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by Wayne Blank
"And the he-goat is the king of Greece; and the great horn between his eyes is the first king. As for the horn that was broken, in place of which four others arose, four kingdoms shall arise from his nation, but not with his power." (Daniel 8:15-22 RSV).
Seleucus was the Macedonian general who, as one of the Diadochi, or Successors, of Alexander, acquired the vast eastern section of the empire centered on the territory of the old Babylonian empire (see Ancient Empires - Babylon). From him was established the Seleucid Dynasty that lasted for two and a quarter centuries from 312 B.C.
Seleucus received the satrapy of Babylonia in 321 B.C. from Antipater, the administrator of Alexander's kingdom. After losing it for a brief time to Antigonus, another of Alexander's former generals, Seleucus regained control after the battle of Gaza in 312 B.C., and in 306 B.C. assumed the title of king as Seleucus I Nicator. His territory extended over a vast region, however the land of Israel long remained contested between the Seleucids and The Ptolemies. Seleucus was assassinated in 281 B.C. by Ptolemy Ceraunus.
The successors of Seleucus:
As with the Ptolemies of Egypt, the Seleucids promoted Greek language and culture throughout their domains. This included their heathen religion, which from the perspective of Bible History, reached its most outrageous extreme in 167 B.C. when Antiochus IV Epiphanes (see above) entered the Temple of God (see Temples) in Jerusalem, erected an altar to the pagan god Zeus, and sacrificed a pig on it (see Clean and Unclean). That "abomination of desecration" triggered the Maccabean Revolt by the Hasmoneans. Their eventual victory and cleansing of the Temple is still commemorated by Jews today by the annual Festival of Hanukkah.
Like numerous other kingdoms throughout Europe and Asia, the Seleucids eventually fell to the Romans (see Ancient Empires - Rome). Their cultural influence was not immediately lost however. Many believe that the Seleucid system laid the foundation for the practice of deification of human leaders, something that many of the Roman emperors heartily adopted e.g. Emperor Nero claimed to be a god. According to Prophecy, there is yet to come one more great world dictator, based on one last revival of the ancient Roman empire (see Daniel's Statue), who is going to enter Jerusalem and blasphemously claim to be divine (see The Lawless One and The Antichrist).
Fact Finder: Did Jesus Christ plainly say that a Temple ("Holy Place") of God (yet to be re-built) will again be desecrated by an Abomination Of Desolation just before the The Return Of Jesus Christ?