Does Antiochus IV Epiphanes solve the Daniel 9 prophecy?
INTERPRETATION ONE: 587 BC TEMPLE DESTRUCTION - 164 BC
This particular interpretation (which I call Interpretation One) was once esteemed as the most popular viewpoint, having reference to Antiochus IV Epiphanes who ruled during the middle stages of the Seleucid Empire for a period of time in the second century BC (circa 175 BC to 164 BC).
Under this model, “the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem” (Daniel 9:25) is said to be the starting date of the prophecy… and therefore positions itself to start from the third Babylonian siege in 587 BC, where Nebuchadnezzar caused the collapse of Jerusalem’s wall and the destruction of the Temple.
Subsequently, it is then argued that the “seven weeks” period is said to be synonymous with the “seventy years” oracle as described in Jeremiah 29:1-10 … concluding in the year 538 BC (i.e. 587 BC minus 49 years = 538 BC).
The “sixty two weeks” is then argued to be 171 BC.
And the final “one week” is from 171 BC to 164 BC.
The “Anointed One” is said to be the High Priest Onias III (who was active during the period of Antiochus), and that within the first three and a half years of the final “one week”, Syrian troops trampling upon the Hellenized Jews in 168 BC (as referenced in 1 Maccabees 1:43).
Consequently, Antiochus IV Epiphanes is said to be an Anti-Messiah of his time, where during his reign of seven years, he is said to have issued a decree causing the Jewish offerings to be suspended for the remaining three years from December 167 BC to December 164 BC (1 Maccabees 1:54).
Thus, it is argued that Antiochus IV Epiphanes established an “abomination of desolation” within the Temple by going to war against revolting Jews while promoting the worship of the Greek God Zeus within the Jewish Temple.
Scholars point out that those that advocate this model simply ignore the obvious timeframe difference between Jeremiah’s “seventy year” prophecy and Daniel’s “seven week” prophecy. In other words, that the "70 years" of Jeremiah is not the same as the "49 years: ("seven weeks") of Daniel. And that most scholars see the starting point of Jeremiah’s “70 year” prophecy to be connected to the first Babylonian siege of 606 BC (and not the third).
Assuming that those who advocate this model have metaphorically associated the "people from the House of Judah" to mean "Jerusalem" (where Jeremiah is encouraging the House of Judah to rebuild their lives while in Babylon (Jeremiah 29:1-28)), others assert that this does not accurately reflect the meaning of Daniel 9's "going forth of the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem"... stating the overall context of the passage has to do with the construction of Solomon's Temple, Walls and Palace.
Nevertheless, if 587 BC is to be considered as the starting date of this interpretation, there is no historical evidence of anything happening at the end of “seven weeks” period (i.e. 538 BC). The only significant marker that is seemingly close to this date is the Persian invasion of Babylon in 536 BC, where King Cyrus freed the Jews from their Babylonian captivity and issued a decree for them to return to their homeland to rebuild their Temple and Walls.
It is also observed that scholars are careful not to calculate the “sixty two weeks”, because if they had, they would discover that it does not equate to 434 years (like they claim it to be), but rather 367 years.
And with regard to Antiochus IV Epiphanes’ and the final “one week” seven year tribulation (i.e. 171 BC to 164 BC), scholars assert that there is insufficient evidence surrounding the actions of this man. They assert that history does not record Antiochus issuing an ‘edict’ that prevailed over seven years. In fact, other scholars assert that there is absolutely no historical evidence re the events of Antiochus and the Maccabees that exactly aligns with the markers of Daniel 9’s prophecy, especially as most argue that the Maccabean Revolt was from 167 BC to 160 BC.
Mathematically, although ‘Interpretation One’ is said to represent a literal 490 year period, a simple calculation between these historical markers (i.e. 587 BC to 164 BC) reveals only 423 years (demonstrating a discrepancy of 67 years).
For a visual description of ‘Interpretation One’, please refer to the chart below: