32 He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action. 33 And the wise among the people shall make many understand, though for some days they shall stumble by sword and flame, by captivity and plunder. 34 When they stumble, they shall receive a little help. And many shall join themselves to them with flattery, 35 and some of the wise shall stumble, so that they may be refined, purified, and made white, until the time of the end, for it still awaits the appointed time.
Jewish reactions to Antiochus’ policies were all over the board. Some turned their backs on the Mosaical Law and went along with Antiochus. Some of the Jews held strong to the beliefs, some held tightly to their beliefs in one hand and a sword in the other. These are the events that led up to the Macabean Revolt. Among all this history and mind blowing prophecy don’t miss the little word “wise” in verses 33 and 35. Some of the Jews were “wise” and they taught their countrymen about God and His ways. When they were going into this new exile God was telling them about God was saying that He had left some people to teach them about Him and His ways!
36 “And the king shall do as he wills. He shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods. He shall prosper till the indignation is accomplished; for what is decreed shall be done.
It seems clear that God did indeed allow Antiochus to “do as he wills”. This included Antiochus taking the monkier Theou Epiphanes, which means God manifest. He was telling his people that he was God in the flesh. In 169 Antiochus printed coins with this claim to divinity on them. This is what Daniel was talking about when he said that Antiochus would “magnify himself above every god…”
Antiochus’ pride isn’t the only thing Daniel wants us to notice here. He also points out that Antiochus’ pride is directed against the God of gods (i.e. the God of Israel). Having done this his fate is sealed, but it’s also interesting to note that God allowed, even used, Antiochus as a scourge to Israel. What is even more interesting and faith building is that God had already decided, in DANIEL’S day, that His people would not suffer forever. There was an appointed end to their humiliation and pain.
37 He shall pay no attention to the gods of his fathers, or to the one beloved by women. He shall not pay attention to any other god, for he shall magnify himself above all. 38 He shall honor the god of fortresses instead of these. A god whom his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts. 39 He shall deal with the strongest fortresses with the help of a foreign god. Those who acknowledge him he shall load with honor. He shall make them rulers over many and shall divide the land for a price.
Antiochus really did break away from the religion of his fathers. In Syria his fathers worshipped Apollo and in Egypt the Ptolmies worshipped Adonis (the one beloved of women). Antiochus threw them both out the window and worshiped Zeus.