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  #1  
Old Jun 24, '09, 10:45 am
losh14 losh14 is offline
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Default Is there a Biblical prophecy about 400 years of silence?

In talking with an evangelical friend, he told me that he rejected the Catholic Bible because it included false writings that were attributed to the Intertestamental Period - a term I've not heard before. He described it as 400 years, prophecied in the OT, when God would be silent.

I've not really been able to find anything satisfactory as to whether his claim was actually in the Bible. As far as I can tell, this surfaced as an argument during the Reformation and has been anachronistically applied. Can anyone provide a citation for such a prophecy?
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  #2  
Old Jun 24, '09, 11:38 am
Catholic Dude Catholic Dude is offline
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Default Re: Is there a Biblical prophecy about 400 years of silence?

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Originally Posted by losh14 View Post
I've not really been able to find anything satisfactory as to whether his claim was actually in the Bible. As far as I can tell, this surfaced as an argument during the Reformation and has been anachronistically applied.
You're right! It's an unBiblical argument that "sounds good" but really has no basis and is in fact an obvious anachronism.

Ironically, they apply a VERY similar argument with regards to Sola Scriptura, which they say didn't go into "operation" until all the books of the Bible were written and the last Apostle died (thus marking a 'new phase' where we are to go by the Bible Alone). The Bible never speaks like that and it's painfully obvious that they are reading this back into the Bible.
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  #3  
Old Jun 24, '09, 12:25 pm
LegoGE1947 LegoGE1947 is offline
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Default Re: Is there a Biblical prophecy about 400 years of silence?

Quote:
Originally Posted by losh14 View Post
In talking with an evangelical friend, he told me that he rejected the Catholic Bible because it included false writings that were attributed to the Intertestamental Period - a term I've not heard before. He described it as 400 years, prophecied in the OT, when God would be silent.

I've not really been able to find anything satisfactory as to whether his claim was actually in the Bible. As far as I can tell, this surfaced as an argument during the Reformation and has been anachronistically applied. Can anyone provide a citation for such a prophecy?
The only thing I can find in Scripture about there being an extended period of silence is found in Revelation 8:1 where it says there was silence in heaven for half an hour. Those "so called false writings" were accepted by the church both Catholic and Orthodox since the beginning. It was Luther who had them removed in the 16th century because he disagreed with some of what those books taught. He also disagreed with much of the latter portion of the New Testament (Hebrews through Revelation) and would have removed that too if he'd had his way.
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Old Jun 24, '09, 4:33 pm
Prayer_Warrior Prayer_Warrior is offline
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Default Re: Is there a Biblical prophecy about 400 years of silence?

Here is a link, but I can't find much information about the actual prophecy. This article cites 1 Maccabees as a source of the prophecy, but I find that odd because protestants don't even believe that 1 Maccabees is inspired. Anyway, if it is convenient, I would ask that you find out from your friend specifically which prophecy predicts the 400 years. I would like to read the specific chapter and verse myself. After looking at several protestant type sites, none of them reveal the actual scripture involved. Seems like they all talk about the 400 years of silence as a fact that occurred rather than a prophecy fulfilled.
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  #5  
Old Jun 25, '09, 6:59 am
losh14 losh14 is offline
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Default Re: Is there a Biblical prophecy about 400 years of silence?

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Originally Posted by LegoGE1947 View Post
It was Luther who had them removed in the 16th century because he disagreed with some of what those books taught. He also disagreed with much of the latter portion of the New Testament (Hebrews through Revelation) and would have removed that too if he'd had his way.
Interesting about the removal of Hebrews on - I've often thought that some parts of Reform Christianity resemble the Church as if Paul alone had put it together. Relatedly, I attended a talk given by Fr. Sean Martin of the Aquinas Institute about Paul - and he argued that if you look at the self-referential language in the Pauline letters, Paul would have said that there was one Apostle of Jesus Christ, and it was Paul. So that adds to the tension of "everything the Bible says is true" by forcing us to look at everything from the perspective of the authors. Ie, we can point out that Paul's rebuke to Peter on the circumcision question was correct, but we cannot say that Scripture extrapolates that to say that Peter had no leadership. Unless we ditch Peter's letters and while we're at it, let's jettison the Johanine as well.

BTW, Luther may have wanted to remove the passages, but they still remained in the 1611 KJV.
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  #6  
Old Jun 25, '09, 7:02 am
losh14 losh14 is offline
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Default Re: Is there a Biblical prophecy about 400 years of silence?

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Originally Posted by Prayer_Warrior View Post
Here is a link, but I can't find much information about the actual prophecy. This article cites 1 Maccabees as a source of the prophecy, but I find that odd because protestants don't even believe that 1 Maccabees is inspired. Anyway, if it is convenient, I would ask that you find out from your friend specifically which prophecy predicts the 400 years. I would like to read the specific chapter and verse myself. After looking at several protestant type sites, none of them reveal the actual scripture involved. Seems like they all talk about the 400 years of silence as a fact that occurred rather than a prophecy fulfilled.
Good link, thanks kindly.
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  #7  
Old Nov 21, '10, 5:08 pm
raphcheung raphcheung is offline
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Default Re: Is there a Biblical prophecy about 400 years of silence?

The Silent 400 years:

Amos 8:11 “Behold, the days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will send famine on the land –not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord”
Micah 3: 4-8 “Then they will cry to t...he Lord, but he will not answer them; he will hide his face from them at this time, because they have made their deeds evil. Thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who lead my people astray, who cry ‘Peace” when they have something to eat, but declare war against him who puts nothing into their mouths. Therefore it shall be night to you, without vision, and darkness to you, without divination. The sun shall go down on the prophets, and the day shall be black over them; the seers shall be disgraced, and the diviners put to shame; they shall all cover their lips, for there is no answer from God. But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin.”

There was no prophecy between that of Malachi and its fulfilment 400 years later, as prophesied by Amos and Micah centuries earlier. The Micah reference states the divine origin of prophecy, showing that anyone claiming to prophecy is claiming their speech carries the same divine inspiration as scripture therefore anyone claiming prophecy during the silent 400 years is a false prophet.

Malachi 4:5 “Behold. I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes”
Luke 1:17 “And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared”

The silent yers ended when the above prophecy of Malachi was fulfiled, at the time that God had specified (Galatians 4:4)
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  #8  
Old Nov 21, '10, 7:43 pm
Fidelis Fidelis is offline
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Default Re: Is there a Biblical prophecy about 400 years of silence?

Quote:
Originally Posted by raphcheung View Post
The Silent 400 years:

Amos 8:11 “Behold, the days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will send famine on the land –not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord”

Micah 3: 4-8 “Then they will cry to the Lord, but he will not answer them; he will hide his face from them at this time, because they have made their deeds evil. Thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who lead my people astray, who cry ‘Peace” when they have something to eat, but declare war against him who puts nothing into their mouths. Therefore it shall be night to you, without vision, and darkness to you, without divination. The sun shall go down on the prophets, and the day shall be black over them; the seers shall be disgraced, and the diviners put to shame; they shall all cover their lips, for there is no answer from God. But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin.”

There was no prophecy between that of Malachi and its fulfilment 400 years later, as prophesied by Amos and Micah centuries earlier. The Micah reference states the divine origin of prophecy, showing that anyone claiming to prophecy is claiming their speech carries the same divine inspiration as scripture therefore anyone claiming prophecy during the silent 400 years is a false prophet.

The silent years ended when the above prophecy of Malachi was fulfiled, at the time that God had specified (Galatians 4:4)
To apply these prophesies to the "inter-testamental period" is quite a stretch. You just can't derive that from a plain reading of the text or from their historical context. Both Amos and Micah prophesied before the time of the Babylonian exile (about 588 BC) and spoke about the condition of the people during that time. There is no evidence they were talking about a time other than that-- unless one wants to justify the exclusion of the deuterocanonical books by reaching back and taking these passages out of context. Besides, it one were apply that standard to all biblical books written after Micah and Amos, one would also have to exclude Nehemiah and Ezra-- and even Malachi.
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  #9  
Old Nov 21, '10, 10:41 pm
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Default Re: Is there a Biblical prophecy about 400 years of silence?

Seems like a strange time to 'remain silent'.

Does that include John's writing of Revelation and the Fourth Gospel?

Does it include the period of the Christian martyrs where the Christian faith was outlawed and persecuted? The time that all christians look now for historical authenticity of Christianity?

Seems a strange time for God to be silent?

Does it include the time of Christianity being made the state religion of the Roman Empire? Or the religion of the Ethiopian state? And of the Armenian Kingdom?

If so, when did the 400 years finish and what caused it to be finished?
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Old Nov 21, '10, 11:07 pm
raphcheung raphcheung is offline
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Default Re: Is there a Biblical prophecy about 400 years of silence?

Hi Fidelis,

Thank you for your reply.

I find your explanation very clear and logical.

The quote I posted was from a Reformed Christian who rejects the deuterocanonical books saying that they are not inspired simply because they were written during the 400 year of silence.

This Reformed brother is already the most reasonable and logical person I have seen so far. But still he sees Church history as 'tradition' and he would not accept anything unless it's written in the Bible. He even says Matt 9:9 proves that the book of Matthew is written by Matthew.
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Old Nov 22, '10, 12:55 am
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Default Re: Is there a Biblical prophecy about 400 years of silence?

Quote:
Originally Posted by losh14 View Post
In talking with an evangelical friend, he told me that he rejected the Catholic Bible because it included false writings that were attributed to the Intertestamental Period - a term I've not heard before. He described it as 400 years, prophecied in the OT, when God would be silent.

I've not really been able to find anything satisfactory as to whether his claim was actually in the Bible. As far as I can tell, this surfaced as an argument during the Reformation and has been anachronistically applied. Can anyone provide a citation for such a prophecy?
if he is correct then the bible will support his assertion, since he know doubt believes all that we to know is contained therein. ask him for this scriptural support. also ask him why he thinks Jesus flat out lied when he said the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church, as would certainly have happened if the entire Church apostasized for 400 years.
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Old Nov 22, '10, 4:54 am
Fidelis Fidelis is offline
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Default Re: Is there a Biblical prophecy about 400 years of silence?

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He even says Matt 9:9 proves that the book of Matthew is written by Matthew.
As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, "Follow me." And he got up and followed him.(Mt 9:9)

Even though I do believe that Matthew did indeed write Matthew, for one to use this verse as a 'proof' text is to read back into it what already assumes. Perhaps this verse can be used as a 'pointer' to reinforce the fact that Matthew is the writer (by a subtle insertion of his part in the story), but on it's own it proves nothing.

That's what proof-texting is all about--- having one's theory (one's own tradition, if you will) and them scouring the Scriptures for verses to back it up.
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  #13  
Old Nov 22, '10, 1:56 pm
Usagi Usagi is offline
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Default Re: Is there a Biblical prophecy about 400 years of silence?

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Originally Posted by abucs View Post
Seems like a strange time to 'remain silent'.

Does that include John's writing of Revelation and the Fourth Gospel?

Does it include the period of the Christian martyrs where the Christian faith was outlawed and persecuted? The time that all christians look now for historical authenticity of Christianity?

Seems a strange time for God to be silent?

Does it include the time of Christianity being made the state religion of the Roman Empire? Or the religion of the Ethiopian state? And of the Armenian Kingdom?

If so, when did the 400 years finish and what caused it to be finished?

The 400 years being referred to is not during the Christian era, but before it.

The idea is that the time of the prophets just kind of stops with Malachi, and there is nothing else from God until the time of Christ 400 years later.

Others have posted the passages from older prophets that are taken to predict such a time of Divine silence. Of course, none of those say when the time will start or that it will last 400 years. That part comes in only when you assume that the Old Testament stops with Malachi and then look for a reason why God would stop sending prophets and inspiring Scripture from then until the birth of Jesus.

Catholics (and presumably Orthodox) have never interpreted those passages to imply a centuries-long cessation of prophecy and Scripture, because we have always acknowledged the deuterocanonical books as part of the Old Testament and thus have a much smaller "intertestamental period" to account for.

Usagi
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  #14  
Old Nov 23, '10, 6:41 am
rcjones rcjones is offline
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Default Re: Is there a Biblical prophecy about 400 years of silence?

Quote:
Others have posted the passages from older prophets that are taken to predict such a time of Divine silence. Of course, none of those say when the time will start or that it will last 400 years. That part comes in only when you assume that the Old Testament stops with Malachi and then look for a reason why God would stop sending prophets and inspiring Scripture from then until the birth of Jesus.
Actually the reason is given in scriptures, then you look for the period of silence.

The reason is that it is a part of prophetic recapitulation foreshadowing the kenosis of Christ.

Elijah was introduced with his proclamation that there would be no rain (water as the Word) until he spoke. When John the baptist was conceived, his father didn't believe it so he could not speak... the same sign: no word until John. The prophetic voice has been silenced until John spoke. John himself was just a foreshadow of Christ and there was no living Word until Christ. This was a shadow of the divine who had emptied himself (kenosis) to be found in the form of man. The silence in Christ's life is indicative of having 'put off' omniscience' in order to be tempted in every way as us.

Every one of the famines and droughts of the Old Testament maps into the pattern of :
1. Split
2. Promise
3. Long period where wheat and tares grow together (famine or drought)
4. renewing of the word
5. judgment
6. reconciliation
7. fruitfulness

The Son's kenosis is the ultimate fulfillment of the "silence" of the word. Once you see the pattern formed as a motif it is difficult to not acknowledge it as an intentional device to draw our attention to Christ. The 'blowing of the trump' after a period of silence makes the proclamation more 'startling' such that phrases as 'come quickly' , suddenly, etc. are highlighted.

There was a time when the scrolls had been lost in the temple.. silence of the word.. then found and read to the people. This foreshadows Jesus first going to the temple to cleanse it. The Living Word was found in the temple.

Samuel's mother, quoted by John the B's mother, ate nothing until she got a word in the temple.

You are correct that the period of 400 years is inferred, with the assumption that Malachi was the last prophet until John.
I have been unable to find sensus plenior in the inter-testament books, which lends support to the idea that God was silent, but then I am prejudiced against them. So if someone else can show me the sensus plenior in them, I would be willing to accept them as scripture.
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  #15  
Old Nov 25, '10, 1:14 am
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Default Re: Is there a Biblical prophecy about 400 years of silence?

Thanks for the detailed explanation.
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