Is there any Biblical Basis for 400 years of silence between Old and New Testament?
The apocryphal writings were written during what Protestants call "the inter-Testament years". This is because the Protestant view is that the apocryphal writings are not inspired. This view has been taken from the Jews. It was the Jews who did not recognise the apocryphal writings as inspired.
A personal view is that the 62 weeks in Daniel 9:25 is 434 years of prophetic silence from the end of the OT (with the completion of Nehemiah) in 408 BC, to the start of the ministry of John the Baptist. This is based on a crucifixion date of 3rd April 33 AD (Julian Date), the decree of Artaxerxes I given to Ezra (Ezra 7:12,13) which was obeyed by Ezra "on the first day of the first month" (Ezra 7:9) of the seventh year of Artaxerxes I, to return to and to rebuild Jerusalem (Ezra 7:7), i.e. on the first day of 458 B.C.; and 49 years ("7 weeks") after that is 409 BC.
Now, Nehemiah 12:22 informs us Jaddua has succeeded Johanan as High Priest, whereas Johanan was High Priest in about 410 BC according to the Elephantine Papyri letter named "Rowley 30" or "B19".
It also tells us the list of priests is given "to the reign of Darius the Persian". This would be Darius II, who died 404 BC. I think it reasonable to assume that the list of priests are given up to the time of writing, and that, therefore, the book of Nehemiah was finished during the reign of Darius. (If the book had been written later then the giving of the list of priests only up to the time of Darius would require some explanation: on the face of it, it would seem to have been a peculiarly arbitrary decision.)
"TAD A4.7 - Cowley 30 - (Sachua Plates 1-2)"
"Date [of letter]: 25th November 407 BCE"
"Parties: From Jedaniah and his colleagues the priests [at Elephantine] to Bagavahya, governor of Judah"
"Purpose: Reconstruction of the Temple" [at Elephantine; request for help]
"In the month of Tammuz, year 14 of Darius the king..." [between 14th July and 12th August 410 BCE] .... summary: ... the enemies of the Jews at Elephantine conspired together and said let the Temple of the Jews at Elephantine be plundered and destroyed.
"Moreover, from the month of Tammuz, year 14 of Darius the king, and un(til) this day, we sackcloth are wearing and are fasting,..."
"Moreover, from that time and until this day, year 17 of Darius the king,"... summary: ... there has been no Temple worship.
"Moreover, before this, at the time this ev(il) was done to us, a letter we sent to our lord, and to Jehohanan the High Priest and his colleagues the priests who are in Jerusalem, and to Ostares (the) brother of Anani and the nobles of the Jews. A letter they did not send us." ["A letter" is emphatic i.e. "Not a single letter of reply did they send back to us"].
(For the name "Anani", see 1 Chronicles 3:24).
Source: THE ELEPHANTINE PAPYRI
Please note I have merely interpreted and changed the values "70 weeks", "7 weeks" and "62 weeks" into years in the following passage from Daniel 9:24-25:-
490 years are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the word to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be 49 years, and 434 years: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. Daniel 9:24,25.
(Why does the prophecy give "70 sevens", "7 sevens", and "62 sevens"? Why not just give 490 years, 49 years and 434 years? Possibly because 7 sevens is a bit more vague - and it is not literally exactly 49 years, but close to 49, eg 50 years; and not exactly 434 years, but 435 years.
Secondly, there was a way to measure time over multiple years during the Old Testament period: every 7 years there was a year of Sabbath (when the ground was allowed to remain unseeded, and debts were cancelled between Jews (cf Exodus 23:10,11; Leviticus 25:3-7; Deut 15:1-18; Neh 10:31). Then every 7 sabbatical years there was the Year of Jubilee (Lev 25:8-9; Ezekiel 40:1). The priests were required to record these years in order to keep the law of Moses. 7 sevens could simply be meaning there will be 7 sabbatical years, or between 49 and 55 years duration, and 62 sevens, between 434 years and 440 years duration.)
Some additional notes on this:
For the dates for the reign of Artaxerxes I, I have taken as 464-424 BC, as per Richard Parker & Waldo Dubberstein's "Babylonian Chronology- 626 BC to AD 75".
The dates for the reign of Darius II 423-404 BC has been taken, (again as per Parker & Dubberstein).
Ezra 7:9 tells us Ezra began the journey to return to Jerusalem the first day of the 7th year of Artaxerxes, which was 458 BC. In AD 1956 Richard Anthony Parker and Waldo Dubberstein produced their (2nd, updated edition) book "Babylonian Chronology 626 BC to AD 75". This contains all the new moons for the period, i.e. the first day of each month for the period. Ezra 7:9 happened on 8th April 458 BC.
About 2006 Pastor Derek Walker of Oxford Bible Church realized 8th April 458 BC in the Julian Calendar is 3rd April 458 BC in the Gregorian Calendar, and 3rd April AD 33 (Julian), one of the prime candidates for the crucifixion, is 1st April AD 33 (Gregorian), and thus the Resurrection would have been on the 3rd April AD 33. From this it follows that, if the crucifixion was on 3rd April AD 33 (Julian) then the day of Ezra 7:9, the day the decree of Artaxerxes I to rebuild Jerusalem was obeyed by Ezra is 490 years to the Resurrection (3rd April AD 33, Gregorian) to the exact day according to the exact Solar Year.
This was later independently realized by Pastor Steve Rudd of Hamilton, Canada and Rodger C. Young, the Bible chronologist.
In summary, it is 490 years according to the Gregorian calendar (which is the same as the astronomical Solar Year for this length of time - it differs from the Solar Year by only one day every 3100 years or so) from the obedience to the decree to rebuild Jerusalem described in Ezra 7:9 to the Day of Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus to the exact day.
I stress that this observation only became known about 2006, and couldn't have been known until the length of the Solar Year was more accurately known, the Venerable Bede being the first according to Wikipedia to write of dissatisfaction with the length of the year of the Julian Calendar in the 8th century AD.
- Nehemiah 12:22 reads
"The Levites in the days of Eliashib, Joiada, and Johanan, and Jaddua, ..." -
This is the list of High Priests for the period. Obviously, then, the book of Nehemiah was written after Johanan (also called Jonathan (Neh 12:11) & Jehohanan) had ceased to be High Priest.
The English translation of the Elephantine Papyrus letter B19 (Rowley 30) can be seen at the link provided. Letter B19 is dated 25th November 407 BC (p139).
A summary of events surrounding B19 letter is this: the Jews in southern Egypt on the River Nile were so far from Jerusalem that they built themselves a Temple, with the approval of those in authority. This Temple was destroyed by enemies in July/August 410 BC. Soon after this (410 BC, September?) the Jews wrote to Jerusalem to ask for financial help to rebuild this Temple. One of the people they wrote to was "Jehohanan the High Priest" (see "Appeal" section of letter, line 2, on p142).
The book of Malachi contains no dates as to when it was written, but the sins it condemns fit in well with the situation described in the books of Nehemiah and Ezra. Ezra returned to Jerusalem 458 BC (Ezra 7:7); Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem the first time 445 BC (Nehemiah 1:1), and the second time 433 BC (Nehemiah 13:6). Sometime during this period 458 to 433 seems to be the best time to place the book of Malachi. This would mean it was not the last book of the Old Testament to be written, because Nehemiah 12:22, and thus the book of Nehemiah, was clearly written later.
It is often thought that the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem would be the thing spoken of as happening 7 sevens (49 years) after a decree. So Daniel 9:25 says "the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times". The problem with such an interpretation is that you can never say when a city has been completely rebuilt. You cannot say in what year London was rebuilt after being bombed during WWII, or Hamburg, or Dresden. If it is referring to the date when the wall was rebuilt then that was 445 BC. But it is possible to say what year the book was written in which the rebuilding of the wall is described (i.e. the book of Nehemiah). It is possible then that the above quotation from Daniel 9:25 is referring to the time of the writing of the book of Nehemiah itself, and by extension, when the Old Testament was completed.
The Angel Gabriel appears just four times in the Bible. He is first mentioned in the Bible in Daniel 8:16. Gabriel then gives Daniel the prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27 (Daniel 9:21). The next appearing of Gabriel is for the announcement of the birth of John the Baptist (Luke 1:19) and thereafter of our Lord (Luke 1:26). The appearances of Gabriel seem to be making a connection between the prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 and the birth of John the Baptist, and of our Lord.
Jesus rose again on a Sunday and thus was crucified on a Friday (Luke 13:32). There are only a few Fridays possible: April 7th AD 30, April 3rd AD 33, or April 23rd AD 34. (23rd April AD 34 was Friday 15th Nisan: however it is possible there was cloud cover at the end of the previous month which would have made it Friday 14th Nisan.)
Luke 3:23 tells us "Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age". If Jesus was born about 5 BC and he died 33 AD and his ministry was 3 years long then there is a problem!
Luke 3:1 tells us John the Baptist's ministry began in the 15th of Tiberius Caesar which, if I am understanding Alex Frazier's answer correctly, must have been 28 AD. Caesar Augustus died 19th August AD 14. Alex says there is no example anywhere of a Roman Emperor dating his reign from the beginning of a co-regency.
If Jesus was born late 5 BC, and John the Baptist began his ministry in AD 28, then our Lord could only have been baptised at 34 years of age at the earliest. See Stack Exchange, Biblical Hermeneutics, question "Luke 3:1-3 was Luke mistaken about the year in which John the Baptist's preaching began?" - Scroll down to the answer by Alex Frazier.
Furthermore, if our Lord Jesus was born late 5 BC and crucified in 30 AD then he must have begun his ministry very soon after John began his ministry. There is hardly any time for the ministry of John the Baptist.
Until 1896 it was believed that Herod died about 1 or 2 BC (and Christ was born shortly before Herod's death). In 1896 Emil Schurer published his 5 volume work "A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ" where he argued Herod died 4 BC (and so Christ was born 4 or 5 BC). Josephus relates Herod died after a lunar eclipse. Schurer believed the eclipse being referred to happened on 13th March 4 BC. For a number of important reasons Andrew Steinmann in "From Abraham to Paul - a Biblical Chronology" argues the eclipse being referred to happened on 10th January 1 BC, meaning Jesus was born late 2 BC. This would mean (because there is no year zero) that in April 33 AD Jesus would have been 33 years and a few months old.
For me, the most important reason is thus: the 1st century historian Josephus relates many, many events between the lunar eclipse which began Herod the Great's rapid decline in health and the following Passover, by which time Herod had died. The Consensus View is that the lunar eclipse being referred to by Josephus happened on 13th March, 4 BC. This was only a partial eclipse. The Passover was 29 days after this lunar eclipse. The problem is that, also according to Josephus, there were a large number of events recorded between the eclipse (spoken of by Josephus) and the following Passover: estimating the total time taken for all the events recorded by Josephus require of an absolute minimum of 41 days.
A second (total) lunar eclipse happened on 10th January 1 BC. The number of days to the Passover from this eclipse was 89 days. This problem to me is alone sufficient to prove King Herod died after 10th January 1 BC, and thus our Lord was born probably late 2 BC or very early 1 BC. (This was a brief summary of one of the reasons for the date of our Lord Jesus's birth being late 2 BC as provided in "From Abraham to Paul - A Biblical Chronology" by Andrew Steinmann, 2011).
People have asked for sources: apart from the above sources, alas, I cannot give any. I cannot remember the order of events precisely but it was something like this:
The interpretation of the 62 weeks dawned on me when reading "Kingdom of Priests" by Eugene Merrill: page 505 says "Furthermore, Johanan appears in the Elephantine papyri as the high priest of Jerusalem in the fourteenth year of Darius II. This would be 410, about 48 years after the traditional date of Ezra's departure from Babylon to return to rebuild Jerusalem." When I read this on 1st September 2017 the prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 had been uppermost in my thoughts for quite a while. I had already concluded that the prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27 was not one which was never going to reveal its secrets: God does not do that sort of thing. When he prophecies he always intends the people of God, sooner or later, to understand his meaning, he always intends that a prophecy be revealed. I also already believed that 458 BC was the starting point when the decree to rebuild Jerusalem was obeyed, so about 409 BC was the date which had some major event which needed to be found: this was a long time after the events described in the book of Nehemiah.
At some point it also dawned that 62 weeks was 434 years, which is close to the 400 years which is usually given as the length of time between the Testaments.
Understanding that the beginning of John the Baptist ministry was about AD 26/28 I then had a look at Malachi to see if it could be discovered when it was written, but there was nothing. Then I looked at the book of Nehemiah and found Nehemiah 12:22 and understood its significance.