Principle #12 - The period between the end of the Old Testament (approximately 400 BC) and the beginning of the New Testament (the ministry of John the Baptist around AD 30) is often referred to as the Silence Period, though God was at work providentially preparing the way for His Son.
Remember the southern kingdom of Judah returned from Babylonian captivity to rebuild the temple (the book of Ezra) and the Walls (the book of Nehemiah) in Jerusalem. The prophets Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi ministered during this time.
After Malachi prophesied around 425 BC, there were no other voices to be heard for the next four hundred years until the voice of John the Baptist was heard crying out in the wilderness, “Make ready the way of the Lord” (Matthew 3:3)
That four hundred period is often referred to as the Silence Period, simply because there were no inspired prophets ministering during the time. However, it must be noted that God was at work preparing the way for the Gospel of His son.
- God was at work through the influence of the Greeks as the entire region felt the unifying presence of the Greek culture and language.
- God was at work though the influence of the Romans as they brought military peace to the region, built extensive roads, and provided a more stable government.
-God was at work among His people, the Jews, as their oppression under the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Greeks, and the Romans had sparked in them a great hope for the coming of Messiah.
Again, thanks to Mitch Mayer for given me permission to take this from his Clarifying the Bible.