When Leaders Are Scoundrels

Joseph Holbrook, Jr.

READ : Daniel 11:20-28

Just about everything we have just read as prophecy is recorded in 1 Maccabees as history. The “contemptible person” is Antiochus Epiphanes, a master of flattery, intrigue and deceit.

Our ancestors in the faith went through one of the worst periods of persecution in history. Many of them compromised their faith and adopted the ways of the Greeks that were forced on them. But it was the Hyrcanus brothers who led the noble resistance in the name of the God of Israel who successfully stood up to the brutality of Antiochus. The story is graphically told by James Michener in his book, The Source.

The conflicts of the second century B.C. are still with us today. The neo-pagan world is doing its utmost to squeeze us into its mold. The gods of money, power, success and sex are trying to subvert us just as much as the gods of the Greeks then. But Christians are those who have been transformed by the renewing of their minds so that they know what the will of God is.


Father, give us courage. Give us wisdom for the living of these days. Help us to stand tall against whatever flattery, intrigue or deceit would try to entice us away from the simplicity that is in Christ. In his name. Amen.