The 400 Years Silence or what some Bible Scholars also call as The Inter Testament Period is the span of time between the Old and the New Testament which is more or less 400 years. During those 400 years, there was no revelation or communication from God. God did not speak to man. He was silent for 400 years.How can it be that God is silent? Does God speak literally to man? According to the Holy Scriptures, there is a way how God speaks to man. In Hebrews 1:1, we can read:
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets”
The Bible tells us that God spoke to man or to the people of Israel through the prophets. Even in the past, some Israelites thought that it would be easier if God spoke directly to them. Unfortunately, they soon found out that a direct communication to God was not a privilege that could be easily desired. It is written in Exodus 20:18-19;
“And all the people saw the thundering, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moises, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die."
Fearing for their lives, the people asked Moises if he could be the one to speak to God instead of them and they would just listen to Moises about what God says. This instance in the Bible further proves that God speaks to the people through his prophets. During the period between the Old and the New Testament, before the coming of Jesus Christ, there was no prophet or messenger from God.
After more or less 400 years, the first messenger from God was John the Baptist. He was the first man to break the silence. During this time, God once again spoke to man through his prophet. The Bible clearly indicates that John the Baptist was a prophet. According to Matthew 11:9-11;
“But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.
For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
Verily, I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."
Even Jesus Christ states that John was the greatest among the prophets.
In the Old Testament, God spoke through his prophets. The next question is: “Does God still speak to man today?” In the Bible, Jesus told the people that God will send prophets and apostles. In Luke 11:49, it is written:
“Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute.”
In the Old Testament, God sent prophets. However, according to Luke 16:16, the Law and the prophets were only until John the Baptist.
“The Law and the prophets were until John: since the time the kingdom of God is being preached, and every man presseth into it”
Then who shall be God’s messengers after John the Baptist? The first to bring God’s words after John the Baptist was His Begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
When Jesus Christ was still here, he called Apostles to be his messengers and even until now, God still speaks to man through his sent ones – the Apostles. According to Apostle Paul in II Cor 5:20, every time he preaches the Word of God, it is actually God appealing to man through him.
“So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
Being sent ones of God, the Lord Jesus Christ promised the Apostles in Luke 10:16,
“Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me”
This authority was given to the Apostles, proof that there are still people who are instruments of God to bring His Word to man even until after John the Baptist.Some people say that we do not need apostles anymore because we already have the Bible and it is enough to guide our faith. However, it is written in the Bible that the people who will teach man regarding the Holy Scriptures must be sent by God. In Romans 10:15, it states that unless a man is sent by God, he cannot preach the Word of God. In order for man to fully comprehend the Bible, he still needs to listen from the teachings of a man sent by God.
Some of you might ask; “How can there be Apostles until today if they are all already dead?” It is true that the first apostles died because they are only humans. However, it is the gift of apostleship that God gave to the Church. It is this gift that Paul received when he was called to be an Apostle. In Romans 1:5, he clearly states:
“By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name:”
Apostleship is not a title for a particular person; it is an authority, a duty and an office given to whom God chooses. The man might die but the office of apostleship will continue because it is a gift inside the Church and according to Romans 11:29, the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
Therefore, let us look for the Gospel that is being preached by His sent ones, the Apostles because they are the true preachers from the Lord.