How many of you have heard of the "400 years of silence" between the Old and New Testaments of the Bible? I have two questions for you: Was Almighty God -- the original great communicator -- really silent that long? Is it in His nature to remain silent or aloof from His creation?
Scripture teaches that God is a personal God. That is, He communicates with us. We talk, or pray, and He listens and responds. God spoke through prophets, priests, and angels in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible; and at times He appeared and spoke for Himself. So why would we assume He was silent for 400 years?
The last book of the Old Testament, Malachi, was probably written between 400-448 B.C., and Jesus may have been born around 4-6 B.C. (I know it's funny to say Jesus was born before Christ, but that's another story.) So, let's assume the longest time frame. If Malachi was written around 448 B.C., and if the Angel spoke to Zacharias and Mary around 5 B.C., that is a 443-year span.
The primary reason people say God was silent is we have no Scripture that was written during that time period in the Protestant Bible. But was God really silent for more than four centuries? My gut-level response is a dynamic NO. Now, let's look into it.
Do you remember the challenge Jesus gave to the non-believing Pharisees? The interaction is in Matthew 16:1-3.
One day the Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus, demanding that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority. He replied, "You know the saying, 'Red sky at night means fair weather tomorrow; red sky in the morning means foul weather all day.' You know how to interpret the weather signs in the sky, but you don't know how to interpret the signs of the times!
Jesus accused the Pharisees and Sadducees of being ignorant because they didn't know "the signs of the times" as to Israel's spiritual and historical fulfillment. These "signs" were prophecies -- both written and spoken -- throughout the Old Testament time frame. And we know God communicated with man during the 90 years prior to His birth -- we just don't have it in the Bible.
The Old Testament dispels the myth of the presumed silence: The Holy Spirit (God) prompted the Zoroastrian priests in Persia to study what Daniel had taught during Israel's 70 years of captivity, and they were ready for the Messiah. They were alert to the signs in the skies and traveled from Persia to Israel to welcome the new King. Also, the Medo-Persian, Greek, and Roman empires (that Daniel interpreted from Nebuchadnezzar's dream) sequentially took over the land of Israel (Daniel 7-9), and we have documentation that God communicated with man about it. God was there and was not silent.
The New Testament dispels the myth: Many prophesies were given during the 90 years immediately prior to Jesus' birth. Remember Simeon and Anna in the Temple? They were cognizant of the recent prophecies -- in addition to the written Old Testament prophesies -- and were ready for the Messiah. The Lord prompted them to be in the Temple when Joseph and Mary brought the 8-day-old baby to be blessed, named, and circumcised.
Actually, many Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled within 160 years prior to Jesus' birth. And every prophetic fulfillment is a loud public communication from God.
I like the book by the late Francis A. Schaeffer, an American Evangelical Christian theologian, philosopher, and Presbyterian pastor. The book is: "He Is There and He Is Not Silent."
The "silence" is merely a human-contrived concept. Having nothing written or printed to read should not speak of silence, or we would have a problem with the 1,500 years of "silence" between the exit from the Garden and Noah, for the years between the flood and the call of Abraham, and for the years from the writing of Revelation until now.
God is always active, is always speaking, is always involved, is always answering prayer, and is always working to accomplish His will in the world.
GENE LINZEY IS A SPEAKER, AUTHOR, MENTOR AND PRESIDENT OF THE SILOAM SPRINGS WRITERS GUILD. SEND COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS TO MASTERS.SERVANT@COX.NET. THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR.Editorial on 01/31/2018
Print Headline: 400 Years Of Silence? Not True