Background to Understand the New Testament World
- The Babylonian Period - B. C. 606-536
- The prophecy of Jeremiah regarding captivity - Jer. 25:11-13; 29:10; 2 Chron. 36:19-21
- The three stages of captivity
- Under Jehoiakim (B.C. 606-597 = 9 years) - Daniel taken
- Under Jehoiachin (B.C. 597-586 = 11 years) - Ezekiel taken
- Under Zedekiah (B. C. 586-536 = 50 years) - End of the Kingdom of Judah
- The person of Daniel
- Daniel was born in the reign of Josiah, being around 17 years
old when he was taken into Babylonian captivity (Dan.1:1). He
lived through the '70' year captivity (Jer. 29:10) into the Medo-Persian
period under Cyrus and Darius (Dan.1:21, 9:1-2; 10:1; 11:1).
- The prophecies of Daniel regarding the four empires
- Babylonian (B.C. 606-538)
- The great image (head of gold) - Dan. 2:31-32a, 37-38
- The four beasts (lion) - Dan. 7:2-4, 16-17
- Medo-Persian (B.C. 538-333)
- The great image (breast and arms of silver) - Dan.2:31-32m, 39a
- The four beasts (bear) - Dan. 7:2-3, 5
- A ram - Dan. 8:3-4, 20
- The Scripture of Truth - Dan. 10:21; 11:2
- Grecian (B.C. 333-63)
- The great image (belly and thighs of brass) - Dan. 2:31, 32c, 39b
- The four beasts (leopard) - Dan. 7:2-3, 6
- A he-goat - Dan. 8:5-8, 21-22
- The Scripture of Truth - Dan. 11:2b-3
- The fourfold division of Alexander's Empire - Dan. 7:6, 8:8, 21-22; 11:4ff
- Roman (B.C. 63 - A.D. 476)
- The great image (legs and feet of iron and clay) - Dan. 2:33-34, 40-43
- The four beasts (dreadful) - Dan. 7:7, 19, 23
- The factors of recovery in Daniel
- The historical situation - Dan. 9:1, 6:28
- Understanding the Word - Dan. 9:2
- Prayer - Dan. 9:3-19
- Vision - Dan. 9:20-27
- The vision of the period of Daniel's seventy weeks - Dan. 9:24-27
- The extent of the period - "...from ... the commandment
to restore and to build Jerusalem (Neh. 2:5, B. C. 445) ...
until the consummation ... determined ..."
- The divisions of the period (@ one week = 7 years)
- Seven weeks = 49 years (the time of Nehemiah and Malachi.)
- Sixty two weeks = 434 years (from Malachi to the crucifixion.)
- After sixty two weeks ("the people of the prince shall come and destroy the city and the sanctuary ...").
This was fulfilled under Titus in A.D. 70.
- The interval between the 69th and 70th week. This interval is of unknown duration and has lasted already for over 1900 years.
- One week = 7 years (the end including the Great Tribulation.)
- The Persian Period - B.C. 536-334
- The four decrees
- Cyrus (B.C. 536) - Rebuilding of the temple (Ezra 1)
- Darius I - Hystaspes (B.C. 520) - Completion of the temple (Ezra 4:24; 6:1-15)
- Artaxerxes - Longimanus (B.C.458) - Beautifying the temple (Ezra 7:11-27)
- Artaxerxes - Longimanus (B.C. 445) - Rebuilding of the city (Dan. 9:25, Neh. 2:5)
- The three returns and the end of the Old Testament
- The first return under Zerubbabel (B.C. 536-516) - 2 Chron. 36:22-23; Ezra 1-6
- The deliverance of the Jews under Esther (B.C. 516-458) - Esther
- The second return under Ezra (B.C. 458-457) - Ezra 7-10
- An interval (B.C. 457-445
- The third return under Nehemiah (B.C. 445-432...425?) - Nehemiah
- The final word of Malachi (B.C. 432-425?) - Malachi
- The government during the Intertestamental period
- Kingship - Zedekiah in B.C. 586 ended the rightful kingship in Israel until Christ.
- Priesthood - The governmental feature of the intertestamental period among the Jews was a succession of high priests.
- Pre-Maccabean High Priests (B.C. 536-153) - During this 383 year period there were 16 high priests from Joshua who
returned from Babylon with Zerubbabel to Alcimus (1 Macc. 7). There appears to have been an interruption of the priesthood for 7 years, B.C. 160-153.
- The Maccabean High Priests (B.C. 153-35) - For about 118 years the office of the high priest remained in the Maccabean
family. From Jonathan (1 Macc. 9) to Ananel.
- The Post-Maccabean High Priests (From B.C. 35- _ - From Jesus ben Phaki to Joazar.
- Prophethood - the last prophet was Malachi until John the Baptist
- The Synagogue - The idea of the synagogue as a gathering of the Jews to read the Law goes back to Moses (Acts 15:21). The development
of the synagogue as it is found in the Gospels and Acts may be seen emerging from the time of the Babylonian captivity when the temple
was lost and local gatherings replaced it. During the time of Ezra in the Persian period, many did not return to Jerusalem for the recovery
of the temple, thus in their dispersion they set up synagogues. These synagogues continued as a Jewish institution during the time of the
- The Greek Period - B.C. 334-323)
- Alexander the Great fulfills Daniel 2:39b; 7:6; 8:5, 21; 11:2b-3 - Within 12 years from Macedon in the West to India in the East, Alexander
conquered the whole world, and brought in Hellenistic culture and the Greek language. Greek was the only language that Alexander found
available to govern his vast empire; therefore from the 4th century B.C. the Greek language known as Koine, i.e., the "common language"
became the universal medium to spread the Old Testament Scriptures LXX) and the Gospel.
- Alexander's generals and the fourfold division of the empire fulfill Daniel 7:6, 8:8, 21-22; 11:4ff
- Following Alexander's death, the Greek Empire was divided among four of his generals.
- Cassander had Macedonia and Greece
- Lysimachus had Thrace, Bithynia and some adjoining provinces
- Ptolemy had Libya, Egypt, Arabia, Petraea, Palestine, and Coele-Syria
- Seleucus had many provinces of Asia Minor, Syria, Mesopotamia, Babylonia and the East to India.
- Alexander's relationship to the Jews - Alexander visited Jerusalem
and honored the High Priest, Jaddua. He offered a sacrifice to Jehovah in the temple according to the directions of the High Priest, and
had the prophecies of Daniel read to him that spoke of one of the Greeks that would destroy the empire of the Persians. He applied this
prophecy to himself and from that time treated the Jews kindly. (Josephus, Ant. XI, VIIVIV, 5).
- The Egyptian Period - B.C. 324-264
- Ptolemy (the King of the South-Egypt) and Seleucus (the King of the North-Syria) fulfill Daniel 11:5-20.
- The Septuagint (LXX) translated - According to Josephus (Ant. XII-II), the translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek was made under Ptolemy.
- The forerunners of the Pharisees - During the period of Egyptian rule in Palestine, there emerged a company of men called the Hasidim,
or Pious Ones, who stood against Hellenism, and had a passionate zeal for the Law. They eventually came to the forefront at the time of
the Maccabean revolt (1 Macc. 2:42).
- The Syrian Period - B.C. 204-165
- Antiochus Epiphanes fulfills Dan 11:21-32 - The fall of Palestine into Syrian hands ushered in a new era of Jewish history. The rule
of the Ptolemies in Egypt had been tolerant, but the Seleucids in Syria determined to force the Jews to accept Hellenism. Antiochus
Epiphanes (B.C. 175-164) brought in a horrible persecution of the Jews. He defiled the temple by offering a swine on the altar, and
erected there a statue to Jupiter Olympius (1 Macc. 1:16-28; 2 Macc. 5:11-23; Josephus, Ant. XII, V, 1-5).
- The Maccabean Period - B.C. 165-63
- The revolt
- Mattathias and his sons - Antiochus Epiphanes erected a pagan altar at a village called Modin, and asked the Jews there to sacrifice
upon it. At this point Mattathias and his five sons revolted against the Syrians by destroying the altar and fleeing to the hills to
fight. This was the start of the Maccabean revolt.
- Judas, the Maccabee ("the Hammer")
- After Mattathias died, Judas, his son, led the Jews through guerrilla warfare to Jerusalem and purified and rededicated the temple from Antiochus Ephiphanes' desecration.
- Eventually, the other sons of Mattathias liberated the Jews and established a hereditary high priesthood in the Maccabean family which became known as the Hasmonean family.
- The following history of the Hasmonean family was one of internal strife and decay among the priesthood and leadership of the Jews.
- The origin of the Jewish religious sects
- The Pharisees
- The Jews that reacted against the Hellenistic culture
were firstly known as the Hasidim. This Hasidic reaction was
carried on by the Pharisees who are first mentioned during
the reign of John Hyrcanus of the Hasmonean family (B.C. 134-104).
The word Pharisee means "separated ones." They were
against the influences of Hellenism with a zeal for the Law
and eventually elevated oral tradition on the level of Scripture
- The Sadducees
- The Sadducees emerge at the same time as the Pharisees
during the reign of John Hyrcanus. The word Sadducee is derived
from the Hebrew word for "righteous." This group
was known for their positions of wealth and influence among
the Jerusalem aristocracy and the high priesthood. The Sadducees
did not accept the oral traditions, and did not believe in
resurrection, spirits or angels.
- The Essenes
- The Essenes were an ascetic and monastic type of group
that are associated with the Qumran Community that lived northwest
of the Dead Sea. Josephus and other writers indicate that
the Essenes felt they were the true Israel, and avoided all
contact with the Jerusalem Temple, and what they believed
were corrupt religious observances.
- The Roman Period - B.C. 63-4
- The Roman Empire fulfills Daniel 2:33-34, 40-43; 7:7, 19, 23
- Pompey conquered Judea in B.C. 63 and turned it into a Roman province
- A neighboring Edomite ruler named Antipas sought political
power in Judea while the Hasmonean dynasty was crumbling under
Rome's control. Eventually, one of the sons of Antipas, Herod
the Great, was granted the title "Procurator of Judea."
Herod's rule covered the period of B.C. 37-4 and was reigning
when Daniel's "stone. . .cut out without hands. . ."
was born in Bethlehem of Judea (Dan. 2:34, 44-45).