ANTIOCHUS IS THE EVIL KING OF DANIEL.
Daniel 2, 7, and 8 predict four consecutive world empires. The fourth, fairly clearly, is the Roman Empire. But Daniel 11 puts a strong focus on Antiochus IV—the Greek king of the second century BC who brutally persecuted the Jews. Critical scholars identify Antiochus as the “vile person” of Daniel 11. They then argue that the “vile person” is the same as the evil horn in Daniel 7 and 8. It follows that the evil horn is also Antiochus. And since Antiochus is a Greek king, the fourth empire in Daniel 7 must be the Greek Empire.
DANIEL WAS WRITTEN DURING ANTIOCHUS’ REIGN.
What Critical scholars will not always freely admit is that the real motive for the Antiochus-interpretation is their unwillingness to allow for the supernatural: They regard accurate predictions of the future as impossible. But this assumption is challenged by Daniel, for it contains explicit references to “Media and Persia” and “Greece” (8:20-21), which became ‘world empires’ after Daniel was written in the sixth century BC, as the book Daniel itself claims.
The Antiochus-interpretation provides an escape for the Critic, for if one assumes that the evil king in Daniel is Antiochus and that the fourth empire is Greece, and if one also assumes that Daniel was written at the time of Antiochus, then Daniel was written after the events it pretends to predict and no longer contains any supernatural predictions of the future!
One horrible consequence of this approach is that this Bible book becomes a fraud, for then it was written after the events it pretends to predict, and none of the predictions in it are true predictions. Do you understand now why Daniel’s prophecies are no longer preached in churches?
Another awful consequence is that the Book of Revelation becomes fiction, for Revelation is built on the foundation of the Book of Daniel. For example, the Beast of Revelation is the eleventh horn of Daniel 7. There is just no way to understand Revelation without the Book of Daniel.
BUT THEN, DANIEL STILL CONTAINS ACCURATE LONG-TERM PREDICTIONS.
The Antiochus-interpretation, combined with the assumption that the book was written at the time of Antiochus, does not solve the problem for the critical scholar.
Firstly, as already stated, it is fairly clear that Daniel predicts the Roman Empire, and that empire only subjugated Palestine about one century AFTER the time of Antiochus. To address this challenge, the critic proposes that the Medes and the Persians were two of the four empires of Daniel 7. In doing so, the critical scholar has to go against another clear teaching in Daniel, namely that Medo-Persia was a single empire.
Secondly, the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks in Daniel 9 accurately predicts the timing of the first coming of Christ. This was even later than the ascendancy of Rome.
Thirdly, Daniel accurately correctly predicts HOW the Roman Empire will fall in the fifth century after Christ, namely that it will be subdivided into many kingdoms which will be a continuation of it. At the time of Antiochus, this would have been an exception prediction, for all previous empires came to their end when they were conquered by the next empire.
ARGUMENTS AGAINST A SECOND CENTURY DATE
According to critical scholars, Daniel was composed during the crisis under Antiochus to encourage the beleaguered Jews to be faithful to death. However, if the book was written at that time, the Jews would have known that Daniel was fiction—history made to look like prophecy. There is a serious flaw in the notion that known fiction can inspire people for deadly conflict. Only well-known material that was believed to be infallibly true and inspired by God could have kindled their spirits amid that supreme hour of national crisis.
Furthermore, several articles on this website argue for a sixth-century composition. There is abundant evidence, both inside and outside the book, that it was written before the time of Antiochus and in the sixth century BC.
Another argument against a second-century authorship is that the alleged second-century author passed from history as a complete unknown. The ‘message of encouragement’ of the Book of Daniel must have been on every person’s lips throughout the Maccabean struggle, but the book of Maccabees, which records that history, does not mention this unknown writer at all. On the contrary, it refers in the plainest language to the Daniel of the Captivity.
WHAT IS THE RIGHT ANSWER?
So, if critical scholars are wrong, what is the right answer? Why do the first 35 verses of Daniel 11 correlate well to known history in the Persian and Greek empires, while the remaining 10 verses do not?
The article on Daniel 11 shows that Old Testament prophecies often merge predictions of near-future and far-future events. It, therefore, proposes that the Daniel 11-prophecy begins in Daniel’s time in the sixth century BC, explains events until and including the time of Antiochus but then jumps to the later and the much greater antichrist of the ages, of which Antiochus as a type. In other words, Daniel predicts both the antichrist of Daniel 7 and 8 and Antiochus
SATAN CONTROLS THE HIGH PLACES.
If this answer is so obvious, why do critical scholars continue to argue as they do? The reason is that Critics have to compete in the academic world and the academic world does not accept the supernatural. The world of science must find natural explanations for all things. These critical scholars reject the creation and the other miracles of the Bible. To gain the respect of other academics, every would-be academic must comply with this fundamental rule.
The academic world, therefore, has been captured by Satan. Consequently, there is a huge gap between these brilliant but deceived scholars and ordinary Christians. It was not the people of Israel that rejected Christ—it was their leaders. The strategy of the evil one is to control the high places.
The book of Daniel seems to be a major end-time battleground between faith and unbelief. The reason for this massive attack on the Book of Daniel, I believe, is to keep God’s people in the dark concerning what God revealed about the end-time, as contained in the Book of Revelation.
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DANIEL 11 EXPLAINS DANIEL 7 AND 8.
Daniel 2, 7, and 8 predict four empires. The fourth, fairly clearly, is the Roman Empire. This is followed by the eleventh (little) horn which continues until it is destroyed at the Return of Christ (7:26, 27).
But Daniel 11 brings a new perspective by a strong focus on the Greek king Antiochus IV and on his predecessor. Critical scholars, consequently, interpret the empires in Daniel 7 and 8 based on their interpretation of Daniel 11. They argue as follows:
- The prophecies are parallel to one another and the antichrist in the various prophecies, therefore, refers to the same entity or person.
- Daniel 11 is much more detailed than the previous prophecies, and should, for this reason, be allowed to identify Daniel’s antichrist.
- The evil person in Daniel 11 in Antiochus.
- Consequently, the antichrist in Daniel 7 and 8 is Antiochus.
- Therefore the fourth empire is “Greece.”
ACCURATE LONG-TERM PROPHECIES ARE NOT POSSIBLE.
However, the real motive for this interpretation in the academic world of the Critic is the reluctance to believe in the supernatural. They believe that the book of Daniel, as well as the Bible in general, is the product of evolution; rewritten, added and amended by many people over many centuries, and, therefore, largely the product of human ingenuity rather than divine inspiration.
However, Daniel contains explicit and clear references to kings and kingdoms after the time of the Babylonian Empire in the sixth century, for example, the references to “Media and Persia” and “Greece” (8:20-21). As another example, it is possible to identify specific Persian and Greek kings from the description in the first part of Daniel 11.
The Antiochus-interpretation provides an opportunity for the critical scholar to maintain the view that accurate predictions of the future are impossible, for if one assumes that the evil king in Daniel is Antiochus and that the fourth empire is Greece, and if one then also assumes that Daniel was written at the time of Antiochus, then it was written after the events it pretends to predict. Then it is possible to explain Daniel in such a way that it does not contain any supernatural predictions of the future. Critical scholars, therefore, propose that Daniel was written in the time of Antiochus in the Maccabean era (2nd century BC); somewhere between 168 and 165 BC.
PROBLEMS FOR CRITICAL SCHOLARS
However, postponing the date of Daniel’s composition from the 6th century BC to the Maccabean era doesn’t solve the problem for the critic.
DANIEL PREDICTED THE ROMAN EMPIRE
Firstly, the nearly universal identification of the first four kingdoms of chapters 2 and 7 is Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. The problem for the critic is that, at the time of Antiochus IV Epiphanes (c. 165 BC), Rome was not the major influence in Palestine that Daniel’s predictions describe:
Rome did not dominate Palestine until after Pompey the Great took over that part of the Near East in 63 BC.
To be sure Antiochus III had been crushed by the Romans at Magnesia in 190, but the Romans had still not advanced beyond the limits of Europe by 165, except to establish a vassal kingdom in Asia Minor and a protectorate over Egypt.
Certainly, as things stood in 165 BC, no human being could have predicted with any assurance that the Hellenic monarchies of the Near East would be engulfed by the new power which had arisen in the West. No man then living could have foreseen that this Italian republic would have exerted a sway more ruthless and widespread than any empire that had ever preceded it. This one circumstance alone, then, that Daniel predicts the Roman empire, is sufficient to overthrow the entire Maccabean Date Hypothesis, for even if the Book of Daniel was written c. 165 BC, it still contains accurate long-term predictions.
Critical scholars, for that reason, must dismiss the Roman Empire from Daniel’s prophecies. Many critics attempt to do this problem by taking the Medes and Persians as two separate kingdoms. Consequently, they take the first four kingdoms as Babylon, the Medes, Persia, and then Greece as the fourth Gentile kingdom. Greece then broke up and Daniel is said to follow the events of the Seleucid and Ptolemy branches of the Greek Empire down to Antiochus IV Epiphanes.
But this ignores the abundant Scriptural evidence that the Medo-Persian Empire is a single kingdom (Est. 1:3, 14, 18-19; Est. 10:2; Dan. 5:28; 6:8, 12, 15; 7:5; 8:20).
DANIEL PREDICTED THE TIME OF THE MESSIAH.
Secondly, critical scholars are also faced with the problem that Daniel predicts the time of Christ, for the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks in Daniel 9 accurately predicts the timing of Christ’s first coming. This was even later than the ascendancy of Rome. But no critic has ever dared to suggest a date for the Book of Daniel as late as the birth of our Lord.
DANIEL PREDICTED HOW THE ROMAN EMPIRE WOULD FALL.
Thirdly, Daniel accurately predicts HOW the Roman Empire would fall in the fifth century after Christ, namely that it will be subdivided into many kingdoms which will be a continuation of it.
FICTION DOES NOT MOTIVATE PEOPLE TO FIGHT TO DEATH.
Fourthly, according to the critical scholars, the Book of Daniel was composed during the crisis under Antiochus to encourage the beleaguered Jews to be faithful to death in their fight against Antiochus. However, if the book was written at that time, the Jews would have known that Daniel was fiction—history made to look like prophecy.
There is a flaw in the notion that the contemporaries of the heroic Judas Maccabeus would have been encouraged for their deadly conflict by something they all knew was fiction. People do not die for fiction, however brilliant. People die for their faith. The truth of the matter is that nothing but well-known material and material that was believed to be infallibly true and inspired by God could have kindled their spirits during that supreme hour of national crisis.
EVIDENCE FOR AN EARLY DATE
Fifthly, several articles on this website argue for a sixth-century composition. Just to name a single factor, namely how different the heathen kings of this book are compared to Antiochus Epiphanes:
The heathen kings mentioned in Daniel, such as Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, and Darius were very tolerant of the Jewish religion.
Antiochus IV Epiphanes’ policy, in contrast, was to persecute the Jews and to destroy Judaism.
If Daniel was written during the Maccabean era, the kings of Babylon and Persia would have been presented as opposing the Jewish Religion. But there can hardly be two things more dissimilar than are the deportment of a Belshazzar or Darius and that of the Seleucian king.
AUTHOR UNKNOWN TO HISTORY
Sixthly, a strange aspect of the proposal that the book was written in 165 BC, to encourage the nation amid difficult times, is that the author passed from history as a complete unknown. The ‘message of encouragement’ must have been on every man’s lips throughout the noble Maccabean struggle, but still, the author passed clean out of the memory of the nation. The historian of this struggle [the writer of the book of Maccabees] cannot have been removed from him by more than a single generation, yet he ignores his existence, though he refers in the plainest terms to the Daniel of the Captivity. No writer, sacred or secular, seems to have heard of him.
The person of Daniel as presented by the book of Daniel is denied existence because he is not mentioned outside the Bible, while a person that is not mentioned either by the Bible or by other literature is pronounced as the real author!
WHAT IS THE RIGHT ANSWER?
DANIEL 11 PREDICTS BOTH ANTIOCHUS AND THE ANTICHRIST.
Why do the first 35 verses of Daniel 11 correlate well to known history in the Persian and Greek empires, while the remaining 10 verses do not? Critical scholars attribute the lack of fulfillment in the last 10 verses to error on the part of the uninspired and unknown writer of Daniel.
However, the article on Daniel 11 explains that Old Testament prophecies often merge predictions of near-future and far-future events, just like Jesus, in Matthew 24, combined predictions of the destruction of Jerusalem and His return. Therefore, the “abomination of desolation” (Dan. 9:27; 11:31; 12:11) can refer to an event in the time of Antiochus which was fulfilled over a hundred years before the birth of Jesus, yet Jesus still referred to the event as future to His day:
“When you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place … then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains” (Matt. 24:15-16)
Daniel 11, similarly, begins in Daniel’s time in the sixth century BC, explains events until and including the time of Antiochus but then jumps to the later and the much greater antichrist of the ages, of which Antiochus as a type.
WHY DANIEL 11 FOCUSES STRONGLY ON ANTIOCHUS IV
But if we accept that Daniel 7 and 8 reveal the antichrist of the ages that will be destroyed at the return of Christ, why does Daniel 11 focus so strongly on Antiochus IV? I proposed that God added this prediction of Antiochus IV to Daniel 11 to build the faith of the Jews in the book of Daniel, so that they might accept Jesus when He comes at the time predicted by Daniel 9 – about 160 years later.
An additional reason for the emphasis on Antiochus III – the father of Antiochus Epiphanes IV – is that his reign was the turning point for the shift of ‘world’ dominance from the Seleucids (the Greeks) to the Roman Empire. He lost the war against the Romans which set the stage for Roman domination of the ‘world’.
In the same way, Xerxes’ attack on the Greeks (11:2) was the turning point for the shift in power from the Persian to the Greek empires. As discussed in that article, once these turning points are reached, the Daniel 11 prophecy jumps over the next several centuries to the peak of the next empire.
SATAN CONTROLS THE HIGH PLACES.
Critical scholars are not worse or better than we are but they are caught up in an evil system. Higher Criticism takes place in a rarefied academic air where gaining the respect of other academics and interacting with their questionable theories becomes the main focus. Intelligence, knowledge, and the effective use of complex words become how academics ensure credibility among their peers.
Theologians who compete for recognition in the academic world have to adhere to the norms of the academic world, and the academic world does not recognize the supernatural. To please God and to serve His people is of lesser importance. These critics reject the creation and the other miracles of the Bible.
Since the time of the enlightenment, when the book of Daniel was deposed from its throne of authority, many alleged difficulties have been cleared up by archaeological and linguistic and other advances. The liberal position was consistently weakened by this new evidence.
But the new evidence would not silence the critical scholars. Reasoned answers, no matter how well researched or composed, will not cause the critic to accept Daniel. Numerous commentators over decades have offered answers to the so-called ‘errors’ in Daniel. This new evidence has been largely ignored. This is because the critic must give up his “faith” in naturalism and, in humility, admit that the supernatural God has the ability and desire to foretell the future. And this the critic cannot afford to do without suffering a great loss of credibility.
There is, consequently, a huge gap between these brilliant but deceived scholars and the ordinary Christian. It was not the people of Israel that rejected Christ—it was their scribes and Pharisees. The strategy of the evil one is to gain control of the high places.
This is often the snare of bright young people who, in furthering their preparation to serve Christ, wind up chasing academic recognition, often shipwrecking their faith. We should care far more about what God thinks of us that what the world thinks.
The book of Daniel seems designed by God as a battleground between faith and unbelief.
PEOPLE BELIEVE WHAT THEY WANT TO BELIEVE
God does not force peoples’ will. The Scriptures seem to be designed to allow people to believe in God but also allows them to not believe in God. For those that WANT to believe, the Bible provides SUFFICIENT evidence of its supernatural origin. In Romans 7, Paul says that he WANTS to do good, but he does the evil which he does not WANT to do.
The key difference between the believer and the non-believer is what the person wants, which is an expression of the person’s faith. If you want to be part of God’s kingdom, where the strong serves the weak, then you will be part of it. If you hate that kind of existence, you will not be forced to be part of it. Everybody will receive that which he or she wants.
For those that DO NOT WANT to believe in God, the Bible contains apparent contradictions (so-called ‘Bible difficulties’), which provide evidence of the ‘falsehood’ of God’s Word.
KEY TO REVELATION
The Book of Revelation cannot be understood without the Book of Daniel. The Beast of Revelation is the eleventh horn of Daniel 7. It is for that reason, I believe, that we see this massive attack on the Book of Daniel; to keep God’s people in the dark with respect to what God revealed about the end-time. I just had a look at the Wikipedia page on Daniel and my heart sank into my feet, for it just bluntly says that the book was written under a false name (pseudonymous) and that “Chapters 10–12 must therefore have been written between 167 and 164 BCE.”
ARTICLES IN THIS SERIES
- The metal man of Daniel 2 divides world history into six ages.
- The four beasts of Daniel 7 represent four kingdoms.
- Three possible interpretations of the little horn
- To identify the fourth kingdom, compare Daniel 7 and 8.
- Daniel 8: The evil horn does not come out of a Greek horn.
- Daniel correctly predicted HOW the Roman Empire will fall.
- The last part of Daniel 11 does not describe Antiochus.
- Antiochus IV does not fit the profile of Daniel’s Evil King.
- Critical scholars attack Daniel to attack the Book of Revelation.
For general discussions of theology, I recommend Graham Maxwell, who you will find on the excellent Pineknoll website.