Antiochus IV Epiphanes ruled the Seleucid (Syrian) kingdom from 175 to 164 BCE. Epiphanes means “manifest,” and the name indicates that he claimed to be the earthly manifestation of Zeus. Antiochus attempted to unify his empire by imposing Hellenistic culture upon all its inhabitants. This policy brought him into sharp conﬂict with the Jews of the region later known as Palestine. Most Biblical scholars believe Antiochus to have been the “small” horn in Daniel 8:9 and the “contemptible person” of 11:21. His relations with the Jews are recorded in 1 and 2 Maccabees (Apocryphal books) and are prophetically depicted in Daniel 8:9,12,23,25 and 11:21-34. He was infamous for establishing pagan worship in the Jerusalem temple.
We live in a world today where xenophobia (fear of strangers) has taken hold. Many people have a negative view of immigrants. But if we want to follow Bible principles, how should we view immigrants?
“Abraham is the spiritual father of those who have faith” (Rom 4:11 NLT). Did you know that “a severe famine struck the land of Canaan, forcing Abram to go down to Egypt, where he lived as a foreigner” (Gen 12:10 NLT)? How would God view someone who would refuse to help, or even attempt to deport Abram? The Mosaic Law included this principle: “Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves KNOW HOW IT FEELS TO BE FOREIGNERS, because you were foreigners in Egypt” (Ex 23:9 NLT). The entire nation of Israel lived in Egypt as foreigners for many years, and was not treated well during the final years. Instructive for us is: “Yahweh then said, ‘I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt’” (Ex 4:7 NJB). Yahweh sees all. Did you know that young Jesus and his parents lived for a while as refugees in Egypt (Mt 2:13-15)?