11:36–12:3 Certain details in 11:36–12:3 cannot be harmonized with the events surrounding the death of Antiochus IV. For this reason some interpreters understand these verses to describe the Antichrist, who like Antiochus IV will persecute God’s people just prior to the Second Advent of Christ (cf. 12:1–3). These verses describe the character of the Antichrist, his activities, and the destiny of God’s people. This understanding requires a time interval between the events depicted in 11:21–35 and those in 11:36–12:3. Consequently, other interpreters have understood vv. 36–39 as a summary of Antiochus’s religious policies; vv. 40–45 as a description of how his ambition leads to his defeat; and 12:1–3 as an anticipation of his defeat. The anticipated invasion of the Holy Land may be presented as a parallel to Nebuchadnezzar’s earlier invasion, using the names of the nations of that time, sparing Israel’s old enemies (v. 41), and climaxing in the anticipated defeat of Egypt itself (vv. 42, 43; cf. Ezek. 29). At his proudest moment Antiochus is destroyed at Mount Zion in the heart of the Holy Land (vv. 44, 45). Antiochus’s defeat in 12:1–3 is described in terms of the absolute end of history. Because the prophecies in 11:40–12:3 have not been fulfilled historically, it is difficult to discern how literal or metaphorical they are, and their interpretation must be speculative. The interpretation that the future Antichrist is in view will be followed in the remaining notes.
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