Monday, March 28, 2011
**In This Issue**
- The Mysterious
Book Where the Name of God Is Not Mentioned
- 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 Mysterious Book Where The Name of God Is Not
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.
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, "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.
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
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
...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
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
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.
**MEMORY VERSE OF THE
O Lord our Lord, how
excellent is Your name above the earth! who have set Your glory above the
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