As intriguing as what history is, so can people be. On an electronic daily newspaper platform today I saw a video of an advocate being arrested in court. He was representing four accused in the Senzo Meyiwa (late Bafana captain and goalkeeper who was murdered) court case. His arrest was for a court case where he is named as an accused. He “missed” court, a warrant was issued and he was arrested with live TV coverage. Intriguing! As prophecy continues to unfold by the mouth of the Divine Witness to Daniel, we became aware of the difficulties in the passage, yet we are confronted by …
1) A master of intrigue.
Da 11:21 “He will be succeeded by a contemptible person who has not been given the honor of royalty. He will invade the kingdom when its people feel secure, and he will seize it through intrigue.”
The person is Antiochus Epiphanes …. A little later, from verse 36 the prophecy points to the antichrist. Antiochus Epiphanes was obsessed with wealth, spending money recklessly with wasteful extravagance. He was a man of excessive indulgences and violent passions which included extreme cruelties. He might have claimed the name “Epiphanes” meaning “illustrious”, but his peers nicknamed him “epimanes” which means “madman”. He was contemptible because he, through flattery, fraud and deception won over the kings of Pergamus and removed the rightful contender, Demetrius Soter, son of Seleucus Philopater. Even in our day we see that ingenious ways in which political contenders are sidelined. We even saw how a replacement king was challenged. There is nothing new! The following verses expose him rather blatantly.
Da 11:22 Then an overwhelming army will be swept away before him; both it and a prince of the covenant will be destroyed.
This might refer to Egypt and its leader with whom he had made a covenant.
Da 11:23 After coming to an agreement with him, he will act deceitfully, and with only a few people he will rise to power.
Again it could be with Egypt that he makes an agreement but only for his own advantage.
Da 11:24 When the richest provinces feel secure, he will invade them and will achieve what neither his fathers nor his forefathers did. He will distribute plunder, loot and wealth among his followers. He will plot the overthrow of fortresses—but only for a time.
Surely this is the thief in the night! When leaders are unaware and unsuspecting Antiochus arrives. When the leaders thought all is well, calm and no military threats, he slips in to overthrow the Egyptian strongholds that protected her. He achieves what his forefathers could not, but … only for a season.
2) The first formal invasion of Egypt.
Da 11:25 “With a large army he will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South. The king of the South will wage war with a large and very powerful army, but he will not be able to stand because of the plots devised against him.
Whether the king of the South is Ptolemy Physcon or more likely Ptolemy Philometer, he could not withstand the onslaught because some of those he trusted, who claimed to support him committed treason against him. This is seen in the following verse:
Da 11:26 Those who eat from the king’s provisions will try to destroy him; his army will be swept away, and many will fall in battle.
This we have seen often in history where the closest confidants and supporters could become the ones with the sharpest spears pointed at the back! But more than that, the king of Egypt and Antiochus plot evil against each other!
Da 11:27 The two kings, with their hearts bent on evil, will sit at the same table and lie to each other, but to no avail, because an end will still come at the appointed time.
On the one hand Antiochus shows hospitality towards Philometer, yet violates the principles of Oriental hospitality. Antiochus gives the impression that he is going to conquer Egypt for Philometer whilst Philometer pretends to believe him. Their plans will fail because God’s time for war between Egypt and Syria had not yet come. So … Antiochus returns home with great wealth!
Da 11:28 The king of the North will return to his own country with great wealth, but his heart will be set against the holy covenant. He will take action against it and then return to his own country.
It seems as though Antiochus also plundered Judea on his return home.
3) Further invasions into Egypt. Daniel is silent about the second one in 169 BC but mentions this one in 168 BC.
Da 11:29 “At the appointed time he will invade the South again, but this time the outcome will be different from what it was before.”
The appointed time is God’s time! The movements of leaders and their armies are determined by God. This was true of Antiochus then and even Putin today. The outcome of Antiochus’ invasion will not have the same success as the previous one.
4) Antiochus turns against Israel with fury.
Da 11:30 Ships of the western coastlands will oppose him, and he will lose heart. Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant. He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant.
Popilius Laenas sent his Roman ships to Egypt to prevent Antiochus (Syria). Antiochus became disheartened to the point of being so disturbed that he was depressed and distraught. In rage he returns home via Israel again and vents his fury against her. Cunningly he sets apart those who apostatize from Judaism for another evil scheme he will hatch. Now we come to the climax of Antiochus’ deeds. His army is stationed at the Temple in Jerusalem. On the Sabbath Day the city was attacked, women and children were taken prisoners and most of the area near the temple was occupied, including houses. The intent was to remove every sign of Jewish Religion and introduce Hellenistic Culture. On the altar of burnt offering they erected a pagan altar. We will have to consider the next few verses, applicable to today’s ending, tomorrow. Whether it is political, religious or secular, the intent against the Christian Church is to remove that which we hold dear. The altar for the Jew was the only way to access God for forgiveness of sin. Remove this and the very structures of the Jewish Religion would fall apart. In Christianity they cannot remove the Cross or open Tomb but they can remove the Bible. Normally this starts with banning the Bible and Prayer in Schools. Stop giving valuable airtime to Christian Worship on radio and TV. Remove Christian Holy Days as Public Holidays. Re-write history to either exclude Biblical Christianity or to dilute it with Liberal Theology.
Thank You Lord that You are in the heart. Help us to memorize the Word less we lose it. Amen.