musthavebeenkind asked: Hey Unka. Could you explain the 400 silent years to me? I guess how they are accounted for? Or if they even are.
Unka Glen answered: Sure thing, the “400 silent years” refers to the period between the Old and New Testaments. 400 silent years sounds kinda scary, and dark, and mysterious, but we actually know a lot about this period.
The silent part refers to the fact that there were, as far as we know, no prophetic words from the Lord during this period. However, it is true that a number of prophecies were being fulfilled, particularly those from the book of Daniel (chapter 2 and 7 for example).
Daniel’s prophecies concerned a succession of people conquering and taking over Israel, and we know from the historical writings of the period that this actually came true. First the Persians invaded, and they were later defeated by Alexander the Great.
That ushered in a period of Greek rule that had a strong influence on the Jews. The New Testament is written in a sort of street-level Greek (called Koine Greek), and when New Testament figures quote the Old Testament, they often quote from the Septuagint, which is the Greek translation of the Old Testament.
Following that, there was a brief and interesting period of Jewish self-rule known as the Hasmonean dynasty. Then just 60 years or so before Christ, the Roman general Pompey took over all of Judea.
During this same period a group of Jews who very much admired the Greeks came to power through the Jewish ruling council (the Sanhedrin), they were known as the Sadducees, and they rejected all teachings except the books of Moses. Meanwhile another group of Jews was forming around taking traditions and elements of Jewish culture, and making that equal to God’s commands. They became known as the Pharisees.
So as you can see, there was a lot going on here, and all of it had a very large impact on the world that Jesus came into. Knowing this stuff helps us put things in perspective. For example, the palm leaf was the symbol of the Hasmonean dynasty, so what does that suggest to you about Palm Sunday? All this stuff is useful for putting scripture in context, but in and of itself, it’s just history.
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