Antiochus IV Epiphanes

Antiochus IV Epiphanes, Judas Maccabee, and 100% Prophetic Accuracy

Around 168 B.C., Roman warships from Cyprus successfully resisted the Seleucid Empire’s assault on Alexandria, Egypt. The Seleucids, led by Antiochus IV Epiphanes, were forced out of Egypt. Around the same time, Menelaus, who was illegitimately appointed Jewish High Priest over Jerusalem by Antiochus, was forced to seek refuge in the Jewish Temple because Jason, the legitimate high priest, had re-established himself. This made Antiochus furious.

No longer having his attention on Egypt, Antiochus led his forces back to Jerusalem and vented his rage on the Jews. Antiochus sacked Jerusalem. He outlawed the Jewish daily sacrifice. He then erected a statue of himself as the Greek god Zeus. Antiochus had considered himself a human manifestation of Zeus (“epiphanes” means “God manifest”).

Heads: Coin bearing the image of Antiochus IV Epiphanes portrayed as the Greek god Zeus. Image source: Money Museum.

Tails: Antiochus IV Epiphanes portrayed as Zeus holding the Greek goddess, “Nike.” The word “Nike” in Greek means “victory.” Greek letters read, “King Antiochus, God Manifest, Bearing Victory.” Image source: Money Museum.

The statue of a false god, and the subsequent sacrifice of a pig to Zeus, in the Temple, were unspeakable insults to the Jewish religion. Valiant Jewish rebels led by Judas Maccabee fought Antiochus, ultimately liberating Jerusalem and retaking the Temple.

350 years before these events happened, they were prophesied by Daniel in the Bible:

For ships from Cyprus shall come against him [Antiochus IV Epiphanes]; therefore he shall be grieved, and return in rage against the holy covenant [Jerusalem, the Jewish people], and do damage. So he shall return and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant [Menelaus]. And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress [Antiochus sacks Jerusalem]; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices [Antiochus outlaws Jewish daily sacrifice], and place there the abomination of desolation [Antiochus erects statue of himself as Zeus]. Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery [Antiochus was known for lavish giving to supporters]; but the people who know their God [Judas Maccabee and his rebels] shall be strong, and carry out great exploits [winning an impossible victory against the forces of Antiochus].

— Daniel 11:30-32

“Triumph of Judas Maccabee,” by Rubens, circa 1630

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