The New World Encyclopedia says this about Antiochus IV Epihenes:
Antiochus regarded himself as Zeus (hence his title, epiphanes, meaning ‘manifestation of’), the Greek God. He gave lavishly to Greek temples, including the Temple of Zeus in Athens. His self-view as the supreme God meant that he saw himself as having power over all the religions in his realm. He thus tried to systematically change the traditions of the Jews, based on the laws of Moses, to make them conform to Greek beliefs. He built a gymnasium in Jerusalem, where instead of learning their ancient law, the priests engaged in wrestling contests in the Greek fashion, which meant they were naked. Those who were circumcised endeavored to hide this. Antiochus’ programs of Hellenization may even have involved altering the scriptures by, for example, introducing Greek cosmology into the Hebrew Scriptures. Texts say that people caught reading the Torah were punished, even killed; Sabbath observation was abolished and circumcision banned on pain of death. Josephus’ account describes this as follows:
Now Antiochus was not satisfied either with his unexpected taking the city, or with its pillage, or with the great slaughter he had made there; but being overcome with his violent passions, and remembering what he had suffered during the siege, he compelled the Jews to dissolve the laws of their country, and to keep their infants uncircumcised, and to sacrifice swine’s flesh upon the altar; against which they all opposed themselves, and the most approved among them were put to death. Bacchides also, who was sent to keep the fortresses, having these wicked commands, joined to his own natural barbarity, indulged all sorts of the extremist wickedness, and tormented the worthiest of the inhabitants, man by man, and threatened their city every day with open destruction, till at length he provoked the poor sufferers by the extremity of his wicked doings to avenge themselves (War, 1: 2; Whiston, V3: 11).
The 2nd Book of Maccabees records that the compliant priests diverted Temple funds to pay for the polis activities, such as “international games and dramatic competitions” and “ceased to show any interest” in Temple affairs (see Johnson, 102). Maccabees Antiouchus’ influence was strengthened because of rivalry among contenders for the High Priesthood in Jerusalem. A contest for power between Onias III and Jason (brothers) resulted in the former setting up a rival Temple at Heliopolis in Egypt and the latter becoming High Priest. By cooperating with Antiochus, Jason (which was the Greek name he adopted) was able to remain in office from 175 B.C.E. until 172 B.C.E.. However, while Antiochus was campaigning in Egypt, a faction of the Jewish leadership succeeded in deposing Jason, sending him into exile. Other sources say that Antiochus engineered the change of High Priest because his successor, Menelaus (a non-practicing Jew) promised more tribute and to speed the Hellenization process. Antiochus was demanding more and more cash to pay for his wars. Many Jews already saw the High Priesthood as too compromised to maintain their respect. Jason allied himself with anti-Hellenic Jews and, with their support, was able to re-take the office in 168 B.C.E., also expelling Antiochus’ troops. This was actually a rebellion against Antiochus, who responded swiftly.
In 168 B.C.E. or 169 B.C.E. Antiochus marched to Jerusalem, slew Jason (last of the Zadokite High Priests) and dedicated the Temple to Zeus, erecting an image of Zeus in his own likeness on the altar, and, according to some sources, sacrificed a pig in the Temple. This is known to Jews as the ‘great desecration’ or ‘abomination of desecration’ (from Daniel 11: 31 & 12: 11). The Temple’s sacred treasures, including “the golden candlesticks, and the golden altar” were robbed (V2: 87). Copies of the Torah were destroyed, as were buildings. He re-built the old city of David as a Seleucid fortress, dominating the rest of the city. Sources are confused about exactly when the desecration took place. Menelaus was restored to the High Priesthood (see discussion at . Most have Antiochus visiting Jerusalem twice, perhaps as early as 166 B.C.E. for the first and as late as 169 B.C.E. for the second. Josephus describes him as robbing on both occasions (Whiston, V2: 87).
Antiochus was a ‘type’ for the beast who is the boastful horn. When we look at the actions of the Beast in both Daniel and revelation we see an evil ruler who sets himself up against God’s anointed. this has happened at various times in history, notably in the 2oth Century with Adolf Hitler. Beasts rise and beasts fall. It is my opinion that Satan raises up Hitler and Antiochus types on a regular basis, but none of them will reach their full potential for destruction until the end of all things.
8 “While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a human being and a mouth that spoke boastfully.
- Who does the boastful horn move aside?
- How is the horn described?
- What kinds of boats might a ‘beast’ make?
- How was Antiochus a type of beast?
- Are there leaders in the world that you could imagine becoming more like the horn mentioned here?