Monday, March 23, 2009
**In This Issue**
- The Book of Mysteries
- What Does the Bible Say About...?
Welcome to the
Reflections Newsletter from Reflect His Glory. RHG is a co-ministry
with Creation Science Ministries. Feel free to send this to your relatives
The Book of Mysteries
This month, Jewish
communities throughout the world observed the
feast of Purim. The story behind the ancient celebration can be found in the
book of Esther. To many readers, Esther is
an obscure book. It
is a story of romance and palatial intrigue set in the
glory days of the Persian Empire. A Jewish
maiden, elevated to the throne of Persia as its
queen, was used by God to preserve His people against an
annihilation that can be compared to the attempted
extermination by Hitler in World War II.
To this day, the Feast of Purim is held to commemorate these events.
Instituted by Mordecai to celebrate the
deliverance of the Jews from extermination, Purim is so called after the
lots cast by Haman in order to determine the month in which the slaughter
was to take place. Held on the fourteenth day of the Jewish month of Adar
(March 10th this year), Purim is one of the most joyous days of the year.
The book of Esther chronicles real historical events. It deals with the Jews
escape from genocidal annihilation after their return from Babylonian
captivity. Chronologically, Esther's
marriage to the king of Persia ultimately lead to the rebuilding of
Jerusalem and enables the chain of events that led to the appearance of the
Messiah five centuries later. This is found in the
Book of Nehemiah.
Orphaned as a child and brought up by her cousin Mordecai, Esther was
selected by King Ahasuerus to replace
Queen Vashti when she was disgraced.
Haman, the prime minister, persuaded the king to issue an edict of
extermination of all the Jews in the Persian Empire.
Esther, on Mordecai's
advice, endangered her own life by appearing before the king
invited, in order to intercede for her people.
Seeing that the king was well inclined toward her, she invited him and Haman
to a banquet, during which she did not reveal her desire but invited
them to yet another banquet. This
misled Haman by making him think that
he was in the queen's good graces. Her real intention was to take revenge on
him. During a second banquet, Queen Esther revealed her Jewish origin to the
king, begged for her life and the life of her people, and named her enemy...
Angry with Haman, King Ahasuerus retreated into the palace garden.
Haman, now in
great fear, remained to plead for his life from the Queen.
Haman fell on Esther's couch and was found in this apparently compromising
situation upon the king's return from outside.
Haman was immediately condemned to be hung on
the very gallows which he had previously prepared for Mordecai.
complied with Esther's request. Persian
law prevented the king from retracting the edict to annihilate the Jews.
So as a result of this problem the king issued a second decree allowing the Jews to avenge themselves on their enemies.
It is a fascinating story, but one full of Biblical mysteries.
There is no
mention of the name of God in the book. There is no reference to worship or
faith. There is no mention or prediction of the Messiah; no mention of
heaven or hell; there is nothing "religious" about it.
It is a riveting
tale, but why is it here in the Bible? Martin Luther believed it should not
be part of the Canon. However, the name Esther gives us a clue: it means
"something hidden." In studying this book we have discovered that there are
numerous surprises hidden behind, and underneath, the text itself.
What Does the Bible Say About...?
In this section of the
Reflections Newsletter we answer questions that have been asked.
If you have a question that you would like ask, and do not mind having
it printed in the newsletter, (your name will not be mentioned), feel free to
send your question in an email to me at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Of course, you may call me
anytime by phone at 801.302 -1111.
The question for this issue is, "Based
on Romans 11:17-24, is there a division between Jews and Gentiles?"
Not at all.
That passage is given as an illustration of the
relationship between Jews and Gentiles. The
Apostle Paul depicts salvation as a tree, from which
branches emerge. Salvation was first rooted in
Israel... this is the tree. But because of
unbelief, many of the 'branches' were broken off.
Salvation was also offered to the Gentiles, and
those who accepted it were, and are today, grafted
into the life-giving tree, and gain sustenance
Nevertheless, in this passage, a warning is given
that Gentiles of the New Testament should not
exhibit pride that they are somehow the 'custodians'
of salvation. Many of the Jewish leaders of
the Old Testament demonstrated the same attitude,
and they were among those who were "broken off".
All of us who are part of the tree, the natural
branches, the Jews, and the 'grafted -in' branches,
the Gentiles, are only there by the grace of God,
and we would do well to remember this.
Spiritual pride over those who have not been grafted
in is indicative that one's own grafting has not
really taken root, and one is not a partaker in the
life-giving tree. Such people are warned in
God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest
He also spare not you... KJVER
As for your question of division between Jews and
Gentiles, remember that the Apostle Paul, who wrote
the Book of Romans, was Jewish. But he was
also known as the "apostle to the Gentiles."
He was a strong proponent of Christian unity
regardless of one's background. Being so, in
Galatians 3:28-29, Paul wrote:
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is
neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor
female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
And if you be Christ's, then are you Abraham's seed,
and heirs according to the promise.
**MEMORY VERSE OF THE
I call heaven and earth to record this
day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and
cursing: therefore choose life, that both
you and your
seed may live:
We solicit your prayers and support of this ministry. God Bless.
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