My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting, that I might not be delivered up to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm. (John 18:36)
These, of course, are the words of Jesus as He stood before the Roman prefect Pontius Pilate. Pilate, finding no legal grounds on which to condemn Jesus, tries several times to wiggle his way out of enacting capital punishment before finally giving in to the frenzied Sanhedrin, the ruling Jewish religious establishment who demanded His death. Jesus makes clear that it was the religious leaders -not Pilate- who bore the greater culpability in seeing their own Messiah put to death. The civil government was a tool in the hand of a backslidden religious establishment.
Since the Hebrew Scriptures close with the prophet Malachi foretelling of a Messenger from God who would appear before the Messiah, and Jesus' ministry begins with John the Baptist calling the nation to repentance, most Christians assume that the intervening period of about four centuries includes little that is of any spiritual or Biblical significance. While this era is accurately known as the "silent years" in that no prophetic voice from God is heard during this time, it is a mistake for Christians to think of it as unimportant. Many of the prophetic visions of Daniel play out during this time. Most notably, the incredible and swift ascendancy of Alexander the Great and the kingdom of Greece to worldwide prominence. This period also sets the backdrop for the events that led to the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. Both stories are tied together and hold important lessons for Christians.