I have a question about Antiochus Epiphanes. We know that he is the figure from Daniel 11:29 and my question is, did he live before Cyrus gave a decree to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple or after this? Thank you.

  • 2
    I don't see the name/title 'Antioches Epiphanes' in the text you reference, Daniel 11:29, I think we need further clarity and detail to the question.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jul 20, 2023 at 9:36
  • There is much dispute that Dan 11:29 refers to A.E. Some will agree but many will disagree. I suggest you check some good histories for an account of the political nobody and governing incompetent. Antiochus Epiphanes, on the other hand, was referred to sarcastically, by at least some of his contemporaries, as “Epimanes” - the madman.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jul 20, 2023 at 10:52
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    Cyrus the Great lived from about 600 BC to 530 BC. (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrus_the_Great ) Antiochus IV Epiphanes lived between 215 BC to 164 BC (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antiochus_IV_Epiphanes ) A.E. was therefore about 500 years after Cyrus the Great.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jul 20, 2023 at 11:52
  • If you want a rather detailed explanation of Antiochus and his place in the historical record, you may want to read some of the comments on the following thread. "Has Daniel 11:20 onwards happened already or yet to happen?"
    – oldhermit
    Commented Jul 20, 2023 at 15:30
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    Not sure why folks are voting to close this. It's a clear question (+1). OP states an assumption, so answers should either proceed with that assumption (which is pretty unanimous in biblical scholarship so relatively uncontroversial outside of certain fundamentalist / Dispensationalist evangelical groups in Western countries), or the answer could challenge the assumption. In any event, trying to close a clear question seems the wrong approach.
    – Dan
    Commented Jul 20, 2023 at 20:32

2 Answers 2


Antiochus IV is not mentioned in the Book of Daniel, although there is little doubt that he is the person referred to. The sources for him include the Books of Maccabees, Polybius and Josephus. He reigned from about reigned 175 B.C.E. – 163 B.C.E. Summary of his life:

Antiochus IV Epiphanes... was one of the Seleucid emperors, son of Antiochus III the Great (224 – 187 B.C.E.) ruled the area known as Asia' (Babylon, Syria, Palestine, Upper Asia) from 312, when Alexander the Great's empire was divided among his generals. Antiochus IV's religious zeal for Zeus, of whom he believed himself to be a 'manifestation,' resulted in the desecration of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and in what was a reign of terror for Jews who refused to comply with his policy of Hellenization. This resulted in revolt and eventually in territorial loss, and in the loss of political prestige, for his successors.

Cyrus lived c. 600–530 BC. Antiochus came long after this, during the time of the Maccabean Revolt.


The following historical detail of Antiochus Epiphanes, as provided by Uriah Smith, shows that he came after the time of Cyrus.

[I have bolded the most relevant portion, but provide the fuller commentary for context.]

"VERSE 9. And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. 10. And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. 11. Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of this sanctuary was cast down. 12. And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practiced and prospered." {1897 UrS, DAR 171.2}

A third power is here introduced into the prophecy. In the explanation which the angel gave to Daniel of these symbols, this one is not described in language so definite as that concerning Medo-Persia and Grecia. Hence a flood of wild conjecture is at once let loose. Had not the angel, in language which cannot be misunderstood, stated that Medo-Persia and Grecia were denoted by the ram and the he-goat, it is impossible to tell what applications men would have given us of those symbols. Probably they would have applied them to anything and everything but the right objects. Leave men a moment to their own judgment in the interpretation of prophecy, and we immediately have the most sublime exhibitions of human fancy. {1897 UrS, DAR 172.1}

There are two leading applications of the symbol now under consideration, which are all that need be noticed in these brief thoughts. The first is that the "little horn" here introduced denotes the Syrian king, Antiochus Epiphanes; the second, that it denotes the Roman power. It is an easy matter to test the claims of these two positions. {1897 UrS, DAR 172.2}

I. Does it mean Antiochus? If so, this king must fulfil the specifications of the prophecy. If he does not fulfil them, the application cannot be made to him. The little horn came out of one of the four horns of the goat. It was then a separate power, existing independently of, and distinct from, any of the horns of the goat. Was Antiochus such a power? {1897 UrS, DAR 172.3}

  1. Who was Antiochus? From the time that Seleucus made himself king over the Syrian portion of Alexander's empire, thus constituting the Syrian horn of the goat, until that country was conquered by the Romans, twenty-six kings ruled in succession over that territory. The eighth of these, in order, was Antiochus Epiphanes. Antiochus, then, was simply one of the twenty-six kings who constituted the Syrian horn of the goat. He was, for the time being, that horn. Hence he could not be at the same time a separate and independent power, or another and remarkable horn, as the little horn was. {1897 UrS, DAR 172.4}

  2. If it were proper to apply the little horn to any one of these twenty-six Syrian kings, it should certainly be applied to the most powerful and illustrious of them all; but Antiochus Epiphanes did not by any means sustain this character. Although he took the name Epiphanes, that is, The Illustrious, he was illustrious only in name; for nothing, says Prideaux on the authority of Polybius, Livy, and Diodorus Siculus, could be more alien to his true character; for, on account of his vile and extravagant folly, some thinking him a fool and others a madman, they changed his name of Epiphanes, "The Illustrious," into Epimanes, "The Madman." {1897 UrS, DAR 174.1}

  3. Antiochus the Great, the father of Epiphanes, being terribly defeated in a war with the Romans, was enabled to procure peace only by the payment of a prodigious sum of money, and the surrender of a portion of his territory; and, as a pledge that he would faithfully adhere to the terms of the treaty, he was obliged go give hostages, among whom was this very Epiphanes, his son, who was carried to Rome. The Romans ever after maintained this ascendency. {1897 UrS, DAR 174.2}

  4. The little horn waxed exceeding great; but this Antiochus did not wax exceeding great; on the contrary, he did not enlarge his dominion, except by some temporary conquests in Egypt, which he immediately relinquished when the Romans took the part of Ptolemy, and commanded him to desist from his designs in that quarter. The rage of his disappointed ambition he vented upon the unoffending Jews. {1897 UrS, DAR 174.3}

  5. The little horn, in comparison with the powers that preceded it, was exceeding great. Persia is simply called great, though it reigned over a hundred and twenty-seven provinces. Est.1:1. Grecia, being more extensive still, is called very great. Now the little horn, which waxed exceeding great, must surpass them both. How absurd, then, to apply this to Antiochus, who was obliged to abandon Egypt at the dictation of the Romans, to whom he paid enormous sums of money as tribute. The Religious Encyclopedia gives us this item of his history: "Finding his resources exhausted, he resolved to go into Persia to levy tribute, and collect large sums which he had agreed to pay the Romans." It cannot take long for any one to decide the question which was the greater power, - the one which evacuated Egypt, or the one which commanded that evacuation; the one which exacted tribute, or the one which was compelled to pay it. {1897 UrS, DAR 174.4}

  6. The little horn was to stand up against the Prince of princes. The Prince of princes here means, beyond controversy, Jesus Christ. Dan.9:25; Acts.3:15; Rev.1:5. But Antiochus died one hundred and sixty-four years before our Lord was born. The prophecy cannot, therefore, apply to him; for he does not fulfil the specifications in one single particular. The question may then be asked how any one has ever come to apply it to him. We answer, Romanists take that view to avoid the application of the prophecy to themselves; and many Protestants follow them, in order to oppose the doctrine that the second advent of Christ is now at hand. {1897 UrS, DAR 175.1}

II. It has been an easy matter to show that the little horn does not denote Antiochus. It will be just as easy to show that it does denote Rome. {1897 UrS, DAR 175.2} . . .

[Quoted from Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation (1897) by Uriah Smith.]

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