We are rapidly approaching a lesser, and yet still important Holiday for the Jewish people, the day known as Purim. This year, Purim falls on March 10/11th, 2020 (Adar 14 on the Jewish Calendar). Purim is a joyous holiday that commemorates the survival of the Jewish people in the 5th Century, BC, who had been marked for total anhilation by the Persian rulers. This Holiday is particularly poignant to the Jewish people because of the frequency that the current Iranian (Persian) regime threatens to “wipe Israel off of the map”.
Let’s take a look at the story behind Purim to see what important truths we can glean for our lives today. The story behind Purim is located in the Old Testament book of Esther. It is really an awesome, and frankly an exciting and TRUE story, about about love, betrayal, and intrigue. This story involves kings and kingdoms, young beautiful maidens, righteous heros, and evil villains. Like all the stories in the Bible, Esther is one of the greatest stories ever told. It is the stuff that blockbuster movies are made of. But one interesting thing about the book of Esther is that it is the ONLY book of the Bible that does NOT mention God directly…ever. God’s Name is not mentioned, worship and prayer are not mentioned..and yet God’s Hand is all over this story.…as a part of HIS STORY.
What is the story of Esther all about? First, let’s set the stage.
The Setting for the book of Esther….
In the 5th Century, at the time that the Persians had conquered Babylon as the new Global power, Israel was still living in the Diaspora. The Diaspora is a description of the dispersion of the Jewish people outside of the land of Israel.
About 150 years earlier, in the 6th Century BC, Israel had been divided into 2 separate nations…Israel in the north (otherwise known as Ephraim)…and Judah in the South (Jerusalem). Due to continued disobedience, and in conjunction with the agreed upon penalties for breaking the Mosaic Covenant that had been clearly laid out in the days of Moses (Deuteronomy 28:64), both Israel (Ephraim) and Judah (Jerusalem) were eventually sent into exile. The punishment of exile is always the final and most severe punishment for rebellion against God.
The northern Kingdom of Israel (Ephraim) was exiled into Assyria, and then spread to the 4 corners of the earth as they were swallowed by the Gentiles as a “cake not turned” (Hosea 7:8, Hosea 8:8). The identity of the northern 10 Tribes of Israel (Ephraim) has been completely absorbed by the Gentile nations. The Kingdom of Ephraim never returned to the Promised Land, and will remain a mystery until God fulfills Ezekiel 37. We, at this blog, believe that the Northern Tribes of Ephraim can be somewhat explained by the Gentile Church, entering back into Covenant with YHWH via the NEW COVENANT (Messiah Jesus). This is not to say that every member of the New Covenant Church has ancestry that points to the lost 10 Tribes of Israel, but clearly in Hosea and Romans, these are in some way connected. (Hosea 1:10, Romans 9:25-26).
The southern Kingdom of Judah (Jerusalem) was exiled for 70 years into Babylon. Persia later conquered Babylon and became the ruling power over the Jews. It is during this time of Judah’s exile in Persia that the book of Esther was written. In the book of Esther, king Ahasuerus is given as the name of the King of Persia. Most scholars generally identify king Ahasuerus as Xerxes I of Persia.
The primary “Plot” or “Events” in the book of Esther
In this story, Persian king Ahasuerus (Xerxes I) became angry at his defiant wife, Queen Vashti. Queen Vashti basically humiliated the king in front of his subjects by refusing to come and dance for him at one of his banquets. There are numerous banquets in the book of Esther. The king therefore decided to send Vashti away, meaning that he was going to divorce Vashti. After a couple of years without a queen, king Ahaseurus grew lonely, longing for a female companion. He became sad that he had sent Vashti away…for she was quite beautiful. A couple of the king’s advisors had an idea. What about a beauty contest? This idea pleased the King. The idea was to have each of the young virgin maidens in the land spend “one night with the king”. After the king “interviewed” each of the young virgin maidens, he would then choose his queen. Okay, so we in the 21st century might balk at such an archaic display of “sexism”..and yet this was apparently how it was done in those days. The story makes it seem like the young maidens were excited to “try out” for the “position” of queen of Persia.
Before each of the virgin maidens were brought before the king, they would have to undergo a year of beauty treatments.
Esther 2:12: Now when the turn of each young lady came to go in to King Ahasuerus, after the end of her twelve months under the regulations for the women—for the days of their beautification were completed as follows: six months with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and the cosmetics for women—
According to some, the initial six month treatment with oil of myrrh was meant to purify each maiden. They say that oil of myrrh was commonly used for antiseptic and anti-fungal purposes and as a deodorant. Therefore the first six months of their preparation were for cleansing, healing and purification. Once they were certain each maiden was free of disease they spent the next 6 months maximizing their beauty. So the idea being conveyed in Esther is that purification precedes beautification. After a year of treatments, the maidens were ready to go before the King.
Esther was a beautiful, young Jewish woman living in Persia during this time. Her Hebrew name was Hadassah. Esther is a Persian name. An orphan, Esther was being raised by her Uncle Mordecai, who taught her Jewish customs. However, for some reason Mordecai had advised Esther early on to go by her “Persian name” (Esther) and to hide her true identity as a Jew.
This picture of Esther’s secret and hidden identity could possibly be a “spiritual “type” of God’s “hidden ones” (Psalm 83), possibly those from the Northern 10 Tribes of Israel who are now living in the world with no idea as to their “true identity”, being “hidden” from the ever watching evil eyes of the enemy who desires to completely annhilate everyone who has any connection to the 12 Tribes of Israel.
Esther, obedient to her Uncle Mordecai who was like a father to her, stayed silent about her true identity as she was brought before the king. As it turns out, God made sure that Esther found favor in the eyes of all those administering beauty treatments and among those who were in charge of taking care of the “beauty contestants”. Out of all the myriads of beautiful young maidens, king Ahasuerus chose Esther to be his queen. Esther was being put into the THRONEROOM for “such a time as this”.
For those who have eyes to see, we understand that although the king exercised his “free will” in choosing his queen, God clearly stacked the deck in favor of Esther. God made sure that she had the perfect “look”, the perfect personality, the perfect background and training, and the perfect “favor” with all involved so that she would be chosen. These things are not specifically stated, but this is what we, as believers, know to be true. There is no such thing as a coincidence with God.
What happened next? Enter the evil villain Haman. Haman, the son of an Aggagite, hated the Jewish people living in the Diaspora with a passion, particularly Mordecai. Haman, masquerading as an “angel of light” was an advisor to king Ahasuerus. Haman TRICKED king Ahasuerus into believing that a “particular group of people” living under the king’s “rule” were rebellious and untrustworthy, and would attempt to overthrow the king if he didn’t do something about it. Haman convinced the king that this rebellious “group of people” defied the king’s laws and had to be destroyed. We see the same spirit of Haman in today’s world, an antichrist spirit, who whispers LIES into the minds of masses of people…telling them that Christians are “narrow minded”, bigoted, homophobic, unloving, unkind, and non-inclusive, following a “different set of rules”.
Esther 3:8: Then Haman said to king Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people scattered and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from those of all other people and they do not observe the king’s laws, so it is not in the king’s interest to let them remain. 9 If it is pleasing to the king, let it be decreed that they be destroyed, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who carry on the king’s business, to put into the king’s treasuries.”
3:9: If it is pleasing to the king, let it be decreed that they be destroyed, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who carry on the king’s business, to put into the king’s treasuries.” 10 Then the king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. 11 The king said to Haman, “The silver is yours, and the people also, to do with them as you please.”
13 Letters were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces to destroy, to kill and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to seize their possessions as plunder
The king trusted Haman and even allowed him to use the king’s signet ring to seal the edict pronouncing the death and destruction of every single Jew in Persia. Once an edict was sealed with the king’s signet ring, it could not be revoked…even by the king himself.
This, too, is a shadow of a spiritual truth. God wrote into His immutable laws of the universe eons ago that the soul who sins will die. This is signed and sealed with the signet ring of the King of the Universe, the Lord Jesus Christ. For this reason, sin cannot be simply overlooked, or brushed under the rug…sin demands a penalty. God will not go against His Word, there is always a penalty for sin. But..let’s read further into Esther to see the king’s solution once he recognizes that he has been deceived by the evil Haman.
King Ahasuersus did NOT realize that Haman was a LIAR and a DECEIVER! He had no idea that his beloved Queen Esther was a member of “this supposedly rebellious group”. He had no idea! Likewise, the evil Haman had no idea that the king’s beloved Queen Esther was a Jew!
Esther’s uncle Mordecai became aware of Haman’s evil plot to destroy all of the Jews, and appealed immediately to Esther to intevene! He then shared with Esther the entire situation, and how all of her people were in danger..including her own life. Esther was extremely upset. She wanted to go before the king and beg for her people’s lives; however, there was a small problem. Even the Queen was not permitted to go before the King UNLESS summoned. Queen Esther had not been summoned before the king in an entire month. If she went before the king without being summoned, she could die.
Esther 4:11: “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that for any man or woman who comes to the king to the inner court who is not summoned, he has but one law, that he be put to death, UNLESS the king holds out to him the golden scepter so that he may live. And I have not been summoned to come to the king for these thirty days.” 12 They related Esther’s words to Mordecai.
Mordecai’s response was priceless. Basically, he told Esther that IF she remained silent she would probably die anyway, and God would use another person to deliver His people. Mordecai had “spiritual eyes” and understood that there are no coincidences with God. Although God is not strictly mentioned, anyone with “eyes to see”…can see that it was God Almighty who placed Esther in that Throneroom. Esther was born beautiful, was in the “right place at the right time”, had a “secret Jewish identity”, and received favor from everyone who surrounded her, especially from the king! It was no coincidence that Esther landed in the EXACT SPOT at the EXACT RIGHT TIME to give God’s people the best chance of survival from this horiffic plot! There are no accidents, no coincidences with God. God works centuries, decades, and years in advance to set the stage exactly as it needs to be set in order to accomplish His Divine purposes…and He does it WITHOUT in anyway affecting our FREE WILL. This is amazing!
Esther 4:13: Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?
Esther called her handmaids to a 3 day Fast, preparing to go before the King unsummoned. She responded with the famous line “If I perish, I perish“. After fasting for 3 days (and we assume praying although that is not strictly mentioned), Esther bravely puts on her royal gowns and goes before the king. The king, who loved Esther very much, was delighted to see her. His heart melted as he saw his brave Esther walking accross the Throneroom towards his Throne. Of course the king held out the golden scepter..and offered Esther anything, up to half of his kingdom. This is how much the king LOVED Queen Esther.
Esther 5: 2: When the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, she obtained favor in his sight; and the king extended to Esther the golden scepter which was in his hand. So Esther came near and touched the top of the scepter. 3 Then the king said to her, “What is troubling you, Queen Esther? And what is your request? Even to half of the kingdom it shall be given to you.”
At this point, Queen Esther invited the king..and Haman, to a series of banquets where she would ultimatley disclose to the king her true identity as a Jew and also Haman’s evil plot to destroy her and her people.
It’s a very exciting and intriguing series of events, and the “big reveal” is not disappointing. The king was furious with Haman, and ordered Haman to be hung on the very gallows that Haman had prepared for Mordecai. But still, the edict that had been sealed with the king’s signet ring remained…the Jews were slated to be killed, destroyed anhilated. Although the king could not revoke the edict, he decided to issue a NEW EDICT and seal it with his signet ring. The New Edict basically gave every Jew in his province the RIGHT to DEFEND THEMSELVES against any and all aggression.
Esther 8:14: The couriers, hastened and impelled by the king’s command, went out, riding on the royal steeds; and the decree (NEW EDICT) was given out at the citadel in Susa.
Esther 9:1: Now in the twelfth month (that is, the month Adar), on the thirteenth day when the king’s command and edict were about to be executed, on the day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to gain the mastery over them, it was turned to the contrary so that the Jews themselves gained the mastery over those who hated them. 2 The Jews assembled in their cities throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus to lay hands on those who sought their harm; and no one could stand before them, for the dread of them had fallen on all the peoples.
Because the Jewish people had been FOREWARNED and PREPARED through the 2nd edict, they achieved a great victory over those who sought to kill them. After this great victory, Mordecai sent letters to all the Jews in all 127 provinces obliging them to celebrate the 14th and the 15th of the month of Adar annually because the Jews were able to rid themselves of their enemies. It was a month that was turned from sorrow to gladness and from mourning to a Holiday, a day of feasting and celebration. To this day, the Holiday of Purim is celebrated on the 14th of Adar each year. This year, Purim falls on March 10/11, 2020.
Now let’s look again at the “sin problem” in humanity and the lessons that we learn from the book of Esther. Similar to the edict by Persia’s king Ahaserueus, our Sovereign Father God signed and sealed a permanent edict, one that cannot be revoked even by the King Himself..that the soul who sins will die. This is written into the immutable laws of the universe and cannot be changed, even by the King Himself. It is also a fact that every human being on the face of the earth since the FALL of MAN stands before our Holy God GUILTY because of the sin that is in our flesh. There is literally NOTHING we can do about this. But…God, the KING of the UNIVERSE, in His Incredible Mercy and Grace issued a NEW EDICT, the substitution principal. Yes, the soul who sins will die, this is WRITTEN and cannot be changed, and ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and are therefore deserving of the death penalty. But because of the “New Edict” (New Covenant), God will ACCEPT the life of the INNOCENT in exchange for the life of the GUILTY! The new edict states that our Sovereign God will accept an innocent one to pay the penalty for sin in exchange for the guilty one. This was also written into the immutable laws of God. The innocent One who CHOSE to pay the penalty for ALL SIN..is none other than GOD HIMSELF wrapped in the LIKENESS of human flesh, our Messiah, Lord and King…Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ is the ONLY ONE who COULD pay the price for our sin because HE was the ONLY ONE without sin. Fully human, fully GOD, born of a VIRGIN WITHOUT original sin, Jesus Christ was the only One QUALIFIED to be the propitiation for all sin! Hallelujah, Praises be to Jesus!!!
The most intriguing thing about the book of Esther is that even though God is never mentioned in the book of Esther, it is clear that HIS Sovereign and Invisible Hand was working behind the scenes to bring about His Divine purposes. If we have “eyes to see”, then we should also be able to recognize that this same Sovereign Hand of Providence is always working in each of our lives, and also in our nations today.
I definitely see God’s Divine and Sovereign Hand of Providence working in the world today. For the longest time, the United states had a President (actually many Presidents) who were slowly portioning out this country to the international community in order to facilitate the New World Order. The New World Order is the coming Global government that will ultimately be headed up by the antichrist. In the Climate Change agreement, it was decided that nation states must be willing to give up some of their sovereignty in order to participate in the agreed upon globalist agenda. America, along with other nations, was being eagerly handed over to the shadow government of the world. The pace of advancement towards the Biblically prophesied Beast Kingdom in Daniel (New World Order) was rapid and picking up steam. However, in walks “the Trumpet” (Donald Trump), with a forehead like flint, and a deep pocketbook. “The Trumpet” is not your normal, every-day, greedy politician. Born at exactly the right time and in the right place, given the ability to make vast sums of money so that he cannot be “bought” or “corrupted” by powerful lobbyists, gifted with the ability to negotiate, and granted favor in the eyes of millions of American citizens, God placed the Trumpet “in the throneroom” for such a time as this”. In my entire life, I have never seen one single individual stir up so much hatred and wrath as this one man. The only other time in HIS STORY that this extreme hatred for a single indivual has existed, is the time of Jesus. Only Jesus Christ, our Savior, God, and King, stirred up a similar level of hatred in the world. We are NOT saying that “The Trumpet” is a Messiah or Messianic figure, but we do think that he was raised up and put in the Throneroom for “such a time as this”.
Will the New World Order, a global dictatorship with tentacles like a vice grip, ultimately rear its ugly head? Absolutely it will. It is prophesied, it will happen. But God is clearly showing us that He alone is in control of the timing! At the same time, God is using “the Trumpet” and others to separate the sheep from the goats…those who want God and His Ways from those who reject God and His Ways.
John 15:18: “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you
Our Gracious God is constantly working behind the scenes on our behalf to ensure that all things work for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. He does this with His Sovereign Hand of Omnipotence and Omniscience, knowing way in advance what the enemy will do and what needs to transpire in order for God to bring about His perfect Will. He does this without ever impacting mankind’s free will.
I have personally seen God’s unseen Sovereign Hand working behind the scenes many times in my own life. I have seen things “come together” in ways that I would not have thought possible. As we grow spiritually, we begin to recognize that these things are NOT a coincidence. Many times we only “see” God working “after the fact”. As they say, “Hindsight is 20/20”, meaning that we often only realize that God has been working on our behalf AFTER a situation has resolved. As in the case of Esther, sometimes we realize that God has been working for YEARS, even DECADES, in order to prepare us for a particular purpose that He had planned since the beginning of time. As I look back and recognize the many situations in which God’s sovereign hand of protection, provision, and reconciliation has brought many difficult situations in my life to some sort of conclusion, and as I see the result as either obviously positive, or as having brought spiritual growth to either myself or another, the more that I TRUST that He is always working on our behalf. The more that I grow in Grace, recognizing that God is NOT unaware , unconcerned, or uncaring about our individual circumstances, the more I receive of His supernatural peace that surpasses all understanding. It is very comforting to know that our God is completely in control, regardless of how tumultous our individual circumstances may seem. There is NOTHING that takes God by surprise, and God has a way of making lemonaide out of lemons, of bringing something good out of even the worst and most horrifying situation.
Esther was born, raised up, and placed in the Throneroom at exactly the right time and place to intercede for the Jewish people, who had been slated for complete annihilation. In a similar way, God’s Gentile Church has been raised up and placed in the Throneroom of God, to make intercession for each other and for our Jewish brothers and sisters who do not yet “see” (recognize) their Messiah Jesus. The enemy desires to wipe out ALL of Israel, which includes both Jew and Gentile, the Israel of God. God’s Church, His New Covenant people, have direct access to God through our risen Savior and High Priest, Jesus. Through the blood of Jesus, we can now go BOLDLY into the Throneroom of God to intercede for a people who are partially blinded, and who the enemy has again slated for complete annihilation.
As you look back at your own life, perhaps with new eyes, consider how God has been actively working behind the scenes to bring about His purposes and plans, which are always GOOD. Things you may have thought of as “coincidence”, perhaps now SEE with new eyes. Although we cannot physically SEE God working, we need to understand that He is not silent, He is not “on vacation”, and He is not asleep. God is not dead, He is surely alive and active…and His plan is LOVE.