The Mighty Angels of Daniel 11: Antiochus Desecrates
MP3: The Mighty Angels of Daniel 11 Foresee
Hosts: Nathan Jones & Vic Batista
Nathan Jones: The mighty angelic messenger of God continues delivering the King of Kings’ message to the aged prophet Daniel. We’ll pick up with Daniel 11:29-30.
“At the appointed time he [Antiochus] will invade the South again, but this time the outcome will be different from what it was before. Ships of the western coastlands will oppose him, and he will lose heart. Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant. He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant.”
What history attests to in this passage is that Greek tyrant and ultimate villain to the Jews, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, marches back down to Egypt in an attempt to sack it once more. The liar broke his peace treaty with Egypt and used peace as a pretext for war. Now Antiochus returns for plunder.
We’ve reached a critical turning point in Greek history. Rome finally enters into Middle Eastern politics, and the Mediterranean will never be the same again. Warships arrive from both Cyprus and Rome! The Roman armies crash upon the Egyptian shores in order to give aid to the Ptolemies of Egypt.
We are very early on in the Roman expanse of their empire. The Romans have been pushing east against the Greek Empire in their attempt to overcome it and are now interceding directly in the centuries-long war between the Seluecids in Syria and Ptolemies in Egypt.
Though called “the Madman” by his detractors, Antiochus remained smart enough to realize that he could not possibly defeat the Romans, so he turned tail and fled to Syria, But, on his way home, he had to travel through the land of Israel. The crazy tyrant behaved like an angry drunk who kicks the dog when frustrated. Antiochus, unable to kick the Egyptians around anymore, decided he was going to take out his anger on the Jews.
So, what does Antiochus do? He throws all his support behind those Jewish people who have gone apostate. They had been paganized — Hellenized, in the order of Greek paganism. The apostates had adopted the promiscuous Greek culture and traditions. And so, the bitter tyrant places the apostates in control over those who are loyal to Yahweh God.
This is the beginning of the era of the Maccabees, when the Jewish people under Judas Maccabee would rise up against Antiochus Epiphanes and his ungodly laws. The Jewish people look back at the Maccabean Revolt as one of the highlights in their history, because for a short amount of time, they were the most free they’d ever been from any kind of Gentile dominion over them.
Israel would make the same compromise as Egypt and asked Rome for help in fighting off their Syrian overlords. Rome’s help came at a tremendous price, though, for when the Roman Empire came, they never left, and turned Israel into a vassal state.
Vic Batista: One can find information about the Maccabees and the revolt they led in the Apocryphal writings.
Nathan Jones: Yes, the books I and II Maccabees may not have been divinely inspired, but as historical literature these books contain great historical details about that era.
Vic Batista: Maccabees fills in the blanks and provides a much broader picture of what was actually happening historically at that time than Daniel 11 provides.
Nathan Jones: Yes, I’ve read the Maccabees and it’s a very dry reading, but it does describe some of the most pivotal battles in Jewish history. The Maccabees were like our George Washington, or our Harry Truman, or our General Patton. The Maccabees were a family of Jewish priests who became generals and political leaders. They unfortunately all died in the cause of overthrowing the Greeks, but for a while there they had freed Israel to a limited extent.
You have to remember that for almost 400 years Israel by that time had either been living in exile or were under the controlling thumbs of the Medo-Persian and Greek Empires. The decades of the Maccabees provides Israel some amount of freedom, enough that it almost felt like the Messianic Age to them.
Vic Batista: The action in Daniel 11 really gets more intense as we move into Daniel 11:31-32.
“His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.”
Let’s get to the heart of the cause for the Maccabean Revolt. We’re back at the point in the narrative when Antiochus IV Epiphanes, that vile Syrian despot, blatantly desecrated the Jewish Temple.
Antiochus first commits sacrilege by doing what no one ever was allowed to do. Gentiles were never ever allowed into the Temple past the Gentile court. But Antiochus, well, not only did he walk right past the court and into the most Holy of Holies, he also brought an unclean animal — a pig of all things — to sacrifice on God’s altar. He then audaciously sets up a statue of the Greek god Zeus.
Antiochus purposed to make the Jewish people no longer Jewish anymore. He wanted the Jewish people to become fully Greek. And so, he stopped the Jewish worship of Yahweh God by desecrating the only Temple in which they were allowed to make sacrifices to Him for their sins.
In murderous vindictiveness, Antiochus bloodily killed all the children and women he could find. He and his armies rampaged throughout the city murdering Jews.
For those who survived his holocaust, Antiochus forced on the terrified people mandatory idolatry. The Jews were forbidden to worship Yahweh, and instead, they were ordered to worship Zeus and others within the pantheon of Greek gods.
To paganize the Jewish people, Antiochus the Madman built a gymnasium. They functioned at the best as work-out halls. Today we have gymnasiums, but their’s were much different. The Greeks actually worked out in the nude! Gymnasiums were just filled with sexual immorality. Antiochus satanically schemed to convert the Jews from God’s covenant people to something totally pagan.
Vic Batista: Isn’t it sad how Satan manipulates people? Antiochus Epiphanes became in essence a demonically inspired individual who caused tremendous suffering by committing hideous crimes. Satan’s pawns, like the Pharaoh of the Exodus and Herod of the Nativity story, plague God’s people throughout Satan’s reign over this earth.
Nathan Jones: Demonically inspired definitely marked the case with Antiochus. His tremendous hatred of God and God’s people knew no bounds. The man became the template for the Jews in how the main villain of the Tribulation will one day be played out in the form of the Antichrist. The Bible is resplendent with Antichrist-type characters, but Antiochus stands a head taller than every one of them.
As we’ve mentioned, both prophecy foretold and history confirmed that Antiochus desecrated the Temple in Jerusalem by sacrificing a pig on God’s altar. Most know that to the Jews a pig is an unclean animal. That’s no surprise to Gentiles either. Just visit a farm and watch the hygiene habits of pigs. Yuck! The Jewish people won’t eat pork. They would never even touch it. By sacrificing a pig on God’s altar, Antiochus knew he was desecrating it in the most vile way possible. He knew full well that the Jewish Temple once desecrated could no longer be used for Temple sacrifice for the people’s sins anymore. Once the Temple was considered ceremonially unclean, “the daily sacrifice” would be over.
Vic Batista: The Bible prophesies an event in the future where this history abomination is going to repeat itself. According the Gospels, when the Antichrist comes on the scene, he too will desecrate a newly rebuilt Jewish Temple.
The first segment of this series on the mighty angels of Daniel began with a tragic backstory. In the sixty-third segment, we’ll witness Israel’s dramatic response to Antiochus’ torment with the rise of the Maccabees.