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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

 The Best Commentary On The Bible Is The Bible Itself
Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory
 
The Reflections Newsletter

Monday, March 23, 2009

**In This Issue**

  1. The Book of Mysteries
  2. 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 and friends.
 


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 without being 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... Haman.

Angry with Haman, King Ahasuerus retreated into the palace garden.  Haman, now in great fear, remained to plead for his life from the Queen.  While pleading, 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.  The king 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.


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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory


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 biblequestions@reflecthisglory.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 through it.

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 Romans 11:21:

For if 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.      KJVER

 

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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

 

**MEMORY VERSE OF THE MONTH**

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:

Deuteronomy 30:19  KJV ER

Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

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"Then Jesus said to those Jews which believed on him,
"
If you continue in My word, then are you My disciples indeed;
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free
."

John 8:31-32

  
Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory
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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory
Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory