Intertestamental Period

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INTERTESTAMENTAL PERIOD

NEW TESTAMENT ORIENTATION I

NBST 525

AN ANALYSIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
IN CANDIDACY FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTERS OF ARTS IN RELIGION

LIBERTY THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

BY:

LYNCHBURG, VIRGINIA

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2011

TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION……………………………………………………………1 THE INTERTESTAMENTAL PERIOD…………………………………….1 HEROD THE GREAT’S PALESTINIAN RULE…………………………...7 CONCLUSION………………………………………….…………………..9

INTRODUCTION
The Intertestamental period is the time between the last book in the Old Testament and the first book in the New Testament. This period is said to be around two centuries or about 400 years long. This particular timeframe dubbed the “Intertestamental period” is filled with numerous changes in power, war, struggles, treachery and events that changed religious record. This period is vastly rich in history and dramatically impacted the New Testament leading up to and during the time of Christ. This paper will explore the roughly 400 years that make up this era and examine the role that Herod the Great played in shaping the religious and political groups Jesus encountered. THE INTERTESTAMENTAL PERIOD

The last sections of the Old Testament illustrate Darius the Persian as the ruler over Persia. At the time Judea was part of the Persian Empire. In 597 B.C. Judea was conquered by Nebuchadnezzar who was the King of Babylon this ended Jewish independence. Nebuchadnezzar had decided to take certain knowledgeable Jews into captivity. It was there in Babylon the Prophet Ezekiel began working on this particular group to teach them and instruct them on how to provide the necessary leadership it would take to replace those who had fallen in Jerusalem. Since there was no temple for the Jews many of them came together to learn and practice the Law. Teachers of the Law became the new spiritual leadership for the people. In Ezekial chapter 36:22–28, Ezekial makes the promise to the Jews that God would eventually restore their homeland of Palestine and that he would make prominent his people once again. This was a period known as Babylonian captivity and the practice of synagogue worship

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developed among the Jews at this time. The captivity for many of the Jews ended when in 539 B.C., Cyrus the King of Persia captured Babylon. God fulfilled the promises made by Ezekial in the first years of Cyrus’s reign as King. He allowed the Jews to take many temple treasures and return to their homeland, although many of them decided to remain where they were in the more developed region. Cyrus also promises to rebuild the Jewish temple (Ezra 6:3–5). Around 516 B.C. the temple is completed. This period for the Jews is vitally important in that it produced many of the scribes that had studied the law, copied it and had become experts in its interpretation. Throughout the New Testament we will see numerous appearances of the scribe during Jesus’ ministry. This period under Cyrus’s rule also saw the reestablishment of the synagogue for the Jews which attempted to administer the law and helped to develop the Sanhedrin in the New Testament. Persian rule lasted only until Alexander the Great defeated them in 331 B.C. during the battle of Arbela. Alexander was tutored by Aristotle in the views of Hellenism and because of his conquest over other nations Hellenism and Greek culture began to spread like wild wire. Alexander wanted to bring a more noble culture in to the less civilized people of Asia. Alexander had developed a devotion to the Hellenistic ideals and even encouraged many of his own soldiers to marry oriental women so as to better blend the Greek and Oriental cultures. In

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323 Alexander became ill and caught a fever and eventually succumbed to it. Alexander’s conquests had a major impacts on Europe and Asia. (Borza 438-439). After his death four of his generals decided to divide Alexander’s kingdom amongst them. During this time Hellenistic culture continued to grow and...
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