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December 3, 2021 12:01 am
When you turn the page from the end of the Old Testament to the beginning of the New Testament, you've crossed a gap of four centuries. What happened in all those years? Today, R.C. Sproul surveys the intertestamental period.
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When you turn the page from the last verse of the Old Testament to the first page of the New Testament.
There's a 400 year gap. What happened over those for centuries and why is it important welcome to Renewing Your Mind in a message from Dr. I see schools sweeping overview of the Bible series. We called dust by God's sovereign plan Jews came under tremendous persecution during that international.
And it created in them a deep longing for the Messiah, God's providence was at work and other events to setting the stage perfectly for the incarnation and the inauguration of a new king we come now to the beginning of the second segment of our study of the survey of the Scriptures from dust to glory and now we are about to begin our exploration of the major themes of the New Testament. The New Testament.
Opens with the announcement in the Gospels of the play Rome which concept is translated by the words fullness of time. There is a keen sense in the New Testament that what takes place in this brief period of time in which our Lord was on this earth and active in his ministry that this period of history was what history was created for in the first place. The from all eternity.
God created a plan of redemption.
And now that plan of redemption comes to its main fruition in the history of redemption in the. Of the New Testament, so it's not as if things just happen suddenly coming down from the sky, but there was a long period of preparation throughout the whole Old Testament where God was preparing the world for the coming of his son in the incarnation of the Old Testament closes about 400 years before the New Testament begins and those 400 years. Of course, about which the Old Testament is silent are not insignificant in terms of the history of the world and the time of preparation for this fullness. This moment of pregnancy when the incarnation takes place.
That 400 year.
His essays called the inner test of mental. In 445.
The walls of Jerusalem were finished in their rebuilding process under the leadership of Nehemiah and at this time in redemptive history, Israel was now a small nation struggling for survival in the ancient Middle East.
And as I've said repeatedly. Palestine sort of function as a geopolitical football among the major powers of that day that were vying with each other for world domination. At the end of the Old Testament we see that. Of domination in the world by the Medo Persian Empire and the Persian Empire lasted until towards the end of the fourth century BC to the year 331 when Persia was conquered by Alexander the great and of course the story of Alexander is one of the most interesting and fascinating stories of all of world history because at the time that he put the finishing touches on his conquest of the Persian Empire. He was 24 years old and Alexander of course was the son of Philip of Macedon. Philip was the king of Macedonia and Alexander had been a student of the philosopher Aristotle and that's an interesting process in and of itself because we go back into the history of ancient Greece and we see three Giants three titans who would influence Western civilization from that point. After who succeeded one another in direct succession. First of course is Socrates and Socrates main pupil was Plato, who established his Academy in Athens and then Plato had a star pupil whose name was Aristotle and Heath started his school called the Lyceum and then Aristotle's most famous pupil was Alexander. Now Alexander of course is not known for being a philosopher is known for being a military genius and a world conqueror and we ask how the world does that fit in with his studies under the tutelage of Aristotle, will Aristotle of all of the great thinkers of the ancient world had a consuming passion for unity. He wanted to come up with a scientific system and a philosophical system that would integrate all the fields of knowledge in a coherent system and his passion for unity caused him to differ sharply at certain points with his own teacher Plato but he communicated this passion for unity, scientifically and philosophically to his star pupil Alexander. For example, when Alexander began his military conquest of the ancient world. He took with him on his mission. The largest entourage of scientists ever assembled up to that point in history for a scientific expedition. It's been said that the cost of supporting this scientific expedition of Alexanders was not surpassed until the American space program in our own day. So Alexander didn't just have his soldiers marching with him, but he had all the scientists whose task it was to collect samples of flora and fauna from all of the zones in areas of geography that the Army visited so that they could be brought back and be part of the systematic analysis of knowledge of Alexanders teacher Aristotle not I that but Alexander had a vision of unifying the ancient world.
Culturally and so he became the original author of a process that became very important to biblical history, which was the process called Hellenization which was the Greek FIA of the ancient world. Alexander wanted to have all the people in that area.
Speak the same language have the same philosophy have the same cultural mores and so on. So that was all part of his agenda for conquest and, ultimately, is the reason why the New Testament was written, not in Hebrew or an aromatic but in the Greek tongue was I said in 331. Alexander conquered the Persians, but in 327. He died in Babylon as he was about to vanquish the Babylonian empire, and upon his death his kingdom was divided among his generals back there were eight surviving generals that engaged in a brutal power struggle to see who would reign supreme and inherit the kingdom's established by Alexander but ended up ultimately being divided among two different groups.
The Ptolemies then you may have heard of that name as the Ptolemaic system of the universe was that influenced by Aristotle's physics and astronomy, and that reigned supreme until a Copernican revolution in the modern. The Ptolemies and the Seleucids now initially Palestine was controlled by the Ptolemaic dynasty that controlled Egypt as well. The Seleucids rolled over Syria and other portions of the world at that time. Now in the year 320 Palestine was annexed by Ptolemy. The first of Egypt. So this surviving general of Alexander told me the first took control of Palestine as part of his dominion that included Egypt and that lasted for a couple of decades until the year hundred and 98 BC and 198 Antioch this was Antioch is the third wrested control of Palestine and brought it over now to the dominion of the Seleucids and the Syrian Empire so this is what was going on here as the control of Palestine was shifting and changing between the successors of the kingdom of Alexander the great, not the significance of this movement in 198 whereby Antioch is the third takes control of Palestine is that Antioch is the third had, if anything, a more ardent passion for Hellenization than even Alexander had originally and as a result of this he imposed by force, a process of Hellenization upon the Jewish people. Now his attempt to make Greeks out of the Jews in Palestine was fiercely resisted by a small group of Orthodox Pietists, conservative Jews who did everything in their power to preserve the ancient culture of Judaism and they were called the city and its or the pious once and we still hear of his civic Judaism, even in this day. It's also significant that during the inner testimonial. As the Jewish culture was becoming eclipsed by the influence of Greek culture that other groups began to emerge who sought to maintain the purity of their own ancient traditions and one of the most important of these groups was the group called the Pharisees and we meet frequently in the New Testament, in a sense, the Pharisees were the original Puritans of the church. They were called the separated ones whose commitment was to be zealous for the ancient covenant of the Jewish nation, and to be obedient to every aspect of the Old Testament law. By the time we meet the Pharisees in the New Testament they have degenerated into a self righteous extern holistic hypocritical group of people who were deeply opposed to Jesus and to his mission, but originally they were godly men who were devoted towards Reformation towards restoring the historic faith of the people of Israel. One of the most important moments that transpired in the inner testimonial. Took place in the year 175 BC 175 BC when another Antioch us rose to power, and his name was Antioch us up Tiffany's Antioch us up Tiffany's now. That name may be familiar to you for one or more reasons. You've certainly heard the word epiphany and we even have a celebration in the church year that honors the day of epiphany and epiphany. The word means manifestation Antioch us epiphanies was called by this name because he was considered to be the manifest God. He was Antioch us, the manifest God and some scholars came to the conclusion that he was demented because of the bizarre nature of his behavior.
Antioch us epiphanies is related to biblical prophecy of the coming of the abomination of desolation that have been predicted in the Old Testament Scriptures. He came to power and implemented a radically anti-Jewish program in the nation and was called by pious Jews instead of Antioch us epiphanies that is Antioch us, the manifest God. He was called Antioch us up MNEs append the niece which means Antioch us, the insane and the reason for this negative handle that was associated with them is because he was as it were the kind of love letter of the second century BC.
Under Antioch us epiphanies the observance of the Sabbath day. The practice of circumcision as a religious right and the possession of Hebrew Scriptures.
These three things observance of the Sabbath day, the actor, circumcision, and even owning or possessing any copy or portion of the Old Testament Scriptures.
All of these things were considered by Antioch us epiphanies capital crimes so that if a Jew observe the Sabbath he could be put to death under the rain of this man who is associated with the abomination of desolation which reached its climax in the year 167, when after abolishing all forms of Jewish worship.
The ultimate sacrilege was committed when Antioch us had a vague sacrificed on the sacred altar in the TEFL and this was more than the people of Israel could bear, and his regime was so harsh in the persecution so cool and so expensive that a spirit of revolt began to brew among the Jewish people and in the year 164 BC.
We have what is been called in history. The Maccabean revolt. The Maccabean revolt came to pass, when a man in a Jewish believer by the name of matter thighs, who had five sons rose up in protest against the policies of Antioch us and sought to fight rearguard guerrilla warfare type of insurrection against the Antioch and invaders well in the beginning of this. Very shortly after the revolt broke out matter thighs died and so the leadership of the revolt fell to his third oldest son whose name was Judas and he received the name Judas Maccabeus, which means Judas the hammer and he became a national hero and remains a national hero in Jewish tradition because of his daring and bold raids and forays against the invaders and he was able to win certain concessions from the rulers in the year 164, which included the religious freedom being restored to the Jewish people and the temple being opened once again for the celebration of Jewish worship and so in that year the Jewish temple was rededicated and a great feast and celebration ensued which is celebrated to this very day. The reopening rededication of the Temple took place in the month of December and is celebrated. To this day, under the feast of Hanukkah.
We are all familiar with the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah which is a celebration of the victory of Judas Maccabeus in this period of verbal and 142 the Jews under the Maccabees were able to gain their full freedom from foreign domination and their liberation and freedom lasted from the year 142 until the year 63 BC when Palestine was once again conquered, but this time the conquerors were the Romans and the general who was responsible for the conquest of Palestine in the year 63 BC is a man with whom were somewhat familiar because of our awareness of Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar in our history books that tell us of the first great triumvirate that included in its members the general whose name was Pompeii and Pompey, you know, became associated with Julius Caesar and there was all kinds of intrigue later on. And we remember in the story that Shakespeare gives us of the assassination of Julius Caesar, that when Brutus stabbed Caesar and Caesar's last words were what to brew today.
Then fall Caesar and in the climactic moment in this scene of the play Julius Caesar falls dead there on the floor of the Senate, and he falls dead at the foot of the blast of Pompey will assist man Pompey who was responsible for the Roman conquest of the Jewish nation in the year 6323 years later in 40 BC there was a new moment that took place when under the Roman domination and I do mean chieftain was appointed more or less as a local vassal by the Roman authorities to be a local king over the Jews in this man's name was Herod the great and Herod the great, really founded a dynasty.
He's the one who rebuilt the massive structure called the Herodian temple, and certainly would be famous in world history, even if he didn't figure prominently in the New Testament for the extraordinary building projects that he established during his reign, but he was also known for his cruelty and for his viciousness as a puppet king of Rome. He was installed largely by the influence of two Romans, whose names were Octavius and Mark Anthony Mark Anthony of Anthony and Cleopatra fame and Octavius, who becomes Caesar Augustus, who is mentioned specifically in the New Testament, but it is significant that when the New Testament opens the people of Israel are now groaning under foreign rule.
Once again with the power of Rome and the power of Rome was standing behind their puppet king who was conceived by the Jewish people to be a traitor to their national interests pass the drama past the setting in which the New Testament and against that historical backdrop the Messiah burst into the world were glad you joined us for this message from Dr. RC Sproul here on Renewing Your Mind. RC is introduced is overview of the New Testament from his series duster glory and and will share more from the series next week. I do hope you make plans to join us if you have not heard this entire series. Let me recommend it highly and 57 messages.
Dr. scroll explores the major themes events and people that we find in Scripture. He helps you connect the Old Testament to the new gives you the tools you need to understand the whole narrative of Scripture and beginning Monday of next week. RC will cover the early years of Jesus life and ministry.
This entire series contains more than 21 hours of teaching and for your donation of any amount will be glad to send you the DVDs of the entire series, but will also provide a bonus disc that contains the audio files of all 57 messages possible include the PDF study guide. You can reach us by phone to make a request at 800-435-4343 or you can go online to Renewing Your Mind.org once you've completed your request. All the videos will be available in your online learning library will also have access on your phone or tablet through our free link in your app just look for the my learning library tab on the app and everything you purchase from leader will be safe there. As I mentioned on Monday, Dr. scroll continues our tour through the early New Testament. Then, here's a preview the last prophecy of the Old Testament contains this detail that before the day of the Lord. Elijah will come and then after that prophecy, the voice of prophecy, ceases, and Israel is not a peep out of God for 400 years until John the Baptist came out of the wilderness, preaching a message of repentance's please join us Monday for Renewing Your Mind