By Martin Cisneros
Some have said that Purim's not mentioned by name in the New Testament because the LORD wasn't mentioned in the book of Esther. But as His Names are hidden 5 times in the book of Esther in Hebrew acronyms, so we have veiled references to Purim in the New Testament with multiple documents in the New Testament that could more strictly be called Purim documents for the simple reasoning that though they mention Passover and other seasons of the Jewish year, they include reversals of proclamations of death via resurrection and other means & they're testimonials to all the LORD had done in their midst at the close of the Jewish religious year. A lot of Jesus' choices of phraseology can be said to be Purim-related, such as His comments about His Words not passing away being a likening of Himself to King Ahasuerus, [since under His watch the Jews have faced peril and deliverance many times,] and His comments about anything that's childish in us that would keep us from crossing the Jordan for our own Deathless Promised Lands needs to be cut off. It says in Esther that the Jews even killed all of the little children of those who meant them harm. When it's time for the absolishment of death, it doesn't matter what areas of flesh are recoiling from full obedience. The children were killed in Esther because they were the seed of those who meant Death for them.
In most areas of New Testament teaching we're told to simply be transformed or transfigured out of our immaturity by being progressively more and more discipled/disciplined to more and more advanced levels of teaching, yet we have statements in Jesus' teachings and in Paul's epistles that quite gruesomely tell us what to do with our immature parts. This is related to the killing of the little children of the pagans who meant the Jews harm in the book of Esther, in Esther 8:11, as the evil intended upon the Jews by Haman's decree was turned upon his own head & he'd determined that every Jewish child (Esther 3:13) had to die in what he had sent out as the law of the land for the last month of the Jewish religious year. In Esther 3:12 it says that Haman's proclamation was written out by the King's scribes the day before Passover. Matthew, Mark, & Luke all indicate that Judas was speaking with the Jewish scribes and elders on this same day about betraying Lord Jesus. All of the other Jewish feasts teach annual memorials to prepare the people for service to the LORD and inheriting their areas of blessing, but when it comes to the abolishment of Death and God's people fully overcoming in all areas of life, the Bible teaches showing one's self absolutely no mercy in making sure that one is going forward with the LORD wherever He goes!
Flesh will always try to hesitate, so at that last critical moment, it says to gouge out whatever is standing in the way (Matthew 5:29-30; Galatians 5:6-15); all that could try to arise again against God's Covenantal purposes. Lord Jesus said those who kept His Words wouldn't die (John 8:51). Those who weren't summoned by the King but came anyway faced death in the book of Esther (Esther 4:10-11). The Ark of the Covenant was no different (2Samuel 6:6-8)! Lord Jesus was saying to kill anything that's been a child of what's plotted against your walking in His full purposes: a Purim theme! At the close of the prophetic year, it's time to get rid of this Death decree that's been upon man since before man sinned (Genesis 2:15-17). The only way to do so, with finality, is getting rid of everything within yourself that brings hesitation!
Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil no doubt had purposes that had nothing to do with man sticking it's fruit in his mouth. Perhaps it filtered toxins of some type, besides representing what we've come to make it represent in all of our typologies. Fish in a tank may freely do as they will, but are supposed to stay out of the filter! A tank of water is no more their natural environment than that Garden was a natural environment for man. Man's natural environment was God. Didn't mean there was anything evil about the Garden, but we got caught in the filter and got spat across the eons of time (caught in the machinery) 'til the Saviour [mercifully] took us back to Himself with the net of His Cross and Gospel.
It says in Esther that when the Jews were being this thorough, the fear of Mordecai came upon all and a whole lot of pagans embraced the God of the Jews and became Jews, which is obviously analogous to being Christian, since being Christian wasn't available back then. Purim asks us to revisit the issue of who's seed we are and to not have such a quick response, but to weigh our actions, thus far, carefully, and to kill everything in us that would exterminate what God's doing in our lives. It says in Esther that Mordecai spoke good in the behalf of the King, in Esther 7:9, do we?
Though the issue of "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" was carried out preemptively in Esther, at the direction of Esther and Mordecai, there's something in that that's reminiscent of the Lake of Fire with it having been the Death of Death. Death was trying to come against them. Death had decreed that down to their youngest, none was exempt from it's decree. With the camp of God's people in all of their unwalled villages (Esther 9:19) having previously been surrounded by all of the forces of Satan, yet with fire having fallen from the King in the form of the decree of Mordecai and Esther, while there was rejoicing in the Church, in Esther 8:15 - 9:5 the fear of God was upon the rest of mankind across that vast empire.
It says in Esther 9:2 that the Jews “laid hands on” those who had sought their harm, no one could withstand them and they were all falling under the power of God, implicitly brought upon them by their Joel chapter 2 mourning. In Esther 9:1 it says the Jews themselves overpowered those who had hated them. Obviously in the New Testament we're told to overpower evil with good, with love, with the Gospel, and with His Anointing upon our lives, but that decree of Death was to be overpowered in every heart that had been overpowered by it until every trace of that original decree of Death was wiped from under the heavens!
Satan's evil plot in the Garden of Eden to overpower mankind, or God's ideal mankind, that's alluded to in Esther 9:23-28, was triumphed over in this prophetic silhouette in the heavens of God's Holy Writ, and it must be carried out upon earth to the last detail so that there shall be no more curse, tears, Death, sorrow, crying, or pain because of the former things having passed away! Scriptural Cessationism is when there's no more curse, tears, Death, sorrow, crying, or pain BECAUSE THE FORMER THINGS HAVE PASSED AWAY! I used to think for perhaps 15 or 20 years that the last two chapters were pictured in Hanukkah, but I'd always missed the part that there shall be no more lamp in Revelation 22:5, so this is reaching even further into the Jewish religious calendar, beyond our December, when we're in the last two chapters of Revelation and it's talking about Purim as our existence after the Tabernacle of God had been with me for some time on the Biblical prophetic calendar, “months after Tabernacles.” Revelation 21:9 says to come and He'll show you the bride, the Lamb's wife and in Esther 7:4 we see a wife with a meek and quiet spirit. Don't ever let anyone tell you by tradition or any other means that there was no love there. Esther 7:4 and Esther 7:8 are among the proofs of love for the bride that was without spot or blemish.
Esther is a wife going to her husband, even if it's not with Western familiarity, forwardness, and pomp that Western women are accustomed to throwing around at their mates! Esther achieved the fear of the Jews among the pagans because she had reverence for her husband, first! Not a popular topic today, but familiar to all Pastors who know that the fear of the Lord never rises among the people above their leadership's fear of the Lord, and of their husbands where applicable. Yes, it was mortally dangerous by the laws of the land for the Queen to approach the King on his throne uninvited, but that was custom and not a reflection upon their marriage. Esther 1:13 speaks of people who were wise in understanding the times, and understanding the times is explained to us in that verse as knowing law and justice, which likely indicates being versed in custom of the day as well, since the King wasn't going to Jewish theologians in terms of his legal representation that he conferred with when it mentions “law” in that verse. But the book of Esther indicates her fear of her husband was genuine, beyond the political correctness of the time and of her unique circumstances.
Some people say she had no faith because she went to the King uninvited saying that if she perished, she perished, but there's nothing in all of the Torah or the prophetic writings, Psalms, and testimonies of the Lord that were available to her at the time that gave her the promise of going to a pagan king against the protocol of the day and coming out alive! Romans 10:17 says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Mordecai, who might have [potentially] had some faithful saying to impart to Esther in her hearing and hearing of what he said to her, instead says in Esther 4:14 that if she doesn't do something quickly, they're all going to die in that Jewish family as God intervenes!
It doesn't reflect upon her faith that she wasn't standing on promises that aren't in the Scriptures Mordecai would have had access to in her upbringing! Mordecai said to do something or we're dying in this family, [implicitly from God's judgment rather than Haman's,] she says if she perishes, she perishes, but she's doing something! Isaiah 54 likely existed centuries before this time, but wasn't necessarily available in every synagogue by this time and it's exact meaning would have been under considerable debate, no doubt, as to whether it meant that no weapon formed against themselves would prosper or whether that was written to the eons of the Messiah's reign! The 3 day absolute fast she imposed upon herself, her maids, and the Jews in all of Shushan, in Esther 4:16, likely means she was locally recognized as having religious respect as their queen, even if it wasn't widely known 'til later that she was Jewish. In this situation, the seed of the woman DID bruise the head of the serpent! She showed every bit as much courage as the Virgin Mary standing in front of an Angel (Luke 1:38).
We speak of men who do great things in perilous circumstances as “having balls” in less polite company. Certainly the Genesis 3:15 passage in talking about a woman's seed is speaking of a woman's courage to do what God was saying, that THAT would bruise the head of the serpent! It takes nothing away from the doctrine of virgin birth to say the passage equally is speaking of a woman “having balls” bruising the head of the serpent, when it's in honour of her God! Moses' mother is often said to likewise have fulfilled Genesis 3:15 because it says in Hebrews 11:23 that she was not afraid of the King's command with regards to the death of the firstborn, since Egyptian Pharaohs are often portrayed with the heads of cobras! So we implicitly allow that interpretation in quite a few fundamentalist circles regarding “the seed of the woman!” Esther's faith was every bit as much faithfulness to God and to her Covenantal-people as Moses' mother and the Virgin Mary in what they did!
With how close Easter is to Purim and how Esther is also the name of Ishtar, I've wondered more than once if Easter was originally a Romans 15:7-12 issue of Gentiles rejoicing with God's people, whether it was originally a Persian Pagan “Purim” going back to this time, among the Gentiles who knew something great, even cosmic, had happened in their day, though obviously pagan tradition would have been layered upon it afterwards! People are too quick to criticize in their religiosity, [and often in the name of the pursuit of happiness, liberty, and life, so-called,] when I'm not sure all of the research is conclusive on where some of these so-called pagan holidays come from in terms of the generations that first began celebrating amongst themselves and the cultural context that later had countless traditions added to it that were pagan. We assume Christian theologians embraced paganism without considering remote possibilities that they were reclaiming something that was originally well meant that later had garbage added to it, as Christians do today who are very active in politics! The Jews were most definitely fertile during this time period in the book of Esther, according to Esther 8:17. Esther 8:17 says they were having feasting among themselves before Purim was even decided upon!
We assume a lot of things, like Esther 9:20-28 having been legislation that passed immediately after the events that occurred. When have you ever known legislation to pass immediately, whether secular or religious? The time we customarily call Easter was likely far enough after the events of Purim for the Jews to know that their warfare had ceased throughout the whole Persian Empire from India to Ethiopia, that no further uprisings had occurred, etc. Purim could have easily been passed 1 to 3 yrs later, or even 5 to 7 yrs later, because of concerns that annual celebrations were going a bit far with the paganism when this was a deliverance that had happened for the Jews! That Esther and Mordecai had to come up with the celebration likely means there had finally arisen political concern about understanding this to have been a Jewish deliverance that was being commemorated! No doubt, unnamed rabbis in Shushan petitioned Mordecai and Esther for the passage of the celebration, since Esther and Mordecai weren't religious leaders in the strictest senses!
I'm not being dogmatic in defending Easter. No doubt someone's able to come up with some tradition from Easter that's pagan beyond measure, whether orgies in some particular temple or whatever. I'm only speculating, based upon the intense loathing I've seen of Easter by some over the years. If Easter is so wrong, amazing how nobody makes a big deal out of Purim in Christian circles from Gentile backgrounds, since it's a celebration of fruitfulness of a Biblical faith that's got none of the animal sacrifice issues of Passover, though they're a month apart on most Jewish years.
It shows a lack of the fear of the Lord on the part of our contemporaries for what we've been given by our Christian ancestors, a few of whom, even if only the smallest sampling of whom, came behind us, spiritually, in absolutely nothing, and here millenia later these folks among us are the experts on calendars from around the world, Biblical and pagan antiquities, and the current events of the distant past for how things got started! Perhaps Easter predates all of this in some form and Purim was passed by Mordecai and Esther because of the multiplication of Jews like rabbits during this time, in Esther 8:17, so that the Jewish faith would appear to come behind the pagans in nothing as it was branching out as an international faith in 127 provinces of the Persian empire and beyond! No doubt their various captivities had the same effect as the book of Acts persecutions that spread the Christians from Jerusalem to everywhere under the sun, together with their messages, writings, and influence!
For those who love St. Paul so much as their example in everything: whatever happened to "becoming as a pagan to win the pagans, becoming as a Jew to win the Jews?" Just carry Purim beyond Purim into Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Halloween, and Christmas and win everybody to Christ and to the most Spirit-filled, most Biblically-based faith possible! That's living in the fear of the LORD and giving no opportunity to the flesh to hinder the work of the Gospel, but cutting off anything from one's self [rather than from one's neighbour, whether Christian or otherwise,] that would prevent the abolishment of Death in the fullest 1Corinthians 15 sense for all of humanity everywhere!!