Painting of 1625 Titled ‘Feast of Esther’
From sunset March 7th to sunset March 9th is the Feast of Purim (some Jews only keep the first day), which comes from the Book of Esther:
1 Now in the twelfth month, that is, the month of Adar, on the thirteenth day, the time came for the king’s command and his decree to be executed. On the day that the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, the opposite occurred, in that the Jews themselves overpowered those who hated them. 2 The Jews gathered together in their cities throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus to lay hands on those who sought their harm. And no one could withstand them, because fear of them fell upon all people. 3 And all the officials of the provinces, the satraps, the governors, and all those doing the king’s work, helped the Jews, because the fear of Mordecai fell upon them. 4 For Mordecai was great in the king’s palace, and his fame spread throughout all the provinces; for this man Mordecai became increasingly prominent. 5 Thus the Jews defeated all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, with slaughter and destruction, and did what they pleased with those who hated them. (Esther 9:1-5)
20 And Mordecai wrote these things and sent letters to all the Jews, near and far, who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, 21 to establish among them that they should celebrate yearly the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar, 22 as the days on which the Jews had rest from their enemies, as the month which was turned from sorrow to joy for them, and from mourning to a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and joy, of sending presents to one another and gifts to the poor. 23 So the Jews accepted the custom which they had begun, as Mordecai had written to them, 24 because Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to annihilate them, and had cast Pur (that is, the lot), to consume them and destroy them; 25 but when Esther came before the king, he commanded by letter that this wicked plot which Haman had devised against the Jews should return on his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows.
26 So they called these days Purim, after the name Pur. Therefore, because of all the words of this letter, what they had seen concerning this matter, and what had happened to them, 27 the Jews established and imposed it upon themselves and their descendants and all who would join them, that without fail they should celebrate these two days every year, according to the written instructions and according to the prescribed time, 28 that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city, that these days of Purim should not fail to be observed among the Jews, and that the memory of them should not perish among their descendants.
29 Then Queen Esther, the daughter of Abihail, with Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter about Purim. 30 And Mordecai sent letters to all the Jews, to the one hundred and twenty-seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth, 31 to confirm these days of Purim at their appointed time, as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had prescribed for them, and as they had decreed for themselves and their descendants concerning matters of their fasting and lamenting. 32 So the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim, and it was written in the book. (Esther 9:20-32)
(Note: Since Purim is a national holiday and is not listed as a holy day in Leviticus 23 or elsewhere, it is not a biblically required observation for those in the Church of God. As Esther 9:27-28 points out it was a Jewish invention for Jews.)
About two weeks or so ago, LCG’s Mario Hernandez and I were discussing the Book of Esther in light of the current events in Iran and Israel. He correctly mentioned that Iran and Israel had been allies during the time of the Shah of Iran and that in the time of Esther it was only a minority of the Persian empire that wanted to eliminate the Jews. He speculated that a regime change in Iran (which could be brought about by many means, including attacks by Israel) may change the relationship between the Jews and Persians (Iranians) again.
Interestingly, the connection between the original Purim and today has not been lost by all. Notice a news item from today:
March 4, 2012
Some 2,000 years ago, the Jewish people, Exiled in the vast empire of Persia faced a plot engineered by the king’s chief minister to annihilate them…Today the Jewish People in their historical homeland, the Jewish State of Israel, are once again being openly threatened by an evil Persian Empire of Terror known today as Iran. Today’s Hamans – Iranian “Supreme Leader” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hizbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, to name just a few, are no less committed to the destruction of the Jewish People as were Haman and his ten sons of old. They openly and clearly call for Israel’s destruction and make no secret of the nuclear weapons, the type that can wipe out the Jews in one day…
Among the cohorts to today’s Iranian Hamans are the scientists working feverishly to enrich sufficient uranium to make a nuclear bomb. One such scientist was Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan Behdast assassinated in early January. Should anyone doubt Mostafa’s personal commitment to the cause of mass murder of Jews, his wife proudly clarified that telling point.
Earlier this month Iran’s FARS News Agency (FNA) reported that Fatemeh Bolouri Kashani, wife of the aforementioned assassinated Iranian scientist who was a senior official at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility, told the FNA: “Mostafa’s ultimate goal was the annihilation of Israel.”…
The primary lesson of Purim for today’s Jewish leaders is that just as in the original Purim story the Jews had to ultimately defend themselves so too today the Jews cannot pin their national survival on vague promises of support as the Iranian nuclear clock continues to tick.
As Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu heads off to Washington to meet with US President Barack Obama on the week of the Purim holiday, he will no doubt have in mind the lesson of Purim: the only ones who can be relied on to defend the Jews are the Jews themselves.
While there is a lot of truth in the above, the only one who could be relied upon to defend the Jews is God Almighty–yet He only promised to do that if they obeyed Him. And while I do not believe that Bible prophecy allows for Iran to eliminate the nation of Israel, the reality is that if there is a war between Iran and Israel, Israel will suffer much more losses than the ancient nation did during the time of Esther.
Another news story had the following:
Prominent Sunni theologian Yusuf al- Qaradawi, hailed as a returning hero in Tahrir Square, calls upon his followers to “kill the Jews wherever you find them.” The Hamas Charter is equally explicit that not a single Jew should be left alive in Palestine. And most ominous, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei describes Israel just like the Nazis described the Jewish people – as a “cancer.” Cancers must be eradicated.… This Purim, we will celebrate the Jewish people’s acceptance of the Torah anew, this time without Divine compulsion. Those who had been so far away as to partake of Ahasuerus’s banquet, which celebrated the failure to rebuild the Temple, rediscovered their common mission and the unity of Sinai – “as one man, with one heart.” Only then were they delivered from enemies dedicated to “destroy, kill and exterminate” every Jew.
It seems that the above article is hinting that the Jews need to repent and live by the Bible. I agree.
Here is another news item of interest:
Stand Up Barack American Free Press
March 02, 2012…
Not once has Obama publicly denounced Israel’s “imminent” plans to wage a preemptive strike. Rather, the only element Obama and Netanyahu officials seem to be haggling over is the timeframe. Even this point is crucial because last year, the U.S.-NATO led invasion against Muammar Qadaffi’s Libya occurred on March 19—the Jewish festival of Purim. President George W. Bush’s “shock and awe” attack on Iraq in 2003 also began on Purim.
While this does not mean that Israel will necessarily attack Iran this week, I had not been aware of the timing of Purim and the two attacks mentioned above.
Currently, Israel believes it has little choice but to plan to attack or somehow try to neutralize Iran. Syria is realizing that it is being cut off from much of the world and Iran is one of its few reliable allies. Iran and Syria may well team up against Israel–and this could include using biological and chemical weapons against Israel. This could be something that Syria may regret (cf. Isaiah 17:1).
It should be mentioned that the President of Iran believes that ultimately it is his special calling to create enough chaos in order to stimulate the arrival of an Islamic leader that he and others refer to as the Imam Mahdi. This leader is supposed to unite Islam and root out problems within its religion. But Iran is not quite ready for that yet, though its leadership believes that the Iman Mahdi has made his presence known (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: World Order About to Collapse, Mahdi Behind it) and it hopes that he will become publicly known soon (see Iran’s Leader Preparing for ‘Armageddon’ and the Imam Mahdi).
For various reasons, the Imam Mahdi sounds a lot like the final King of the South that the Bible foretells (Daniel 11:40-43). And he may be part of a deal that will affect the USA and its Anglo-allies (Psalm 83:4-8). And this will not be good.
Yet, the final King of the South will not be Iran (Iran is basically east of Jerusalem), but apparently Arabic (which includes those of Egypt, Libya, etc.). Yet, Iran’s actions and rhetoric (as well as rhetoric from the USA, Syria, and Israel) continue to stir up the situation in the Middle East. The leadership in Iran may wish to re-read the Book of Esther.
The situation in the Middle East is tense. Regional war involving Israel, Iran, Syria, and others this year is a real possibility. Damascus, the capital of Syria, could become a ruinous heap (Isaiah 17:1). But this does not mean that the USA and Israel would get off without troubles and cost. Just like Afghanistan was a major problem for the old Soviet Union, Iran could be a major drain on the USA (and at minimum would raise terrorist issues).
It may take a regional war in the Middle East and perhaps terrorist attacks on USA-related targets for the apparent peace deal of Daniel 9:27 to take place. The situation in Syria, Iran, and Israel will change–and military conflict may well be one of those changes.
Some articles of possibly related interest may include:
The Arab and Islamic World In the Bible, History, and Prophecy The Bible discusses the Arab and Persian world in prophecy. What is ahead for the Middle East and those who follow Islam? What does Islam teach about the Imam Mahdi?
Is There A Future King of the South? Some no longer believe there needs to be. Might Egypt, Islam, Iran, Arabs, or Ethiopia be involved? Is he the Imam Mahdi? What does the Bible say?
Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare? Here are current and historical perspectives on a matter which show the beliefs of the true church on military participation. Is war proper for Christians? What did God intend for the Jews and children of Israel?
Can the Great Tribulation Begin in 2012 or 2013? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What is the “beginning of sorrows”? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord?
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, British, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? What will happen to the Jews in Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first?
Will the Anglo-Nations be Divided and Have People Taken as Slaves? Will the lands of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand be divided? What does Bible prophecy teach? Are there non-biblical prophecies that support this idea? Who will divide those lands? Who will end up with the lands and the people?
Prophecies of Barack Obama? Eight reasons why Barack Obama is apocalyptic and eight reasons why Barack Obama is not the Antichrist. This article includes many biblical and non-biblical prophecies, from around the world, that seem to discuss Barack Obama. Did Nostradamus predict Barack Obama dealing with the Antichrist? Might Barack Obama set the stage for the kings of the North and South as at least one Shiite prophecy suggests? This is the longest and most complete article on this page on Barack Obama prophecies. Read it and decide for yourself if President Obama seems to be fulfilling various prophecies.
Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States Some claim that Barack Obama is the prophesied “son of Kenya”, based up an early 20th century writing.
Who is the King of the West? Why is there no End-Time King of the West in Bible Prophecy? Is the United States the King of the West? If so, what does that really mean for the USA and its Anglo allies.