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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 28, 2011

**In This Issue**

  1. The Mysterious Book Where the Name of God Is Not Mentioned
  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 Mysterious Book Where The Name of God Is Not Mentioned

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.  Esther is an murky book to many, even though it is a story of romance and palace intrigue set in the glory days of the Persian Empire.  A Jewish maiden, elevated to the throne of Persia as its queen, is used by God to preserve His people against annihilation.  I do not believe that Shakespeare's dramatic genius can compare with the drama and irony in this captivating classic Bible story.

To this day, the Feast of Purim is held to commemorate the events the Book of Esther.  Instituted by Mordecai, Esther’s uncle, to celebrate the deliverance of the Jews from extermination, Purim (from Akkadian, puru, "lots") is so called after the lots cast by Haman in order to determine the month in which the slaughter of the nation Israel was to take place.  Held on the 11th day of the Jewish month of Adar (March 17), Purim is one of the most joyous days of the year.

The book of Esther records real historical events.  It deals with the escape of the nation of Israel from complete extermination after their return from Babylonian captivity.  In a way, chronologically, Esther makes possible the Book of Nehemiah.  It was Esther's marriage to the king of Persia that ultimately leads to the rebuilding of Jerusalem and enables the chain of events that lead to the appearance of the Messiah five centuries later.

Orphaned as a child and brought up by her cousin Mordecai, Esther was selected by King Ahasuerus to replace the 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 disposed toward her, she invited him and Haman to a private banquet, during which she did not reveal her desire but invited them to yet another banquet, thus misleading Haman by making him think that he was in the queen's good graces.  Her real intention was to expose his dire plan of extermination.  During the 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 retreats into the palace garden.  At this time Haman, in great fear for his life, remained to plead for his life from the Queen. While imploring, Haman fell on Esther's couch and was found in this seemingly compromising situation upon the king's return from the garden.  He was immediately condemned to be hung on the very gallows which he had previously prepared for Mordecai.  The king complied with Esther's request, and the edict of destruction, which by Persian law could not be reversed, was then countered by giving the Jewish people permission to the Jews to fight and protect themselves from their enemies.

It is a intriguing story, and 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.  While it is a fascinating book, why is it in the Bible? Martin Luther believed it should not be part of the Canon, however the name Esther gives us a clue: In Hebrew it means "something hidden."  In studying this book we have discovered that there are numerous surprises hidden behind, and underneath, the text itself.  You might want to read the Book of Esther to see if you can unearth the mysteries hidden within.

 


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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, "How could God love Jacob, but hate Esau?"

The Scripture that prompted this question is found in the Book of Romans, where Paul is reminding us that God has not forsaken Israel.  He says:

As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.   Romans 9:13 KJV ER

Here, Paul is referring to the Book of Malachi, which says:

And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.  Malachi 1:3  KJV ER

Jacob and Esau were twin sons of Isaac.  The posterity of both developed into tribes and nations.  Even before their births, Jacob was the one chosen by God to be the forefather for the tribes of Israel.  Speaking to Rebekah, the boys' mother, shortly before their birth, God said:

...Two nations are in your womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from your bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger. Genesis 25:23   KJV ER

God showed HIs love for Jacob by giving him twelve sons and preserving the nation Israel to this very day, and He will continue to do so in the future.  On the other hand, Esau, whom it is said that God "hated," had his land, Edom, brought to desolation.  The reasons for this are discussed in the Book of Obadiah.  Esau's rejection by God was because he "despised his birthright."  This is found in Genesis 25:34.

A parallel can be found in the words of Jesus when He set down a requirement for being His disciple:

If any man come to Me, and hate not his father, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.  Luke 14:26  KJV ER

Jesus did not really expect us to hate our parents, for this would be a violation of the fifth commandment (Exodus 20:12).  But He was illustrating the fact that one must love Him so intensely, that the feelings that one shows towards one's family members, whom we love so much, must seem like hate in comparison. 

Likewise, the words "love" and "hate" in discussing Jacob and Esau are relative rather than absolute.  The love and hate spoken of here are related more to the exercise of God's will rather than His emotions.  God, by the act of His sovereign will, chose Jacob, rather than Esau, to carry on the line of the people Israel.

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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

 

**MEMORY VERSE OF THE MONTH**

O Lord our Lord, how excellent is Your name above the earth! who have set Your glory above the heavens.

Psalm 8:1  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