Out of one of them (Seleucus) came another horn (Antiochus
IV Epiphanes), who started small but grew in power to the
south (Egypt) and to the east (Arabia Petraea) and towards the
Beautiful Land (Palestine). Antiochus IV was one of twenty-six
kings who ruled Syria. He continued as king from 175
B.C. until 164 B.C., ruling from Antioch. The name
“Antiochus” means “opposer” or “withstander.” Antiochus II
was known as “theos,” meaning “God” and Antiochus III, was
known as “the Great.” Descending from such lineage,
Antiochus IV developed an exalted view of himself. He
assumed the title “Theos Epiphanes,” meaning “the Manifest
God.” However, he was known by his enemies as Epiphames
(“madman” or “insane”), which required a change of one
letter (“n” to “m”) in the Greek spelling of his title.
This change in his title occurred after he had slaughtered
one hundred thousand Jews (1 Maccabees 1:24, 37, 57-64; 2
Maccabees 5:11-14, 23-26). Centuries before it happened,
Daniel witnessed this trepidation in his vision.
This “little horn” of the goat is not to be confused
with the “little horn” of the fourth beast (7:8). The
little horn of the goat rises out the Greek Empire, while
the other rises from the Revived Roman Empire. Both
“little horns” oppose God, magnify themselves to the level
of deity and
persecute the people of God. Both are
energized by Satan. Both rulers demonstrate fallen man’s
extreme obsession to rule the world apart from God. There
are strong similarities between the two “little horns”
since the one of the goat foreshadows the one of the beast
in the end times. And both the typical little horn
(Antiochus IV Epiphanes) and the antitypical little horn
(the Antichrist) appear in succession in chapter eleven.
Antiochus IV ascended to the throne by intrigue.
Following the murder of his brother Demetrius, the
rightful heir, who was being held hostage in Rome,
Antiochus seized the throne and became the eighth ruler of
the Seleucid dynasty. This little horn grew “until it
reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the
starry host down to the earth and trampled on them.” The
starry host is the promised offspring of Abraham (Genesis
12:3; 15:5; Jeremiah 33:22).
How did Antiochus throw to the earth some of the
faithful Jews (the starry host) and trample on them?
Antiochus was a tyrant, a ruthless dictator, who
suppressed the Biblical faith and the worship of the one
true God during the time of the Maccabees. He expelled
Israel’s godly high
priest Onias III from his office
at the beginning of his reign in 175 B.C., and he
assassinated the priest in 171 B.C. Thereafter, he pursued
his evil policy of securing control of the high priesthood
and bringing increasing pressure on the Jewish hierarchy
to surrender their religious loyalties in the interest of
conformity to Greek culture and idolatry as predicted.
It set itself [Antiochus] up to be as great as the
Prince of the host [High Priest]; it took away the daily
sacrifice from him (High Priest), and the place of his
sanctuary [Temple] was brought low [statue of Zeus erected
and a pig sacrificed on the altar]. Because of rebellion [Maccabean
Revolt], the host of the saints [Israel] and the daily
sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in
everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground [all
copies of Torah burned].
In 169 B.C., Antiochus arrogantly entered God’s
sanctuary and took the golden altar and the lampstand. Two
years later, he sent letters by messengers to Jerusalem to
profane the Sabbath and feasts, to defile the sanctuary
and the priests, to build altars and sacred precincts and
shrines for idols, to sacrifice swine and unclean animals,
and to forget the law and change all the ordinances (1
Maccabees 1:41-49). Outside the Most Holy Place of the
Temple, Greek games were held. Since participants of these
games were naked, this led to the Jews’ compromise of
On top of everything else, these games were dedicated
to Zeus, whose statue was erected in the Temple. Apollo,
the historic deity of the dynasty, disappeared almost
entirely from the Seleucid coinage after the reign of
Antiochus, and Apollo was replaced by Zeus.
Antiochus (and Satan) knew that the uniqueness of
Israel depended on its sacrificial system and the truth
written in the Torah. The books of the law which they
found they tore in pieces and
burned with fire. Where
the book of the covenant was found in the possession of
anyone, or if anyone adhered to the law, the decree of the
king condemned them to death (1 Maccabees 1:5657).
It is possible that this decree could have led to the
Essenes hiding their scrolls or the Jewish priests hiding
the Temple scrolls in the caves of Qumran. Discovered in
A.D. 1947, the writings are known as the Dead Sea Scrolls.