Story of Ahikar, Tobit and Daniel

Image result for tobit and sennacherib

 

Book of Job probably dependent upon Tobit

 

Part Three:

Story of Ahikar would not have pre-dated Tobit

 

by

 Damien F. Mackey

 

“… acute criticisms of Meissner … Lidzbarski … Dillon … and Harris … have proved the tale [of Ahikar] to be older than the book of Tobit, and have demonstrated that the latter is dependent upon it”.

 George A. Barton

 

 

 

Due to its inherent gross inaccuracy, the conventional system of chronology invariably leads its advocates towards topsy-turvy conclusions about who influenced whom.

In this series I have concluded differently about, for instance, the Book of Job, considered by some to be “the oldest book in the Bible”, if not in the whole world – my conclusion being that, not only is Job by no means the oldest book, but the Book of Tobit that Job is thought to have influenced was probably, instead, an influence for the Book of Job:

 

Book of Job probably dependent upon Tobit

https://www.academia.edu/36193236/Book_of_Job_probably_dependent_upon_Tobit

Book of Job probably dependent upon Tobit. Part Two: Job not ‘oldest book of the Bible’

 

https://www.academia.edu/36627732/Book_of_Job_probably_dependent_upon_Tobit._Part_Two_Job_not_oldest_book_of_the_Bible_

 

Now if the celebrated sage of the neo-Assyrian kings, Ahikar, was in fact Tobit’s nephew, as according to Tobit 1:22, then his uncle must have, of necessity, pre-dated Ahikar. That biological necessity would make it most unlikely that any history of Ahikar would, in turn, pre-date (and influence) the Book of Tobit.

Even less likely would so fanciful a tale as the Story of Ahikar, with its ‘castles in the air’ type concepts, have been the influencing factor for the Book of Tobit.

Yet the conventional commentators inevitably find a way to ‘make’ this happen.

And so George A. Barton, back in 1900, proposed the unlikely argument for the Story of Ahikar to have influenced Tobit, and also the Book of Daniel (which is at least more chronologically reasonable): https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/pdfplus/10.1086/369377

 

THE STORY OF AIĶAR AND THE BOOK OF DANIEL.

 

Within the last few years a story long known in the Arabian Thousand and One Nights has turned out to be of unexpected interest to the biblical student. In 1880 Georg Hoffmann pointed out the identity of Achiacharus of Tobit I:21 sqq.; 11:18, and 14:10, with a legendary sage, Aiar, who figured in a romance extant in certain Syriac MSS. as a vizier of Sennacherib.

Since that time, through the labors of Jagić, Donybeare, Salhani, Mrs. Lewis, and J. Rendel Harris, versions of the tale as preserved in Slavonic, Armenian, Arabic, and Syriac have been placed within our reach, while the acute criticisms of Meissner,2 Lidzbarski,3 Dillon,4 and Harris5 have proved the tale to be older than the book of Tobit, and have demonstrated that the latter is dependent upon it. It is to Dillon and Harris that we are especially indebted for this demonstration. To the latter we are also indebted for having, with the aid of the other editors mentioned above, placed within our reach, in his volume on Aiar, the various versions of the story. The same scholar has also pointed out that if the book is older than Tobit it is also older than Daniel, and has collected, as noted below, a number of expressions common to the two works.

The substance of the tale is as follows:

Aiar, a vizier of Sennacherib, was possessed of wealth, wisdom, popularity, and power, but had no son. After vainly praying for one he was directed to adopt his nephew Nadan and to find in him the fulfilment of his prayers. This he did rearing the child tenderly and instructing him in wisdom, the precepts of which are recounted to us at length. Nadan proved to be wilful and ungrateful. At length, when Aiar contemplated supplanting him by his younger brother, he forged treasonable letters in Aiar’s handwriting, pretended to the king that he found them, and procured Aiar’s condemnation to death. On a previous occasion Aiar had saved from the wrath of Sennacherib the very person who was now directed to cut off his head. An appeal to this man’s gratitude persuaded him to slay a slave in Aiar stead, while the latter was incarcerated in a dungeon under his own house, where he was tormented by the audible evidences of abuse of his property, his slaves, and his wife in which Nadan indulged.

Meantime the king of Egypt, hearing of Aiar’s death, sent to Sennacherib a series of absurd and impossible demands, such as eastern story-tellers attribute to powerful sovereigns, accompanied by veiled threats of detriment to Assyria in case his demands were not fulfilled. No one was able to tell Sennacherib what to do, and in his extremity the king was glad to reward Aiar’s executioner for not putting him to death. Aiar was then brought forth from his dungeon, with “the color of his face changed, his hair matted like a wild beast, and his nails like the claws of an eagle.” When he had recuperated Aiar went to Egypt, by his wisdom successfully met or baffled the king of Egypt in his demands, and thus delivered Assyria. When he returned to Assyria with enhanced reputation, Nadan was delivered to him for punishment; he flogged him, imprisoned him in the very dungeon where Aiar had himself been entombed, gave him some more instruction, and when the final punishment was ready for him Nadan swelled up and burst asunder, thus taking himself out of the way.

The story has been distorted in one way or another in each of the versions of it, so that a comparison of them all is necessary in order to bind together its different strands again. The publication of the different versions side by side in a convenient volume by Dr. Harris happily makes this possible. If now the story is older than Tobit (a point demonstrated by Dillon and Harris), it is also older than Daniel, and the inquiry as to whether the latter book may not be in some respects dependent upon Aiar becomes a legitimate one. ….

 

This ridiculous – though highly entertaining – account of the truly historical sage, Ahikar, is just a garbled and fanciful version of the life of that great man, with some distorted (“The story has been distorted”, see above) items from Daniel and Nebuchednezzar thrown in for good measure.

 

For a proper account of the life and changes of fortune of Ahikar, see e.g. my article:

 

“Nadin” (Nadab) of Tobit is the “Holofernes” of Judith

https://www.academia.edu/36576110/_Nadin_Nadab_of_Tobit_is_the_Holofernes_of_Judith

It is astounding – but also monotonously predictable – that commentators can delude themselves into thinking that a fairy tale such as the Story of Ahikar could have influenced a biblical book, Tobit, or Daniel, grounded in a real historical era.

 

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Jerusalem allegedly has “Seven Hills”

Book of Revelation Theme.

The Bride and the Reject

 

Part Three:

Jerusalem allegedly has “Seven Hills”

 

 

by

Damien F. Mackey

 

 

 

 

 

“If this passage of Enoch bears such close resemblance to the Apocalypse, how is it that an apparent reference to Jerusalem sitting on “seven mountains” is ignored?

Is this not easily as significant as the typically cited idiom for Rome?”

 

https://bible.org/seriespage/chapter-4-evidence-jerusalem-harlot

 

 

Hundreds of famous cities throughout the world are said to have been built upon seven hills.

A scan through the Internet will reveal that. It is amazing what can be done with numbers.

 

One intriguing modern case is Washington DC, prompting this question:

https://socioecohistory.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/is-washington-dc-the-city-of-7-hills-the-endtimes-babylon-city/

 

“Is Washington DC the City of 7 Hills, the Endtimes Babylon City?”

 

There then follows this list of seven:

 

It is well known that the city of Rome was built on seven hills or mountains, but did you know that Washington DC was also has seven hills? Yes, Washington D.C. really does have seven hills:


1. Capitol Hill

  1. Meridian Hill
  2. Floral Hills
  3. Forest Hills
  4. Hillbrook
  5. Hillcrest
  6. Knox Hill


In biblical prophecy, at the end of which the city of seven hills will be destroyed. Will this city be Rome or Washington?

[End of quote]

 

Well, according to this present series, “this city” will be neither “Rome or Washington”.

For, as we read in Part Two, Dr. E. L. Martin ’s account of the “Seven Hills” of Apocalypse:

https://www.academia.edu/33235779/Book_of_Revelation_Theme._The_Bride_and_the_Reject._Part_Two_The_Seven_Hills_cannot_pertain_to_Rome

these were situated in ancient Jerusalem.

And here is another account expressing the same viewpoint:

https://bible.org/seriespage/chapter-4-evidence-jerusalem-harlot

{From the series: The Identification Of Babylon The Harlot In The Book Of Revelation}

Chapter 4: The Evidence For Jerusalem As The Harlot

The City on Seven Hills

 

Advocates of the Rome view have regularly argued that strong, if not conclusive support for their interpretation can be found in Rev 17:9 which describes the “seven hills/mountains” (eJpta o[rh) on which the woman sits. It is beyond dispute that Rome was very commonly called the “city on seven hills” because of its topography.21 A number of references to this in ancient literature could be cited, including, for example, Virgil,22 Horace,23 and Cicero.24 Understandably then, many commentators see this verse as a clear indicator that John is speaking of Rome and doing so in the common language of the day.25 Certainly, it cannot be denied that this is a very significant argument for the Rome view.

However, this line of reasoning is not without its problems, and I believe there may be a more suitable understanding of this verse, one that seems to have been largely overlooked by most writers.

 

One hindrance to an assured link here is the question of how widespread this terminology for Rome really was. Few actually raise this issue, but the truth is that the evidence to which we have access only places this “seven hills” language in the Western Mediterranean regions. As far as whether this usage was familiar in the East, we simply do not know. There just is not any record to indicate this for us.26 It may be hasty therefore to automatically presume that this Roman reference would be the shared understanding in Asia Minor.

 

It could be added, as Beale observes, that every other occurrence of o[ra in Revelation refers to a mountain, not a “hill,” and this may caution us further against viewing 17:9 as a reference to the “hills” of Rome.27 Certainly, the term can go either way lexically, but within the context of this book, a departure from the “mountain” image evoked elsewhere would be unexpected, and should probably be avoided in our translation if possible. A more likely connection is the association of mountains with the symbolism of power and kings/kingdoms that is to be found in the Old Testament and other Jewish works.28 “Seven,” of course, is often symbolic of completion or perfection, and thus it may be that the seven mountains are best understood from a Jewish mindset as a symbol of completeness of authority, or fullness of royal power.29 Still, in harmony with this imagery there is background material to be considered here that may very well give us insight into which royal power we are dealing with.

 

As a number of scholars have recognized, the pseudepigraphal book of 1 Enoch bears numerous striking affinities with the Apocalypse of John; several are even persuaded of literary dependence of portions of the Apocalypse upon Enoch.30 Others are more cautious; Bauckham for instance feels we may not have enough evidence to conclusively identify literary dependence on such a work, though the parallels that must be acknowledged at least give clear testimony to traditional imagery that was already prevalent in Jewish culture prior to Revelation.31

 

The significance of 1 Enoch for our study is that certain passages paint images that are intriguingly similar to Rev 17:9. In 1 Enoch 24–25,32 the writer describes his journey to a certain place on earth where he encounters a great mountain. This great mountain, as the angel Michael explains, is the location of “the throne of God … on which the Holy and Great Lord of Glory, the Eternal King, will sit when he descends to visit the earth with goodness.”33 Furthermore, this place is associated with God’s end-time city-paradise where the elect will find the “fragrant tree” (v. 4) that will give them “fruit for life” (v. 5) in the eschaton, and this tree will be planted “upon the holy place” (v. 5). Clearly, in some sense Jerusalem (albeit in its eschatologically idealized form), or at least the future mountain-throne of Yahweh, is the site being painted with such gloriously vivid language. This passage is in fact regularly cited by commentators for background imagery underlying John’s depiction of the New Jerusalem with its great mountain, throne, and tree of life in Rev 21–22.34

 

What is not mentioned in these discussions is that the passage also says this great mountain is seated among “seven dignified mountains” (24:2). These “seven mountains” (v. 3) are elaborately described as to their appearance and formation in 24:2–3, and the central, taller mountain of the seven is then revealed as the place of God’s earthly rule (25:3–6).35

 

In surveying the major commentaries, I have been surprised to find no mention of this passage in connection with Rev 17:9, though it is repeatedly cited as background for the New Jerusalem.36 If this passage of Enoch bears such close resemblance to the Apocalypse, how is it that an apparent reference to Jerusalem sitting on “seven mountains” is ignored? Is this not easily as significant as the typically cited idiom for Rome? Interestingly, Beale references 4 Ezra for more imagery of the restored Jerusalem, and even notes that work’s amplification of “great mountain” imagery to “seven great mountains,”37 yet he makes no connection with the “seven mountains” of Revelation.38 This seems an unfortunate oversight. Nonetheless, this gives a second example in the apocalyptic tradition for portraying the place of God’s future earthly rule (no doubt the idealized Jerusalem) as located among seven mountains.39

 

Based on this evidence, I do not find the “city on seven hills” argument for Rome to be as persuasive as I once did. It would seem that a very compelling case can be made that the stream of Jewish apocalyptic tradition energizing Revelation more naturally evokes the image of Jerusalem as the city seated on seven mountains in 17:9 than Rome. The view that Babylon is a cipher for Jerusalem in the Apocalypse cannot then be dismissed on the basis of this common objection; not only can it be defended that the evidence of 17:9 can fit Jerusalem, there are strong reasons to believe that it in fact does most properly fit Jerusalem.40

….

 

 

Daniel’s ‘dreaming’ not a good reason for Sirach to omit him

Image result for prophet daniel dreams

 by

Damien F. Mackey

 

“This raises the question of what reason Ben Sira might have had for not wanting to mention Daniel or single him out for special praise. As it happens, a very plausible and straightforward answer to the above question is available, but it has nothing to do with when the book of Daniel was written. Ben Sira [Sirach] held the opinion, and stated it in so many words, that dreamers and dreams were fools and foolishness, respectively”.

 Frank W. Hardy

 

 

Might not the reason why Sirach (“Ecclesiasticus”) seemingly failed to refer to the great prophet Daniel – not to mention Ezra the scribe, the very “Father of Judaïsm” – in his “praises of famous men”, beginning with 44:1:

“Let us now sing the praises of famous men,

our ancestors in their generations”,

 

be because Daniel was – Ezra was – referred to in the Book of Sirach under some other name?

It was common for the ancients to have more than the one name. To give just one example, from I Maccabees 2:2-5: “John surnamed Gaddi, Simon called Thassi, Judas called Maccabeus, Eleazar called Avaran, and Jonathan called Apphus”.

And I have already suggested that:

Ezra the Scribe [be] Identified as Nehemiah the Governor

https://www.academia.edu/36726699/Ezra_the_Scribe_Identified_as_Nehemiah_the_Governor

 

which, if this be the case, would mean that Ezra was included by Sirach, when he wrote (49:13): “The memory of Nehemiah is also great. He rebuilt the ruined walls of Jerusalem, installing the gates and bars. He rebuilt our homes”.

 

Other inspired scribes did not fail to mention Daniel. Nor could they have?

Ezekiel, for example, mentions Daniel three times (14:14 and 20): “Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord God”.

And 28:3: “Are you wiser than Daniel? Is no secret hidden from you?”

Whilst Mattathias, the father of the five Maccabean sons, encouraged them with the examples of holy men such as Daniel (I Maccabees 2:60-61): “Daniel was a man of integrity, and the Lord rescued him from the mouth of the lions. Take each of these ancestors of ours as an example, and you will realize that no one who puts his trust in the Lord will ever lack strength”.

 

It is likewise quite inconceivable that Sirach could possibly have omitted reference to Ezra. Henry Englander has, in his article “Ezra the Scribe” (Journal of Jewish Lore and Philosophy

Vol. 1, No. 3/4 (JULY/OCTOBER 1919)), written, with reference to “H. P. Smith, following Torrey” (p. 322-323):

 

[Smith] notes that Ezra was unknown to Jesus ben Sirach the author who lived in the early part of the second century before the common era …. It is impossible, he believes, that ben Sirach would have ignored Ezra in his praise of Israel’s worthies had he been known to him. But, the omission of any reference to Ezra does not necessarily mean that he was the creation of the Chronicler. This omission, however, calls for an adequate explanation on the part of those who hold Ezra to be historical. If it could be shown that the identification of Ezra with “Malachai” [Malachi] … was current in the time of ben Sirach then it could be said that Ezra was included in his praise of the Minor Prophets.

 

On the possible identification of Ezra with Malachi, see my article:

 

“By the hand of Malachi … whose name is called Ezra the scribe”

 

https://www.academia.edu/36727857/_By_the_hand_of_Malachi_…_whose_name_is_called_Ezra_the_scribe_

 

I think that the alter ego explanation for Sirach, in the case of Daniel – of Ezra – is far preferable to the following version (whose BC dating I may not accept either) as given by Frank W. Hardy in his article, “Ben Sira’s Silence Concerning Daniel” (2008):

http://www.historicism.org/Documents/Jrnl/BenSira.pdf

 

Jesus Ben Sira … was a Jew from Jerusalem who, in approximately 190 or 180 B.C. … wrote a book of religious wisdom and pious advice on a variety of topics. In 132 B.C.—the thirty-eighth year of Ptolemy Physcon VII Euergetes II (170-164, 147-117 B.C.)–Ben Sira’s grandson went to live in Egypt and sometime after the death of Euergetes II, i.e., sometime after 117 B.C., translated his grandfather’s book from Hebrew into Greek. Although translations were subsequently made into Latin, Syriac, and a number of other languages it is primarily in its Greek form–with the Latin title “Ecclesiasticus”–that the book has come down to us as one of the deuterocanonicl books of the Septuagint. ….

 

In Ben Sira chaps. 44-49 the author comments on the outstanding lives of some 28 individual Old Testament heroes … along with the judges as a group (46:11) and the twelve minor prophets (49:10). This long section ends with the following summary: ….

 

No one like Enoch has been created on earth, for he was taken up from the earth. And no man like Joseph has been born, and his bones are cared for. Shem and Seth were honored among men, and Adam above every living being in the creation. ….

 

The significance for Daniel research of Ben Sira’s “Praise of the Fathers” lies in what he

does not say. Throughout this extended section of six chapters Daniel is passed over in silence; there is no mention of him at all. Such an omission is conspicuous when compared with 1 Maccabees, written somewhat later at around 100 B.C. Daniel appears at the end of a passage that mentions a number of ancient heroes.

 

(51) “Remember the deeds of the fathers, which they did in their generations; and receive great honor and an everlasting name. (52) Was not Abraham found faithful when tested, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness? (53) Joseph in the time of his distress kept the commandment, and became lord of Egypt. (54) Phinehas our father, because he was deeply zealous, received the covenant of everlasting priesthood. (55) Joshua, because he fulfilled the command, became a judge in Israel. (56) Caleb, because he testified in the assembly, received an inheritance in the land. (57) David, because he was merciful, inherited the throne of the kingdom for ever. (58) Elijah because of great zeal for the law was taken up into heaven. (59) Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael believed and were saved from the flame. (60) Daniel because of his innocence was delivered from the mouth of the lions” (1 Macc 2:51-60).

 

The fact that Ben Sira, writing early in the second century B.C., says nothing about Daniel, while the author of 1 Maccabees does refer to him, writing at the end of the second century B.C., is taken by some scholars to indicate that the book of Daniel originated sometime in between Ben Sira and 1 Maccabees–i.e., in the mid-second century B.C. …. Eissfeldt evaluates the evidence from Ben Sira as follows, as it bears on the dating of Daniel:

 

We may leave the matter there, with the broader period 167-163 in mind. This dating [for Daniel] is then supported by a whole series of further observations. The fact that the book was not included in the canon of the prophets (p. 565) shows already that it can only have been composed very late. This is confirmed by the fact that Ben Sira, writing in about 190, does not mention it in his Praise of the Fathers (xliv-l) whereas 1 Maccabees, compiled probably in about 100 B.C., has in ii,59-60 a reference to it, more precisely to i, iii and vi. . . . ….

 

But Eissfeldt’s conclusion is not required by the evidence. There is no reason—even under preterist presuppositions–why Ben Sira should not have been well informed concerning the main events of Daniel’s life. Mertens shows that the claim that Daniel was written entirely within the second century B.C., with no sources or fragments coming from an earlier time, is a minority view even among critical scholars and one which he considers extreme. ….

 

According to F. Nötscher the substance, content and even formulation of individual reports go back to the time of the exile; similarly J. Goettsberger; H. Schneider also takes the position that the oldest parts of the book of Daniel derive from the sixth century B.C. ….

 

Thus, the claim that Ben Sira did not mention Daniel because the book of Daniel was not

written until after Ecclesiasticus requires one to assume that Rowley’s view of how Daniel originated was substantially the correct one. Rowley held that a single author produced the entire work in the second century B.C. …. There are no preterist scholars at present, however, who would accept this assumption or defend it. I submit that, whether one proceeds under preterist or historicist assumptions, Ben Sira could not have been unaware of Daniel’s life story when he wrote his book.

 

This raises the question of what reason Ben Sira might have had for not wanting to mention Daniel or single him out for special praise. As it happens, a very plausible and straightforward answer to the above question is available, but it has nothing to do with when the book of Daniel was written. Ben Sira held the opinion, and stated it in so many words, that dreamers and dreams were fools and foolishness, respectively.

 

A man of no understanding has vain and false hopes, and dreams give wings to fools. (2) As one who catches at a shadow and pursues the wind, so is he who gives heed to dreams. (3) The vision of dreams is this against that, the likeness of a face confronting a face. (4) From an unclean thing what will be made clean? And from something false what will be true? (5) Divinations and omens and dreams are folly, and like a woman in travail the mind has fancies. (6) Unless they are sent from the Most High as a visitation, do not give your mind to them. (7) For dreams have deceived many, and those who put their hope in them have failed. (8) Without such deceptions the law will be fulfilled, and wisdom is made perfect in truthful lips. (Ben Sira 34:1-8)

 

If Ben Sira believed dreamers were fools, and thought of Daniel primarily as a dreamer … one could hardly expect Ben Sira to name Daniel as one of Israel’s great and illustrious figures of the past. For Daniel to be passed over in silence would be much more consistent with the passage just quoted than prominent mention of him a few chapters later would be.

 

It is not necessary therefore to suggest that the book of Daniel came into existence after

Ben Sira wrote in order to account for the latter’s silence regarding him. Ben Sira was a man of deep convictions, some of which bordered on prejudice. …. One of these convictions was that dreams were not a dependable criterion for behaviour. …. Seeing Daniel primarily as a dreamer he was not inclined to praise him.

[End of quote]

 

Clever though all this may be, I shall be looking amongst Sirach’s ‘praises of famous men’ for a worthy alter ego for the great and famous prophet Daniel, who had miraculously told the King’s Dream.

 

Nehemiah bridges Persia and Greece

Image result for nehemiah and sanballat

 by

Damien F. Mackey

“Years later, when it pleased God, the Persian emperor sent Nehemiah back to Jerusalem, and Nehemiah told the descendants of those priests to find the fire. They reported to us that they had found no fire but only some oily liquid. Nehemiah then told them to scoop some up and bring it to him”.

2 Maccabees 1:20

 

This verse from Second Maccabees greatly intrigues me because, according to it, governor Nehemiah of the Persian era was in contact with priests of the Maccabean era.

Consider what this means from a chronological point of view.

Nehemiah, customarily dated to c. 445 BC, the Persian era, is said to have been personally in touch with “priests” of the Hellenistic era.

 

The “us” to whom these priests “reported” were, as we learn at the beginning of this Maccabean chapter, “the Jews of Jerusalem and Judea” (1:1), these living in “the year 169” of the Greeks (1:7), which date, we are told, “corresponds to 143 B.C”.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Maccabees+1&version=GNT

Nehemiah must have been extraordinarily old these three centuries (445-143) later!

Poor Nehemiah really gets played around with. As if three centuries of life span were not enough for him, “he” re-emerges later, supposedly – still as an agent of Persia – in the C7th AD. See my article:

Two Supposed Nehemiahs: BC time and AD time

https://www.academia.edu/12429764/Two_Supposed_Nehemiahs_BC_time_and_AD_time

Now that is really stretching things!

 

“Two Sanballats”

—————————————————————————-

“If we are to put any confidence in the story of Josephus, then there must have been at least two Sanballats, and probably two Jadduas, and at two different times a son of a high priest must have married a daughter of a Sanballat”.
—————————————————————————-

 

Conventional patterns of history are famous for having to invent extra persons of the same name (e.g. a “Sanballat” I, II and III; a “Jaddua” I and II) in order to bridge over-inflated chronological estimations. Thus we read in an article, “Ezra-Nehemiah”
http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/ezra-nehemiah/

 

…. Neither language nor style can be assigned as a ground for asserting a date later than the 5th century BC as the time of the composition of the book. A much stronger reason against placing the final redaction of the books at so early a time is the mention of a Jaddua among the high priests in Nehemiah 12:11,22, it being assumed that this is the same Jaddua whom Josephus mentions (Ant., XI, viii, 4) as having filled the high-priestly office in the time of Alexander the Great. In view of the fact that Josephus is the only source of information as to the period between 400 and 300 BC, it seems unfair to accept what he says as to the existence of this Jaddua, while rejecting substantially all the rest of the same chapter in Josephus which tells about Sanballat, Manasseh and Alexander’s meeting with Jaddua. Inasmuch as the Sachau papyri, written in the 17th year of Darius Nothus, that is, in 410-408 BC, mention the sons of Sanballat the governor of Samaria, the Sanballat who was their father must have lived about 450 BC. The same papyrus mentions Jehohanan (Johnnan of Nehemiah 12:22) as the high priest of the temple at Jerusalem, and Bagohi (Bagoas) was the Persian governor of Jerusalem in 410-408 BC. Since, according to Nehemiah 13:6, Nehemiah was governor in 434-433 BC, the 32nd year of Artaxerxes, Bagoas would be perhaps his immediate successor. If we are to put any confidence in the story of Josephus, then there must have been at least two Sanballats, and probably two Jadduas, and at two different times a son of a high priest must have married a daughter of a Sanballat. While this is not impossible, it seems better to suppose that Josephus has confused matters beyond any possibility of disentanglement, and we might be justified in throwing over entirely his account of a Sanballat, a Manasseh, and a Jaddua as living in the year 330 BC, when Alexander conquered Syria. As far, of course, as the Jaddua of Nehemiah 12:11,22 is concerned, he may well have been high priest as early as 406 BC, and have continued to serve till 330 BC. On the other hand, another of the same name, probably a grandson, may, for all we know to the contrary, have been high priest in 330 BC. ….

 

Such painful duplicating ceases to be necessary within my revision, according to which the Medo-Persian kingdom is to be greatly streamlined, enabling for Nehemiah himself to become a bridge between it and the Hellenistic period inaugurated by Alexander the Great.

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Infancy Narratives’ in 1-2 Maccabees

Image result for magi matthew

 

by

 Damien F. Mackey

 

“When Mattathias saw all the sins that were being committed

in Judea and Jerusalem, he said:

‘Our children have been killed in the streets,

and our young men by the sword of the enemy’.”

 I Maccabees 2:6, 9

 

Introduction

 

From memory, it was Daniel 11 that may have started me towards my realisation (as I see it) that the wicked king Herod ‘the Great’, at the time of the infancy of Jesus Christ, could be the same as Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’, arguably the most evil ruler in the entire Bible.

Philip Mauro’s compelling interpretation of Daniel 11 in his book, The Seventy Weeks and the Great Tribulation (1921): https://www.preteristarchive.com/Books/1921_mauro_seventy-weeks.html most likely assisted me in arriving at such a connection, for Mauro – having, like most, assigned vv. 32-35 to the Maccabean era – then convincingly argued for king Herod as “the king” of vv. 36-39.

In my revised system, however, there is no need anymore for a rupture between vv. 32-35 and vv. 36-39. The wicked ruler of the Maccabean era is still the same “the king” of vv. 36-39: namely, Antiochus IV-who-is-my-Herod.

Mauro wrote on this:

 

We have seen that verses 32-35 have to do (as is generally agreed) with the [H]Asmoneans or Maccabees, verse 35 telling what was to befall them to the time of the end. What, therefore, we would be led to expect next is a reference to that order of things in Israel which followed immediately after the era of the Asmonean princes. And that is exactly what we do find. For there is no need (and no ground) either for the attempt to make the next succeeding verses apply to Antiochus Epiphanes, or to make a sudden and gigantic leap into the far distant future, in order to find a person whose career might conceivably answer to this part of the prophecy. For history, both sacred and profane, sets before us a most notable character, one who appears upon the scene and occupies the centre of the stage in Israel just at “the end” of the Asmonean era, and one who answers to every item of the prophetic description. We have reference to that strange, despotic, ungovernable and unspeakably cruel personage, whom the evangelists designate emphatically as–

 

“HEROD THE KING”

 

–that remarkable character who was a usurper upon the throne of David when Christ, the true King, was born. The proof which enables us to identify “the king” of Daniel 11:36-39 with Herod the Great and his dynasty, is so convincing that we feel warranted in saying that the prophecy could not possibly mean anyone else.

 

It would be strange indeed if, in an outline which gives prominence to Xerxes, Alexander, the Seleucids, the Ptolemies, Antiochus Epiphanes, and the Maccabees, there were no mention of that remarkable personage who exerted upon Jewish affairs and destinies an influence greater than they all, and who sat upon the throne of Israel when Christ was born.

 

The words, “the king,” should suffice, in the light of the context, without further description, to identify Herod to those who thoughtfully read their Bibles; for Herod alone is called by that title in the Gospels, and he alone had the rank and authority of “king” in Israel in the days after the captivity, “the latter days.” The text does not speak of a king, but of the king, the emphatic Hebrew article being used. This is in marked contrast with the terms of v. 40, where the original speaks of “a king of the north,” and “a king of the south.”

 

Mackey’s comment: If one reads 1 and 2 Maccabees, he/she will find various rulers, including Antiochus IV, being designated simply, “the king” (e.g. I Maccabees 6:8).

Mauro continues:

 

A glance at the context is enough to show that “the king” of v. 36 cannot mean either of the kings of v. 27. Moreover, these are never spoken of as “the king,” but always, both before and after v. 36, as “the king of the north,” or “the king of the south,” as the case may be. Nor does the Scripture speak of any “king” who is to arise at the time of the end of this present age, and who answers at all to the description of the prophecy. The “man of sin,” described in (#2Th 2:3-10), is supposed by some to be “the king” of Daniel 11:36. But he is not called a king, nor described as having kingly rank, but rather as one claiming divine worship in the temple of God, and backing up his pretensions by means of miracles and lying wonders. The “king” of Daniel 11:36 is a very different personage, and achieves his ends in a very different way, as will be clearly seen by all who diligently compare the two passages.

 

What has caused able commentators to go astray at this point, and in some instances to seek far afield for the interpretation of this passage, is the fact that they were unable to find anyone among the successors of Antiochus who answers at all to the description of “the king.” But they have overlooked two things which, had they heeded them, would have kept them from being so misled. Those things are, first, that the prophecy has not for its subject the kingdoms of Syria or Egypt, but the people of Israel, and hence the expression, “the king,” without other qualification, would mean one who was king over Daniel’s people; and second, that the verses immediately preceding (31-35) relate wholly to the affairs of the Jews under the Asmonean princes, and hence the terms of the prophecy itself lead us to look at this point for the beginning of a new order of things in Israel. And that is just what history certifies to us; for, precisely at this juncture of affairs, the Asmonean dynasty was brought to an end by violence and bloodshed, and it was replaced by that of a “king,” who answers perfectly to the description of the last part of the prophecy.

Moreover, and to this we would specially invite attention, it is said of this king that “he shall prosper until the indignation be accomplished” (or until wrath be completed), in fulfilment of which is the fact that the dynasty of Herod retained, through all the political upheavals of the times, its favour with Rome, and flourished in authority in Palestine, until the destruction of Jerusalem, which is the “wrath,” or “indignation,” or “tribulation,” to which these prophecies of Daniel so frequently refer as “the end” of Jewish nationality. For it was “Herod the king” who sought to compass the death of Christ soon after His birth, and whose successors of his own family put to death John the Baptist (this was done by Herod Antipas) and James the brother of John (by Herod Agrippa I, who also imprisoned Peter, intending to deliver him to the Jews) and finally sent Paul in chains to Rome (which was done by Herod Agrippa II, the last of the dynasty, the man who is best known to the world as he who was “almost persuaded”).

[End of quote]

 

‘Infancy Narrative’ Traits

 

So, to begin with, we have in each case a most evil – yet highly cunning and successful – king.

We have also a universal decree issued by a king/emperor that was binding on all of the ruler’s subjects (cf. I Maccabees 1:41 and Luke 2:1).

I am not necessarily saying that this was the one and same decree.

For the (tentative) possibility that my composite Antiochus-Herod could also have been the “Caesar Augustus” of Luke 2:1, see the appropriate reference in my article:

 

A glimpse of the Magi in Daniel 11:44?

https://www.academia.edu/36635276/A_glimpse_of_the_Magi_in_Daniel_11_44

 

Whilst I can find no reference to an actual “census” in 1 and 2 Maccabees, I had previously, in my article:

 

Judas the Galilean vitally links Maccabean era to Daniel 2’s “rock cut out of a mountain”. Part One: Judas the Galilean links census to Maccabees

https://www.academia.edu/36553726/Judas_the_Galilean_vitally_links_Maccabean_era_to_Daniel_2s_rock_cut_out_of_a_mountain_._Part_One_Judas_the_Galilean_links_census_to_Maccabees

 

used as a providential connecting link (with both Daniel 2 and 1 and 2 Maccabees) the crucial information supplied by Gamaliel in Acts 5:37 about “Judas the Galilean … in the days of the census”, thereby connecting Judas and his mentor, Matthias, with the Maccabean pairing of Judas and Mattathias (quoted at the beginning of this article) – thereby giving a census to Maccabean times.

Now, the move at the time of Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’ of Mattathias, with his family, “from Jerusalem and settled in Modein” (I Maccabees 2:1), I connected with the Gospel situation in Luke 2:3: “And everyone went to their own town to register”. For, as we shall learn at the time of the death of Jonathan, Modein was the Maccabees’ ancestral town (I Maccabees 13:25).

I also hypothesised that Modein, which so far has not been unequivocally identified, was the Sepphoris in Galilee to where Judas the Galilean is said to have removed himself.

The Holy Family, also living in Galilee, went on this occasion in a different direction (Luke 2:4-5): “So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child”.

It was also a time of angelic visitations and preternatural activity.

To give only one example of many from 1 and 2 Maccabees, there is this potentially encouraging one (“a good sign”) (2 Maccabees 5:1-4):

 

About this time Antiochus the Fourth made a second attack against Egypt. For nearly forty days people all over Jerusalem saw visions of cavalry troops in gold armor charging across the sky. The riders were armed with spears and their swords were drawn. They were lined up in battle against one another, attacking and counterattacking. Shields were clashing, there was a rain of spears, and arrows flew through the air. All the different kinds of armor and the gold bridles on the horses flashed in the sunlight. Everyone in the city prayed that these visions might be a good sign.

 

Far better to know to most is this one from Luke 2:8-15, “good news” indeed:

 

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger’.

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

 

‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests’.

 

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about’.

 

Not long afterwards there occurred the visit of the Magi as recorded in Matthew 2.

In my article “A glimpse of the Magi in Daniel 11:44?” (above) I have suggested, following the view of others, that this was foretold, in an Antiochus-Herod context, in Daniel 11:44.

Herod reacted most violently to the Magian mention of an alternative “king of the Jews” (Matthew 2:2). Thus we read in v. 16: “When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi”.

Today we refer to this sad incident as ‘The Slaughter of the Innocents’.

There are various references in 1 and 2 Maccabees to king Antiochus’s slaughtering of innocent babies, including the one from Mattathias above. Both Luke 2:18 and 1 and 2 Maccabees break into laments about such catastrophes for Israel.

Finally, just as the Holy Family will flee to Egypt to escape Herod (Matthew 2:13-15):

 

When [the Magi] had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up’, he said, ‘take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him’.

So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘Out of Egypt I called my son’ [,]

 

so (2 Maccabees 9:29): “One of [the deceased Antiochus IV’s] close friends, Philip, took his body home; but, because he was afraid of Antiochus’ son, he went on to King Ptolemy Philometor of Egypt”.

A glimpse of the Magi in Daniel 11:44?

Image result for magi matthew

 

by

Damien F. Mackey

 

“But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many”.

 Daniel 11:44

 

 

Introduction

 

Some commentators take this verse of Daniel as being a reference to the news brought to Herod by the Magi, as recorded in Matthew 2:1-2: “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him’.” Philip Mauro was adamant that this must be the case. Accordingly, this is what Mauro wrote in his 1921 book, The Seventy Weeks and the Great Tribulation:

 

TIDINGS FROM EAST AND NORTH

 

We come now to the last two verses of chapter 11, which read thus:

 

“But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end and none shall help him” (#Da 11:44,45).

 

It is not at first glance apparent who is the antecedent of the pronoun “he” in these verses. But upon close attention to the text it will be seen that we have here a return to the main subject of this part of the prophecy, “the king” of verse 36 ….

…. [Farquharson] adds: “And the correctness of this view of the whole passage is confirmed by the literal manner in which the predictions in this 44th verse, and in the remaining verse of the chapter, were fulfilled by Herod.”

 

Indeed we do not see how any fulfilment could be more complete and literal than that which is given us in Matthew’s Gospel of the words “But tidings out of the east shall trouble him.” For it is written that “When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the king, behold there came wise men FROM THE EAST to Jerusalem, saying, Where is He that is born king of the Jews? for we have seen His star IN THE EAST, and are come to worship Him. When Herod heard these things he was TROUBLED, and all Jerusalem with him” (#Mt 2:1-3). So here we have the exact thing prophesied, namely, “tidings out of the east” which “troubled him.”

 

Nothing was so well calculated to “trouble” Herod as reports that some one was aspiring to his throne. In this case it is among the most familiar of all facts that Herod, being set at nought by the wise men, from whom he sought to learn the identity of the new born babe, “was EXCEEDING WROTH, and SENT FORTH, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under” (#Mt 2:16). Thus we have almost verbal agreement with the words of the prophecy, “he shall Go FORTH, with GREAT FURY, to destroy and utterly to make away MANY.” ….

[End of quote]

 

 

The bigger picture

 The king Herod under consideration here I have expanded to embrace the evil Hellenistic king of the Maccabean age, Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’. One will find this reconstruction in my series:

 

Merging Maccabean and Herodian ages. Part One: Judas the Jewish Revolutionary

https://www.academia.edu/36280720/Merging_Maccabean_and_Herodian_ages._Part_One_Judas_the_Jewish_Revolutionary

Merging Maccabean and Herodian ages. Part Two: Gamaliel’s feeble account of Judas

https://www.academia.edu/36314477/Merging_Maccabean_and_Herodian_ages._Part_Two_Gamaliels_feeble_account_of_Judas

 

Merging Maccabean and Herodian ages. Part Two (b): Who was Gamaliel’s “Theudas”?

 

https://www.academia.edu/36423544/Merging_Maccabean_and_Herodian_ages._Part_Two_b_Who_was_Gamaliels_Theudas_

Merging Maccabean and Herodian ages. Part Two (c): Was Gamaliel’s ‘Theudas’ John the Baptist?

 

https://www.academia.edu/36424791/Merging_Maccabean_and_Herodian_ages._Part_Two_c_Was_Gamaliel_s_Theudas_John_the_Baptist

 

Merging Maccabean and Herodian ages. Part Three: The “King” (i) A summary so far

https://www.academia.edu/36370627/Merging_Maccabean_and_Herodian_ages._Part_Three_The_King_i_A_summary_so_far

 

Merging Maccabean and Herodian ages. Part Three: The “King” (ii) A slaughterer of innocent babies

https://www.academia.edu/36370827/Merging_Maccabean_and_Herodian_ages._Part_Three_The_King_ii_A_slaughterer_of_innocent_babies

Merging Maccabean and Herodian ages. Part Three: The “King” (iii) Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’ merges into Herod

 

https://www.academia.edu/36396312/Merging_Maccabean_and_Herodian_ages._Part_Three_The_King_iii_Antiochus_IV_Epiphanes_merges_into_Herod

Compare also the “trembled” in I Maccabees 1:28: “All our people were clothed with shame, and our land trembled for them”[,] with Matthew 2:3: “When Herod the king heard it, he trembled, and all Jerusalem with him”.

Merging Maccabean and Herodian ages. Part Three: The “King” (iv) Antiochus/Herod merges into Hadrian

https://www.academia.edu/36396632/Merging_Maccabean_and_Herodian_ages._Part_Three_The_King_iv_Antiochus_Herod_merges_into_Hadrian

Merging Maccabean and Herodian ages. Part Three: The “King” (v) Was the “King” also “Caesar Augustus”?

https://www.academia.edu/36414072/Merging_Maccabean_and_Herodian_ages._Part_Three_The_King_v_Was_the_King_also_Caesar_Augustus_

 

Now, in my perusal of the two accounts of king Antiochus (my Herod) in 1 and 2 Maccabees, I have not been able to find any instance of that king’s being troubled by any news, tidings, or reports, from either the “east” or the “north”.

The “north” is rather problematical inasmuch as Antiochus himself is designated in Daniel 11 as “the king of the north”. For example we read in verses 15-17 of his warfare, and then alliance, with the king “of the South”, who was the Ptolemaïc (Hellenistic) pharaoh of Egypt/Ethiopia:

 

Then the king of the North will come and build up siege ramps and will capture a fortified city. The forces of the South will be powerless to resist; even their best troops will not have the strength to stand. The invader will do as he pleases; no one will be able to stand against him. He will establish himself in the Beautiful Land and will have the power to destroy it. He will determine to come with the might of his entire kingdom and will make an alliance with the king of the South. And he will give him a daughter in marriage in order to overthrow the kingdom, but his plans will not succeed or help him.

 

And the only occasion that I have found in 1 and 2 Maccabees where king Antiochus hears from the east is when, in his last days (I Maccabees 6:1-2):

 

King Antiochus was going through the upper provinces when he heard that Elymais in Persia was a city famed for its wealth in silver and gold. Its temple was very rich, containing golden shields, breastplates, and weapons left there by Alexander son of Philip, the Macedonian king who first reigned over the Greeks.

 

There is no indication whatsoever anywhere in 1 and 2 Maccabees that this hearing about the east (Persia) either (as according to Daniel 11:44) troubled him, or caused him to go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.

Philip Mauro, following the unreliable Josephus, does attempt to identify some bad news from the “north” in the case of Herod. Mauro greatly stretches things to have Daniel’s “the north” now refer to Rome (op. cit., ibid.):

 

At about the same time, that is, in the last years of Herod’s life, “tidings out of the north” also came to “trouble” that self-tormenting monarch. For Antipater, his oldest son (a despicable character), then at Rome (which had now become the centre of what is indefinitely called in this prophecy “the north”) conspired to have letters written to his father giving information that two other of his sons, whom he purposed to make his successors, had calumniated their father to Caesar. This caused Herod again to break forth with intense “fury” against his own sons, and their supposed abettors, as related by Josephus at great length (Ant. XVII 4-7; Wars 1:30-33).

 

In regard to these extraordinary events, Farquharson quotes a passage (which we give below) from the Universal Ancient History, saying he does so the more readily because the authors of the passage had no thought at all of recording a fulfilment of prophecy. They say:

 

“The reader may remember that we left Herod in the most distracted state that can well be imagined; his conscience stung with the most lively grief for the murder of his beloved and virtuous Mariamne and of her two worthy sons; his life and crown in imminent danger from the rebellious Antipater, and ungrateful Pheroras; his reign stained with rivers of innocent blood; his latter days embittered by the treacherous intrigues of a sister; his person and family hated by the whole Jewish nation; and last of all, his crown and all his glories on the eve of being obscured by the birth of a miraculous Child, who is proclaimed by heaven and earth to be the promised and long expected Messiah and Saviour of the world. To all these plagues we must add some fresh intelligences which came tumbling in upon that wretched monarch; and which by assuring him still more, not only of the treasonable designs of the unnatural Antipater, but also of the bitter complaints which his other two sons, then at the Roman court, vented against them both, rendered him more than ever completely miserable” (Universal History, Vol. X. pp. 492, 493).

 

Herod’s “great fury” (to use the words of the prophecy) was not confined to the babes of Bethlehem, and to members of his own family. For, says Josephus, “it was also during paroxysms of fury, that, nearly about the same time, he burned alive Matthias and forty young men with him, who had pulled down the golden image of the Roman eagle, which he had placed over the gate of the temple” (Ant. XVII 7). Furthermore Josephus relates the following characteristic action of Herod:

 

“He came again to Jericho, where he became so choleric, that it brought him to do all things like a madman; and though he was near death, yet he contrived the following wicked designs: He commanded that all the principal men of the entire Jewish nation be called to him. Accordingly there were a great number that came, because * * * death was the penalty of such that should despise the epistles that were sent to call them. And now the king was in a wild rage against them all; * * * and when they were come, he ordered them all to be shut up in the hippodrome, and sent for his sister Salome and her husband Alexas, and spake thus to them: ‘I shall die in a little time, so great are my pains; * * * but what principally troubles me is this, that I shall die without being lamented, and without such a mourning as men usually expect at a king’s death.'” Therefore, in order to insure that the nation should be plunged into mourning, he left an order that, immediately upon his own death, all those leaders of the Jews, whom he had confined in the hippodrome, should be slain. That order, however, was not carried out.

[End of quote]

 

Daniel’s prophecy about “the east” does appear to fit rather well with the Magian scenario.

 

As to “the north”, it is possible that this just may give us a further clue to the place of origin of the Magi. They may have come collectively from lands ‘east and north’, and met up – just as Job’s friends, all hailing from different places, “set out from their homes and met together by agreement” (Job 2:11).

 

 

Extra note: Philip Mauro thought that he had found another reference to the baby Jesus in Daniel 11:37’s phrase (which some commentators take to refer to the god Tammuz):

 

THE DESIRE OF WOMEN

 

Verse 37 reads: “Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall magnify himself above all.”

 

These words call for special comment. The first clause manifestly could not apply to any heathen king like Antiochus. For whether or not a heathen king should change his national gods is a matter of no importance whatever. But with a king of Israel it is a matter of supreme importance. Now Herod, though supposedly of Idumean (i.e. Edomite) origin, was virtually a Jew; for all the remaining Idumeans, who had come into Judea several centuries previous, had been amalgamated with the Jews. In addressing the people Herod habitually used the expression “our fathers” (Ant. Bk. XV Ch. 11, See. 1). So fully was Herod regarded as a Jew, that the Herodians even held him to be the Messiah. Therefore, in introducing the worship of Caesar, Herod conspicuously failed to “regard the God of his fathers.” Moreover, in this connection, it should not be forgotten that Esau was Jacob’s twin brother, and hence that the God of the fathers of the Edomites was the same as the God of the fathers of the Jews.

 

The words, “nor the desire of women,” are very significant. There can scarcely be any doubt that they refer to Christ, and that Daniel would so understand them. For, of course, the “women” must be understood to be women of Israel; and the ardent “desire” of every one of them was that she might be the mother of Christ. The same word is found in (#Hag 2:7): “And the Desire of all nations shall come.” Evidently then it is Christ who is referred to as “the desire of women”; and if so, then we have a striking fulfilment of these words in Herod’s attempt to murder the infant Messiah. For the record given in (#Mt 2:1-16) makes it quite clear that Herod’s deliberate purpose was to put to death the promised Messiah of Israel. It was for the accomplishment of that purpose that he inquired of the chief priests and scribes as to where Christ should be born. The slaughter of the babes of Bethlehem was an act of atrocity almost without parallel in history. It was, moreover, an event that had been foretold by Jeremiah in the words, “A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children,” etc. (#Jer 31:51, quoted in #Mt 2:17,18). Each one of those murdered infants was “the desire” of his own mother; and thus Herod fulfilled Daniel 11:37 in another sense.

 

As already explained, I have rejected the traditional picture of Herod as an Idumean (and half-Jew), and have identified him instead as Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’, a Macedonian (Hellenistic) Greek of the Maccabean era.

And I have also completely rejected the chaotic chronology traditionally associated with Herod ‘the Great’.

Four Kingdoms of Daniel 2

Image result for daniel 2

 

by

 Damien F. Mackey

 

With the fourth kingdom previously identified as Hellenistic, and the first kingdom clearly referring to Nebuchednezzar (see below) – with these clearly defined parameters set in place – our task of identifying these various kingdoms is made so much easier.

 

Now it is usual for those who favour the fourth kingdom as Greece instead of Roman for the second and the third kingdoms to be identified as, respectively, Mede and Persian.

Whilst this may indeed be the case, I shall also mention what I think could be a possible variation on that sequence (see Second Kingdom below).

 

First Kingdom (Golden): Nebuchednezzar

 

No reasonable commentator would doubt this, since the wise prophet Daniel himself tells the Chaldean king Nebuchednezzar directly (2:38): ‘You are that head of gold’.

 

Second Kingdom (Silver): Belshazzar or Median

 

The first kingdom was simply Nebuchednezzar without mention of anyone else.

But, according to my revision, Nebuchednezzar was succeeded by his son, Belshazzar:

 

Neo-Babylonian Dynasty Needs ‘Hem Taken Up’. Part One (b): Evil-Merodach is Belshazzar

https://www.academia.edu/35846645/Neo-Babylonian_Dynasty_Needs_Hem_Taken_Up_._Part_One_b_Evil-Merodach_is_Belshazzar

 

this being fully in accord with the royal succession in Daniel 5: (i) Nebuchednezzar succeeded by his son, (ii) Belshazzar, who was succeeded by (iii) Darius the Mede:

 

Book of Daniel – merging Assyrians and Chaldeans

https://www.academia.edu/35856059/Book_of_Daniel_-_merging_Assyrians_and_Chaldeans

 

 

That Belshazzar also ruled a “kingdom” is apparent from his statement to Daniel on the occasion of the Writing on the Wall (5:16): ‘… if thou canst read the writing, and make known to me the interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler in the kingdom”.

Belshazzar’s “kingdom” would fit Daniel’s description of the second kingdom in at least two aspects, its coming after Nebuchednezzar, and its being inferior to Nebuchednezzar (2:39): ‘After you, another kingdom will arise, inferior to yours’.

Perhaps another argument in favour of king Belshazzar over Darius the Mede, for the identity of the second kingdom, is the fact that Daniel 8:20 connects the Median and Persian empires together as the one symbolical animal-entity (a “ram”): ‘The two-horned ram that you saw represents the kings of Media and Persia’.

And, again, the kingdom of Darius the Mede was no tin-pot kingdom (6:1-2): “It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel”.

 

Whatever be the case, it does not affect things overmuch insofar as we have a firmly defined terminus a quo beginning (the first kingdom) and terminus ad quem ending (the fourth kingdom).

Reasoning from the above, then, the terrible

 

Fourth Kingdom (Iron): is Hellenistic (Macedonian)

 

as previously determined.

 

Jesus Christ himself is the ‘stone’ of Daniel 2

Image result for jesus is stone of daniel 2

 by

Damien F. Mackey

 

 ‘While you were watching, a stone was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were all broken to pieces and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth’.

 Daniel 2:34-35

The question of “Who/what is the stone of Daniel 2?”, as asked at, for instance:
http://bibleanswer.org/2015/08/01/whowhat-is-the-stone-of-daniel-2/
is easily answered, because Jesus Christ told us directly to whom it refers.
“Jesus said to them [the chief priests and the Pharisees]” (Matthew 21:42):

‘Have you never read in the Scriptures:

“The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
the Lord has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes”’?”

 

This was an Old Testament reference to Psalm 117:22 (Douay, otherwise Psalm 118:22).

This was a “stone” (a “rock”) that would shatter the successive pagan kingdoms of Daniel 2 that would encounter it.

Jesus continued his statement, still with reference to Daniel 2 (Matthew 21:43): ‘Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed’.

 

I Peter 2:7-8 explains this further, with reference, again, to the Old Testament (Isaiah 8:14): “He will be a holy place; for both Israel and Judah he will be a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare”.

I Peter 2:9 goes on to tell exactly who were Jesus’s “a people who will produce its fruit” to whom the kingdom will be given: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, to proclaim the virtues of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light”.

 

The article referred to above, “Who/what is the stone of Daniel 2?” (not all of which I would agree with or recommend), comes to the same conclusion about:

 

Who/what is a stone?

“Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, ” 1 Peter 2:7

“Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. ” Acts 4:10, 11

Answer: Jesus

 

JESUS CHRIST BORN IN MACCABEAN ERA

Image result for birth of Jesus

 

by

Damien F. Mackey

 

 

PART ONE: JESUS IS THE LORD OF HISTORY

  

“‘I am the Alpha and the Omega’, says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was,

and who is to come, the Almighty’.”

REVELATION 1:8

 

 

Introduction

 

The Advent of Jesus Christ has split human history right in twain.

“More people in the world have based their lives on Jesus than any person or religion that has ever existed …. The birth of this man became the turning point of history. It’s the point where BC, the time before Christ, became AD”.

Jesus Christ is the Lord of History, “the Alpha and the Omega” (Hebrew: “the Aleph and the Tav”). He is “the First and Last, the Beginning and the End” (Revelation 22:13).

 

In 1979, pope John Paul II, anticipating the beginning of the new millennium, the year 2000, allowed for the fact that Jesus Christ may not have been born exactly when has been thought (Encyclical: Redemptor Hominis, # 1, emphasis added):

 

  1. At the close of the second Millennium

 

THE REDEEMER OF MAN, Jesus Christ, is the centre of the universe and of history. To him go my thoughts and my heart in this solemn moment of the world that the Church and the whole family of present-day humanity are now living. In fact, this time, in which God in his hidden design has entrusted to me, after my beloved Predecessor John Paul I, the universal service connected with the Chair of Saint Peter in Rome, is already very close to the year 2000. At this moment it is difficult to say what mark that year will leave on the face of human history or what it will bring to each people, nation, country and continent, in spite of the efforts already being made to foresee some events. For the Church, the People of God spread, although unevenly, to the most distant limits of the earth, it will be the year of a great Jubilee. We are already approaching that date, which, without prejudice to all the corrections imposed by chronological exactitude, will recall and reawaken in us in a special way our awareness of the key truth of faith which Saint John expressed at the beginning of his Gospel: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us”1, and elsewhere: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”2. ….

 

In this series, an effort will be made to arrive at a far greater “chronological exactitude” than has hitherto been achieved.

Jesus Christ was born, it will be suggested, in what historians-chronologists would currently date as 170 BC (approximately). If this be a correct re-assessment, then our BC-AD crossover will need to be radically reorganised.

 

PART TWO: THE “DECREE” OF THE KING

  

“Antiochus now issued a decree that all nations in his empire should abandon their own customs and become one people”.

1 MACCABEES 1:41

  

Whilst this “decree”, as issued by king Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’ does not convey the same terms as does the one by “Caesar Augustus” (Luke 2:1): “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed”, it has in common with it its being a universal proclamation binding upon all of the king’s subjects.

 

I have already pointed out that the word “Roman [world]” that we find used in many translations of Luke 2:1 does not actually exist in the original.

 

And, in Part Three of my series:

 

Merging Maccabean and Herodian ages. Part Three: The “King” (i) A summary so far

https://www.academia.edu/36370627/Merging_Maccabean_and_Herodian_ages._Part_Three_The_King_i_A_summary_so_far

and:

 

Merging Maccabean and Herodian ages. Part Three: The “King” (ii) A slaughterer of innocent babies

 

https://www.academia.edu/36370827/Merging_Maccabean_and_Herodian_ages._Part_Three_The_King_ii_A_slaughterer_of_innocent_babies

 

I HAVE RADICALLY COLLAPSED THE ERA OF ANTIOCHUS IV ‘EPIPHANES’, THE ISSUER OF THE ABOVE “DECREE” (1 MACCABEES 1:41), INTO THE ERA OF HEROD ‘THE GREAT’ WHO WAS CONTEMPORANEOUS WITH THE ISSUING OF THE LUCAN (OR NEW TESTAMENT) “DECREE” OF “CAESAR AUGUSTUS”:

 

Merging Maccabean and Herodian ages. Part Three: The “King” (iii) Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’ merges into Herod

 

https://www.academia.edu/36396312/Merging_Maccabean_and_Herodian_ages._Part_Three_The_King_iii_Antiochus_IV_Epiphanes_merges_into_Herod

So it is entirely possible that, now the decree of Antiochus, now the decree of Caesar Augustus, was one and the same decree (though it may not have been – the king no doubt issued several), but with different terms of the decree expressed, now in the Maccabean text, now in the Lucan.

 

Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’ and Herod ‘the Great’ were found to fit extremely well together for the most part. Powerful, ruthless and cunning monarchs who would stop at nothing to achieve their ambitions, even to the slaughtering of babies. Renowned builders, too.

Even their disgusting deaths from worms are strikingly alike – as has often been observed.

Antiochus was, Herod was, an unashamed Helleniser.

The main differences that would be expected, would be of course (i) chronological (according to conventional terms), (ii) ethnicity, with Antiochus being a Macedonian Greek, and Herod half Idumean and half Jewish, (iii) extent of power, with Herod considered to have been a client king of Rome, and (iv) length of rule – Herod reigning for a supposed four decades (but the chronology of his reign is famously controverted).

 

The Roman aspect in all of this was to be further taken out of the equation with my identification of the now super-king, Antiochus-Herod, with the emperor Hadrian, a renowned Grecophile (and now, according to my reconstruction, an actual Greek king or emperor):

 

Merging Maccabean and Herodian ages. Part Three: The “King” (iv) Antiochus/Herod merges into Hadrian

 

https://www.academia.edu/36396632/Merging_Maccabean_and_Herodian_ages._Part_Three_The_King_iv_Antiochus_Herod_merges_into_Hadrian

And yet further ‘damage’ was done to Rome (tentatively) when I finally, in the above series, took the bold step of proposing that my super-king Antiochus-Herod-Hadrian (= Augustus) might also have been the “Caesar Augustus” of Luke 2:

 

Merging Maccabean and Herodian ages. Part Three: The “King” (v) Was the “King” also “Caesar Augustus

https://www.academia.edu/36414072/Merging_Maccabean_and_Herodian_ages._Part_Three_The_King_v_Was_the_King_also_Caesar_Augustus_

 

Having this totally new scenario in mind surrounding the early Maccabean era, and, now, too, surrounding what I considered to have been the corresponding era of the birth of Jesus Christ, I went in search of some Lucan elements in the Maccabean account of the tyrannical reign of Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’: such as census; angelic activity; Magi; and slaughter of innocents.

 

Gamaliel’s revolutionary, “Judas the Galilean”, whom I have identified as Judas Maccabee, was found to be the vital link between the New Testament (Lucan) census and the Maccabean era (hence the decree of Antiochus):

 

Merging Maccabean and Herodian ages. Part One: Judas the Jewish Revolutionary

https://www.academia.edu/36280720/Merging_Maccabean_and_Herodian_ages._Part_One_Judas_the_Jewish_Revolutionary

 

We are not told why Judas Maccabee’s priest-father, Mattathias – who I believe connects with Judas the Galilean’s mentor, Matthias – early departs Jerusalem for his ancestral town of Modein. But I suspect that it was for the very same reason that (Saint) Joseph, at the same time (as I believe), went to his ancestral town of Bethlehem – to register.

“Judas the Galilean” will be said to have departed for Sepphoris in Galilee, which I would take to be the unidentified Modein of the Maccabees.

As to the “Quirinius” of Luke 2:2: “(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria)”, he could be, for example, “Apollonius son of Menestheus, the governor of Greater Syria” (2 Maccabees 4:3).

A Greek (“Apollonius”) perhaps accorded a Roman name (“Quirinius”) in Luke’s Gospel?

 

Angelic activity and the slaughtering of innocents, as known to us from Matthew’s Gospel, abound also in Maccabees 1 and 2, as I have previously pointed out.

And, whilst I have found nothing specific to the Magi, ‘perturbation’ of the Jerusalemites and of their evil king (‘disturbed’) is mentioned both in Maccabees and in Matthew.

 

The Holy Family will flee to Egypt early in the reign of Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’ (my Herod), and they will miss out on all of the ‘excitement’ of the wars between Judas Maccabeus and the Greeks. They will return to Palestine after the hideous death of the persecuting “King”, only to find his son, Archelaus, now ruling there in Jerusalem (Matthew 2:21-23).

The “Archelaus” of Matthew would correspond to Antiochus V ‘Eupator’, the son-successor of Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’.

In both cases, a lesser, and short-reigning (less than a decade) ruler.

 

“The problem many historians in the past have faced is that the most common English translations of Luke’s gospel’s description of the census can be translated several ways. But, of course, considering millennia have passed since Luke wrote it, it is forgivable that some things have been lost in translation”.

 Daryn Graham

 

 

Daryn Graham, whose re-dating of the birth of Jesus Christ to 8 BC I had formerly favoured – until my taking this radical step backwards to 170 BC (conventional dating) – had done what I, too, had done in my article:   

Gamaliel’s ‘Theudas’ as John the Baptist

 

https://www.academia.edu/36424851/Gamaliels_Theudas_as_John_the_Baptist

 

and that is, had amended some New Testament Greek.

I, in order to have Gamaliel’s “Theudas” post-date Gamaliel’s “Judas the Galilean”, as I thought he must, had re-translated Greek μετὰ, “after”, to the acceptable “besides”.

So I wrote:

 

But I do believe that Acts 5:37 needs an amended translation.

Instead of Judas the Galilean coming “after him [Theudas]”, the μετὰ in μετὰ τοῦτον can be amended to read the equally permissible (if perhaps less common), “besides”. Thus, “besides him”, or, “as well as [Theudas]”, there was “Judas the Galilean”.

That way, Theudas does not have to have pre-dated “Judas the Galilean”.

 

As to Graham’s preferred translation of Luke 2, the “census”, that will become apparent from the following.

I previously wrote about this:

 

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

 

Luke 2:1-3 (NIV)

 

This NIV translation of the Greek of Luke 2:1:

 

Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις ἐξῆλθεν δόγμα παρὰ Καίσαρος Αὐγούστου ἀπογράφεσθαι πᾶσαν τὴν οἰκουμένην·

 

appears to me potentially to over-extend the meaning of the Greek phrase, πᾶσαν τὴν οἰκουμένην, in the same way as I noted in:

Creationists will interpret the Hebrew kol ha aretz

in modern global terms

 

https://www.academia.edu/33327003/Creationists_will_interpret_the_Hebrew_kol_ha_aretz_in_modern_global_terms

 

that the Hebrew word kol can be greatly over-extended (in geographical terms) in connection with ha-aretz.

Clearly, there is no specific reference to “Roman” in the Greek, thereby allowing for the word, οἰκουμένην, to convey a more local meaning.

According to Strong’s Concordance (http://biblehub.com/greek/3625.htm) the word means: “Definition: (properly: the land that is being inhabited, the land in a state of habitation), the inhabited world, that is, the Roman world, for all outside it was regarded as of no account”. However, Luke the Evangelist was writing a Gospel that pertained to Israel, which had little regard for “the Roman world”.

 

Now Daryn Graham, in his convincing effort to account for this historically much-disputed census account, has queried another part of the NIV translation of Luke 2, thereby giving it a whole new meaning:

(http://thebirthofjesuschrist.blogspot.com.au/2009/09/ancient-history-archaeology-and-birth.html):

 

ANCIENT HISTORY, ARCHAEOLOGY AND THE BIRTH OF JESUS CHRIST

 

By Daryn Graham

Even though the countless Christians throughout the ages have differed significantly from person to person, all have but one true test of faith and that is the belief in Jesus Christ being none other than the Son of God, and indeed, God himself. According to the Bible which contains the earliest surviving accounts of Jesus life, Christ was born in a stable in Bethlehem in the Roman province of Judaea, during which time a census was being taken. Of course, once we determine exactly which census that was we can also discover the precise date for Jesus’ birth. But as to which census that was has left many an accomplished modern historian without an answer. However, doubting the accuracy of the Bible on these grounds is literally jumping hastily to unnecessary conclusions. As with so many things ancient, a little investigative work can help to fill in the picture. As I will now explain, the birth of Jesus Christ as told of in the Bible is firmly rooted in solid historical facts, and this is true also of the census during that humble, yet historically momentous and epoch-making birth.

The Census

The problem many historians in the past have faced is that the most common English translations of Luke’s gospel’s description of the census can be translated several ways. But, of course, considering millennia have passed since Luke wrote it, it is forgivable that some things have been lost in translation. The common NIV translation reads: “Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria) And everyone went to his own town to register.”[1] The problem for past historians is that the particular detail regarding Quirinius in this NIV translation can not have been the intended meaning by Luke. True, there was a census in Judaea during Quirinius’ governorship which began in 6AD,[2] but it was certainly not of the entire Roman Empire. The 1st century AD Jewish historian Josephus made that crystal clear by writing Quirinius’ census was confined only to Syria to determine the local inhabitants’ tax payments.[3] Of course, it is unlikely that Luke, who was a meticulous historian, was incorrect – it is rather that case that the translation itself is incorrect. But considering that even the influential, though at times unreliable, 4th century AD Christian historian Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History maintained this reading[4] it is understandable that it has gained so much credibility.

We can be sure of Luke’s true meaning when we consider the following. There are two other translation possibilities raised by experts, the second of which discussed here is perfectly consistent with archaeological and historical records and is, I firmly believe, Luke’s intended translation. But for the sake of interest, we will look at both. The first possibility some say should read: “This first census was taken when Quirinius was governor”.[5] But this is on very shaky ground. For one thing it is known by historians that it was not the first census decreed. The Res Gestae Divi Augusti, (The Accomplishments of the Divine Augustus) written by the Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar himself, shows that Augustus carried out previous censuses in 28BC and again in 8BC[6] – years before Quirinius’ governorship of Syria. The Res Gestae was written by Augustus in his final years in the early 1st century AD and was inscribed on the walls of temples around the empire. It has been preserved for us today in the temple of Rome and Augustus at Ancyra (Ankara in modern Turkey). Fragments from Pisidia (also in modern Turkey) have also survived. It is doubtful Luke, who wrote his Gospel only about 50 years later, was not aware of such facts as the ones recorded in Augustus’ Res Gestae. But the second alternative translation held by some experts and very much so myself to be Luke’s intended one, however, makes all of the ancient evidence fall into place with Luke’s original meaning, showing that his Gospel is historically precise and grounded in solid fact. According to this translation the census described by Luke originally in ancient Greek was not taken ‘while Quirinius was governor’ but ‘before Quirinius was governor’.[7]

In regard to which of Augustus’ censuses before Quirinius’ governorship Luke could have referred to, the solution is crystal clear. The 28BC census was taken of Roman citizens alone, so that one is ruled out. However the 8BC census, which was not only for Roman citizens, but also for the whole empire’s population, is exactly like the one Luke referred to. Inscriptions discovered in Spain, Cyrene and Turkey show that the purpose of it was for everyone in the empire to register their allegiance to Augustus – an effort that resulted in a large measure of peace throughout the Roman world. An inscription from Turkey reads, “I will be loyal to Caesar Augustus and to his children and descendants all my life in word, in deed, and in thought.”[8] Another from Spain says, “Of my own volition I express my regard for the safety, honor and victory of the Emperor Caesar Augustus…”[9] The wording of the oath of allegiance in Judaea was probably somewhat similar to these. Incidentally, in later years the Romans conducted such censuses to determine taxes, but that was not yet the case of the actual one we are looking at. So, the translation that the census Luke referred to was the one before Quirinius’ term holds up to scrutiny, and that it involved ‘entire Roman world’ is verified by the archaeological findings.

You may be wondering, as have I in the past, why Luke bothered to describe the registration ‘before Quirinius’ at all – why not write who really was governor of Syria at the time of the 8BC census? There is a good answer for that. The ‘entire Roman world’ census Luke referred to was a huge undertaking that spanned years under many governors throughout the whole massive empire. Papyrus found in Egypt a century ago show it took place there in 9BC,[10] while inscriptions discovered more recently indicate it was conducted in Cyrene around 7BC,[11] Spain in 6BC[12] and Paphlagonia (in northern Turkey) in 3BC.[13] As to when it took place in Judaea, Josephus, is of help. He stated Judaea registered during Saturninus’ governorship of 8-6BC, adding that the census there was brought to a close nearly a year prior to the end of that governorship.[14] Given that in those times the period for registration lasted for a whole year, this means that Saturninus began conducting it soon after he entered office in 8BC. As you can appreciate, it must have been so much easier for Luke, then, to simply use the basic terms he did than go into such endless particulars his audience would have been quite familiar with anyway.

As to what was involved in that census, Luke summed it up well – “everyone went to his own town to register”.[15] By comparing this statement with the archaeological evidence, it is clear, thankfully, that in this case nothing at all is lost in translation. Papyri preserved in Egyptian sands are impressive in number and a few even show what was involved in a Roman census. In one papyrus, recording an edict for a census by a Roman governor of Egypt in 104AD, all Egyptians were required to return to their hometowns for registration. It even states “anyone found without a permit [to stay away from their hometown] thereafter will be severely punished”.[16]

In those days it was essential for the Romans to maintain ties between its empire’s population and their homelands in order to sustain the local economies. In that way landlords had a ready and constant supply of tenants. A census was one means of achieving that end. Although Joseph lived in Galilee when Augustus ordered his census, his lineage went back to King David, and hence he had to travel to Bethlehem, David’s hometown.[17] But of course, as always, there were some exceptions to the rule. In Alexandria, Egyptians needed to remain there to keep the city going could obtain permits to stay there to register.

Luke’s remark that ‘everyone went to his own town’ is also historical. In an actual census declaration preserved on papyrus from the Egyptian village of Bacchias dated to 91AD it is clear that the male head of the household took himself and his family to his own hometown where he registered himself firstly, then his house, and then his family. In the case of that particular declaration, it was written down by a village secretary because those registering were illiterate.[18] In Joseph’s case, though, he may have possessed the literary skills to write his own declaration. As a carpenter, Jew, and inhabitant of the Galilee during his time he could have been well-versed in geometry and the Jewish scriptures.[19] Jesus’ ability to read may also be a strong indication that the rest of their family, including Joseph, could also read and write.

This all means that Luke’s gospel is much more than a collection of stories. Its narrative is factual and reliable. As Luke wrote, Jesus must have been born sometime between early 8BC to early 7BC during the empire-wide registration conducted before Quirinius’ governorship of Syria. Of course, I would love to take the credit for determining this approximate date of Jesus’ birth, but I must confess I am not the first by a long stretch. The famous ancient Christian Tertullian, a legal expert from northern Africa, writing over a century earlier than Eusebius a few years after the turn of the 3rd century AD, recorded that indeed Jesus was born during Saturninus’ governorship of Judaea.[20] This is important because Tertullian had valuable access to official Roman records and was thus in a perfect position to know such a fact.

In case you were wondering, as for why the turning of our era takes place in our calendar 8 years later – it is actually a mishap. In the 6th century AD, the monk Dionysius, while reforming the calendar, wrongly dated some key historical events, and so his miscalculations are with us today.
But besides Luke’s gospel, another Biblical book also describes events surrounding Jesus’ birth – the Gospel of Matthew – and it is also very useful. This gospel provides us with valuable insight into the life of Jesus since Matthew was a disciple of Jesus himself. Like Luke, Matthew wrote that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. He also wrote that he was born during the reign of Herod the Great, who ruled Judaea during Saturninus’ governorship during the census mentioned by Luke. So given Luke’s gospel’s trustworthiness, that Matthew’s one agrees with it places it too on solid historical ground. ….

 

Whether or not Daryn Graham’s text amendation to Luke 2 still remains applicable in light of a revised early Maccabean era for the census will now need to be reconsidered.

 

 

PART THREE: THE “KING” AND HIS SON-SUCCESSOR

 “A CRESTED MORION WAS SHOWN ON THE REVERSE [COIN OF ARCHELAUS]; ITS SIGNIFICANCE IS UNCLEAR TO US, ALTHOUGH IT MUST BE POINTED OUT THAT THIS “BOEOTIAN HELMET” WAS VERY UN-ROMAN”.

 

IN MY REVISED CONTEXT, ACCORDING TO WHICH HEROD ARCHELAUS WAS THE SAME AS THE KING KNOWN AS ANTIOCHUS V ‘EUPATOR’, A MACEDONIAN GREEK, A COIN OF ARCHELAUS MIGHT WELL BE EXPECTED TO EXHIBIT “VERY UN-ROMAN” ELEMENTS.

 

The lives of Herod ‘the Great’ and his son-successor, Archelaus – two biblical troublemakers – I would consider to be, as they have come down to us, semi-legendary, and causing chronological mayhem. For the true history of the pair I would recommend that one read the Maccabean accounts (I and II) of their alter egos, respectively, Antiochus IV and V.

 

Now, I have already written a fair amount about Herod ‘the Great’ in his historically better established guise as Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’.

And, further on, I would like to recall from the Book of Daniel what is the biblical impression of this truly incredible king who was able to make so much out of a small beginning.

 

But first, here is a typical textbook kind of summary of Archelaus, with some comments:

http://www.livius.org/articles/person/herod-archelaus/

 

Herod Archelaus was born in 23 BCE as the son of king Herod and his wife Malthace; he was full brother of Herod Antipas and a half brother of Philip. With these brothers, he was sent as a hostage to Rome, where he received his education. In his father’s testament, Herod Archelaus was appointed king, but the Roman emperor Augustuswrote him that he had to contend himself with the title of ethnarch (“national leader” ) of Samaria, Judaea and Idumea.

 

Immediately after his accession in 4 BCE, things went wrong. When Herod had fallen ill, two popular teachers, Judas and Matthias, had incited their pupils to remove the golden eagle from the entrance of the Temple. After all, according to the Ten Commandments, it was a sin to make idols. The teachers and their pupils had been burned alive (March 13, 4). The new king had to face an angry crowd that demanded rehabilitation of these martyrs; some three thousand Jews were killed during the celebration of Passover. For a moment, all seemed quiet, and Archelaus traveled to Rome, to have himself crowned by the emperor Augustus.

 

Comment: These conventional dates are, of course, quite wrong.

“Judas and Matthias” as referred to here were, in fact, the Maccabeans Mattathias and Judas.

The article continues:

 

In his absence, there were fresh riots. The leaders were a robber named Judas, a royal slave called Simon, a shepherd named Athronges and his brothers.

 

Comment: “Judas” and “Simon” – again probably the Maccabees of those same names.

The article continues:

 

Perhaps, they were all messianic claimants; in case of Athronges, this is even probable. Archelaus’ troops were unable to cope with them, and the Roman governor of Syria, Publius Quinctilius Varus, had to intervene.

 

Comment: In the corresponding Maccabean account, the young king Antiochus V ‘Eupator’ (my Archelaus) is fully dependent upon the governor of Syria, there called Lysias: “The general Lysias, who had been left in charge of Syria by Epiphanes, served as regent for the child …”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antiochus_V_Eupator

The article continues:

 

It was a major operation, which probably involved all Syrian legions (III Gallica, VI Ferrata, X Fretensis). Two thousand people were crucified, but not all leaders were caught. Ultimately, Archelaus came to terms with one of Athronges’ brothers, something that will not have made a good impression. Matthew implies that Jesus‘ parents Joseph and Mary were afraid to go to the territories ruled by Archelaus, and therefore settled in Galilee (Matthew 2.22).

 

Herod Archelaus ruled so badly that the Jews and Samarians unitedly appealed to Rome to request that he should be deposed. In 6 CE, Archelaus was banished to Viennain Gaul and after a bloody revolt led by Judas the Galilean, Judaea became a provinceof the Roman Empire. Archelaus must have died before 18.

 

Comment: “Judas the Galilean” being, again, Judas Maccabeus. See my:

 

Merging Maccabean and Herodian ages. Part One: Judas the Jewish Revolutionary

 

https://www.academia.edu/36280720/Merging_Maccabean_and_Herodian_ages._Part_One_Judas_the_Jewish_Revolutionary

The article continues:

 

Several of his coins show a bunch of grapes. This was the most common picture on … Jewish coins, reminding the user of the coin of the fabulous fertility of the country (the image is derived from Numbers 13.23). A crested morion was shown on the reverse; its significance is unclear to us, although it must be pointed out that this “Boeotian helmet” was very un-Roman. Other coins showed the bow of a ship and a laurel wreath.

http://www.livius.org/articles/person/herod-archelaus/

 

 

References in Daniel to (Herod =)

King Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’

  

Daniel 7:8-28

 While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a human being and a mouth that spoke boastfully.

 

As I looked, thrones were set in place,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat.
His clothing was as white as snow;
the hair of his head was white like wool.
His throne was flaming with fire,
and its wheels were all ablaze.
A river of fire was flowing,
coming out from before him.
Thousands upon thousands attended him;
ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
The court was seated,
and the books were opened.

 

Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire. (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.)

 

The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time.

But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.

This is the end of the matter. I, Daniel, was deeply troubled by my thoughts, and my face turned pale, but I kept the matter to myself.

 

Daniel 8:9-14 and 23-27

 Out of one of them came another horn, which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land. It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them. It set itself up to be as great as the commander of the army of the Lord; it took away the daily sacrifice from the Lord, and his sanctuary was thrown down. Because of rebellion, the Lord’s people and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.

Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to him, ‘How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled—the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, the surrender of the sanctuary and the trampling underfoot of the Lord’s people?’

He said to me, ‘It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated’.

….

In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a fierce-looking king, a master of intrigue, will arise. He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy those who are mighty, the holy people. He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power.

The vision of the evenings and mornings that has been given you is true, but seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future.

I, Daniel, was worn out. I lay exhausted for several days. Then I got up and went about the king’s business. I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding.

 

Daniel 11:21-45

He will be succeeded by a contemptible person who has not been given the honor of royalty. He will invade the kingdom when its people feel secure, and he will seize it through intrigue. Then an overwhelming army will be swept away before him; both it and a prince of the covenant will be destroyed. After coming to an agreement with him, he will act deceitfully, and with only a few people he will rise to power. When the richest provinces feel secure, he will invade them and will achieve what neither his fathers nor his forefathers did. He will distribute plunder, loot and wealth among his followers. He will plot the overthrow of fortresses—but only for a time.

With a large army he will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South. The king of the South will wage war with a large and very powerful army, but he will not be able to stand because of the plots devised against him. Those who eat from the king’s provisions will try to destroy him; his army will be swept away, and many will fall in battle. The two kings, with their hearts bent on evil, will sit at the same table and lie to each other, but to no avail, because an end will still come at the appointed time. The king of the North will return to his own country with great wealth, but his heart will be set against the holy covenant. He will take action against it and then return to his own country.

At the appointed time he will invade the South again, but this time the outcome will be different from what it was before. Ships of the western coastlands will oppose him, and he will lose heart. Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant. He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant.

His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.

Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them. Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.

The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place. He will show no regard for the gods of his ancestors or for the one desired by women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all. Instead of them, he will honor a god of fortresses; a god unknown to his ancestors he will honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts. He will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god and will greatly honor those who acknowledge him. He will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price.

At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood. He will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand. He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape. He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Cushites in submission. But reports from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many. He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain. Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.

  

When: “War came to an end in Israel” (I Maccabees 9:73),

it would have become possible for the Holy Family to visit

Jerusalem with Jesus now 12 years of age (Luke 2:42).

  

According to this series, the Holy Family would have fled to Egypt early during the reign of Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’ (175-164 BC, conventional dating) – I am using the rounded date of 170 BC. If tradition is correct in having the Holy Family’s sojourn in Egypt lasting some 7 years, then this would correspond tolerably well with the time of the death of Antiochus IV.

 

The return to Palestine from Egypt would have occurred, as in the Infancy Narrative of Matthew 2:19-23, when the persecuting king’s son had come to the throne:

 

After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead’.

So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth.

 

That son-successor, named “Archelaus” in Matthew, would correspond to the son-successor of Antiochus IV, known as Antiochus V ‘Eupator’.

The Holy Family was wise to avoid him, because he, like his father, would prove to be most troublesome for Jerusalem, though not for very long (I Maccabees 6:28-31):

 

When the king [Antiochus V] heard this, he was furious. He brought together all the army commanders, the cavalry officers, and his most trusted advisers. He also hired mercenary soldiers from other countries and from the Greek islands. His forces numbered 100,000 infantry, 20,000 cavalry, and 32 elephants trained for war. The king and his army passed through Idumea and laid siege to Bethzur, where they fought for a long time. They built battering rams and siege platforms, but the defenders fought bravely and came out of the town and burned down the platforms.

 

And again (vv. 48-54):

 

The king and his army advanced to fight the Jews at Jerusalem and laid siege to the whole of Judea and Jerusalem. He made peace with the Jews of Bethzur, who then left the town. There had not been enough food in the town for them to withstand the siege because it was the sabbatical year, when no crops were planted. The king occupied Bethzur and stationed a body of troops there to guard it. Then he surrounded the Temple and besieged it for a long time. He set up siege platforms, battering rams, catapults for throwing fire and stones, and other weapons to throw spears and rocks. The defenders also made war machines to oppose those of the enemy, and so the battle went on for a long time. But there was no food left in the Temple storage bins because it was the sabbatical year, and the people who had fled from the Gentiles and taken refuge in Judea had eaten all the food that had been stored there. The shortage of food had been so severe that many people had scattered to their homes, and only a few men were left in the Temple.

 

And yet further treachery, “the king … broke his word” (vv. 60-63):

 

This recommendation was well received by the king and the officers, so Lysias proposed peace terms to the Jews, and they accepted them. When the king and his officers solemnly agreed to abide by these terms, the Jews came out of their fortress. But when the king entered the Temple area on Mount Zion and saw the strong fortifications, he broke his word and ordered the walls surrounding the Temple to be torn down. Then he hurriedly left and returned to Antioch, where he found Philip in control of the city. The king attacked the city and took it by force.

 

But, shortly after this – Jesus Christ now being about 9 years of age – king Antiochus V ‘Eupator’ was killed (7:1-4):

 

In the year 151 [= 161 BC, conventional dating], Demetrius son of Seleucus left Rome and with a few men landed at a town on the Mediterranean coast, where he proclaimed himself king. As he was making his way to the royal palace of his ancestors, the soldiers arrested Antiochus the Fifth and Lysias, planning to take them to Demetrius. When Demetrius heard about it, he said, ‘I don’t want to see them’. So the soldiers killed them, and Demetrius took the throne.

 

Soon after this (vv. 26-27): “… the king [Demetrius] sent Nicanor, one of his most honored officers, who hated the Jews, with orders to exterminate them. Nicanor came to Jerusalem with a big army”. But Judas Maccabeus defeated Nicanor, and (vv. 47-49):

 

The Jews took the loot and then cut off Nicanor’s head and his right arm, which he had extended so arrogantly. They brought his head and his arm to be put on display outside Jerusalem. There was great rejoicing among the Jews. They set that day aside as a special day of celebration, and decreed that the thirteenth day of Adar should be observed as an annual day of celebration. There was peace in the land of Judea for a little while.

 

The above war of Judas the Maccabee with Nicanor was, I believe, the fulfilment of the prophet Ezekiel’s Gog and Magog prophecies. See my multi-part series, for example:

Gog and Magog

https://www.academia.edu/22314166/Gog_and_Magog

….

 

Gog and Magog. Part Six: Who is Gog?

https://www.academia.edu/22668623/Gog_and_Magog._Part_Six_Who_is_Gog

Now, regarding my proposed identification of this ill-fated Antiochus V ‘Eupator’ with Matthew’s king, “Archelaus”, there is an example in (supposed) history of a king Antiochus who was variously known as Archelaus.

We have met before this historically confused king. See my:

 

Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’ Doubled

https://www.academia.edu/32784704/Antiochus_IV_Epiphanes_Doubled

 

a contemporary of the emperor Hadrian whose era I have seriously revised in:

Merging Maccabean and Herodian ages. Part Three: The “King” (iv) Antiochus/Herod merges into Hadrian

https://www.academia.edu/36396632/Merging_Maccabean_and_Herodian_ages._Part_Three_The_King_iv_Antiochus_Herod_merges_into_Hadrian

This ‘historically confused king’ mentioned above was one: “Gaius Julius Archelaus Antiochus Epiphanes, also known as …. Gaius Julius Antiochus Epiphanes …”.

https://wikivividly.com/wiki/Gaius_Julius_Archelaus_Antiochus_Epiphanes

 

After the death of Judas Maccabeus in a fight with Bacchides’ army, when Judas’s brother Jonathan had succeeded Judas, the powerful Bacchides was defeated.

And, as a result (I Maccabees 9:69-73):

 

Then Bacchides decided to return to his own country, but when Jonathan learned of this, he sent ambassadors to Bacchides to arrange for peace terms and the return of Jewish prisoners. Bacchides agreed to do as Jonathan asked and gave him his solemn promise that he would let him live in peace the rest of his life. Bacchides handed over the prisoners and returned to his own country. Never again did he come into Jewish territory. War came to an end in Israel. Jonathan settled in Michmash and began to govern the people and to eliminate the renegade Jews from Israel.

 

When: “War came to an end in Israel” (I Maccabees 9:73), it would have become possible for the Holy Family to visit Jerusalem with Jesus now 12 years of age (Luke 2:42).

 

 

PART FOUR: NEW TIMETABLE FOR INFANCY OF JESUS

 

According to my estimation, Jesus Christ would have been born in c. 170 BC

(conventional dating), which corresponds to approximately Year 142 Maccabean dating.

 

 

From the First Book of Maccabees I have gleaned a sequence of dates (that may be found below) in relation to my revised chronology of the Infancy of Jesus Christ.

 

Year 149, the year that Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’ died (6:16): “King Antiochus died there in the year 149” (= c. 163 BC, conventional dating), must correspond closely to the year that the Holy Family returned from Egypt when the persecuting king had died (cf. Matthew 2:19-20).

Traditionally, Jesus Christ was then about seven, meaning that Jesus was born in approximately 170 BC (conventional dating), which would correspond to approx:

Year 142 in Maccabean terms.

 

Some other Maccabean dates (that one may now be able mathematically to relate to the Infancy years of Jesus):

 

Year 137, Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’ begins to reign.

Year 145, Antiochus erects ‘Abomination of Desolation’.

Year 148, Maccabeans offer sacrifice on a new altar.

Year 150, Judas Maccabeus besieges the fort.

Year 152, invasion of Bacchides and priest Alcimus.

Year 153, Alcimus orders Temple wall torn down.

 

Bacchides eventually goes away and peace ensues

 

Jesus would have turned 12 around this time, Year 154.

 

 

The idea for this revision came to me on the Feast of St. Joseph, 19th March 2018.

Daniel 2’s Fourth Kingdom not Rome

Image result for jesus the cornerstone

 

Famous Roman Republicans

beginning to loom as spectral

 

Part Four:

Daniel 2’s Fourth Kingdom not Rome

 

by

Damien F. Mackey

 

“The only real difficulty with understanding the 4th kingdoms of Dan. 2 and 7 and the goat of Dan. 8 as the Macedonian Empire is an artificial one; that is, it goes against popular interpretations which have dominated discussions about Daniel for some time”.

 Dr. Craig Smith

 

It is to be hoped that this series, having merged the most famous Roman Republican names into real and actual Macedonian-Greek rulers, for the most part, may have settled once and for all the identification of Daniel 2’s “Fourth Kingdom”, as Greece, and definitely not Roman.

 

Introduction

 

Despite our having found that there was a strong and emerging Roman Republic at the time of the Maccabees, we have determined that some of the Republic’s leading lights, conventionally speaking, were simply later adaptations of (generally) Hellenistic Greeks.

For instance:

  • Marius, adapted from Philip of Macedon;
  • Sulla, adapted from Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’/Herod;
  • Pompey, a composite of e.g. Alexander the Great; Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’; and perhaps Pontius Pilate;
  • Crassus, similar to Pompey, but perhaps also including Croesus;
  • Cicero (“Chick-pea”), adapted in part from Ptolemy IX Lathyros (“Chick-pea”);
  • Julius Caesar, a composite of Alexander the Great; Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’; and Jesus Christ.

 

Greece or Rome?

 

Dr. Craig Smith introduces both the Greek and Roman interpretations of Daniel 2:

http://shepherdproject.com/rome-or-greece-interpreting-the-fourth-kingdom-in-daniel-2/

 

Rome or Greece: Interpreting the Fourth Kingdom in Daniel 2

 

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In Daniel 2, there is a prophecy about a large statue made from four different metals.  Within Daniel 2, each portion of the statue is stated to be symbolic of a kingdom.  The identity of the first kingdom is made explicit in Daniel 2:38 where it is identified as the Babylonian Empire, headed at that time by Nebuchadnezzar.  The identity of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th kingdoms, however, is less obvious, though the text seems to say that these are successive kingdoms (i.e. there do not appear to be gaps between the prophesied kingdoms).

 

It has been common practice among Christians since Jerome (347-420 A.D.) to interpret the 4th of these kingdoms as being the Roman Empire.  The primary reason for this seems to be that Daniel predicted that, during the 4th kingdom a stone “not cut with human hands” (Dan. 2:34) would strike the kingdom and destroy it.  This stone has long been understood to be Jesus of Nazareth, who was born during the Roman era.  While symbolically satisfying for obvious reasons, this interpretation is simply not as strong as another, far older interpretive option which understands the 4th kingdom to be the Macedonian/Greek Empire as established by Alexander the Great.   As I will argue here, this interpretation ultimately does a much better job of staying true to the biblical text itself and to the historical events that Daniel clearly foretold several centuries earlier.  ….

 

But, now, with my new series, the “Merging [of the] Maccabean and Herodian ages”, it has become possible for Daniel’s Fourth Kingdom, as a Greek kingdom, to be struck by that stone “not cut with human hands” (Dan. 2:34), which is indeed Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 21:42):

“Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the Scriptures: “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes”’?”

 

Dr Craig Smith now proceeds to give his:

 

Reasons for understanding Daniel’s 4th kingdom as the Macedonian/Greek Empire:

 

  1. The  4th kingdom in Dan. 2 (A), the 4th beast/kingdom in Dan. 7 (B) and the goat in Dan. 8 (C) all appear to be symbolic of the same earthly kingdom which Dan. 8:21 explicitly identifies as belonging to the “king of Greece.”

 

  1. The first three kingdoms in Dan. 2 and the first three beasts/kingdoms in Dan. 7 are obviously parallel, leading us to assume that they will also be parallel in regards to their respective 4th kingdom. The connection between the 1st, 2nd and 3rd kingdoms in Dan. 2 & the 1st, 2nd and 3rd kingdoms in Dan. 7 is obvious and widely, if not universally, accepted.  If these two prophecies are each speaking about the same kingdoms in the first three instances, then it is most natural to assume that they are also speaking about the same 4th kingdom.  Even apart from any direct evidence of parallels between the 4th kingdom in Dan. 2 and the 4th beast/kingdom in Dan. 7 (see below), it would still be most natural to assume the two prophecies are detailing the same 4th kingdom simply because these two prophecies have been paralleling one another in the first three instances.

 

  1. There are also explicit parallels of content between the 4th kingdoms of Dan. 2 & 7 and the goat of Dan. 8.

 

(1) In all three prophecies, there is a reference to God’s activity in demolishing human kingdoms.  In Dan. 2 this happens during the 4th kingdom (a stone “not cut by human hands”, 2:34).  In Dan. 7 it happens during the 4th kingdom (the Ancient of Days destroys the 4th beast; 7:9-11).  These parallel references also seem to correspond to the statement in Dan. 8 that the small horn which came from the goat was “broken without human agency,” a phrase which is quite similar to the description of a stone “not cut by human hands” in 2:44.

(2) Similarities between the unidentified beast of Dan. 7 and the goat of Dan. 8 are substantial.

 

  • Both overtake the whole earth with great power and speed
  • Both are initially unified under a single leader but are then split into factions
  • A small horn which eventually emerges from one of the splintered factions is described in considerable detail in both Dan. 7 and Dan. 8, including statements of the horn’s boastfulness and opposition to God’s saints.  This small horn was destroyed by the Ancient of Days in Dan. 7:9-12, a prediction which appears to be repeated in Dan. 8:25 where it is said to be “broken without human agency.”

It would appear that the unidentified beast of Dan. 7 is identified and further described by the prophecy of the goat in Dan. 8.

It seems clear that the 4th kingdom of Dan. 2 (A) and the 4th kingdom of Dan. 7 (B) correspond to one another, so A=B.  It also seems clear that the 4th kingdom of Dan. 7 (B) corresponds to the goat of Dan. 8 (C), so B=C.  If A=B and B=C then A=C; i.e. the goat of Dan. 8 must also correspond to the 4th kingdom of Dan. 2.  All three references of these passages prophesy about the same kingdom.  Since Dan. 8:21 explicitly identifies its 4th kingdom as being ruled by the “king of Greece”, then the 4th kingdom of Dan. 2 and the goat of Dan. 8 are also ruled by the “king of Greece”; i.e. this is the Macedonian/Greek Empire.

 

  1. The details of the 4th kingdom in Dan. 2 & 7 and the details of the goat in Dan. 8 fit the historical events of the Macedonian/Greek Empire extremely well.  Conversely, the specific details do not correspond naturally to events from the Roman era.

 

  1. Alexander the Great was the strongest military leader the world had ever seen. This fits the descriptions of a kingdom of iron which tramples all the other kingdoms (Dan. 2) as well as the fearsomeness of the goat (Dan. 8) and the teeth of iron possessed by the 4th beast in Dan. 7.  There is no particular reason why this could not also apply to the Roman Empire as it was also wide-spread and extremely powerful.  However, there is no one individual closely associated with the rise of the Roman Empire in the ancient world and Daniel clearly associates a single leader with this kingdom’s earliest stages.
  2. Alexander conquered the ancient world in an astonishingly short time (about 3 years). This fulfilled the prophecy about “coming over the surface of the earth without touching the ground” (i.e. advancing at great speed; 8:5).  There is simply no similar concept of rapid conquest associated with Rome.
  3. Alexander was the first non-oriental king to rule this area (i.e. he was “different from the others” since the Babylonian, Median and Persian Empires were all oriental; 7:7). This would also be true of Rome and, as a republic in its earlier stages, its form of government might also fit this prophecy.
  4. Right after conquering the world, Alexander died unexpectedly, leaving no children.  His empire was splintered into four initial sections each headed by one of his four generals (a divided kingdom; 2:41, divided into four initial horns; 8:8, 8:22, also 11:6). These eventually gave rise to multiple kings who warred with one another (10 horns; 7:7, 7:24]).  There is no easy way to fit these prophetic details with the Roman Empire.
  5. The small horn which eventually grew up out of the remains of this 4th kingdom fits the infamous Antiochus Epiphanes very well. His very name, Epiphanes, means “God manifest” (“magnified itself to be equal with the Commander of the host”; 8:11) and was self-chosen (boasting; 7:8, 7:20).  In 167 B.C, he destroyed Jerusalem, defiled the temple and rendered it unusable for sacrifices (which fits the details of Dan. 8 extremely well).
  6. Other details of Daniel beyond the prophecies of 2,7 & 8 also cohere well if we understand the 4th kingdom and the goat to be references to the Macedonian Empire. In particular, the references to the king of the North and the king of the South in Dan. 11 fit perfectly with the Seleucid (northern) and Ptolemic (southern) regimes which emerged from the four-way split of the Macedonian Empire.

Difficulties with this view:

 

Mackey’s comment: Some of what Dr. Smith has to say from here on could benefit, I believe, from my new chronological perspective: “Merging [of the] Maccabean and Herodian ages”.

The only real difficulty with understanding the 4th kingdoms of Dan. 2 & 7 and the goat of Dan. 8 as the Macedonian Empire is an artificial one; that is, it goes against popular interpretations which have dominated discussions about Daniel for some time.  As we have seen, though, it does not go against the biblical or historical evidence.  From that perspective, there is little or no problem with this interpretation.  However, since it flies in the face of presently popular understandings, this bears some address.

 

The strongest argument for the 4th kingdom of Dan. 2 and 7 being the Roman Empire is the arrival of the rock/Ancient of Days/”one like a son of man” during the 4th kingdom.  If this is Jesus, who did not arrive during the Macedonian Empire but during the Roman [sic], then the 4th kingdom would have to be the Roman Empire, in spite of all the evidence considered above.  However, these are not all references to Jesus and in fact, the reference to Jesus (“the one like a son of man” which was Jesus’ favorite title for himself) is clearly distinct from the Ancient of Days.  Moreover, the “one like a son of man” arrives after the Ancient of Days has destroyed the 4th kingdom’s power…possibly a considerable amount of time later.

 

  1. The “rock not cut by human hands” in Dan. 2 is not the same as the “one like a son of man” in Dan. 7.

It is clear in Dan. 7 that it is the appearance of the Ancient of Days who destroys the power of the beasts/kingdoms, but it is also clear that the Ancient of Days is not the same as the one “like a son of man”. The “one like a son of man” receives his power/dominion from the Ancient of Days, so they cannot be the same person.  The rock “not cut by human hands” of Dan. 2, the Ancient of Days in Dan. 7 and the power which destroys the small horn in Dan. 8:25 are likely the same, but the “one like a son of man” seems to be distinct (though obviously connected).

  1. The arrival of the “one like a son of man” in Dan. 2 seems to come sometime after the destruction of the 4th kingdom, not during it.

Daniel says that the Ancient of Days destroyed the fourth beast and the power of all the beasts/kingdoms, but that an “extension of life” was granted to the beasts (7:13-14).  The “one like a son of man” only appears after this extension.  If the 4th kingdom is the Macedonian Empire, this works perfectly. God destroyed the small horn, Antiochus Epiphanes (who we know died not in battle but from either a sickness or a fall from his chariot…i.e. not by human hands), fatally wounding what was left of the splintered power of the Macedonian Empire.  The Maccabean revolt in Israel followed [sic] this, throwing off much of the Greek power over Israel.  However, the Greeks continued to rule Israel albeit in reduced capacity until the Romans came in 63 AD.  Jesus then appeared soon after Rome came on the scene and Rome was eventually swallowed by Christianity when it became a Christian empire.  In effect, Rome was a part of God’s final destruction of previous world powers in this region.

But if this rock not cut by human hands is not Jesus of Nazareth, then what/who is it?  I believe the best interpretation is that it is the Kingdom of God itself.  Obviously, Jesus accomplished the decisive victory by which the Kingdom was inaugurated with his crucifixion and resurrection.  However, even Jesus spoke of the presence of the Kingdom in present terms before his resurrection.  This is, undoubtedly, in many ways related to the incarnation – that is, the Kingdom was present because Jesus himself was present – but there is no particular reason why the beginnings of the Kingdom – which is, after all, the rule of God in human affairs – could not have earlier stirrings going back into the Macedonian period.

 

As discussed above, the actions of Antiochus Epiphanes eventually led to the Maccabean revolt which did two things.  First, it seems to have brought divine judgment upon him, leading to his death “not by human hands” which, in turn, dramatically undermined the power of what was left of the Macedonian Empire.  In this way, God’s actions broke the power of the 4th kingdom and set in motion events which came to a head with the arrival of Jesus.  Second, the Maccabean revolt did something extremely important with respect to Jesus’ ministry:  it stirred up longings for the arrival of God’s Messiah.  With a taste of freedom but also the knowledge that they would not be completely free until God moved, during the latter part of the Macedonian occupation, the people of Israel began to long for the Messiah to an unprecedented degree.  The messianic fervor that we find in the 1st century Jewish culture of Jesus’ day was directly related to the events which occurred during the Macedonian occupation of Israel.  I believe this is what is meant by the prophetic details of the 4th kingdom in Dan. 2, 7 & 8:  during this time, God would do something that would grow larger and larger until eventually it destroyed to power of all other kings and kingdoms.  Obviously Jesus was the “one like the son of man” who decisively declared the absolute power of this divine Kingdom and won its critical victory, but he need not be taken as the initial “rock” thrown in the pond of human affairs [sic].