God’s Silence

Question from a Site Viewer
Were there two periods of God’s silence? And if so, when?

Tim’s Answer
Thank you for your question. If I understand your question correctly, you are asking whether there were two periods of 400 years when God was silent. Many people believe that God was silent from the days of Malachi until the time of Christ, a period of 400 years. This period is sometimes termed the 400 silent years. But this is a misnomer. The writing prophets certainly were not around in this time. But God continued to speak to people and to work out his will during this period. We addressed this subject in our article The Silent Years.

The only other time that some may see as 400 years of silence was the period when Israel was in Egypt. According to Exodus 12:40, the children of Israel were in Egypt for 400 years. We do not have a reference as to God speaking during this time, but certainly, again, God was not absent as demonstrated with the rapid multiplication of his people and the protection of the midwives in Exodus 1:7 and 20-21. I, personally, believe that the 400 years referenced in Exodus 12:40 should be understood as the time Israel sojourned in Canaan and Egypt. This is what a Greek translation of the Hebrew text made before the time of Christ states. If my view is correct, then there is no 400 years of apparent silence, because God was speaking to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob during the time in Canaan and as they went down to Egypt (see Genesis 46:2-3).

In any event, I do not believe that God was silent in either period of time, nor do I think there has ever been a time when God is silent. As Psalm 19:1-2 tells us, God is always speaking through His creation to all people at all time. Paul takes this farther and states that God has not left Himself without witness, in that He does good to the world (Acts 14:17). Further, to the extent that there are people who follow God, as there have been in all periods of history, they themselves are witnesses of God to those around. God speaks through our lives (2 Corinthians 3:2-3). I do not believe that God has ever been silent. But we sometimes do not have ears to hear or eyes to see.

I hope this helps. May the Lord Jesus continue to guide you into the grace and riches of being His follower.

a servant,


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