This is a summary of the article Antiochus IV and Daniel’s Evil King. It provides an overview of the evidence that is more fully discussed in the main document.
Critical scholars are convinced that the evil king predicted by Daniel chapters 7, 8 and 11 points to Antiochus IV. The article Daniel’s evil horn has shown that this evil king comes out of the Roman Empire. The evil king, therefore, cannot refer to Antiochus IV. Antiochus furthermore does not fit the profile of the predicted evil king:
His immediate predecessor (Seleucus IV) is not known as “a raiser of taxes” (11:19); any more than his father.
Seleucus IV was further not destroyed “within few days” (11:19), but reigned for 13 years.
Antiochus IV did not “seize the kingdom by intrigue” (11:21). He became king with the help of the Pergamene monarch.
History also does not identify him to “cause deceit to succeed” (8:25), any more than other Greek kings.
He was not greater than all his predecessors (7:20), which included Alexander the Great. His father lost major battles against the Romans. Consequently, he grew up as a hostage in Rome, and his whole life he was subject to increasing Roman ascendancy.
He did not start small (7:8; 8:9), later to expand exceedingly great (8:9). Immediately after the death of his brother he was made king of the entire kingdom.
Neither did he expand his kingdom “toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land” (8:9).
He was not a tyrant that opposed God and His saints as first principle. He ordered all peoples of his empire to abandon their particular customs, robbed temples of various gods and attacked Jerusalem because it revolted against his authority, not because it worshipped God.
He did not kill “the prince of the covenant”; identified by the links in Daniel 8 and 9 as Jesus Christ. Antiochus died 180 years before Jesus and had nothing to do with His death.
He did not appear on the scene 483 years after a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem (Daniel 9).
He did not take away the “daily” and set up the “abomination of desolation” 30 days before he started to persecute the saints (12:11). Antiochus did it the other way round; the persecution commenced before the temple was desecrated.
Interpreting Antiochus as the predicted evil king, critics have no acceptable explanation for the differences between the times periods; the 2300 “evening morning”, the 3½ times and the 1290 and 1335 days.
Jesus said to the disciples that the 1290 days will start in the future (compare Mat 24:15 to Dan 12:11). The 1290 days therefore cannot relate to the time of Antiochus.
Antiochus IV did not “distribute plunder, booty and possessions among them” (11:24).
He did not “exalt and magnify himself above every god” (11:36). Neither could it be said that he had no regard for the gods of his fathers (11:37).
He also did not serve and promote a “strange god”, unknown to his fathers (11:38). To the contrary, he ordered all in his kingdom to serve his gods.
Critics may argue that Daniel describes Antiochus as more evil and as more powerful than what he really was because their second-century Jewish author was emotionally wrapped up in the destruction of everything that was sacred to the Jews, with a consequential loss of objectivity. However, if the predicted evil king is supposed to be a description of Antiochus, then Daniel includes factually incorrect information that cannot be ascribed to a lack of objectivity, such as:
- His immediate predecessor was destroyed within few days.
- He started small, with few supporters, but eventually became exceedingly great.
- He appeared on the scene 483 years after a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.
- He promoted a “strange god”, unknown to his fathers.
Daniel 11:2-19 correlates well with the history until the death of Antiochus III in verse 19 and there are many similarities between Antiochus and the predicted evil king, but Antiochus IV by no means exhausts the passage. Antiochus IV is not the complete fulfillment of Daniel’s predicted evil king. Antiochus IV is a type of the predicted evil king, but for the complete fulfillment of the prophecies, we must search for a later and much more powerful evil king. Daniel 11 may therefore be understood as two stories intertwined. The text seems to describe the history up to and including Antiochus IV, but while discussing Antiochus IV it jumps to a future and worldwide evil king.
ARTICLES IN THIS SERIES
1. The metal man of Daniel 2 divides world history into six ages.
2. The four beasts of Daniel 7
3. Three possible interpretations of the little horn
4. To identify the fourth kingdom, compare Daniel 7 and 8.
5. Daniel correctly predicted HOW the Roman Empire will fall.
6. Daniel 8: The evil horn does not come out of a Greek horn.
7. Daniel 11’s Vile Person: Antiochus or Antichrist?
8. Antiochus IV does not fit the profile of Daniel’s Evil King.
9. Critical scholars attack Daniel to attack the Book of Revelation.