To accept His pursuit and His Mohar is to call on the Name of the Lord and, of course, everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved. When we believe and confess and call on His Name He gives us His promised Holy Spirit, the promised seal. Again, let’s look at Ephesians 1:13-14 “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.”(NIV)
II Corinthians 5:5 puts it this way, “Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”(NIV) What is to come? There is more yet to come. He is not done with us yet. Our seal, the Holy Spirit, is our deposit guaranteeing what is to come.
There is something else that is important for us to see. His seal is connected to His Name. We see in I Kings 8:10-11 when the ark of the covenant was brought into Solomon’s Temple it says, “When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the LORD. 11 And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled his temple.”(NIV) Now let’s look at I Kings 9:3 where the Lord is responding to the prayer of Solomon dedicating the Temple, “The LORD said to him: “I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.”(NIV) Where did He put His Name? On the Temple!
In I Corinthians 3:16 it says, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?”(NIV) That cloud was God’s presence that filled the Temple. Yes, His Spirit filled the Temple. He made it Holy and placed His Name upon it. Again, later in the book Paul writes in I Corinthians 6:19-20, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”(NIV)
Your not your own, you’ve been bought with a price and your very body is a temple. II Corinthians 3:18 says, “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”(NIV) What did He fill the Temple with? His Spirit. It was called His Glory in I Kings. The Glory that comes from the Spirit, which is in us, and He is giving us an ever increasing Glory, He continues to fill us with His Glory. With ever increasing Glory, that’s what He’s doing in us. If that doesn’t excite you I don’t know what will. So be filled with the Spirit.
Alright, Revelation 2:17 says, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.”(NIV) What might that white stone be? A seal. We receive that name. He is going to give to us a new stone, a white stone, a pure stone, with a name on it. When we receive Him, when we receive His Holy Spirit He literally marks us with His Name, the Name upon which we call upon. He Marks us with His Name.
And of course, that Spirit according to II Thessalonians 2:13 sets us apart for Him, “But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.”(NIV) The Spirit continues to sanctify, it continues to set us apart.
Remember our Kiddushin, it is a ceremony and period of sanctification. He sanctifies. We who are believers in Yeshua the Messiah are living our lives in a period of sanctification. That is where we are at, we are being set apart for that awesome day. That day when our faith is made sight and we see face to face our beloved Bridegroom.
So let’s recap this amazing segment. When we accept His pursuit and His Mohar He seals us with His Holy Spirit and His Name so that our future is guaranteed. That future is with our Beloved Bridegroom forever and we will forever bare His Name.
In the ten months that followed the issuing of the second edict there was a great time of rejoicing within the Jewish community. It was such an outward expression of joy that it was clearly seen by their friends and neighbors, even by those who had before wanted to attack them. After the second edict came a time of gladness a time when their light of that joy shined onto those around them. They became a witness to the power of God, a light to the Gentiles.
I believe this to be an initial fulfillment (the ultimate fulfillment of the following passage I believe will be fulfilled in the end) of Zechariah 8:23 which says, “This is what the Lord almighty says: “In those days ten men from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘ Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.’”"(NIV) It is interesting to note that Zechariah was written in the time of Xerxes father Darius and even in the early part of Xerxes reign.
This is what the ancient world was seeing. Many peoples were coming to the Jews and following their God. God had made it obvious that He was with His people and the Gentiles did not want to be caught on the wrong side.
Remember that the first edict was sealed with the king’s signet ring, but so was the second. The people now had a choice as to which edict they would follow. Before the second edict came out there was but one choice and it had to be obeyed. Now, however, there was hope. Hope in the God of the Jews.
Here is where most people miss the blessing of the book of Esther. It is not just that God rescued his people through Mordecai and Esther, but that He used them to also start a chain reaction, so to speak, that overflowed to the rest of the peoples of the kingdom. It is clear that because of the fear of the Jews many became Jews. Yes, it does take looking beyond the surface to see the object of that fear. It is God Himself.
Remember that even Haman’s wife knew that his downfall began with parading Mordecai, a Jew, through the streets of Susa. Because the King’s honor went to a Jew, she knew he would surely come to ruin. She knew who truly lead the Jews, it was their God. It was their God that caused her to predict the ruin of her own husband.
Here too, we see the peoples of the kingdom understanding that the fear of the Jews is God. Their only hope was in trusting in this God of the Jews and thereby becoming Jews themselves. We must not think that becoming a Jew was a casual thing. It was not and is not. It involves, and did then as well, a public ceremony declaring your allegiance to the God of the Jews, immersion (called mikvah) for both men and women, and circumcision for the men. It is and was no small thing to become a Jew.
What we see at the end of chapter eight is a mass revival. We see people from different tongues, tribes and nations coming to God through the joyful witness of His people. We see the heart of God giving us a glimpse of what he would one day do.
Why do I say it like that? Because this was a short lived revival, it only lasted one generation. After the death of Xerxes, his son, Artaxerxes would declare Zoroastrianism the official religion of the kingdom. It is important to remember here that it was the Zoroastrian priests who helped conspire against Xerxes and largely gave direction to the coup against him that put Artaxerxes on the throne. One must ask the question why? Why would the priests feel the need to do that? Perhaps Xerxes himself turned and followed the God of his new adopted family. He had publically aligned himself to that family and perhaps, we can hope, to their God.
Either way, God had moved among the nations and given His invitation to the peoples of the Persian Empire just as He had with Egypt (The Exodus), Assyria (Jonah), and Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar’s turning to God). God’s heart has always been that His people, Israel, be a light to those far away so that they can be brought near.
Let us also not forget that the Northern Kingdom of Israel was dispersed into this area by the Assyrians. They may very well be a part of this revival. We think of them as lost, but God never lost them and never stopped wanting them back. We see in Ezekiel 37 that God would once again bring the house of Israel and the house of Judah back together to be one. This event in Esther may very well be that event or at least a part of that process. Remember Ezekiel was a prophet during the time of the Babylonian exile about 100 years before the account of Esther.
We also know that by the time of the first century that the Jews once again saw themselves as the twelve tribes. We see this in the opening verse of James where he addresses his letter “To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations”(NIV). The scattering James is referring to is not the exile but the diaspora in the first century after the stoning of Stephen.
Here in Esther we see God once again drawing people to Himself. This is the heart of our Father. We should never neglect to see the working of His might Hand.
After the banquet Xerxes was unable to sleep. We could speculate that perhaps he was wondering what his bride would request of him because obviously this was not going to be a small thing. However, Scripture does not tell us why he could not sleep, but it does give us the result of that insomnia. Xerxes has the chronicles of his reign brought in to be read. Perhaps he was hoping he would find it easier to sleep after listening a while or perhaps he thought he might as well get some work done. Either way it was read that Mordecai had saved his life.
Notice that Xerxes is the one who asks if Mordecai had been honored for saving his life. When the answer of “no” comes back to him he genuinely desires to honor Mordecai. He also wants to make sure he does just the right thing to honor him. He wants some input and ideas from others. So he asks if there is someone in the court and, of course, Haman had just entered to ask if he could hang Mordecai. However, unbeknown to Haman he will indeed be discussing Mordecai, but in terms of honoring him not executing him.
Xerxes wants an honest opinion to his question of how to honor someone that the king delights to honor; so he does not give Haman the name of the man. Haman being an egotist thinks that naturally the king is meaning him and so gives the king a very elaborate plan for honoring someone.
Xerxes knew he could count on Haman for this and likes his idea. Here’s the kicker to Haman’s gut, the man the king delights to honor was not him, but his enemy Mordecai. Not only did Haman come up with the idea of how to honor Mordecai, but he would be the one to carry it out and parade Mordecai through the streets.
I love the sense of humor of our God. Remember, that Haman is the antagonist in our story. Haman had intended to make an example of Mordecai with an execution. Instead, he would make an example of him as someone honored by the king. God is very capable of turning the enemy’s plans upside down and making His people shine as the stars instead of being extinguished by the enemy.
The enemy here is humiliated by having to parade Mordecai on the king’s horse while wearing the king’s robe. But that was not all. Haman himself would robe Mordecai. In other words, he would serve Mordecai. What a humiliation.
As we study this we must understand the theological truth within this passage. For the hearer it seems like all is lost. Haman is about to get his way and kill Mordecai. It is at that moment that the king steps in to honor him. Our King wants to see His people robed for His glory. He wants us to shine and be the light of the world, because the light we reflect is His.
Let’s break this down. We are to put on our new selves or the Lord Jesus Christ. Just as Mordecai was clothed in the king’s robe so when we put on our new selves we are putting on Yeshua our King. We are made into His image in righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4 & Colossians 3). We are then lead by God Himself “in triumphal procession in Christ” (II Corinthians 2:14).
Mordecai is led through the streets in the name of the king. Granted, Haman leading Mordecai is not the same as God leading us, but then again even though we see truths in this account it is not a perfect parallel. I believe for Haman this was part of God making him His footstool (Psalm 110). For Haman set a trap that he himself was falling into and he would fall hard (Psalm 57:6 & Proverbs 28:10). The one who set out to destroy the Jews, God’s people, was indeed to be made the servant of God’s people, a sign of cursing.
This was a sure sign that God was working and about to deliver His people. But notice that Mordecai does not proudly declare victory yet among his people. Instead he returns to the city gate where he had gone to fast, pray and mourn. He did not stop appealing to God, but persevered in his appeal. Allow me to give an example. Let’s say you are in a strange town with your family and having car trouble. Your husband must go into a potentially dangerous situation to get the car to the place that can help, so you begin to pray. Once you hear from him and know that God is answering your prayer for his safety do you stop praying or continue until you see him walk in the door? You continue to pray for God’s protection until he walks in the door. That is what Mordecai is doing. He does see God working, but still continues to pray and watch.
Meanwhile, Haman and those connected to him definitely see the writing on the wall. They know the reputation of the God of the Jews and know His hand is against Haman. Here we see the enemy experiencing the fear of the Jews and knowing he is in real trouble and will come to ruin. When something happens in the book of Esther through God’s people, the Jews, it is clear that it is God doing the work. Again, God’s people are a reflection of the One True God. Their actions, the actions of God’s people, are not seen as their own, but as those of their King.
And the king’s eunuchs come and quickly take Haman into the presence of the king.
My family and I took a trip to Nashville this past Saturday and worshiped our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah, with Kol Dodi Messianic Congregation. It was a heart warming experience. Heart warming because the people of Kol Dodi were very loving and welcoming from the first Shabbat Shalom to the last goodbye.
We spent six hours with them and by the end of our time with them felt like we were one of them. The first two hours were spent in worship with songs in both Hebrew and English, readings from Scripture, teaching, communionand prayer. I have to tell you it did not seem like that much time went by.
Our daughter spent the teaching time with the children after a blessing upon the children was given under a prayer shawl/canopy. While with the children she made a pottery communion cup and met a new friend. One of her teachers has a son who helps with the BCM here at our local university, what a small world.
It was a congregation made up of both Jew and non-Jew. A congregation worshiping in the Hebrew way together with the walls of hostility gone in the Name of Yeshua. It reminded me of the passage in Zechariah 8 where God says that ten men would take hold of one Jew because they know the Lord is with him. What an awesome sight to see Jew and non-Jew worshiping together and being a part of it.
The rabbi’s wife was very welcoming at the picnic as we talked and she invited me to visit with the other ladies and introduced me. I thought, “this is how it should be”. It was a great honor to visit with those ladies and hope to do so again soon.
The mikvah was amazing and started with the call of the shofar. We stood on the bank of a creek as two children and two women went into the water to be baptized in the Name of Yeshua. The two women gave awesome testimonies, one even including a confession that was something only God could accomplish, I pray she will continue to allow God to change her and transform her into the image of His Son.
I could not recommend more highly that each of us find a Messianic Congregation in our region to visit, worship with and participate with in their work. It will bless your heart and you will be awestruck at what God is doing in His Bride.
EPH 1:11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.(NIV)
11We have also received an inheritance in Him, predestined according to the purpose of the One who works out everything in agreement with the decision of His will, 12 so that we who had already put our hope in the Messiah might bring praise to His glory. 13 When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. 14 He is the down payment of our inheritance, for the redemption of the possession, to the praise of His glory.(HCSB)
Our last post was our first discussion on the “mystery”, making us one with each other and with Him — or bringing “all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.” Then comes verses 11 through 14. What I want to do is connect these verses to what came before them.
If you noticed the versions above start out different. One uses the word “chosen”, while the other uses “inheritance”. The more accurate word is “inheritance”, which connects it to the word that comes next, “predestined”. Remember “predestined” had to do with adoption in our earlier content and one who is adopted does receive an inheritance. The latter part of these verses also speaks of inheritance, but we will get to that in a minute.
That inheritance they were predestined for as adopted sons was according to the plan and purpose (or decision) of His will. It was going in a direction of working out everything to that end, the plan an purpose of His will. So that those who already believed in Christ, in the Messiah(Jews) might be to the praise of His glory. But Paul does not stop there, he goes on to say that the believers in Ephesus (Gentiles) were also included in Christ, in that inheritance, when they heard the word of truth and believed. Paul says they too received or were marked in Christ with a seal, the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is God’s down payment of “our” inheritance. Notice the word “our”. Paul is not speaking in terms of “we” and “you” or Jew and Gentile any more, but bringing the two groups together by the seal of the Holy Spirit, the promised Holy Spirit. Together, as God’s possession, they will all be redeemed, to the PRAISE OF GOD’S GLORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What an awesome direction we are moving in. Don’t you think?
Praise be to God our Father and Jesus our Messiah!