For the third message in our Christmas series, we find ourselves in the blank pages between the testaments. These are often called the 'silent years' because there was no biblical or recorded prophet. However, this time period was anything but silent historically. The nation of Israel endured some very difficult times at the hands of certain foreign nations, and their culture was heavily influenced by outside forces. Specifically, Hellenism spread across the known world, exerting a strong imprint on all surrounding nations. Israel was not excluded and suffered considerably. Though the prophetic voice might have been silent, God was aware of what was happening.
We read in Daniel 8 and Daniel 11 that God had prophesied certain events of this time period in very accurate details. Looking backwards, we can see that historical figures like Alexander the Great and Antiochus IV were described in specific details. For the modern reader, these details of history help to show us that despite the silence of God, he is still very sovereign over the affairs of man.
When we turn the blank page from OT to NT, the scene has changed dramatically, but our God has not forgotten his promises, nor his people.
Gabriel who prophesied a coming 'Messiah' in Daniel 9, opens the NT with the good news. God has finally visited his people. Messiah is to be born soon, and his name would will be Jesus.