by Avner Boskey
The Feast of Purim is about to roar into town! Those who love the Scriptures will meditate once again on the Jewish-Persian Scroll of Esther – remembering the agony and the ecstasy of how the Jewish people were nearly destroyed by an evil Iran-based plot. Jews across the globe will read the Megillah (the Scroll of Esther), dress up in costumes, perform Purimshpil plays, and of course eat copious amounts of homentashn (the Yiddish word for triangular poppy-filled pastries, known as ‘oznei Haman’ – “Haman’s ears” in Israel).
This holiday is Biblically commended for Jewish people to celebrate (Esther 9:26-32). In the Bible, the horrifying threat of genocide against Jacob’s children is unbelievably thwarted by the God of the Hebrews, whose name is strikingly absent from Esther’s Book. Nervous relief spills over into exuberant joy for every generation of Jews who somehow manage to survive Satan’s continuing hardcore attempts to destroy Israel.
Here are a few brief nuggets from the Scroll of Esther, the little-known Biblical jewel of a book.
Superpowers have a pretty consistent record of turning against the Jewish people
Persian King Cyrus was prophetically honored by Isaiah and given the title “My anointed” (Isaiah 45:1). The God of Israel inspired him to open up the doors of restoration and free the Hebrews, encouraging them to return to their Promised Homeland (2 Chronicles 36:22-23) in 539 B.C.
Yet barely sixty years later Haman rose up to conduct a state-sponsored genocide of the Jewish nation. Even though Queen Esther was the Persian King’s wife (and close to the seat of power), Satan had managed to penetrate the inner council of the King and turned the Persian monarchy into a weapon formed against Jacob’s people.
- If an ancient superpower could turn from blessing Israel to cursing Israel in such a short time, could not such events happen again in our day? The only protection against such a hot-cold turnaround is a foundation which is based on a biblical understanding of Israel’s calling and destiny, as well as a commitment to honor God by honoring His people.
Fear, jealousy and covetousness nurture the roots of anti-Semitism
Haman’s murderous hatred of Mordechai was triggered by that Jewish man’s unwillingness to bow and scrape before him (Esther 3:5-6). It was only a short step to planning the mass murder of Mordechai’s people. Haman’s insecurities and fears opened him up to demonic influence – an anti-Semitism marked by murderous hatred.
Haman’s suave appeal to King Ahashverosh (Ahasuerus in English, Xerxes in Greek, or Khsharyasha in Old Persian) focused on three charges against the Jewish people:
- The Jews are different and live separately. These people are then seen as dangerous in the minds of those who fear those who are different: “There is a certain people scattered and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom” (Esther 3:8)
- The Jews are suspected of being treasonous to their host countriesbecause they follow revealed teachings which they say are from God: “Their laws are different from those of all other people and they do not observe the king’s laws” (Esther 3:8)
- The Jewish people’s hard-earned financial resources needs to be forcibly taken from them even by oppression and murder: “If it is pleasing to the king, let it be decreed that they be destroyed, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who carry on the king’s business, to put into the king’s treasuries.” The king said to Haman, “The silver is yours, and the people also, to do with them as you please” (Esther 3:9-11)
Fear, jealousy, suspicion and covetousness lie at the root of anti-Semitism. This was true for Haman, for the Samaritans, for the Church Fathers, for the armies of the Crusades and the Inquisition, for Martin Luther, for Hitler, for Stalin and for much of the Arabic-speaking and Islamist world today.
God’s burglar alarm is still armed, ready and waiting for anti-Semites
Genesis 12:3 tell us that the one who mocks or despises the Jewish people, the one who treats them as of little consequence, the one who says that God is finished with them (that is the exact sense of the Hebrew verb used here meqalelecha) – he will be cursed by God.
Corrie ten Boom’s father watched the Nazis rounding up the Jews of Netherlands and cart them off the be murdered. He remarked sadly to her, “I pity the Germans, for they have touched the apple of God’s eye.” Casper ten Boom was referring to the promise of Zechariah 2:8, “He has sent me against the nations which plunder you [Israel], for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.”
The nation which raises its hand against the Jewish people – whether in the open or hidden from sight, whether through using terror or supporting terror or not confronting terror – YHVH of armies promises an assured burning judgment.
- “Now YHVH saw, and it was displeasing in His sight that there was no justice. And He saw that there was no man, and was astonished that there was no one to intercede. Then His own arm brought salvation to Him, and His righteousness upheld Him. He put on righteousness like a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head. He put on garments of vengeance for clothing and wrapped Himself with zeal as a mantle. According to their deeds, so He will repay – wrath to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies. To the coastlands He will make recompense… For He will come like a rushing stream which the wind of YHVH drives. A Redeemer will come to Zion” (Isaiah 59:15-20)
It’s hard for old principalities to learn new tricks
The Book of Daniel pulls back the curtain on superpower machinations, revealing the hidden influence of demonic principalities over world powers. Paul describes such satanic majesties as “rulers, powers, world forces of this darkness, spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). The angel Gabriel hones in on two of these demons assigned to oversee superpowers as “the prince of the kingdom of Persia” and “the prince of the kingdom of Greece” (Daniel 10:13, 20).
- In the same way, today there are high-ranking demons who carry national and imperial/super-power portfolios. Modern superpowers certainly have their spiritual “suckerfish” – demons whose job it is to influence a country’s leadership to oppose God’s heart, ways and strategies, with special focus on doing harm to the Jewish people (see Daniel 10:13, 21; 12:1).
Some of those ancient principalities moved Haman to destroy the Jewish people scattered through the mighty Persian empire (Esther 3:12-15; 1:1).
- Today the Prince of Persia is still at work, as a recent quote from Iran’s Foreign Minister demonstrates.
According to the Iranian Fars News agency (http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961130001487) Mohsen Rezayee, Secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council and former chief of the country’s Revolutionary Guards, told the Hezbollah-affiliated Arabic-language al-Manar TV channel on Monday February 19, 2018, “About Netanyahu’s unwise words, I should say that if they carry out the slightest unwise move against Iran, we will level Tel Aviv to the ground and will not give any opportunity to Netanyahu to flee.”
Daniel became aware of high-level spiritual warfare nearly by accident. All he did was begin to intercede for the Jewish people and ask when their prophesied restoration to the Land of Israel and to the God of Jacob would come about (Daniel 9:1-3, 20-23; 10:12-14). The answer to these prayerful questions caused major warfare in the heavenlies between high-level demonic powers (on one side) and God’s elect angels including Gabriel and the archangel Michael (on the other side).
- If there is one main point the Books of Esther and Daniel drive home, it is that Satan has a priority focus in his spiritual warfare in harming the spiritual and physical well being, survival, salvation and prospering of the Jewish people.
Reprinted with permission of the author. For more informative articles by Avner visit their website: www.davidstent.org