Antiochus and the Antichrist
It can jolt your faith if you’re raised in a church stressing that the Bible is God’s inerrant Word when your university professor declares, “Daniel gives us incredible details about the career of the second century BC Syrian ruler, Antiochus Epiphanes. He lays down powerful facts that show us why the Maccabees rose up and fought Antiochus Epiphanes, but when he tries to predict Antiochus’ final campaigns after the Maccabees purified the Temple, he simply gets it all wrong.
He describes campaigns Antiochus never made against Egypt. He pictures him setting himself up as king in Jerusalem between the Mediterranean on the west and the Dead Sea on the east. Historically, we know that Antiochus never did these things; therefore, the writer of Daniel simply got the last days of Antiochus wrong. We can appreciate the strong religious and moral points he made against the pride, militarism, and atheism in a second century BC tyrant, but we can’t trust him when it comes to historical accuracy.”
But as Coach Lee would say on College Game Day, “Not so fast!”
Before we give in to this kind of critique and turn away from our confidence in Daniel’s historical accuracy, we should carefully read what he says. Daniel has presented us with two anti-God rulers. The one introduced in chapter 7:8ff and 7:21ff rose up out of the fourth beast. This world ruler is destroyed when God sends a heavenly prince who crushes the tyrant and installs God’s kingdom on earth.
The second anti-God ruler Daniel presents to us rises out of the third Empire, the Greek leopard. This ruler stops the sacrifices in Jerusalem, sets up an abomination that causes desolation in the Temple, and tries to end the worship of God by the Jews. Daniel states clearly that he will be cut off by God’s intervention, not by human hands.
In 164 BC Antiochus was struck down by an illness after trying to plunder a temple in Persia (Daniel 8:25). Daniel got his facts right, and he never claimed that this Syrian ruler’s defeat would then initiate God’s kingdom on earth. This would occur after the anti-God ruler who rose from Rome, the fourth empire. Incredibly, beginning in Daniel 11:36 ff, he begins to tell us more about this final anti-God ruler—the one who like Adam and Eve, will try to make himself like God by believing the Serpent’s lie.
“And the king will do as he pleases. He will arrogantly lift himself up and make himself great against every god. And he will make incredible claims against the God of gods and be successful until the appointed time of the end because what is determined will take place.” Daniel 11:36
LORD, help me today to do what please you, not what please me. Help me to have nothing to do with any leaders pridefully boasting about themselves. Give me peace in the fact that you have appointed a time when all this human arrogance will end and your kingdom will be instituted. Use this Christmas season to move many to learn the truth about the true Messiah, Jesus, so they can resist the anti-messiah false hopes.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!