According to the account of 1 Maccabees, the High Priests at Jerusalem appointed by Antiochus were involved in systematically changing the traditions of the Jews that were based on the laws of Moses, to make them conform to Greek beliefs. A gymnasium was constructed in Jerusalem, and instead of learning their ancient law, the priests engaged in wrestling contests in the Greek fashion, which meant they were naked. Those who were circumcised endeavoured to conceal it. A general history of the reign of Antiochus IV is given by Morkholm.
Antiochus' program of Hellenization also involved altering the scriptures. Greek cosmology was introduced into the Hebrew scriptures. The nature of the changes which were made at this time were described in Daniel's prophecy, in chapter 8. This prophecy, written by Daniel in ancient Babylon, depicted the rise of the empire of Alexander the Great, the division of his kingdom into four parts after his death, and the emergence of a remarkable "little horn" which grew up to assault the stars of heaven.
Critical scholars have assumed it would be impossible for Daniel to have so accurately foretold future events, so they have invented an unknown Jewish writer, contemporary with Antiochus IV, who represented himself as a prophet who lived centuries before, and who wrote history rather than prophecy. But if this were true, the author of the work must have been a very clever person indeed. He not only managed to convince his contemporaries the book was centuries old, but his message, intended for interpretation in a future generation, reveals the fraudulent introduction of the Greek cosmology in the Hebrew scriptures by Antiochus Epiphanes!
Antiochus managed to change the cosmology believed in by subsequent generations. He caused the truth about the earth's constitution to be "cast to the ground," indeed. The crust of the earth, made on the second day of creation week, was identified with heaven, by the addition of the phrase "and God called the firmament Heaven," in Genesis 1:8. Before this time, the term "raqia" or firmament referred to the earth's rocky crust. This was expressed in the prophecy of Daniel 8 by the figure of a little horn, depicting Antiochus IV, exulting himself to the stars, and casting them to the earth, along with heaven itself. The raqia (firmament) became identified with heaven in the scripture, by certain alterations to key passages which involved locating the stars in the raqia or firmament, and identifying the raqia (or firmament) with heaven. Thus heaven was identified with the earth's crust! So heaven, and the stars, could be said to have been "cast to the earth". A fraud was successfully perpetrated, one that was to endure for more than two thousand years before its exposure.
Daniel's prophecy also indicates the "tamiyd" would be taken away. This word is rendered "daily sacrifice" in the KJV. The word "sacrifice" is shown italicized so was not in the original scriptures in verses 11-13, and probably does not belong. It was added by the KJV translators in an attempt to clarify the passage. The reference is to something "continual" or "perpetual," and it may depict the daily rotation of the earth about its axis. The earth's rotation is "continual" and "perpetual," as well as "constant" and "daily," all words which have been suggested as the meaning of "tamiyd." The knowledge of the earth's rotation was extinguished in the realm of Antiochus. Amongst the Jewish people it was suppressed, perhaps by alterations to the scriptures, such as the addition of the phrase "the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved" in Psalm 93:1 and again in Psalm 96:10. These phrases were cited against Galileo centuries later as evidence that his teachings about the earth's rotation about its axis and its orbit around the sun were unscriptural.
Another effect of the corruptions to the scripture introduced under Antiochus was that the Genesis account seemed to say the creation of the stars was subsequent to the formation of the earth. Yet there are many indications in scripture that the heavens were made before the earth, as the heavens are mentioned first in passages which paraphrase the events of Creation Week. Examples are Exodus 20:11, Nehemiah 9:6, Psalm 136:5-6, Isaiah 42:5, Isaiah 45:18. In scripture, when heaven and earth are mentioned together, heaven is generally mentioned first, and it was also created first. Jesus also followed this rule when he referred to heaven as God's throne, the earth as his footstool, as we read in Matthew 5:33-37.
The true order of events in creation week seems to be, first the heavens were created, with all the stars, and galaxies; on the second day the earth's crust was formed in the midst of the waters, the land rose above the waters on the third day, and the sun, moon and planets of the solar system were made on the fourth day.
Copyright © 1996 by Douglas E. Cox
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