Steinman, E. Andrew, “IS THE ANTICHRIST IN DANIEL 11?,” Bibliotheca Sacra 162 (ApriK-June 2005), 195-209
The article presented by Andrew Steinman, Associate Professor of Theology and Hebrew at Concordia University in River Forest, Illinois, poses a question and then through exegesis and solid hermeneutical interpretation does everything he can to put the audience at ease concerning the AntiChrist in Daniel 11. Within this article Steinman breaks apart Daniel 11 and through exegesis and studying Daniel 11 in detail he puts forth the idea that the last part of Daniel 11 is talking about the final leader on earth instead of Antiochus IV Epiphanes ( 175-164 B.C.). One of the things that Steinman does so well in his presentation is that he uses Scripture to verify the facts that he is presenting. In other words he just does not use one passage of scripture to make his argument. He uses a systematic approach in his argument that really adds to the overall quality of the document. People who really enjoy eschatology, should read this article because it will help someone get a better grasp of how Daniel 11 should be interpreted, but it also gives solid historical background, and opinions that were from some of history’s greatest theologians. In other words, it is not just his opinion: There are other people that agree with his opinion, such as Martin Luther, Chrysostom, Hippolytus, Theodoret and Jerome (196).
Steinman believes that the first part of Daniel 11, particularly Daniel 11:5-35 refers to the kings of the north and south (Seleucid and Ptolemaic). This section continues down to one particularly evil king of the north (Antiochus IV Epiphanes) (199). Antiochus IV Epiphanes was meant as a person who was a sneak preview to the Anti-Christ. He was a person that had many of the qualities that the Anti-Christ would have. Some of the things that Antiochus did was halt the daily sacrifices in the temple and defile the temple by raising up an idol and demanding that the Israelites must worship it. It is also known that Antiochus sacrificed a pig on the altar which is the most disrespectful thing an individual could do in front of a Jew. The point is that Epiphanes and the Anti-Christ are very much alike, but they are separate individuals.
In Daniel 9:27 it is evident that a re-enactment of that treacherous desecration will occur when the prince that shall come makes a treaty with Israel for seven years So, in knowing that Epiphanes resembled the Anti-Christ, who then is the eschatological king in Daniel 11:36-45? One view is that these verses continue to describe Epiphanes, even after a noticeable split after verse 35 in Daniel 11. This view is known as the critical view (197). Upon reading it is clear that Steinman does not agree with the critical view. A couple of the reasons include: 1.) It seems more likely that the author never intended 11:36-45 to be about Antiochus. When this is added to the fact that scholars who apply these verses to Antiochus admit that verses 40-45 do not fit what is known about Antiochus, it is very probable that it is the Antiochene theory, and not some distortion by the author of Daniel, that is the cause of these problems (202), 2.) According to Steinman, no historical facts suggest that Antiochus exalted and magnified “himself above every god” (v.36), or showed “no regard to the god of his fathers” (v.37), or “honored a god that his fathers did not know” (v.38).
The other view that must be discussed is the traditional view which has been upheld throughout history, and it has proven to be very solid hermeneutically speaking. The traditional view that Steinman talks about is a coming world ruler that has yet to appear on the scene. This ruler is none other than the Anti-Christ. Daniel 11:36-39 introduces him as a man whose arrogance is characterized as primarily religious in nature (204). The Anti-Christ will elevate himself over every other god and will speak evil against the one true God (205). He will prosper in everything he does for a short period of time, seven years to be exact.
Steinman’s article is not designed to change someone’s opinion. Instead it inspires readers to be informed, independent, and intelligent thinkers. This article informs us that the Bible should be the guiding light in proper Biblical interpretation. His viewpoints are backed up by Scripture and also are withheld by great theologians such as Luther, and Jerome. The article also wants us to be independent in determining what the truth is. Even though the writer gives his viewpoint he does not let his convictions get in the way. Many books have been written on this topic and many viewpoints have been presented concerning this topic, but it is this writer’s opinion that Steinman’s article stands out because it presents facts and stays with the facts. There are some things that the author could have done better in this theological treatise. He could have developed his argument by including more on Paul, and what Paul said concerning the Anti-Christ. After all, it is important to examine all the evidence. He could have used the Book of Revelation to further illustrate that the Anti-Christ is mentioned in Daniel 11. Overall, this treatise will do more good in the realm of eschatology than it will bad. It will show that systematic research is always the best research.
This article did a good job of incorporating history. It was helpful to learn so much about Antiochus IV Epiphanes and the depiction of his reign. Daniel 11 proves itself as a commanding passage that must be dissected verse by verse in order to understand its meaning. The traditional viewpoint is the most plausible hermeneutically speaking. Steinman does a great job in communicating to the audience of what Daniel was trying to communicate to the people then and now. Daniel 11:36-45 deals with a future world ruler who will captivate the audiences of the world with his speech and candor. He will deceive the world for seven years and then God will destroy him and the Man of Lawlessness will be no more. This work will help in gathering more adequate information on a specific topic, the Anti-Christ, and whether he has already been on earth or whether he will be a coming world ruler.