The 400 years of history that took place between the end of the last book in the Old Testament, Malachi…and the first book in the New Testament, Matthew, are often referred to as the “silent years”. This week, our Jewish friends have just finished celebrating the eight days of Hanukkah, which has reminded me that God was silent with respect to giving us some more of His Word during this time, but He was all but silent with respect to what He was doing in preparing every detail for the birth of Jesus Christ.
It was during this 400 years that Synagogues were established. In Luke 4:16 we read that wonderful passage where Jesus was in a synagogue ( as was His custom) reading about Himself.
It was also during this 400 years that the Old Testament was translated from Hebrew to Greek. The language of the common man. This is known as the Septuagint translation. There are 160 times in the New Testament where this new Greek translation is used to quote from the Old Testament. Jesus, Himself, quoted from the new septuagint translation (for the people) in Luke 4, Matt. 21 and John 13.
And then it was also during this 400 years that the rebel army known as the Maccabees took back the temple after it had been profaned by the cruel and hated Syrian ruler, Antiochus Epiphanes. The rededication of the temple was celebrated for 8 days. Ever since that wonderful winter in 29 A.D. our Jewish friends remind us of this huge event with their eight day celebration of Hannukah. In John 10:22-23 we read that Jesus, Himself was celebrating Hanukkah. During this 400 years, God made sure that there would be a proper, rededicated temple for His Son.
I can’t wait! One of these days, God will be once again rebuilding and restoring this temple for the return of our Messiah.