Antiochus Epiphanes IV – A Type of The Antichrist

Antiochus Epiphanes

Wojciech Stattler, Machabeusze or the Maccabees painting, 1842

Wojciech Stattler, Machabeusze or the Maccabees painting, 1842

 A Type of The Coming Antichrist

Daniel E. Woodhead Ph.D.


The Bible gives a prophecy about the development of a world empire out of which a man called Antiochus Epiphanes would emerge. In this clear example of Bible typology God is giving us an example of the coming Antichrist and what he will do in the middle of the Great Tribulation. He along with the False Prophet who will be the leader of all the heretical pagan world’s religions will place an image of the Antichrist in the rebuild Jewish Temple. Because of the Antiochus typology we assume it will be placed in the Holy of Holies where it will come alive. The Abomination of Desolation was prophesied by The Lord Jesus (Matthew 24:15) and will be carried out by the Antichrist and the False Prophet (Revelation 13:14-15). Jesus wants His children to realize what is coming. We have the example of The Lord Jesus telling His inner circle; Peter, James John and Andrew of future end time world events in His Olivet Discourse. He said to them, “Take heed that no man deceive you” (Matthew 24:4). Jesus also wants to strengthen our belief by telling us events long before they occur.

John 14:29

And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe (KJV).

Alexander’s Generals

We see the prophecy of the vision of the coming Hellenistic empire (also called the Greek Empire) from Daniel 7:6 where this empire is described as one beast that is leopard-like with four wings and four heads. With leopard-like swiftness, Alexander the Great conquered the Medo-Persian Empire and greatly extended the Hellenistic Empire. In 323 B.C. Alexander dies, and when asked who should succeed him, he says to leave his empire to “the strong.” The empire is split into four kingdoms. The four wings represent the four kingdoms rising out of Alexander’s Empire and the four heads represent the four generals who took control of the four kingdoms, and who would fight with each other continually over these territories. The generals and their areas were:

  • Ptolemy, who ruled over Egypt, Israel and Arabia Petrea
  • Seleucus, who ruled over Syria, Babylonia, and as Far East as India
  • Cassander, who ruled over Macedonia and Greece
  • Lysimachus, who ruled over Thrace and Bithinia

Here is a map showing the divisions in 301 B.C.:












Source: Retrieved March 28, 2013 from

Notice the position of Israel is in between the areas claimed by Ptolemy and Selucis, and would be a an area of constant turmoil as these two powers fought with each other. The successors of Seleucus and Ptolemy are all prophesied in Daniel 10 and 11. Out of the Seleucid line came the leader, Antiochus Epiphanes, who eventually exerted control over the Holy Land and imposed extreme persecutions to the Jews as described in Daniel chapter 8. Here is the line of succession that preceded Antiochus Epiphanes:

323 B.C.                                Alexander dies. He says to leave his empire to “the strong.”

312-280 B.C.                        Seleucus I Nicator succeeds as ruler over the Israel region.

280-261 B.C.                        Antiochus II Soter assumes leadership over Israel.

261-246 B.C.                        Antiochus II Theos replaces Soter.

246-226 B.C.                        Seleucis II Callinicus assumes control.

226-223 B.C.                        Seleucis III Keroneos rises.

222-187 B.C.                        Antiochus III The Great took control.

187-175 B.C.              Seleucis IV Philopator plundered the Temple and raised taxes to the Jews.

175-164 B.C.              Antiochus IV Epiphanes is the brother of Philopator and he begins a very severe persecution of the Jews, which causes a revolt led by the Maccabeans, and creates a turning back to God by the Jews for a short while.

Antiochus Epiphanes

Epiphanes’ name means “God made manifest.” Epiphanes sought to force Greek culture and manners on the Jews. In imposing Hellenism, Epiphanies was following the intentions of Alexander whose dream was to create an empire, not by the sword but by culture. Because of this Hellenization, the region was speaking Greek by the time of Christ and the New Testament, which was written in Koine Greek and spread quickly because so many people throughout the empire knew Greek.

Bust of Antiochus Epiphanies IV from Altes Museum in Berlin

Bust of Antiochus Epiphanes IV from Altes Museum in Berlin

This Hellenization had a measure of success among the un-biblical, or Hellenized portion of the Jewish priesthood, but there was a core of devout priests and people who refused to abandon the faith of their forefathers. God always leaves remnant that are faithful to Him. Epiphanies tried to put an end to the Jewish religious community through the introduction of Hellenistic cults, and persecuted those who would not bend to his demands (170-164 B.C.). For example, he entered the Holy of Holies and desecrated the sanctuary by offering pigs upon the altar of burnt offerings. He polluted the whole building by sprinkling it with water in which pig flesh had been boiled. He dedicated the Temple itself to Jupiter Olympus. Finally, he erected the statue of that deity and plundered the temple treasures. Severe punitive measures merely brought the matter to a head. For example, “According to the decree, they put to death the women who had their children circumcised, and their families and those who circumcised them; and they hung the infants from their mothers’ necks”
(I Maccabees 1:60, 61, RSV). These events were the cause of the Maccabean struggle and a revolt followed. [1] As a result of the persecution many Jews hung on to God and His commandments, and many in Israel stood firm and did not bend to pagan rituals being forced upon them. Another example was staying resolved in their hearts not to eat unclean food. “But many in Israel stood firm and were resolved in their hearts not to eat unclean food. They chose to die rather than to be defiled by food or to profane the holy covenant; and they did die. And very great wrath came upon Israel” (I Maccabees 1:62-64). Epiphanes enacted a law requiring all citizens to present themselves four times a year to pay formal homage to Antiochus Epiphanies as the senior god of the Seleucids. The day chosen for these periodic submissions was Shabbat, the Jewish day of prayer when Jews preferred not to leave their homes. Epiphanes  was met by a revolt, called the Maccabean Revolt (167-160 B.C.), in which the Jews set up a small state in which the high priest was the central figure and this gained the Jews their independence for a short while. God let the Jews get themselves out of the trouble they brought upon themselves.

It is important to realize that even though God uses evil people to carry out His will, He punishes them for their wickedness.  Here are two accounts of Antiochus’ death, from I and II Maccabees.

Now, when the king heard these words [about the defeat of his armies by Judas Maccabeus] he was astonished and sore moved; whereupon he laid him down upon his bed, and fell sick for grief, because it had not befallen him as he looked for. And there he continued many days: for his grief was ever more and more, and he made account that he should die. Wherefore, he called for all his friends and said unto them: “The sleep is gone from mine eyes, and my heart faileth for very care. And I thought with myself into what tribulations am I come, and how great a flood of misery it is, wherein now I am! for I was bountiful and beloved in my power. But now I remember the evils that I did at Jerusalem, and that I took all the vessels of gold and silver that were therein, and sent to destroy the inhabitants of Judea without cause. I perceive, therefore, that these troubles have come upon me, and behold I perish through great grief in a strange land.” Then called he for Philip, one of his friends, whom he made ruler over all his realm, and gave him the crown, and his robe, and his signet, to the end he should bring up his son Antiochus, and nourish him up for the kingdom. (1 Maccabees 6:8-15)

But the Lord, the God of Israel, that seeth all things, struck him with an incurable and an invisible plague. For as soon as he had ended these words, a dreadful pain in his bowels came upon him, and bitter torments of the inner parts.  And indeed very justly, seeing he had tormented the bowels of others with many and new torments, albeit he by no means ceased from his malice.  Moreover, being filled with pride, breathing out fire in his rage against the Jews, and commanding the matter to be hastened, it happened as he was going with violence, that he fell from the chariot, so that his limbs were much pained by a grievous bruising of the body.  Thus he that seemed to himself to command even the waves of the sea, being proud above the condition of man, and to weigh the heights of the mountains in a balance, now being cast down to the ground, was carried in a litter, bearing witness to the manifest power of God in himself:  So that worms swarmed out of the body of this man, and whilst he lived in sorrow and pain, his flesh fell off, and the filthiness of his smell was noisome to the army.  And the man that thought a little before he could reach to the stars of heaven, no man could endure to carry, for the intolerable stench. And by this means, being brought from his great pride, he began to come to the knowledge of himself, being admonished by the scourge of God, his pains increasing every moment.  And when he himself could not now abide his own stench, he spoke thus: It is just to be subject to God, and that a mortal man should not equal himself to God.  Then this wicked man prayed to the Lord. (II Maccabees 5-13)

Antiochus Epiphanes died in 164 B.C.

Death of Antiochus Epiphanies IV by Ambrose Thomas 1834

Death of Antiochus Epiphanes IV by Ambrose Thomas 1834


This prophecy of Daniel 8:23-25 goes beyond what was historically fulfilled in Antiochus to foreshadow the Antichrist in the “Latter Days.” Antiochus is used as a type or model of the future coming world leader.

Daniel 8:23-25

23And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. 24And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper and do his pleasure; and he shall destroy the mighty ones and the holy people. 25And through his policy he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and in their security shall he destroy many: he shall also stand up against the prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand (ASV).

 What he did was a type or model of what the future Antichrist will do in the rebuilt Jewish Temple. This is called the Abomination of Desolation.

Daniel E. Woodhead

[1] Josephus, Flavius. The Works of Josephus Translated by William Whiston. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1987, 323.


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The Last Battle on Earth



The Beast of Revelation 666 by Hawkwood

The Bible reveals exactly how the coming world leader, known as the Antichrist, will suffer defeat for all the havoc he has caused on earth. And specifically, the greatest persecutions of the Jews this earth will have ever seen. This person will have great political acumen and will be a virtual sorcerer. [1] During the holocaust under the Nazis approximately one-third of the entire world’s population of Jews were exterminated. That amounted to about six million people. At that time the people listened to the swaying words of Adolph Hitler enabling him to kill so many. The Antichrist and his pogroms will kill two-thirds during the Great Tribulation (Zechariah13:8). With Jewish worldwide population estimated presently at approximately 13.3 million that equals 8.86 million to be killed.[2] Of the remaining one-third all will have been refined and finally accept Christ as their Messiah.

Zechariah 13:9 “And I will bring the third part through the fire,
 Refine them as silver is refined,
 And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name,
 And I will answer them;
 I will say, ‘They are My people,’
 And they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.'”(NASB)

In concert with this is Christ’s Words regarding the Jews finally accepting them as their Messiah.

Matthew 23:39 “For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!'”(NASB)

And finally the final fulfillment of Paul does prophesy regarding the Jews national salvation.

Romans 11:26-27 and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION,

During the last stage of the Great Tribulation, which we call the battle of Armageddon, the Antichrist, will move his forces into the Valley of Jezreel. His enemies, which are the underground or resistance forces who have been saved during the Tribulation, take the opportunity to destroy Babylon the world capital of the Antichrist. They do it unannounced and in rapid fashion.  According to Isaiah 13:3, they will be Gentile believers of the Tribulation. Just prior to this they will make their way to Jerusalem to report to the Jews who are there. This sudden destruction of the world political and economic capital will cause great distress on the earth, but not in heaven. Because when Babylon gets destroyed it will signal to those in Heaven that the Second Coming is soon to occur!

Christ Returns with The Saints - Artist Unknown

Christ Returns with The Saints – Artist Unknown

Along with the destruction of Babylon the regeneration of the Nation Israel will occur shortly. Most of the Jews and their leaders will have fled Jerusalem and Israel. They will be at the sheepfold of Bozrah in the land of Edom, which is present day Jordan.

Micah 2:12 12 I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as a flock in the midst of their pasture; they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men.(KJV)

This is known today as Petra. Modern day Petra is ancient Bozrah. The name Bozrah in many modern Bibles gets translated as sheepfold, which is a protected area for sheep. Petra is the Greek word for a city in Southern Jordan, today that was know in Old Testament times as Bozrah. The word Petra means rock and the word Bozrah means sheepfold or fortress. It is located in ancient region of Edom southeast of the Dead Sea. Edom is also the name given to Jacob’s brother Esau (Gen 25:30) whose name means red (Gen 25:25). The rock in Petra is red and the city entrance (the siq) and interior have characteristics of a sheepfold. This is the city where the Jews will flee for safety during the last half of the Great Tribulation. This city meets all the requirements that Jesus gave for the location where they should flee.

The Antichrist’s main purpose is to completely destroy the Jewish Race. The allied armies of the Antichrist will march southward from Jerusalem to Bozrah.

Jeremiah 49: 13-14″For I have sworn by Myself,” declares the LORD, “that Bozrah will become an object of horror, a reproach, a ruin and a curse; and all its cities will become perpetual ruins.” 
I have heard a message from the LORD, And an envoy is sent among the nations, saying, 
”Gather yourselves together and come against her,
 And rise up for battle!” (NASB)

So now the nations of the earth are gathered at Bozrah against the Remnant of Israel. The Jews are gathered at Bozrah.

The battle at Bozrah is actually the initial location for Christ’s Second Coming. For it is there that Jesus and the Antichrist fight and the battle continues all the way back to the Temple Mount eastern wall which overlooks a portion of the Kidron Valley which was known in Bible times as the Valley of Jehoshaphat.

                        Joel 3:12-13 Let the nations be aroused
 And come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat, For there I will sit to judge
 All the surrounding nations. 
Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe 
Come, tread, for the wine press is full;
 The vats overflow, for their wickedness is great. (NASB)

The Antichrist himself will be among the first to be conquered and destroyed by Christ. This false Christ will completely fail before the true Christ. Remember, Antichrist means to be in “place of Christ.” There is an unholy trinity just as there is the Holy Trinity. The Holy is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The unholy is; Satan, the Antichrist and the false prophet. The Antichrist will be taking the role of Christ as the son. All of Antichrist’s earthly power will pale in comparison to the Lord Jesus. This particular moment in time will demonstrate that quite clearly. Habakkuk described this:

Habakkuk 3:13b   You struck the head of the house of the evil
 To lay him open from thigh to neck.

The apostle Paul also described this slaying for us in II Thessalonians.

II Thessalonians 2:8: Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; (NASB)

Finally the Antichrist, who claimed to be God in the middle of The Great Tribulation, and went into the Temple and made that declaration, comes to his end. This person derived his power from Satan and his soul will be delivered down to hell. His body has a different end on the earth, which will be address separately.

Isaiah 14:3-1. And it will be in the day when the LORD gives you rest from your pain and turmoil and harsh service in which you have been enslaved, that you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon, and say,
”How the oppressor has ceased,
 And how fury has ceased! “The LORD has broken the staff of the wicked,
 The scepter of rulers Which used to strike the peoples in fury with unceasing strokes, Which subdued the nations in anger with unrestrained persecution. “The whole earth is at rest and is quiet; They break forth into shouts of joy. “Even the cypress trees rejoice over you, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying,
 ‘Since you were laid low, no tree cutter comes up against us.’ “Sheol from beneath is excited over you to meet you when you come; It arouses for you the spirits of the dead, all the leaders of the earth; It raises all the kings of the nations from their thrones. “They will all respond and say to you, ‘Even you have been made weak as we, You have become like us. ‘Your pomp and the music of your harps. Have been brought down to Sheol;
 Maggots are spread out as your bed beneath you. And worms are your covering.’ (NASB)

Once the Jews are all saved at Christ’s Second Coming they will mock the Antichrist while proclaiming God’s majestic strength.  The succeeding verses in this Isaiah passage describe Lucifer’s fall, not the Antichrist’s. The Antichrist controlled the world’s nations. In these verses we see the nations celebrating his death. When he enters Hell those that were prominent but unsaved figures on the earth will be very surprised to see him there.  Then all the splendor of the worldwide reign of the Antichrist will terminate with his entrance into Hell.

Isaiah, after describing the Antichrist’s entrance to hell and Lucifer’s fall, begins to discuss the demise of the Antichrist’s body.

Isaiah 14:16-21: “Those who see you will gaze at you,
 They will ponder over you, saying,
 ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble,
 Who shook kingdoms, 
Who made the world like a wilderness
 And overthrew its cities,
 Who did not allow his prisoners to go home?’  “All the kings of the nations lie in glory,
 Each in his own tomb. “But you have been cast out of your tomb
 Like a rejected branch,
 Clothed with the slain who are pierced with a sword,
 Who go down to the stones of the pit
 Like a trampled corpse. “You will not be united with them in burial,
 Because you have ruined your country,
 You have slain your people.
 May the offspring of evildoers not be mentioned forever. “Prepare for his sons a place of slaughter
. Because of the iniquity of their fathers.
 They must not arise and take possession of the earth
. And fill the face of the world with cities.”(NASB)

There will be much disbelief with those who are viewing the body that this Antichrist died so suddenly and easily when they consider the control he exerted over the entire earth. Interestingly and very fitting to the one who orchestrated the worst persecution of God’s people, his body will be trampled over by the retreating feet of his own army. His body won’t even be buried. It will be resurrected and cast alive into the Lake of Fire during the seventy-five day interval between the end of the Tribulation and start of the Millennial Kingdom. This is why Isaiah says that he will not be buried. His entire family will be destroyed so that they are unable to follow his path and attempt to rule the world.

There are several passages that demonstrate how Christ will slaughter the army by marching through the land in indignation and treading the nations with His feet. This will cause His garments to be stained with their blood. Zechariah describes this.

Zechariah 14:12-15 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour. And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance. And so shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the ass, and of all the beasts that shall be in these tents, as this plague.(KJV)

The method that God will use to slay the armies of the Antichrist as described in Zechariah chapter fourteen embody the characteristics of a nuclear explosion.  One survivor of Hiroshima described the effects of that nuclear explosion of that population in two groups. One group in close proximity to the blast evaporated and the second, somewhat further away from the explosion, died shortly thereafter. Their physical characteristics after the blast are very similar to Zechariah’s description.

1. Those close to the hypocenter were instantly incinerated without leaving behind a trace, except for perhaps a shadow on a wall or street where their bodies had partially protected the surface from the initial flash of heat. One author notes that those closest to the blast “passed from being to nothingness faster than any human physiology can register.

2. Those slightly farther from the center of the explosion did not die immediately, but suffered from severe third-degree burns all over their bodies, in particular to any areas that were exposed directly to the heat. They suffered a period of intense pain before dying of their injuries. Those who witnessed the explosion and survived invariably describe these victims in the most horrific terms.

The appearance of people was . . . well, they all had skin blackened by burns. . . . They had no hair because their hair was burned, and at a glance you couldn’t tell whether you were looking at them from in front or in back. . . . They held their arms bent [forward] like this . . . and their skin – not only on their hands, but on their faces and bodies too – hung down. . . . If there had been only one or two such people . . . perhaps I would not have had such a strong impression. But wherever I walked I met these people. . . . Many of them died along the road – I can still picture them in my mind — like walking ghosts. [3]

Even though the leader has met his demise his armies continue to fight. They are moving toward the Valley of Jehoshaphat.

Revelation 14: 19-20: So the angel swung his sickle to the earth and gathered the clusters from the vine of the earth, and threw them into the great wine press of the wrath of God. And the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood came out from the wine press, up to the horses’ bridles, for a distance of two hundred miles.(NASB)

The city is Jerusalem and the winepress metaphor is the battle in the Valley of Jehoshaphat. The armies come from Bozrah, which will end the battle. The blood stretches 200 miles at the depth of the horse’s bridles. Jeremiah best describes this:

Jeremiah 49:20-22: Therefore hear the plan of the LORD which He has planned against Edom, and His purposes which He has purposed against the inhabitants of Teman: surely they will drag them off, even the little ones of the flock; surely He will make their pasture desolate because of them. The earth has quaked at the noise of their downfall. There is an outcry! The noise of it has been heard at the Red Sea. Behold, He will mount up and swoop like an eagle and spread out His wings against Bozrah; and the hearts of the mighty men of Edom in that day will be like the heart of a woman in labor.(NASB)

An incredible amount of blood is spilled. Since the fighting begins at Bozrah then moves to Jerusalem this could be the 200 miles spoken of in the Revelation passage. Trying to pinpoint the exact geographic flow of the blood is somewhat difficult.

The difficulty arises in measuring the lineal distances involved in the final stage of the Armageddon effort. Remember it starts in Bozrah then moves to Jerusalem. The distance from Bozrah to the Valley at Armageddon is about 200 miles. This region encompasses the Jehoshaphat valley. Christ spoke of birth pangs in the Olivet Discourse explaining the steps from the beginning of the first pang of the “Last Days” to the final arrival of the Messiah to set up His Kingdom on earth. In discussing the birth pangs of the Great Tribulation Jeremiah referenced Edom and the Red Sea. This might satisfy the question more specifically in terms of the area encompassed by the 200 miles of blood.

Jeremiah 49: 20-22 Therefore hear the plan of the LORD which He has planned against Edom, and His purposes which He has purposed against the inhabitants of Teman: surely they will drag them off, even the little ones of the flock; surely He will make their pasture desolate because of them. The earth has quaked at the noise of their downfall. There is an outcry! The noise of it has been heard at the Red Sea. Behold, He will mount up and swoop like an eagle and spread out His wings against Bozrah; and the hearts of the mighty men of Edom in that day will be like the heart of a woman in labor. (NASB)

Consider this vast amount of blood beginning to spill at Bozrah and continuing northwest to Jerusalem and on to the Valley of Jehoshaphat, which runs into the Gulf of Aquaba (The Red Sea). The distance from there to Jerusalem is about 200 miles with blood at the four-foot level. This is indeed a fitting final end of the armies of the Antichrist who caused and executed the worst persecution of the Jews the world will have ever seen.


Daniel E. Woodhead Ph.D.


[1] McCall, Thomas, S. and Zola Levitt. Satan in the Sanctuary, Dallas, TX. Self Published 1983,130.

[2] LeNef, Ner ,ed. World Jewish Population: Judaism on Line, 2001. (accessed February 24, 2010) available from http://World; Internet, n.p.


[3] Kay, Joseph. Sixty Years since the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Bombings, Internet. World Socialist Web Site accessed February 24, 2010 from: Hida Shuntaro. “The Day Hiroshima Disappeared,” in Hiroshima’s Shadows, edited by Kai Bird and Lawrence Lifschultz, The Pamphleteer’s Press, Stony Creek, Connecticut: 1998, p. 419.

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