Saturday, March 7, 2009

Excerpt from Beth Yachad

Purim – The Feast of Lots

The story of Purim (Hebrew for Lots) comes from the Book of Esther and is really the story of good versus evil. It is the only Biblical holiday that is not identified with a Hebrew word. The word Pur is a Persian word.

Purim commemorates the deliverance of God’s people at the hands of Esther and Mordecai from the wicked Haman. He cast Pur (lots) to determine the month and day on which the Jewish people would be killed throughout the Persian Empire. It is celebrated on the 14th and 15th day of the Hebrew month Adar/Nisan (February or March).

Esther (Hadassah in Hebrew) was the cousin of Saul (Sh’aul), the first king of Israel (Esth. 2:5). Haman was a descendant of Amalek through King Agag (Esth. 3:1). Because King Saul did not destroy Agag as God had ordered him to do (I Sam 15:2-3), we have the battle that started in Exodus 17:16 continuing through another generation. Amalek represents anti-Semitism and the hatred of Satan against God’s Chosen People which still continues to this day and will not be wiped away until the fulfillment of the Book of Revelation. God has told us through His Word to destroy ALL of the sin in our lives. Have we done this?

Esther was prepared for twelve months to be a bride before she was ready to be presented to the King (Esth. 2:12), but it would take another three years before she would be granted an audience before him (Esth. 1:3 & 2:16). How long do we prepare before we go before our king, Jesus (Yeshua)?

Mordecai (Esther’s uncle) prepared her for the role of bringing salvation to the Jewish people of the day. He raised her and brought the information of Haman’s plot to her. As with many of us, she did not want do anything with the information at first. But Mordecai responded with a now famous verse of scripture from Esther 4:13-14:
Then Mordecai told {them} to reply to Esther, "Do not imagine that you in the king's palace can escape any more than all the Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?"

Esther (who was a type and shadow of Jesus) fasted and prayed for three days before she ROSE to seek an audience with the King. She asked the King three times to speak with him BEFORE she made her request (Esth. 5: 1-4, 6-8, 7:2-4). How much time do we spend before we ask our King for something?

Haman decided to sign the decree for the annihilation of the Jews on the same day that Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus) would later have His Passover Seder (The Last Supper) (Jn 13:1, Esth. 3:12, Ex 3:12, 12:6).

The Jews were saved physically in Esther, but all of God’s children would be saved eternally by the atoning Blood of the Lamb through Messiah Yeshua. Purim today is a time for feasting and celebration and to remember that God has and always will triumph over evil.

- by Rabbi Harlon Picker