Around 160 before the birth of the Messiah, our Lord Jesus a Seleucid Greek General called Antiochus Epiphanes invaded Israel. At first he seemed to be favourably disposed to the Jews but very quickly showed his true intent towards the nation. They called him “the madman” His name meant “god-manifest.” He was a deceiver and a despot and many of the Jews went along with his agenda. He forbade the reading of Torah and killed anyone caught with a copy. He persecuted and killed many Jews who remained faithful to God and to Torah. He also slaughtered a pig on the altar in the Temple and stopped the temple sacrifices. He also introduced cult prostitution and sought to impose Greek laws and customs on the Jewish people. What he did was a foreshadowing and a pattern of what the Antichrist will do for three and a half years in Jerusalem at the end of this present age. (Daniel 7: 24-25; 8:9-14, 23-25; 9:27b; 12:7) (Matthew 24:15) (Revelation 13:5-9)
The Maccabees and certain faithful Jews at the time resisted Antiochus and many paid the ultimate price for their loyalty to God and to Torah and these saints are a pattern of the end-time saints of God who will face the Antichrist and his beast empire. Daniel writes concerning Antiochus and the Jews who resisted him…
“Forces from him (Antiochus Epiphanes) will arise, desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they (the Seleucid Greeks) will set up the abomination of desolation. “By smooth words he (Antiochus) will turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the covenant, (the apostates and those who compromise Torah) but the people who know their God (faithful believing Jews including the Maccabees) will display strength and take action. ”Those who have insight (know what is really happening) among the people will give understanding to the many; yet they will fall by sword and by flame, by captivity and by plunder for many days. Now when they fall they will be granted a little help (the Maccabean revolt), and many will join with them in hypocrisy (many joined their ranks in order to betray them). Some of those who have insight (faithful believing Jews) will fall, in order to refine, purge and make them pure until the end time; because it is still to come at the appointed time.” (Daniel 11:29-34) (Comments in brackets added for clarity)
“Let the reader understand”
Like all the prophets who wrote the Bible they were always 100% accurate in what they saw from the Spirit of God concerning future events. What happened in 160BC would happen again in Israel in 70AD with Titus and the Roman legions and would happen yet again at the end of this present age. Matthew 24 15ff makes this very clear. The Lord Jesus spoke about this when He said; “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),
Past history is future history
The Hebrew prophets prophesied for three time frames, firstly they prophesied for their own time frame. Secondly they prophesied for the First Coming of the Messiah and thirdly for the Second Coming of the Messiah. In certain prophetic passages these three time frames would run all together in the one prophecy. So when we are reading about what Antiochus did in the Bible we are reading past history, but also future history as well. Bible prophecy from the way it is understood from the Jewish perspective is that it is “a pattern,” a series of historical events with a similar pattern to them which are partially fulfilled historically but that collectively teach about an ultimate fulfilment. This is how we should approach Biblical prophecy.
Now there were faithful men who did not join the Maccabees but were faithful in resisting Antiochus to the point where many were killed for their faith in God and for their allegiance to Torah (God’s Word) The Maccabees were a family of priests who maintained a guerrilla war against the forces of Antiochus. In the end they prevailed and drive out the Greeks from Israel and re-consecrated the Temple. Today the Jewish people remember this event in celebrating Hanukkah.
Those who resisted Antiochus in his time are types of certain Jews who will not accept the reign of Antichrist in Jerusalem and will resist him. They will be patriots and resistance fighters and some of them will love God and Torah and some will be Messianic Jews as well who will fight alongside their fellow Jews. In the IDF Messianic Jews work and fight alongside their Jewish brothers and sisters today. The Jewish people are very good at two things, farming and fighting. There will be other believing Jews who will not be forced into denying Torah or their faith in God even if they are not Messianic. Many of them though will be betrayed by their fellow Jews as were the Maccabees and the other Jews refusing to go along with Antiochus’ agenda.
Be faithful unto death
When the Antichrist sets himself up in the temple mount and demands to be worshipped as God by the Jews in some way his demands to be worshipped as God will also be forced upon Christendom (Institutionalised Denominational structured Christianity) What happened with Antiochus in Israel will happen again at the end of this age. (Matthew 24:15) (2 Thessalonians 2:4) Compare (Daniel 11:36) For three and a half years the Antichrist, ruling from Jerusalem, will persecute faithful Jews and Christians, In that day many Messianic believers will fall alongside of fellow Jews giving testimony to the salvation and resurrection that is in the Lord Jesus the Messiah. Just as there were Christians who went into the Nazi ovens in the death camps along with the Jews so many Messianic believers in Israel will go to the headsman’s sword along with their fellow Jews as a witness and testimony to them. These Messianic believers, along with many of their fellow Gentile belivers, will obtain a special place in the resurrection and co-reign with their Messiah in His Millennial Kingdom (Revelation 20:4) As the Lord Jesus said to the assembly at Smyrna; “Be faithful even unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10b)
The faithful remnant
Just as there were both faithful and unfaithful Jews in Israel so in Christendom there will be both faithful and unfaithful believers. When you see Ecumenism and interfaith on the rise and the apostasy in the professing Christian Church as they depart from scripture and seeking signs, miracles and wonders, kingdom dominion, wealth and health and having it good in this world and so on, you see the way being paved for the coming of the man of sin. (2 Thessalonians 2:9) For three and a half years in Jerusalem His satanically inspired power and dominance will not only affect Israel but the Church as well. Look at what Erdogan has done with the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. It has been turned into a Mosque. What this great cathedral was to Middle-Eastern Christianity in its heyday is what the Vatican is to Western Christendom today. Already Babylon is seen in Rome and is spreading into mainline denominations. This is a subject in itself. In the end it will be a faithful remnant that will overcome Antichrist’s persecution of the saints. (Daniel 7:21, 25) (Revelation 13:7) (Revelation 12:11)
The Blessed Hope
At the end of this present age just before the Lord Jesus comes back the timing of the rapture will not even be debated as it is today but among the faithful believing remnant there will be only a corporate expectation of The Second Coming of the Messiah including the rapture and resurrection itself, as they are the one and the same event. The Bible nowhere teaches a Pre-Tribulation rapture. For the first century believers the blessed hope was not the Pre-Tribulation rapture but the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus to establish His Kingdom on earth. This was the basis of the Lord’s Prayer He taught His disciples to pray. Of course the blessed hope of the first century believers included the rapture. Paul had the blessed hope but still lost his head in the process. Many of our dear brothers and sisters throughout the Islamic world are losing their heads right now. Will the savage cruelty in the persecution of Christians by the Antichrist’s Beast Empire be any worse than what is happening to Christian men, women and children in the Islamic world right now? Most of the Christians in this world are already in Great Tribulation. This is the reality facing the Church even in the west today.
The saints will inherit the Kingdom
With these things in view we must also remember that those who are not trusting in this world or the things of this world but trusting their lives into the hands of their faithful creator and clinging to the Lord Jesus by faith will most certainly be gloriously delivered out of Satan’s hand either through martyrdom or by the rapture and resurrection. Either way we win in the end. The Lord Jesus promised us this. (John 11:25) (Luke 21:12-19) (1 Peter 4:12-19) (Revelation 20:4) The saints will inherit the Kingdom when the Lord Jesus comes back to rule and to reign on the earth. Those who have persevered to the end and overcome the Antichrist will co-reign with the Messiah in His Millennial Kingdom on earth. (2 Timothy 2:12) (Revelation 20:4, 6; 22:5) (Daniel 7:18-22, 26-27) As for the Antichrist and his beast empire they will come to their appointed end. (Daniel 8:25b; 9:27b; 11:45; 12:1-3) (Revelation 19: 20-21) Those who experience the first resurrection will never experience the second death. (Revelation 20:4-6; 21:8)