It’s Purim, which means we are studying events from the Book of Esther about 2,500 years ago in Persia (and we’ll look at the fascinating End-times shadows and types).
And in the Spirit of Purim, we are going to give you the opportunity to do what God asked us to do: feast, rejoice, send food to others, and give gifts to the poor.
I love Deuteronomy 16 – it tells us how God wants us to celebrate Him. “Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way Yehovah your God has blessed you.”
Purim is about Deliverance, Joy and Giving. For Victory 91.5, Purim falls during the winter when Victory usually has to make financial adjustments because donations drop below our needs.
So, I want to make a Purim appeal as I teach this morning.
We need support – and Purim is a perfect time to give – I’m asking you to give.
Kelly came in early with me – Call 770-781-9150 or Go Online at victory.radio and give now.
1. Purim – An Overview
Officially, Purim began yesterday evening (hopefully, you saw that beautiful full moon). Purim runs all day today and Wednesday. On our calendar, we are in the 3rd month (March). But on the Biblical Calendar, it’s the last month of the Jewish year, and the Jews end it with a Purim bang!
As you probably know, there are two Biblical Calendars; one that starts in the Fall in the month of Tishrei at Rosh Hashanah; and one that starts in the Spring, which begins next month with Passover (in exactly 30 days on April 6th), so this month is the last month of that Biblical Calendar. Today is the 14th of Adar (ahh-dar).
Purim is also known as the Fast/Feast of Esther. It’s the story of Hadassah [her Hebrew name], or Esther [which is Persian], who becomes the Queen of Persia. It’s the story of how God delivered His people at a time when death was literally at the door, and everything seemed lost – but instead – it was the beginning of one of the most beautiful rescue stories.
And that’s why, instead of fasting and mourning when the month of Adar arrives, there is a saying, “When Adar comes in, we greatly rejoice.” And that pretty much sums it up. The story’s ending is so good that the terrible parts aren’t so bad anymore. It’s all celebration and no mourning.
Why should we, as Christians, care about or celebrate it? It’s a glimpse at the End Times on the prophetic calendar. Prophetically speaking, if our salvation which happens on the cross at Passover (in the first month), is the beginning of our spiritual life, then the events of Purim (which occur in the last month) will be the final events that everything is progressing toward in our relationship with our Bridegroom Jesus.
These events are found in Revelation 18 and 19 – it’s our wedding to Him (where we’re dressed in white) and also what follows that wedding – the King of Kings riding out on a white horse followed by the armies of heaven (we’re still dressed in white) to conquer all of those who opposed Him.
Revelation 6:2 also gives us a tiny preview, “I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.”
Purim is the only Feast Day specifically about a crown (a king) and a conqueror that is bent on conquest.
2,500 years ago, Purim was all about a wedding of an orphan girl to a king who reigned over 127 nations – essentially the whole earth; the destruction of a great enemy of the Jews in one great battle which brought salvation to all Jews; and it was all overseen by one who used the title King of Kings. It’s an amazing shadow and type of our End Times wedding to Jesus and the judgment of all evil.
As a side note, before Purim on the Biblical Calendar are all of the Fall Feasts, which preview the rapture, tribulation, and the rest of the end times events, which find their finale in Purim.
The Jews have celebrated Purim throughout history with great zeal, and the enemy of the story Haman initiated came to represent their current enemy. These enemies included the Greeks, the Romans, Christians, Muslims, and the Nazi’s – whoever their evil oppressor was at the time.
So, on the one hand, the story of Purim is about how God has faithfully cared for His chosen beloved – the Jews. God has protected, cared for them, and redeemed them from the hand of their oppressors.
But, as Gentiles, we know that God has adopted us as sons with full rights of sonship. And we also know the end of the story. It’s clear that Purim is about His Bride – the whole church – Jews (the naturally born of Abraham, who believe in faith that Yeshua Jesus is the Messiah) and Gentiles (those who have been adopted or grafted into Abraham through the blood of Jesus).
Purim is for all of the redeemed – Jew and Gentile – to celebrate our Bridegroom, Yeshua Jesus, and the great ending of His 6,000-year-old story.
2. Days of Joy
God structured His story (the 6,000 years of world history) into Seven Feasts of Yehovah (plus two minor feasts), which occur throughout the year on God’s Calendar.
These Feasts are “the parables” that help us keep our focus on Christ through every season. Several days throughout the year are also set aside for mourning and fasting when great tragedies occurred.
Today is Purim – it’s not one of the 7 Feasts – it’s one of the two additional festivals called Yom Simchah, “Days of Joy”.
The two Days of Joy both occurred long after the days of Moses, long after the Torah was completed, so they are not listed in the Torah. Today is one of those – we remember them because they are like parables that point to and reveal the Messiah. They are about intimacy – a picture of our relationship with Jesus as His Bride.
The 2 Days of Joy are Hanukkah in December – and Purim in February or March. Both festivals are celebrations of great victories.
Hanukkah celebrates two events: when Israel won a great victory against the mighty Greek Empire. And when the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary (when Yeshua Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit).
The second of the Days of Joy is Purim. We can see Purim as a wedding and war – the last part of God’s story – when Jesus defeats all our enemies and becomes our Bridegroom!
The Jews of Ancient Persia faced extermination at the hands of an evil man, Haman [In Hebrew, it’s pronounced (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? It was 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 to Asia.
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 one of the wealthiest men of his time and acquired those riches by seizing the treasures of the Kings of Judah.
The Feast is called Purim, but what is a Pur? The word Purim is Persian, not Hebrew. It’s pronounced (either Pur-um or Poh-reem). The name comes from the practice of casting lots (or pur in Persian – the plural is Pur-im). Purim were small flat stones, bones, dice, or anything that could be tossed to help make a decision (like flipping a coin).
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 that Haman did this during the first month of Nissan. The lots came up pointing to the month of Adar, which is the 12th month, so while the events in this part of the story seem to take place over a short time (it feels like just a few weeks pass), but it actually happens over the course of an entire year.
To understand the significance of Purim, which took place in Persia – and the life of Esther, her uncle Mordechai, Haman, and King Xerxes – who all lived about 500 years before the coming of Jesus – we need to know how they fit into the world and the bible. To do that, we need to journey back to the time of Jacob and Esau – about 1,200 years before Purim to discover the back story.
We’ll start around 1,700 BC. You probably remember the story. Jacob and Esau were twins, but Esau came out first, so he had the eldest son’s birthright. Jacob tricked him twice when they were grown and stole his birthright and blessing. Esau promised to kill him, so Jacob fled and lived with their uncle for 20 years when he became wealthy and had a large family.
When Jacob brought his family home for the first time, he asked for forgiveness and repaid Esau, and the two estranged brothers reconciled. Both returned to the land of Canaan and lived for many years until their possessions were too great to live together. By this time, Esau’s sons had been born, so he took his family east toward Edom.
And this is where the story turns. Esau’s grandchildren were all born in the new land away from Jacob. One of them, named Amalek, developed a powerful hatred against Jacob’s heritage because several generations later, when Israel was making their way from Egypt to Mount Sinai, they passed through the land of Amalek, and the Amalekites violently attacked Israel.
The battle in Exodus 17 is famous – it’s the one where the brothers of Moses, Aaron, and Hur, had to support the arms of Moses as he held up his staff – by sunset, the Israelites had defeated the Amalekites.
And God cursed the sons of Amalek then, “I will completely erase any memory of the Amalekites from the earth. Because a hand was lifted against Yah’s throne, Yehovah will be at war against the Amalekites from one generation to the next.”
And in the final days of Moses, God added these words from Deuteronomy 25:17-19, “Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you came out of Egypt, how he attacked you on the way when you were faint and weary, and cut off your tail, those who were lagging behind you, and he did not fear God. Therefore when Yehovah your God has given you rest from all your enemies around you, in the land that Yehovah your God is giving you for an inheritance to possess, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you shall not forget.”
But of course, the children of Israel never stayed faithful to God, so the Amalekites were a constant source of bloodshed and poverty. Still, God was faithful to His word. About 500 years later, He commanded Saul, Israel’s first king, “Thus says Yehovah of hosts: ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt. Now go and strike Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’”
Sadly, Saul disobeyed, so God rejected him as king from that day forward. “But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed.”
So, the Amalekites continued to be a constant and brutal enemy, and in the end, an Amalekite struck the final blow that killed Saul. They would continue to be a scourge against Israel with David as king and continue to harass them until the captivities of Assyria and Babylon. Hold on to that knowledge about the Amalekites – because they will be back – and significant.
4. This Is Sparta!
To understand Purim’s significance, we need to know how they fit into the world and the bible. We have journeyed 700 years from before the Egyptian captivity to when an Amalekite killed King Saul. We set the Amalekites aside for just a bit, but they will be back, so I’ll show you why they play a huge part in the story of Purim.
We have gone 700 years from the time of Jacob and Esau to around 1,000 BC when Saul was killed (3,000 years ago). King David ascended the throne for forty years, followed by his son Solomon, who also ruled 40 years and built the House of Yehovah but eventually fell away from God.
At that point in 920 BC, Israel was broken into two separate kingdoms. The tribes of Judah and Benjamin (along with the Levites) made up the Southern Kingdom of Judah. And ten Northern Tribes split off to form the Northern Kingdom of Israel, which continually rebelled against God, and after 200 years of that, in 720 BC, God cast them out of the land. They were taken into captivity by the Assyrian Empire to the north and scattered across the kingdom, eventually assimilated and essentially disappeared.
Then God also punished their captors; the vast Assyrian empire slowly unraveled as its subject peoples rebelled. Eventually, Nebuchadnezzar seized control of Babylon and then the kingdom with help from the Medes and Persians.
Meanwhile, Judah stayed faithful to Yehovah for a while; they made it another 134 years until 586 BC, when King Nebuchadnezzar invaded, destroyed the Temple, and took them into captivity, where they would stay for the next 70 years.
But during that time, God also destroyed the Babylonian Empire as rebellions continually rose up across the kingdom, and Cyrus the Great established the beginnings of the Persian Kingdom in 549 BC. Cyrus was known for his mercy rather than his cruelty.
In one of the most incredible Bible prophecies, one hundred fifty years before Cyrus lived, God called him by name six times and gave details of the king’s future decree to free the Jews to Isaiah: “This is what Yehovah says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him…I summon you by name and bestow on you a title of honor, though you do not acknowledge me.” “He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please” (Isaiah 44 & 45).
And in 538 BC, King Cyrus permitted the Jews to return to Jerusalem to begin rebuilding the Temple. But despite the profound prophecies and miraculous deliverance, many Jews refused to return to the land of Israel. A significant number of Jews stayed and made Persia their permanent home.
So, as we encounter the Book of Esther in the Bible, the events take place in Persia with those Jews who have decided to make it their home for good.
About 60 years have passed since the time of Cyrus; his grandson Darius the Great has spent his years trying and failing to quell rebellions in Greece and Egypt.
As Darius prepared for another war against Greece, a revolt was rising in Egypt. But his health failed, and he died before he could leave.
So, the historical backdrop for Purim’s story is just after Darius died in 486 BC. His son, Xerxes (also called Ahasuerus [Ah-hash-ve-rosh]), came to the throne, immediately took his army to Egypt, and successfully quelled the rebellions.
As the book of Esther begins, Chapter 1 takes place when Xerxes’s back home to celebrate the victories in Egypt and to raise an even larger army which he will use to attack Greece in what came to be known as the infamous Battle of Thermopylae against the Spartans.
The modern telling of the story is the movie “The 300” when 300 Spartan warriors led by King Leonidas stood their ground in a narrow pass against Xerxes and tens of thousands of Persians. You’ve probably seen the memes. A Persian messenger describes to King Leonidas the futility of their resistance and tells him, “this is madness!” To which Leonidas responds, “This is Sparta!” – meaning death is a suitable ending.
Needless to say, the Spartans were massacred, and Athens was captured and burned by Xerxes. But within a year, the Greeks reclaimed their kingdom. So, there was no end to the Greek rebellion.
The rest of the events of Purim with Esther all occurred after Xerxes returned from his battles and the Greeks had reclaimed their kingdom. So, he’s not a happy camper and will continue to face rebellions.
And this is the atmosphere when he eliminates a disobedient queen, replaces her with Esther, rewards her uncle Mordechai for preventing his assassination, and when the evil Haman can stoke the idea of a Jewish rebellion to convince the king of the importance of annihilating the Jews.
5. Hadassah & Mordechai
We’re breaking down the story of Purim. We are in Persia about 500 years before the time of Jesus. Persian King Ahasuerus (Ah-hash-ve-rosh), or Xerxes, was back home after his victorious campaign of stamping out revolts in Egypt, and He was hosting a six-month feast to honor his armies and the leaders of his massive kingdom.
His queen’s name was Vashti, the great-granddaughter of Nebuchadnezzar (who destroyed the first Temple). Ahasuerus (Ah-hash-ve-rosh) drank way too 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 and, according to scripture, was banished, but ancient Jewish sources claim that she was actually executed.
Either way, since Xerxes is the “groom” in the Purim story, we have to wonder what it was like for Esther to be married to him. Since he now needed a new queen, the king ordered that every young woman in his massive kingdom be prepared and brought before him so he could choose a replacement for Vashti. And no woman could refuse him.
During the next four years, while Xerxes marched his armies against Greece, more than 1,400 girls were brought to the palace to live while going through in-depth preparations so the king could choose 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.
During the 10th Month, called Tevet, she was brought to the palace to live with all the other girls, but Mordechai 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 is that though Mordechai was a Benjaminite, but 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 seems like all 12 tribes were 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 associated with the word for “hidden”, so 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 they had 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.
But let’s not forget Mordechai – he’s a big part of the story. He was a protective father who would visit the palace daily 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. Remember, Persia is forever filled with revolt.
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.
6. No Forgetting
It’s time to pick up the story of the Amalekites because it’s time for the villain of the story to appear. And also to see how determined God is to accomplish His will.
So, Esther is Queen, and all is well. Then, 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.”
It’s called the book of Esther, but both Esther and Haman’s names are mentioned the same amount – 54 times each. Equal light with equal darkness.
It’s 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.
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 plotted to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews of Persia, young and old, infants and women, in a single day, 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, likewise, the Antichrist will unite the nations to attack the people and nation of Israel.
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 – yes, those Amalekites – One of the worst enemies of the Jewish people.
From their earliest days, God commanded Israel to “blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven. You shall not forget.” But the Jews mostly ignored that command; Israel had victories over them as they entered the Promised Land, but they never finished the job.
You may remember that Amalek came from the line of Esau. Back when Jacob brought his family home for the first time, he had to face Esau – whom he had betrayed. 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 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. Still, with hundreds of years of family animosity, Mordechai’s slight of him became even more unbearable.
Haman was enraged that Mordechai wouldn’t bow, and when he discovered that Mordechai wouldn’t bow 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.
In the first month of Nissan, 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 in the order to each province that they were “to plunder all of the possessions” of the Jews. Usually, the Jews’ possessions would have become the king’s property. So, Haman made their possessions free for the taking, ensuring 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 dinner, the king offered to give her anything she desired, but she only asked the King and Haman to attend another banquet the next day. He agreed.
We are breaking down the details of the story of Purim. Esther had 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 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 only asked the King and Haman to attend another feast the next day. He agreed.
Timing is everything in the Kingdom of God. That night two critical things happened. Haman’s wife convinced him to prepare a way to kill Mordechai immediately. Meanwhile, the king couldn’t sleep, and while doing some late-night reading, he 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, mainly 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, who ‘dressed up’ like Esau to receive Isaac’s blessings.
Haman left the banquet and saw Mordechai again, still refusing to bow, and Haman became enraged. To ease him, his wife suggested setting up a very high pole and then asking the king to have Mordecai impaled on it.
Many 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 1700s (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. Many drawings show this quite clearly. Like the torture of crucifixion, prisoners were impaled, so they were kept alive, suffering for many hours or even days.
So, there were 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 much worse for Haman.
Esther revealed to the king that she was Jewish and that Haman would annihilate her and her people. The king was so overwhelmed that he had to step out of the room even to 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 Xerxes issued a second decree, granting the Jews the right to defend themselves against their enemies using the same language Haman used; “to destroy, kill and annihilate the armed men of any nationality who might attack them.” But they had to wait nine 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.
Let me remind you of God’s words in Deuteronomy 25, “you shall blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven. Do not forget!” The Israelites did a terrible job of blotting out Amalek’s name. He grew stronger. Then the task was given to King Saul to finish the job. Not only did he fail, but an Amalekite eventually killed Saul.
Now, if God says, “Don’t forget!” – He won’t forget either. And in this case, God remembered and added a sweet dose of irony. King Saul was a Benjamite, the son of Kish.
You might remember that Hadassah (Esther) and Mordechai were also Benjamites and, amazingly, were also from the line of Kish. So, God even used Saul’s ancestors to fulfill what he failed to do.
Purim is a feast that you celebrate with great rejoicing. And there is a reason for that. After the Jew’s great victory over their enemies across Persia, Mordechai ordered all 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 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 that Purim is still celebrated.
While Haman alone platted the destruction of the Jews, their unity would be the antidote. 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.
Several Things Are Expected of a Jew On Purim
- To Give money to at least two poor people. One important note: It’s giving 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.
- To Send Gifts Baskets of Sweets and Snacks to at least one person.
- To Attend a Festive Festival & To Read the Megillah (the Book of Esther).
Megillah is the Hebrew word for a scroll or a book. The Megillah of Esther is known as “The Megillah” because it’s so popular. It’s chanted in a very interactive, fun, and noisy way with people 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. Some write 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].
On the day before Purim, it is customary to fast and pray to commemorate Esther’s fasting and prayer for God to save His people.
How should we celebrate? Purim points to end-time events for which we need to be prepared.
Like Esther, we should be fasting and praying for the peace of Jerusalem and the salvation of God’s chosen people. And like Mordechai’s tradition of giving, we can sow into ministries seeking to reach the lost.
While the theme for Purim is celebration and victory, throughout history, Purim often coincided with significantly bad events by those who hated the Jews.
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 in 1942, the Auschwitz-Birkenau Camp was established.
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”.
9. A Day Like Yom Kippur
Esther’s scroll foreshadows the great end-times spiritual war and the final victory Jesus brings. 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 there are not two more opposite days in the Jewish calendar than Purim and Yom Kippur.
At Yom Kippur, Jews are pleading for mercy from judgment. They dress in all white as if they were dead, fast from food, drink, and many 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 the one day each year when the High Priest can enter the Holy of Holies through the veil, representing 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. That is the only atonement for sin that otherwise will lead us to judgment, death, and hell. The Day of Atonement is what we call the end times Judgment Day.
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 or atone” and relates to the word Kippur).
Unlike the solemn day of fasting and dying to yourself on Yom Kippur, Purim is celebrated loudly in costumes with noisemakers. There is feasting and drinking, giving money to the poor, and sending food to a friend, all because God rescued His people.
Perhaps the most interesting prophetic feature of Purim for Christians is its name. The Persian word Purim refers to “the lots” that Haman cast to decide the date the Jews expected annihilation. Which begs the question, why name a victory celebration after the tool your enemy used to terrorize you for a year?
When God established the Feasts, the holiest one was called Yom Kippur. But “Kippur” was written in the plural as “Kippurim”, meaning multiple atonements.
One reason is that the atonement was national – not for individuals. No one brought a sacrifice for their own sins because the atonement was for everyone, like Jesus on the cross.
But the plural, “Yom Kippurim”, also had a second meaning, creating an unexplained foreshadowing. Yom Kippurim also literally meant “a day like Purim” – one thousand years before Purim even existed.
In Revelation 18, Jesus laid out the picture very clearly; it foretells of the great and final fall of Babylon the Great (where Purim occurred), which takes place in the end times right before the events of chapter 19 – the wedding of God’s people to Jesus and their remarkable battle to bring justice to the earth – the very circumstances that Purim foreshadows.
Purim is the day that God has set aside (a-“lot”-ed or “purim-ed”) to make mankind atone for their evil. Atonement also means reparation, payback, and restitution. It’s hard to miss.
So, about 600 years after Purim occurred and 1,600 years after God named Yom Kippurim, He painted an unmistakable picture of His intentions and the veiled connotations of “Kippurim”.
Sadly, for those Jews who reject Yeshua Jesus, Purim can only ever be a celebration of an ancient victory over their enemies.
But for His bride, who is waiting for Him to return and bring her to be with Him forever, clothe her in white, marry her, and ride with her on white horses to destroy everyone who ever sought her destruction, Purim is so much more. It’s a yearly anticipation of the victory of Jesus. And it’s a very fitting celebration for Christians.
Purim may be a reminder to us that our wedding day to Jesus is set so that as we pass through tribulations, we will hold on to hope, knowing that even though evil threatens, victory is guaranteed.
10. The Lion & The Lamb
One of the themes of Esther is wearing royal clothes. There’s a wedding, and Esther wears “her royal robes” to go before the king when she needs to capture his heart and attention. Then when the king wants to honor Mordechai for saving his life, he gives him his own royal robes to wear.
So, if that’s the theme in the shadow of Purim, naturally, it’s also a theme found in Revelation 19:7-8 at the wedding of the Lamb, “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure” – for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.” And then the bride transitions – from the wedding – to riding into battle on white horses – the bride is still wearing the same white linen behind Jesus – which was the shadow that Purim cast.
“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.
And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.” Rev.19:11-16
Now, when we read about the wedding – we tend to see Jesus – the Lamb of God – in a very tender light. But then His eyes are ablaze, His robe is bloody, a sword is coming out of His mouth – and we tend to switch and see Him now as the mighty Lion of Judah – the tender lamb is gone. But it’s important to realize that the mighty warrior riding the White horse is actually still the Lamb.
It’s really easy to see Purim through the light of the great battle across all of Persia and the thousands of Jewish people defeating their worst enemy.
But when we arrive at Revelation 19, before the wedding and battle, there are four different songs beginning with “the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, Hallelujah!”.
As it happens, ten other songs precede these four Hallelujahs – which are the last and greatest songs of Revelation – the crescendo of constant worship that begins in Chapters 4 and 5, when we first arrive at the throne and encounter angels and creatures of all sorts.
There is a scroll that can’t be opened, but then we hear of “the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” Obviously, Jesus is that Lion, but notice who takes the scroll and opens it – “the Lamb that had been slain”.
This is actually the only time we see Jesus called the Lion of the tribe of Judah in Revelation. He’s called the Lamb 28 times. The title of the Lion of the tribe of Judah is really important – but not really for the reason we think.
And I wonder if we haven’t gotten the wrong idea from Narnia and Aslan (which I love – my books are marked up from front to back) – But the problem is Aslan plays both parts in the story of Jesus – he’s the lamb that’s slain – but he does this while being the lion – and then he brings justice as the lion.
The title “Lion of Judah” for Jesus identifies His lineage as Messiah – and to identify His nature – which is praised – it’s the meaning of the word Judah – it’s not to change the perspective of Who is bringing judgment – it’s always the Lamb that was slain – it’s His wrath.
In Revelation 6:15-17 “And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”
What does it mean “to be of the Lion of Judah”? Genesis 29 tells us the story of Jacob and his two wives Rachel, whom he loved – and Leah, whom he was forced to marry, in order to marry Rachel. They were both barren. Let’s pick up the story of Judah’s arrival.
Genesis 29:31-35 “When Yehovah saw that Leah was unloved/hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren (or still barren). And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben, for she said, “Because Yehovah has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.” Reuben means “see” or “behold, a son!”) Essentially, she’s saying, “Now I am seen. I’m Not Invisible. I have worth.” That was all she needed to feel loved. And yes, that is heartbreaking.
“She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because Yehovah has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon.” Simeon means I’m Heard – can you imagine what it was like to live in a home where you are not wanted – she had no voice.
“Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi.” Levi means “joined to” in the sense of marriage – “I’m his wife – the one who gives heirs – I’m valued.”
“And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This time I will praise Yehovah.” Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she ceased bearing.” Judah means “Praised”. And I love that journey. She is no longer living for anyone’s approval, acceptance, or value. “This time I will praise Yehovah.” And she had no more children. Just Wow.
The Lion of Judah isn’t about the teeth and claws of God as a Lion. It’s the Roar. It’s Praise. It’s Worship. Judah brings praise – even from the ones who have never been loved and have never praised Him. He’s beyond worthy of praise just because He is. The Conqueror is a Lamb. The Lion provides the Roar of Love.
11. The Waiting
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 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.
Esther is a picture of all of this. She needed to see the king and be close enough to share her heart with him to tell him of the grave danger she faced along with all her people. But she had to be summoned. Waiting to be called 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 go then and stand near the throne room where the king could see, desire, 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.
Esther is a beautiful picture of the Bride of Christ. She is the Queen of the World, with a hidden love for her Jewish roots. Suddenly the world turns upside down, and her 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. The disaster was turned into victory, their enemies were 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 recognize that they are connected to Israel and develop a love for their people.
And I’ll leave you with this last verse or two that may help us make sense of these seasons we are 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