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THE MEANING OF THE BOOK OF ESTHER

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There is a great deal of confusion surrounding the meaning of the Book of Esther. Many scholars dismiss it as history, find it irrelevant as theology, and have consigned it to the domain of the arcane as meaningless for present day believers. However, I submit that the Holy Spirit penned the book and for that reason it constitutes sacred Scripture on a par with any other biblical book. In fact, as you will see below, in my view it should be the anthem of every believer and spiritual warrior. Background If you recall in the Book of Esther, the Jews were subjects of the King of Persia, for the Kingdom of Judah had been sacked by the Babylonians in the 6th century B.C. who, only a few decades later, were conquered by the Persians. The story begins with a very impressive account of the King of Persia and the riches of his royal glory and the splendor of his great majesty…” (Es. 1:4) The Queen’s Rebellion However, during the course of a great banquet which the King was giving for his court, he ordered the presence of Queen Vashti “in order to display her beauty to the people and the princes, for she was beautiful.” (Es. 1:11) In other words, the King wanted to show off his Queen to family and friends. Unfortunately, in a brazen act of rebellion and disrespect, which presumably shocked not only the King but his entire royal court and all who heard about it, Queen Vashti declined to show. Then the king became very angry and his wrath burned within him.” (Es. 1:12) Moreover, the King was especially concerned that “the queen's conduct will become known to all the women causing them to look with contempt on their husbands.” (Es.1:18) The King realized that his kingdom would quickly descend into chaos if Vashti’s rebellion spread to other households and families in the Kingdom. He asked for advice from his counsellors and they concluded that Vashti had proven herself unfit to be Queen, and that the King should get a new wife. It was then ordered that Vashti may no longer come into the presence of King Ahasuerus, and let the king give her royal position to another who is more worthy than she.” (Es. 1:19) To keep matters clear as we move forward, at this point we should probably explain the symbolism thus far in the Esther story: The Persian King represents God Himself. Queen Vashti represents Adam/Eve, who were given an exalted place by God on the earth. Vashti’s rebellion equates to Adam/Eve’s rebellion in the Garden. Vashti’s fate – banishment from the presence of the King - is the same fate suffered by Adam/Eve and their progeny. Finally, the Persian King is on the hunt for a new wife, “more worthy” than Vashti, to sire a royal offspring, just as after the rebellion in the Garden the Lord purposed to find a man who would follow him with his whole heart. I think we can guess who the King’s new wife is intended to symbolize - that’s right, Christ Himself. The Mysterious Esther The search for Vashti’s successor leads to Esther – a beautiful, young Jewess, although with a mysterious past: “Esther did not make known her people or her kindred, for Mordecai (her older first cousin) had instructed her that she should not make {them} known.” (Es. 2:10) Esther’s origins, then, like Christ’s, were a mystery to those around her; moreover, “she had no father or mother” as they had both passed away. (Es. 2:7) Christ, of course, had no earthly father. Esther succeeded in pleasing the King more than any other in his harem and for this reason Esther was selected as the new Queen to replace Vashti. As Christ, “the last Adam” (1 Cr. 15:45) replaces the first Adam as God’s chosen one on the earth, Esther replaces Vashti. Nevertheless, Esther continued to do “what Mordecai told her as she had done when under his care.” (Es. 2:20) Mordecai, Esther’s guardian and counsellor, in this capacity represents the Holy Spirit, as Jesus Himself was led by the Spirit (Luke 4:1). What we see here then is that, as with Christ, Esther’s lineage was a mystery at the time, but because she was the most pleasing to the King in all respects, she was ultimately exalted to His right hand as ruler over the Kingdom. This is perfectly analogous to Christ, for we know that Christ was the one in whom the Father “was well pleased” (Mt. 3:17: 17:5), and that, as a result, was exalted “to the right hand of God.” (Acts 2:33) Satan’s Attack Subsequently, Haman, an Agagite, and a high official in the Kingdom, comes to resent Mordecai greatly because Mordecai refuses to bow down to Haman. “All the king's servants who were at the king's gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman; for so the king had commanded concerning him. But Mordecai neither bowed down nor paid homage.” (Es. 3:2) Mordecai’s explanation was that he was a Jew, and therefore presumably prevented from rendering obeisance to anyone but his god. “When Haman saw that Mordecai neither bowed down nor paid homage to him, Haman was filled with rage,” (Es. 3:5) and plotted to destroy all the Jews – Mordecai’s people. Haman accused the Jews before the King, and suggested to the King that if the Jews did not see fit to obey the King’s laws then they did not deserve to live. He therefore proposed their destruction, to be carried out on a certain day of the year by all their enemies. The King recognized the obvious justice of Haman’s proposal and willingly signed the edict. Haman represents Satan – the accuser of the brethren. And as with Satan, the accusation of rebellion is justified, as is the resultant edict of the King against the Jews, and the edict of God against the race of Adam. Based on Haman’s accusation of rebellion, the decree issued by the King placed the Jews under the charge of Haman to do with them whatever he willed. Haman was even willing to pay for their destruction, but “[t]he king said to Haman, ‘The silver is yours, and the people {also,} to do with them as you please.’" (Es. 3:11)  Sound familiar? – this is essentially the result of the rebellion in the Garden. The sentence of death was imposed on Adam and his offspring for their rebellion. Satan became our master. Note also that a decree of the King of Persia could not be revoked. As stated in Daniel 6:8 where another decree of the King of Persia was involved: Now, O king, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the laws of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.” Likewise, God’s edict against Adam was just and could not be revoked, but it could be replaced by a new edict…. As we shall see, this is what happens with the King and Mordecai and the Jews. Therefore, as a result of the King’s edict, Haman was in a seemingly unassailable position, and the plight of the Jews was exceedingly hopeless. But what then happened? As set forth above, the King was persuaded to sign a decree against the Jews by the high- ranking Haman, because of Haman’s hatred of Mordecai, but both the King and Mordecai were at this point unaware that Queen Esther was also a Jew! Thus, the decree provided for the death of all of Mordecai’s people - the Jews – who were the people of the King’s bride, Esther. And Esther was the apple of the King’s eye. As stated earlier in the story: “The King loved Esther more than all the women, and she found favor and kindness with him more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.”(Es. 2:17) When Mordecai alerted Esther to not only his precarious position, but her own, as a Jew, she ordered a fast by the Jews as she determined to bring her case before the King. At great risk to her own life, Esther then succeeded in arranging an audience with the King with Haman in attendance. Suddenly, with the King present, Haman was exposed by Esther as a traitor to the King's own family, in that, to the King’s horror, the decree of death arranged by Haman would have included His Queen, Esther, who herself was a Jew! As Esther herself explained to the King in anguish: “’[F]or we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed and to be annihilated…” (Es. 7:4) The King was apoplectic that anyone would think that death was a just fate for His beloved Queen: “Then King Ahasuerus asked Queen Esther, ‘Who is he, and where is he, who would presume to do this?” Esther said, ‘A foe and an enemy is this wicked Haman!’ Then Haman became terrified before the king and queen.”(Es. 7:4-6) The King was furious but again seemingly trapped by his own decree. So, after quickly judging Haman for his perfidy in plotting the death of his Queen, the King chose in his wisdom to issue another decree. This decree officially sanctioned through the authority of the King the right of all Jews to avenge themselves against those who had historically victimized them - “salvation from our enemies and from the hand of those who hate us” (Lk. 1:71),  as Zacarias prophesied of Jesus at John the Baptist’s birth! This was the good news for Esther’s people(!) and was publicized with all dispatch and royal trappings: “[The King’s deputy] wrote in the name of King Ahasuerus, and sealed it with the king's signet ring, and sent letters by couriers on horses, riding on steeds sired by the royal stud. In them the king granted the Jews who were in each and every city {the right} to assemble and to defend their lives, to destroy, to kill and to annihilate the entire army of any people or province which might attack them, including children and women, and to plunder their spoil,… A copy of the edict to be issued as law in each and every province was published to all the peoples, so that the Jews would be ready for this day to avenge themselves on their enemies.” (Es. 8:10-13) Now, do you see the complete analogy? Esther, like Christ, our interceder before the King, and the Beloved of the Father, saved her people from the King’s original decree (Eph. 1:6). Christ canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” The Father issued the decree of death against His people in the Garden as a result of Satan's trickery and Adam’s rebellion. That decree of death for the soul that sins cannot be revoked. Death and sickness through Satan's tormentors have since then victimized the people of God. Our position was hopeless, and Satan’s unassailable, it seemed. But once that first decree is attempted to be enforced by Satan against the Father's beloved, the sinless Christ, as a member of the family of Adam, the injustice of it, and Satan’s deception, is evident. Condemnation and eternal death is not to be the fate of Christ or His people! The plan boomerangs back on Satan's head, resulting in his judgment instead, and the result is a new decree from the Father authorizing Christ’s people - all who are under the first decree - to fight back against all their enemies who seek to uphold the first decree. That is our situation precisely! Although few of us really know it and appreciate it, we have been authorized by the Father to fight back against our enemies, Satan and his hordes, whose rights against us derive from the original decree issued in the garden: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might… For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual {forces} of wickedness in the heavenly {places.}” (Eph. 6:10-12) And He has not only authorized us, He has equipped us with royal authority - the Name above all names with which to fight. "These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons,”(Ma. 16:17) “Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.” (Mt. 10:1) Moreover, the forces of heaven are allied with us: “Even all the princes of the provinces, the satraps, the governors and those who were doing the king's business assisted the Jews… (Es. 9:36) Esther’s people fought back against their enemies, and enjoyed a great victory. Therefore, we are to fight back also, for if we do not fight we will continue to be victimized - if we do fight, just as the Jews in Esther's day, we will have victory. The Book of Esther is the clarion call for us to avenge ourselves on the enemies of God and ourselves. We are to be victors, IN HIS NAME.
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