughout time is simply amazing! Look at the Maccabees. Judas Maccabeus became the Jewish leader of the revolt from 166–161 BC against Seleucid oppression. But, he began as a simple priest from the Jewish priesthood. By standing up for what is right, Judas and his sons became the leaders of a nation at a time when the nation was devoid of godly political leaders. They rose out of obscurity to challenge an evil king. In the process, the Maccabees sacrifices their freedoms. They lived on the run from the Seleucids. And, eventually, they would all lose their lives.
The sacrifices Judas and his sons made energized the Jewish nation back into being loyal to God. Israel experienced a mini-renaissance of faith. A wonderful time then commenced for the Jewish people. Finally, after 400 years of Gentile dominion, Israel became freed from out of under the yolk of affliction, even if it was just for a little while. But, it was enough, for the Jewish people still celebrate the Maccabean Revolt some 2,000 years later with Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights.
The Jewish people have achieved many excellent things, but as a people they are simply wonderful at remembering what God has done for their country and to their people by holding remembrance festivals. Tremendous acts of faith in God remain celebrated thousands of years later.
One must be faithful and willing to let God use you in order for Him to make wonderful things happen. People of faith who take a stand will long be remembered.
Vic Batista: Historical examples of faithfulness in action, such as the Maccabeans exhibited, cause me to believe there’s hope even in the midst of our biggest challenges. Hope rises when we put our trust in the Lord. We witness that even one or two faithful people can actually make a difference in this world.
As an example, I’m reminded of a biographical movie about Mother Teresa called The Letter. Her godly compassion for Indian’s poor proved how one person really can make a difference.
Nathan Jones: Mother Teresa was an amazing woman who worked with the poor and the lepers in India. Even secular society considers her one of the most godly women in history. She was willing to give up everything, and in her extreme poverty, serve the Lord. He used her mightily. She has been dead for a while now, and yet we are still talking about her good deeds.
That principle of faith applies to all Christians. When we trust in the Lord and place our faith in Him, letting Him command us, and we then obey, well God will do amazing deeds through us.
Vic Batista: Absolutely! Faithful people provide the world with hope. The Bible testifies that the Jewish people experienced many times of bleakness, but for the faithful, there was always hope in God for rescue and redemption.
God continues today to offer us hope. That hope can be found in a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
Persecution Refines Faith
Nathan Jones: That reminds me of how the end of Antiochus’ story plays out, as prophesied in Daniel 11:33-35.
“Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them. Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.”
The way the Jews suffered under Antiochus Epiphanes provides the perfect example of how persecution makes us get serious about God. The Jewish people lived under severe persecution by Antiochus, and many of those who stood up against his radical Hellenization of the Jews were killed by the sword. They were burned, imprisoned, and plundered. The trials were harsh, but resulted in prodding the Jewish people into getting serious about their relationship with God. He didn’t want to see His people become pagans. God knows trials and tribulations turn apathetic people towards Him as their source of hope.
Trouble and suffering inevitably comes into our lives, which God often uses to purify our faith. In response, we need to place our hope and trust back in Jesus Christ, because only through Him can we have victory.
Vic Batista: So true! There’s a promise in the Bible that none of us like too much found in John 16:33, which reads “These things I have spoken to you that in Me you may have peace, in the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer I have overcome the world.”
Christians are promised to suffer at the hands of the evil for Christ’s name. Truly this was the case for the Early Church. Early Christians were persecuted violently by first the Jews and then the Romans. Christians fled from one town to the next, but God used that persecution to move the Gospel into new lands. Often times people need a little fire applied to our behinds in order to get us to move where God’s commands us to go.
Nathan Jones: Jesus left the Early Church the Great Commission, which ordered Christ’s followers to go out into the world and preach the Gospel. Well, those in the church in Jerusalem just wouldn’t go out. They enjoyed the relative safety and familiarity of Jerusalem, that is until a fresh wave of persecution broke out.
The first Christian church fled, but by doing so, spread the Gospel out all over the Roman Empire. Persecution by the Jewish leaders at that time forced the new Christians to become serious about their faith in God. Likewise, the persecution of the saints today continues to help us focus on God and prioritize.
Vic Batista: If you are a Christian going through a period of tribulation and challenge, consider that maybe the Lord is using these tough days in order to get your attention.
Or, maybe you have been living in rebellion against God and haven’t yet given your life to Jesus Christ. Once you consider the challenges you face and recognize what is happening in your life, could it be that God is attempting to get your attention? Could God be using this tough patch so that you will turn to His Son, Jesus Christ, and ask for forgiveness, salvation, and aid?
Jesus Christ offers you now His free gift of salvation. He will carry you through your trials, and in the end, you are granted eternal life. He’s already lovingly paid the price by dying on the cross for you.
Nathan Jones: You can begin that saving relationship with the Creator of the universe by surrendering your life to Jesus. Trust that Jesus is the Son of God and Savior, and give control over your life to Him. Pray from your heart something like, “Dear, Jesus, please forgive me of my sins and be my Lord and Savior.” And Jesus promises to do just that. When you put your faith and trust in Jesus, He will forgive you of your sins and He will cleanse you of your guilt. He then provides you with a bright and glorious future in Heaven with Him.
Vic Batista: If you have trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, then please get in touch with us. Read the Bible and let the Holy Spirit encourage you. I am excited for the future and to see what God is going to bring about for you. Go to the Scriptures daily and He will give you wisdom as you travel through this incredible journey called life.
The first segment of this series on the mighty angels of Daniel began with a tragic backstory. In the sixty-fourth segment, we’ll begin moving from Antiochus to Antichrist in Daniel’s prophecy.