God Still Faithful When His People Are Not – 23 Feb 2002

The Scroll of Esther is read in the synagogues every year for Purim.  If you do not know the story of the history, read it at home.  The Purim celebrations  by Jews around the world today are far from the manner prescribed by Mordecai and Esther almost 2500 years ago.  What is remarkable, though, is that his holiday is still being observed:  it still has relevance for us today, even as believers in Jesus.  Purim is not one of the appointed times given by YHVH to Israel, but a set time by His people in appreciation of God’s sovereignty – even though they did not acknowledge Him personally – and this holiday of the Jewish people was accepted by the Lord.

We – and the rest of humanity – place ourselves in danger when we ignore God’s voice and His mighty deeds which ascribe glory to Him alone.  The holiday of Purim reminds us of this real and present danger when God’s people – the Jews and Christians– ignore His grace and faithfulness to His purposes of redemption.  (The Holocaust is another grave reminder of failing to heed the Providence of the LORD to keep His prophetic and covenantal promises).  The LORD remains faithful in His love and for His Holy Name’s sake, even when we do not.

Esther 4:13-14 God’s sovereignty and faithfulness, and our own personal responsibility

Ezra 1:1-4 the proclamation of Cyrus, King of Persia

 The events which happened to the Jews at the time of Queen Esther and Mordecai occurred about 50-60 years after King Cyrus had issued the call for the people of the LORD to return to the Land of Israel to rebuild the Temple of the LORD in Jerusalem.  Most of the Jews did not go up but rather remained in the galut (exile).  They apparently preferred the life amongst the people who served other gods and had little taste for returning to the harsh life of rebuilding society under the Hand of God.

Nonetheless, the LORD had left some believers in Persia in order to preserve His people and a testimony for His Name.  The scroll of Esther is notable for not mentioning God directly.  While it is evident throughout the book that the God of Heaven was overseeing and intervening through events here on Earth, it is also a picture of the galut mentality that the Name of the true God is forgotten by His people.  Practically and spiritually the people are in exile:  they do not know who their God is, and have no personal relationship with Him. They celebrate their freedom like pagans rather than in a manner worthy of Him who has called them to serve Him who is Lord over all.

This is the present reality of Israel – both within the land and without.  Because of unbelief and unwillingness to return to the LORD, the Father of Israel, through His beloved Son Yeshua, the Jewish people continue to find themselves threatened with annihilation by those who oppose them for being the people chosen by God, and primarily rely on their own skills and power to prevail.

Just as the LORD has kept His Word in the past – when He preserved and redeemed His people out of Egypt, and again delivered them from destruction by their enemies like Haman, and again saved a remnant through the Holocaust and re-established a sovereign nation-state in our own day – so too will God be faithful to Himself and to Messiah Jesus, who died on the cross to allow God to accomplish all His purposes for His people, and bring the Jewish people and Israel through its worst crisis.  In doing so, He will also save many other people as well, just as in Egypt, Persia, Europe, when they saw Him act on behalf of His chosen – even while they were outside His full covering.  Praise the LORD!

Es. 9:27 – For believers in Jesus – whether Jewish or not — the story of Purim has lessons for us:

What is God’s Name? – Many who are called Christian/Messianic live their lives as if in exile:  not actively representing the Kingdom of Messiah in the country in which we live; not confessing the Name of Jesus before men out of fear or because of what public faith in Him requires of us.  We can either serve the Lord Jesus or not, willingly or not, but He will ever remain faithful and true to His name.

Jesus outside our worship. – There are local churches who, in the Lord’s eyes, have kept Him outside; they are in spiritual exile, yet He calls to those inside to repent and return to Him, and so He to them.

Pagan spirit in celebrations. – Many called Christian celebrate their sacred days in a manner more like the heathen than honoring the holy God who purchased them with His own blood.

Vengeance is YHVH’s. – When we are far from the close relationship with our Father in Heaven, we often resort to carnal and desperate means for protecting ourselves from our enemies.  That itself should be a clue to us that perhaps we are not where we should be.  Vengeance is the LORD’s!  He will judge and war against those who curse His people and seek to wipe them out.

Remnant suffers for righteousness sake. – Mordecai and Esther were willing to suffer for righteousness sake in order to honor God and to seek protection for their people against their enemy, who only seeks his own glory.  They represent a believing remnant who fear the LORD and identify with His/their people.

Israel and the Church will prevail! – The faithfulness of God to Israel gives comfort and hope to the believers in Jesus.  God’s sovereignty and providence work all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.  No weapon formed, not even the gates of Hades, will prevail against the people whom God has chosen for His inheritance and glory!

Time of Messiah Yeshua’s First Coming

(Updated Aug 7, 2014)

The New Testament writers understood the Scriptures through their faith in the glorified and exalted Yeshua – who died and rose again and ascended into Heaven to the right hand of the Father – by the Holy Spirit who was their – and is our – Teacher.

Our reliance is on the record of the Bible.  Other books and teachings are useful and helpful to the extent that they enlighten God’s Word to us and direct us to see for ourselves the sufficiency of the Biblical record.

It is vital to apprehend the truth that all of the prophecies regarding the coming Messiah converged upon and in the person of Yeshua of Nazareth at that time in human history when He came into the world, and during the course of His life, ministry, death and resurrection.  NO OTHER PERSON (OR ANY OTHER THING OR ENTITY) MEETS, NOR CAN MEET, ALL OF THE PROPHETIC QUALIFICATIONS PERTAINING TO THE MESSIAH, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD, THE KING OF ISRAEL AND OF THE JEWS!  YEHOVAH God is the Lord of history:  He determines and sets the appointed times and seasons for the carrying out of His sovereign will.

Gal 4:4   In the fullness of time God sent His Son.  (The precise dates of His birth, death, and coming again are not completely clear, partly because of calendar discrepancies.)
Lk 12:54-56   Jesus called the people hypocrites for their ability to discern the signs for the weather, but not the signs of the time.
Lk 19:44; Dan 9:24-27   Jesus wept over Jerusalem for its impending destruction because she did not know the time of her visitation.
Acts 2:36   The apostle Peter preached that the whole House of Israel should know that God has made Yeshua/Jesus, whom we crucified, both Lord and Messiah.

EXPECTANCY around the time of His birth
Mt 2:1-8  Wise men from the East; chief priests and scribes of the Jews; Herod the king:  all were aware that the Messiah was due

Lk 2:25   Simeon was waiting for the consolation of Israel through the birth of Yeshua and the salvation of the Lord.
Lk 2:36   Anna was looking, along with others, for the redemption in Jerusalem.
Acts 5:34-42   references to false messiahs/christs during that period
Lk 1 – 2   the angel Gabriel’s announcements to Elizabeth and Zechariah, to Mary and Joseph; and the angel of the Lord telling the shepherds in the fields around Bethlehem
Lk 1:26 – 2:40 (Is 7:14; 9:6)   A young virgin did give birth – a sign to the House of David – and was spoken against (both Mary and Jesus), and was called by divine names.

EXPECTANCY during Yeshua’s ministry
Lk 3:15; Jn 1:19-27   The question arose as to whether John was the Messiah, and, if not, then why was he baptizing?
Jn 1:35-51   Andrew and Nathanel, when chosen by Jesus to be His disciples, recognized in Him the One of whom Moses and the Prophets wrote – the Son of God and King of Israel.
Jn 4:25   The Samaritan woman knew that Messiah should come.
Lk 7:19-22 (Is 35:5-6; 61:1)   John the Baptiser wanted to make sure if Yeshua really was the Messiah as he had been given to think, or was there someone else?  Jesus answered the inquiry by demonstrating the power of His anointing to do the signs and miracles and works of YHVH’s Anointed One.
Lk 22:67; Jn 10:22-24   The elders and the chief priests and the scribes asked Jesus to tell them if, in fact, He was the Messiah. 

EXPECTANCY surrounding His death
Lk 23:34-43   mocking, but also saving faith

PROPHESIED BY GOD to entire human race through both Jewish and Gentile voices, and also by angelic voices:  Moses, Balaam, Jacob (Israel), Daniel, magi
Gen 1:1-5; Jn 8:22   The Light of the world is Christ:  pre-existing, not created
Gen 1:14-18; Jn 9:45   The sun was made and appeared on the 4
th day of creation; Jesus the Son (Sun of Righteousness) came into the world in 4th
1000-year day.
Mt 2:1-11   The star of the child born to be King of the Jews was observed and recognized
Gen 49:8-12   the sceptre and law-giver with Judah until Shiloh comes
Num 24:15-19   Star out of Jacob; out of Jacob one shall have dominion
Dan 9:24-27   The  death of Messiah was to be before the destruction of the second Temple, which occurred in 70AD
–70 7’s:  days (Sabbaths); weeks (7 days each); years (Sabbatic and Jubilee)  [NoteGen 29:27-30 Jacob served Laban a “week” = 7 years]
–*7 + 62 weeks = 69 weeks = 483 years “counted” from the time of “the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem” until His being “cut off”/death

     *Different assumptions of chronology and dating cause discrepancies in determining the dates.  It is clear from Scripture that the first of the seven weeks began with the decree of Cyrus, King of Persia, followed by a break of about 13 years before the decree was re-affirmed by Darius, and building of the Temple re-started, and of the city. (see Is 44:28 and Hag 1; 2:18; Ezra 6:1-4; Neh 2:1-8)  With the break in the building project, the actual time from the initial decree by Cyrus would be closer to 500 years.

2Chr 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-4; 4:12; Hag 1:4   Cyrus gave the decree, which He claimed was from YHVH.  He proclaimed a Jubilee, and the end of the first of the 7 “weeks”/49 years marked the beginning of the next Jubilee.   

Is 44:28; 45:1-13   Prophecies about Cyrus, the LORD’s anointed, before he was born!  Cyrus would make the decree for the building of Jerusalem and for laying the foundation of the Temple, and proclaim liberty for the captivity of Israel.    

Ezra 6:1-14; Neh 2:1-8; Haggai   a halt in the work, but Cyrus’ decree was confirmed by Artaxerxes
–The first 7 sevens, or 49 years, coincides with Nehemiah’s work to restore Jerusalem and the Temple service.  There was a notable spiritual revival, which saw the cleansing of the Temple and the restoration of the Temple order and service. (Neh 7:1; 12:44; 13:9)  After a ‘time-out’ of about 13 years, the ‘clock’ begins again for 62 more weeks.  So the time of Yeshua’s final week and ‘cutting off’ (death) is after the 62 weeks, and not 69 uninterrupted weeks!

–7 x 7 = 49 years

    7 x 62 = 434 years (400 yrs before birth of Jesus + His death in His 34th year of human life)
7 x 69 = 483 years + ~13 years of interrupted building of the Temple

–The 70th “week of Daniel” is sometime after the death of Messiah, and also after the destruction of the second Temple and also of Jerusalem, and is ‘clocked’ from the confirming of a covenant by the antichrist with Israel back in the Land in the last days at the time of the end.