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THE SILENT YEARS
Judah ceased to be an independent nation when conquered by the Babylonian Empire. The Persian Empire was victorious in war and became the new ruling Regime that encompassed Jerusalem.
The 400 years from the time of Nehemiah, the Persian appointed Governor of Jerusalem, to the birth of Christ are called 'The Silent Years'. The Word of God through the prophets became quiet.
450 - 330
B.C The Persian Empire
Judah was ruled by Temple High Priests who were responsible to the government of Persia.
430 - 166
B.C. Alexander The Great
Alexander began his short career, but left a great impression in history. Alexander the Great of Greece, overthrew the Persian Kingdom, he also had a hope for the entire world to speak his language and follow the Grecian culture. Greek society was organised by a market place, public building, temples and theatres and became a powerful influence. This led to the Hebrew text being translated into Greek language. In 250 B.C. Seventy-two scholars were brought together on an island near Alexandria, Egypt, where they provided a Greek translation of the five books of Moses Old Testament in 72 days and was made available to be used by all Greek speaking people, especially Jewish patriots living outside of their homeland. At this time all Jews no longer spoke in Hebrew. This translation became The Bible of the early Church. (The Apocrypha is a collection of a variety of history books that were not used by the early Christians nor accepted by Jewish Scholars because of errors. Only Rome, since the 16th century has used these additional books.)
The period of Grecian Rule was known as The Hellenistic Period when the Jewish Community had adopted the Grecian style of life. Two of Alexander's Generals controlled all the area. Under Grecian Rule of the Ptolemies of Egypt Jews prospered but clashed with some of the leaders. Jews were permitted to carry out their religion and were encouraged to live in Egypt. The Grecian Rule of Seleucids of Syria in the east eventually took control of the main highway from east to west, which banned the Jews from carrying out their religion.
175 B.C. JUDAISM WAS PROHIBITED
167 B.C.- 63 B.C. The faithful Jews however did suffer persecution until a priestly family began a revolt and the outcome led to 100 years of Jewish Independence. This Jewish revolt resulted in the Jewish community being led by the Maccabean Jewish priestly family that gave Judah its independence. Although Judah was independent it became a Hellenistic regime. The Jewish Hasmonian Dynasty was the result, until the Roman Empire took control of the area around Jerusalem in the south along the prominent gateway to the north and to the south of the trading world, and called it Judea. 63 B.C The Roman Empire In the year 63 before Christ, The Roman Army captured Jerusalem and the provinces of Palestine became subject to Rome as prophesied by Daniel hundreds of years prior to the event. The Roman Army took Jerusalem after a three-month siege on the Temple area killing priests. The Romans appointed local procurators. The Local Government was entrusted to princes part of the time and the rest of the time to agents who were appointed by the emperors. Herod The Great, who began his reign in 40 B.C. was an Edomite, a descendant of Esau, Jacob's brother, was in his closing months as ruler of Palestine at the time of Christ's birth. Esau was Jacob's twin brother (2006 B.C.), Jacob being the forefather from whom the Israelites were descendants. The Jewish people had some political liberty but were required to pay a yearly tax to the Roman Government. The Romans brought law, order and stability to the nations they ruled and garrisons of soldiers maintained the peace. Four legions of soldiers were stationed throughout Palestine.
THE ROMANS PUT GREAT MATERIAL AND PHYSICAL BURDENS UPON THE PEOPLE.
This period called The Silent Years was an enormous change of culture for the Jews who lived in the midst of the Persian, Greek and Roman Empires.
New religious and political parties had been formed during the 400 'Silent Years'.
SADDUCEES A group made up of aristocrats who were connected with The Temple and all of its activities wielded political power and controlled the priesthood.
PHARISEES As a party of the synagogues, they strove to re-interpret the Law, and enjoyed their notoriety among the people.
ESSENES A small separatist Jewish sect that grew because of confliction. The members rejected all temple ritual and sacrificial system. They themselves believed to be the only group who knew truth, but died out when Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D.
HERODIANS A political party whose member's main aim was to further the cause of the Herod Family in government, in favour with The Roman Empire.
ZEALOTS A internal party that fought to oppose the Herodians. They did not believe in being submissive to Roman rule but that every Jew should fight against the Romans.
SCRIBES A specialised group of Mosaic Law Scholars that came into being after the Jewish exile in Babylon. The scribes taught and explained the written Law of God, The Law of The Old Testament. This was a great change that replaced being taught and religiously schooled by word of mouth. The records of scholarly debates were kept for all to study.
Israel's spiritual bondage was worse than their political bondage. God made an end of 400 'Silent years' with the announcement of the arrival of Christ. John The Baptist, who was the forerunner to Jesus was the last Old Testament prophet. Because of the Roman road and Roman peace control throughout the Empire, news of The Messiah could travel quickly.
The Old Testament period ended with the rebuilding of The Temple and the City of Jerusalem and four hundred years later The New Testament Book began.
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