Prophecies of Daniel 11, Part 10
In our previous article, Prophecies of Daniel 11, Part 9, we discussed more about the man history reveals as Antiochus Epiphanes IV. We noted a few of his devious exploits as outlined in the eleventh chapter of Daniel and also referred to 1 Macc. 3:30 to verify the record. In this article, we’re going to find out more about this same man and why the Bible refers to him as a “detestable” person. Remember, when the angelic messenger first revealed all of this information to Daniel, it was long before any of it took place. The terminology is naturally future-tense in many respects. Of course, from our perspective, most of it is in the past.
Note again how God stoops to prove His omniscience as well as benevolence toward us. He didn’t have to share any of Daniel 11, but chose to do so in order that we might have a better understanding of how God controls all things, especially as they relate to the only nation He personally created – Israel.
Daniel 11, while showing us the past (the future from Daniel’s perspective), also shows us the future from our perspective because the latter portion of Daniel 11 relates to Israel as this current age comes to a close. It is important to understand this and refrain from allegorizing Scripture so that what is applied to Israel is wrongly applied to the Church.
We also previously noted that both Ptolemy VI and Antiochus Epiphanes IV sat at Ptolemy’s dinner table and essentially exchanged lies to one another. Unbeknownst to Ptolemy, Antiochus had already bought favors from many of the individuals who also sat at that table and were outwardly on Ptolemy’s side. In reality, as Daniel 11:26-27 tells us, those who sat around Ptolemy’s table had already committed treason, which would ultimately bring about Ptolemy’s defeat. The dinner we learned about in verses 26 – 27 was more of an attempted “peace conference,” not a battle necessarily. Superficially, things seemed good.
Let’s pick it up with Daniel 11:28.
“Then he will return to his land with much plunder; but his heart will be set against the holy covenant, and he will take action and then return to his own land.”
The “he” in this passage is Antiochus as one who leaves Egypt with plunder and returns to his own land (Syria, since he is the then current king of the North). As he passes through Israel on his way back to Syria, he decides to veer off path and heads up to Jerusalem.
Antiochus was always looking for the next thing to provide an advantage and as he traveled toward Jerusalem, Constable tells us that a Jew named Jason wanted to be high priest. The problem was that Onias III was already high priest. Jason, who knew of Antiochus’ reputation, simply offered him a bribe to get rid of Onias. Antiochus was in. But like everything in life when it comes to politics, bribery, back stabbing, and intrigue, another Jew by the name of Menelaus also stood in line with a better bribe for Antiochus, who also accepted that bribe to overlook Jason.
Onias – the then current high priest – objected to Jason becoming high priest and for that he lost his life. This is part of the picture that is painted for us in verse 28. The text refers to the “holy covenant,” which most likely refers to Israel and/or Jerusalem and specifically to the high priest who guards that covenant between Israel as a nation and God. This is also referenced in Daniel 11:22, where we are told that the “prince of the covenant” will be “shattered.” Onias died.
Antiochus was so easily bought and liked to protect those whom he received “tribute” from that in this case, he wound up initially protecting both Jason and Menelaus, but took things out on the people of Jerusalem after Onias’ death. “After Jason attempted a coup de etat thinking that Antiochus was dead, Antiochus entered Jerusalem, slew 80,000 men, and, accompanied by Menelaus, desecrated the temple. This happened in 168 B.C.” 
“At the appointed time he will return and come into the South, but this last time it will not turn out the way it did before. 30 For ships of Kittim will come against him; therefore he will be disheartened and will return and become enraged at the holy covenant and take action; so he will come back and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant.” (Daniel 11:29-30).
The above text begins with “at the appointed time,” referencing again that God is in control of man’s deeds, especially deeds related to Israel and/or Jerusalem. Nothing is left to chance even when evil men are allowed to exercise their “free will” in warring against God’s people. In the above verses, we learn that “he” – Antiochus – will return to the South (Egypt), but unlike the previous situation where Antiochus left with a good deal of plunder, he will leave with his tail between his legs.
As history attests, Antiochus marched with his troops to Egypt, but was met by Roman Popillius Laenas near Alexandria. He was not going to allow Antiochus to invade Egypt and had a letter from the Roman senate forbidding such a move on Antiochus’ part.
Constable notes that the “ships of Kittim” were from Cypress and belonged to Laenas and Rome. Antiochus had only two options: 1) attempt to fight Rome, which would likely cost him his life, or 2) return home to Syria in defeat. He chose the latter.
Please notice the text says he would “become enraged at the holy covenant and take action.” Antiochus was defeated without Rome even firing one arrow or throwing one spear. He was humiliated and as he heads home, he once again remembers Jerusalem, where not long before this humiliation, he had killed 80,000 men and desecrated the temple. Maybe another go at it would remove his feelings of low self-esteem?
Antiochus counted on the support of those Jews who had long ago abandoned the Mosaic Law (the holy covenant) and was not disappointed. You know, when people allow themselves to become corrupted, nothing can usually change that. Money corrupts. Political favors corrupt. Is it any wonder that no empire in history lasts that long before it begins to fail? It is happening with America today and that failure will culminate in a complete collapse.
This next portion is connected to Daniel 11:31. We’ll simply introduce it now and go into far greater detail in our next installment.
“Forces from him will arise, desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they will set up the abomination of desolation.”
Historians note that Antiochus desecrated the temple by waltzing into the Holy of Holies after offering a pig on the altar. He took the pig’s blood and sprinkled it around the Holy of Holies. Some tell us that he also set up a statue of Zeus in the Holy of Holies and may have even put a mask of his own face over the face of Zeus. This event is what became known as the “abomination that desolates” or the “abomination of desolation” that Jesus refers to in His Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21) and Paul refers to in 2 Thessalonians 2. Every male Jew living during the time of Jesus would have recognized the phrase “abomination of desolation” as referring back to that imperious act by Antiochus Epiphanes IV in 168 BC.
We will really dig into the above verse in our next article, part 11, because there is a good amount of material that we need to highlight. Please join me then.
 Dr. Thomas Constable’s Notes on Daniel, 12:5:3.
Entry filed under: israel, Judaism, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, temple mount. Tags: antiochus epiphanes, antiochus epiphanes iv, daniel 11.