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Most of us don’t like silence.
We especially don’t like it when it feels like God is being silent.
The last words from a prophet.
We turn the page in our Bible from Machi to Matthew and we have turned 400 years.
God does not tell us why He chose to be silent for this time, but we can be sure that the Old Testament prophesies were fully spoken when Malachi ended.
God was preparing to communicate in a different way.
God did not communicate with His people for 400 years, but He was not inactive or uninvolved.
When we turn the page from Malachi to Matthew, we find ourselves in a completely different world.
We cannot take that for granted as we study the New Testament.
We cannot take for granted what God was setting up.
Store this thought away… we will end with it.
God was preparing the world to hear His most powerful Word to mankind.
1. Political Preparation
4 basic political shifts during the time between the testaments.
Persian rule.
We know Persia from the Old Testament.
They will hold world domination until around 330 B.C.
When Assyria conquered Israel, they scattered the people.
When Babylon conquered Juda, they took the people out of the land.
Persia created policy that let the Jews return home.
Jerusalem could begin to be rebuilt.
Grecian rule.
at the height of Persian power in the country of Macedonia (Today we now as Greece) a man by the name of Philip of Macedon.
He became leaders of his own country then united the islands of Greece and became their ruler.
His son would come to be known as one of the greatest rulers of all time - Alexander the Great.
Alexander would conquer the Persians and the rest of the known world.
Alexander the Great died in his early 30’s .
He drank himself to death because he didn’t have anymore land to conquer.
His son had been murdered earlier so his empire was torn apart.
It was divided amongst his generals.
However, during all of this, Grecian influence and culture was becoming strong in Palestine.
A party of Jews rose up called the Hellenists.
(More later)
After the split of Alexander’s empire, the Jews were able to revolt against the Greco-Syrian regime and gain independence.
Some say two brothers took over.
Some say ith was a conflict between the Hellenic influence and the Jews.
Some say the Jews approached Rome others say they were waiting for weakness.
Either way - they took over and the Jews lost their freedom.
Roman rule.
Not too long after the Roman empire took control of the land, Antipiter the Idumaean was appointed ruler of the land by Julius Ceasar.
Not shortly after, his son, Herod the son of anitpiter took the throne.
He is know as Herod, King of the Jews.
2. Cultural Preparation
Though Alexander the Great’s rule didn’t last long, it was impactful.
His generals worked hard to spread Greek culture.
When Rome gained rule, the fully embraced Greek culture.
Greek architecture dominated the landscape.
Theaters and arenas became popular.
The Greek culture can been seen all over the New Testament.
Alexander the Great was set on unifying the world with his Greek culture.
3. Geographical Preparation
Many Jews never returned to their homeland after exile.
However, the systems set in place by the Roman empire made it easy for the Jews to travel.
Because Jews did not live in Jerusalem where the temple was, Synagogues began to pop up in towns were Jews lived.
During Roman rule, Palestine (formerly known as Canaan) was divided into three areas and were ruled by Herod the Great who was named King of the Jews by the Romans.
Take a look at the map.
Rome built roads for their own protection.
They were designed to quickly and efficiently move military personnel across the country quickly and efficiently.
This also mean they were easy to navigate.
Consisting of mile markers and road signs.
4. Religious Preparation
Hellenistic - pertaining to Greet history, culture, and language.
Hellenize - to make Greek in culture and language.
Alexander the Great’s attempts to Hellenize the world caused the Jews to push back against Greek culture.
In response religious parties were formed to protect Hebrew culture and religion.
Pharisees - about 6,000 pharisees during the time of Jesus.
They saw themselves as the official interpreters and and defenders of the Law.
Sadducees - a smaller group than the Pharisees who were more politically active.
They were more tolerant of Roman rule and embraced the opportunities Rome gave them.
Zealots - followers of the Pharisees but firmly set against the rule of the Romans and would do anything they could to stop it.
5. Language Preparation
Hebrew ( the language of the Old Testament) was only used for religious matters.
Koine Greek became the trade language spoken in the entire Roman empire.
Why was it the right time?
Worldwide Citizenship
Worldwide Language
Worldwide Transportation
Worldwide Peace
Worldwide Moral Decline
The Jews were again in bondage.
Every person involved was working God’s plan.
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