In the television commercial for Allstate the pretty and domineering woman when belittling her male friend, the male voice of the behind the scenes Allstate man screams out "Silence!"
When people talk foolish things there is always another who will say "Silence!" In the case of the television commercial it is the woman's dominance which caused "silence" to be demanded. In the case of God's silence it was because he's through dealing with people who seem to never be silent and whose opinions and actions are always right! He didn't demand their silence, but he chose to remain silent. "Silence is deafening" George Barzan once said! God screamed loud with his silence; four hundred years of it!
From the time of Malachi until John the Baptist was born God did not continue to prophecy. It was called "The Four-Hundred Years of Silence" because God had forewarned of all that he was going to forewarn. God's "plan" was in full gear! What was happening those four-hundred years when God was silent? He was doing what he said he would do. He was doing what prophets of all ages forewarned the Hebrew people!
While they were misbehaving and claiming privilege as God's chosen people, God's silence screamed "Just wait a minute here! I'm in charge. Listen to me scream by my silence!"
Genesis 17:2 "And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. 3 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, 4 As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. 5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. 6 And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. 7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. 8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. 9 And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations."God promised Abraham that his seed would be become many nations. He also promised an "everlasting covenant" from his seed. His promise was that the Messiah, Jesus Christ, would come from the seed of Abraham! He didn't say "This I will do now." He implied it would be in a time. Abraham never saw that promise fulfilled, but he had faith enough to be willing to sacrifice his "only" son to God because he trusted what God promised. This Abrahamic Covenant was when God made his plan a deal with mankind.
What was happening during the Four Hundred Years of Silence? God was doing what he said that he would do! There was no longer any reason to talk about it; it was time to do it!
God was "nation building" after the time of Malachi. The Hebrew people had been dispersed. God had brought them back to Jerusalem. That was done first because that's where Jesus would die for mankind. It was part of the plan! Although when God first said it, Israel was not a nation, but it had to become one and be "born again" after it was baptized with fire and the old nation dead. From those ashes a new creation arose! It was symbolic of Christian baptism before Christ was ever born!
The Mystery of God can be found several places in the New Testament. With the ministry of Jesus the mystery was revealed: grace had always been the way to salvation and salvation had always been by the propitiation of Jesus Christ's own blood. Furthermore, part of the mystery was that salvation had ALWAYS been available for Jew and Gentile!
Colossians 1:26 "Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:"All along part of God's plan was hidden. It was "the mystery of God". Salvation was for the Gentiles too! To make it happen God, during the years of silence, was nation-building! Before it could happen Greece and Rome were needed! This was all necessary for Greece and Rome to arise from nowhere and provide the gentiles of sufficient numbers to make Christianity happen in their realms!
While God was not speaking, he was carrying out the plan which he had all along! Because of the mystery of God Jesus was going to be he savior of the gentiles too! So much for Hebrew pride. God knew that all along. In his silence he was saying "Wait until you see what I have in store for mankind!" Then Jesus came and died for everyone! God knew that when he struck the deal with Abraham. Abraham knew it too! He understood the plan and that silence was part of the plan.
Most people would say that the Law of God was given first, but the Law failed! However, it was all part of the plan. In secret it wasn't the Law by which men's hearts were being tested, but it was their faith in God which saved them. God told the patriarchs about the Messiah and their faith was in the coming Christ. The Law was never to save them, but was a vehicle so that they could demonstrate their faith. It was the heart which was judged and not the actions... all along. What a great secret God kept from most, but the patriarchs knew the secret all along!
Then Jesus came along and the plan came to fruition. Paul then revealed the plan to those who had not heard God's silence; when God was making the plan all happen! Indeed God is good and God was gracious all along!