A picture book of the final deliverance of God’s Jewish remnant in the last days!
As I stated in the first part of this study, I began reading the book of Esther as part of my daily Bible readings on January 24th. It came home to me afresh that it is a narrative that is truly suggestive of the events the Jewish people will encounter at the close of this age just prior to the Lord’s return to deliver the remnant of them that will have escaped the Antichrist’s attempt to destroy them. He will also return to slay the latter-day ‘Haman’, who has a very clear likeness in his murderous hatred of the ancient people of God to the Antichrist who is to come.
I have already set before you two main points for consideration, I come now to my third main point.
III. I BELIEVE THE JEWS HUMBLING OF THEMSELVES AT THE NEWS OF THE DECREE OF HAMAN TO SLAUGHTER THEM, HELPS US UNDERSTAND FUTURE EVENTS IN JERUSALEM WHEN THE JEWS REALISE THEIR UTTERLY LOST STATE
This terrible time of tribulation will serve to awaken the Jews to just how lost they are without the Lord. God in His sovereign grace and mercy will use the actions of Antichrist to humble His people. It is thus spoken of by Zechariah. “And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God,” Zechariah 13:8-9.
No foreshadowing in Scripture ever tallies in every point with that of which it is a portent. We all, I am sure, recognise in the battle between David and Goliath a picture of the confrontation between the Lord Jesus and the Antichrist. However, we must allow for slight divergences of detail. I will only mention one. The battle between the Lord and Antichrist will take place in the vicinity of Jerusalem whereas David slew Goliath in the valley of Elah, some 20 miles from Jerusalem by road.
As no son shares every physical feature of father or mother, yet we can see they are closely related, likewise, I believe we can see a kinship between events in the days of Esther to those of the last days as they are revealed to us in Holy Scripture.
1. The reaction of the Jews to the decree of Haman was very public. “And in every province, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes,” Esther 4:3. That was courageous of them when you consider how that Esther said that such was the temperament of king Ahasuerus “that whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live,” 4:11.
2. Mordecai, Esther’s guardian, was particularly brave for he manifested his rejection of the decree right on the king’s doorstep. “When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry; And came even before the king’s gate,” Esther 4:1-2. I would suggest that this bold declaration of protest at the wickedness of what the king had sanctioned reminds us that even on the ‘doorstep’ of the Antichrist, at the very height of his hatred of the Jewish people, God will have His witnesses in Jerusalem, denouncing the ‘beast’. “And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth,” Revelation 11:3. that is a period of three and a half years, the period given of God for the Antichrist to act in power. “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.” Revelation 13:5.
Shadow and Substance differ
It is here that the ’shadow’ and the ’substance’ differ somewhat. Mordecai is granted a great victory over his enemy, Haman, whereas the two witnesses in Revelation 11, suffer death at the hands of the Antichrist. “And if any man will hurt them, (the two witnesses) fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth,” Revelation 11:5-10.
Of course, the two witnesses ultimately triumph over Antichrist, as related for us in verses 11-13. “And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand.”
3. However, we may rightly see in the holy opposition of Mordecai and the favourable outcome he enjoyed, a likeness to our Saviour. The hopes of Haman of destroying Mordecai and all this people, is a mirror of the hatred of the Antichrist against the Saviour. But we can rejoice as we read of the glorious reversal of fortunes that Mordecai and his people enjoyed, that even so it will be with the Lord Jesus and His ancient chosen nation.
Consider the turn of events for Mordecai and the Jews. Haman overstepped himself and fell foul of king Ahasuerus. He was planning the destruction of one very dear to his heart for “the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen,” Esther 2:17. Likewise, Antichrist will put forth his hand against the people of God, aye, and against God Himself! “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God,” 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4.
That act of blasphemous arrogance will seal Antichrist’s fate.
4. It is noted that the place where Haman planned to destroy Mordecai became the very place of his own humiliation and death! “Then the king returned out of the palace garden into the place of the banquet of wine; and Haman was fallen upon the bed whereon Esther was. Then said the king, Will he force the queen also before me in the house? As the word went out of the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face. And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king, Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordecai, who had spoken good for the king, standeth in the house of Haman. Then the king said, Hang him thereon. So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king’s wrath pacified,” Esther 7:8-10.
The Lord’s intervention
Zechariah 14:1-4 reveals to us the exact circumstance in which the Lord will intervene and bring to an end the persecution of the Jewish people by the Antichrist. “Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives.”
The Valley of Jezreel which runs to the immediate east of Jerusalem, between the city and the Mount of Olives, is the very place in which Antichrist planned to annihilate the Jews in Jerusalem, which likely will comprise the most of the surviving Jews in the land.
Please note these words of Joel, which have a special bearing on the final days of this age.
“For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, (another name for the Valley of Jezreel) and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land. And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink. Yea, and what have ye to do with me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine? will ye render me a recompence? and if ye recompense me, swiftly and speedily will I return your recompence upon your own head; because ye have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried into your temples my goodly pleasant things: the children also of Judah and the children of Jerusalem have ye sold unto the Grecians, that ye might remove them far from their border. Behold, I will raise them out of the place whither ye have sold them, and will return your recompence upon your own head: and I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the children of Judah, and they shall sell them to the Sabeans, to a people far off: for the LORD hath spoken it. Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong. Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD. Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more,” Joel 3:1-17.
The fate that the enemies of the Jews sought to inflict upon them is what the Lord will mete out upon the enemies of Israel! As Isaiah says: “For it is the day of the LORD’S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion,” Isaiah 34:8.
The word ‘recompences’ carries the meaning of ‘requital or a paying back’. Yes indeed, “God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting,” Galatians 6:7-8. That truth will be demonstrated as never before in the ‘day of the Lord’!
5. Like the hated and reproached Mordecai, the Lord Jesus will be wonderfully exalted and honoured in company with His people the Jews, before the eyes of all men after the downfall of Antichrist. “On that day did the king Ahasuerus give the house of Haman the Jews’ enemy unto Esther the queen. And Mordecai came before the king; for Esther had told what he was unto her. And the king took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it unto Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman. And Esther spake yet again before the king, and fell down at his feet, and besought him with tears to put away the mischief of Haman the Agagite, and his device that he had devised against the Jews. Then the king held out the golden sceptre toward Esther. So Esther arose, and stood before the king, And said, If it please the king, and if I have found favour in his sight, and the thing seem right before the king, and I be pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to reverse the letters devised by Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to destroy the Jews which are in all the king’s provinces: For how can I endure to see the evil that shall come unto my people? or how can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred? Then the king Ahasuerus said unto Esther the queen and to Mordecai the Jew, Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and him they have hanged upon the gallows, because he laid his hand upon the Jews. Write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh you, in the king’s name, and seal it with the king’s ring: for the writing which is written in the king’s name, and sealed with the king’s ring, may no man reverse. Then were the king’s scribes called at that time in the third month, that is, the month Sivan, on the three and twentieth day thereof; and it was written according to all that Mordecai commanded unto the Jews, and to the lieutenants, and the deputies and rulers of the provinces which are from India unto Ethiopia, an hundred twenty and seven provinces, unto every province according to the writing thereof, and unto every people after their language, and to the Jews according to their writing, and according to their language. And he wrote in the king Ahasuerus’ name, and sealed it with the king’s ring, and sent letters by posts on horseback, and riders on mules, camels, and young dromedaries: Wherein the king granted the Jews which were in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, both little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a prey, Upon one day in all the provinces of king Ahasuerus, namely, upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar. The copy of the writing for a commandment to be given in every province was published unto all people, and that the Jews should be ready against that day to avenge themselves on their enemies,” Esther 8:1-13.
“And Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a garment of fine linen and purple: and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad. The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honour. And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day. And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them,” Esther 8:15-17.
So it will be one day! Christ shall be the exalted conqueror of all His enemies, who sought so long to overthrow Him.
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS,” Revelation 19:11-16.
There follows upon the Saviour’s return in glory, that which is prefigured by the words of Esther 8:17. “And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.”
6. There is a day coming when the world will have a very different view of the Jewish people. Instead of hating them and repudiating them, there will be a desire to share in the status and blessings that they will then enjoy. “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you,” Zechariah 8:23.
“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces (wealth) of the Gentiles shall come unto thee. The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the LORD. All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory. Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows? Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the LORD thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee. And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favour have I had mercy on thee,” Isaiah 60:1-10.
“Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen: Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen. For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses. One shall say, I am the LORD’S; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the LORD, and surname himself by the name of Israel. Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God,” Isaiah 44:1-6.
7. Yes, a day is coming when the tide will turn and the whole current of man’s thinking will reverse. Just as it did in Mordecai’s day shall it be in the ‘day of the Lord’! “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea,” Habakkuk 2:14. “All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. For the kingdom is the LORD’S: and he is the governor among the nations,” Psalm 22:27-28. “God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah. That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him,” Psalm 67:1-7.
How many verses I could add from Holy Scripture to those already given, verses which indicate that it is a day Heaven looks forward to and would have us share in that glad expectation! Jerusalem, the city of contention amongst men and hated by so many, will become the centre of the world’s joy and peace!
“The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more,” Isaiah 2:1-4.
IV. THE GLORIOUS VICTORY, GRANTED TO THE JEWS BACK SOME TWO THOUSAND, FIVE HUNDRED YEARS AGO, IS REMEMBERED STILL WITH JOY.
1. The inspired record shows the extent of the failure of the evil scheme of Haman and the wonderful triumph of the Jews over their enemies.
“Now in the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king’s commandment and his decree drew near to be put in execution, in the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them, (though it was turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over them that hated them;) The Jews gathered themselves together in their cities throughout all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, to lay hand on such as sought their hurt: and no man could withstand them; for the fear of them fell upon all people. And all the rulers of the provinces, and the lieutenants, and the deputies, and officers of the king, helped the Jews; because the fear of Mordecai fell upon them. For Mordecai was great in the king’s house, and his fame went out throughout all the provinces: for this man Mordecai waxed greater and greater. Thus the Jews smote all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, and slaughter, and destruction, and did what they would unto those that hated them,” Esther 9:1-5.
“But the other Jews that were in the king’s provinces gathered themselves together, and stood for their lives, and had rest from their enemies, and slew of their foes seventy and five thousand, but they laid not their hands on the prey,” Esther 9:16.
Dear Christian, the Lord has set before us by direct statements, by shadows and likenesses, by harbingers of many forms, the glories of a future time, a time initiated by the return of our Saviour.
2. The day wicked men planned as a day of slaughter of the Jews, became a day of joy for them.
“As the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day: that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor. And the Jews undertook to do as they had begun, and as Mordecai had written unto them; because Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had devised against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast Pur, that is, the lot, to consume them, and to destroy them; but when Esther came before the king, he commanded by letters that his wicked device, which he devised against the Jews, should return upon his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows. Wherefore they called these days Purim after the name of Pur. Therefore for all the words of this letter, and of that which they had seen concerning this matter, and which had come unto them, the Jews ordained, and took upon them, and upon their seed, and upon all such as joined themselves unto them, so as it should not fail, that they would keep these two days according to their writing, and according to their appointed time every year; and that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and that these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed. Then Esther the queen, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew, wrote with all authority, to confirm this second letter of Purim. And he sent the letters unto all the Jews, to the hundred twenty and seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth, to confirm these days of Purim in their times appointed, according as Mordecai the Jew and Esther the queen had enjoined them, and as they had decreed for themselves and for their seed, the matters of the fastings and their cry. And the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim; and it was written in the book,” Esther 9:22-32.
One Jewish website has this information. “The story of Purim took place in 539-330 BCE, during the Persian Empire’s rule over most of the known world. The holiday of Purim is celebrated in the month of Adar every year. It commemorates the foiled plan of Haman to kill every Jew in the Persian empire in one day. He drew lots to determine the best day for his massacre and picked the 14th of Adar. Instead of being a day of death and mourning, Haman was hanged, and the 14th of Adar became a day of joyous celebration with various traditions to commemorate the miracle that happened on that day.”
This year ‘Purim’ will begin for the Jews on the evening of March 23rd until 24th.
3. Sadly, the Jews are presently blind to the full significance of what the Lord did for them back then. The very Lord they crucified at Calvary and Whom they still reject as a nation, is ‘the God of Purim’! That deliverance which they will shortly celebrate yet again, is a picture of what will yet take place when the Lord Jesus comes again and delivers them from a even greater ‘Haman’, the Antichrist.
Paul spoke of this wonderful future event. “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins,”Romans 11:25-27.
Then will begin eternal rejoicing amongst the Jews thus saved by grace.
What a glorious time of conquest and gladness lies ahead of not only the remnant of the Jews but for all the blood-washed saints of God!
It is little wonder that the spiritually minded and Spirit-taught early church believers were engaged in “the patient waiting for Christ,” 2 Thessalonians 3:5.
May we all be like-minded.
Rev Ivan Foster (Rtd)
2nd February 2024