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Bible verses about Antiochus Epiphanes
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Isaiah 52:10-11

Looking at this in its context, we see that it is speaking first of the exodus of the Jews from their captivity in Babylon, but it is also a prophecy, speaking of a future exodus from a future captivity—from the Babylon that is now forming in this present age. This is very timely for us.

While the Jews were in their seventy years of captivity in ancient Babylon, they did not have the freedom or opportunity to maintain either ritual or spiritual cleanliness, as they would have had in their homeland. About 300 years later, the celebration of Hanukkah—meaning "dedication"—arose from the Jews' attempts to cleanse the worship of God following Antiochus Epiphanes and the Greek army's defilement of the Temple during warfare.

These verses are an urgent command, reminding them of their responsibility to cast off personal defilement of any paganism (or, as we would say today, any worldliness) picked up during their captivity. This had to be done to restore the true worship of the true God when they returned to Jerusalem.

The Living Bible translates verse 11 as follows:

Go now, leave your bonds and slavery. Put Babylon and all it represents far behind you—it is unclean to you. You are the holy people of the LORD; purify yourselves, all you who carry home the vessels of the LORD. (Emphasis ours.)

Their responsibility is clear. Who would be carrying the holy vessels? The priests. We need to note this inference since the whole church is a priesthood, and is so designated in I Peter.

John W. Ritenbaugh
New Covenant Priesthood (Part 2)


 

Daniel 8:9-14

Daniel's prophecy describes the reign of one of the later Syrian kings, Antiochus IV, surnamed Epiphanes ("the manifest" or "the illustrious"). With tragic wit, the Jews named him Epimanes, or "the madman," when it became apparent that his policies were violently anti-Jewish. Determined to "civilize" (i.e., Hellenize) the Jews, this little horn (Daniel 8:9-14) systematically forbade, under penalty of death, circumcision, Sabbath and holy day observance, and the reading or possession of the scrolls of the Torah. He executed some for refusing to eat swine's flesh and butchered others who would not bow to a pagan image.

Additionally, he had a statue of Zeus Olympius (an "abomination of desolation," Daniel 11:31; cf. Matthew 24:15) erected in the Temple. Swine were sacrificed on God's altar, and pagan rites, orgies, and festivals were performed in the Temple grounds. In his pride (Daniel 8:11), he decreed that he should be worshipped as Zeus; his coins were struck with the inscription theos epiphanes ("God manifest"), a horrible counterfeit of the true "God with us."

Other despicable deeds of Antiochus, like his wars against Egypt and the Maccabees, are prophesied in Daniel 11:21-35, where he is clearly depicted as a type of the end-time Beast. His historical activities blend into the future rise and fall of the coming world dictator, who will also speak blasphemies and persecute God's people (Revelation 13:5-7). Expositor's Bible Commentary (vol. 7, pp. 135-142) provides a complete and accurate explanation of these fifteen verses of Daniel 11.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Nebuchadnezzar's Image (Part Three): 'Belly and Thighs of Bronze'


 

Daniel 8:21

Daniel 8 also contains a prophecy of Greece, highlighting two major eras of the Greek Empire: its rise under Alexander and the career of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. A goat with an unusually impressive horn between its eyes—later identified as Greece and its first king, Alexander—flies powerfully out of the west and smashes against a ram with two horns, Persia. The ram, with its two horns broken, cannot fight and is trampled by the goat.

The prophecy then accurately records that Alexander died at the height of his power. Some historians contend that his drunken debauch and subsequent pneumonia, which led to his death, came as a result of there being no more lands to conquer. Others opine that though he could conquer and rule the world, he could not rule himself. Notwithstanding, since he had named no clear successor, his generals ("four notable ones," Daniel 8:8; 11:3-4), after years of intrigue and war, parceled the world among themselves.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Nebuchadnezzar's Image (Part Three): 'Belly and Thighs of Bronze'


 

Daniel 11:32

Historical evidence identifies the man referred to as "he" as Antiochus Epiphanes. Because the record of his activities against the Jews parallels many of the activities prophesied about the end-time Beast of Revelation, many believe he is a symbolic forerunner of that one to come. This verse prophesies three things of the coming Beast:

First, we normally and correctly associate the Beast with great, though evil, power. However, among other things he will also be a flatterer. He will not only be a person of great political wisdom, but he will be personally persuasive and charming. Proverbs 31:30 warns us, "Charm is deceitful"—all too frequently, it is nothing more than a social and public relations skill used for personal gain. It can be nothing more than a dishonest puffery displayed to get another's cooperation to achieve an ulterior motive. Practically, it can easily become manipulation and control by a skilled person using honeyed words. David's experience with a charming betrayer is recorded in Psalm 55:21: "The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords." Politically, this activity is defined as treachery.

Second, this verse also tells us he will corrupt or seduce some of those who have made the covenant with God. At first, we might think that these are the unconverted, but that is not so. This refers to the last phrase of verse 30, where the Beast "shows regard for those who forsake the holy covenant." These are people who apostatize. A person cannot forsake an agreement he has never made. Some of the converted will be seduced by manipulative flatteries and corrupted into cooperation. At the end time, that means some of us! Reader's Digest Encyclopedic Dictionary lists some of the definitions of corrupt: "to pervert the fidelity or integrity of as by bribing; to destroy morally; pervert, ruin, change from the original, debase, contaminate."

Putting these two factors together, we ought to imagine God waving a yellow caution flag before us, revealing an area of danger that we should mark well. It is highly unlikely that any of us will move in the same political, social, and military circles as the Beast. Thus, his personal charm or flatteries will not be used to deceive us in an intimate, personal circumstance. Therefore, his political wisdom and flatteries will be exhibited in his public policies. We must never forget that this man will be of the world and as unconverted as a man can be.

Therefore the political strategies he will use will essentially be appeals to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (I John 2:15-17). He will appeal to us to abandon our faith and give our cooperation, trust, and loyalty to him by submitting to political programs and public policies that offer us physical well-being, peace, and safety under his umbrella. It will seem advantageous for us, at least on a short-term basis, to support his programs. He will make glowing promises of preferment, reward, and peace. But never forget, when seduction and subversion through flatteries fail, the reign of terror by persecution begins.

Third and finally, the verse prophesies that those who know their God shall be strong, or stand firm, and do exploits. God inserts this to show us how not to be deceived by flatteries. Jesus says in John 17:3, "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." Knowing God is the key to seeing through and rejecting the seductive flatteries of the Beast because it is the foundation of faith. We know God gives truths that are eternal.

The Beast will deceive through a combination of outright lies, partial truths, and temporary truths. The people who see through his devious words will do so because they know and believe God and His truth. They will therefore be strong in giving glory to Him. These people will prefer to risk their lives rather than betray God's honor. By believing God, they will be prepared for the Beast's onslaught, and this will give them strength because it produces firm resolve and sense of purpose. Though these prophecies are not yet fulfilled, evidence is accumulating that they are just over the horizon, and thus something we may soon face.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sovereignty of God: Part Three


 

Daniel 11:32

We would do well to notice the context of this verse. This prophecy is made of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, whom just about every commentator mentions is a type of the end-time Beast. The Beast appears to be rising in our time, so we should pay attention because we may be implied here.

This verse's final fulfillment will be in "the time of Jacob's trouble," a time that Jeremiah 30:7 says will be unlike any other that has ever been on earth. Nevertheless, "the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits." Note that those who know their God will do these things. Despite what they can plainly see happening, these people know by faith that the unseen and almighty sovereign God is still on His throne, overseeing everything that is going on, and knowing that His will will be done, regardless of what those living by sight think.

How do they know that His will will be done? Because they know Him intimately as a result of their relationship with Him. For a good part of their lives, they have walked with Him and talked with Him, and He has talked with them through His Word. By faith, they "see" God. They have submitted to Him, and He has reciprocated their attentions by blessing them in ways they know were from Him because, by faith, they were thinking spiritually.

Ephesians 1:11 reminds us, ". . . in Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will." God does not work a few things or even many things but all things according to His will. This "all things" must be qualified, since at least one thing is always excluded from it: God never ordains any of His children to sin. We are always to choose life, not death through sin (Deuteronomy 30:19). When we sin, it is our fault; we should know better. God has already evaluated the situation (I Corinthians 10:13). Do we have any doubt about His power to know what is going on and to make judgments?

God's purpose will stand, and nothing will stop Him from doing His pleasure. He is no distant spectator. Yes, He has given power to Satan, as well as to mankind, but God is all-powerful while Satan and man are but creatures. The Creator is greater than the sum total of all that He has made through Jesus Christ. Yes, God has created what we consider to be natural laws, and much of the material world is to some degree regulated by them, but He "upholds all things by the word of His power" (Hebrews 1:3).

Life is difficult, and few seem to make it through the entirety of life without becoming shell-shocked. Most muddle their way through, but we would be well-advised to take to heart what the apostle Peter writes in II Peter 1:19: "We also have the prophetic word made more sure, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts." The prophetic word has been confirmed to us. What are we to take heed of specifically? That God's counsel shall stand! He will do all His pleasure, and His pleasure is written in His Book, that is, what He has prophesied will happen.

Therefore, instead of looking at all the problems on planet earth and then turning to God, we must begin our thinking with God because the Word, which is now ours too, came from Him, and He has the will and the power to carry out what He has said He will do.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Living By Faith and God's Sovereignty


 

 




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