Monday, January 17, 2011

Finding Christ Between the Testaments

Fascinating message by Dr. John Barnett on the Intertestamental Period (the 400 years between Malachi and Matthew.)  The message of this silent period is that the Jews were victorious when they were obedient to the Word and defeated when they fell away from the Word.  The intertestamental period also presents the timeframe when the four main religious groups of Christ's day (the Essenes, Pharisees, Sadducees and Zealots) came into development, and also gives more background into the very dark and violent times of the life of people like Joseph, Mary, Simeon, Anna, Elizabeth and Zacharius, etc.

Dr. Barnett discusses how Daniel (in Dan. 11) prophesied about Alexander and the four kingdoms (prophetic words that were indeed fulfilled), as well as a little more background into the some of the Apocryphal books.  Although for Protestants we can sometimes be a little quick to dismiss the Apocrypha as non-canonical "Catholic" books, even though these are not cannon they do offer some interesting insight into the dark times between the testaments, including details of events such as the Maccabean revolt.

Some of the Apocryphal works, such as the Ezras books, need to be taken with a grain of salt:  per Dr. Barnett, I Ezras is basically just a copy of the Old Testament book of Ezra with extra stuff added in about "don't mistreat the Jews".  II Ezra's is a "flaming apocalyptic" with various inaccurate prophecies.  Its noteworthy that Jesus nor any of the New Testament ever make mention of the Apocrypha.  Rome clings to these, primarily because of fringy passages like 2 Maccabees 12:43, that talk abotu how Judas Macabees, when his soldiers died, shacked them up and made a sacrifice for them.  The entire Catholic system of purgatory was built around this one verse.

Dr. Barnett gives an excellent overview of this Intertestamental Period, and it helps give an little more background into the lives of those in Luke's gospel and the rough, violent time that they were coming out of.

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