Purim 2015: Iran Still Intent on Destroying Jewish People

On the day before Purim, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress to once again warn the United States and the rest of the “Free World” of the clear and present danger posed by modern Persia to the nation of Israel and to them.

In an invitation swirled in controversy both in Israel and in the U.S., Netanyahu seems to have intentionally set the timing to coincide with the Jewish holiday of Purim, in order to show that even thousands of years do not change things:  the Iranian religious and political leaders still seek the destruction of the Chosen People of YHVH God; and, the Jewish people have the right to defend themselves against such a threat.  The law of the Persians can not be revoked when written in the king’s name and sealed with the king’s signet ring. (Esther 3; 8:8; Dan 6:8,12,15)  History has a long memory!

The danger presented by the PM includes the American political leadership ignoring the “canary in the mine” that is Israel:  if Israel allowed itself to be the sacrificial birdie killed by dangerous ‘gases’, in the hope that others will escape and survive, the truth is that Israel’s survival is the key to all the other nations’ survival.

Relations between Israel and the U.S. may suffer; a better deal between the Allied Powers and Iran may not happen; Netanyahu and his party may not win the upcoming elections for the Israeli government.  Whether yes or no, the words of the PM in the congress — heard around the world — will be found to be true.  And just as in the Scroll of Esther in the Bible, which is the source of why there is such a holiday as Purim, the name of God is not mentioned, neither did Bibi mention His name.  But true to Himself, the God of Israel will act in accord with His covenant, for the sake of His holy name:  it is He who is to be feared; and it is He who forgives sin.

The historic speech can be heard here: http://www.nytimes.com/video/world/middleeast/100000003547828/netanyahus-full-speech-before-congress.html

At Odds – 23 Feb 2014

In three weeks, two events are overlapping each other:  the Christ At The Checkpoint (CATC) conference in Bethlehem, and a day of praying and fasting preceding the beginning of Purim.  I have been invited to be present at both; I will only be at the Esther’s Fast day on Mar. 13 at Yad HaShmonah, organized by Revive Israel.  I will be leading the final prayer session for the hour before we conclude the day with the Lord’s Supper.  The focus will be God’s providential  protection of His wayward people, despite their unbelief and the continuing threats to destroy them.  (Remember:  the laws of Persia can not be changed; they are still ‘on the books’ sealed with the King’s ring, both to destroy the Jews, and for the Jews to defend themselves.)

With this, we stand in the gap as those who have been saved by the grace of God through repentance and faith in the gospel, knowing that we, too, were once alienated and exposed to the enemies’ schemes to destroy our lives through sin and God’s righteous judgments against us before we came under the blood of Jesus and the new covenant.  The Lord’s Supper expresses our thankfulness and our unity among all believers, for whom God is our Father through Messiah/Christ.

With respect to the CATC conference, I have communicated with the director from the Palestinian hosts, and with the primary leader from the Israeli Messianic contingent about my not endorsing the conference nor my participation in it.  The mandate of the conference is not one which I can approve by being there:
http://www.christatthecheckpoint.com/index.php/about-us/manifesto

While we can work on some projects together, and we do, I am not able to work together on this one.  I do pray that God will have His way at the conference, and that the Holy Spirit will continue to bring forth whatever good can come through this ‘process’.  There is not at all a consensus among the Messianic leadership here in Israel regarding this conference.  Reconciliation goes on, but not necessarily through any particular organization or conference.

It is the burden on my heart that we will see a breakthrough from God to set things right and in order on many levels and areas in our personal, congregational, and Kingdom-wide lives; that the sheep will come together in the truth, in a truer expression of unity and love for one another, all for the glory of the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (in whatever language His name is great!), as we look to that glorious day of His return.  Then, there will be peace within and without and between.  Until then, for the believer, our Savior says:  “Peace I leave with you.  My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ . . . .”

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!