His attempt to level all differences among the nations he ruled arose not from a conviction of the superiority of Greek culture, the true essence of which he can scarcely be said to have appreciated, but was simply a product of his eccentricity. The Jews themselves afforded Antiochus the first opportunity to interfere in their domestic affairs. The struggle of the
He entered the Temple precincts, not out of curiosity, but to plunder the treasury, and carried away valuable utensils, such as the golden candlestick upon the altar and the showbread table, likewise of gold. This spoliation
An officer, Apollonius, was sent through the country with an armed troop, commissioned to slay and destroy. He first entered Jerusalem amicably; then suddenly turning upon the defenseless city, he murdered, plundered, and burnt through its length and breadth. The men were butchered, women and children sold into slavery, and in order to give permanence to the work of desolation, the walls and numerous houses were torn down. The old City of David was fortified anew by the Syrians, and made into a very strong fortress completely dominating the city. Having thus made Jerusalem a Greek colony, the king's attention was next turned to the destruction of the national religion. A royal decree proclaimed the abolition of the Jewish mode of worship; Sabbaths and festivals were not to be observed; circumcision was not to be performed; the sacred books were to be surrendered and the Jews were compelled to offer sacrifices to the idols that had been erected. The officers charged with carrying out these commands did so with great rigor; a veritable inquisition was established with monthly sessions for investigation. The possession of a sacred book or the performance of the rite of circumcision was punished with death. On Kislew (Nov.-Dec.) 25, 168, a "abomination of desolation" was set up on the altar of burnt offering in the Temple, and the Jews required to make obeisance to it. This was probably the Olympian Zeus, or Baal Shamem.
Notice the Similarities.
Antiochus Is the Precursor to the Man Of Sin.
41 Moreover king Antiochus wrote to his whole kingdom, that all should be one people,
42 And every one should leave his laws: so all the heathen agreed according to the commandment of the king.
43 Yea, many also of the Israelites consented to his religion, and sacrificed unto idols, and profaned the sabbath.
44 For the king had sent letters by messengers unto Jerusalem and the cities of Juda that they should follow the strange laws of the land,
45 And forbid burnt offerings, and sacrifice, and drink offerings, in the temple; and that they should profane the sabbaths and festival days:
46 And pollute the sanctuary and holy people:
47 Set up altars, and groves, and chapels of idols, and sacrifice swine's flesh, and unclean beasts:
48 That they should also leave their children uncircumcised, and make their souls abominable with all manner of uncleanness and profanation:
49 To the end they might forget the law, and change all the ordinances.
50 And whosoever would not do according to the commandment of the king, he said, he should die.
51 In the selfsame manner wrote he to his whole kingdom, and appointed overseers over all the people, commanding the cities of Juda to sacrifice, city by city.
52 Then many of the people were gathered unto them, to wit every one that forsook the law; and so they committed evils in the land;
53 And drove the Israelites into secret places, even wheresoever they could flee for succour.
54 Now the fifteenth day of the month Casleu, in the hundred forty and fifth year, they set up the abomination of desolation upon the altar, and builded idol altars throughout the cities of Juda on every side;
55 And burnt incense at the doors of their houses, and in the streets.
56 And when they had rent in pieces the books of the law which they found, they burnt them with fire.
57 And whosoever was found with any the book of the testament, or if any committed to the law, the king's commandment was, that they should put him to death.
58 Thus did they by their authority unto the Israelites every month, to as many as were found in the cities.
59 Now the five and twentieth day of the month they did sacrifice upon the idol altar, which was upon the altar of God.
60 At which time according to the commandment they put to death certain women, that had caused their children to be circumcised.
61 And they hanged the infants about their necks, and rifled their houses, and slew them that had circumcised them.
62 Howbeit many in Israel were fully resolved and confirmed in themselves not to eat any unclean thing.
63 Wherefore the rather to die, that they might not be defiled with meats, and that they might not profane the holy covenant: so then they died.
64 And there was very great wrath upon Israel.
7:1 It came to pass also, that seven brethren with their mother weren’t taken, and compelled by the king against the law to taste swine's flesh, and were tormented with scourges and whips.
7:2 But one of them that spake first said thus, What wouldest thou ask or learn of us? we are ready to die, rather than to transgress the laws of our fathers.
7:3 Then the king, being in a rage, commanded pans and caldrons to be made hot:
7:4 Which forthwith being heated, he commanded to cut out the tongue of him that spake first, and to cut off the utmost parts of his body, the rest of his brethren and his mother looking on.
7:5 Now when he was thus maimed in all his members, he commanded him being yet alive to be brought to the fire, and to be fried in the pan: and as the vapour of the pan was for a good space dispersed, they exhorted one another with the mother to die manfully, saying thus,
7:6 The Lord God looketh upon us, and in truth hath comfort in us, as Moses in his song, which witnessed to their faces, declared, saying, And he shall be comforted in his servants.
7:7 So when the first was dead after this number, they brought the second to make him a mocking stock: and when they had pulled off the skin of his head with the hair, they asked him, Wilt thou eat, before thou be punished throughout every member of thy body?
7:8 But he answered in his own language, and said, No. Wherefore he also received the next torment in order, as the former did.
7:9 And when he was at the last gasp, he said, Thou like a fury takest us out of this present life, but the King of the world shall raise us up, who have died for his laws, unto everlasting life.
7:10 After him was the third made a mocking stock: and when he was required, he put out his tongue, and that right soon, holding forth his hands manfully.
7:11 And said courageously, These I had from heaven; and for his laws I despise them; and from him I hope to receive them again.
7:12 Insomuch that the king, and they that were with him, marvelled at the young man's courage, for that he nothing regarded the pains.
7:13 Now when this man was dead also, they tormented and mangled the fourth in like manner.
7:14 So when he was ready to die he said thus, It is good, being put to death by men, to look for hope from God to be raised up again by him: as for thee, thou shalt have no resurrection to life.
7:15 Afterward they brought the fifth also, and mangled him.
7:16 Then looked he unto the king, and said, Thou hast power over men, thou art corruptible, thou doest what thou wilt; yet think not that our nation is forsaken of God;
7:17 But abide a while, and behold his great power, how he will torment thee and thy seed.
7:18 After him also they brought the sixth, who being ready to die said, Be not deceived without cause: for we suffer these things for ourselves, having sinned against our God: therefore marvelous things are done unto us.
7:19 But think not thou, that takest in hand to strive against God, that thou shalt escape unpunished.
7:20 But the mother was marvellous above all, and worthy of honourable memory: for when she saw her seven sons slain within the space of one day, she bare it with a good courage, because of the hope that she had in the Lord.
7:21 Yea, she exhorted every one of them in her own language, filled with courageous spirits; and stirring up her womanish thoughts with a manly stomach, she said unto them,
7:22 I cannot tell how ye came into my womb: for I neither gave you breath nor life, neither was it I that formed the members of every one of you;
7:23 But doubtless the Creator of the world, who formed the generation of man, and found out the beginning of all things, will also of his own mercy give you breath and life again, as ye now regard not your own selves for his laws' sake.
7:24 Now Antiochus, thinking himself despised, and suspecting it to be a reproachful speech, whilst the youngest was yet alive, did not only exhort him by words, but also assured him with oaths, that he would make him both a rich and a happy man, if he would turn from the laws of his fathers; and that also he would take him for his friend, and trust him with affairs.
7:25 But when the young man would in no case hearken unto him, the king called his mother, and exhorted her that she would counsel the young man to save his life.
7:26 And when he had exhorted her with many words, she promised him that she would counsel her son.
7:27 But she bowing herself toward him, laughing the cruel tyrant to scorn, spake in her country language on this manner; O my son, have pity upon me that bare thee nine months in my womb, and gave thee such three years, and nourished thee, and brought thee up unto this age, and endured the troubles of education.
7:28 I beseech thee, my son, look upon the heaven and the earth, and all that is therein, and consider that God made them of things that were not; and so was mankind made likewise.
7:29 Fear not this tormentor, but, being worthy of thy brethren, take thy death that I may receive thee again in mercy with thy brethren.
7:30 Whiles she was yet speaking these words, the young man said, Whom wait ye for? I will not obey the king's commandment: but I will obey the commandment of the law that was given unto our fathers by Moses.
7:31 And thou, that hast been the author of all mischief against the Hebrews, shalt not escape the hands of God. 7:32 For we suffer because of our sins.
7:33 And though the living Lord be angry with us a little while for our chastening and correction, yet shall he be at one again with his servants.
7:34 But thou, O godless man, and of all other most wicked, be not lifted up without a cause, nor puffed up with uncertain hopes, lifting up thy hand against the servants of God:
7:35 For thou hast not yet escaped the judgment of Almighty God, who seeth all things.
7:36 For our brethren, who now have suffered a short pain, are dead under God's covenant of everlasting life: but thou, through the judgment of God, shalt receive just punishment for thy pride.
7:37 But I, as my brethren, offer up my body and life for the laws of our fathers, beseeching God that he would speedily be merciful unto our nation; and that thou by torments and plagues mayest confess, that he alone is God;
7:38 And that in me and my brethren the wrath of the Almighty, which is justly brought upon our nation, may cease. 7:39 Than the king' being in a rage, handed him worse than all the rest, and took it grievously that he was mocked.
7:40 So this man died undefiled, and put his whole trust in the Lord.
7:41 Last of all after the sons the mother died.
7:42 Let this be enough now to have spoken concerning the idolatrous feasts, and the extreme tortures.