Of Weddings & War
In the Book of Esther, Mordechai established the annual celebration saying, “to celebrate just like it was the very days when we were relieved of our enemies, and our month was transformed from one of sorrow to joy, from mourning to festivity. They are to be days of feasting, rejoicing, of sending food to one another, and giving gifts to the poor.” Purim is about Joy and Giving.
Deuteronomy 16 tells us how God wants us to celebrate Him. Be joyful at your festival
No one should appear before Yehovah empty-handed:
Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way Yehovah your God has blessed you.”
Why? Because God will never come into your presence empty handed.
For the last two years, Victory has been making financial adjustments because donations have dropped lower. Every winter they drop.
In normal years, from October to December most of our funding comes in, so we set some aside for each of those winter months.
There was precious little to set aside this year, and the donations are still lower than we need.
It’s Purim, so today I just want to make an appeal. Purim is literally about giving.
So, while I teach this morning, I’m also gonna remind you that we need support.
I’m asking you to give. Go online at victory.radio and give, now, and later.
2. Purim – For Jews and Christians?
First, let’s not ignore the big green clover in the room. Purim begins tonight and runs all day tomorrow and all-day Friday. But this year Queen Esther has a special guest at the wedding. Tomorrow is also St. Patrick’s Day. As it turns out Esther and Patrick have a good bit in common, so we’ll talk about that. I come in 7 times each year to cover about 12 Biblical events (feasts, fasts, special days).
This month is special for a couple of reasons. It’s the last month of the Jewish year (If you thought your year felt long – this is actually the 13th month of their year). So, their year is finally over, and they end with a bang, on what they call the most joyful month of the year.
It’s the celebration of the Biblical holiday of Purim, when a beautiful Jewish orphan girl named Hadassah, took the Persian name of Esther, became the Queen of Persia, risked her life to help save her people from what would have been a worldwide holocaust, because Persia was literally most of the world in that day.
She also helped enable her people to totally flip the script and annihilate their enemies. To say that this is “the day” the Jewish people around the world seriously party would not be an overstatement.
It’s easy to see why it’s a Jewish holiday and celebration. But what about for Christians? It’s not a Biblical Feast Day declared by God. But when you read the book of Revelation and understand what Purim represents in the Kingdom of God, then it is a “prophetically veiled” day that provides us a glimpse into the future that God has planned for us.
It teaches us really important aspects of our faith and helps us understand who we are as “The Bride of Christ”. So, for the Jews, they are celebrating a big day their history, but if you know the Messiah Yeshua Jesus, it’s a much more exciting day to celebrate.
We are going to travel to Persia: to look at the story and history, examine how Purim relates to the Fall Feast Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, see how the hopeless find hope, look into heaven at our wedding day, and see how Purim can help us experience more intimacy everyday with God.
This is a wonderful day for each of us to remind ourselves that the Living God loves me, “really really” loves me, longs to marry me, delights to give me every good thing, will give me victory over all of my enemies, and make a way that we can dwell together forever in the fullness of His joy.
There is another level to Purim.
When a Jewish person thinks Purim, they are thinking about the day they read the Scroll of Esther and recall how the Jewish people were saved from Haman’s evil plot to destroy them.
But any day that you consider really special because God delivered you from something terrible can be considered a “personal” or “special” Purim.
Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) is also known as Yom Kippurim [Yom Ke-Purim] (“a day” + “like” + “Purim”).
So, the day that Yeshua sacrificed Himself on the cross is the greatest Purim of all, since we are eternally delivered from the hands of our enemies, sin, and death.
Likewise: the day you were saved, delivered, baptized in the Holy Spirit, or literally delivered from an enemy in this world (maybe in a war, or from something terrible in another country), can be considered personal Purim.
3. A Purim Party with Esther and Saint Patrick!
Traditionally, it’s a fun celebration filled with feasting, rejoicing, lots of generous giving, costumes, plays, and endless parties. Sadly, the celebration for many Jews will literally be days of drunken revelry, overflowing with the wrong spirit, which means they will entirely miss the beautiful and profound spiritual point of the festivities.
Ironically, the holidays of Purim and St Patrick’s Day fall on the same day this year, tomorrow March 16th. Esther comes from the 6th century BC and Patrick from the 4th century AD (so about a millennium apart). Both “the Christian missionary Patrick” and “the orphaned Jewish girl Esther who became a noble Persian Queen,” are profoundly inspiring characters.
Patrick, who hailed from Britain, was captured by pirates at the age of 16 and enslaved to the Druids of Ireland, where he gave his heart wholly to Christ and labored as a shepherd. At 22, through many dreams, God enabled his escape back home. Several years later God sent him more dreams, but this time it was to return to Ireland to tell the Druids of Christ.
His return placed him in danger of sudden death daily which he faced with great courage. The fact that he will be celebrated tomorrow with drunken revelry, and even a river of green beer in Boston, is tragic, but he is definitely worthy of celebrating and honoring.
Meanwhile, it’s equally tragic that on Purim, beginning tonight and continuing through Thursday and Friday, the same drunken revelry will accompany most Jewish celebrations. Like Patrick, Hadassah’s people were captured and enslaved by a neighboring country, when Babylon invaded Judah killing and destroying and then carried many survivors away into captivity.
Unlike Patrick, Hadassah never got to return home to Israel, but was called by God to serve Him and His people far away in Persia, eventually chosen by the king to be his bride, she became the Persian Queen who was able to help save her people from a terrible holocaust and enabled them to go to war and destroy their enemies. It’s at the very peak of Persia’s golden age when it was the largest empire in history up to its time, extending over 127 lands, from Egypt and Ethiopia all the way to Asia.
She is a picture of the church marring our bridegroom Jesus and riding with Him into the last battle.
In Revelation 5:8-10, we are shown this picture: “And when He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one having harps and golden vials full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
And they sang a new song, saying, You are worthy to take the book and to open its seals, for You were slain and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation. And You made us kings and priests to our God, and we will reign over the earth.”
From the beginning of Genesis (Genesis 4:4) to the end of the Bible (Revelation 22:3), there is a common theme – the deliverance and empowering of the saints to become His bride.
This 6,000-year-old story begins in the Garden of Eden with “the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world” – it was blood that covered.
The story then moves to Abram with a covenant of blood called circumcision – it was a cutting away – a separation.
Then a Passover – when lambs were slain, and a sacrifice was eaten (taken inside of a person for the first time) – not just burned.
Then there was a journey out of bondage to a mountain with an invitation to marry God which was rejected by Israel, and so “the law” came, with priests and kings and a promised land – this became the way.
4. Days of Joy
We’re looking at Purim – think of a wedding and a war. It’s the end of a really good story.
God structured His story (the last 6,000 years of world history) into Seven Feasts of the Lord which occur in the Spring and Fall:
That story will begin for this year in two weeks with the first day of the month of Nissan.
But the actual start of the Biblical Calendar begins in 30 days with Passover and Firstfruits, which are part of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Then 50 days later comes Pentecost (Feast of Weeks).
In the Fall we have the original start of the calendar dating back to the creation in the Garden of Eden. Rosh Hashanah – the head or beginning of the year (called the Feast of Trumpets), then The 10 Days of Awe lead up to Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), followed by Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles).
These 7 Feast Days are “the parables” that help us keep our focus on Christ through every season.
There are two additional festivals called Yom Simchah, “Days of Joy,” and there are also quite a few days throughout the year that are set aside for mourning and fasting when great tragedies occurred.
The two Days of Joy occurred long after the days of Moses, long after the Torah was completed, so they are not listed in the Torah.
These were set apart by Rabbis, so these are called Rabbinic Feast or Fast Days. Today is one of those – we remember them because they are like shadows and types or parables that point to and reveal the Messiah. And often they can have significant bearing on the times that we are living in.
The 2 Days of Joy are Hanukkah in December and Purim in February (or in March in leap years).
While Hanukkah is not a Biblical feast, it is an important one for Jews and Christians alike.
Hanukkah is all about light. “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; of those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” (Isaiah 9:1-2).
Hanukkah was the celebration of two different events: First, it was when Israel won a great victory against the mighty Greek Empire. Then, 165 years later it was when the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, that Yeshua (Jesus) could be conceived of the Holy Spirit (when He first came to earth within her womb).
And that brings us up to where we are today – the second of the Days of Joy: Purim
We are at a time when the world has been turned upside down, even devastated. There’s war, poverty, godlessness, etc. These are crazy times, and Purim is perfect for times like this.
Purim is a Feast that reminds you that God is with you and for you. He loves you and has a plan for your good even when things are at their darkest.
It’s a day to celebrate the victory that God is bringing. The day when “We Greatly Rejoice”.
But when this story begins, it doesn’t look like a celebration – it’s looks like a massacre.
The story of Esther is when God delivered His people at a time when death was literally at the door, and everything seemed lost – but it wasn’t lost…it was the beginning of one of the most beautiful rescue stories.
We don’t know the ending while we are in the story. And this is a scary story. Everyone was going to die on a day in the middle of the last month of the year. It was probably not lost on them that year, as they counted down the months, that not only was the calendar ending, but the life of every Jewish person all across Persia looked like it was about to end too.
Speaking of calendars, it can get confusing. On our calendar, we are midway through the 3rd month (March). But on the Jewish calendar, it’s the last month of the year Adar (ahh-dar).
Technically they are on the 13th month of the year, thanks to the Jewish Leap Year being in effect, when they literally add an additional month to the end of their year. They just finished their 12th month, Adar I two weeks ago and then immediately started Adar II on March 4th.
Months in the Jewish calendar are based on the phases of the Moon. A new month begins on the day of the Crescent Moon after the New Moon phase. Because the sum of 12 lunar months is about 11 days shorter than the solar year, a 13th month is periodically added to keep the calendar in step with the astronomical seasons.
The word Purim is Persian, not Hebrew. It’s pronounced several ways (in English either Pur-um or Poor-um / in Hebrew Poh-reem).
It’s also known as the Fast/Feast of Esther. In the Mishna, the Rabbi’s say, “When Adar comes in, we greatly rejoice.” And that pretty much sums it up. The ending of the story is so good, that the terrible parts aren’t so bad anymore. In fact, it is the happiest and noisiest Jewish holiday of all – with costumes and parties.
Purim begins tonight and continues all day tomorrow thru tomorrow night. On the biblical calendar, it’s celebrated on the 14th of the month of Adar (ahh-dar), which falls in February (or March during leap years). Like most feasts it occurs on the Full Moon. Which means, Passover is exactly 30 days away.
5. To Destroy, Kill, and Annihilate
It’s Purim. Purim is a rabbinical holiday, meaning Purim is not mentioned in the Torah and the Jews are not commanded by God to observe it. God isn’t even mentioned in the Scroll of Esther, but He is very much present.
Purim remembers when the Jews of Ancient Persia faced extermination at the hands of an evil man [In English, we pronounce his name Hay-men] / In Hebrew we pronounce Haman (Huh-mahn). Haman is the one guy that’s easy to hate. He plotted “to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews, young and old, infants and women, in a single day.”
How could such wide-scale mass murder be done?
Every single Jew in the world lived under the rule of King Achashverosh (Ah-hash-ve-rosh), so they were all included in Haman’s murderous decree. It’s hard to find a guy you can describe, “as evil as Hitler or Stalin”, but Haman is that guy.
Haman was also one of the wealthiest men of his time and he acquired those riches by seizing the treasures of the Kings of Judah. He was a descendant of King Agag of Amalek, the Amalekites were one of the worst enemies of the Jewish people.
From their earliest days, God commanded Israel to “blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven” or to “remember to forget.” But the Jews mostly ignored that command; Israel had some great victories over them as they entered the Promised Land, but they never finished the job. How bad was that failure? Amalek’s bloodline included the Romans, Nazis, and Stalinists.
As to the name Purim, it comes from the practice of casting lots (pur in Persian), which were small flat stones, bones, or dice, anything that could be tossed to help make a decision (like flipping a coin).
Casting lots is done throughout the Bible and in the ancient world. The sailors on Jonah’s ship cast lots to determine who had brought God’s wrath on their ship. The eleven apostles cast lots to determine who would replace Judas. The Roman soldiers cast lots to get Jesus’ garments.
The Persian word for a lot is “pur” and the plural is Pur-im. The Feast is called Purim because, when Haman set out to destroy the Jews, he cast lots to determine when he should carry out his scheme, and the lots landed on the 13th of Adar.
Keep in mind, Haman did this during the first month of Nissan, and the lots came up pointing to the month of Adar, which is the 12th month, so while the events in the story seem to take place over a rather short time (it feels like just a few weeks pass), but it actually happens over the course of an entire year.
The story is found in the Megillah of Esther (muh-gee-lah [which is the word for a scroll or book]). The Megillah of Esther is known as “The Megillah” because it’s so popular. It’s chanted in the synagogue twice during the evening service on the eve of Purim and once on the morning of Purim.
The Megillah is read from a parchment scroll that is written the same way a Torah is written — by hand, with a goose quill. It is chanted standing up, using a special cantillation that’s used only for the Book of Esther, because it’s a very interactive reading, very fun, noisy, and many of the people are in costume; there are skits and sometimes puppets.
When Haman’s name is read out loud, which occurs 54 times, everybody makes noise to blot out his name. The practice comes from a passage in the Midrash, where the verse, “You shall blot out the remembrance of Amalek”, is explained to mean “even from wood and stones.”
A custom developed of writing the name of Haman, on two smooth stones, and knocking them together until the name was blotted out. Some wrote the name of Haman on the soles of their shoes, and at the mention of the name stamped with their feet as a sign of contempt.
Whenever Haman’s name is mentioned, they yell, boo, and use loud spinning noise makers to literally “blot out his name” whenever it’s mentioned. [It’s a lot like a college football game where everyone gets dressed up and makes lots of noise cheering for their team and booing the other team].
Let’s go back 400-500 years before the time of Jesus. The Purim story takes place in Persia, where the Southern kingdom of Judah was taken into captivity and then eventually released from exile by King Cyrus. But most of the Jews chose not to return to their homeland; instead, they made a life right there in the hub of the largest empire in history.
The story begins with the powerful Persian King Ahasuerus (Ah-hash-ve-rosh / his Greek name was Xerxes I). He was hosting a six-month feast to honor his armies and the leaders of his massive kingdom. His queen’s name was Vashti. She was the great-granddaughter of Nebuchadnezzar (who destroyed the first Temple).
Ahasuerus (Ah-hash-ve-rosh) drank so much, and his leaders began to beg him to order the beautiful Queen Vashti to parade herself in front of everyone (wearing only her crown).
She refused, so he had her executed. Now consider what it was like to be married to him.
Next the king ordered that every single young woman in his massive kingdom be brought before him so he could choose a new queen to replace Vashti. And obviously she could not refuse him.
During the next four years, more than 1400 girls were be brought to the palace for the king to choose as his potential queen. That’s when we meet a beautiful orphan girl named Hadassah who lived among the exiles from Judah. When her parents died, she was adopted by her uncle Mordechai (Mor-de-hi) and she grew up in his home, as if she was his own daughter.
It was during the 10th Month, called Tevet, that she was brought to the palace to live with all the other girls, but Mordechai had told her not to reveal that she was Jewish, but instead to use her Persian name Esther.
Mordechai is a big part of the story. We meet him in Esther 2:5, “There was a Yehudi (Jewish man) in Shushan the capital, whose name was Mordechai, son of Yair, son of Shim’iy, son of Kish, a Benjaminite.”
Mordechai is referred to as a Jew. In fact, he was the first person in history to be called a “Jew“. Before then, Jews were called “Hebrews” or “Israelites”. What’s interesting to that is, though Mordechai was a Benjaminite, he is called Yehudi (“Jew”) which literally means a descendant of the tribe of Yehudah (Judah).
Throughout the Megillah, the entire Jewish people, regardless of their tribe, for the first time are called Ye-hu-dim, so the word begins to take on a new meaning more important than their individual tribes. The root word that Yehudi comes from means “to acknowledge” and “to accept”, so it looks like all 12 tribes are now one people – the people of the Torah, the Law. And this first happens in the Megillah.
As for Hadassah (Esther), Hadassah is Hebrew for myrtle. Esther is a Persian name that relates to the “morning star.” In Hebrew, it is related to the root word for “hidden.” It’s kind of a theme of the story. She concealed her identity and God’s intervention was hidden throughout the events.
Esther has been taken to the palace to live with all the other girls for an entire year, because it was required for them to receive beauty treatments before they could be brought before the king.
And it says, “the king loved Esther more than all the women and she won his favor”.
So, the beautiful young Jewish orphan became the new Queen of Persia.
Mordechai, being a protective father, would come to the palace each day to check on her.
One day, he was sitting at the King’s gate and overheard a conversation between two of the King’s attendants, plotting to poison the King. Mordechai told Esther, who told the king, and the coup was thwarted, and the plotters were hanged. It was recorded in the Royal Book of Chronicles that Mordechai had saved the King’s life.
Meanwhile, during the 12th month, called Adar, the evil Haman was appointed Prime Minister of the empire and the king commanded all to bow to him. But Mordechai (Mor-de-hi) defied the orders and refused to bow to Haman, because as a Jew, he could only bow to God. Also, Haman wore an image of the idol he worshipped on his chest, and Mordechai couldn’t bow to him without appearing to worship that idol.
Listen to Esther 3:5-6, “When Haman saw that Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor, he was enraged. Yet having learned who Mordecai’s people were, he scorned the idea of killing only Mordecai. Instead, Haman looked for a way to destroy all Mordecai’s people, the Jews, throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes.”
7. The Plot
It’s rather obvious that Haman is not just a guy with an anger problem; he is an antichrist – He advances instantly from anger to rage to genocide. There is more to this story.
I mentioned that Haman is the descendant of Amalek, which is a horrible lineage. But if you trace him back a few hundred years further, you will find another reason these two are instant enemies.
Amalek came from the line of Esau. Mordechai, who refused to bow to Haman, was a descendant of Benjamin, the youngest son of Jacob.
The same animosity that most Arabs, who are sons of Ishmael, feel toward the Jews today, who are sons of Isaac, sometimes exists between the descendants of Jacob and Esau.
You probably remember the story. Jacob and Esau were twins, but Esau came out first, so he had the birthrights of the eldest son. When they were grown, Jacob tricked him twice and stole his birthright and blessing.
Esau promised to kill him, so Jacob fled and lived with their uncle for 20 years, during which time he was wealthy and had a large family. When Jacob brought his family home for the first time, he had to face Esau. Jacob and all of his sons bowed low, and the two estranged brothers reconciled.
But of course, there is always a catch. As it turns out, one of Jacob’s sons actually didn’t bow to Esau, because he couldn’t. Benjamin who was in Rachel’s womb at the time hadn’t been born yet.
According to the ancient Midrash for Esther 3, Mordechai refusing to kneel to Haman was offensive enough, but with hundreds of years of family animosity built up, Mordechai’s slight of him became even more unbearable.
Haman was enraged that Mordechai wouldn’t bow, and when he discovered that the reason Mordechai wouldn’t bow was because he was a Jew, and even worse, a Benjaminite…
Haman began to persuade the King that the Jews of the empire were not loyal and should be destroyed. He even offered to pay for it all.
It was in the first month of Nissan when Haman cast lots to find a date to spring the trap; the lot fell nearly a year away, in the 12th month of Adar.
So, Haman convinced the king to issue a decree ordering the extermination of all the Jews, young and old, women and children in the entire kingdom on one day – the thirteenth of Adar.
Haman also wrote into the order to each province that they were “to plunder all of the possessions” of the Jews. Normally, the Jews’ possessions would have become property of the king. So, Haman made their possessions free for the taking, ensuring that everyone would participate in the massacre.
When Mordechai learned of the plot, he tore his clothes and convinced all the Jews in the capitol to wear sackcloth, repent, fast and pray. And across the empire, whenever the Jews heard the edict, there was great mourning.
Mordechai asked Esther to appeal to the king, but she was too afraid because it was forbidden even for her to approach the king without being asked.
Mordechai responded, “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Esther asked Mordechai to gather all the Jews of the city to fast and pray with her for three days before she approached the king.
On the third day, Esther was invited to visit the king, and she in turn asked the king and Haman to join her for a feast.
At the feast, the king offered to give her anything she desired, but she asked only for the King and Haman to attend another feast the very next day. He agreed.
Timing is everything in the Kingdom of God. That night two very important things happened. Haman’s wife convinced him to prepare a way to immediately kill Mordechai. Meanwhile, the king wasn’t able to sleep, and while doing some late-night reading realized that he had never rewarded Mordechai for saving his life.
Without revealing who was to be honored, the king asked Haman how to honor such a man, and he said to dress the man in the king’s royal robes and parade him around town, riding the king’s horse, and shouting that he was worthy of great honor. So, the king took his advice and commanded Haman to honor Mordechai.
Haman was horribly humiliated by the parade, but especially because of being forced to dress up Mordechai and honor him. It’s another issue that traces back to Haman’s heritage from Esau and Mordechai’s roots tracing back to Jacob.
The Targum on Esther 3 reveals that Haman’s hate for Mordecai stemmed from Jacob’s ‘dressing up’ like Esau to receive Isaac’s blessings.
Haman left the banquet and saw Mordechai once again still refusing to bow and Haman became enraged. To ease him, his wife suggested having a very high pole set up, and then asking the king to have Mordecai impaled on it.
Most translations still use the word gallows, implying Mordechai would have “a rope around his neck” and be hanged like in the Old West. That method of execution wouldn’t be used until the 1700’s (and that’s well over two thousand years after these events).
Impalement was the common method of execution in Mesopotamia in the time of Abraham; it was in Egypt in the time of Moses; likewise, the Assyrians, Medes, and Persians all impaled thousands of prisoners.
There are many drawings that show this quite clearly. Much like crucifixion, prisoners were impaled in such a way that they were kept alive suffering for many hours or even days.
So, there was no gallows built by Haman, but instead a 50-foot tree trunk sharpened on one end. That may have eased his anger, but that night at the second feast, things got a whole lot worse for Haman.
Esther revealed to the king that she was Jewish, and that Haman was going to annihilate her along with her people. The king was so overwhelmed he had to step out of the room to even speak.
Haman quickly fell onto Esther’s couch to beg for mercy; the king returned and saw Haman now so close to Esther, which enraged the king even more. At that point, the king had Haman’s face covered, which meant the king was far past upset.
“Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs attending the king, said, “A pole reaching to a height of fifty cubits stands by Haman’s house. He had it set up for Mordecai, who spoke up to help the king.”
The king said, “Impale him on it!” So they impaled Haman on the pole he had set up for Mordecai. Then the king’s fury subsided.”
It was a horrible way to die, so Haman definitely got his punishment. Haman was executed on Passover. That same day the king gave Esther Haman’s estate and appointed Mordechai as the new prime minister.
A Problem Becomes The Solution
Since the Law of the Medes and Persians cannot be rescinded, Haman’s decree couldn’t be revoked, but King Achashverosh (Ah-hash-ve-rosh) issued a second decree, granting the Jews the right to defend themselves against their enemies; “to destroy, kill and annihilate the armed men of any nationality who might attack them.” They had to wait 9 more months for that date to arrive.
Esther 8 says “And Mordechai left the king’s presence wearing a royal garment of blue and white, a large golden crown, and a shawl of fine linen and purple wool. And the city of Shushan celebrated and rejoiced.
For the Jews there was light and happiness, joy and prestige. And in every province and city to which the king’s edict and law reached, there was happiness and joy for the Jews, a celebration and a holiday. Many of the Gentiles converted to Judaism, for fear of the Jews had fallen upon them.”
When the 13th of Adar arrived, the Jews mobilized in every city and won a great victory killing 75,000 of their enemies. On the 14th of Adar, they rested and celebrated. In the capital city of Shushan, they took one more day to finish the job, including impaling Haman’s ten sons.
Mordechai ordered the Jews across the entire kingdom to set aside the 13th and 14th of Adar every year “to make them days of feasting, rejoicing, sending food portions one to another and giving gifts to the poor.” And he called the days Purim.
How they celebrate is actually very interesting. When Esther asked Mordechai to go and gather all the Jews of the city to fast and pray with her for three days before she approached the king, that one act was very significant in the way Purim is still celebrated.
Unity would be the antidote to Haman’s individual plans. It’s the reason there are specific traditions on Purim: You send presents to one another and gifts to the poor. Purim is intentionally a holiday you can’t celebrate alone.
By the end of the story Mordechai’s words to Esther, “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this,” become even more profound. Two of the most powerful people in the empire (the queen and the prime minister) were Jews who followed the God of the Bible.
Daniel, one of the greatest prophets of all time, was still serving head of the Magi or Wise Men who wielded great power, and whose followers would one day travel to witness the birth of Jesus.
9. Today 4 Things Are Expected of a Jew On Purim
- To Read the Megillah (book of Esther).
- To Give money to at least two poor people.
How much to give to the poor? To fulfill the mitzvah of giving charity to two poor people, you can give either food or money equivalent to the amount of food that is eaten at a regular meal. Even the poorest Jew, who is himself dependent on charity, is required to give to other poor people.
- To Send gifts baskets of sweets, snacks and other foodstuffs (with at least two kinds of food) to at least one person. These are called (mish-LO-ach muh-not)
- A traditional Purim food is three-cornered pastries bursting with chocolate, poppy seeds, fruit, or another sweet filling.
They’re called Haman-tash-en [in English] Ohz-neh huh-mahn in [Hebrew].
- A traditional Purim food is three-cornered pastries bursting with chocolate, poppy seeds, fruit, or another sweet filling.
- To Attend a Festive Feast.
- One important note: It specifically says to give gifts, not charity. Charity implies money given to the poor out of pity. But gifts are exchanged between equals as an expression of gratitude or friendship.
|Happy Purim||Hag (hog)||poh-reem||suh-may-ech|
Sadly, the celebration for many Jews will literally be days of drunken revelry, costume parties and parades all while overflowing with the wrong spirit, which is a terrible picture of virgins preparing for their bridegroom.
They are ignoring the warning of Isaiah 5, “Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them! They have lyre and harp, tambourine and flute and wine at their feasts, but they do not regard the deeds of the Lord, or see the work of his hands.”
On the day before Purim it is customary to fast, commemorating Esther’s fasting and praying to God that He save His people.
How should we celebrate? Purim points to end time events for which we need to be prepared. Knowing that those who all will perish and only those covered by the blood of Jesus will be saved, like Esther we should be fasting and praying for the peace of Jerusalem and the salvation of God’s chosen people.
Mordechai’s tradition of giving gifts of money and food certainly could represents the gift of salvation and sowing into Messianic ministries seeking to reach the Jews certainly fulfils the vision.
While the theme for Purim is celebration and victory, throughout history, Purim often coincided with significant events.
The February Revolution in Russia began at Purim in 1917 leading to the Czar abdicating his throne within the week.
In WWII in 1938, German troops invaded Austria at Purim.
At Purim 1942 the Auschwitz-Birkenau Camp was established.
Adolf Hitler banned and forbade the observance of Purim. Nazi attacks against Jews were often coordinated with Jewish festivals. On Purim 1942, ten Jews were hanged in Poland to “avenge” the hanging of Haman’s ten sons.
In an apparent connection made by Hitler between his Nazi regime and the role of Haman, Hitler stated in a speech made on January 30, 1944, that if the Nazis were defeated, the Jews could celebrate “a second Purim”.
In the early 1950s, Joseph Stalin, who butchered millions of innocent people, had plans to deal with the “Jewish problem” in the U.S.S.R. Then Stalin was suddenly paralyzed on 1 March 1953, on Purim, and died 4 days later.
Due to Stalin’s death, nationwide pogroms against Jews throughout the Soviet Union were averted, as Stalin’s infamous doctors’ plot was halted.
In 1990, Saddam Hussein of Iraq invaded Kuwait and fired SCUD missiles into Israel. After the U.S.-led forces attacked Iraq, we were victorious… and the hostilities ended on Purim!
10. How Is Purim “A Day Like Yom Kippur” and/or End Times Prophecy?
The scroll of Esther is definitely a foreshadowing of the great end times spiritual war, and the final victory Jesus brings. Esther is filled with shadows and types that point to end times prophecies.
Haman perfectly symbolizes the Antichrist; The closest word in Biblical Hebrew for “antichrist” is “tsorer” which is translated as “enemy”. Haman is referred to as “tsorer” four times.
Just like Haman tried to annihilate the Jews of Persia, the Antichrist will try to kill every Jew and Christian.
Just as Haman wasn’t satisfied to only punish Mordechai but united all 127 nations of Persia in his evil plot, so the Antichrist will unite the nations to attack the people and nation of Israel.
Esther, who prayed and trusted God with her life, is the interceding Church.
Mordechai, who is the first person called “Jewish”, would represent Jews who have discovered Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah.
Esther chapter 9 sums up Purim as, “two days on which they would celebrate in every generation, by every family, in every province and every city as if they were relieved of their enemies all over again, and their lives were transformed from sorrow to joy and from mourning to festivity. There should be feasting, rejoicing, sending food portions one to another and giving gifts to the poor.”
Purim was such a big deal that those two days in Adar are compared to the holiest day of the Jewish year, Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).
But wait, there are probably not two more opposite days in the Jewish calendar than Purim and Yom Kippur.
When we first see Jesus in the Book of Revelation, He is wearing the robes that the High-Priest wears on The Day of Atonement. For Christians, Jesus took our judgment on Himself – we plead for salvation for the lost. And we wear white because, one day we too will die.
At Yom Kippur the Jews are pleading for mercy from judgment.
They dress in all white as if they were dead, fast from food and drink and lots of other physical pleasures, and instead devote themselves to prayer and repentance, in hopes that God will write their names in the Book of Life and rescue them from death.
Yom Kippur is one of the most significant Feasts because it gives us insight into the End times (Including the Second Coming and the Final Judgment.)
Yom Kippur is the one day each year when the High Priest could enter in the Holy of Holies. He would go through the veil or curtain that separated the holiest of places from the rest of the Temple.
The veil represented the separation between God and man due to man’s sin. And that veil represented Jesus, so when He died on the cross for sin, which separated us from God, the veil of His body was torn.
The most important realization you will ever have is that you can’t do anything to fix yourself.
You have to stop, turn your eyes on Jesus, ask Him to save you from yourself, from your sin.
That is the only atonement for sin that otherwise will lead all of us to judgment, death, and hell.
The Day of Atonement is what we call the end times Judgment Day.
One day we will all stand before God and He will ask,
“Did you do justly, did you love mercy, and did you walk humbly with Me?
But there is one more question that is infinitely more important because the life and death of each of us hang on it. That question is “Do I know you and do you know me?”
Everyone, Jew, and Gentile needs Yeshua Jesus if they are to know peace at the final judgment.
We can’t become right with God (righteous) from what we do or even obedience to the law.
Righteousness comes by faith. Trusting in Jesus to be in charge or resting in confidence.
This resting is encountering Christ intimately – becoming one with Him and His will.
In Colossians chapter two Paul says, “Don’t let any man judge you in respect to holy days, new moons, Sabbath days: Which are all a shadow of things to come; for the substance is of Christ” (Colossians 2:16-17).
For people without Jesus, atonement can only mean to try to make up for the wrong they did,
and to try to make up for not doing the right things.
They are trying to atone for disobedience and for the lack of obedience.
Judgment Day came when Yeshua Jesus came for us at Passover. Justice was served to Him for us through His sacrificial offering for our sins. Our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
At Yom Kippur, the High Priest would be covered in blood from making the sacrifice. Then he went into the Holy of Holies to pour the blood on the Mercy Seat (Kapporet – which means “purge, atone, expiate, and propitiate,” and relates back to the word kippur).
In the Torah in Hebrew, Yom Kippur is written in the plural, Yom Ha-Kippurim (יוֹם הַכִּפֻּרִים),
the Day of Atonements. Why?
The Day of Atonement is a National Atonement – It is not for individuals.
You don’t bring a sacrifice for your sins. It’s not a singular atonement, its plural, it’s for everyone.
Yom Kippurim (has a second meaning – its more than just “multiple atonements”.
It also means “a day like Purim”).
So, what’s a “day like Purim” like? Next!
11. Purim vs Yom Kippur
Meanwhile, Purim is celebrated loudly in costumes with noisemakers. There is feasting and drinking, giving money to the poor, sending food to a friend, all because God rescued His people.
At Purim & During the End Times we will be clothed in white robes of righteousness
and we will wear white for our marriage to Yeshua our Bridegroom,
and wear white while we ride on white horses with Jesus to bring the sword of His judgment
Yom Kippur is “a day like Purim”. Purim is really all about atonement; a day like Yom Kippur when God made a way for all of Israel to be cleansed from a multitude of sin and death.
Purim and Yom Kippur are both days of deliverance and salvation. Both look back in history and we are told to celebrate both as if we were actually there, and it is happening to us.
Purim became a day of deliverance and salvation for all Jews everywhere.
Likewise, the day Yeshua Jesus sacrificed Himself on the cross is like Purim,
because through Jesus, both Jew and Gentile were forever delivered from our enemies
(sin and the devil). Purim was also a picture of the end times.
Purim may be a reminder to us that our wedding day to Jesus is set, so that as we pass thru tribulations, we will hold on to hope knowing that even though evil threatens, victory is guaranteed. Purim takes place in Adar, the last month of the year. So, prophetically speaking, whatever it represents must be the last thing that is to happen in history.
There is always more than meets the eye when it comes to Feasts. In end times scriptures we are often called the Bride of Christ, and we are waiting for our Groom to come and get us and for the wedding supper in heaven (which is the Passover meal). And of course, there is the theme of white robes that runs through Revelation that points to our wedding.
One of the themes of the scroll of Esther is the wearing of royal clothes. Esther wears them to go before the king and is described as being “arrayed in beauty”. When the king wants to show honor to the person who saved his life, Haman, thinking the king is speaking of him hatches a fantastical tribute that would enable him to wear the king’s robes. And after the king appoints Mordechai prime minister, he appears in royal garments. In Christ, we have been clothed with Christ, and His royalty and anointing has become ours.
Revelation 19 “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.”
Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war…
The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.”
12. The Wedding Day is Set
What Happens During Purim in the New Testament (it’s right before Passover):
2. He healed the lame man at the Pool of Bethesda on Purim. In Revelation, “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”
Both events are describing our time in heaven and the New Earth. Spiritually speaking, Passover (in the 1st month) is our betrothal to Jesus (and it’s there that the veil of the tabernacle is destroyed forever).
You count 50 days to Pentecost (in the 3rd month) which is the engagement ring (but represents our actual wedding one day in heaven).
Nine more months brings you to Purim, (which takes place on the last month), which should be all about our marriage to him and life with him. Because there is no victory without favor, and the intimacy of marriage is what brings that.
But there is that long waiting period. Purim literally represents one of the last stages of the journey- we are the virgin bride waiting for Him to return for us. The end times involve lots of waiting. Purim takes place over the course of one year. There is a lot of waiting as we face the fear of death and destruction.
I believe Purim is an almost perfect picture of what’s coming next and for years beyond.
The mouth is how we say our vows, make and accept the proposal, and declare and accept blessings. One type of Death is death to the former single/unmarried self.
Esther is a picture of all of this. She needed to see the king and be close enough to share her heart with him so she could tell him of the grave danger she faced along with all of her people. But she had to be summoned. Waiting to be summoned is not a random part of Purim. As the bride of Jesus, we are all waiting to be summoned to heaven for our wedding.
So, the plan was to fast for three days with all the Jews in the kingdom. And their fast was a “rend your clothes, don’t take a bath, don’t eat, and three days later you are gonna look like you’ve been fasting” kind of fast.
And the plan was for Esther to then go and stand near the throne room where the king could see her, desire her, and summon her. It’s complete dependence on God because she did not look her best after that fast. Apart from her beautiful robe, she looked terrible. Only God giving the king love for her would cause him to summon her.
We need a word from the king. But we need to realize that it is life or death for us to receive that word, and to seek him with all that we have. We may not be facing extinction yet, but we are dealing with covid, death, loss, corruption in our political system and with elections, and so much more. God is planning on turning the tide, just not in the way we think.
There is a beautiful picture of a faith like Esther’s in Mark 14. Speaking of Jesus, “While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.”
This tender story of how Jesus (in Hebrew Yeshua meaning salvation) was anointed before His crucifixion. Why did the alabaster box needed to be broken when Mary could have simply opened it and poured out the nard? Some say this extremely expensive and precious perfume which might have been Mary’s dowry, so she refused to use that box for any other purpose after anointing Him. If so, that meant Mary understood that she was representing all of us as His bride and her tender gift was an expression of a bridal vow to Jesus alone.
God is asking for total devotion and commitment. A soul that will give the best of everything she has. It’s a picture of brokenness, which is followed by anointing with its beautiful fragrance. Every devoted follower who has ever offered themselves to Jesus experiences circumstances that “break” them just like this. The result is that the fragrance of perfume “fills the room” following the breaking. Meaning, people broken before the Lord “smell” different. Their humility and love set an environment that is unmistakable. “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” 2 Corinthians 2:15.
We become an inspiration to others as they walk through the situations that break them. When we offer ourselves and our most precious things on the altar of sacrifice, it is then that we are like the 5 wise virgins with sufficient oil for the wedding. We bring Him pleasure that will “fill the room”.
13. Bride of Christ
Esther is a beautiful picture of the Bride of Christ. She is literally the Queen of the World, with a hidden love for her Jewish roots. Suddenly the world turns upside down and here people are about to be destroyed. Her privilege and destiny suddenly come face to face with the reality that she was placed in this amazing life so that she can save her people, but only if she is willing to risk everything.
She decides to obey and chooses fasting and intercession as her weapon. She had been given intimacy with the king of this world and every treasure she desired, but she surrendered it all to God to experience intimacy with Him. Disaster was turned into victory, their enemies destroyed, and the kingdom was delivered to her people (the saints).
One final exciting development: “many of the peoples of the earth became Jews.” In this end times paradigm, those conversions preview a great harvest of souls during the tribulation, and many saints recognizing that they are connected to Israel and develop a love for their people.
Matthew 25 warns us: “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.”
But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ [repent]
Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’
But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’
And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.
Oil causes the lamps to light up; It’s the presence of the Holy Spirit illuminating the Word of God.
Count the cost. Jesus said buy from me. Sometimes He said come to me and I will give you. In Revelation in the letters to the churches he said buy from me. The 10 wise virgins He said needed to buy oil from Him not from people, but from Him.
They should’ve counted the cost they didn’t; they were cast into outer darkness. Between the Feast of First Fruits and Pentecost, they were commanded to count the days – 50 days till Pentecost. Jesus stayed on the earth for 40 days before He ascended and then said wait for Pentecost to receive, which came 10 days later. That’s a shadow; counting – that’s the focus.
You don’t have to be baptized in the Holy Spirit to be saved. But He wants you to be filled; He wants you to be full of Him so you can shine your light which requires oil.
He said darkness is going to come on the face of the earth, so He knows you will use up your oil. So He says buy from me – come to me get full – be filled.
Revelation Chapter 4
“To Laodicea: I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.”
They didn’t count the cost. You have to buy from Jesus, not from man. There will be many full pews the day after the rapture because they spent their time only trying to buy from man instead of Jesus.
This is all about spending time in His presence to be filled with Him so, like Moses, we glow when we return into the world.
The Lord expects light from and His people. The light of God in our lives comes from the Holy Spirit, which causes ministry to happen in the lives of believers. Burning oil produces light. If we are spiritual “virgins” because we are betrothed to Jesus, we ought to bear His light in this dark world.
Still, He has told us that some virgins will not have the wisdom to do it, so it is a warning to us; a warning not to quench the Spirit, but to be filled with Him and be the light of the world.
And I’ll leave you with this last verse or two that I believe may help us make sense of these seasons we are in the midst of traveling through. There is a way to walk in victory. There is a way that God has designed for His bride to carry herself, so that He can carry her.
“Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca [Weeping], they make it a spring;
The rain also covers it with pools [blessings]. They go from strength to strength;
Each one appears before God in Zion [The God of gods shall be seen].” Psalm 84:5-7