(The September 1 devotion - "Surprise" begins our trip through the New Testatment.)
About 400 years passed between the time when Nehemiah rebuilt the Jerusalem wall (the end of the Old Testament) and when Jesus was born (the beginning of the New Testatment). Here are some of the main events that happened between the Old and New Testaments.
423 B.C. - Nehemiah, the last Old Testament character we read about, wrote his story in about 423 before Christ (B.C.). Judah was then a province of Persia. For another 100 years Judah lived under tolerant Persian kings.
336 B.C. – Meanwhile Greece was becoming strong. In 336 B.C. a young Greek soldier named Alexander the Great led a fierce army. He quickly gained control of Egypt, Assyria, Babylon and Persia. When he invaded Palestine in 332 B.C. he spared Jerusalem and was kind to the Jewish people.
323 B.C. – After Alexander the Great died, his four army generals divided the lands he had conquered. Judah was ruled by the Kings of Egypt called Ptolemies. The next 100 years were mostly peaceful and happy.
198 B.C. - In 198 B.C. Antiochus III of Syria defeated Egypt and took control of Palestine.
175 B.C. – Antiochus (IV) Epiphanes came to power in 175 B.C. He hated the Jews, killed many, and tried to stamp out their religion. He destroyed Jerusalem, offered a pig on the altar of the temple, built an altar to his god Jupiter, and tried to destroy every copy of the Scripture he could find. He also forced many Jews to become slaves.
167 B.C. – In 167 B.C. Mattathias, a priest, decided to resist evil Antiochus Epiphanes. He gathered a band of brave soldiers and with his five sons led them into battle.
When Mattathias died the next year his son Judas Maccabeus took charge of the army. They won victory after victory. When Jerusalem was back under their control they fixed up the temple and rededicated it. The Maccabeans ruled an independent Judah for the next 100 years.
63 B.C.- In 63 B.C. the Roman Emperor Pompey conquered Palestine. Soon his son Herod became the king of Judah. This is the Herod who ruled when Jesus was born.
SynagoguesBetween the Old and New Testaments the Jews were scattered through many nations. Because they couldn’t go to Jerusalem to worship in the temple, they built Jewish churches called synagogues wherever they lived. Jewish people gathered to learn about God, worship and celebrate in these synagogues.
ScribesThe scribes were people who copied the Scripture. Because they knew the Scriptures and the law so well, they were also often lawyers. They were an important part of preserving the Bible that we have today.
The September 1 devotion - "Surprise" begins our trip through the New Testatment.