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Daniel; The king at the time appointed

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posted on May, 6 2013 @ 05:03 PM
The end of the eleventh chapter of Daniel describes a great king who sets himself against the Biblical God.
But is this the story of one king alone, or is it combining the stories of two different kings?

Scholars will identify the king as the notorious Antiochus Epiphanes.
They will see the first half of the chapter as a summary of the previous history beginning with Alexander, arguing that Antiochus himself appears from v21 onwards.
I see no reason why Christians should object to this view (as a first interpretation).

There’s also a common consent that the story from v40 onwards fails to correspond with anything in this king’s history.
The disagreement is about what that means.
The academic will want to dismiss those verses as an unsuccessful attempt to project the future course of the king’s career.
The alternative is to treat them as genuine prophecy relating to a later king.

The real key to this question is the way we apply the previous passage, vv36-39.
It seems to be a settled assumption among academics that these verses are part of the story of Antiochus.
That’s how they’re defined, for example, in the headings of the Jerusalem Bible.
But is that interpretation going to stand up to close inspection?

Taking the different sections in turn;


The man is introduced, in v21, as “a contemptible person”, one “to whom royal majesty has not been given” (he was the uncle of the nearest heirs).
The following verses may be applied to the way he rose to power, first as joint king and then as sole king, “by flatteries”, by “scattering plunder”, by making deceitful alliances, and by violence.

This had an impact on the province of Judah. The High Priest Onias(the “prince of the covenant”) was first displaced and then murdered. The king “made alliance” with Jason, the man he appointed as the new High Priest. Then he “acted deceitfully”, when Jason was displaced in his turn by a man who offered a larger bribe.

In 169 B.C., as described in vv25-27, he invaded Egypt, sweeping aside the armies of the Egyptian king Ptolemy Philometor.
When he left Egypt, he was ostensibly Ptolemy’s ally and supporter against a rebellious younger brother. However, neither king was very sincere in this alliance (“they shall speak lies at the same table”). In fact the two brothers patched things up shortly afterwards.

v28 On his way back north, Antiochus stopped off in Jerusalem to support his chosen High Priest by force, and to seize gold and silver vessels from the Temple.
“His heart shall be set against the holy covenant, and he shall work his own will, and return to his own land”.

v29 The king invaded Egypt again in the following year.
But this was “not as it was before”, because “the ships of Kittim” came against him.
This refers to one of the most celebrated encounters in the history of diplomacy, if “diplomacy” is the right word.
This was the famous “circle in the sand” episode described by Livy (I’ll have to add that in a footnote), and it’s not surprising that he should be so “enraged” afterwards.

In vv31-35, the king took action to “re-model” the religion in Jerusalem.
The connection with previous events would be the suspicion that the party of more “traditional” Jews were supporters of Egypt.
Occupying “forces” appeared, under the command of Apollonius.
The image of Zeus Olympios was erected in the Temple- this was the “abomination”, the act of idolatry.
As a consequence of this, the sacrifice to Israel’s God came to an end- this was the “taking away” of the continual burnt offering.
It was also the immediate cause of the “desolation”, their sense of being isolated from their God.
The passage describes how the Jews were divided.
Some were “seduced with flattery” and acquiesced.
There were others, who “knew their God”, who were “standing firm” and “taking action” against the king’s forces.
Many of these would die by the sword, though some would fall away.

The end of v35 declares “It is yet for the time appointed.” I take this to be the conclusion of the story of king Antiochus. It seems to me that the following verses are about a completely different king.


If these verses, from v36 onwards, were intended as a character study of Antiochus, they really should have come earlier.
But the assumption is undermined, in any case, by a closer study of the passage.
“The king shall do according to his will”- which means not just that he is wilful, but that he is successfully wilful, and that’s where the comparison begins to fall down.
Antiochus was already ceasing to “prosper” by the time the attack on the Jews began.

The scholars would apply “He shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods” to his assault on the Temple worship.
But we find in the next verse that this king disrespects all the gods, not just the God of the Jews. He worships none of them, not the gods preferred by men, nor the gods preferred by women.
Instead of these, he draws upon the aid of a “foreign” god- which has to mean a god foreign to his own culture.
What we know about the life of Antiochus Epiphanes says the exact opposite.
Despite his conversion to Epicurean views, he was renowned, according to Livy, for the way that he honoured the temples of the traditional gods.

In two important and honourable activities he showed a truly royal disposition- in benefactions to cities and tributes to the gods…one may cite the temple of Jupiter Olympius at Athens, the only temple in the world planned on a scale proportionate to the greatness of the god; besides this, he adorned Delos with splendid altars and an abundance of statues, and he promised at Antioch a magnificent temple to Jupiter Capitolinus”
Livy, History of Rome, BookXLI.20

I’m certainly not aware of any worship that his own people could have described as a “foreign” god.

Two other statements are made about this king’s religion.
In v36, that he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god.
In v38, that he will honour the god of “battles” or “fortresses”.
The two statements would come to the same thing, if his confidence was in his own military strength, like the devotees of “blood and iron” who ruled Germany between Bismarck and Hitler.
However, this simply does not work as a description of Antiochus Epiphanes.
Just look at his campaigns. His military career was something of a “curate’s egg” (“good in parts and bad in others”, according to the old Punch joke).

Therefore I’m forced to the conclusion that this passage describes a king later than Antiochus Eplphanes, though one with a similar temperament and hostility to the Biblical God.
The last portion of the chapter, from v40 onwards, clearly follows on from these verses, and must be about the same later king.

I think we also have to consider the possibility that the stories of the two kings are “overlapping”.
Certainly most Christians(on the authority of Matthew ch24) would want to apply the “abomination of desolation” passage to the later king as well as to Antiochus.
This would really have to include the whole of vv31-35, about the assault on God’s worship and the reaction of God’s people.

There is room for debate about how much further back this “overlapping” premise should be taken.
I’m agnostic, as I’ve said elsewhere, about applying it to the narrative from the beginning of the chapter.
However, it seems manifest that the end of the chapter, at least, is pointing beyond Antiochus Epiphanes to a later king, cut from the same cloth.

edit on 6-5-2013 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 6 2013 @ 06:13 PM
This thread is the sequel to

Daniel; The kings of the north and south
which deals with the first half of the chapter

posted on May, 6 2013 @ 07:30 PM
As promised, the account from Livy of the "ships of Kittim" episode.

"After [King Antiochus Epiphanes] had crossed the river at Eleusis, a place four miles from Alexandria, he was met by the Roman commissioners. As they approached, the king greeted them and stretched out his right hand to Popilius; whereupon Popilius handed him the tablets containing the Senate's resolution in writing and bade him read this before doing anything else. After reading the decree, Antiochus said that he would summon his friends and consult with them about his course of action; at which Popilius, in keeping with his general acerbity of temper, drew a circle around the king with the rod he carried in his hand and said "Before you move out of this circle, give me an answer to report to the Senate". The king hesitated for a moment, astounded by the violence of the command; then he replied "I shall do what the Senate decrees." Not until then did Popilius hold out his hand to the king as an ally and friend".
Livy, History of Rome, Book XLV.12

posted on May, 6 2013 @ 08:14 PM
reply to post by DISRAELI

he worships only the god of fortresses


see where Boeing made the B-52 STRATO-FORTRESS, bomber... still present in the USAs Trident of nuclear weapons delivery systems....

although the delivery vehicle is called a "Strato" FORTRESS... there might be a reason the near 60 yo bombers are still active... might it be that they are 'Fortresses' that the end-times anti-christ worships...

not so much the bomber itself but the nuclear weapons they carry to targets is the focus of the ACs worship ---death destruction total lannihilation is the 'god' that the AC/King adores above the gods of his Fathers or the god in whom women delight

posted on May, 6 2013 @ 08:26 PM
reply to post by St Udio

Certainly something to do with war, I'm sure.
Thank you for those comments.

posted on May, 7 2013 @ 05:03 PM
If the statement in v37 was being made about Antiochus Epiphanes, the “the gods of his fathers” would be the gods of the Olympian system.
The god “beloved by women” would probably be either Dionysus, who was said to have inspired the violent bands of maenads, or that Tammuz/Adonis who was being mourned in Ezekiel ch8 v14, or perhaps a mother-goddess figure like Cybele or Isis.
We have no knowledge of Antiochus being disrespectful to any of these.

It is unlikely that the phrase about “love of women” actually means “love towards women”. Apart from anything else, this charge would be a change of subject.
Rather, Daniel combines the ideas of “gods worshipped by men” and “gods worshipped by women” to denote all the possible gods, just as someone might use “men and women everywhere” to denote all the people of the world.

posted on May, 7 2013 @ 06:19 PM
The later king’s hostility to the gods in general, not just the Biblical God, is also presented in the New Testament.
“…who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship…”- 2 Thessalonians ch2 v4.
The same is implied in Revelation when the Beast, who has been oppressing the church, finally sets out to destroy even idolatrous Babylon.
In fact if the king is the “second Beast” of Revelation ch13, which would fit in with my understanding of that chapter, then the “foreign god” would be his promotion of the worship of the first Beast.

The “overlapping stories” concept also works in Revelation, providing a solution to the perennial argument about whether the hostile ruler presented in that book is a “king of the end-times” or simply a description of the Emperor Nero. There’s no need to exclude either possibility.

posted on May, 8 2013 @ 05:05 PM
This will be my last Daniel thread in the immediate future, because I’m going to be moving on to other books.
Since I haven’t completed the book, I won’t do an “Index thread” at this time.
However, it might be useful to provide an “index post” which brings together all the Daniel threads I’ve done up to this point.

They fall into three groups.

The first group are looking at the chapters in the first half of Daniel, which illustrate the progression of the confrontation between the Biblical God and dominating kings in general

Chapter One
Daniel; Let them eat bean-cake
Chapter Two
Daniel'; The stone and the statue
Chapter Three
Daniel; The burning, fiery furnace
Chapter Four
Daniel; The madness of kings
Chapter Five
Daniel; Writing on the wall
Chapter Six
Daniel; The lions' den

The second group are looking at those chapters in the second half of Daniel which offer a coded version of the period in history between Alexander the Great and Antiochus Epiphanes (and perhaps further)

Chapter Seven (first part), Chapter Eight (first part)
Daniel’s Greece and Persia
Chapter Eleven (first part)
Daniel; Kings of the north and south
While this thread, of course, takes the story towards the end of the same chapter.

Finally, some occasional threads on details of the “end-times” in Daniel.

Daniel; He makes covenant with many
Daniel; What is an abomination of desolation?
Daniel’s “week” and Revelation’s “hour”
Daniel; Many shall run to and fro

The gaps will be obvious, and I’ll come back to them if the inspiration is available.

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