Ten Things That Are True About God Today By Jonathan Lewis I recently wrote about…
The Mighty Angels of Daniel 11: Seize Through Intrigue
By Nathan Jones
Empires Strike Back
Vic Batista: Empires strike back as we continue our exciting study of Daniel 11 and God’s mighty angels!
For me this has been an incredible series digging into the book of Daniel and looking at God’s mighty angel delivering God’s prophetic messages to the aged prophet Daniel. Daniel 11 in particular contains stunningly accurate prophecies concerning the various empires that would rise after Daniel’s death. They may be history now, but to Daniel, they were all still future. Each prophecy came true in precise detail, just as the messenger angel foretold.
Daniel 11 explodes with so many incredibly significant passages that we’ve taken many segments to work our way through these scriptures. We’re going to circle back now to Daniel 11:25 in order to dig deeper into the meat of the passage.
Let’s briefly recap Daniel 11.
Nathan Jones: Indeed, Daniel 11 stands out as a prophetically meaty chapter with lots of information to cover. An angel arrives in answer to Daniel’s prayer with a message from God about future history. It’s not history to God, mind you, but what the message was about would become history to those of us living in the future. For Daniel, the prophecies contained cover the next few hundred years after his death, so it’s certainly future to Daniel.
The messenger angel foretold empires that would rise up after the Babylonian and Medo-Persian Empires fell. He described the rise and division of the Greek Empire. Details were given about how two of Alexander the Great’s generals — Seleucid based in Syria and Ptolemy based in Egypt — and their descendants would fight back and forth for decades vying for power, with Israel caught both geographically and politically in the middle. The angel takes us through history learning about these different kings and their bitter feuds with each other.
Seize Through Intrigue
Nathan Jones: We’ve reached the point in the narrative where we’re introduced to a villainous man named Antiochus Epiphanes. The Bible uses his evil nature and deeds as a type for the coming Antichrist. The Antichrist stands out as the Bible’s central human villain. To compare, he’s the Darth Vader of the Bible, serving the Emperor, who would be Satan. The Antichrist achieves in the distant future (to Daniel) the highly coveted status as the one-world ruler. One day the entire world will eventually be conquered for Satan through the Antichrist. Satan’s agent in this world, his human puppet, marks the time period when Jesus Christ finally returns.
Back to Daniel 11:21, this passage concerns Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the prophetic template for the Antichrist. Interestingly, Antiochus named himself Epiphanes, which means “Great One,” but he acted like such a crazy maniac that the Israelites hated him with a passion, so behind his back they called him Epimmanes, which means “The Maniac.”
Vic Batista: What a title! I wouldn’t want to have earned that name. History’s littered with maniacs rising to power and causing so much suffering. Even in our era, the world’s endured Hitler, Mussolini, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, and so many other horrific tyrants. Their evil ambitions often end up destroying so many of God’s people, both Jewish and Christian.
Nathan Jones: When Antiochus Epiphanes rose to power in 175 BC, he wasn’t even in line to rule. He merited no right to the throne. Verse 21 reveals, “He will be succeeded by a contemptible person who has not been given the honor of royalty. He will invade the kingdom when its people feel secure, and he will seize it through intrigue.” Antiochus was a very gifted flatterer. He wielded the twin arts of bribery and trickery in order to gain favor.
It’s easy to see that Antiochus qualifies as a type of Antichrist. The Antichrist will also rise to power on his gifted ability to sway the masses with his charisma. He’ll ride onto the world scene as depicted in Revelation 6. The First Seal Judgment portrays the world-be king as a rider on a white horse. He carries a bow, but no arrows. In other words, he conquers peacefully without war, just as Antiochus once did.
Daniel 11:22-23 describes Antiochus’ art of trickery. He made a peace treaty with the Egyptian people, and then when their guard was down, his armies marched in and he sacked Egypt.
“Then an overwhelming army will be swept away before him; both it and a prince of the covenant will be destroyed. After coming to an agreement with him, he will act deceitfully, and with only a few people he will rise to power.” He used peace as a pretense for war.
What a trickster! Verse 24 continues, “When the richest provinces feel secure, he will invade them and will achieve what neither his fathers nor his forefathers did. He will distribute plunder, loot and wealth among his followers. He will plot the overthrow of fortresses — but only for a time.”
For centuries, Israel would be caught in the middle of two warring Greek dynasties. But now, Egypt is soundly defeated. Antiochus then turns his attention to Israel. He actually sells the high priest position! Mosaic Law alone demanded that the priests be Levites and the High Priest a descendant of Aaron. Antiochus casually disregards God’s Law with a wave of the hand and smack of the gavel. Of course, selling the position of High Priest caused an untold number of problems.
The Antichrist Template
Nathan Jones: What Antiochus Epiphanes is most infamous for in all of Jewish history is his arrival in 167 BC into Jerusalem. He marched into the Jewish Temple, broke into the Holy of Holies, which rarely a High Priest could was allowed to enter, much less some pagan Gentile. Then he sacrificed a pig on the altar and set up a statue of Zeus for the people to worship. Antiochus the Madman challenged the very God of Heaven!
Antiochus’ desecration of the Temple resulted in many of the Jewish people fleeing out into the wilderness. To this day the Jewish people call Antiochus’ abhorrent act the “Abomination that Causes Desolation.”
History will repeat itself. Jesus explained in Matthew 24 that, just like Antiochus Epiphanes did to the Temple, the Antichrist will do the same thing by the middle of the 7-year Tribulation. The Antichrist will march into the newly built Third Temple, which in our day hasn’t even been built yet, and he will desecrate the Temple once more. He may sacrifice a pig again, just as Antiochus did, but he will definitely declare himself to be God. Revelation 13 adds that the Antichrist’s False Prophet will even set up a “living image,” like Antiochus did with Zeus, that everybody must worship or be killed.
Vic Batista: Daniel 11 provides the Bible student then with important background information into the book of Revelation. Learning about Antiochus Epiphanes reveals the Antichrist’s template. History repeats itself, and the world will witness the desecration yet again happening in the near future according to the Bible. The rise of the Antichrist therefore is nothing new, other than the global scope of his power.
Nathan Jones: I have to disagree with those people who interpret Bible prophecy as already having passed. These Preterists point to Antiochus Epiphanes and claim that he was the fulfillment of the Antichrist. But, that can’t be because the Antichrist will lead a global empire. Zechariah 12 and 14 foretell that under the Antichrist every nation in the world will stand united against Israel. Antiochus Epiphanes only represented the Syrian portion of the Greek Empire.
Also, in Antiochus’ day, the Roman Empire was a rising star, not fully into its own power. According to Daniel 9, the Antichrist will originate out of the Roman Empire, and not the Greek Empire, so Antiochus Epiphanes couldn’t possibly be the Antichrist. Sure, Antiochus certainly committed many of the atrocities that the Antichrist will achieve one day, but the Antichrist’s scope and origin far outstrip Antiochus.
The first segment of this series on the mighty angels of Daniel began with a tragic backstory. In the sixty-first segment, we’ll resuming our study of the stunning prophecies relayed by God through His might angel to the prophet Daniel.