Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 4 * BOOK 69
FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS – PART 4
Book of Esther
Okay, good to see everybody in again for program number four this afternoon. I guess my television audience should know by now that we put four of these together at one time. This is number four, and then we’ll be on our way home.
Again, we like to welcome our TV audience. We always want to thank you for everything you do – your financial help, your prayers, and your letters of encouragement. For those of you here in the studio, we always appreciate the fact that you come in and spend the afternoon with us.
Well, we’re going to wind up the Book of Esther in the first part of the program. We constantly get phone calls, well, where are you going next? Our next series, we’re going to finally do the twelve Minor Prophets. We’ve had a lot of requests for them. The only reason they’re called Minor is not because they’re not important, but because they’re short. They’re not sixty-six chapters long like Isaiah. So, if we have a little time left yet on this program, we’ll jump over to Hosea for just a few minutes. For the next several tapings then, we’ll do studies on the twelve Minor Prophets.
But for now, we’re going to stay in Esther and finish the little book. Hopefully you’ll get it implanted on your mind how that Satan is always trying to disrupt God’s program, and the number one way to do that would be to get rid of the Jew. Because, I trust you all realize, that because of the Nation of Israel we have this Book. I maintain that every word of this book from cover to cover was written by Jews, including Luke. I get a little opposition on that once in a while, but I have to go back to Romans 3 verse 2 where Paul asks the question in verse 1 – What advantage then hath the Jew? Then he answers it in verse 2 – Much every way, but chiefly because unto them, the Jew, was committed the Word of God.
Now I maintain, if Luke was a Gentile, then that verse would have had to say – for unto the Jews and one Gentile was committed the Word of God. But it doesn’t say that. It says that unto the Jew, unto them, was committed the Word of God. I’m a stickler for language, because I know that if the Lord wanted us to realize that Luke was a Gentile, it would have been explicitly stated as such.
But anyway, through the Nation of Israel, then, has come our whole Bible. Through the Nation of Israel has come our Savior, our Redeemer, and the Head of the Body, Jesus of Nazareth. Through the Nation of Israel will come all the end-time prophecy.
Now, of course, there’s no secret anymore that our programs are rerun from time to time. I think the date usually goes up on the program. So, I’m not quite as cautious about dating. Right now we realize that the Middle East is in tremendous turmoil. Everybody calls and asks what’s going on? Well, all I know is, it’s just one step closer to the end. Anybody with any common sense should be able to realize why there is all this turmoil in the Middle East? Why isn’t it in Africa? Why isn’t it in Europe? Why isn’t it over in the Western Hemisphere? But see, it’s all in the Middle East. Of course, we know that’s where all the end-time events will take place. So, all we can say about the whole thing is, it is part of the end-time scenario.
In fact, before we go back to Esther, while we’re talking about this, come back with me to Matthew 24 a moment. I didn’t intend to do this. I think most of my listeners realize that I’m impetuous that way. But Matthew 24 and you pray for the Jewish people. They have got some awful, horrible days ahead of them. As I said in the last program, you pray that our America will stand with them until the end. But the time will come when even America will no longer stand with Israel.
Matthew 24 and we’ll drop down to verse 8. The Lord is speaking. He’s referring to the events of the Tribulation, prophecy of course, but they’re going to happen. Like I said before, if it’s written, it has to happen. All right, from the words of the Lord Jesus Himself, verse 8, oh well, let’s look at verse 7.
“For nation shall rise against nation, (Now, we’re not in the Tribulation, not by any stretch, but we’re getting previews of it.) and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in diverse places. 8. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” This is just the beginning. Then verse 9.
“Then shall they deliver you (Now remember, who is Jesus speaking to? Jews. So it’s the Jews that we’re referring to here.) up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. 10. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.”
My, I read an article the other day where the guy had listed I don’t know how many false prophets already out there proclaiming themselves as the Messiah. It’s unbelievable. But, it’s prophecy.
“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” Well, that’s all part of the prophetic program that is still going to have to be consummated in the Nation of Israel. It can’t consummate in Israel if they’re not there. So, they’re not going to drive them into the sea. And, I do not see another dispersion. All the things that are happening are in fulfillment of our end-time events. How close we are? I don’t know. But I think we’re getting closer every day. I think I’m safe in saying that.
All right, let’s go back to the Book of Esther. Keep in mind that what we’re seeing today is just a repeat of what happened back here 500 and some years before Christ, when Haman the Amalekite tried to obliterate the Jew to every last little boy and girl. All right, but it got turned on him. As we saw in our last program, Haman and his whole family came to their fateful end. The Jews, on the other hand, come into a place of favor and rejoicing.
All right, Chapter 9 verse 20, we’ll finish it. Then I’m thinking that we’ll go on, like I said, into the Minor Prophets. So, if we’ve got time, we’ll slip over to Hosea before the program is over.
“And Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters unto all the Jews that were in all the provinces of the king .Ahasuerus, both nigh and far, ” Now remember, this takes constant reminding, the Jews were brought up out of Jerusalem and the area of Israel out to the east. You’re all aware of the present day geography, I trust.
First, of course, to Babylon, and then from Babylon they began to migrate out into all the areas of the Babylonian empire. Evidently, they had freedom to do that. So, that was the beginning of Jews ending up all over the then known world. As a result of that you see, even when you get up to the ministry of the Apostle Paul, no matter where he went, where could he begin his ministry? In a Synagogue of the Jews. They had become scattered throughout the whole then known world.
Well, it all started with the captivities brought about by Nebuchadnezzar and then on into the Mede and Persian. Now I didn’t realize, until I started studying the Book of Esther, that all these kings and queens were related. Nebuchadnezzar was an uncle of this Ahasuerus, and Ahasuerus in turn becomes the father of Cyrus. I’m going to refer to that at the end of the Book of Esther. So, all these Middle-Eastern kings back there in the Medes and the Persians and the Babylonians were really relatives. They were intermarried and everything else.
All right, so the Jews are scattered throughout the Mede and Persian Empire near and far. Now verse 21, his message was:
“To stablish this among them, that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, yearly. (In other words, the two days in a row) 22. 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 has written unto them; 24. 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, (Which was already a day in the Mede and Persian social calendar.) 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.” Now, here it comes. If you know anything about the Jewish calendar, they still celebrate traditionally the two days of Purim. Here it comes.
“Wherefore they called these days (the 14th and the 15th day of March) Purim after the name of Pur. Therefore for all the words of this letter, and of that which they had seen concerning this matter, which had come unto them, 27. 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;”
That’s where tradition comes in. Everybody knows what it is to be steeped in tradition. I say this with no malice, with no unkindness. But just to show you how deep tradition can run, a couple of tapings ago we had a girl in our audience, a visitor from up north someplace. She was a converted Jew. She had a tremendous testimony.
Her family was still playing Jews, but they were agnostic. They didn’t believe in God. They invited her to their home for Passover last spring. So, she went down to Passover. They had done just like the Jews in their Orthodoxy do. They clean the house from top to bottom so that there was no leaven. They did all the right things of using the right dishes and everything. And she said, “Dad, why do you do all this? You don’t believe in God.” He says, “Tradition.”
I was rehearsing this with Iris and she says, well, what about the world today with Christmas? How many totally unbelieving people have a big Christmas dinner? Go in and ask those people, why do you celebrate Christmas? You don’t believe in Christ? What will their answer be? Tradition. And it’s an awful thing, because it is so hard to get people that are in the wrong tradition to come out of it. You can just about bet what that could be. All right, but Purim is still being celebrated in the Jewish religious system and even in the secular, all going back to a memorial of Mordecai and Queen Esther. Okay, so they keep these two days every year, now verse 28.
“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.”
All right, now I’m thinking, I didn’t intend to do this, but I can’t help it. Come back with me to Exodus. If this isn’t almost the same language that God gave Israel concerning what I just referred to, the Passover. That’s why a good Jew to this day, whether he’s a believer or not, he may be a total atheist, but because of tradition they keep Passover. I think it’s been the glue that has held the Jewish people together down through the centuries of being scattered into every nation under heaven. They’re still Jews.
All right, here it is back in Exodus chapter 12 and, oh, my goodness, verse 24. It’s the night of the Passover. Death is striking the firstborn of every home in Egypt, except in Goshen where the Jews are.
“And (God says) ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons forever. (In other words, till the end of time.) 25. And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service. (Now, that’s a commandment from God.) 26. And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?”
I think I explained this when the Jewish lady was in our midst, because I remember asking her if I wasn’t right. The very Passover service involves the kids. They hide something. I don’t remember what it was, but they hid it throughout the house and the kids go and find it. It becomes almost a game. All right, so it says, “When your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?”
“That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD’S passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered (or spared) our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.” Passover, the same way like Purim, has become one of the traditional days of celebration in Israel’s calendar year. All right, come back to Esther for a little bit, verse 29.
“So then Esther the queen, (Now remember, she’s in a Gentile pagan palace of the Mede and Persians.) the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew, wrote with all authority, to confirm this second letter of Purim. 30. 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.” So, he sent the letters to all the Jews in all the provinces – now verse 31.
“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. 32. And the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim; and it was written in the book.” Now chapter 10 verse 1.
“And the king Ahasuerus laid a tribute upon the land, and upon the isles of the sea. 2. And all the acts of his power and of his might, and the declaration of the greatness of Mordecai,…” Who was second, remember, unto the king. Now, just stop and think again. How often has that happened? My, just think back in biblical history. How many times did a Jew end up second in the kingdom? Well, I think the first one was probably Joseph, when he was put in charge of preparing the land for seven years of famine and seven years of plenty. Joseph became second in the kingdom.
The next one is Daniel. Daniel becomes the second in the kingdom under Nebuchadnezzar and the rest of them. Over and over we see this. So, here again, Mordecai ends up as the second man in this Gentile empire.
“And all the acts of his power and of his might, and the declaration of the greatness of Mordecai, whereunto the king advanced him, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia?” Now, that’s where I’ve been picking up some of my information. I’ve been reading the last few days of these records of these ancient chronicles.
“For Mordecai the Jew was next unto king Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren, seeking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace to all his seed.” All right, Sharon wants to know how to spell the word, and so do the rest of you! It’s A-s-t-y-a-g-e-s. Astyages is the way I pronounce it. He, of course, was the husband of Esther. According to this history that I was reading, out of that union came King Cyrus.
All right, now I’ve got to show you a little bit about Cyrus and how all of this fits together. Turn with me to Isaiah chapter 44 and verse 28. Now remember, Esther is in the area of the late 500 BC. Isaiah writes 700 and some BC. Almost 200 years earlier. Look what Isaiah writes. Now, this is what we talk about being the inspiration of Scripture and how unique that our Bible can foretell even the names of kings 200 years.
Josiah, one of the kings of Israel, was named 300 years before he was born. All right, so here’s Isaiah prophesying of a coming king who won’t be born for 200 years.
“That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: (Now, this is God speaking through the prophet.) even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, thy foundation shall be laid.” But what’s the reference? Well, not too long after Isaiah writes all this, what happened to Jerusalem and the temple? They were utterly destroyed by the Babylonians. But, this King Cyrus will give the decree to go back and rebuild. This was prophesied by Isaiah 200 years before he’s born. All right, now drop into chapter 45 verse 1.
“Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, (to His chosen one) to Cyrus, (a Gentile) whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;” and so on and so forth.
All right, now let’s go back and see where that prophecy is fulfilled. Now remember, according to this one line of history, this Cyrus was the son of Esther. All right, come all the way back to Ezra chapter 1 verse 1. Now, that’s what you get when you start studying. You just jump back and forth. Now, here the prophecy written by Isaiah is fulfilled.
“Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia,…” You haven’t all found it yet, have you? Well, Ezra is back in front of Esther. Actually, like someone said, the Book of Esther should have been ahead of Ezra and Nehemiah time-wise, but they put it up there. It’s been that way for the Jews forever, simply because it’s connected with the historical books rather than the books of poetry.
“Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia (the son of Esther) that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, 2. Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, the LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.”
Now, I’d never thought of it before, because I’d never studied Esther before, but you see what’s happening here? Now, I’m just surmising. I’m not proving anything from Scripture, per se. I’m surmising. Where do you suppose Cyrus first got the inkling of the importance of the temple in Jerusalem? I think from his mother, who was a Jew. Esther. Then it all fits. I’m not taking anything away from the supernatural work of God, but on the other hand, God always does things in a logical way. So, this is exactly how I think it happened.
Esther was not only in a divine appointment to save the Nation of Israel from its destruction. Not only was she instrumental in bringing about the end of the tribe of the Amalekites, which King Saul should have accomplished. But Esther also, I think, is a major player in bringing about the decree of Cyrus, if indeed he was her son. That he sends the proclamation to rebuild the city and the temple – verse 2 again.
“Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house (the temple) at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. 3. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.” Now, we have to feel then that Cyrus was a believer in the God of Abraham. Verse 4.
“And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill-offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.” All these things have always been needed. Nobody has ever been able to do anything without what? Money. Now, you know I have to be amazed at the political structure of nations. For example, the fall of the Russians back in the ‘90’s, what prompted it? Well, their economy crashed. Their economy went down. Well, you’d think a nation as big as Russia wouldn’t have to worry about an economy. All they’d have to do is print money and tell people to do this. Hey, it doesn’t work that way. That’s why they can sanction people. They can shut off their money supply. When you shut off the money supply, they can’t do anything. It’s been a hard pill for me to swallow.
My goodness, you’d think that if a nation has their own natural resources, they can just create their own wealth. They can’t do it. They have to work with the world’s money system. All right, now it is the same way back here. What does Cyrus provide? Money! You can’t do anything without it. Even way back here in antiquity, nothing could be done unless there was financing behind it. You can’t just simply decree, go out and do this and go out and do that. No, it has to be paid for. You watch for that even in your everyday world affairs. How a nation’s economies can take them off the scene overnight, because you can’t do anything without being able to pay for it. I don’t care who you are. It’s just a fact of life. All the way back in antiquity it was the same thing.
Next taping we’ll start a study of the Minor Prophets and begin with the Book of Hosea.