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A victory recorded in Scripture is a small foretaste of what will come!
Every year, on Adar 14 on the Hebrew calendar—March 17 this year—Jewish people around the world celebrate Purim, a holiday commemorating Persian King Ahasuerus’ decision to let his kingdom’s Jews defend themselves against their enemies. It was a momentous day when a mighty world ruler—identified as Xerxes I—rejected his own advisor’s counsel and forestalled persecution of the beleaguered Jewish minority living in his kingdom.
Esther and the King told the story as a movie musical, and One Night with the King focused on an imagined romance. But at its heart the story of Esther—the Jewish maiden who became queen of the Persian Empire—is a familiar story of a Father’s love. And what a story, a truly epic drama: a beautiful maiden, Esther, caught in epic circumstances beyond her control; a rags-to-riches tale of an orphan girl made queen; a dastardly plot by a scheming villain, Haman the Agagite, bent on destroying everyone the tragic heroine loves; a loyal cousin and mentor, Mordecai, coming to the rescue of a well-meaning but somewhat naïve young king; and a powerful ruler able to fulfill—or destroy—the protagonists’ most desperate hopes with the proverbial scattering glance (Proverbs 20:8).
According to the Bible, and confirmed by other sources, all of this really happened. Almighty God—the Author of prophecy and the rise and fall of nations—delivered a dispossessed remnant of His people from total destruction at the hands of jealous anti-Jewish factions within the Persian Empire. He placed the right pieces at the right time, even using a pagan king to work His will—a precedent He had set at least once before (Isaiah 44:28; 45:1).
Haman, the Persian vizier, lied to King Ahasuerus to manipulate him into authorizing a cruel pogrom to plunder and destroy the kingdom’s Jews. However, God orchestrated a masterful intervention using human instruments, leaving Haman and his allies with no support—and reversing his fate by granting the Jews the legal right to defend themselves. The would-be persecutors were thwarted, and Haman was executed for his treachery.
What does this mean for today? A great deal, if you consider the circumstances that the tiny nation of Israel now faces. The Jewish people are no less scattered throughout the world today than they were in 500 BC. And they are no less surrounded and beleaguered in their own homeland, considering how many nations and factions of the Middle East are or have been at war with them.
Throughout history, the Jewish people have suffered immeasurably, and anti-Semitism is alive and well to this day. But God, according to His purpose, will continue to preserve their remnant (Isaiah 10:20; Romans 11). Only God can truly try and test His peoples’ hearts, and He does so for their ultimate good (Proverbs 3:12). He has the power over life and death, and to set things right—for all souls who ever lived (Ezekiel 37; Jeremiah 12:15; Revelation 20:12).
But, before that happens, a time is coming when deliverance will be needed more than ever, and the Jewish people—and many others—will stand on the brink of total destruction.
The Bible warns that this fate—largely the result of national sin and a great turning away from God to reliance on their own strength and stubborn will—will befall all the scattered children of Israel, not just the Jews. Destruction will only be averted by the intervention of a greater King than the ancient ruler of Persia—a Messiah with unlimited might to stay the hands of Israel’s many seen and yet unseen enemies.
Purim is an important holiday to the Jewish people, but there are other annual festivals recorded in the Bible that explain God’s plan of salvation—for all mankind! You can find out more about these by reading The Holy Days: God’s Master Plan. You can also learn more about Israel’s place in the exciting and terrible events ahead by studying The Middle East in Prophecy. Both of these publications are absolutely free.