Home > Antichrist, Book of Daniel > Antiochus IV a type of the Antichrist

Antiochus IV a type of the Antichrist

October 21, 2011

The prophecies of Daniel focus on events connected with ancient world powers, such as Babylon, the Persian empire, the kingdom of Alexander, the hellenistic kingdoms of the diadochi, the Roman empire. In the 8th chapter, a prophecy about the second century B.C. Seleucid king Antiochus IV was to be understood at “the time of the end.” [Daniel 8:17]

Karl August Auberlin considered Antiochus IV to be “a type of the last Antichrist.” Below is his discussion of Antiochus Epiphanes and his significance in Daniel 8. [1]


The eighth chapter describes, by two new animal symbols—a ram and a he-goat—the third and fourth world-monarchies (the Medo-Persian, and Graeco-Macedonian), which were to rule over Israel after the downfall of Babylon—an event that Daniel outlived. Both are here mentioned by name (ver. 20, 21; comp. x., 13, 20; xi., 24), as expressly as the Babylonian kingdom previously (ii. 37-3S). It is only the fourth monarchy, the Roman, which is not mentioned by name. Is not this circumstance an unsought-for proof of the higher antiquity of our book? Daniel lived to see the Persian kingdom. It appears from the Greek names of musical instruments, which occur in our book, that even at that time Greece had become known to the East; and, indeed, it is also evident from the entanglements between the Persians and Greeks, which happened soon after Daniel’s death, and led, in the course of a few decennia, to world-famed wars and battles. But the chief reason why the attention of Daniel and Israel had to be turned to Greece, was, that the Old Testament Antichrist was to proceed from that power. Thus, we can see why the angels in the passages quoted, mention the name Javan, while Rome, belonging to the West, which is put in the background of the vision, remains unnamed.

For the same reason our vision gives more prominence to the Greek empire, and to the last shape which that empire assumes in the little horn, just as is the case with the Roman empire in the seventh chapter. There is but a brief description of the ram with his two horns, the Medes and Persians. The he-goat has at first only one proud horn, Alexander the Great, who comes to his end in a hasty triumphal march from West to East, to the kingdom of Persia. In the place of this great horn four smaller arise, the kingdoms of the successors of Alexander, Macedonia, Asia, Egypt, Syria. Out of one of these, the last named, there proceeded finally a little horn, a king, whose enmity towards the Most High, His service, and His people (the host of heaven), is described with features similar to those of Antichrist in the seventh chapter.

This king is Antiochus Epiphanes. With a stubbornness approaching monomania, he entertained the plan of introducing the worship of Olympian Zeus over all his empire, to which Palestine also belonged; and “as he identified himself with that god, he wished ultimately to make his own worship universal” (comp. 1 Macc. i. 41 etc.; 2 Macc. vi. 7). [2] He tried to extirpate every other worship with fanatical, often with infatuated zeal; and hence instead of Epiphanes, he was called Epimanes. He abolished the worship of Jehovah in Jerusalem, and substituted the worship of idols. His enterprise was all the more dangerous in that he was met by a hellenising party in Israel itself, who had heathenish tendencies (1 Macc. i. 12, etc.; 2 Macc. iv. 9, etc.;  comp. Dan. xi. 30, 32). Thus Antiochus Epiphanes, threatened the gravest peril to the holy people and to revealed religion, and, by consequence, to the existence of a Theocracy on earth. Nothing in the history of the sufferings of Israel from the power of the world, can be compared with the suffering inflicted by Antiochus. For none of the previous worldly rulers who had subjugated the people of the covenant, interfered essentially with their religious worship; but, on the contrary, as appears from the books of Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, had protected and honoured them in many ways in the performance of their national worship. As, for instance, Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. iv. 31-34), Darius the Mede (Dan. vi. 27, 2S), Cyrus (Ezra i. 2-4), Artaxerxes Longimanus (Ezra vii. 12; Nehem. ii. 18), and according to Josephus (Arch. xi. 8), Alexander the Great also. It was therefore necessary that special prophetic announcement should prepare the people for Antiochus, so that they might be forewarned and forearmed against his attacks and artful machinations. Nor did these predictions remain without fruit; for we may regard the glorious struggle of the Maccabees, so far as it was a pure and righteous one, as a fruit of our book (comp. 1 Macc. ii. 59).

Antiochus, in his “self-deifying fanatical haughtiness” (Wieseler), and his enmity against God and divine worship, is very properly the type of Antichrist—the Antichrist of the third monarchy, and of the Old Testament time. “All former teachers,” says Luther, “have called and interpreted this Antiochus a figure of the final Antichrist; and they have hit the right mark.” A clear light is thus thrown on the relation of the second part of our book to the first, and more especially of the eighth chapter to the seventh. There is a similar typical relation between Antiochus and Antichrist, as between the destruction of Jerusalem and the coming of the Son of Man, in the eschatological discourse of Christ (Matt. xxiv.). The Antichrist of the Old Testament stands in the same relation to the Antichrist of the New, as the judgment on the Church of the Old Testament to that on the Church of the New. And this typical character is indeed according to a general law of prophecy, which is clearly illustrated in the two examples we have mentioned. In the same way as Jesus illumines the two events He foretells, by viewing one in the light of the other, so must the seventh and eighth chapters of Daniel be viewed together. The two pictures, of the enemy out of the third, and of the enemy out of the fourth monarchy, touch at many points, and illustrate each other; so that the eighth chapter serves for the elucidation of the seventh, and the seventh again for the elucidation of the eighth. The people of God receive the most complete instruction about Epiphanes, in that single feature, to which prominence is given, that he appears as a type of the last Antichrist. Thus they are distinctly pointed to the magnitude of the threatening danger, and furnished, on the one hand, with an earnest warning of the deceitfulness of the seducer; on the other, with the consolation that he cannot escape the judgment destined to overtake him. And in the same manner as Israel was enabled to understand the type of the Antichrist by the picture of the Antichrist himself (chap. vii.), we are justified in pursuing the reverse method, and in forming a clearer and more complete conception of the last enemy, whose coming we expect, from the delineation of Antiochus. We have here the example of the apostle for our precedent, who, in 2 Thess. ii. 4, paints the Man of Sin with colours which are taken from Dan. xi.

Notes & References

1. Karl August Auberlen, Magnus Friedrich Roos. The prophecies of Daniel and the revelations of St John: viewed in their mutual relation, with an exposition of the principal passages. T. & T. Clark, 1856. pp. 53-56.

2. Wieseler in Herzog’s Realencyklopädie für protest. Theol. u. Kirche i., p. 384.

  1. January 21, 2012 at 5:33 pm


    The evil horn of Daniel 8 does not come from one of the four horns. An analysis of the genders and the plurality of the words horn, wind, heavens will show that it comes from one of the winds of the heavens. It therefore does not necessarily come from Greece. The evil horn of Daniel 8 must be the same as the evil horn of Daniel 7, and the latter grows from the fourth beast, can be illustrated to be the Roman Empire.

    In Daniel 11 there is a transition from Xerxes to Alexander the great. Between these two were hundreds of years, but the prophecy mentions none of the remaining Persian kings. Why? Xerxes battled the Greeks, and was defeated. The principle is therefore that the moment that the next dominating empire arrives on the scene, the remaining kings of the previous empire is no longer mentioned. If we apply the same principle later in Daniel 11, where we finds that Antiochus III was defeated by the Romans, then the vicious king in Deniel 11 is not Antiochus IV. One will see this is you compare the descriptions in the text with historical facts. Antiochus IV never did all the things mentioned in Daniel 11. He grew up as hostage in Rome and was subject to Rome his whole life. There are similarities between Antiochus IV and the horn of Daniel 7, 8 and 11, but they are not the same. Roy Gane did the best analysis of Daniel 11 that I am aware of.

    The issue is whether one reads Daniel forward or backwards. If you start with Daniel 2 and 7, the the horn of Daniel 8 and 11 must come out of Rome. If you start with Daniel 11, like preterists do, you might end up with Antiochus IV.

    Also think about the focus of the prophecies. Daniel 7 mentions 4 beasts and 10 horns, but most of Daniel 7 is about the eleventh horn. It only mentions the beasts and the 10 horns to allow us to identify the eleventh. Daniel 2 also talks more about the feat than of the rest of the body (I think). So, given this tendency to hurry over the first beasts and to focus on the important power, should we not accept that the horn in Daniel 8 represents both the Roman Empire and the evil horn that grows out of it? You will notice that that horn first grows horisontally and then vertically. The horisontal growth is the Roman Empire. The vertical growth is the spiritual aspects of the evil horn arising out of it.

    Another issue is that the beasts of Daniel 7 forms a single entity in Daniel 2. We should therefore not put too much emphasis on the various beasts. They are just different phases of the same entity. When the 11th horn appears in Revelation 13 as a Sea Beast, it looks like a leopard (Greece). The Roman Empire inherited the Grecian culture to a great extent. The horn of Daniel 8 in that sense came out of Greece, even though it came out of the Roman Empire.

    Thanks for your blog. With all the crazy stuff on internet this is a breath of freash air.


    • January 22, 2012 at 1:38 pm

      Hello Andries,

      Thanks for your comments.

      To conclude that the little horn came out of the four winds rather than out of the goat seems unwarrented, in my view, as the imagery in Daniel 8:5-12 is all about horns growing up on the head of a goat. Having already produced four horns, there is a strong suggestion that the little one that grew very tall also came from out of one of the four horns in the same goat. Numerous translations support this. If it appeared from one of the four winds, why does the text not specify which one?

      I think this horn came from out of the goat, and the prophecy points to a hellenistic ruler who may be safely identified as representing Antiochus IV, and it is not necessary to identify the little horn of Daniel chapter 8 with the little horn of chapter 7. Their roles are different.

      I don’t agree that the horn could represent the Roman Empire. I have written more on this at Antiochus IV, the Little Horn of Daniel 8.


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