“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14-15.
These verses pretty much summarize the message of the book of Esther. They are often quoted when Jews and Christians refer to the holiday known as Purim.
Purim is a holiday that commemorates the salvation of the Jewish people from complete extermination in ancient Persia. It is celebrated every year on the 14th and/or 15th day of Adar on the biblical/Hebrew calendar. On the Gregorian calendar the holiday occurs in February or March each year. This year it will be celebrated on March 21 and 22, 2019. On Purim, it is customary to tell the story of how the Jewish people were saved, and to thank God for their deliverance. Below is a summation of the story of Purim, from the book of Esther in the Bible. Though many see it as a story about what happened in the past, it actually has prophetic implications for the Jewish people and the world.
The Persian Empire of the 4th Century was vast and included at least 127 lands. Within these lands, the Jews were under the authority and jurisdiction of the Persian Empire. Keep in mind, back in 586 BC, the Holy Temple of God was destroyed by the Babylonian Empire, led by King Nebuchadnezzar. At this time, the Jews were taken into captivity and became subjects of the Babylonian Empire. This Empire was pagan and powerful. The Jews were forced to assimilate and it became difficult to maintain their religious traditions and ways. Though Babylon was powerful, it eventually fell to the Persians. The Jews who were in captivity to the Babylonians were now prisoners of the Persians. During both the Babylonian and Persian reigns, a remnant of Jews continued to live, and dwell in the communities.
For a time, the Jews were able to live among the Persians without fear of annihilation. As long as they did not “ruffle feathers”, they were allowed to exist and live among the Persian population.
This all started to crumble when a man named Haman was given more power than he deserved. Haman was appointed as the Prime Minister of the Persian Empire. Haman despised the Jews because they did not bow to the idols he cherished. His hate spirals out of control when the leader of the Jews, a man named Mordechai, refuses to bow down to him. From that point forward, Haman devises a plan to rid the kingdom of every last Jew. This story is recounted in the book of Esther (in the Bible).
Haman visits the King and lets him know the Jews are not bowing down to the idols of Persia. He insists they are a threat to the kingdom and must be destroyed. He convinces the King to issue a decree that will allow them to be exterminated. Sounds a lot like Hitler right? Hitler convinced Germany and many other nations that the only solution was The Final Solution. This meant killing all the Jews.
It would seem that all hope is lost, but God had other plans. These plans involved a young, courageous Jewish woman named Esther. Before Haman hatched his evil plot, a new queen had been divinely placed on the throne. The King of Persia had just disposed of his former wife, Vashti. This left the throne open for a new queen.
The King chose Esther out of all the virgins in the land. Esther, however, did have a few secrets. She was Jewish, and Mordechai was her cousin. Remember Mordechai? He’s the one who wouldn’t bow down to the Persian idols. Would the King have chosen Esther if he knew she were Jewish? Probably not. Luckily, he didn’t find out- at least not right away. As we will see soon, he finds out at just the right divine time.
Esther becomes the queen, but that doesn’t mean she can hang out with the king any time she wants. Back in those days a king had to summon his wife. If she wasn’t summoned, she couldn’t appear before her husband. Kind of crazy if you ask me, but I’m not a queen and my husband isn’t a king (even though I treat him like one…LOL)
Esther’s cousin is Mordechai, but even though he’s her cousin, he’s more like her father. You see, Esther’s parents died when she was young, so Mordechai raised her like a daughter. At some point Mordechai and Esther became aware that the king was looking for a new wife. All the prospective candidates would need to go to Susa, to be put under the charge of the king’s appointed officials. There they would be inspected, and given beauty treatments.
Mordechai knew Esther was a beautiful, wise and humble young lady. She certainly had a shot at becoming queen. Amazingly enough, Esther is chosen from all the beautiful virgins of the land. She goes from being a common young girl under the care of her cousin, to Queen of Persia! But even though she is now royalty, Mordechai keeps a close watch on her. He checks in from time to time, stopping near the palace gate to inquire about her, or to send messages to her.
Now let’s get back to Mordechai’s dilemma. Remember, he would not bow to Haman, the Prime Minister of Persia, and assistant to the King. Because of this, a decree was written by the King to EXTERMINATE ALL THE JEWS IN THE KINGDOM OF PERSIA. Haman had to do a bit of convincing of course. He had to convince the king the Jews were a real threat. I’m sure he laid it on thick and added loads of lies to his story.
Esther’s husband, the King, has written a decree to kill all the Jewish people. This would include her “father” (cousin) Mordechai. Technically, it would include her too because she’s Jewish! Fortunately, the King does NOT know this, nor does Haman.
At first Esther knows nothing of the decree until one day when Mordechai shows up at the king’s gate in sackcloth and ashes. This means he’s in a state of bitter grief. Of course he’s grieving! His people have a death sentence hanging over them. One of Esther’s attendants saw Mordechai’s sad state and told Esther. She was quite distressed and even sent clothes to be taken to Mordechai. When Mordechai refused the clothes, she sent her servant to inquire why he was in mourning.
Mordechai sent a copy of the edict of extermination, so Esther would be aware of the grave situation. He also gave instructions that she should go to the king and plead for mercy for her people.
Esther responded in this way: “Everyone who works for the king here, and even the people out in the provinces, knows there is a single fate for every man or woman who approaches the king without being invited: death. The one exception is if the king extends his gold scepter; then he or she may live. And it’s been thirty days now since I’ve been invited to come to the king.”
Esther was saying the king had not summoned her. Therefore, she couldn’t just go to him. If she went to him without being summoned she could face the death penalty. Kind of a stiff punishment don’t you think?
Mordechai’s answer was simple, truthful and filled with wisdom. He said:
“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14-15.
I call that the Titanic quote. Why? Well, the verses are Esther 4:14, and 4:15. As a date that would be 4-14 and 4-15. Titanic hit an iceberg on 4-14 (April 14, 1912) and sank on 4-15 (April 15, 1912). Basically Mordechai was saying, “There’s an iceberg in the water and it’s about to sink the entire population of Jews. If you are silent and don’t do anything to stop it, God will find someone else to do the job. But, guess what? You won’t escape the iceberg! God put you in this royal position as queen for a reason! That reason is to help your people and save them from annihilation! It’s no coincidence you are there. You are in the position to steer the ship away from the iceberg. If you don’t, you’re going down on the Titanic!”
After Mordechai’s response, Esther knows what she must do. She tells Mordechai to fast from food and water for three days, along with the rest of the Jews. She tells Mordechai she will fast as well, along with her attendants. She makes the statement that after she fasts, she will go to the king, even though he has not summoned her. Then she says, “If I perish, I perish.”
Esther is saying she will fast and pray before she approaches the king. She will certainly be calling on God to step in and grant her favor, and to deliver her people from annihilation. Do you know what time of year it was when this fast was taking place? PASSOVER! That’s no coincidence. I’m sure you know Passover is when God delivered his people (the Jews) from the Egyptians and freed them from bondage. Here we have Esther fasting and praying for the deliverance of her people during the same feast when the Israelites celebrate their deliverance. She’s also praying for her own deliverance! Remember, she has not been summoned and if the king is not pleased, he can put an end to her life. Talk about stress!
After fasting for three days, Esther went to the king. Much to her relief, when he saw her, he was not angry or upset. Instead he was pleased and told her she could have anything she requested. Obviously, the favor of the Lord was with Esther. All that fasting and prayer was heard and answered!
Esther requested the king and Haman attend a banquet she had prepared. I know what you’re thinking… why would she invite Haman to a banquet? He’s the one who wants to kill her people! Don’t worry- she has a plan up her sleeve, and it’s a good one.
The king and Haman happily attended Esther’s banquet. At the banquet, the king asked if Esther had any other requests. Once again, she asked if the king and Haman could come to another banquet she had prepared for them. She said she would let the king know her request at this second banquet. The king happily agreed.
That same evening the king could not sleep and he asked to look at the Book of Chronicles, which was the record of his reign as king. As he was reading through the book, he realized something he hadn’t previously known. The record showed that Mordechai had uncovered an assassination plot against him some time ago. The information Mordechai provided kept the king from being killed. This was written in the chronicles. The king immediately asked what recognition had been given to Mordechai for the amazing service that saved his life. The court officials informed the king that Mordechai had received no recognition.
After the king hears this astonishing information, Haman just happens to enter the court. Keep in mind, Haman has not heard any of the prior conversation. The king turns to Haman and says, “What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?” Haman assumes the king is talking about him and says, “For the man the king delights to honor, have them bring the royal robe the king has worn and a horse the king has ridden on, with a royal crest placed on its head. Then let the robe and horse be entrusted to one of the king’s most noble princes. Let them robe the man the king delights to honor, and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him, ‘This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor.'”
Of course, if Haman knew the king was talking about Mordechai he would have never suggested doing all those things! He was picturing himself riding on that horse in the royal robe! Haman must have gagged when the king said, “Get the robe and the horse and do jut as you have suggested for Mordechai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate.” I personally would have loved to see Haman’s wretched, angry face. It’s a picture perfect moment.
Actually what I’d like to see more is when Haman had to actually lead Mordechai through the streets proclaiming, “This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!” That moment would be gold!!!
Haman bit his tongue as he led Mordechai through the streets. He was filled with jealousy and hate as he witnessed Mordechai being honored instead of him. Later, when he arrived home, he couldn’t help but whine and moan about having to endure such a thing. But, he could only whine for a short while because the time came to go to the second banquet of Queen Esther. Surely, this would help him forget the humiliation of having to give honor to Mordechai.
So to the banquet he went. Little did he know that Queen Esther had a surprise planned for him. While Esther sat with the King at the banquet, the King inquired, “Queen Esther, what is your petition? It will be given to you. What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted.” Remember, at the last banquet Esther said she would tell the king her request.
Esther, of course, knows Haman is responsible for the order to exterminate all the Jews in the kingdom. But, keep in mind that Haman does not know she is Jewish, nor does the king know she’s Jewish. So, what she says next will send a shock wave through the room, especially to the evil Haman. She says, “If I have found favor with you, Your Majesty, and if it pleases you, GRANT ME MY LIFE- THIS IS MY PETITION. AND SPARE MY PEOPLE- THIS IS MY REQUEST. For I and my people have been sold to be destroyed, killed and annihilated. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king.”
The King, of course, is taken aback. At the time when he the approved the decree he didn’t realize it would kill Esther- his own wife- and her people. He never even knew she was Jewish!
So the king says, “Who is he? Where is he- the man who has dared to do such a thing?”
Esther says, “It is the vile Haman!”
Talk about the best part of a movie! To see the look on Haman’s face would have been priceless. Haman knew his fate was now sealed. He could see the rage on the king’s face. After all, Haman had ordered the death of Esther’s people, the Jews. Never mind the king didn’t know this when the order was given. To the king, it was an act of betrayal. He adored Queen Esther. Haman had allowed the king to issue a decree that would lead to the death of the queen, and her people.
Haman is distraught and begs Queen Esther for his very life. This enraged the king even more. Immediately the king demands that Haman be impaled on a 75 foot pole. This all becomes very ironic. Why? Because not too long ago Haman had a pole set up to impale Mordechai. He had this pole built near his house and he planned to get the ultimate revenge on Mordechai for not bowing to him! Now, this same pole would be used to impale Haman! His evil plan backfired. He would be impaled in his own courtyard, not Mordechai!
After Haman is impaled, his entire estate is given to Esther. Also, Mordechai (Esther’s cousin) is given Haman’s position as prime minister.
But, there was one more thing that needed to be done. The king needed to rescind the edict that said all the Jews would be exterminated. The problem with this request is that once an edict is sealed, it cannot be revoked. The king told Esther about this dilemma, but he had another plan in mind. He told Esther, “Now write another decree in the king’s name on behalf of the Jews as seems best to you, and seal it with the king’s signet ring.”
Esther wrote another decree. “It granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves; to destroy, kill and annihilate the armed men of any nationality or province who might attack them and their women and children, and to plunder the property of their enemies. The appointed day for the Jews to do this in all the provinces was on the 13th of Adar. ” This edict went out to all the cities so all the Jews knew they had the right to fight back with all their might. It also let the people around them know they had the support of the king when it came to fighting back. So, even though the original order of killing the Jews couldn’t be rescinded, at least now the Jews could retaliate and defend themselves LEGALLY.
When the day of the attack came, the Jews were ready. They gave it their best and they were completely successful in their fight. Their enemies were struck with fear and they could not stand against the Jews. The enemies of the Jews were killed by the thousands and all this was reported to the king and Queen Esther. Because of their victory, there was much celebration in the kingdom. The day after the attack (Adar 14) became a day of feasting and joy, along with the 15th.
In fact, after that great victory, Mordechai recorded all these events and he wrote that from that day forward, all the Jews should establish the 14th and 15th of Adar as days of celebration. This was to be observed for the rest of their generations, and continues up to this very day. Today we know the observance of this time as PURIM. Why? Because this was the time when Haman cast a lot ( pur) against the Jewish people.
This holiday is a time to remember the persecution the Jewish people endured at the hands of Haman. Haman had so much hate for the Jewish people that he was willing to wipe out the entire population to satisfy his pride. He and Hitler are one of the same.
This tale is, of course, a story of the past. A story from long ago. Why continue to celebrate Purim, and remember this story?
Oh, I wish I could say this is a story from long ago, but that would be incorrect. This story plays on today. Right now, around the world, there are thousands and thousands of Hamans, plotting to destroy the Jews. Who are these Hamans? Well, this list is long, but I’ll start with an obvious one. Have you heard of the terrorist group called Hamas? They are terrorists whose main goal is to wipe Israel off the map. They shoot rockets into Israel on a daily basis. Many live in the Palestinian territories, but they can be found throughout the Middle East. Do you know who their descendants are? Take a guess? HAMAN. Just change the N in HAMAN to an S and you have HAMAS.
Haman was a descendant of Agag, the king of the Amalekites. The Amalekites were fierce enemies of Israel that go all the way back to time of King Saul. In fact, King Saul was ordered by God to wipe all of them out, but unfortunately, he did not follow through. This allowed the family line of enemies to survive. These same enemies continue to harm the Jewish people for generations. The Amalekite descendants conspire to this very day. Their goal is the same as the ancient Amalekites- to take Israel’s land and destroy the people.
Hamas isn’t the only terrorist faction trying to destroy the Jews. There’s Hezbollah and Fatah as well. Actually, there are ENTIRE NATIONS that are dead set on destroying Israel! In the story of Esther, the edict to destroy the Jews came from ancient Persia. Well, guess who ancient Persia is now? IRAN! Persia is actually Iran’s ancient name. Of all the nations who want to wipe Israel out, Iran is at the top of the list. They even write DEATH TO ISRAEL on their missiles. The spirit of Haman is out there and it will continue until Jesus returns. Jesus is a type of Mordechai, in that he will stand up for his people the Jews when he returns.
Israel is literally surrounded by nations that want to destroy her. She has Lebanon to the north, along with Syria, Turkey and Russia. All these nations are hostile to Israel. Lebanon and Syria are full of terrorist factions that plot to kill Israeli citizens. In the past, Russia has armed countries seeking to destroy Israel. Through the Pogroms of the 1800’s, Russia sought to rid itself of its Jewish population. Russia is a nation that is prophesied to come against Israel in the battle of Gog and Magog. God, of course, comes to bat for Israel and literally destroys the armies of Russia.
To the southeast you have Saudi Arabia and Yemen. To the east you have Iraq and Iran. Every single one of these countries harbors terrorists that want to destroy Israel. All these countries live in a culture that says the Jewish people do not have the right to exist, much less live in their own nation.
This is the spirit of Haman, alive and well in the world.
Even Europe is seeing a rise in attacks on Jewish people, and widespread prejudice. The United States has representatives in government right now who are anti semitic. I have a feeling you know who these people are. There have been many stories in the news lately about representatives in Congress who are tweeting Anti- Israel statements. Here’s an article you can read about the latest examples of anti semitic comments from our own government leaders.
I am going to be very frank with you. This is not something that is going to get better. The Bible is very clear when it says in Zechariah 12:3 that, “on that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves.” The Bible says that all the nations will gather against little, tiny Israel- a nation that is the size of New Jersey.
But guess what God says to these “Haman-nations”? He says in Zechariah 12:4-6 that, “on that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness,’ declares the Lord. ‘I will keep a watchful eye over Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations.’ Then the clans of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the Lord Almighty is their God.’ On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a fire pot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. They will consume the surrounding peoples right and left, but Jerusalem will remain intact and in her place.”
And here’s the best part. God says in Zechariah 12, verse 10, “I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves a firstborn son.”
Later, the Lord goes on to say in Zechariah 13, verse 9 that, “‘They will call on my name and I will answer them’; I will say, ‘They are my people’, and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.'”
This means the nation of Israel will eventually turn to their Messiah, Jesus Christ. The part I left out is what it says in verse 8 of Zechariah 13. It says two thirds of the Jewish people will perish during the Tribulation- the Time of Jacob’s Trouble. This is the time where the persecution of the Jewish people will be greater than any time on planet earth, if you can imagine that. It is hard for me to type that. I have tears in my eyes right now as I think about two thirds perishing. Do you know what two thirds is as a percent? It’s 0.66 percent. Actually, it’s 0.66666667 percent. The 6 repeats.
That number makes me realize something. Six is the number of man. 666 is the number of the mark of the beast. We know the devil hates the Jews. We know the Anti-Christ hates the Jews. In fact, it is the spirit of the Anti-Christ that has always wanted to destroy the Jews. The number of his name is 666. https://www.biblestudytools.com/revelation/13.html
But then I see the seven on the end (see calculator pic). Seven is God’s holy number. In the end, GOD HAS THE LAST WORD. God has said over and over that he will not allow the Hamans of this world wipe out his people. A remnant will be spared. Zechariah 13:9 says, “yet one third will be left in it. This third will be put through the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold.” This means one third of the Jewish people will make it through the Tribulation. Do you know what number this is as a percent? It’s 0.33333333. That’s a lot of threes! If you put it as a strict percent it is 33%. I find that amazing because guess how old Jesus was when he died on the cross? 33 years old. The number 3, of course, represents the Trinity- Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The number three is used more than 400 times in the Bible. I could write an entire blog on the number 3 and you would see it points to Jesus. What is awesome about one third being equal to 0.33 is it reminds me Jesus will make sure his people, the Jews, are saved. Jesus, after all, is our Jewish Savior. He will be the one to make all things new. Like the story of Joseph, Jesus will reunite with his “brothers”, and there will be forgiveness and renewal.
The wonderful thing to consider is that there are already hundreds of thousands of Jewish people who have accepted Jesus as the Messiah. They usually call themselves Messianic believers, or believers in Messiah. God is already awakening his people and many are understanding the truth of who Jesus is. This is a small portion compared to the overall population of Jewish people in the world, but nonetheless, it is substantial and it shows God is on the move. Also, what’s even more fascinating is during the Tribulation there will be 144,000 JEWISH WITNESSES who will preach the gospel of JESUS CHRIST to the world. God will use his covenant people to speak the truth to all the Jewish people who haven’t received Jesus yet, and to Gentiles who haven’t received Jesus. These Jewish witnesses will be powerful, and there will be a harvest of believers greater than anytime on earth.
And what about Haman? Well, we know Haman in the Purim story was hanged on a 75 foot pole. How could we apply this to the evil doers of this world who want to destroy the Jewish people? Well, God is very clear about that………….. He says in Isaiah 2, “The eyes of the arrogant will be humbled and human pride brought low; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day……..the arrogance of man will be brought low.” In Psalm 2 it says, “The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. He rebukes them in his answer and terrifies them in his wrath………….therefore you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling. Kiss his Son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction.”
God will deal with the enemies of Israel and those who have mistreated his people. Until Jesus returns, however, God is looking for the Esthers of this world. Esther was put in a royal position at just the right time. She was placed there by God himself for such a time as this. She was able to save her people from annihilation. The Church is the Esther of this day and age. God has put us in a royal position. We have received his Son Jesus and because of this, we are a royal priesthood- a holy nation who serves the Living God. We are called to help God preserve and protect the Jewish people. God has never forgotten or forsaken the Jews. As the Church, we are called to be the Esthers of the kingdom, who are willing to stand up for the lives of his ancient people. Just as Daniel looked to God to help him, we too must look to God. The lions are prowling and waiting to strike. But with the Lion of Judah behind us (Jesus Christ), we are more than capable of slaying the lions.
Of course, we can always choose to live our own lives and continue on in our royal palaces. That’s what the passengers on Titanic thought too. That didn’t stop the iceberg. The richest man in the world, John Jacob Astor, was worth approximately 87 million when he died in 1912. Astor died in the frozen water, going down with only his gold watch, diamond cuff links, $2440.00 in notes, a diamond ring and a few other items. In the end, none of those riches could save him. We are no different. We are in a royal position for a reason- to stand with the truth- to stand up for what’s right.
Esther fasted before she went in to see the King about sparing her people, the Jews. The time of this was Passover. Right now we are about to celebrate Purim on March 21, 2019. But, not long after this, it will be Passover, which will begin the eve of April 19 and last through the eve of April 27. Easter, or Resurrection Day, will occur on Sunday, April 21. It was during Passover that Esther cried out for her people’s salvation. They needed someone to save them. God answered her prayers and she and her people were spared. Flash forward to NOW- 2019. The Jewish people still need saving. They need salvation. Do you know what Jesus’ name means? His Hebrew name is Yeshua and that name actually means SALVATION. The time is no different than the days of Esther. The enemies are swarming like angry bees. The Jewish people need their Savior, Jesus.
Jesus said this in Matthew 23:39- “For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'” Do you know what Jesus meant when he said, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”? To understand this you have to know about the Jewish culture of those biblical days. “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” is wedding talk. You see, in a Jewish wedding, when the Groom approaches the chuppah (the wedding canopy) to claim his Bride, these are the words that are spoken to him. This expression, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” actually means WELCOME! Essentially, the Bride is saying WELCOME to the Groom. So what Jesus is actually saying here is that he will not come back again to his people the Jews ( at the Second Coming) until they are ready to say WELCOME. Jesus will come to the rescue of his people when their hearts are ready to receive him. The Groom must be welcomed!
The Tribulation will be a horrible time of testing and persecution for all the inhabitants of the earth, especially the Jewish people. But it will get them ready to receive their Groom, Jesus. They will be at the end of their rope, but it is at that moment when they will reach for the life line- that scarlet cord Jesus has been offering them for the last two thousand years. And they will grab it and say BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD.
Maranatha- this Purim, and during Passover, let’s pray for the nation of Israel and the Jewish people to cry out to their Messiah. Let us pray their eyes will be open and they will welcome their Groom Yeshua.