Daniel 11:21-35; Antiochus the Prototype ~ 20221113 ~ Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org
11/13_Daniel 11:21-35; Antiochus the Prototype; Audio available at: http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20221113_dan11_21-35.mp3
The Big Picture of Daniel 11
Daniel 11 scans history from Daniel’s own day, through the fall of the Persian empire, and on to the Greek dynasties following Alexander, hovering for half the chapter on one obscure Seleucid king who reigned for 9 years.
Here’s what we have going on in Daniel 11; we have a sweeping account of the empires to come from Daniel’s day, beginning with the king of Cyrus, 56 years up through Xerxes or Ahasuerus, who mounted an attack on Greece, which raised the hatred of the Greeks, and the prophecy skips over the rest of the kings of Persia and jumps ahead 150 years to Alexander the Great, who swept down and wrought revenge on Persia, but he died in his prime, and his new kingdom was divided up over the coming years between four of his generals. Verses 2-4 cover over 200 years from Daniel’s day up to the division of Alexander’s empire.
The prophecy then focuses on just two of the four, the Ptolemies who ruled Egypt and the Seleucids who ruled Syria and Babylon, two dynasties to the north and the south, with Israel caught in the middle. The next 16 verses (5-20) chronicle seven episodes in the conflict of these two dynasties that trample the holy land. The Ptolemies were largely in control of Israel from around 320 to 200, when under Antiochus III (the great) the domination of Israel shifted to the Seleucids. Verses 5-20 cover over 140 years of Greek domination.
Verse 21-35 picks up the story with one historically insignificant ruler who only ruled for about 11 years, but his importance to the Biblical narrative is pivotal. 16 verses chronicle 141 years of Greek conflict, and then 15 verses are given to this one personality who reigns for only 11 years. He was already a significant figure in earlier prophecies; he is the little horn of Daniel 8 growing out of one of the four horns of the Greek goat. He ‘grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the glorious land’ (8:9). This little horn is notorious for his persecution of the Jewish people. He is important because of his relationship with God’s people, and because he is a foreshadowing of a coming persecutor who will emerge at the end of time.
Verses 21-35 detail events from Antiochus’ brief reign, and then the final 10 verses of chapter 11 skip ahead to the future persecutor, the little horn of Daniel 7 who arises from the final world empire, whose persecution of Israel is unequaled in all of history. This final Antichrist is foreshadowed by and viewed through the lens of his Greek prototype Antiochus.
That’s the big picture of chapter 11, and we are going to jump back in where we left off at verse 21, looking at Antiochus Epiphanes, but keeping in mind that he is given to us as the prototype of the final future Antichrist who will come at the end of the age.
Background of Antiochus IV [223-175BC; verses 10-20]
When we left off last time, the Ptolemies had control of Israel for their first 120 years, until after several conflicts Antiochus III (the great) took control of the beautiful land. He then sought to solidify his control through a marriage alliance between his daughter Cleopatra and the young Ptolemy V, but his daughter stood by her husband and against her father. So Antiochus turned his attention to the coastlands of Asia Minor, invading Macedon, Thrace and Greece. But he was defeated by the Romans, forced to pay tribute to Rome and give his son Mithridates (who later took the name Antiochus IV) as hostage to Rome. After returning to Syria, Antiochus the great was assassinated and his older son Seleucus IV became king. Seleucus had to pay his father’s debt to Rome, and was required to send his own son Demetrius, heir to his throne, as hostage to Rome in place of his brother Antiochus IV. Seleucus was assassinated in a plot by his treasurer Heliodorus in 176 BC.
175 BC Antiochus IV Takes the Throne [verse 21]
Upon word of his brother’s death, Antiochus IV returned under the guise of becoming guardian of his infant nephew Antiochus, next in line to the throne after Demetrius, who was still hostage in Rome. Seleucus’ son Antiochus was murdered by Andronicus, whom Antiochus IV then put to death, although it is likely that Antiochus was behind the whole plot.
So Antiochus IV came to the throne not by right but through plots and assassinations and intrigue. He had the support of king Eumenes II of Pergamum. Verse 21 says
Daniel 11:21 In his place shall arise a contemptible person to whom royal majesty has not been given. He shall come in without warning and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.
Antiochus IV had a reputation for deceit and cunning, a slippery manipulator, a flatterer. Psalm 5 says:
Psalm 5:5 The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers. 6 You destroy those who speak lies; the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man. ... 9 For there is no truth in their mouth; their inmost self is destruction; their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue. 10 Make them bear their guilt, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out, for they have rebelled against you.
Antiochus IV is introduced as a contemptible person, a person to be despised or disdained.
Overview of Antiochus IV [verse 22-24]
Daniel 11:22 Armies shall be utterly swept away before him and broken, even the prince of the covenant. 23 And from the time that an alliance is made with him he shall act deceitfully, and he shall become strong with a small people. 24 Without warning he shall come into the richest parts of the province, and he shall do what neither his fathers nor his fathers' fathers have done, scattering among them plunder, spoil, and goods. He shall devise plans against strongholds, but only for a time.
This is a general overview of Antiochus’ sweeping domination. Even the prince of the covenant, possibly a reference to the legitimate Jewish high priest Onias III, whom Antiochus removed and replaced with his brother Jason who was more willing to compromise and assimilate Greek culture. In 170 BC Onias III was killed. Antiochus was characterized by deceit in every alliance he entered. Antiochus plundered Egypt and Judea; he distributed wealth liberally as bribes to gain favor. This was his character, a contemptible person.
But only for a time – Antiochus’ time was determined by a sovereign God who writes history before it takes place; in this case over 360 years before the events.
First Egyptian Campaign [170-169 BC; verse 25-27]
In 170 BC the custodians of young Ptolemy VI encouraged war against Antiochus seeking to regain the region of Israel. But Antiochus caught wind of their plans, prepared his army and marched preemptively to the fortress of Peleusis.
Daniel 11:25 And he shall stir up his power and his heart against the king of the south with a great army. And the king of the south shall wage war with an exceedingly great and mighty army, but he shall not stand, for plots shall be devised against him. 26 Even those who eat his food shall break him. His army shall be swept away, and many shall fall down slain.
Antiochus defeated the Ptolemaic army in the Sinai desert, who retreated to Peleusis and then surrendered. Antiochus occupied the majority of Egypt except the capital city of Alexandria. He captured Ptolemy VI, but in Alexandria they appointed his younger brother Ptolemy VII as sole king over Egypt. Ptolemy VI and Antiochus then plotted together to regain Egypt, each for his own agenda. With Antiochus’ aid, Ptolemy VI was installed as king in Memphis; Ptolemy VII still ruled Alexandria.
Daniel 11:27 And as for the two kings, their hearts shall be bent on doing evil. They shall speak lies at the same table, but to no avail, for the end is yet to be at the time appointed.
They spoke lies at the same table. But it profited nothing. God is sovereign over history. The end will be exactly at the appointed time, not a moment before, not a second late. Antiochus withdrew from Egypt to deal with issues back in Israel.
First Israelite Persecution [169 BC; verse 28]
Daniel 11:28 And he shall return to his land with great wealth, but his heart shall be set against the holy covenant. And he shall work his will and return to his own land.
In 169 BC Antiochus returned from Egypt; rumors of his death had sparked a revolt. He squelched the rebellion and massacred 80,000 Jewish men, women and children, then looted the temple with the help of the evil high priest Menelaus. 2 Maccabees 5 tells the story:
2 Maccabees 5:11 When news of what had happened reached the king, he took it to mean that Judea was in revolt. So, raging inwardly, he left Egypt and took the city by storm. 12 And he commanded his soldiers to cut down relentlessly every one they met and to slay those who went into the houses. 13 Then there was killing of young and old, destruction of boys, women, and children, and slaughter of virgins and infants. 14 Within the total of three days eighty thousand were destroyed, forty thousand in hand-to-hand fighting; and as many were sold into slavery as were slain. 15 Not content with this, Antiochus dared to enter the most holy temple in all the world, guided by Menelaus, who had become a traitor both to the laws and to his country. 16 He took the holy vessels with his polluted hands, and swept away with profane hands the votive offerings which other kings had made to enhance the glory and honor of the place. ...21 So Antiochus carried off eighteen hundred talents from the temple, and hurried away to Antioch, thinking in his arrogance that he could sail on the land and walk on the sea, because his mind was elated.
...24 Antiochus sent Apollonius, the captain of the Mysians, with an army of twenty-two thousand, and commanded him to slay all the grown men and to sell the women and boys as slaves. 25 When this man arrived in Jerusalem, he pretended to be peaceably disposed and waited until the holy sabbath day; then, finding the Jews not at work, he ordered his men to parade under arms. 26 He put to the sword all those who came out to see them, then rushed into the city with his armed men and killed great numbers of people.
Second Egyptian Campaign [168 BC; verses 29-30]
Ptolemy VI and VII had reconciled in Egypt, so Antiochus marched to Egypt and retook Memphis. He marched on the capital Alexandria intending to lay siege to it.
Daniel 11:29 “At the time appointed he shall return and come into the south, but it shall not be this time as it was before.
This was appointed. The time was appointed. Antiochus does as he pleases, and in so doing, he fulfills the word of the Lord written over 300 years earlier. God is in control. God is orchestrating every detail to fall precisely into place.
Proverbs 16:9 The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.
Antiochus is set to attack Alexandria. But it shall not be this time as it was before.
Daniel 11:30 For ships of Kittim shall come against him, and he shall be afraid and withdraw, ...
Egypt had appealed to Rome for help. About the same time, a Seleucid fleet had taken the island of Cyprus. Rome had sent a fleet to Egypt to protect their interests. Gaius Popilius Laenas met Antiochus on the outskirts of Alexandria at Eleusis and delivered a letter from the Roman senate ordering him to leave Egypt or face war with Rome. Antiochus requested time to deliberate; Gaius drew a circle in the sand around Antiochus and demanded he answer before stepping outside the circle. Antiochus, humiliated in front of his army, fearing war with Rome, was forced to comply and give up Egypt.
Second Israelite Persecution [167 BC; verses 30-32]
Daniel 11:30 ...and shall turn back and be enraged and take action against the holy covenant. He shall turn back and pay attention to those who forsake the holy covenant. 31 Forces from him shall appear and profane the temple and fortress, and shall take away the regular burnt offering. And they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate.
Antiochus, having been humiliated by Rome, returned to Jerusalem and vented his anger against the Jews; he enforced Greek customs under penalty of death. He prohibited circumcision, possession of the Scriptures, offering sacrifices, and celebration of feast days. On the 15 Chislev (December) 167 BC he had a statue devoted to Zeus erected in the temple; 25 Chislev he offered sacrifices including swine offered to Zeus on the altar (1Macc.1:29-64). This is the abomination that makes desolate.
Daniel 11:32 He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.
Persecution divided true believers in YHWH from false; many were seduced with flattery, bribed with rewards and honor to forsake the Lord. It will be knowing God that makes the difference. Do you know him? Have you gotten to know him? Have you spent time with him, listening to his voice, walking with him? Do you know him? The people who know their God will stand firm and take action.
Maccabean Revolt [167-160 BC; verses 32-35]
When the king’s officers came to Modein, south of Jerusalem, to Mattathias, to bribe him to offer sacrifices to their gods, Mattathias refused. When another Jew came forward to offer the pagan sacrifices, Mattathias burned with anger and killed him, and the officer who was enforcing the sacrifices. He rallied all who were faithful to God to flee to the wilderness (1Macc.2:15-28). Three of his five sons (Judas, Jonathan and Simon) became known as the Maccabees (Hammer); they led a revolt to overthrow Syrian control (predicted in Zech.9:13-17?) between 166 and 165 BC but at great risk, and many laid down their lives.
In 164 BC, on 26 Chislev (December 14) they cleansed and rededicated (Hanukkah) the temple (1Macc.4:36-59).
Daniel 11:33 And the wise among the people shall make many understand, though for some days they shall stumble by sword and flame, by captivity and plunder. 34 When they stumble, they shall receive a little help. And many shall join themselves to them with flattery, 35 and some of the wise shall stumble, so that they may be refined, purified, and made white, until the time of the end, for it still awaits the appointed time.
Difficult days for God’s people. Persecution is real. Many will stumble. Some join them insincerely. Even the wise will stumble. But even persecution is for a good purpose, to refine, to purify, to make white. God is still in control. The time of the end is coming, but it awaits the appointed time.
Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The question is, do you know him?
2022.11.13 Sermon Notes - Daniel 11:21-35; Antiochus the Prototype
11:2 Persia 536 – 480 BC (56 years)
11:3-4 Alexander 330 – 323 BC
11:5-20 Ptolemies and Seleucids 316 – 175 BC (141 years)
11:21-35 Antiochus IV Epiphanes 175 – 164 BC [Daniel 8]
11:36-45 Future Antichrist ???? [Daniel 7]
11:10-20 Background of Antiochus IV [223-175BC]
Antiochus III defeated by Rome; Antiochus IV hostage
Antiochus III assassinated; Seleucus IV becomes king
Seleucus IV assassinated; brother Antiochus IV takes over
11:21 Antiochus takes the throne by flattery [175 BC]
Psalm 5:5-6, 9-10
11:22-24 Overview of Antiochus [175-164 BC]
High Priest Onias III removed
11:25-27 First Egyptian Campaign [170-169 BC]
Conflict between Ptolemy VI and VII
11:28 First Israelite Persecution [169 BC]
2 Maccabees 5:11-26
11:29-30 Second Egyptian Campaign [168 BC]
Intervention of Roman Gaius Popilius Laenas
11:30-32 Second Israelite Persecution [167 BC]
1 Maccabees 1:29-64
11:32-35 Maccabean Revolt [167-160 BC]
1 Maccabees 2:15-28; 4:36-59; Romans 8:35-39
Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org