Dear Lovers of God,
All About Esther
March is usually the month when Purim, the Feast of Esther, is celebrated in the Jewish community. It is not one of the Feasts of the Lord of Leviticus 23, but is nevertheless a feast based on the Bible, specifically the Book of Esther. Purim (Poo-REEM) comes from the Hebrew פורים meaning “lots” since lots were cast by a wicked man,
Haman, to determine the date to execute all the Jews in the Persian Empire (5th century AD). We blot out Haman the Amalekite’s name in reference to Deuteronomy 25:19. Since Haman‘s plot was foiled and the Jewish people were spared, Purim is a very joyous holiday, during which gifts are given to the poor (Esther 9:22), children dress up as Queen Esther and Mordecai, and the entire scroll (Megillah) is read aloud in synagogues all over the world.
The proper greeting for people celebrating Purim is “Happy Purim,” or Chag Purim Sameach (Khag Poo-REEM Sah-MAY-akh) in Hebrew. This will always be bittersweet for me since my dearly beloved Neil went to heaven on Purim (March 25, 2019). I had just made a batch of
hamentashen, the traditional Purim pastries and brought them to hand out at the hospital, holding on to the truth that, even in the darkest, most bitter night, God is still sweet.
Esther: Orphan to Royalty
Becoming an orphan at a tender age was surely a bitter, difficult experience for Esther. We don’t know what her relationship was with her older cousin Mordecai at the time of her parents’ deaths, but the Bible tells us that Mordecai raised this young Jewish girl as his own daughter (Esther 2:7).
The Hebrew word for orphan, yathom (yah-THOME) is usually translated as “fatherless.” This is because, in the biblical, Hebrew understanding, an orphan was someone without a father. Orphans were vulnerable children whose fathers were dead or absent and whose mothers were limited in their ability to provide for the family, since women did not traditionally work or own property. So, a child with a mother would still be considered an orphan. This concept still exists today. About ten years ago, when the Lord spoke to me that He wanted Jewish Jewels to pay for the wedding of an Israeli “orphan bride,” the woman God chose had a mother, but her father was deceased. She would not have been able to afford a wedding if our ministry had not provided for her. Some of you may remember that the groom’s father refused to come to the wedding since they were wealthy, and their son had chosen to marry a poor, orphan girl. Neil stood in as the father of the groom!
Esther had neither father nor mother, but she did have a father figure: Mordecai. Like all other orphans, she was special to God. Throughout the Scriptures the Lord speaks of His love for orphans and widows. I assume that this is due to His Father/Husband heart and His specific care and concern for the marginalized, the forgotten, the “least of these,” and those looked down on by society. Consider Esther. She was one of these: a woman, an orphan, and a Jew. The lowest, weakest, and most vulnerable in society. Esther was also an exile in a foreign land. She was not “home.”
God’s ways are not our ways. His love and His plans are much greater than we can fathom. He loves to show Himself strong through those who are weak. I love what Ann Spangler says about Esther in Women of the Bible: “So often God uses the most unlikely characters to fulfill his purposes. He elevates a Jewish orphan to queen of a great empire. Esther begins as a nobody and becomes a somebody, a woman who risks her life to make a stand.”
Spiritually speaking, we all begin as orphans. We are fatherless. Through the Messiah Yeshua, we are adopted into the family of God. “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father‘” (Rom. 8:15). Yeshua was sent to earth…”to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Gal. 4:5). You were chosen before the “foundation of the world,” at which time God “predestined us to adoption as sons by Yeshua HaMashiach to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” (See Eph. 1:4-5.)
We were orphans like Esther, and now we are royalty. A royal priesthood. Children of the King (1 Peter 2:9). Rags to riches spiritually. We have a BIG, LOVING, GIVING, FORGIVING, Heavenly Father. This month I urge you to cast aside any “orphan spirit” from your past. You are not rejected, but rather “accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:6). It doesn’t matter how we begin, but how we end. Determine to finish your race in your Father’s arms.
Esther: Consecrated Bride
Through a series of somewhat unusual circumstances, including a twelve month stay in the harem of a Persian king, Esther was raised to the position of “bride of the king.” Her royal position was no accident. The Lord had her in the king’s palace for His purposes. Being bride of the king was Esther’s divine destiny. It is yours as well!
Let’s focus for a moment on Esther as bride. Her Hebrew name, Hadassah, comes from hadas which means “myrtle” (Esther 2:7). Myrtle is an evergreen tree or shrub mentioned in Leviticus 23:40 as the “boughs of leafy trees” used in the lulav at Sukkot (Feast of Booths). The myrtle leaf is also considered a symbol of love and marriage and is associated with all things bridal.
The traditional Hebrew word for “bride” is kallah. There is much discussion concerning the origin of kallah. Some speculate that the root for bride means “closed.” The kallah is one who is closed off to the world, except to her husband. Thus we have the idea of a “set apart,” “consecrated” bride.
Believers in the Messiah Yeshua are also known as the “Bride of Christ” or the “Bride of Messiah.” God sent His Son to earth to purchase a bride for Himself. He paid the ultimate bride price: His blood. Our Bridegroom went back to His Father’s house to prepare a place for us. He is coming again to receive us to Himself. There will be an amazing marriage supper in heaven called the “marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev. 19:9). We find the bridal paradigm throughout the Holy Scriptures, both Old and New, but only in the past year have I noticed books being written about “The Bride.” (I have been waiting for this since 1980.)
It is time for Yeshua’s bride to get prepared for the coming of our Bridegroom (Rev. 19:7)! I believe that Esther’s preparation to be the bride of King Ahasuerus has some keys for us as the bride of King Yeshua. First of all, the preparation took twelve months. This included sixth months with oil of myrrh (symbolic of bitterness, dealings with the flesh) and six months with perfumes (beautifying) (Esther 2:12). Twelve in Scripture represents the government of God. As the bride of Messiah, there is no escaping His government if we are truly under His authority. Cleansing. Purging. Death to the flesh. Secret sins. Unbelief. Judgment beginning first at the House of God. Repentance. These are all part of our bridal preparation. It seems to me that we are in this preparation period now (not the most pleasant time in history)! It is a good time to pray as King David did, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps. 139:23-24). Be encouraged. The six months of perfumes are coming. Revival?
God set Esther apart as the bride of a king, just as He has set us apart as Yeshua’s bride. I recently read a book called The Altar: Preparing for the Return of Jesus Christ by Jeremiah Johnson, and was delighted to see his comments on the consecrated bride. He defines this bride as “a remnant who is completely devoted to Yeshua, the Son of God, the Messiah, the Heavenly Bridegroom.” Kadosh. Holy. Consecrated. Set Apart with a Nazarite calling, a radical consecration born out of encountering the jealous love of God. In Johnson’s words: “The lack of demonstrations of the power of God in the Church now is directly linked to our lack of consecration. God is going to pour out His Spirit without measure to a consecrated Bride who chooses to live outside the spiritual mixtures of this world.” Let it happen, Abba. In our congregation. In our community. In our country.
Notice in the Book of Esther that, during her time of preparation, Esther took the advice of Hegai, the custodian of the women. She was submissive and obedient to this servant of the king who was in charge of preparing his future bride. In the spiritual realm, the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit, is our Hegai. He knows what pleases the King of kings. Our calling in these last days is to submit and obey the leading of the Holy Spirit as He prepares us for the soon coming of our Bridegroom/King.
Queen Esther sought favor with the king on more than one occasion. She found that favor. So have we. Our King extends the golden scepter to us 24/7 because we are His purchased bride (1 Cor. 6:20; 1 Peter 1:18-19). Yeshua says to us, “You have ravished my heart, my sister, my bride; you have ravished my heart with one glance of your eyes…” (Song 4:9).
Esther: Victim of Antisemitism
Esther had been instructed by her cousin to hide the fact that she was Jewish. Therefore, no one in the palace, including her husband the king, knew of her background. But God knew, and He placed Esther in a position that would ultimately mean the salvation of the Jewish people. The Lord understands what many people do not: The enemy of the Jews is the enemy of God: HaSatan, the Adversary, the Accuser, Satan. He is the source behind history’s oldest hatred, the ancient, deeply imbedded virus of antisemitism—hostility to or prejudice against Jewish people.
Haman (Boo!) is a classic antisemite in the Book of Esther. As prime minister to the king, Haman lied about the Jews in his empire, accusing them of not keeping the king’s laws and suggesting that they all be destroyed. Genocide. This was classic because antisemitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity and is often used to blame Jews for “why things go wrong.” Antisemitism often employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits.
Unfortunately, antisemitism is alive and well and on the rise worldwide today. You may have read of the four hostages held in a ten hour standoff in a Texas synagogue on January 15, 2022. You may not have read about the Neo-Nazi rally held in broad daylight on February 1, 2022, in Orlando, FL. White supremacists held signs near a shopping center and an overpass with messages including, “No more Jew rats.” Horrific. Terrifying. Unacceptable. We must stand against this vitriol and push back against such bigotry and hate.
While Jews are just 2% of the U.S. population and .02% of the world population, every year in Western countries Jewish people are the number one target of anti-religious hate crimes. Anti-Jewish easily becomes anti-Israel hatred, and internet conspiracy myths blame Israel and the Jews for everything from Covid-19 to rocket attacks in Israel. College campuses are hotbeds of antisemitism. The U.N. and the countries of the European Union continue to pass biased and anti-Israel and antiJewish resolutions. The Holocaust is distorted and even denied. According to the World Jewish Congress, hatred is spreading like wildfire online. Love and support matters. We must say, “You are not alone. You can count on us.” We stand against antisemitism in Yeshua’s name.
Esther: Intercessor for Israel
When Mordecai heard of Haman’s plot to exterminate the Jews, he sent a message to Esther telling her that it was time to reveal her heritage and take a stand for her people. “…Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14).
Although the name of God is never mentioned in the Book of Esther, He is there, moving behind the scenes. Queen Esther must have had some connection with Him. She had a decision to make, a cousin to obey, a destiny to fulfill, and a God to believe. She chose to not hold her peace, as if she knew Isaiah 62:1, “For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace…”
Esther chose to stand in the gap for her Jewish people. (See Ezek. 22:30). When she called for a three day fast, she was exhibiting faith, courage, boldness, and a willingness to risk her life by appearing before the king without being summoned. (See Esther 4:16).
Esther’s faith fueled her intercession. Jeremiah Johnson has a name for people like Esther, bridal souls who go before the King of kings in intercession. He calls them “Nasharites.” The name comes from a man named Daniel Nash who gave himself totally to pray for the meetings of revivalist Charles Finney at the time of the Second Great Awakening in America. He says, “Nasharites are voices of deep prophetic intercession who shift regions and nations as they release the words and heart of God through prayer and fasting.” I consider these people to be God’s hidden jewels. I am not one of them, but I have friends who are. They intercede for the U.S., Israel, the Jewish people and the bride of Messiah, as well as whatever else God places on their hearts. Nasharites are much needed today if we are to experience another Great Awakening in the U.S.
Esther’s intercession for her people fulfilled a high priestly intercessory calling like that of the Old Covenant Cohen Gadol who wore the names of the twelve tribes on his breastplate, near his heart. When we intercede for the Jews today, we, like Esther, are touching the heart of God. We are “watchmen on the wall,” spoken of in reference to Jerusalem in Isaiah 62:6, “I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the LORD, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth” (Is. 62:6-7).
Esther: Highly Favored and Victorious
When Esther presented herself before the king, he said to her, “…What is your request? It shall be given to you—up to half the kingdom!” (Esther 5:3). Esther had found favor with the king, and the golden scepter had been extended to her. This favor led to two banquets with the king and the exposing of
Haman and his ultimate defeat. Esther and her people were victorious, and mourning was turned into joy (Psalm 30:11). “And in every province and city, wherever the king’s command and decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a holiday. Then many of the people of the land became Jews, because fear of the Jews fell upon them” (Esther 8:17). God won. Antisemitism was defeated.
I love the fact that OUR King does not promise us up to half the kingdom. He promises us the WHOLE kingdom. Yeshua said, “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).
Receive the love, peace, joy, and victory that God wants to give you this month—Love in Him,
P.S. I have final testing at M.D. Anderson on 3/15/22. I fly home on 3/16/22 and arrive as Purim begins. I will know at that point what God plans for me. Your intercession is greatly appreciated. Whatever the plan is, the enemy is defeated in my life, and I am victorious in my Bridegroom/King.
P.P.S. After mentioning the orphan spirit in this letter, I came across a book that mentions this also. Ladies, order The Esther Anointing and be set free!