Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What Happened Between the Time of Malachi and the New Testament?

Almost 500 years exist between the time of the recorded book of the prophet Malachi (432 B.C., the last book of the Old Testament) and the first recorded book of the New Testament, which is the book of James (A.D. 49). The periods from Malachi to Christ are as follows:

The Persian Period (450-330 B.C.)
For about 200 years, after Nehemiah's time the Persians controlled Judah, but the Jews were allowed to carry on their religious observances and were not interfered with. During this time, Judah was ruled by high priests who were responsible to the Jewish government.

The Hellenistic Period (330-166 B.C.)
In 333 B.C. the Persian armies stationed in Macedonia were defeated by Alexander the Great. He was convinced that Greek culture was the one force that could unify the world. Alexander permitted the Jews to observe their laws and even granted them exemption from tribute or tax during their Sabbath years. The Greek conquest prepared the way for the translation of the Old Testament into Greek (Septuagint version) in 250 B.C.

The Hasmonean Period (166-63 B.C.)
When this historical period began, the Jews were being greatly oppressed. The Ptolemies had been tolerant of the Jews and their religious practices but the Seleucid rulers were determined to force Hellenism on them. Copies of the Scriptures were ordered destroyed and laws were enforced with extreme cruelty. The oppressed Jews revolted, led by Judas the Maccabee.

The Roman Period (63 B.C. through Christ's life)
In the year 63 B.C. Pompey, the Roman general, captured Jerusalem, and the provinces of Palestine became subject to Rome. The local government was entrusted part of the time to princes and the rest of the time to procurators who were appointed by the emperors. Herod the Great was ruler of all Palestine at the time of Christ's birth.

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