I would hate for this little post to come across as another pastor bashing other pastors. So I hope you will take this post as just notes of a pastor who is trying to avoid the mistakes of a historical figure and at the same time sounding the alarm for others to avoid as well.
This historically, scriptural figure, Antiochus Epiphanes, is the little horn in Daniel 8:9. The name Epiphanes means the Illustrious One and the prophecies of Antiochus Epiphanes you can find in Daniel (Dan. 8:9-14; 23-25; 11:21-35).
I am going to take or use different episodes or events in his life to urge myself and others to avoid. Here we go – Pastors in the order of Antiochus Epiphanes:
1. They forget where you came from…
Antiochus grew to become a great power from a small beginning. Notice that the little horn of Daniel 7:8; 8:9 waxed exceedingly great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. And it waxed great even to the host of heaven (Dan. 8:9-10a). Unfortunately, he forgot where he came from. Pastors in the order of Antiochus Epiphanes usually forget where they came from. That’s why Paul would say to them, “not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-31. Never forget where you came from.
2. They are vengeful when they don’t get what they want.
Antiochus arrived within four miles of the great city of Alexandria to compel the pharaohs to surrender. But the Egyptians had appealed to Rome for help After being humiliated and forced to leave Egypt, Antiochus’s vengeance was quickly turned upon Jerusalem. He killed over eighty thousand men, women, and children and sold forty thousand into slavery. Pastors in the order of Antiochus Epiphanes become vengeful when denied anything. They assassinate characters through their sermons. They beat people up because they dare stand up to them. They chase people out of their churches and make the lives of the colleagues, staff or board members miserable, when they don’t buy into their plan or vision.
3. They are a personality cult
Antiochus was the first Seleucid king to use divine epithets on coins. Antiochus magnified himself even to the prince of the host (Dan. 8:11). His pride and arrogance was lifted up in opposition to the very God of heaven. Pastors in the order of Antiochus Epiphanes use media, propaganda, or other methods, to create an idealized, heroic, and, at times god-like public image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise. Their picture is what you see at the entrance of the church building, website, TV ads and tithing envelops. They demand respect, loyalty and praise. It’s all about them. They must be celebrated.
4. They form alliances at all cost just to get what they want
In order to merge his empire and strengthen his hold over the region, Antiochus decided to side with the Hellenized Jews by outlawing Jewish religious rites and traditions kept by observant Jews and by ordering the worship of Zeus as the supreme god. Pastors in the order of Antiochus Epiphanes are ready to use anyone, (whosoever) to get what they want. They really don’t care about the people they use, all they really care about is their agenda. They are fine as long as the drug dealers are bring them the tithe.
5. They’ve lost the sense of awe, reverence and sacredness
Antiochus also brought into the temple things that were forbidden, so that the altar was covered with abominable offerings prohibited by the laws. He set up the image of Jupiter in the Holy Place in Jerusalem and desecrated the sanctuary and its holy vessels. Pastors in the order of Antiochus Epiphanes depart from common sense decency in the pulpit in the name of “being real” They curse, swear, tell crude jokes and teach on subjects like sex in a very graphic and insensitive ways. They’ve departed from common sense practices – in the name of “being cool.”
5. They deceive skillfully
Antiochus, it was said that he will destroy many by peace (Dan. 8:25). Pretending to be on a peaceful mission he would then plunder. Pastors in the order of Antiochus Epiphanes skilled in the act of deception. In the words of Timothy, they “worm their way into homes, than gain control.” Jude says, “they secretly slipped in among you.” They are smooth talkers always coming up with some new revelation, new teaching. The are con artists, always trying to fleece you.
6. They are demon possessed.
Daniel 8:23 states that in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. I believe Antiochus Epiphanes was demon possessed. Matter of fact, his contemporaries called him a ‘mad man’. Pastors in the order of Antiochus Epiphanes are like mad men. they are if not possessed by demons, greatly influenced and demonized. Warning the church, Jude say, these are “scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.”
7. They work in the spirit of the anti-christ
Antiochus is a type of the anti-christ that is to come. Pastors in the order of Antiochus Epiphanes are not the anti-christ, but the way they live in completely anti-christ. Paul in Philippians 3:18, “For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.”
8. They always go down in shame and disgrace
He was afflicted by a horrible death by worms and ulcers, when on his way to Judea, intending to take vengeance for the defeat of his armies by the Maccabees (Dan. 8:25) Pastors in the order are themselves deceived. They fail to realize that God has a funny way of exposing them.
Even though I attached the name pastor to the heading of the post, these can apply to any one of us. Let us be pastors, men women of God in the likeness of Jesus Christ to great shepherd.
Research Resource: ProphecyForum