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God purifies his people

Daniel 11:33 (ESV) … “And the wise among the people shall make many understand, though for some days they shall stumble by sword and flame, by captivity and plunder.”

The Jews who refused to submit to Antiochus’ false religious system were persecuted and martyred for their faith. The word fall (vv. 33–34), literally “stumble” (kāšal), refers to severe suffering on the part of many and death for others. This has in view the rise of the Maccabean revolt. Mattathias, a priest, was the father of five sons. (One of them, Judas, became well known for refurbishing and restoring the temple in late 164 b.c. He was called Judas Maccabeus, “the Hammerer.”)

In 166, Mattathias refused to submit to this false religious system. He and his sons fled from Jerusalem to the mountains and began the Maccabean revolt. At first only a few Jews joined them. But as their movement became popular, many joined them, some out of sincere motives and some from false motives. The suffering that the faithful endured served to refine and purify them. This time of persecution was of short duration. It had previously been revealed to Daniel that the temple would be desecrated for 1,150 days (8:14; see comments on 8:23–25). Here Daniel was assured that this persecution would run its course and then be lifted, for its end will still come at the appointed time.[1]

God’s purpose in permitting these horrors is explained: He intended to purify the nation from its apostasies and sins (11:34–35). Even when the persecution was at its height, God was still on the throne, still sovereign over the nations. He had already set a time limit to it all. Not even Antiochus Epiphanes could go one step or one moment beyond the line that God had drawn.[2]

[1] Pentecost, J. D. (1985). Daniel. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 1370). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books. [2] Phillips, J. (2009). Exploring the Book of Daniel: An Expository Commentary (Da 11:21–35). Kregel Publications; WORDsearch Corp.

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