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QUEEN ESTHER : TYPE OF CHRIST
I THE SITE
The Story of Esther is well known. It is the application which is our concern today.
We move to the ancient Persian Empire. Haman, exalted almost like a deputy of the Ruler, Xerxes, is a proud and arrogant puppet in power, requiring vast marks of respect, and Mordecai, Uncle of Esther, does not show it enough! The girl, left parentless, is supported and educated by her Uncle.
II THE SITUATION
In due course, the Queen falls into disrepute and is dismissed. Esther in a national beauty and grace contest, replaces her by royal order, she hffnow the peculiar delight of her husband. Mordecai watches over her elevation with special zeal and scrutiny, but refusing to pay homage to Mordecai, presumably on religious grounds, incurs his wrath. Haman in turn, in expansive mode, induces the Emperor to exterminate the Jewish people, throughout the Empire, and even in anticipation of the Uncle, Mordecai's fall, builds a towering hanging tower. Messengers rush through the Empire, appointing the time when Jews are subject to any mistreatment and overthrow. Disaster bellowed as at Auschwitz, but this time the plot failed before it eventuated. Let us pursue the account from here.
The deliverance was so great that to this day it is the reason for a popular Jewish festival named Purim in which joy, jollity and relief are enshrined, and celebratory noise is encouraged, one usually held in our March. The clouds indeed suddenly moved, and the gloom became gladness in that ancient day. How ? So great was the transformation, the joy remains; and it happened in two domains.
First, intense was the havoc, trepidation, concern, looming trauma, drama and devastation alike for the Jews at that time. The imperial decree had gone forth, hastened, declaring freedom for non-Jews to ruin, loot, destroy the Jewish component of the Empire. Such was the insane desire of the vain CEO of the Emperor, Haman, who had sought and wrought vengeance on Esther's Uncle, so that the Emperor himself indulged his exalted servant with this destructive order.
THE PLIGHT AND THE PARALLEL
Ravaging of the Jewish people with savagery: the prospect was poised as later with Hitler. At that time, they were not as a whole in rebellion against the Lord, as the nation most sadly now is in terms of their rejection of the Christ (Micah 5:1-3); and God heard them. The new Persian law in Esther's day could not be changed because of one of the standing statutes of the Empire, so it looked hopeless: just as it now does for the peoples of this planet, where the position of this world's inhabitants looks the same as then for the Jews, fatal and ghastly, as power is snatched on all sides to exterminate. Many nations eye each the other, holding weapons all but unthinkable and potentially permanently ruinous: and that is merely one aspect of many godless governments, virtual god-makers, according to hype and type, and contrary to fact. The results speak ? no, they shout. So in some ways, this world's current position all but mimics that in the day of Esther, then re Jews alone.
IV THE GRACE OF THE ESCAPE
What happened in Esther's day ? Mordecai asked Queen Esther to help, and in great danger of death, to approach the ruler, without invitation. A golden sceptre had to be extended to her, if she was accepted and were to avoid death. After much fasting, she came and It was! Her intercession, as the chief among the women with the Emperor, a favourite delighted in, enabled her request for deliverance for her people to be granted. Indeed, the ruler was furious at the presumption of Haman who was hanged on his own scaffold. The Queen's people to suffer! (for she had not told him she was a Jewess). Now that he knew, he acted.
The rule to exterminate Jews was cancelled in effect by having another one sent even encouraging them to fight against the coming attack (with the blessing of the Emperor). What ecstasy of delight! They would be delivered. But how ?
This then was the second feature of their escape as a people. There was a SECOND COMMAND SENT OUT This was to the effect that when the appointed day to wipe them out arrived, then they could FIGHT BACK, thus circumventing the first order. Now, not only would people in this dictatorial empire be aware that there had been a fatal power at work against the Jewish population, and that this was a matter of great importance: they would now realise also that there must have been some kind of power struggle, change of mind in the Palace. Now there was a tremendous dynamic in favour of the Jews. They would - and did - take action when the day came. Whereas tragedy had been moving like a giant rocket ship covering the vast Empire with its vicious power, now it was able to be shot down before it could act.
Even fear to touch the Jews would now arise, concern, watchfulness, while on the other hand, the Jews took heart, and fighting back aided by this new decree to back them, dealt vigorously and devastatingly with their enemies, even those who were a multitude waiting to attack!
NOT A NEW WORLD ORDER
BUT THE ORDER FOR A NEW WORLD
So there is this parallel in terms of the mercy of God, even now. Unmet divine law, expressive of the underlying principles of God's moral and spiritual governance, and judgment against sin, remains to this day a fateful order for the overwhelming exposure and doom of the human race of unrepentant sinners (Romans 3:19), intensified by the careful avoidance of or decline from the Saviour and His mercy. a recalcitrant race (Jeremiah 17:9-10, 9:23-24). Now many even envisage a New World Order for its futile and godless pleasure, inventing virtual gods like Autumn leaves, and enjoying their colours as they fall! But though no New World Order will last long, the prospect of divine judgment looms (Revelation 17-19).
Meanwhile, as this futile provocation continually increases, only devastation awaits this world (Matthew 24:35). Yet God has issued a new order, a command of His own. it means that we might fight back, and that, this time not because of the intercession of Queen Esther, but that of Christ Jesus. And with what may we fight back, for the Spirit strives against the flesh and the flesh against the Spirit as Paul shows in Galatians 5:17-24 ?
It is both on the GROUND of Christ's death in satisfaction of the guilt and power of sin and in terms of the power of God available. This was as if instead of the golden sceptre being handed to Him in His divine intercession for mankind, He had Himself undergone the death penalty. Now risen from the dead, through His Spirit in terms of the total overall plan of the triune God, comes the gift of life as first superbly granted. Now even eternal life itself is on offer as a grant (Romans 6:23), and it is made with finality and immovable resolution, applied by the Spirit of God. Thus believers are strengthened with might in the inner man, encouraged, made valiant, for many are drawn to the loveliness of the Lord, given both character and courage (cf. Hebrews 11). Thus came and continues, a massive escape. Many might be, and are saved.
Moreover, by faith in this same Jesus we are also transformed with a new heart, and enlivening purpose: the very presence of God comes in His name to enliven, encourage and counsel. The world is not to be delivered, but replaced. All things become new, even the world (II Corinthians 5, Isaiah 51:1-6, Matthew 24:35, Revelation 21). There is purging, soul by soul; there is pardon, individual by individual. Not a New World Order but a new world itself awaits in its day, and the end comes to this evil scheme and satanic schema. The evil dynamic. the power of the devil, looms only to implode. Thus for all who receive the Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ, there has come the way out, way on and way into the Kingdom of heaven. With joy, consult Hebrews 6:18-19 and Isaiah 9, esp. v.7.. Praise the Lord whose goodness never fails.