Silent Years

400 years of Silence

We turn the page tomorrow!!

What in the world happened?  We left the Old Testament with Nehemiah’s Temple, Persia was the world power, the Levites are caring for the Temple, the High Priest was from the genealogy of Aaron and the Jewish nation in Israel was quite small.

Turn the Page…

The land is controlled by a Roman Domination, Israel is ruled by an Edomite named Herod.

  • The circumstances are different
  • Politics are different
  • The language is different
  • How the Jewish people meet is different
  • The scripture translation is different
  • The religion is different
  • The way God communicates is different.

What in the world happened in those 400 years is anything but Silent!  They are called the Silent Years because up to this point God used a variety of ways and people as an instrument of communication.  In the book of Daniel, we learned that Babylon will eventually fall to Persia.  When we end the Old Testament, the Greeks were growing and becoming a threat to Persia.   The New Testament begins with Caesar as the leader of Rome.  What happened in between?

We know from Daniel that Babylon will fall to Persia.  When we left the Old Testament, Greece was a rising World Power.

The successive world ages of Nebuchadnezzar's dream that was interpreted by Daniel. Daniel 2:24-46

Philip of Macedon (a Greek ruler) was killed by one of his bodyguards.  His son Alexander (whose tutor was Aristotle) was 19 when Philip died and became the Ruler and conquered Persia.  In under a decade, Alexander conquered the “world” giving him the title “Alexander The Great”.Picture

Alexander moved towards Tyre (Modern-day Lebanon) to attack Jerusalem when the High Priest Jaddua ran to him with a copy of the scroll of David.  Alexander read it seeing the fulfillment of prophecy and swore to protect Jerusalem.

Alexander the Great died at the age of 33.  He left behind a wife who was pregnant, but no other successor.  Four Generals took control claiming they would manage the land until the child was of age.

The 4 Generals instead killed the wife, the child, and Alexander’s brother.  The 4 Generals were:

  1. Cassander-controlled Greece and Macedonia
  2. Lysimachus-controlled Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey)
  3. Seleucids-controlled Syria and Babylon
  4. Ptolomy-controlled Egypt, North Africa, and Arabia.

Greek and Roman Historians

You can see from the Map the 2 Generals in control were the Seleucids and the Ptolemies.  These kingdoms remained powerful for centuries.

The Seleucids eventually had a king: Antiochus the IV.  He renamed himself Antiochus “Ephiphnes” (a god) “I am a god in flesh”.  For 2300 days (Sept. 6 171 BC to Dec. 25 164 BC) He tries to eradicate the Jews.   He decreed:

  • An attack on Jerusalem killing 80,000 Jews
  • Sold 40,000 as slaves
  • Put guards at the Temple so they could not offer sacrifices
  • On the Sabbath, he collected all the infants he could find and killed them (with their mothers)
  • Made idoloty mandatory
  • Erected a statue of Zeus IN the Temple
  • Put a pig on the Altar of sacrifice (forced priests to eat it)
  • Made the Sabbath day illegal
  • Burned the Scriptures
  • Circumcision was punishable by death.

At the end of 2300 years while sacrificing a pig on the alter, Antichaus told a priest named Matthiathis to eat it.  He refused!  This started a revolt.

Matthaithais had 5 sons, and they grew an army (meeting at night in caves) led by one of the sons named Judas Maccabeus.    This “posse” marched against the Seleucids and overtook the Temple.

The Maccabees reinstated the temple and began cleaning it up.  Problem!  There was very little light and they only found 1 day’s worth of oil.

In great faith, they lit the lamp, and it burned for 8 days!  This day is commemorated during the New Testament called the Feast of Dedication!  We call it Hannukah!

Hanukkah - The Jewish Festival of Lights - Christmas Customs and Traditions - whychristmas?com


The successive world ages of Nebuchadnezzar's dream that was interpreted by Daniel. Daniel 2:24-46

Now what??

In 63 BC Roman Generals Conquered the land.  For governing purposes, they created a ring of  10 cities called the Decapolis

Confluence Mobile - Marcus Chiu

 

Study Resources :: Decapolis | Capernaum, Bible mapping, Map

Jerusalem and Galilee are under Roman Control.  Rome is 250,000 miles away, but if you took 7th-grade History, you know there are paved roads.  All roads lead to Rome!  (God will use this in a mighty way!-Providence)

Herod Antipas is an Idumean (meaning he comes from the line of Esau) helps Rome settle Judea.  He becomes the Roman appointed Governor of Judea.  His son is HEROD the GREAT.  Because he is from the line of Esau (not Jacob) the Jews do not like him, so he marries a Jewish woman to gain their favor (it doesn’t work).  So he tries again by making the temple beautiful! (still doesn’t work).

We are ready to turn the page to the Gospel.  Jerusalem in under Roman law, their culture is Greek from a movement Alexander the Great created “Hellenism”- making all language and culture Greek (It’s all Greek to me!)

Judeans are now Roman citizens, Greek culture, yet spoke Hebrew in the Synagogues (Scripture teaching centers)

During the 400 years of Silence, 2 religious groups have emerged.

  • Pharisees
  • Sadducees

The Sadducees and Pharisees comprised the ruling class of Jews in Israel. There are some similarities between the two groups, but important differences between them as well.

Both groups honored Moses and the Law, and they both had a measure of political power. The Sanhedrin, the 70-member supreme court of ancient Israel, had members from both the Sadducees and the Pharisees.

Love Does Not Insist On It's Own Way - satisfiedinjesus.org

Malachi

Malachi 1-4

Chapter 1:

“I have loved you,” says the Lord.

“But you ask, ‘How have you loved us?’

WOW.  This brings us right back to Genesis.  Questioning God’s Love.  Adam and Eve listened to the Devil and Question’s God’s plan and full love for them.  After reading 9 months, we end with “I Love You”-God.

This Dialogue will be personal to everyone who reads it.  What do you bring to the Lord?  The Law stated in Leviticus 1:3 that we only bring an unblemished sacrifice to the alter.  The sacrifice represents Jesus.  Our view of Him is shown through our quality of sacrifice and worship.  I could make a sermon out of this but I won’t.


Chapter 2-“For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge because he is the messenger of the Lord Almighty and people seek instruction from his mouth. But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; 

The knowledge of God is not knowledge about God or about the duties of the priesthood.  “Knowledge” translates to the ability to know Him and desire to serve God according to what you know about God.


Next:

10 Do we not all have one Father? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our ancestors by being unfaithful to one another?

Once again, the Jewish people are ignoring the history that caused hundreds of years of idolatry-marrying foreigners.  When trouble comes their way, there is divorce…a breaking of the Covenant.  The Lord despises this.  Thank Heavens He loves us and will never divorce himself from us.


Chapter 3- The Bridge between the OT and NT

“I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.

Two messengers:

  1. One messenger prepares the way- This will be John the Baptist
  2. Then The Messiah they are seeking will come to the Temple-the messenger of the Covenant!-Jesus

In Matthew 11 this scripture is quoted:

As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written:

“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.’

Back to Malachi

For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years.  “So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the Lord Almighty.

So what does this mean for the Jewish people and all their sins?  Do not fear me says the Lord!  He will always have a Covenant relationship with His People.

THEN the only time the Lord says “Test Me”.  He actually says “TEST ME SO I CAN PROVE IT”.  DId you miss it?  Go back to 3:6-12.


Chapter 4:

“Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel.

“See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”

Tomorrow we open in the New Testament with the birth of John the Baptist

13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

John did for Jesus what Elijah was to have done for the coming of the Lord, but he was not Elijah reincarnated. Jesus identified John the Baptist as Elijah, while John the Baptist rejected that identification. How do we reconcile these two teachings? There is a key phrase in Jesus’ identification of John the Baptist that must not be overlooked. He says, “If you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah.” In other words, John the Baptist’s identification as Elijah was not predicated upon his being the actual Elijah, but upon people’s response to his role.


So here is the deal.  I am sitting at work…it is 11:24 a.m….and I have stared at this post for hours.  I am sitting in tears.  It’s like I want to write something BIG…I am not sure how to explain this feeling…these are the last words of the Lord for the Old Testement.  This is it.  He will stop talking for 400 years.