BACKGROUND TO
THE NEW TESTAMENT
In Old Testament times, the kings Saul, David, and _____________
ruled over allSolomon
twelve tribes of Israel. Then the nation split into the ten-tribe
____________ kingdom of _________ and the southern kingdom
Northern
Israel
of ________, with the tribe of Benjamin absorbed into the tribe of
_________. Judah
Judah
Assyrians
The ____________
conquered the northern kingdom and took most of its
inhabitants as __________ into Assyria.
Exiles
Next, the ______________ took control of the Middle East from the
Assyrians, conquered theBabylonians
_____________ kingdom of Judah, and took
most of its inhabitants as exiles into _____________.
Southern
Babylonia
Persians
The ___________
then took control from the Babylonians and King ________
Cyrus
let exiled peoples, including ______, return
to their native lands if they wished. Some
Jews
did. Others did not.
Under the Persians there began the __________________ period, sometimes
called “the _________ __________ ________ years”Inter-Testamental
because of a _____
Fourhave survived).Hundred
in Biblical record (though non-biblical records
Silent
gap
Alexander ______ __________
The
Great
During this gap, ______________
came from
Greece and conquered the Middle East by inflicting successive
_________- Macedonia
defeats on the __________ at the battles of Granicus (334 B.C.), Issus (333
Persians
B.C.) and Arbela (331 B.C.).
400 Years of Prophetic Silence
Ezra
The
Gospels
Nehemiah
70
Years
400
Years
Haggai
Zechariah
Malachi
John
the
Baptist
from page 24 of Survey of the New Testament, by Paul Benware
The Historical Background to the New Testament
I. The Political Background
A. The Persian Period - 538 B.C.
B. The Greek Period - 333 B.C.
C. The Egyptian Period – 323 B.C.
D. The Syrian Period – 204 B.C.
E. The Maccabean and Hasmonean Period –
165 B.C.
F. The Roman Period – 63 B.C. to Christ
II. The Religious Background
A. The Pharisees and Sadducees
B. The Scribes
C. The Essenes
D. The Herodians
E. The Zealots
F. The Synagogue
G. The Sanhedrin
H. The Temple
Head of Gold (Nebuchadnezzar)
BABYLON (605-539 B.C.,
Daniel 2:37-38)
Belly of Bronze
GRECOMACEDONIAN
(Established by
Alexander the
Great; 331-168 B.C.,
Daniel 2:39)
The Image of
Daniel,
Chapter 2
Chest and Arms of Silver
MEDO-PERSIAN (Beginning
with Cyrus the Great; 539-331 B.C.,
Daniel 2:32,39)
Feet and Toes of Iron and Clay
STRONG AND WEAK
GOVERNMENTS OF THE
ENDTIME (476 A.D. to present;
Daniel 2:41)
I. The Political Background
A. The Persian (Medo-Persian) Period - 538
B.C.
The Persian rule over Palestine continued
until Alexander the Great and his Greek
Cyrus the Great, the
first king of Persia
empire in 333 B.C. This was the 2nd empire
Daniel
mentioned by ___________. This means
that the Jews were under the Persian rule at
Malachi
the end of ___________
and remained under
them for the first 60 years of the
Inter-Testament Period.
________________
Darius II, king of
Persia 423 to 405
I. The Political Background
B. The Greek (Greco-Macedonian) Period – 333 B.C.
20
Alexander the Great, at ______
years of age, transformed
10 years. He is spoken of by
the face of the world in _____
Daniel in his prophecy in Daniel 7:6; Daniel 8:1-7 and 21-23.
Alexander's conquests caused the rapid spread
Hellenism (Greek culture). This culture permeated life
of ___________
everywhere, including Palestine. Greek became the
common language; this factor had a significant impact on
New
Gospel
the spread of the _________ of Jesus Christ in ______
Testament
___________times.
The 4 Kingdoms of
The Greek Empire
after 301 B.C.
I. The Political Background
C. The Egyptian Period - 323 B.C.
This was the longest of the six periods in the Inter-Testament
Period. The death of Alexander the Great resulted in
Judea falling into the hands of the first Ptolemaic ruler,
_________
Ptolemy Soter (Ptolemies were the line of Greek kings over
Egypt
________).
The second Ptolemy (Philadelphus) founded the
Alexandrian
_______________
library and the famous Septuagint
translation of the Old Testament was made from the
Hebrew
Greek
__________ to the __________ during this reign.
I. The Political Background
D. The Syrian Period - 204 B.C.
In 198 B.C. Antiochus III, a Seleucid of Syria, defeated the
Ptolemies and drove them back into Egypt. Antiochus IV, or
high priest
Epiphanes (175-163 B.C.) replaced the Jewish ______
Onias III with Onias’s brother Jason, a Hellenizer who started
Greek city.
making Jerusalem into a ________
Before launching an invasion of Egypt, Antiochus Ephiphanes
replaced his own appointee in the Jewish high priesthood with
Meneluas, another Hellenizing Jew, who offered to collect for
taxes from his subjects in Palestine.
Antiochus higher ______
I. The Political Background
E. The Maccabean and Hasmonean Period - 165 B.C. – 63
B.C.
One day, a royal agent of Antiochus visited Jerusalem and urged an
elderly priest named Mattathias to offer a pig as a sacrifice to the
efused
Greek gods. Mattathias r_________.
When another Jew stepped
killed him and the royal agent,
forward to comply, Mattathias ________
demolished the altar, and f_____
led to the mountains with his five
sons and other sympathizers. Thus, the Maccabean Revolt began
______
in 167 B.C. under the leadership of Mattathias’s family. We call this
family the Hasmoneans, after Hasmon, great-grandfather of
Mattathias, or the Maccabees (which means “the Hammer”), from the
name given to Judas, one of Mattathias’s sons who led the rebels in
yrians
guerrilla warfare to defeat the S_______.
I. The Political Background
E. The Maccabean and Hasmonean Period - 165 B.C. –
63 B.C.
The Maccabees had enough of the excesses of Antiochus
Epiphanes. But, this was not just a war against the
Greeks it was a c_____
________,
ivil war; the Jews who were loyal to
Judaism were fighting other Jews who had become
ellenized and who were siding with the Greeks.
H__________
Ultimately, the Maccabees expelled the Syrian troops from
Jerusalem regained religious freedom,
their citadel in ___________,
Temple
rededicated the _________,
and conquered Palestine.
I. The Political Background
E. The Maccabean and Hasmonean Period – 165 B.C. 63 B.C.
The subsequent history of the Hasmonean dynasty (142-37 B.C)
power
tells a sad tale of internal strife caused by ambition for _________.
The political aims and intrigues of the Hasmoneans alienated
split into
many of their former supporters, the Hasideans, who _______
the Pharisees and the Essenes. Some of the Essenes produced
Dead _____
Sea Scrolls from Qumran. The aristocratic and
the _______
politically minded supporters of the Hasmonean priest-kings
adducees
Roman general
became the S___________.
Finally, the ________
Pompey subdued Palestine (63 B.C.). Throughout New
ominated Palestine.
Testament history, then, Roman power d__________
I. The Political Background
E. The Roman Period - 63 B.C. to Christ
Judea became a province of the Roman Empire. When the
Maccabean line ended, Antipater was appointed over Judea
______________
Julius
Caesar in 47 B.C. Antipater appointed
by _________
_________
erod
H_______,
his son, governor of Galilee. He was appointed king of
murdered almost half of his
the Jews by Rome in 40 B.C. He ____________
sons
own family including his wife and _______.
This was the “Herod
born
the Great” who was king when our Lord was ________.
This is the political background of the Jews during the 400
year period.
Antipater prepared the list of
seven man-made ancient
wonders of the world.
The list that was initially
prepared in 2 A.D. had
included the Walls of Babylon
on the seventh position.
However, The Lighthouse on
the Pharos Island near the
Alexandria port gained the
seventh position in the list of
the ancient Seven Wonders
of the World.
This Lighthouse was 122
metres (400 feet) tall and the
light at the peak was
reflected via the convex
glass and could be seen by
the ships sailing even at a
distance of 450 kilometres.
The Historical Background to the New
Testament
II. The Religious Background
A.
B.
C.
D.
E.
F.
G.
H.
The Pharisees and Sadducees
The Scribes
The Essenes
The Herodians
The Zealots
The Synagogue
The Sanhedrin
The Temple
II. The Religious Background
A. The Pharisees and Sadducees
Moses
The Pharisees held that the Oral Law was given orally to _________,
prophets and then to the men of
to Joshua, to the elders, to the ___________
nterpreters of the
the Great Synagogue. The Pharisees were the i____________
Oral Law.
The Sadducees rejected all this, holding to only “the law,” meaning the
entateuch They denied the spirit world of a _______,
ngels
P___________.
resurrection from the dead (Acts 23:8) while the
immortality, and _____________
Pharisees affirmed all of these doctrines.
Pharisee means “separatists,” and Sadducees means “righteous
ones
______.”
II. The Religious Background
B. The Scribes
Babylonian Captivity, there developed a
From the time of the ______________
new line of scribes who were not just transcribers or
secretaries
_______________,
but a new body of men who became the
criptures
expounders, guardians and teachers of the S___________.
They
became a distinguished order in the nation. They must be
Pharisees
distinguished from the priests and the ____________, but this does
not mean that they were alike or even together in function.
orruption
Our Lord denounced the scribes because of their c___________
iousness
and outward p___________
(Matthew 23:13-18).
II. The Religious Background
C. The Essenes
The Essenes originated during the days of the Maccabees.
igid
They were known for their strict, r_______
lifestyle; a lifestyle
far more burdensome than the one created by the
harisees
P__________.
Although they aren’t mentioned by name in
the
the New Testament, some believe that John ______
Baptist
___________
may have had some contact with them.
II. The Religious Background
D. The Herodians
political
The Herodians were more of a ___________
party than a
religious sect. They accepted Hellenization and desired
the political power and worldly benefits that came to loyal
erod’s family. Because they both
supporters of H________
considered Jesus an enemy, the Herodians united with the
Pharisees to bring charges against Him.
____________
II. The Religious Background
E. The Zealots
The Zealots were Palestinian groups who advocated to
ome
violently overthrow R_______.
They were responsible for a
number of revolts in the first century, and it was their
activity that brought about the terrible Roman wars of A.D.
Jerusalem was destroyed and tens of
66-72 in which _____________
killed
thousands of Jews were __________.
II. The Religious Background
F. The Synagogue
Old _____________,
Testament
There is not a word about synagogues in the ______
but as
soon as we start the New Testament we find them everywhere. The
Captivity but it seems to have
synagogue did not exist before the ___________
originated during that time – when the Jews totally turned away from
dolatry
i__________.
There was no longer a Jewish _________
Temple and they longed for the reading of
the Scriptures. This is the way the synagogue came into being. The
priestly
synagogue was congregational and not _________.
The institution of
preaching had its beginning in the synagogue. It was from this background
that the early Christian church, as organized by the apostles, took its main
worship
form of __________.
The titles given to the New Testament church leaders:
Deacons are all carried over from the synagogue.
Elders, Bishops, _________
II. The Religious Background
G. The Sanhedrin
There is another Jewish institution called the Sanhedrin, which in
religious
New Testament times was the supreme civil and ____________
tribunal of the Jewish nation. It had the idea of a council or
governing
_____________
body and also included the idea of a court. The
Great Sanhedrin was something like a Jewish “supreme court.” It
was the Great Sanhedrin that found itself in conflict with
Jesus
_________.
Members attempted to arrest Him on several
occasions; they desired to kill Him; they participated in His arrest;
they broke their own laws and code of ethics in their trial of Him;
Scripture for their actions.
and they are held accountable by ___________
II. The Religious Background
H. The Temple
The Temple was the focal point of Jewish religion and
worship
blood sacrifices were
___________.
This is where the __________
feasts of the Jews were celebrated.
made and the _________
Solomon
The Temple in Jerusalem was originally built by King ___________.
Herod the Great, but
The Temple of Christ’s day was rebuilt by ________
Romans
it was destroyed in A.D. 70 by the __________.
The Herodian
Temple complex had 3 courts: the large outer “court of the
women
Gentiles,” “the court of the _________,”
and the “court of Israel.”
Israelite women could enter the inner court area, but could not go
Israel
Levites formed a police force
into the court of ________.
The _________
to stand guard at the gates and constantly patrol the courts.
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