Is the Antichrist in Daniel 11? -- By: Andrew E. Steinmann

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 162:646 (Apr 2005)
Article: Is the Antichrist in Daniel 11?
Author: Andrew E. Steinmann


Is the Antichrist in Daniel 11?

Andrew E. Steinmann

Andrew E. Steinmann is Associate Professor of Theology and Hebrew, Concordia University, River Forest, Illinois.

Daniel’s vision in Daniel 10–12 offers fertile ground for critical scholars who view Daniel as pseudo-prophecy. Only four Persian kings following Cyrus are mentioned (11:2), although there were six more (plus a few insurgents who attempted to seize the throne). The kings of the north and the south seem to be the Seleucid and Ptolemaic kings, and they are mentioned as late as 11:40, almost immediately before the eschatological climax of the vision in 12:1–4. Moreover, the last part of the discussion of various kings (11:36–45) does not seem to match what is known about any Seleucid or Ptolemaic king, but the verses immediately preceding this section are a description of events from the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175–164 b.c.).

Therefore it is commonly argued that 11:36–40 is an ideologically motivated description of the king designed to condemn his actions, whereas verses 41–45 are an attempt by the author to predict the end of Antiochus’s reign. According to this interpretation these verses are not at all accurate. Therefore critical scholars argue that Daniel 11 must have been written about 165 b.c., since 11:41–45 speak of events unknown to Daniel.1

Traditional Christian exegesis has interpreted Daniel 11:36–45 differently, tending to read these verses as a prophecy

about an eschatological king, often identified as the Antichrist (to use a New Testament term). This was the position of several church fathers, including Chrysostom, Hippolytus, Theodoret, and Jerome.2 Luther also adopted this interpretation, and contemporary evangelical scholars often advocate it.3 It views the end of Daniel 11 not as inaccurate prophecy but as prophecy that is yet to be fulfilled. It is part of the larger teaching of Scripture concer...

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