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Antiochus Epiphanes – Who was he?
Antiochus IV, a king of the Seleucid Empire, took upon himself the title Epiphanes, meaning the "illustrious one" or "god manifest." He was known as Antiochus Epiphanes and reigned from 175 BC until 164 BC in what is now Syria.
He nearly conquered Egypt and was known for severe persecution of Jews. This oppression lead to the Maccabean revolt. Jews nicknamed him Epimanes, meaning "mad one."
The Maccabean conflict began when some of the Jews, the Hellenists, integrated Greek culture and pagan practices into their communities. Others, the Traditionalists, continued to follow Mosaic Law and custom. When civil war between the two Jewish factions seemed imminent, Antiochus ordered all Jews to worship Zeus and made practicing Jewish rites and worshiping Yahweh illegal in an effort to extinguish Jewish culture.
The Jews rebelled. Antiochus attached Jerusalem, stealing items from the temple and setting up an altar to Zeus. He went so far as to sacrifice a swine to Zeus, which caused a backlash from the Jews. Antiochus then had many Jews killed and others sold into slavery. He outlawed circumcision, making it a capital offense, and ordered Jews to sacrifice to pagan gods and eat pork.
Judas Maccabaeus led the rebellion from 167—166 BC, winning battle after battle, including the defeat of Antiochus and restoration of the temple in 165 BC.
Many see Antiochus as a foreshadowing of the prophesied Antichrist. Daniel 9:27, 11:31, and 12:11 tells of the temple being profaned and offerings stopped. Jesus referred to these prophesies as future events in Matthew 24:15–16, Mark 13:14, and Luke 21:20–21.
Antiochus was also part of a short negotiation with a Roman official which led to the saying "to draw a line in the sand." As he marched against Egypt in 168 BC, a message was received from Rome to stop the attack. A man named Popillius delivered the message and when Antiochus requested time to confer with others, Popillius drew a circle around him in the sand and told him to make his decision before crossing out of it. If not, Popillius said, Rome would attack him. Antiochus chose then to stop the attack and withdraw.
ANTIOCHUS°, name of 13 Seleucid monarchs who ruled Syria for the greater part of two and a half centuries. They include:
(1) ANTIOCHUS I SOTER (b. 324 B.C.E.), son of Seleucus I Nicator, ruled from 281 to 261. Although unsuccessful in his attempt to capture *Coele-Syria (276&ndash72) from *Ptolemy II of Egypt, Antiochus nevertheless pursued his father's policy of founding Greek cities throughout the empire, and was even erroneously credited in late rabbinic and Roman literature with the founding of the capital, Antioch.
(2) ANTIOCHUS II THEOS, son of Antiochus I, ruled from 261 to 246 B.C.E. Antiochus recaptured those parts of Syria and Asia Minor lost by his father in the First Syrian War. His confrontations with the Egyptian king, and the intrigues of his wives (which eventually caused his death) are alluded to in the Book of Daniel 11:16 ff. Scholars have pointed to a passage in Josephus (Ant., 12:125&ndash7) as proof that Antiochus II granted special rights and even full citizenship to the Jews of certain Greek cities. (For discussion, see Josephus , Loeb edition, vol. 7, 741 ff. For selected literature on the early Seleucid rulers and the Jews, see p. 737.)
(3) ANTIOCHUS III, THE GREAT (b. c. 242 B.C.E.), son of Seleucus II Callinicus (244&ndash26). Antiochus became king after the murder of his brother Seleucus III Soter (223) and immediately succeeded in stabilizing and strengthening the Seleucid Empire. With his accession, however, the long period of peace in Judea came to an end. For 20 years, until 198, the country constantly changed hands. The young king's second expedition through Coele-Syria was particularly successful. By 217 he reached the southernmost parts of Palestine only to suffer a crushing defeat at the hands of *Ptolemy IV near Rafi'a? (Rafa south of Gaza), in one of the fiercest battles of the Hellenistic period. Antiochus was forced to relinquish the conquered areas, and according to Josephus, the Jews "were in no way different from a storm-tossed ship which is beset on either side by heavy seas, finding themselves crushed between the successes of Antiochus and the adverse turn of his fortunes" (Ant., 12:130). By 198 B.C.E. the Jews of Palestine had become disenchanted with Ptolemaic rule, and they opened the gates of Jerusalem to Antiochus, and assisted in the expulsion of its Egyptian garrison. Antiochus rewarded the Jews for their "splendid reception" by restoring those parts of Jerusalem destroyed by the war, freeing its citizens from taxes for three years and supplying funds for the Temple, and in general by permitting "members of the nation to have a form of government in accordance with the laws of their country" (&kappa&alpha&tau? &tau&omicron?&sigmaf &pi&alpha&tau&rho?&omicron&upsilon&sigmaf &nu?&mu&omicron&upsilon&sigmaf). It was also forbidden to bring to Jerusalem animals forbidden for consumption by Jews (Jos., Ant., 12:129&ndash53). The victories of Antiochus brought him to the attention of the Romans who were advancing through Greece. In 190 Antiochus suffered his greatest defeat near Magnesia and was forced into a degrading settlement by the victorious Romans. Sensing this, the eastern provinces of the Seleucid Empire revolted and Antiochus, determined to finance his recent setback at their expense, died while trying to sack one of the Temple treasuries of Elymais (187 1 Macc. 8:6&ndash16 Jos., Loeb edition, vol. 7, p. 743 ff., App. D M. Stern, Ha-Te'udot le-Mered ha-?ashmona'im (1965), 28&ndash46 Schalit, in: JQR, 50 (1959/60), 289&ndash318).
(4) ANTIOCHUS IV EPIPHANES, son of Antiochus III, ruled from the death of his brother *Seleucus IV in 175 B.C.E. until his death in 164. His reign marks a turning point in Jewish history. Striving vigorously to restore the strength of the Seleucid Empire, Antiochus founded more new Greek cities than all his predecessors. He became the champion of an intense Hellenization, more as a result of personal tendencies than as a means of reunifying the divided kingdom. To this end Antiochus paid particular attention to the Jews of Palestine. *Onias III, the high priest, was replaced in 173 by *Jason who had strong leanings toward the Hellenistic party in Jerusalem. In time the character of the Jewish capital itself was altered, with Jason undertaking "to register the Jerusalemites as citizens of Antioch" (II Macc. 4:9 on the legal status of Jerusalem under the government of the Hellenizers see V. Tcherikover, Hellenistic Civilization and the Jews (1959), 161 ff.). Jason was eventually outbid for the office of high priest by Menelaus, who proved even more servile and prepared to carry out the most extreme Hellenization of Judea. In 168 Antiochus set out on his second expedition to Egypt. Wishful thinking probably promoted the spread of false rumors regarding the king's death, and as a result, Jason, who had fled to Transjordan, returned to Jerusalem and tried to reestablish his rule. On returning from Egypt, Antiochus, convinced that a rebellion had broken out against him, stormed the city, killed thousands of Jews, and sold thousands more into slavery. In their place, and especially in the citadel of Jerusalem ( *Acra ) which was erected on the instructions of Antiochus, a Greek community was set up, thus outwardly transforming the city into a foreign polis (city-state). By 167 the enforced Hellenization of the Jews reached its peak the Jews were compelled, under penalty of death "to depart from the laws of their fathers, and to cease living by the laws of God. Further, the sanctuary in Jerusalem was to be polluted and called after Zeus Olympius" (II Macc. 6:1, 2). The nature of these decrees has puzzled most scholars and students of the Hellenistic period. Ancient polytheism for the most part was tolerant, and this particular brand of Hellenization was not applied by Antiochus to any segment of the non-Jewish population under his rule. It would seem, therefore, that religious oppression appeared to Antiochus to be the only means of achieving political stability in Palestine, since it was that country's religion, if anything, that was out of place in a predominantly Hellenized empire. It would be wrong, however, completely to disregard the nature of the king himself. His strange behavior, causing contemporaries to refer to him as Epimanes ("madman") instead of Epiphanes, obviously played a major part in the formation of such violent policies. In any case, Antiochus did not personally oversee the implementation of these policies. He died in the city of Tabae (Isfahan). He was succeeded by his nine-year-old son Antiochus V Eupator (Polybius 26:10 31:3&ndash4 Livius 41:19, 20 Diodorus 29:32 31:16 for a summation of modern literature on Antiochus IV see Tcherikover, op. cit., 175&ndash203).
(5) ANTIOCHUS V EUPATOR reigned only two years before being murdered by his cousin Demetrius, the son of Seleucus IV.
(6) ANTIOCHUS VII SIDETES (b. 164 B.C.E.), the son of *Demetrius I Soter and younger brother of *Demetrius II Nicator. During the early years of his reign (138&ndash129) Antiochus was forced to overcome the usurper Tryphon. His confirmation, therefore, of the privileges granted by his predecessors to the Jews and Jerusalem (I Macc. 15:1 ff. Jos., Ant., 13:223 ff.) was an obvious attempt to solicit the help of *Simeon the Hasmonean, the high priest. When it was clear, however, that he would defeat Tryphon, the king immediately relented and demanded the return of Jaffa, Gezer, and the citadel in Jerusalem to Seleucid rule. To enforce these demands, Antiochus sent the general Cendebaeus to Judea, but the latter was defeated by Judah and John, the sons of Simeon the Hasmonean. Antiochus probably instigated Simeon's murder in 134 by *Ptolemy the son of Abubus, for immediately afterward he laid siege to Jerusalem. The Jews, led by John *Hyrcanus , managed to hold out for two years, but were finally compelled to accept the harsh terms set by Antiochus. The king was thereupon free to turn eastward, and in his expedition against the Parthians, in which soldiers of John Hyrcanus also participated, met his death (129 Tcherikover, op. cit., 240&ndash1, 250&ndash1 Stern, op. cit., 122&ndash4, 139&ndash43).
(7) ANTIOCHUS IX CYZICENUS, son of Antiochus VII and half-brother of Antiochus VIII Grypus, with whom he competed for the Seleucid throne from 113&ndash95 B.C.E. Cyzicenus was unsuccessful in two attempts to rescue the Samaritans from John Hyrcanus. In 107 *Samaria fell to the sons of Hyrcanus, *Antigonus and *Aristobulus I , and the two pursued Cyzicenus as far as *Beth-Shean (Scythopolis), where he finally succeeded in eluding them. The second attempt by the Syrian king to subdue the armies of Hyrcanus, this time with the aid of Ptolemy VIII Lathyrus of Egypt, was similarly rebuffed, and Antiochus retreated to Syria. In 95 B.C.E. Cyzicenus was defeated by Seleucus VI, the son of Grypus, and took his own life (Jos., Ant., 13:270 ff.).
Klausner, Bayit Sheni, index Schuerer, Gesch, 1 (1901), 175 ff.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.
ANTIOCHUS IV., EPIPHANESSilver Coin of Antiochus IV. Obverse: Head of Antiochus as Zeus, laureated. Reverse: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΑΝΤΙΟΧΟΥ ΘΕΟΥ ΕΠΙΦΑΝΟΥΣ ΝΙΚΗΠΟΡΟΥ. Zeus seated on throne, holding Nikē. (After Gardner , " Catalogue of Seleucid Coins. ") Tetradrachm of Antiochus IV. Obverse: Head of Antiochus as Zeus, laureated. Reverse: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΑΝΤΙΟΧΟΥ ΘΕΟΥ ΕΠΙΦΑΝΟΥΣ ΝΙΚΗΠΟΡΟΥ. Zeus seated on throne, holding Nikē. (After Gardner , " Catalogue of Seleucid Coins. ") The Tobiads and Oniads.
("the Illustrious"): King of Syria reigned from 175 B.C. died 164. He was a son of Antiochus the Great, and, after the murder of his brother Seleucus, took possession of the Syrian throne which rightly belonged to his nephew Demetrius. This Antiochus is styled in rabbinical sources />, "the wicked." Abundant information is extant concerning the character of this monarch, who exercised great influence upon Jewish history and the development of the Jewish religion. Since Jewish and heathen sources agree in their characterization of him, their portrayal is evidently correct. Antiochus combined in himself the worst faults of the Greeks and the Romans, and but very few of their good qualities. He was vainglorious and fond of display to the verge of eccentricity, liberal to extravagance his sojourn in Rome had taught him how to captivate the common people with an appearance of geniality, but in his heart he had all a cruel tyrant's contempt for his fellow men. The attempt of modern phil-Hellenes to explain Antiochus' attitude toward the Jews as an endeavor "to reform a stiff-necked people" receives no confirmation from the fact that a Tacitus first formulated it. Antiochus had no wish to Hellenize his conquered subjects, but to denationalize them entirely his Aramean subjects were far from becoming Hellenes simply because they had surrendered their name and some of their Semitic gods. His attempt to level all differences among the nations he ruled arose not from a conviction of the superiority of Greek culture, the true essence of which he can scarcely be said to have appreciated, but was simply a product of his eccentricity. The Jews themselves afforded Antiochus the first opportunity to interfere in their domestic affairs. The struggle of the Tobiads against the high priest Onias III., originally a personal matter, gradually assumed a religio-political phase. The conservatives siding with the legitimate high priest approached the king of Egypt for they relied more on that monarch than on Antiochus, sometimes nick-named 'Επιμανής (madman), while the Tobiads well understood that Antiochus' favor was to be purchased with gold. The Tobiads caused the deposition of Onias (173), and the appointment of their own partizan, Jason. In order to ingratiate himself with the king, this new high priest established an arena for public games close by the Temple. But the king cared very much more for gold than for the Hellenizing of Palestine, and a certain Menelaus made use of the fact so shrewdly that he received the high-priesthood in place of Jason, in the year 171. But when false tidings came to Jerusalem that Antiochus had died on a campaign in Egypt, Menelaus could not maintain himself in the city, and together with the Tobiads fled to Egypt. On his return homeward, Antiochus came to Jerusalem to reinstate Menelaus, and then the true character of the Hellenism that Antiochus desired was revealed to the Jews. He entered the Temple precincts, not out of curiosity, but to plunder the treasury, and carried away valuable utensils, such as the golden candlestick upon the altar and the showbread table, likewise of gold. This spoliationof the Sanctuary frustrated all the attempts of Jason and the other Tobiads to Hellenize the people, for even the most well-disposed of Hellenizers among them felt outraged at this desecration. They must have given vent to their sentiment very freely for only thus can the policy of extermination waged by Antiochus against the Jews and Judaism, two years later, 168, be explained. As long as he was occupied with preparations for his expedition against Egypt, Antiochus had no time for Palestine but when the Romans compelled him to forego his plans of conquest, his rage at the unexpected impediment was wreaked upon the innocent Jews. An officer, Apollonius, was sent through the country with an armed troop, commissioned to slay and destroy. He first entered Jerusalem amicably then suddenly turning upon the defenseless city, he murdered, plundered, and burnt through its length and breadth. The men were butchered, women and children sold into slavery, and in order to give permanence to the work of desolation, the walls and numerous houses were torn down. The old City of David was fortified anew by the Syrians, and made into a very strong fortress completely dominating the city. Having thus made Jerusalem a Greek colony, the king's attention was next turned to the destruction of the national religion. A royal decree proclaimed the abolition of the Jewish mode of worship Sabbaths and festivals were not to be observed circumcision was not to be performed the sacred books were to be surrendered and the Jews were compelled to offer sacrifices to the idols that had been erected. The officers charged with carrying out these commands did so with great rigor a veritable inquisition was established with monthly sessions for investigation. The possession of a sacred book or the performance of the rite of circumcision was punished with death. On Kislew (Nov.-Dec.) 25, 168, the "abomination of desolation" ( />, Dan. xi. 31, xii. 11) was set up on the altar of burnt offering in the Temple, and the Jews required to make obeisance to it. This was probably the Olympian Zeus, or Baal Shamem.See Abomination of Desolation.
Antiochus, however, had misunderstood the true character of Judaism, if he thought to exterminate it by force. His tyranny aroused both the religious and the political consciousness of the Jews, which resulted in the revolution led by the Maccabees. After the passive resistance of the Ḥasidim (pious ones), who, much to the surprise of the Hellenes, suffered martyrdom by hundreds, the Hasmonean Mattathias organized open resistance in 167-166, which, through the heroic achievements of his son and successor Judas the Maccabee in defeating two large and well-equipped armies of Antiochus, grew to formidable proportions. Antiochus realized that a serious attempt must be made to put down the rising, but was himself too busily occupied against the Parthians to take personal charge. Lysias, whom he had left as regent in Syria, received instructions to send a large army against the Jews and exterminate them utterly. But the generals Ptolemæus, Nicanor, and Gorgias, whom Lysias despatched with large armies against Judah, were defeated one after the other (166-165), and compelled to take refuge upon Philistine soil. Lysias himself (165) was forced to flee to Antioch, having been completely routed by the victorious Jews. But although he began to gather new forces, nothing was accomplished in the lifetime of Antiochus, who died shortly thereafter in Tabæ in Persia, 164.
Antiochus&rsquo Relationship with Jews
The Jews were clearly targets of Antiochus&rsquos strategy of Hellenization. He understood that to ultimately succeed in Egypt, he would need to disrupt the influence of the Jews within his own territories. He decided to tackle the priesthood in Jerusalem by replacing Onias the Third, the latest Kohen Gadol (high priest), with Onias&rsquos brother Joshua, who was loyal to the Greeks. Joshua became High Priest and immediately changed his name to Jason.
To a certain extent, Antiochus&rsquos plan worked. Jason submitted to the king&rsquos will and helped implement the new totalitarian doctrine. Jerusalem became a little version of Antioch, replete with a gymnasium where the Jewish Kohanim often played Greek sports in the nude. Meanwhile, King Antiochus had access to the Temple treasury to help fund his military campaign to conquer Egypt.
All these activities fueled the restless anger of the pious Jewish peasants, who became even more enraged when Antiochus allowed Menelaus, a Tobiad, to purchase the position of Kohen Gadol. They were incensed that this sacred position, for which Menelaus had outbid Jason, was for sale at all. But to make matters worse, Tobiads were not even descendants of Aaron, who was the brother of Moses and the traditional ancestor of all Kohanim.
As a condition of his appointment, Menelaus had promised he would increase the tax revenue. When he failed to do so, he was summoned to appear before the king. While away, Menalaus left his brother Lysimachus as High Priest in his stead. Lysimachus proceeded to rob the Temple of many of its sacred vessels, an action that led to riots in the streets, during which the supporters of Jason (even knowing all his faults) battled the supporters of Menelaus.
Head of Antiochus IV - History
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Segment 4 - Daniel 8
The History of Antiochus IV
A brief history of Antiochus IV may be helpful because millions of people believe Antiochus IV is a fulfillment of the horn power in Daniel 8. Let us closely examine the logic that produces this conclusion.
- The Bible says the four horns represent the four generals that gained control of Alexanders empire.
- Just before the Grecian empire fell to Rome, Antiochus IV came to power as the king of Syria (175-164 B.C.). After his father, Antiochus the Great, died, the Romans, who controlled the Middle East at this time, allowed Antiochus IV to become the eighth king in a line of kings whose lineage dates back to Seleucus. Antiochus IV exalted himself by adding Epiphany to his name. An epiphany is a great manifestation of God. The Romans mocked the pompous little king by calling him Antiochus Epimanes IV. Epimanes sounds similar to Epiphany, but it means mad man.
- About 168 B.C. Antiochus sent his army to Egypt to steal some wealth. He desperately needed to replenish his empty treasury. Antiochus had squandered the assets of his kingdom on foolish endeavors and Syria was near the point of bankruptcy. He defeated the cowardly Ptolemee, king of Egypt, but Rome sent an envoy to inform Antiochus IV that he could not rule over Egypt. Antiochus knew that any sign of rebellion against Rome was fatal. Thwarted and humiliated, but happy with the loot he had stolen, he returned home.
- Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, the high priest, Jason, had initiated a rebellion against the rigid control of conservative Jews. He wanted to adopt some of the more liberal Hellenistic ways of the Greeks and build a Greek gymnasium where nude bodybuilding and sensual exercises could be conducted. While this conflict was unfolding, Menelaus, a wealthy Jew, offered Antiochus IV a large bribe if he would send soldiers to overthrow Jerusalems leadership and appoint Menelaus as high priest. This bribe gave Antiochus a golden opportunity to quell Jasons rebellion and plunder the Jewish temple of its gold and silver. Gold and silver from the Jewish temple would help replenish his ever-empty treasury.
- Antiochus loved the decadent and sensual ways of the Greeks. When the king arrived in Jerusalem, he showed contempt for the conservative Jews by erecting a statue of the Greek god, Zeus, on the Altar of Burnt Offering on Chislev 15, 167 B.C. Ten days later, on Chislev 25, Antiochus ended daily services (including the daily sacrifices) at the temple when he offered a pig (or some unclean animal) on the Altar of Burnt Offering. This abominable act led to a series of wars between Antiochus forces and conservative Jews. This series of wars became known as the Maccabean revolt because a conservative priest, Judas Maccabeus, led the Jews against the forces of Antiochus IV.
- A year or so later, Antiochus ran out of money again. This time he decided to raid portions of Persia to finance his excessive spending habits. Therefore, he turned his management of his kingdom over to his friend, Lysais, instructing him to destroy the Jews and Jerusalem as quickly as possible. However, Judas Maccabeus and the Jews eventually defeated Lysais and his generals. The victory over Lysais did not end the wars between the Jews and their enemies. Three years after offering a pig on the altar, to the very day, on Chislev 25, 164 B.C., a new altar was installed and dedicated in the temple at Jerusalem and the daily services resumed. The Jews have celebrated the restoration of temple services on this day ever since. (See John 10:22,23) It is called Hanukkah, which means the dedication.
- Meanwhile, in Persia, Antiochus IV experienced a number of sound defeats, and when he learned that the Jews had defeated Lysais and robbed him of his armament, Antiochus IV became heartsick. After a period of suffering from illness (perhaps from too much drinking), Antiochus uttered these words, I perish through great grief in a strange land. (1 Maccabees 6:13) After giving his close friend, Philip, his crown, robe, and signet, he gave instructions that he was to raise his son Antiochus V, to take his throne. Then, Antiochus IV died.
What Is Wrong with the Antiochus Interpretation?
Because there are valid rules of interpretation, no prophecy stands alone. Daniel 8 is not isolated from the historical matrix that unfolds in the book of Daniel. Because there are so many variables in the study of prophecy, we have to follow a set of valid rules if we want to know the intended meaning of prophecy. If we do not follow a valid set of rules, the outcome will be a private interpretation. Even though a private interpretation may be exciting and very reasonable, and even though millions of people may accept it as truth, a private interpretation never produces Gods intended meaning in apocalyptic prophecy.
Because God sealed the book of Daniel until the time of the end, the intended meaning of Daniels visions could not be known until the time of the end arrives. (Daniel 12:4,9) When it comes to apocalyptic prophecy, there is one fulfillment of prophecy. There is one meaning and there is one time-line. Apocalyptic events do not occur more than once. Rule One prohibits multiple fulfillments because there is a beginning point in time and an ending point in time for each prophecy and the events within the prophecy occur in the order in which they are given. Gods foreknowledge is perfect. A fulfillment is the ful-filling of all that God has said would come to pass. If all of the specifications of a prophecy are not met in an interpretation, the student has two options: (a) ignore the specifications and accept an interpretation that merely sounds good, or (b) reject the interpretation because it does not satisfy all of the specifications. Given these two choices, let us compare some of the supporting arguments for Antiochus IV with Scripture:
- Gabriel said, It [the horn power] set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host [Jesus Christ] it took away the daily sacrifice from him [Jesus Christ], and the place of his sanctuary was brought low. (Daniel 8:11, insertions mine) History indicates that whatever Antiochus lacked in intelligence, he compensated with insolence and arrogance. No doubt, his ego was so delirious that he believed he was greater than the Prince of the host, Jesus Christ. Remember, Antiochus IV claimed to be an epiphany, but history reveals he was anything but an epiphany. Antiochus IV caused the daily services at the temple in Jerusalem to stop for a period of three years when he desecrated the Altar of Burnt Offering, but Antiochus was neither the first nor the last to defile the temple. Nebuchadnezzar (586 B.C.) and Titus (A.D. 70) did the same thing. Consider the specifications in the text. Verse 11 requires Antiochus IV to take the daily services away from Jesus Christ, the Prince of the host. Did Antiochus take away the daily away from the Jews or from the Prince of the host? The answer to this question is obvious. Antiochus took the daily away from the Jews. The daily ceased in Jerusalem for three years, but Antiochus did not take away the daily intercession of our High Priest in Heavens temple. (Hebrews 7:25-27) The termination of the daily in Heaven does not occur until the appointed time of the end arrives! (Daniel 12:11,12 Revelation 8:2-5)
- Gabriel said, The four horns that replaced the one that was broken off represent four kingdoms that will emerge from his nation but will not have the same power. In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a stern-faced king, a master of intrigue, will arise. (Daniel 8:22,23) Many advocates of the Antiochus theory say these two verses describe Antiochus IV because he rose to power during the fading years of the Grecian empire. The Bible says, In the latter part oftheirreign, when rebels have become completely wicked People defending Antiochus IV claim the latter part of their reign applies to the final days of the four divisions of the Grecian empire because Antiochus IV came to power with Romes permission in 175 B.C. and Grecia fell about seven years later in 168 B.C. Does the phrase the latter part of their reign point to the final days of the Grecian empire or does it point to the reign of those kings who will be ruling at the appointed time of the end? Does the stern-faced king arise while Grecia is falling or at the end of the world? These pivotal questions need answers.
In an effort to give Antiochus every advantage to fulfill this prophecy, let us apply the phrase, In the latter part of their reign to the last days of Grecia, so that Antiochus might be able to satisfy this specification. If we do this, the next phrase, when rebels have become completely wicked, would have to apply to the rebels in Jerusalem who, like Jason and the renegade Jews, wanted to adopt the sensual ways of Antiochus IV and the Greeks.
The next specification reveals: a stern-faced king, a master of intrigue will arise. Historians say that Antiochus IV was a hoodlum, basically a leader of bandits, not a stern-faced king and a master of intrigue. History says he was a self-indulgent and temperamental nitwit. If he had not inherited the kingdom from his father, historians are confident that he would not have been able to build one.
Because Antiochus IV was inept as a king (remember, even the Romans called him a madman), advocates of Antiochus IV claim he was perhaps more stern- faced (as in pouting) than a master of evil manipulation. They claim that
Antiochus IV has to be a fulfillment of the horn power at the end of the Grecian period and he caused the daily services in Jerusalem to cease for three years. This claim may sound convincing for people who have not examined Daniel 8, but obviously Antiochus could neither take the daily away from the Prince of the host (Jesus) nor did Antiochus live at the appointed time of the end.
- Gabriel said, He [the horn power] will become very strong, but not by his own power. He [will be empowered by God as a destroyer and he] will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy the mighty men [who stand in opposition] and the holy people [the saints of God]. [Because he is an evil despot and totally lawless] He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior [above every god]. When they [the wicked] feel secure [with him], he will destroy many [of his own people] and take his stand against the Prince of Princes [Jesus Christ]. Yet he [this invincible and awesome being] will be destroyed, but not by human power. (Daniel 8:24,25, insertions mine) Paul explains how Lucifer will be destroyed, And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. (2 Thessalonians 2:8) These verses bring the Antiochus interpretation to an abrupt halt. Antiochus never became a strong king. He did not cause astounding devastation during his nine years on the throne. In fact, Antiochus had very few successes. We have to put Antiochus within the confines of historical perspective. At best, he ruled over a tiny state kingdom with Romes permission. Did Antiochus cause deceit to prosper throughout the world more than any other pagan king? Did Antiochus take his stand against the Prince of princes (the Lord Jesus) during the appointed time of the end? If so, when did this battle occur? Who won the battle? Did the Lord Jesus destroy Antiochus with the brightness of His coming or did he die in Persia from too much liquor? The Antiochus interpretation does not come close to meeting all the specifications given in Daniel 8. If any doubt remains about Antiochus IV fulfilling the specifications given in Daniel 8, the next specification should remove it.
- Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to him, How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, and the surrender of the sanctuary and of the host that will be trampled underfoot? He said to me, it will take 2,300 evenings and mornings then the sanctuary will be recons crated. (Daniel 8:13,14) The 2,300 evenings and mornings of Daniel 8 have proven to be an insurmountable mystery for thousands of years and rightly so. Without valid rules of interpretation and an understanding of the doctrine of Gods use of parallel temples, the purpose, the meaning and the timing of the 2,300 days cannot be accurately determined! Because many Christians scholars believe the horn power of Daniel 8 is Antiochus IV, consider how they explain the 2,300 evenings and mornings.
Scofields Explanation of the 2,300 Days
Cyrus I. Scofield (1843-1921), was a writer whose theological and prophetic views dramatically influenced Protestants during the twentieth century. Dr. Scofield was not the first to suggest that Antiochus IV was the horn power of Daniel 8, but he was arguably the best. To prove that Antiochus IV was the horn power, Dr. Scofield claimed the 2,300 days in Daniel 8:14 began with the desecration of the temple in Jerusalem (Kislev 15, 167 B.C. 1 Maccabees 1:57) and terminated with the death of general Nicanor on March 27, 160 B.C. According to 1 Maccabees 3, Nicanor was one of the generals that Lysais appointed to destroy the Jews while Antiochus was looking for someone to plunder in Persia. According to 1 Maccabees 4:52-54, the temple was cleansed and services resumed three years and ten days after its desecration. (See also 2 Maccabees 10:1-8.) In other words, the number of days between the defilement of the temple by Antiochus IV and the reconsecration of the temple by Judas Maccabeaus was 1,096 days, less than half of the needed 2,300 days. Because Daniel 8:14 specifies 2,300 days, Scofield realized there was a problem, so he began searching for some of the events that occurred 2,300 days after Antiochus desecrated the temple in Jerusalem. The death of a nondescript general was the only thing that Scofield could find that came close to 2,300 days. Rather than abandon the Antiochus IV interpretation for a better interpretation of the horn power, Scofield declared the 2,300 days were fulfilled by two events that do not have 2,300 days between them. No doubt, Dr. Scofield was a sincere man, but if a person does not use valid rules of interpretation, eventually he will end up in a corner where he has no choice but to twist or distort the Word of God to make pieces fit. God said there would be 2,300 evenings and mornings not more or less before the sanctuary would be cleansed.
During the last half of the twentieth century, defenders of Scofields position have been forced to acknowledge that temple services resumed long before the 2,300 days expired. Therefore, they argue with weasel words that temple services were free of destructive threat after general Nicanor died. The problem with this claim is that God says nothing about the temple being free of threat or about the Jews enjoying freedom from destruction in Daniel 8:14. The King James Version of Daniel 8:14 simply states, Unto two thousand three hundred days, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. (Or reconsecrated, NIV) The following chart shows how Scofield defined the 2,300 days. The dates are taken from 1 Maccabees 1:57 4:52 and 7:43.
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Antiochus IV Epiphanes
Antiochus IV Epiphanes ("manifestation of the god"): name of a Seleucid king, ruled from 175 to 164.
Successor of: his elder brother Seleucus IV Philopator
- Father: Antiochus III the Great
- Mother: Laodice III (daughter of Mithradates II of Pontus)
- Wife: his sister Laodice IV (widow of Seleucus IV Philopator?)
- Son: Antiochus V Eupator
- Daughter: Laodice VI
- Son: Alexander I Balas (spurious)
- Original name: Mithradates
- 188: After the Syrian War, Rome and the Seleucid Empire conclude the Peace of Apemea the Seleucids are to pay an indemnity and Antiochus is held captive in Rome
- 187: Accession of Seleucus IV Philopator
- 178: Antiochus is replaced as hostage by Seleucus' son Demetrius
- 3 September 175: the Seleucid commander Heliodorus kills Seleucus IV, who is succeeded by his son Antiochus, who is too young to rule
- With support of king Eumenes II Soter of Pergamon, Antiochus becomes king Heliodorus killed
- 174: Jason appointed as high priest in Jerusalem
- 173 Refoundation of Babylon as a Greek comunity
- 173 or 172: visit to Jerusalem
- 172/171: Antiochus' stepdaughter (from his wife's first marriage) Nysa marries Pharnaces of Pontus
- 171: Revolt in Cilicia
- 171: Jason replaced as high priest by Menelaus
- 170: On behalf of Antiochus IV, Andronicus kills the young king Antiochus
- 170-168: Sixth Syrian War: Ptolemy VI Philometor -who is too young to rule- attacks the Seleucid Empire. Antiochus IV builds a navy (against the terms of the Peace of Apamea) and conquers Cyprus and large parts of Egypt and presents himself as protector of Ptolemy VI against his relatives Ptolemy VIII Euergetes Physcon and Cleopatra II
- 168: Roman pressure forces Antiochus to retire from Alexandria in Egypt
- 167: Unsuccessful attempt of general Eucratides to reconquer Parthia (Mithradates I the Great, r.165-132)) and Aria, which have been occupied by the Parni
- 167: Intervention in Judah (6 December: rededication of the temple in Jerusalem)
- 166: Outbreak of the Maccabaean Revolt
- 165: Antiochus goes to the east he captures Artaxata, capital of Armenia, and accepts the surrender of king Artaxias I.
- 164: Antiochus in Babylonia and Elam
- 15 December 164: Judas defeats Gorgias, captures Jerusalem, and restores the Jewish cult in the temple
- November/December 164: failed attack on Susa death
Buildings: in Antioch a temple to the Roman Jupiter Capitolinus (Livy, Periochae 41.6.)
The prophecies of Daniel focus on events connected with ancient world powers, such as Babylon, the Persian empire, the kingdom of Alexander, the hellenistic kingdoms of the diadochi, the Roman empire. In the 8th chapter, a prophecy about the second century B.C. Seleucid king Antiochus IV was to be understood at “the time of the end.” [Daniel 8:17]
Karl August Auberlin considered Antiochus IV to be “a type of the last Antichrist.” Below is his discussion of Antiochus Epiphanes and his significance in Daniel 8. 
THE EIGHTH CHAPTER ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES.
The eighth chapter describes, by two new animal symbols—a ram and a he-goat—the third and fourth world-monarchies (the Medo-Persian, and Graeco-Macedonian), which were to rule over Israel after the downfall of Babylon—an event that Daniel outlived. Both are here mentioned by name (ver. 20, 21 comp. x., 13, 20 xi., 24), as expressly as the Babylonian kingdom previously (ii. 37-3S). It is only the fourth monarchy, the Roman, which is not mentioned by name. Is not this circumstance an unsought-for proof of the higher antiquity of our book? Daniel lived to see the Persian kingdom. It appears from the Greek names of musical instruments, which occur in our book, that even at that time Greece had become known to the East and, indeed, it is also evident from the entanglements between the Persians and Greeks, which happened soon after Daniel’s death, and led, in the course of a few decennia, to world-famed wars and battles. But the chief reason why the attention of Daniel and Israel had to be turned to Greece, was, that the Old Testament Antichrist was to proceed from that power. Thus, we can see why the angels in the passages quoted, mention the name Javan, while Rome, belonging to the West, which is put in the background of the vision, remains unnamed.
For the same reason our vision gives more prominence to the Greek empire, and to the last shape which that empire assumes in the little horn, just as is the case with the Roman empire in the seventh chapter. There is but a brief description of the ram with his two horns, the Medes and Persians. The he-goat has at first only one proud horn, Alexander the Great, who comes to his end in a hasty triumphal march from West to East, to the kingdom of Persia. In the place of this great horn four smaller arise, the kingdoms of the successors of Alexander, Macedonia, Asia, Egypt, Syria. Out of one of these, the last named, there proceeded finally a little horn, a king, whose enmity towards the Most High, His service, and His people (the host of heaven), is described with features similar to those of Antichrist in the seventh chapter.
This king is Antiochus Epiphanes. With a stubbornness approaching monomania, he entertained the plan of introducing the worship of Olympian Zeus over all his empire, to which Palestine also belonged and “as he identified himself with that god, he wished ultimately to make his own worship universal” (comp. 1 Macc. i. 41 etc. 2 Macc. vi. 7).  He tried to extirpate every other worship with fanatical, often with infatuated zeal and hence instead of Epiphanes, he was called Epimanes. He abolished the worship of Jehovah in Jerusalem, and substituted the worship of idols. His enterprise was all the more dangerous in that he was met by a hellenising party in Israel itself, who had heathenish tendencies (1 Macc. i. 12, etc. 2 Macc. iv. 9, etc. comp. Dan. xi. 30, 32). Thus Antiochus Epiphanes, threatened the gravest peril to the holy people and to revealed religion, and, by consequence, to the existence of a Theocracy on earth. Nothing in the history of the sufferings of Israel from the power of the world, can be compared with the suffering inflicted by Antiochus. For none of the previous worldly rulers who had subjugated the people of the covenant, interfered essentially with their religious worship but, on the contrary, as appears from the books of Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, had protected and honoured them in many ways in the performance of their national worship. As, for instance, Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. iv. 31-34), Darius the Mede (Dan. vi. 27, 2S), Cyrus (Ezra i. 2-4), Artaxerxes Longimanus (Ezra vii. 12 Nehem. ii. 18), and according to Josephus (Arch. xi. 8), Alexander the Great also. It was therefore necessary that special prophetic announcement should prepare the people for Antiochus, so that they might be forewarned and forearmed against his attacks and artful machinations. Nor did these predictions remain without fruit for we may regard the glorious struggle of the Maccabees, so far as it was a pure and righteous one, as a fruit of our book (comp. 1 Macc. ii. 59).
Antiochus, in his “self-deifying fanatical haughtiness” (Wieseler), and his enmity against God and divine worship, is very properly the type of Antichrist—the Antichrist of the third monarchy, and of the Old Testament time. “All former teachers,” says Luther, “have called and interpreted this Antiochus a figure of the final Antichrist and they have hit the right mark.” A clear light is thus thrown on the relation of the second part of our book to the first, and more especially of the eighth chapter to the seventh. There is a similar typical relation between Antiochus and Antichrist, as between the destruction of Jerusalem and the coming of the Son of Man, in the eschatological discourse of Christ (Matt. xxiv.). The Antichrist of the Old Testament stands in the same relation to the Antichrist of the New, as the judgment on the Church of the Old Testament to that on the Church of the New. And this typical character is indeed according to a general law of prophecy, which is clearly illustrated in the two examples we have mentioned. In the same way as Jesus illumines the two events He foretells, by viewing one in the light of the other, so must the seventh and eighth chapters of Daniel be viewed together. The two pictures, of the enemy out of the third, and of the enemy out of the fourth monarchy, touch at many points, and illustrate each other so that the eighth chapter serves for the elucidation of the seventh, and the seventh again for the elucidation of the eighth. The people of God receive the most complete instruction about Epiphanes, in that single feature, to which prominence is given, that he appears as a type of the last Antichrist. Thus they are distinctly pointed to the magnitude of the threatening danger, and furnished, on the one hand, with an earnest warning of the deceitfulness of the seducer on the other, with the consolation that he cannot escape the judgment destined to overtake him. And in the same manner as Israel was enabled to understand the type of the Antichrist by the picture of the Antichrist himself (chap. vii.), we are justified in pursuing the reverse method, and in forming a clearer and more complete conception of the last enemy, whose coming we expect, from the delineation of Antiochus. We have here the example of the apostle for our precedent, who, in 2 Thess. ii. 4, paints the Man of Sin with colours which are taken from Dan. xi.
Notes & References
2. Wieseler in Herzog’s Realencyklopädie für protest. Theol. u. Kirche i., p. 384.
Seleucus Philopator, the Raiser of Taxes
11:20 Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom: but within few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle.
The Seleucid king ruling between the times of Antiochus the Great and Antiochus Epiphanes, Seleucus IV Philopator, is mentioned here for his oppression by taxation of the people of Israel. Because of the rising power of Rome, he was forced to pay tribute to the Romans of a thousand talents annually. 601 In order to raise this large amount of money, Seleucus had to tax all the lands under his domain, including special taxes from the Jews secured by a tax collector named Heliodorus (2 Mac 3:7) who took treasures from the temple at Jerusalem. 602 As Zockler points out, “Soon after Heliodorus was dispatched to plunder the temple, Seleucus Philopator was suddenly and mysteriously removed. This explains the statement, ‘within a few days he shall be destroyed’ (11:20), possibly by poison administered to him by the same Heliodorus.” 603 This set the stage for the terrible persecutions by Antiochus Epiphanes which followed.
Head of Antiochus IV - History
ANTIOCHUS ăn tī’ ə kəs ( ̓Αντίοχος , meaning opposer, withstander). A favorite name of the Seleucid kings of Syria from 280 b.c. onward.
1. Antiochus I (Soter) (324-261 b.c. ), son of Seleucus I (see Seleucus), founder of the dynasty, and the Bactrian Apama. He was jointking with his father from 293/2 b.c. until he became the sole ruler in 281 b.c. He became known for his defense of Asia Minor against the invasion of the Gauls from which he earned his title Soter (“Savior”) and was considered the greatest founder of cities since Alexander the Great. He lost important districts of Asia Minor and Syria to Ptolemy II Philadelphus (see Ptolemy) during the “First Syrian War” (274-271 b.c. ). He was slain in a battle against the Gauls in Asia Minor in 261 b.c.
2. Antiochus II (Theos) (286-246 b.c. ), second son of Antiochus I and Stratonice. His reign commenced in 261 b.c. Although many facets of his life are indeed obscure it seems that he, with the help of Antigonus II Gonatas of Macedonia, attacked Ptolemy II Philadelphus (see Ptolemy) and regained much of what Antiochus I had lost, viz., the coast of Asia Minor and districts of Coele-Syria. This is called the Second Syrian War which went from 260 to 253. In the midst of this war a self-willed Timarchus made himself tyrant of Miletus and plundered the people. In 258 b.c. Antiochus defeated Timarchus, and the Milesians in gratitude for the victory surnamed him Theos (a god) (Appian The Syrian Wars 65). A brilliant political triumph was accomplished by Ptolemy when in 253 b.c. Antiochus agreed to marry Ptolemy’s daughter, Berenice, on the condition that he get rid of his first wife, Laodice (Appian The Syrian Wars 65 Dan. 11:6), with the understanding that the kingdom should go to Berenice’s son. On the part of Ptolemy this was a diplomatic master-stroke but it is incomprehensible why Antiochus agreed to it. The marriage was consummated in 252 b.c. and hence there was peace between the Seleucids and the Ptolemies but this was short-lived because both Antiochus and Ptolemy died in 246 b.c. Their sons had not the mutual feelings of friendship that their fathers had.
3. Antiochus III (The Great) (242-187 b.c. ), the second son of Seleucus II and grandson of Antiochus II and Laodice, succeeded his older brother Seleucus III Soter who was assassinated in 223 b.c. With fragmentation in the kingdom (Bactria and Parthia) and threats of this spreading to Media, Persia, and Asia Minor, his order was consolidation and then expansion. With the accession of Ptolemy IV Philopater (see Ptolemy) in 221 b.c., Antiochus invaded Lebanon in an attempt to wrest Pal. from his rival (“Fourth Syrian War”). He was stopped by the strong line of defense erected by Ptolemy’s general Theodotus near Gerrha (c. thirty m. NW of Damascus). Antiochus made a second attempt, driving the Egyptians southward and capturing Seleucia (near Antioch). In 218 b.c. he captured Tyre and Ptolemais as well as inland cities all the way from Philoteria to Philadelphia, and then returned to Ptolemais and spent his winter of 218-217 b.c. there. In 217 he pushed southward as far as Raphia (near Gaza) where he was utterly defeated, leaving Ptolemy IV in undisputed control of Coele-Syria and Phoenicia (Polybius v. 51-87 Dan 11:11, 12). Following this he concentrated his warfare in the E (212-206 b.c. ) acquiring Armenia and regaining Parthia and Bactria as vassal kingdoms which gained him, like Alexander, the title of “Great.”
With the death of Ptolemy IV in 203 b.c., who was succeeded by his son (five to seven years of age), Antiochus saw his opportunity to take Coele-Syria from Egypt and in 202 b.c. made a pact with Philip V of Macedon for a division of Egypt between the two powers (Livy xxxi. 14. 5). In 201 b.c. he invaded Pal. and after great difficulty captured Gaza. Having secured Pal. Antiochus invaded the dominions of Attalus, king of Pergamos (who was pro-Rom. against Philip V), in the winter of 199-198 b.c. Scopas, an Egyp. general, hearing of Antiochus’ absence invaded Pal. and recovered the lost territories. Antiochus returned to oppose Scopas and at Panias (NT Caesarea Philippi) Ptolemy IV was decisively defeated (Jos. Antiq. xii. 3. 3 § 131-133 Polybius xvi. 18-19 xxviii. 1 Dan 11:14-16). He granted the Jews the freedom to worship according to their laws allowed them to complete and maintain the Temple exempted the council of elders, priests, and the scribes of the Temple from taxes, which exemption the citizens of Jerusalem enjoyed for the first three years and after that period they were exempted a third part of their taxes and released the prisoners (Jos. Antiq. xii. 3. 3-4 § 138-153). The Battle of Panias marked a turning point in Jewish history, for from this time until the Rom. control in 63 b.c. they remained connected with the Seleucid dynasty. Under the Ptolemaic rule the Jews were treated with considerable tolerance but after only a brief period of tranquility under the Seleucid rule the Jews experienced fierce persecution.
At the turn of the cent. Rome began to play an important part with the Seleucid house. Rome defeated Hannibal at Zama (near Carthage) in 202 b.c., the Macedonian monarchy in 197 b.c., and now she concentrated on the Seleucids. In the light of the new threat Antiochus discontinued his war with Egypt and made a treaty with Ptolemy V Epiphanes in which the latter married Antiochus’ daughter, Cleopatra, with the idea that her son/his grandson would be the next king of Egypt and would be partial to the Seleucids (Polybius xxviii. 20 Appian The Syrian Wars 5 Jos. Antiq. xii. 4. 1 § 154 Dan 11:17). Antiochus went westward and invaded Thrace in 196 b.c. and with Hannibal’s influence he invaded Greece (which the Romans had evacuated) in 194 b.c. but the Romans retaliated, defeating him at Thermopylae in 191 b.c. and at Magnesia in Asia Minor 190 b.c. In the peace treaty signed at Apamea in 189 b.c. Antiochus agreed to give up Asia Minor N and W of the Tarsus Mountains, much of his military force, and pay a heavy indemnity over a twelve year period. He had to deliver twenty hostages to Rome until the indemnity was paid, one of the hostages being his son, Antiochus IV Epiphanes (Appian The Syrian Wars 36-39 Polybius xx-xxi Livy xxxvi-xxxvii Dan 11:18, 19 1 Macc 1:10 8:6-8 Jos Antiq. xii. 10. 6 § 414). In 187 b.c. Antiochus III died in a rebellion. He was succeeded by his son Seleucus IV Philopater (see Seleucus).
4. Antiochus IV (Epiphanes) (215-163 b.c. ), third son of Antiochus III, succeeded his brother, Seleucus IV Philopater (see Seleucus), as king in 175 b.c. After being in Rome fourteen years as a hostage in 176/175 b.c. his nephew Demetrius I (second son of Seleucus IV) took his place and Antiochus went to Athens where after a short time he was appointed chief magistrate. In 175 b.c. his brother Seleucus IV was murdered by his chief minister Heliodorus, and upon hearing the news Antiochus, with the help of Eumenes II, king of Pergamon, ousted Heliodorus and made himself king. His newly acquired kingdom lacked political and financial stability. To heal the political factions within his domain, he attempted to unify them by a vigorous program of hellenization (Tac. Hist. v. 8). Religion was one of the unifying factors, and although he was no monotheist, he was favorable to the Olympian Zeus and c. 169 b.c. he even encouraged people to worship his own person in the form of Zeus (Dan 11:21-24). Hence he assumed the title Theos Epiphanes meaning “the manifest God” but some of his enemies called him Epimanes (which requires only one letter change in the Gr. spelling ἐπιφανής , G2212 , to ἐπιμανής ) meaning “mad man” or “insane” (Polybius xxvi. 10). Soon after Antiochus’ accession he was called upon to settle a dispute between the high priest Onias III who was pro-Ptolemaic and Onias’ brother Jason (Gr. name which preferred over the Heb. name Joshua/Jesus) who was pro-Seleucid. In 174 b.c. Jason secured the high priesthood by a larger payment of money to Antiochus and by pledging his wholehearted support to the Hellenizing of the Jerusalemites (1 Macc 1:10-15 2 Macc 4:7-17 Jos. Antiq. xii. 5. 1 § 237-241). Jason asked if he would be permitted to build a gymnasium in Jerusalem for Jew ish youth in order to introduce them to Gr. games and customs. Of course, Antiochus immediately agreed to all of this, for it would not only further his Hellenization program, but also help him line the Seleucid’s coffers which were depleted at least in part by his father’s payment of the heavy indemnity to Rome. Three years later (171 b.c. ) Jason sent Menelaus to Antiochus with money he owed to the king. Menelaus seized the opportunity by pledging to Antiochus a more vigorous Hellenization program and offering 300 more talents than Jason was able to give. Antiochus accepted this, for it meant not only more money which he needed, but also, since Menelaus was outside the priestly Aaronic line (according to 2 Macc. 4:23 and 3:4 he was a Benjamite), it would break a great unifying factor among the Jews and it would allow the Seleucids to select high priests at will. Jason fled to the Ammonite country. In a desperate need of money Menelaus robbed the temple treasury of a number of golden vessels, selling some and giving others to Andronicus, Antiochus’ deputy in Antioch, as a bribe. The legitimate high priest Onias III, who was still in Antioch, protested against these actions, and Menelaus urged Andronicus to kill Onias (2 Macc 4:31-34).
In 170 b.c. the amateur regents Eulaeus and Lenaeus advised their minor king Ptolemy VI Philometor (see Ptolemy) to avenge Panias and recover Coele-Syria. But Antiochus got wind of these plans and with a large army invaded Egypt in 170/169 b.c., defeating Ptolemy VI Philometor, and then proceeded to Memphis where he proclaimed himself king of Egypt. Antiochus then went to Alexandria and besieged it (169 b.c. ). Arrangement was made whereby Ptolemy VI Philometor was king in Memphis and his brother Ptolemy VIII Euergetes king in Alexandria. Hoping that Egypt would remain paralyzed by the rivalry of the two brother kings (Dan 11:25-27), Antiochus left Egypt to return to Syria. However, when Antiochus was in Egypt, new troubles broke out in Jerusalem. Menelaus plundered the Temple and the people began to riot. In addition there was rumor that Antiochus was killed in Egypt and so Jason came out of his hiding in Trans-Jordan and attacked Jerusalem compelling Menelaus to take refuge in the Acra. Unwisely Jason massacred many innocent people and consequently he was driven out of the city and took refuge again in Trans-Jordan (2 Macc 4:39-5:10). Antiochus learned of this trouble on his way back from Egypt and decided to subdue Jerusalem (2 Macc 5:11-17). He felt that the Jews’ rebellion against Menelaus was a rebellion against his own authority. With Menelaus he desecrated and plundered the Temple of its treasure leaving the city under one of his military commanders, Philip, a Phrygian (1 Macc. 1:20-29 2 Macc. 5:18-22 Jos. Antiq. xii. 5. 3 § 246-247).
In the winter of 168-169 b.c. the two brothers in Egypt agreed to unite as joint-kings against their uncle Antiochus. Inevitably Antiochus went to Egypt in the spring of 168 b.c. The Ptolemaic kingdom was in no shape to offer much resistance. Antiochus marched to Memphis and from there he again went to Alexandria. However, before he could subdue Alexandria the Rom. representative Popillius Laenas, whom he had known at Rome, handed him (at Eleusis, suburb of Alexandria) an ultimatum from the senate to evacuate Egypt within a certain number of days (Rome was not able to come to Egypt before because of its involvement in the Third Macedonian War—171-168). Antiochus wanted time for consideration but the Rom. legate arrogantly drew with his walking stick a circle in the sand around Antiochus and demanded his answer before he stepped outside the circle. Having become acquainted with Rom. power when he was a hostage in Rome for fourteen years, he agreed to evacuate (Polybius xxix. 2. 1-4 27. 1-8 Livy xlv. 12. 1-6 Diodorus xxxi. 2 Velleius Paterculus i. 10. 1-2 Appian The Syrian Wars 66, Justinus Epitome xxxiv. 3 Dan. 11:28-30). With bitterness he retracted to Pal. (Polybius xxix. 27. 9 Dan 11:30). He was determined to make sure that Pal. was loyal to himself in order to act as a buffer state between himself and the Romans. Considering himself Zeus Epiphanes he ordered a cultic Hellenization policy in Pal. Antiochus sent his general Apollonius with 22,000 soldiers, who came under the pretense of peace, attacked Jerusalem on the Sabbath, knowing that orthodox Jews would not fight, and killed many people. Women and children were taken as slaves, and the city was plundered and burned. Shortly afterward, in 167 b.c., Antiochus determined to exterminate the Jewish religion by forbidding them to live in accordance with their ancestral laws. He forbade the observance of the Sabbath, cu stomary festivals, traditional sacrifices, and the circumcision of children, and ordered that copies of the Torah must be destroyed. Idolatrous altars were set up and the Jews were commanded to offer unclean sacrifices and to eat swine’s flesh (2 Macc. 6:18). Anyone who disobeyed any of these orders was sentenced to death. The climactic infamous deed was on Chislev 25 (16 December 167 b.c. ) when the Temple in Jerusalem (as well as the Samaritan temple at Mt. Gerizim) became the place of the worship of the Olympian Zeus, offering swine’s flesh on the altar of Zeus which was erected on the altar of burnt offering (Dan 11:31, 32 1 Macc 1:41-64 2 Macc 6:1-11). These were to be offered on the twenty-fifth of every month since that date was celebrated as the birthday of Epiphanes, hence the sacrifices were offered to him. All of this was a big mistake on Antiochus’ part. He wanted to consolidate his empire around the Hellenic culture and religion, thinking that the Jewish religious eccentricities were party to the Ptolemaic dynasty. He never realized the significance of the Jewish religion. His actions sparked the Maccabean revolution begun at Modein by Mattathias (Dan 11:32-35) and continued by his son Judas surnamed Maccabeus (see Maccabees). Antiochus heard of the revolt and would no doubt have come in person to exterminate the Maccabees but he had more serious troubles in Armenia and Persia, viz., insurrection and withholding of taxes (Jos. Antiq. xii. 7. 2 § 293-295 Diodorus xxxi. 17a Appian The Syrian Wars 45). Consequently, in 165 b.c. he ordered Lysias, regent of the western part of his empire and guardian of his son (1 Macc 3:32), to make an end of the rebellion and destroy the Jewish race (1 Macc 3:32-36 Jos. Antiq. xii. 7.2 § 295-296). Lysias dispatched a large army under the command of Ptolemy, Nicanor, Gorgias followed by merchants who expected to purchase Jewish slaves (1 Macc 3:38-41). However, Judas decisively defeated Gorgias at Emmaus causing the Syrian soldiers to flee (1 Macc 4:1-22 Jos. Antiq. xii. 7. 4 § 305-312). In 164 b.c. Lysias personally led a larger army and attacked Jerusalem from the S but was completely defeated at Beth-zur (1 Macc 4:28-35 Jos. Antiq. xii 7. 5 § 313-315). Judas had regained the entire country of Judea except the Acra in Jerusalem and refurbished and rededicated the temple, restoring the daily sacrifices in Chislev 25 (14 December 164 b.c. )—exactly three years to the day of its desecration (1 Macc 4:47-59 2 Macc 10:1-8 Jos. Antiq. xii. 7. 6-7 § 316-326). This marked the commencement of the Jewish Feast of Dedication (or Lights) (Heb., Hanukkah) (cf. John 10:22).
Antiochus was further enraged to the point of madness upon hearing of Judas’ successes. In his desperate need of funds, he attempted to plunder the temple of Nanaea/Artemis in Elymais but was unsuccessful and was able to escape with his life (unlike his father). He withdrew and died insane in Tabae/Gabae, Persia in the spring/summer of 163 b.c. (Polybius xxxi. 9 Appian The Syrian Wars 66 Diodorus xxxi. 18a Jos. Antiq. xii. 9. 1-2 § 354-361 1 Macc 9:1-29 2 Macc 6:1-17).
5. Antiochus V (Eupator) (173-162 b.c. ), succeeded his father at nine years of age (Appian The Syrian Wars 66). He had been under the guardianship of Lysias, regent of the western part of the Seleucid empire (1 Macc 3:32), but Antiochus on his deathbed appointed Philip as regent and guardian of Antiochus V. Upon hearing this Lysias set Antiochus V up as king and named him Eupator (“born of a noble father”). Because of Judas Maccabeus’ siege of the Acra, Lysias and the boy-king went S defeating Judas at Beth-zechariah (SW of Jerusalem) and laid siege to Jerusalem (1 Macc 6:28-54). Fortunately for Judas, Lysias heard that Philip was marching from Persia to Syria to claim the kingdom for himself and so Lysias was anxious to make a peace treaty with Judas. He guaranteed religious freedom but did not tear down the walls of Jerusalem (1 Macc 6:55-63). Lysias left for Antioch and Philip was easily defeated. In 162 b.c. Demetrius I Soter, second son of Seleucus IV and nephew of Antiochus IV (who became a hostage in Rome when Antiochus IV was released) and cousin of Antiochus V, escaped from Rome, seized and put to death both Lysias and Antiochus V (1 Macc 7:1-4 2 Macc 14:1, 2 Jos. Antiq. xii. 10. 1 § 389, 390 Polybius xxxi. 11 Appian The Syrian Wars 46, 47, 67 Livy Epitomy 46).
6. Antiochus VI (Epiphanes Dionysus) (148-142 b.c. ), son of Alexander Balas (see Alexander) and Cleopatra Thea (daughter of Ptolemy VI—see Cleopatra). Demetrius II Nicator assassinated Alexander Balas in 145 b.c. and took over the Syrian throne. Since he was young and inexperienced, Jonathan (see Jonathan), who was confirmed as high priest, demanded and received many concessions from him. Being weakened by these concessions and having troubles within his own army, a general of Alexander Balas, Diodotus Tryphon claimed the Syrian throne for Alexander’s son, Antiochus VI in 145 b.c. Jonathan took advantage of the situation and sided with Tryphon who in turn made Jonathan head of the civil and religious aspects and his brother Simon head of the military. However, Tryphon was embarrassed by Jonathan’s success in subduing the whole country from Damascus to Egypt, so by deceit he imprisoned Jonathan and later put him to death (143 b.c. ) and procured an assassination of Antiochus VI by surgeons in an operation in 142 b.c. (1 Macc 11:1-13:31 Jos. Antiq. xiii. 4. 4-7. 1 § 109-219).
7. Antiochus VII (Sidetes) (159-129 b.c. ), second son of Demetrius I had grown up in the Pamphylian city of Side, hence his surname. He heard that his older brother Demetrius II was captured by the Parthians in 139 b.c. In trying to gain a foothold in Syria, Antiochus VII asked for the allegiance of Simon by confirming to him immunities granted by other kings and adding the right to coin money (1 Macc 15:1-9 Jos. Antiq. xiii. 7. 1 § 223). Antiochus VII claimed the throne against the usurper Tryphon and quickly defeated him in Antioch in 138 b.c. In trying to restore the Seleucid power in the W, he asked Simon to surrender his principal fortresses (1 Macc 15:28-31) but Simon refused and defeated Antiochus VII’s officer, Cendebaeus (1 Macc 16:1-10 Jos. Antiq. xiii. 7, 3 § 225-227). After the death of Simon (135 b.c. ), Antiochus VII in person attacked Judea and besieged Jerusalem. Because of the shortage of food Hyrcanus (see Hasmoneans) surrendered and made peace, which restored the Seleucid supremacy in the W (Jos. Antiq. xiii. 8. 2-3 § 236-248). In 130 b.c. with the assistance of Hyrcanus, Antiochus VII temporarily recovered Babylon from Parthia. In 129 b.c. Demetrius II came to Syria, having been released from prison by the Parthians (who were hard pressed) so that he might create a diversion in his brother’s attack on the Parthians. In 128 b.c. Antiochus was killed in battle against the Parthians, and Demetrius II became the sole king for the second time (129-125 b.c. ) (Jos. Antiq. xiii. 8. 4 § 253 Appian The Syrian Wars 68). The internal strife seriously weakened the Seleucids for they never regained the provinces in the E.
8. Antiochus VIII (Grypus = hook-nosed) (140-96 b.c. ), second son of Demetrius II and Cleopatra (daughter of Ptolemy Philometor and former wife of Alexander Balas—see Cleopatra). Antiochus VIII became ruler in 124 b.c. but in 116 b.c. was attacked by his half-brother/cousin Antiochus Cyzicenus and consequently in 113 b.c. Antiochus VIII retired to Aspendus in Pamphylia (Appian The Syrian Wars 68-69 Jos Antiq. xiii. 10. 1 12. 1 § 269-273, 325). In 111 b.c. Antiochus VIII returned and gained the greater part of Syria from his half-brother/cousin, the latter retaining the greater part of Coele-Syria. The feud between the brothers was of great advantage to Rome in gaining a foothold in Syria and for the Jews toward complete independence under John Hyrcanus (see Hasmoneans). Antiochus VIII was assassinated in 96 b.c. by Heracleon, a king’s minister (Jos. Antiq. xiii. 13. 4 § 365). He was succeeded by his oldest son Seleucus VI Epiphanes Nicator (see Seleucus).
9. Antiochus IX (Cyzicenus, but Philopater on coins), reigned 113-95 b.c., second son of Antiochus VII and Cleopatra (daughter of Ptolemy Philometor and formerly married to Alexander Balas and Demetrius II), was reared in Cyzicus in Asia Minor, hence the surname (Appian The Syrian Wars 68). In 116 b.c. he defeated his half brother/cousin Antiochus VIII and became the sole ruler from 113-111 b.c. Upon the return of Antiochus VIII, Antiochus IX was able to retain only Coele-Syria while the former regained the greater part of Syria. Antiochus IX was captured, killed, and succeeded by his nephew Seleucus VI Epiphanes Nicator (Jos. Antiq. xiii. 13. 4 § 366) (see Seleucus).
10. Antiochus X (Eusebes = pious), reigned 94-83 b.c., son of Antiochus IX Cyzicenus. When Seleucus VI Epiphanes Nicator, son of Antiochus VIII Grypus, took over the throne in 95 b.c., he was challenged by Antiochus XI. Subsequently the other four sons of Antiochus VIII Grypus, viz., Antiochus IX, Philip, Demetrius III, and Antiochus XII all attempted to wrest the throne from Antiochus X. After conquering Mesopotamia, Tigranes, king of Armenia, gained control over Syria in 83 b.c. and ruled over it by means of a viceroy until his own defeat by the Romans in 69 b.c. (Jos. Antiq. xiii. 13. 4 § 366-371 Appian The Syrian Wars 48). This internal strife weakened the Seleucid dynasty which was beneficial to the Romans and made it possible for Alexander Janneus (see Hasmoneans) to conquer almost all of the land of Israel. Antiochus X’s end in 83 b.c. is variously reported (Appian The Syrian Wars 49, 69 Jos. Antiq. xiii. 13. 4 § 371).
11. Antiochus XIII (Asiaticus), reigned 69-65 b.c., son of Antiochus X and Selene (daughter of Ptolemy Physcon who had been married successively to Ptolemy Soter, Antiochus VIII, Antiochus IX, and Antiochus X—Strabo xvi. 2. 3 Appian The Syrian Wars 69). When Lucullus of Rome defeated Tigranes of Armenia in 69 b.c., he assigned Syria to Antiochus XIII. In 65 b.c. Philip, grandson of Antiochus VIII, sought to claim the throne but was unsuccessful. Antiochus XIII appealed to Rome for help but Pompey came to Syria and made it a Rom. province in 63 b.c. which marked the end of the Seleucid dynasty (cf. Appian The Syrian Wars 49, 70 Plutarch Pompey 39 Strabo xl. 1a).
12. The father of Numenius (see Numenius) mentioned in 1 Maccabees 12:16 14:22 Jos Antiq. xiii. 5. 8 § 169 xiv. 8. 5 § 146.
The West’s Darkest Hour
A couple of days ago I resuscitated the idea of adding here further excerpts from the monumental Criminal History of Christianity. Four years ago I purposely left those excerpts with a short entry because Deschner’s last sentence provided much food for thought: “If the stringent measures against the Jews by Antiochus IV had taken effect, it would not only have meant the end of Judaism, but also ‘would have prevented the rise of Christianity and Islam.’ Our imagination almost fails to conceive a world so different…”
It is a pity that the sources for understanding the revolt of the Maccabees are the Old Testament and Josephus: both Jewish sources. Even so, what happened 2183 years ago can be deduced from those texts.
Early in 167 BC, the Greek Hellenistic king Antiochus sent an army to Jerusalem. He did it on Saturday so the Jews could not carry weapons. Thus, the Hellenistic forces entered the Jewish city without finding opposition. The soldiers of Apollonius, the general of Antiochus, destroyed much of Jerusalem and set up camp on a hill from which the Temple was dominated. That hill would turn into a citadel: the stronghold of the white man in Jerusalem in the next quarter-century.
Antiochus then proceeded to act directly against the Jews. He ordered them to accept the Greek customs to desecrate the Sabbath and the feasts, to build altars for the white man’s gods, and to immolate therein animals which the Jews considered impure. The decree of Antiochus ended with these words: “Whoever does not obey the orders of the king shall be put to death.”
The very Jewish law became the target of the decrees of Antiochus. “You could not observe the Sabbath, keep the country feasts, or even declare yourself a Jew.” The possession of the Scriptures was a capital offense, and members of a congregation who were caught secretly celebrating the Sabbath were burned alive. “Two women were denounced for having circumcised their children. They tied the children to their breasts, so they walked about the city and threw them down the wall. ”
On the occasion of the festival of Dionysius, orthodox Jews were forced to parade in the procession. In the middle of the drums and voices in honour of the Greek god of wine, they marched with wreaths of ivy, symbol of the foreign god. Later, the whole procession, under pain of death, was exhorted to eat pork.
The way the Jews first reacted was by writing the Book of Daniel. The authors deceived the Jerusalemites into believing it to be a remote text they had just unearthed. As literary criticism has revealed the Book of Daniel was a trick: a vaticinium ex eventu or foretelling after the event written during the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes. It is from that book that the phrase of the abomination of desolation, desolating sacrilege, became famous.
Just compare how pre-Christian Aryans dealt with Jerusalem’s Jews with the standing ovations for Prime Minister Netanyahu in the American Congress last year! It is a pity that memes like “white sharia” are becoming popular among some white nationalists while the purely Aryan meme that should become popular is Nietzsche’s “transvaluation of all values” (see for example my post on Sweden I published today).
If nationalists transvalued Judaic values back to Aryan values, a new constellation of saints of the Ancient World would emerge. Not only the Judeo-Christian names would become gradually repudiated in the generations to come, they would even name their sons after Antiochus, Vercingetorix and Hermann.
Back in 2012 I asked in this blog, Why do we not celebrate the victory of Antiochus IV over the Jews, or Titus’ conquest of Jerusalem? The transvalued individual might well start calling the Hellenistic king as St Antiochus.