Short Shot- Daniel 9: Antiochus Epiphanes and the Establishment of Everlasting Righteousness?

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Short Shot: Daniel 9:24f, Antiochus Epiphanes, Bringing In of Everlasting Righteousness

In a previous article, I noted that it is commonly claimed among the higher, “critical” and “liberal” commentators that Daniel 9:24-27 was fulfilled in the time of Antiochus Epiphanies in the second century BC– circa 174-164 BC. I examined that claim in light of the fact that Daniel 9 foretold the making of the Atonement; “Seventy weeks are determined…to make the atonement.”

That Short Shot, demonstrated that due to the corruption of the priesthood in the time of Antiochus, i.e. the murder of the qualified High Priest Onias the III, the ensuing installment of Jason and then Menalaus, both corrupt, immoral and violent men, that it was literally impossible for the Atonement to be made by those men at that time. In fact, the corruption of the High Priest’s office that took place at that time continued to such a degree that as I shared from Kiwoong Son:

The destruction of the Jerusalem Temple (BC 586 DKP) and the process of Hellenization led meany pious people to regard the city as desecrated and now under the judgment of God (1 Maccabees 2:713; 2 Macc. 5:17; Test. Of Levi 14:5-8; Psam of Solomon 2:1-3; 8:8-21…). They saw the defilement of the temple as a sign that the temple was no longer a proper place for God’s dwelling, and consequently they left Jerusalem.”
In footnote, #126, same page: “The Qumran community saw Jerusalem as a city ‘where the Wicked Priest committed abominable deeds and defiled the temple of God,” (Kiwoong Son, Zion Symbolism in Hebrews; Hebrews 12:18-24 as a Hermeneutical Key to the Epistle (Grand Rapids, Paternoster, 2005), 52.

So, the suggestion that the making of the Atonement was fulfilled in the time of Antiochus is simply false. It could not have been fulfilled by any of the treacherous, corrupt High Priests that were appointed at that time– or afterward. But that is not the only problem from the text of Daniel 9 that forbids an Antioch an interpretation.

In this Short Shot I will focus on another of the many reasons why the Antiochan view is to be rejected.

Daniel 9:24 says “Seventy weeks are determined…to bring in everlasting righteousness.”

It must be kept in mind that the time of Antiochus Epiphanes was in fact a time of lawlessness and sin in the nation of Israel! In fact, one might well postulate that the judgments on Israel at that time were in fact judgment from God because as Daniel 8:19-24 tells us:

And he said, “Look, I am making known to you what shall happen in the latter time of the indignation; for at the appointed time the end shall be. The ram which you saw, having the two horns—they are the kings of Media and Persia. And the male goat is the kingdom of Greece. The large horn that is between its eyes is the first king. As for the broken horn and the four that stood up in its place, four kingdoms shall arise out of that nation, but not with its power.And in the latter time of their kingdom, When the transgressors have reached their fullness, A king shall arise, Having fierce features, Who understands sinister schemes. His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; He shall destroy fearfully, And shall prosper and thrive; He shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people.

Now, while some posit this as the ultimate “end time” prophecy of the Man of Sin / Anti-Christ, it should be noted that the text specifically tells us that all of this would take place in the “in the latter time of their kingdom,” i.e. in the last days of the Grecian Empire under the Ptolemy and Seleucids, when Antiochus Epiphanes came to power, and wreaked havoc on the Jews. It was at that time that the Roman Empire became more and more ascendant.

Note that it would be during that time of Antiochus that “the transgressors” would come to fulness. In other words, Israel would fill a measure of her sin and it would be through that “little horn”that YHVH would bring judgment on them. (Cf. 2 Maccabees 6:14-15). Thus, the time of Antiochus was not the time of the establishing of everlasting righteousness; it was a time when Israel had filled the measure of her sin!

Now, Daniel 9 did predict the time of the filling up of the measure of sin, i.e. “to finish the transgression.” The question is, did the filling up of the measure of sin and the subsequent judgment on Israel at the time of Antiochus, result in the bringing in of everlasting righteousness? This is the real question. And history attests that this did not happen. (The fact is that several times in Israel’s history she filled the measure of her sin. That is why the ten northern tribes went into captivity; it is why the Babylonians came against her, and it is why the Lord used Antiochus to judge them for their sin. In the N.T. we find Jesus saying that his generation would be the worst ever of Israel’s sin (Matthew 12:43f, and they would fill up the measure of their sin– inclusive of all the foregoing situations! This drives home the point of how significant the first century events truly were.

As gallant and brave as the Maccabees were, and as noble as their goals were, they did not bring in everlasting righteousness. Even after they captured Jerusalem from the Seluecids under Antiochus’ forces and re-dedicated the altar and temple, (BC 164) that “victory” was short lived, to say the least.

Remember what we documented in the previous article, that it was during this very time that the priesthood was corrupted to the point of being totally reprehensible. No atonement– and thus, no everlasting righteousness!- could be offered or achieved. Since the making of Atonement and the bringing in of everlasting righteousness are inter-related, and since the Atonement could not (was not) made in the time of Antiochus, that is indisputable proof that everlasting righteousness was not established in the time of Antiochus.

Seventy weeks were determined to bring in everlasting righteousness.

The Atonement – and thus, justification and righteousness – had to be made by a duly qualified, holy, High Priest (Leviticus 21).

Neither Jason or Menalaus were duly qualified or holy.

Therefore, neither Jason or Menalaus made the Atonement and bring in everlasting righteousness.

Following on that:

Seventy weeks were determined to bring in everlasting righteousness.

The Atonement had to be made within the seventy week countdown.

There were no qualified, holy High Priests during the days of Antiochus Epiphanes, i.e. during the seventy week period– Onias was murdered, Jason and Menalaus were not qualified.

Therefore, the prophecy of Daniel 9 was not a prediction of the time and events of the days of Antiochus Epiphanes.

Consider now the NT testimony in regard to the fulfillment of Daniel 9. It is sometimes argued that the NT does not actually quote Daniel 9 in some formulaic way: “This happened that it might be fulfilled which was foretold by Daniel…” But this is an ultra weak argument. The fact is that what Daniel foretold, the NT writers are very clear in saying was being fulfilled, or, more importantly for our purposes here, were about to be fulfilled very shortly.

Keep in mind that the NT writers tell us that their Gospel, their eschatology, was grounded firmly in, and was the expectation of the fulfillment of God’s Old Covenant promises made to Old Covenant Israel– Israel after the flesh (Cf. Romans 8:23-9:1-4).

In Acts 2 the events of the last days leading up to and consummating in the Great Day of the Lord were taken directly from Joel 2 (Isaiah 2-4 and other texts).

Peter said that his hope, and that of all Israel, was found in Moses, Samuel and all the prophets who have ever written (Acts 3:19f).

Similarly, Peter said that the prophets foretold “the sufferings of Christ and the glory to follow” (1 Peter 1:10f), and it is important to realize that Daniel 9 (among other texts) foretold the sufferings of Christ and the glory to follow. This alone raises a question. Since Daniel 9 foretold the sufferings of Messiah and the glory to follow, and since other passages predicted the sufferings of Messiah and the glory to follow, upon what basis can it be denied that Daniel was at least one of the prophecies that Peter had in mind?

Paul said that his Gospel / Eschatology was taken directly from “the law and the prophets” (Acts 24:13-14). He said he was anticipating the resurrection of the “just and unjust” foretold by the prophets, and only Daniel 12 foretold the resurrection of the just and unjust. Is that just coincidental?
In fact, he stated emphatically that he did not preach anything but what Moses and the prophets said was to come (Acts 26:21f).

John’s Apocalypse reiterates hundreds of the OT prophecies of the end times- as all scholars agree.

So, the NT writers are very clear that their eschatology was the eschatology of the OT prophets. This is where it gets bad for the futurist camp– all stripes.

Jesus said that not one jot or tittle of the Old Law– which included the prophets, because “the law prophesied” (Matthew 11:13), would pass until it was all – all the law and prophets– was fulfilled.

What this means is that until Daniel – one of the prophets that foretold the end times – was or is fulfilled, not one jot or one tittle of Daniel– or Torah- will pass away. (See my book The Passing of the Law of Moses: Torah To Telos Vol. 1 for a fuller discussion of this).

The question we want to specifically address here is whether the 70 weeks of Daniel 9 are fulfilled or still awaiting fulfillment at some future time- or if the seventy weeks were fulfilled in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes Of course, it has to be kept in mind that in the Dispensational paradigm, the claim that Jewish rejection of the kingdom made it impossible for God to establish the kingdom is fundamentally important:

The Kingdom is contingent on Israel’s acceptance of its King. Because even after his resurrection, that nation refused Him, it became impossible to establish the kingdom (Acts 3:18-26). In fact, the tribulation period did not come; if it had,, the promise of the soon coming of the Son of Man would have been a great comfort to the apostles. (Thomas Ice, End Times Controversy– (Eugene, Or.; Harvest House, 2003), 85).

For brevity, we will only take note of the texts that have a direct bearing on this question about the bringing in of everlasting righteousness:

Galatians 5:5- “We through the Spirit eagerly await the hope of righteousness.” Question, was the “righteousness” that Paul anticipated as coming soon a different righteousness foretold by Daniel? Where is the suggestion of that? Where is the textual or contextual support for such a claim. Remember, Paul said his eschatology was nothing but the hope of Israel found in the Tanakh. Thus, if Daniel’s prophecy is not one of the prophecies from the OT that Paul had in mind, it must be proven that the OT foretold the arrival of two “righteousnesses.”

1 Peter 1:10f –

Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into.

Peter was looking forward to the revelation of the salvation- the salvation of their soul – foretold by the OT prophets. Those prophets were told that what they were predicting was not for their day, but Peter affirms that those things were being fulfilled in his day– “not to themselves… but to us”. Furthermore, that salvation would come at the parousia of Christ which would take place in a very short time (v. 5-9).

This is the “glory that would follow” the suffering of Christ, and Daniel was told that the kingdom would follow the sufferings of Christ. One has to have strong reason to divorce Peter’s reference to the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow from Daniel’s prophecy. And that then leads us to 2 Peter 3.

2 Peter 3:1-4, 13:

Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), 2 that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, 3 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.”

Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

Pay particular attention to the fact that Peter reminds his audience that his discourse on the Day of the Lord, the Last Days and the New Heavens and Earth was foretold by Jesus as well as the OT prophets. Thus, what Peter had to say about the Day of the Lord and the New Creation is part of the OT revelation. And what did Peter say that those OT prophets said? They foretold the arrival of the New Creation, “wherein dwells righteousness.” Is this not the everlasting righteousness of Daniel 9?

The commentators are widely in agreement that Peter was referring to Isaiah 65-66. This is seldom disputed. In my Logos Bible Program these two chapters are cited repeatedly as the source of 2 Peter 3.

Interestingly however, in those same commentaries little attention is paid to Daniel 9 and the prophecy of the coming of everlasting righteousness. In fact, in my Logos program I have not found a single commentary that links Daniel 9 with Isaiah or 2 Peter 3! But Isaiah predated Daniel, and given the use of the terminology in Daniel and 2 Peter 3, it is surely a distinct possibility (I would venture to say a “probability”) that Daniel was echoing the promise of Isaiah 65-66 and that Peter had Daniel 9 firmly in mind.

Let me offer an argument on the significance of this as succinctly as possible:

Daniel 9 foretold the bringing in of everlasting righteousness within- not after- the seventy weeks.

In 2 Peter 3 the apostle was anticipating– circa AD 64- the imminent arrival of the everlasting righteousness foretold by Daniel 9.

Therefore, Peter was anticipating the imminent fulfillment of the seventy weeks of Daniel 9.
(Negatively stated, this means that the end of the seventy weeks was not in AD 34-35 as suggested by many Amillennilialists, Postmillennialists and some preterists. It also means that Daniel 9 was not fulfilled in the time of Antiochus).

Now, the only way to counter this argument is to prove that Peter was anticipating the arrival of a different world of everlasting righteousness from that foretold in Daniel. That is not a viable possibility. And again, it is a wonderment to me that so many commentators seem not to notice the connections between the themes of Isaiah 65-66, Daniel 9 and 2 Peter 3. But those connections are clear and prove that Peter was looking for the imminent consummation of the seventy weeks of Daniel 9:24.

Not only are these points applicable to the futurist view of 2 Peter 3 we can also make the following observation that may initially seem redundant:

Daniel 9 foretold the bringing in of everlasting righteousness within- not after- the seventy weeks.

In 2 Peter 3 the apostle was anticipating– circa AD 64- the imminent arrival of the everlasting righteousness foretold by Daniel 9.

Therefore, Peter was anticipating the imminent fulfillment of the seventy weeks of Daniel 9.
Very clearly, Peter was writing long after the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. Thus, if it is true that Peter was in fact anticipating the fulfillment of Daniel 9 and its promise of the bringing in of everlasting righteousness, that means that the claim that Daniel only foretold the time of Antiochus is specious. The reality is that Peter’s appeal to Daniel’s prophecy falsifies the view that Daniel 9 was fulfilled in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes.

For Peter, the arrival of the New Creation wherein dwells righteousness was a matter of eternal salvation, the salvation of the soul, the everlasting kingdom. These are the fundamental tenets and elements of Daniel 9! Thus, the connection between Daniel 9 and 2 Peter 3 should be clear.

Side Bar: It should be noted that Daniel’s reference to the bringing in of everlasting righteousness is not only the promise of the New Heavens and Earth of Isaiah 65-66, but those elements are part and parcel of Israel’s festal calendar. The Feast of Succot / In-Gathering / Harvest, foreshadowed the New Creation. Charles Vernoff takes note of this:

The completion of Succot (סֻכּוֹת sukkô?) pointed to that New Creation. That is to say, it pointed to, “the initiation of another era, the time of the ‘new heavens and earth’, when creation has been completed and the world has embarked upon a fully redeemed existence.” (“Feast, ”1999, p. 12)….On the seventh day of Succot Israel, as it were, arrives at the Land, thereby completing its wilderness journey and on the eighth day proceeds on its new mission to take possession of it. Correspondingly, if Sukkot herald must represent the subsequent new age of actually living in a redeemed world. In one sense this new ages is an extension, product and outcome of what preceded it whereas, in another sense, it embodied a radical break with the previous age. Similarly, Shemini Atseret is in one sense merely an extension of Sukkot, yet in another and essential sends it stands independent of it as an emblem and foretaste of the eschatological kingdom of God which Meshiah will establish. Charles Vernoff, “Feast of Redemption,” (PDF), Tradition, Vol. 33. No. 4, pp. 12-13, (Summer 1999), 6-26- Page 10; Rabbinical Counsel of America / http:/ My thanks to Robert Cruickshank for sending the PDF to me.

So, Daniel, in anticipating the arrival of the world of everlasting righteousness was actually looking forward to the ultimate fulfillment of Israel’s festal calendar. That means it is incorrect to claim that Daniel 9:24f was fulfilled in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. Unless you can prove that Israel’s festal calendar was fulfilled in the time of Antiochus, then any claim that Daniel 9 foretold his day and his reign cannot be sustained.

While we could discuss Revelation 21-22, in this “Short Shot” I will forgo that at this time. Let it simply be stated that if Daniel 9 is not fulfilled, then not one jot or one tittle of the Law– none of it!- has passed away, according to Jesus in Matthew 5:17-18. But Revelation is clear, explicit and emphatic that the arrival of the New Creation was at hand and coming soon.

There are many other objections to the claim that Daniel 9:24f foretold the days of Antiochus Epiphanes and the Oniad priesthood. But this Short Shot is, I am convinced, more than sufficient in and of itself to prove that the seventy week countdown was in fact not predicting the days of Antiochus, Onias, Jacob or Menalaus. Daniel 9 was a Messianic prophecy of the coming of Jesus and his New Creation that fully arrived when the Old Creation passed away. For more, get a copy of my book Seventy Weeks Are Determined…For the Resurrection