Esther: Reigning through Intimacy with God
I. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE BOOK OF ESTHER
The events of this book occurred between the first return of the exiles from Persia under Zerubbabel (536 BC) and the second return from Persia under Ezra (458 BC). The events of this book cover a 10-year period 483-473 BC. The feast of Esther 1, occurred in 483 BC. At the feast, the king spoke on his plan to invade Greece. Persia was defeated in this campaign (481-479 BC). Esther was made queen in 479 BC (Esth. 2:17-18). The events of this book occur between Ezra 6 and Ezra 7. King Ahasuerus (Xerxes) was king of Persia (485-464 BC).
II. PURPOSE OF THE BOOK OF ESTHER
A. To understand the relationship of God’s sovereignty (control of history, etc.) to human responses. Specifically the End-Time Church as the Bride in intercession for Israel. All events in history serve God’s sovereign purposes.
B. To understand God’s purpose to beautify the Church to walk in courage, faith and intercession in the pressure of the end-of-the-age (Esth. 2:12).
C. To understand God’s care of His people. God’s covenant to preserve national Israel against anti-Semitism is especially in focus.
D. To emphasize the Feast of Purim which celebrates the deliverance of the Jewish people from annihilation. This feast is celebrated annually for two days some time from February – March and is a type of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
III. THE CHARACTERS
A. King Ahasuerus – the Father or God’s government both heavenly (God the Father) and earthly (secular).
B. Mordecai – the Person of Jesus manifested through the Holy Spirit.
C. Esther – You or the church preserved by the spirit of adoption is now prepared in God’s beauty for intercession and authority through intimacy with the king.
D. Haman (second in power) –Satan or the enemy of God’s people, especially the Antichrist.
E. Hegai and Hathach (eunuchs in Esth. 2:8; 4:5) – various church ministries or ‘forerunners’ preparing the Bride, helping the church.
IV. THE PLOT OF THE BOOK
A. In a royal banquet (in Persia) rebellion breaks out resulting in the queen being disqualified (Esth. 1). The crisis requires that a new Queen-Bride be sought and prepared in beauty to rule with the king. The new Bride is inexperienced and without understanding and so is in need of Hegai, the eunuch (various ministries to equip the church, ie. forerunner ministry), who is committed to train her (Esth. 2). Haman, the enemy rises up against God’s people and purpose (Esth. 3). This requires great courage and faith on the part of the new Bride (Esth. 4). The Bride uses her position of honor and her relationship of love to bring deliverance to God’s people (Esth. 5).
B. Mordecai, the one who adopted the queen is honored (Esth. 6) and Haman, the enemy is totally defeated (Esth. 7). The nation of Israel is delivered and honored (Esth. 8-9). The glory and fame of Mordecai is supreme (Esth. 10).
V. THE SPECIFIC THEME AND PREMISES OF THE BOOK
A. The Church will be prepared as a Bride to be God’s chosen vessel of deliverance.
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come!” (Rev. 22:17)
Marriage of the Lamb has come, His wife has made herself ready. (Rev. 19:7)
B. The Church is being raised up and anointed like Esther to stand with Israel in context to anti-Semitism so as to provoke her to jealousy through power and love.
Blindness…to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. (Rom. 11:25)
To provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. (Rom. 11:11)
C. God will use government both heavenly and earthly to accomplish His purpose.
Be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 4….for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. 6 For because of this you pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers. (Rom. 13:1-6)
VI. THE KING SEEKS A QUEEN FOR THE KINGDOM – SEEKING A BRIDE
A. Redemption in context to Queen Vashti refusing the king and being replaced.
…bring Queen Vashti…in order to show her beauty to the people and the officials, for she was beautiful to behold. 12 But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command…therefore the king was furious…19 Let a royal decree go out…that Vashti shall come no more before King Ahasuerus; let the king give her royal position to another. (Esth. 1:11-12, 19)
B. Esther is chosen to receive beauty preparations by Hegai.
The king’s servants…said: “Let beautiful young virgins be sought for the king 3 gather…the virgins to Shushan the citadel…under the custody of Hegai the king’s eunuch, custodian of the women. Let BEAUTY PREPARATIONS be given them.”
8 Esther also was taken to the king’s palace, into the care of Hegai the custodian of the women.
9…she obtained his favor; so he readily gave BEAUTY PREPARATIONS to her. 12 Each young woman’s turn came to go in to King Ahasuerus after she had completed twelve months’ preparation… six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with perfumes and PREPARATIONS FOR BEAUTIFYING women. (Esth. 2:3, 8-9, 12)
1. Beauty preparations – (Rev. 19:7; Eph. 5:27) or the Matt 5-7 sermon on the mount lifestyle outlined that cultivates the beautiful virtues of the beatitudes.
2. Hegai prepares the Esther as the bride – a type of forerunner ministry.
3. The oil of myrrh – trials and persecutions (2 Cor. 2:14-17)
4. The oil of perfumes – the spirit of revelation (Eph. 1:17-18)
C. Esther – a Bride prepared in context to the spirit of adoption. Mordecai brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman was beautiful. When her father and mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter. (Esth. 2:7)
D. The king married Esther and made her queen. When we stand before God we come before His throne of Grace and we find favor in His sight and can ask for anything in His will.
Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus…17 The king loved Esther more than all and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all …so he set the royal crown upon her head and MADE HER QUEEN instead of Vashti. 18 Then the king made a great feast, the Feast of Esther. (Esth. 2:15-18)
E. The promotion of Haman – pictures the release of the Antichrist (Rev. 6:2). King Ahasuerus promoted Haman… and…set his seat above all the princes…
5 When Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow or pay him homage, Haman was filled with wrath. 6…Haman sought to destroy all the Jews throughout the whole kingdom…the people of Mordecai. (Esth. 3:1-6)
1. The King (Lord) will raise up the adversary (Rev. 6:1-2; Zech. 11:16-17).
2. The Antichrist will exalt himself above all (2 Thes. 2:4; Dan. 11:36-38).
3. The Antichrist wants all to pay homage or worship him (Rev. 13).
F. Haman’s plan to kill all the Jewish people in Persia.
Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people…among the people in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from all other people’s, and they do not keep the king’s laws.
9 ….let a decree be written that they be destroyed…”10 The king took his signet ring…and gave it to
Haman…the enemy of the Jews. 12 a decree was written…13…to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jews…IN ONE DAY…and to plunder their possessions. 14…the document was issued as law in every province, being published for all people, that they should be ready for that day. (Esth. 3:8-14)
1. The extermination of the Jewish people has always been Satan’s plan.
2. The warfare in Rev. 12:7-17 describes Satan’s rage against Israel.
VII. THE CALL FOR INTERCESSION
Mordecai learned all that had happened, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes…he cried out with a loud and bitter cry. 3 In every province…there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping, and wailing. 8 (Mordecai said)…go in to the king to make supplication…for her people.. (Esth. 4:1-3, 8)
A. Mordecai tore his clothes and cried out with a loud and bitter cry. This is a picture of Jesus’ heart and the Holy Spirit’s intercession (Rom. 8:26, 34).
B. Esther’s intercession – pictures the primary function and identity of the Church. It is the challenge to total obedience even at the risk of death.
Then Esther spoke to…Mordecai: 11 “All the king’s servants…know that any …who goes into the inner court to the king, who has not been called, he has but one law: put all to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter, that he may live…”
13 Mordecai… answered Esther: 14 “For if you remain completely silent at this time…deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place…Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
15 Esther told…Mordecai: 16“…I will go to the king, which is against the law; and IF I PERISH, I PERISH!” (Esth. 4:10-16)
C. The principle of God’s sovereignty – “deliverance will arise for the Jews…”
D. The principle of destiny – “you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this”
E. Esther’s commitment to die if necessary – “if I perish, I perish!”
They overcame…they did not love their lives to the death. (Rev. 12:11)
VIII. ESTHER: EMBRACING INTERCESSION AND OBEDIENCE (ESTH. 5:1-8)
Esther…stood in the inner court of the king’s palace…2 When the king saw Queen Esther…she found favor in his sight, and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter…
3…said, “What do you wish, Queen Esther?…It shall be given to you; up to half the kingdom!”
4 So Esther answered, “…let the king and Haman come today to the banquet…
6 At the banquet of wine the king said to Esther…What is your request, up to half the kingdom? It shall be done!”
7 Esther…said, 8 “…let the king and Haman come to the banquet…tomorrow.” (Esth. 5:1-8)
A. Esther standing in the king’s inner court is a picture of intercession.
B. Esther has favor with the king so as to receive the answer to her request.
C. Esther asks the king to come to the banquet of wine.
IX. THE ENEMY’S TOTAL DESTRUCTION (ESTHER 7:1-10; 9:5)
The king and Haman went to dine with Queen Esther. 2…the king AGAIN said to Esther, “What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you…up to half the kingdom? It shall be done!” 3 Then Queen Esther…said, “O king…let my life be given me… and my people…4 FOR WE HAVE BEEN SOLD…TO BE DESTROYED, TO BE KILLED, AND TO BE ANNIHILATED.” 5 So King Ahasuerus answered…”Who is he…who would dare presume in his heart to do such a thing?” 6 And Esther said, “The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman! 7 Then the king arose in his wrath from the banquet of wine…”10 So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the king’s wrath subsided. 9:5 The Jews defeated all their enemies with the…sword, with slaughter and destruction (Esth. 7:1-10; 9:5)
A. The king was dining with Esther at the banquet of wine.
B. Esther’s intercession leads to Haman’s destruction.