! BETWEEN THE TESTAMENTS
The 400 Silent Years
The Old Testament closes approximately at 430 B.C. At this point Israel was firmly established in the land of Palestine and had their Temple and city rebuilt.
The time period between 430 B.C. and the ministry of John the Baptist is known as the 400 silent years.
The term is derived from two factors: 1) The Lord did not send any prophets during this period, and 2) None of the inspired Scriptures were written during this period.
The voice from heaven that broke the silence came from the ministry of John the Baptist, who had the privilege of announcing the coming of the Messiah.
The 400 silent years were very eventful years, but the Lord chose for His own reasons too not have any inspired Scriptures written during this period.
The Apocryphal books were written during this era, which contain the records of some important historical events, but are not considered to be inspired by the Church.
This era can be divided into seven different time periods.
Each period is designated by the ruling powers, which controlled Palestine.
| Persian | Alexandrian | Ptolemaic | Selucid | Maccabean | Hasmonean | Roman |
| 430-334BC | 334-323BC | 323-198BC | 198-166BC | 166-135BC | 135-34BC | 34BC-30AD |
Though the voice of God was silent, the hand of God was actively directing the course of event during these centuries.
The Old Testament Canon
“Canon,” literally meaning “cane,” or “measuring rod,” came to be used as the name of the list of books which were recognized as the genuine, original inspired, authoritative WORD OF GOD, the rule of faith.
1. Early in history God began the formation of the Book which was to be the medium of His revelation of Himself to man:
Ten Commandments, written of stone – Deuteronomy 10:4, 5
Moses’ Laws, written in a book – Deuteronomy 31:24-26
c. Copies of this book were made – Deuteronomy 17:18
d. Joshua added to the book – Joshua 24:26
e. Samuel wrote in a book, and laid it up before God – 1 Samuel 10:25
This book was well known 400 years later – 2 Kings 22:8-10
g. Prophets wrote in a book – Jeremiah 36:32; Zechariah 1:4, 7:7-12
2. In Jesus’ Day, this book was called the Scriptures.
The Scriptures were taught regularly and read publicly in synagogs.
The Scriptures were commonly regarded among the people as THE WORD OF GOD.
These Scripture were composed of 39 books, which constitute our Old Testament, though under a different arrangement.
They were spoken of as the…
a. Law, /5 books – /Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
b. Prophets, /8 books/ – Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel,
d. Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezre-Nehemiah, Chronicles / /
4. The combination
a. Combining the two books each of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles into one
Ezra and Nehemiah into one
c. 12 minor prophets into one, which were written on one scroll
These 24 books are exactly the same as the 39 books of our Old Testament
Old Testament Arrangement
Law (Pentateuch) – Genesis – Exodus – Leviticus – Numbers – Deuteronomy
2. Historical – Joshua – Judges – Ruth – First Samuel – Second Samuel – First Kings – Second Kings – First Chronicles – Second Chronicles – Ezra – Nehemiah – Esther
3. Poetical – Job – Psalms – Proverbs – Ecclesiastes – Song of Solomon
4. Prophetic (major) – Isaiah – Jeremiah – Lamentations – Ezekiel – Daniel
5. Prophetic (Minor) – Hosea – Joel – Amos – Obadiah – Jonah – Micah – Nahum – Habakkuk – Zephaniah – Haggai – Zechariah – Malachi
This is the name given to the 14 books contained in some Bibles between the Old & New Testaments.
/They bridge a gap between Malachi & Matthew & were written two or three centuries before Christ./
1. 1 Esdras
2. 2 Esdras
5. Rest of Esther
6. Wisdom of Solomon
9. Song of the Three Holy Children
10. History of Susanna
11. Bel and the Dragon
12. Prayer of Manasses
13. 1 Maccabees
14. 2 Maccabees
During the Apostolic years there were far more than 27 books written, but the Church did not consider all of them to be inspired by God.
The Church had the difficult job of deciding which of the many books were to be placed in the Bible alongside the O.T. Scriptures.
The Church has always declared these books to be non-canonical but has been able to appreciate them for their historical value.
2. The Roman Catholic Church had always accepted these books canonical since the Council of Trent.
“The Synod…receives and venerates…all of the books both of the Old & New Testament [including Apocrypha] – seeing that God is the Author of both…as having been dictated, either by Christ’s own word of mouth or by the Holy Ghost… if anyone receives not as sacred and canonical the said books entire with all their parts, as they have been used to be read in the Catholic Church… let them be anathema.
Six Reason the Church Rejects These
The Authority of Jesus
a. Jesus never quoted from any of these books.
Yet He accepted all 39 books of the Old Testament Luke 24:44
2. The New Testament Authority
The NT never cites an apocryphal book as inspired.
The NT does however quote from every Canonical book of the OT
3. The Jewish Community Never Accepted Them as Inspired by God
4. The Books Contain Historical Errors
5. The Books Contain Theological Errors
a. 2 Maccabees 12:45, 46, 4 – this is where prayer for the dead is mentioned
b. Catholics use this verse to pray their dead out of purgatory.
Most Great Fathers of the Early Church did not View them as Canonical
The New Testament
How did we get the New Testament?