What in the World is Daniel Talking About, Part 2?

Posted on February 26, 2021


By David Ettinger

Have you ever read Chapter 11 of the Book of Daniel and asked yourself the question above? You would have had to, unless you are an historian you would have no idea what is going on.

This blog will only make sense if you are reading the actual Bible verses these notes are looking to explain.

Here is a breakdown of verses 21-35. You may read Part 1 here.

Intro Notes
* This portion of Daniel 11 focuses Antiochus IV Ephiphanes. He is the son of Antiochus III the Great, and brother of Seleucus IV Philopater. He ruled from 175-163 B.C. He is given as much attention as the previous rulers combined (verses 2-20).

* He is considered the “foreshadow” of the Antichrist to come.

* “Epiphanes” means “Illustrious One.” He was nicknamed “Epimanes,” which means “Madman.”

* He is the “little horn” of Daniel 8:9-12; 23-25.

* He is the “foreshadow” of the “little horn” of Daniel 7:8 who in a future day will desecrate and seek to destroy Israel. (I know, 2 “little horns” – but if you study it, one is Antiochus Ephiphanes, and the other is the Antichrist to come.)

Verses 21-22
* The throne rightly belonged to Demetrius Soter, a son of Seleucus IV Philopater, but Antiochus Ephiphanes seized the throne and proclaimed himself king.

* He was accepted as ruler because he defeated an invading army (perhaps the Egyptians).

* He also deposed of Onias III, the high priest.

Verses 23-24
* After his military victories, Antiochus rose to prestige and power with a relatively small army.

* He distributed wealth by taking from the rich and giving to the poor.

Verses 25-27
* After consolidating his kingdom, Antiochus attacked Egypt in 170 B.C.

* He reached the Egyptian border before being met by the Egyptian army at Pelusium near the Nile Delta.

* Despite Egypt’s larger army, Antiochus was victorious. However, Rome intervened and prevented Antiochus from taking all of Egypt (which would have made him too powerful to control).

* Antiochus sought a friendship of sorts with Egypt. The two sat down together to talk peace, but were each filled with deceptive motives.

Verse 28
* Antiochus carried great wealth from his victory back to Syria.

* However, upset over having been prevented from conquering Egypt, Antiochus took out his frustrations on Israel as he was returning home.

* He desecrated the temple (sacrificed a pig on the altar) in Jerusalem and opposed the Mosaic system.

Verses 29-30a
* Two years later (168 B.C.), Antiochus moved again against Egypt.

* However, Rome sent ships from Cyprus to oppose him.

* From the Roman Senate, Popillius Laenas sent Antiochus a letter via messenger forbidding him from engaging Egypt in war.

* Antiochus asked for time to consider his options. However, the messenger drew a circle around Antiochus demanding an answer before he left the circle.

* Not wanting war with Rome, Antiochus submitted, was humiliated, and returned to Syria.

Verses 30b-32
* Antiochus, again taking out his frustrations on Israel, sent his general Appollonius with 22,000 soldiers into Jerusalem on a supposed peace mission.

* However, the soldiers attacked Jerusalem on the Sabbath, killed many people, took many women and children as slaves, and burned the city.

* Antiochus then sought to spread Hellenism – the Greek culture – and exterminate Judaism.

* He forbade the Jewish people from following their religious practices (festivals and circumcision among them), and commanded that copies of the Law be burned.

The Abomination That Causes Desolation
* On December 16, 167 B.C., Antiochus erected an altar to Zeus on the altar of burnt offering outside the temple and had a pig slaughtered on it.

* The Jewish people were then ordered to offer a pig on the 25th of each month to celebrate Antiochus’ birthday.

* Antiochus offered to reward any Jew who turned away from God to worship Zeus, the God of Greece.

* Many Jews, sadly, did so; but many resisted.

Verses 33-35
* Those who did not submit to Antiochus were persecuted and martyred for their faith. They suffered severely.

* As a result, the Jews rose up, beginning the Maccabean Revolt (168-165 B.C.).

* Those that suffered during that time were refined and purified (v. 35).

* The persecution would last a short time, 1,150 days (Daniel 8:14). Daniel is assured that the persecution would run its course and then be lifted, for its end “will come at an appointed time.”

* Antiochus Ephiphanes died insane in Persia in 163 B.C. (more in Daniel 8:23-25).

* The final 10 verses of Chapter 11 concern the coming Antichrist at the end of the age.