Archive for the ‘Bible Studies’ category

A Proper Reading of Ephesians Chapter 1

December 28, 2013

Jesus Christ is All in All…

It is sometimes easy to miss an important aspect of how God particularly crafted the first chapter of Ephesians.  If read casually, as even believing Christians sometimes can do, the chapter can seem like an ordinary narrative or simple prose.  However, if read with particular emphasis on the words highlighted below in Bold…an entirely different perspective can become clear.

Try this for yourself…Before proceeding any further, please read Ephesians Chapter 1 on  your own from your own Bible .   Think about what you have read and what was significant about the chapter and the impact it has had.

Next, read the chapter again as highlighted below…emphasizing the words marked in bold (say them to yourself in a louder tone or something akin to that).  May you be blessed by the process, and see clearly that Jesus Christ, Who is both God and yet a distinct part of the God Head, and God’s Will (The Will of the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit) are the central theme of the whole chapter.  It is really a condensed version of the whole Gospel of Salvation through Jesus Christ.  Amazing!

Moreover there is absolutely no mention anywhere of any “free will” or “man’s will” in the process….but rather only God’s Will.   Note also the words that weren’t emphasized…”predestined” (twice), and “chosen” “before the foundation of the world…”

1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:

2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,

16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

The Fiery Furnace in Babylon: Another place where we can see Jesus, “the Son of God”!

December 3, 2013

The Fiery Furnace in Babylon: What was that all about?

Many people may have heard of the Old Testament story that comprises Daniel, chapter 3.  The story was about Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego, the three “certain Jews” who had been given high official positions in Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar.  In that account, we read how they refused to worship the false idol of gold that the king had set up, and as the king commanded.  They understood the full penalty for disobedience to that command.  They understood that they would be thrown into a fiery furnace.  But they miraculously survived!  Was this just a children’s bedtime story?

The answer is an emphatic NO! As we have already learned from numerous other Old Testament accounts, this not only was a true historical event, but it was crafted by God to convey an extremely important message, the good news of the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ!  Moreover, there is another aspect of salvation that God paints with words in this particular account. For anyone to become saved…for believers to remain untouched by the fires of Hell… Jesus had to be there to endure those fires on behalf of all those who are counted among His sheep. If Jesus endured the fires of Hell, then the believers will never have to.  Those who are not faithful, spiritual “Jews” (believers), but instead are like the servants of King Nebuchadnezzar (who God uses in some cases to represent the devil), will be similarly slain by the fiery furnace (and the fires of hell that represent the second death are for eternity).

Had you ever heard that before?

If so, great!…but if not, please read on.

NOTE: Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego were the assigned names (by the Babylonians) of three men whose original Hebrew names were:

  • Hananiah means “God who is gracious
  • Misha’el means “Who is like God?”, also means “to feed” or “to provide”—as in how a husband provides for his family
  • Azariah appropriately means “God has helped

We read at the beginning of Chapter 3 where King Nebuchadnezzar made a huge image of gold and decreed that all who heard the ”sound of the cornet, flute, harp …and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hat set up.

And then in verse 6 we read, “And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.”

Then we read where “certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews.”   There after, we read this complete account…

12 There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

 13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.

 14 Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?

15 Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.

17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.

20 And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.

21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

22 Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

Ordinarily, that would have been the end of the story.  But although Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were willing to die for their faith in the true God of all creation, they didn’t die.  In fact, we read the following surprising and truly amazing account…

24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.

25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the  Son of God.

WOW! You know Who the king actually saw don’t you? Yes, it was Jesus Christ walking in their midst.  Jesus is also the “angel” we see mentioned later (“messenger” in the original Hebrew) who made it possible for them to survive. After all, isn’t it true that only Jesus isthe Son of God”? (but Jesus was also a “man” born of the Virgin Mary).  See for example the first verses of the Book of Hebrews: 

1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? 6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.”

There are many other unequivocal references to Jesus as the Son of God in the New Testament, but what is amazing is that this reference is in the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament!  We have to ask the question, who do the Jews think was being described here?  There is not a single other reference in the Old Testament that specifically mentions “the Son of God”! (Here is a link to read all of the passages in the entire Bible: http://www.biblegateway.com/keyword/?search=%22the%20Son%20of%20God%22&version1=KJV&searchtype=all&limit=none&wholewordsonly=no)

So this is a VERY unique case!  But, let’s read on to the end of the chapter…

26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.

27 And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.

28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.

29 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.

30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.

So having read this story, we note that the fire was so hot that the servants of the king who threw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the furnace were themselves slain.  Moreover, not only did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego survive, but their clothes did not even have the smell of smoke on them afterward!

What does this account remind us of? Remember the account of Joshua (Jesus in Greek, and meaning Savior in Hebrew) leading he people through the Jordan River to the “Promised Land”? As long as the priests held the Ark of the Covenant in the Jordan River, the people could pass through at flood stage and not even have the souls of their shoes get wet!  (they crossed on dry land) Familiar…yes!  Why is that?…It is because God repeats the same theme through many different allegories to paint new portraits of God’s magnificent Plan of Salvation through the Person and Work of Jesus Christ.  Jesus paid the price for the believer’s salvation.  If Jesus, the Son of God, is there, we are safe, the fires (or floods) of Hell are no threat to our eternal souls.  The believers (typified by Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, or the Israelites)  can pass through because Jesus is there for them.

Let’s review Joshua Chapter 3:

1 And Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over.

2 And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host;

3 And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it.

4 Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore.

5 And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the Lord will do wonders among you.

6 And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people.

7 And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.

8 And thou shalt command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant, saying, When ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan.

9 And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, Come hither, and hear the words of the Lord your God.

10 And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites.

11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan.

12 Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man.

13 And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap.

14 And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people;

15 And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,)

16 That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho.

17 And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.

Then in Chapter 4:

14 On that day the Lord magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they feared him, as they feared Moses, all the days of his life.

15 And the Lord spake unto Joshua, saying,

16 Command the priests that bear the ark of the testimony, that they come up out of Jordan.

17 Joshua therefore commanded the priests, saying, Come ye up out of Jordan.

18 And it came to pass, when the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord were come up out of the midst of Jordan, and the soles of the priests’ feet were lifted up unto the dry land, that the waters of Jordan returned unto their place, and flowed over all his banks, as they did before.

19 And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho.

20 And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal.

21 And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones?

22 Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.

23 For the Lord your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over:

24 That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the Lord your God for ever.

The Ark of the Covenant represented the Word of God (it held the Manna from Heaven in a jar (Jesus Is the Manna from Heaven) , and the Ten Commandments in stone (the Word of God, Who is Jesus), and Aaron’s rod that budded (indicating that a dead thing can come back to life). The people were led by Joshua (Jesus) and they all made it safe…EVERY one of them.

This is because Jesus, “the Son of God,” paid the full price to become the Savior of all those who would believe and trust in God to save them.  Jesus alone is the only One Who can save us from the fires or the floods that God uses to typify Hell, but Who, through the Person and Work of Jesus Christ, allows us to pass completely untouched by either the fire or flood safely to the other side.

There is so much more to say here, but for now I’ll stop (this is another work in progress)

There is a useful primer on Hell that can be found here: https://truthingrace.com/2013/12/02/fire-fire/

For more background on Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego…Please see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadrach,_Meshach,_and_Abednego

“Fatherless, Widow, and Stranger”: Spiritual Understanding of the Biblical Books of Esther and Ruth

September 21, 2011

“Fatherless, Widow, and Stranger”: 

A Spiritual Understanding of the Biblical Books of Esther and Ruth


It is far more than mere coincidence that the only two books in the entire Bible which are named after women, Esther and Ruth, also happen to provide historical accounts of women who are, respectively, “fatherless” (Esther) and “widows” (Ruth and Naomi, and Ruth was also a “stranger”). Why is that?  We can begin to find the answer by searching God’s word, the Bible, to find that in Psalms 68:5, God declares, “A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, [is] God in his holy habitation.” Then in Jeremiah 49:11, “Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve [them] alive; and let thy widows trust in me.”  We also read in the New Testament in James 1:2, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world.” Moreover, God classifies them together with the “stranger.”  In Deuteronomy 10:18, we read, “He (God) doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment.”  and in Deuteronomy 27:19 we read, “Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen.” 

In each of the two historical accounts provided in the books of Esther and Ruth, we will see God’s mercy and providence bestowed on those who would otherwise be entirely destitute and without any hope apart from God’s mercy alone.  Those two earthly, historically accurate, accounts of God’s mercy upon the destitute fatherless and widows (one, Ruth as a Moabitess,was also a stranger) were provided by God in the Books of Esther and Ruth to typify His magnificent salvation plan, in which God displays His eternal spiritual mercy, by grace alone, to destitute sinners who would otherwise be entirely without hope apart from the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Each book displays God’s mastery over time and space, involving supernatural ironies and challenges to faith, that glorify God in the process, and give us insights into Who God Is, and about His love for His saints, His Bride (the church), as made possible only through the intercessional sacrifice of His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ.

A detailed exposition on the Book of Esther has already been produced that can be found here: https://bereansearching.wordpress.com/2009/09/19/an-exposition-of-the-book-of-esther/. In that exposition it is shown that Esther, as an otherwise destitute orphan, was established by God as a typological representation of the body of believers from throughout the world (both Jews and Gentiles) who would ultimately co-share in God’s Kingdom as the Bride of Jesus Christ.  Mordechai, Esther’s nearest living relative, served as a nurturing savior to Esther, and guided her and her people in a time of great affliction to safety from their mortal enemies.  Mordechai, who was eventually elevated to the right hand of the King in glory and honor, is shown in that exposition to have been clearly established by God as a typological representation of Jesus Christ.

But what about Ruth?  It has already been pointed out by another writer, Warren W Wiersbe,[1] that there are some amazing twists and counterpoints when the two books are viewed together from the purely historical perspective.  Wiersbe correctly points out in one example that first, “The Book of Ruth tells the story of a Gentile who married a Jew and became ancestress of the Messiah (Jesus Christ),” while, “The book of Esther introduces us to a Jewess who married a Gentile and was used of God to save the Jewish nation from destruction so that the Messiah (Jesus Christ) could be born.”

But what about the spiritual perspective as was already exposited for Esther?  Are there similar parallels that we might find in the Book of Ruth?  Indeed there are.

Dear reader, please read on. 

An Exposition of the Book of Ruth

(Another Book of Prophesy that Reveals God’s Magnificent Plan of Salvation

Through the Person and Work of Jesus Christ)

 The Book of Ruth is read every year to the assembled congregations of the Jewish people in their synagogues to the present day.  It is read as part of the celebration of the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot…The Feast of Weeks is the second of the three pilgrim festivals ordained in the Old Testament after Passover and before the end of the year Feast of Tabernacles). The Feast of Weeks is known by Christians as the Feast of Pentecost.  The feast is celebrated at the end of the barley harvest (or time of the “first fruits”) and it is the time of year when the most critical period in the Book of Ruth takes place, when Ruth meets Boaz, Ruth’s and Naomi’s kinsman-redeemer.  And just like the Book of Esther, the Book of Ruth has both an earthly (historical) and a Heavenly (spiritual) meaning, and hence it is also an historical “parable.”  While the Book of Ruth does provide an account of an actual period in history, it was nonetheless written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and it has been incorporated into God’s Word the Bible.  It is a vignette orchestrated by God in the first instance (historically) and written down as precisely crafted in the Bible in the second instance (spiritually) to fulfill God’s own purposes.

Perhaps the most important of God’s purposes was to convey in one short, four chapter, historical account some critical elements of His magnificent salvation plan.  The message of the Book of Ruth is the same Gospel message that can be found everywhere else in the Bible, as it focuses on the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The only difference is that, each time Jesus is interwoven and revealed as having been otherwise hidden in the Bible, we can learn more about Him and God’s Gospel plan through Him (which glorifies God in the process).  However, to truly “see” Jesus (to believe with our hearts and not just our minds), we must have our spiritual eyes opened by God.  Given that this can indeed be the case, then another purpose for God having provided us with the Book of Ruth is that it will edify and strengthen the faith of the saints (the believers).

So where do we “see” Jesus in the Book of Ruth?   As an introduction, let’s first briefly look at the seven named persons in the order of their appearance, and then the plotline:

1) Elimelech: The Jewish husband of Naomi, who’s name means, “my God is King” who led his family away from Bethlehem-Judah on a sojourn to Moab during the time of the Judges and who suffers an untimely death in Moab.

2) Naomi: The wife of Elimelech, and the mother of his two sons, who becomes a widow in Moab. A Jewish woman whose name means, “my God is Sweet(ness)”.

3) Mahlon: The first named son of Elimelech and Naomi, whose name means “sickness” who married Ruth, a Moabitess woman after his father died, and then himself suffers an untimely death.

4) Chilion: The second named son of Elimelech and Naomi, whose name means “consumption.” who married, Orpah, a Moabitess woman after his father died, and then himself also suffers an untimely death.

5) Orpah: The Moabitess wife (soon widowed) of Chilion, whose name means “her neck(?)”.

6) Ruth: The Moabitess wife (soon widowed) of Mahlon, whose name means, “satisfied.” (Ruth is also a “stranger” in Israel)

7) Boaz: The rich kinsman redeemer of Elimelech’s Jewish family born in Bethlehem, (the “House of Bread”), whose name means “in him is strength”, and who married Ruth (the then Moabitess widow), and who ultimately became the great grandfather of King David (and a direct line ancestor/progenitor (from David’s son Nathan through to Mary) of the Lord Jesus Christ).

8) The unnamed servant of Boaz who was set over the reapers: the person who served as headmaster of the maidens and who gave the account of Ruth’s actions to Boaz.

9) Obed: The son of Boaz and Ruth, whose name means “servant”, “worshipper”, or “follower”

Obed is representative of all of God’s children who become saved through the marriage of Jesus Christ and his church. All believers who are the children of God are also servants, worshippers, and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It could not be any other way. This name was no accident, as I trust that you have now learned that none of the names of persons recorded in the Bible were ever accidental or incidental.  They each carry an intended meaning that is carefully woven into the tapestry of God’s Magnificent Salvation Plan.

The Plot:

The story of Ruth begins in the day of the Judges, about the time of Eli, and just before Samuel during a time of famine in the land.  The famine evidently led Elimelech to choose to move to Moab in search of sustenance.  We read early in Chapter 1 that Elimelech soon died, and then his sons, Mahlon and Chilion, each took wives from the women from Moab (Ruth and Orpah respectively), which was another grievous sin in contradiction to God’s edict as stated in Deuteronomy, Chapter 23.  The next thing we read is that both of the two sons soon die and also leave behind no children (no heirs).

Naomi fully realized her state of destitution (according to the Bible, Naomi was a “widow indeed”, having been made bereft of both her husband and her children and any hope of livelihood) and decided to return to Bethlehem, because she had heard that, by the grace of God, there was again bread available.  The immediate reaction from her daughters-in-law, was that they would accompany her.  Nonetheless, Naomi warned them of the hazards and hardships with respect to finding a husband, etc. (e.g., as Moabites, they would be treated like lepers in Israel), and then she instructed her daughters-in-law to return to the homes of their husbands to find “rest”.  Orpah went back, sadly, but Ruth stood fast and, despite one last admonition from Naomi, made it clear that she would stay with Naomi until death, and finished with this statement, “….thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:

The two returned together to Bethlehem, and were greeted by the townspeople who wondered what had happened to Naomi (she was entirely alone except for Ruth “the Moabitess”, a “stranger” in the land of Israel).  Naomi made the point of saying that she had come back home out of the land of Moab entirely empty, and moreover, that they should no longer refer to her as Naomi (“sweet”) but rather Mara meaning “bitter” because, “the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.”

In the second chapter of Ruth, we immediately learn of Naomi’s “kinsman” by marriage, Boaz, a “mighty man of wealth.”   And Ruth suggests that she go out humbly as a beggar to glean the fields of “corn” (likely the barley) owned by Boaz and she also describes her hope of finding “grace” in his eyes.  Indeed after working hard in the fields after humbly asking the headmaster of the reapers for permission to glean, Boaz comes from Bethlehem and takes notice of her.  He asks the details from the headmaster and then goes to Ruth and though she be a “stranger” in Israel, Boaz calls her “Daughter”, and tells her to stay close to his maiden reapers and not go to any other fields. He also tells Ruth that the men won’t harm her, and that she may have of the water that the men will bring for the reapers to drink.

Ruth responded by throwing herself to the ground and bowing before Boaz, and humbly asking him why he had shown her such grace, given that she was a stranger? Boaz responded with the statement that he was fully aware of the kindness she had shown to Naomi and the fact that she had left behind all her family to come to a live with people she had never known before. Boaz blesses her in the name of the God of Israel, under whose wings she had come to trust.

Ruth was overwhelmed and thanked Boaz and spoke of his amazing kindness in treating her as though she was one of his maiden reapers. Boaz added that at lunchtime she could sit and eat with the reapers as well. Later she did eat with the reapers and was full.  After she left to go back to gleaning, Boaz took the additional step of telling his men reapers not to hinder or prevent Ruth from gleaning in any way, and moreover to deliberately drop handfuls of harvested grain to the ground that Ruth could pick them up.  That evening, Ruth was able to have her apron filled with a large amount (an “ephah”) of barley.

Ruth took the barley home to Naomi, who after being filled, asked Ruth in whose fields she had gleaned and who it was that had shown her such kindness.  When Ruth told Naomi it was Boaz, Naomi immediately replied, Blessed be he of the LORD, and that Boaz had not forgotten the living and the dead, and that Boaz was a relative and hence a near kinsman (the same word as “redeemer”).  Naomi said that it was good that Ruth obey Boaz in all as he had told her to do.  Ruth did so.

In the third chapter, we learn that Naomi has a plan by which if Ruth properly prepares herself, and then goes into the threshing floor at night when Boaz is sleeping after a harvest dinner, she might make clear to Boaz that she is available to have as a wife by the rule of kinsmanship by laying at his feet.  Ruth followed Naomi’s instructions and, about midnight, Boaz was startled and woke up and asked who she was. She replied that she was Ruth and, in essence, asked him to do the service of a kinsman in marrying her.  Boaz immediately blessed her for her showing kindness to him (as he was evidently an old man) and that it was clear she was also interested in the duties of raising children in the name of Elimelech. He also said that everyone in Bethlehem knew that she was a virtuous woman (a requirement for a Godly wife according to Proverbs 12:4 and 34:10). While stating his willingness to fulfill her request, he cautioned her that there was a nearer kinsman who was entitled to a first right of refusal.  If that man accepted Ruth, then so be it, otherwise Boaz would be happy to marry Ruth. The chapter ends with Boaz providing her with six measures of barley as a gift for Naomi.  When Ruth brings the barley in the early morning to Naomi, Naomi instructs Ruth to be patient and sit still.  It is clear to Naomi what Boaz intends to do…and that Boaz will not rest until he finishes the business before the day ends.

In the fourth and last chapter, Boaz went to the gate of the city and calls to the man who is the nearest kinsman, and also calls ten elders of the city to be witnesses to the ensuing discussion, upon which the twelve men sat down together.  When the nearest kinsman is asked by Boaz if he would be willing to serve as a kinsman redeemer for the dead relative, Elimelech, and to purchase from the hand of Naomi some land in Judah previously belonging to Elimelech, the man said yes. But then Boaz said whenever the kinsman purchases the land, he must also fulfill the duties of the near kinsman redeemer and marry the widow of the line to raise up children in the name of the deceased.  That meant the kinsman must marry Ruth, “the Moabitess.”  That was the deal breaker, and the man ceremonially refused to accept his nearest kinsman opportunity and passed it to Boaz.  Boaz announced to all who were in hearing that this day he would serve as the kinsman redeemer for Elimelech and his two sons.  Moreover he made clear that they would all be witnesses to his intent to purchase as part of that inheritance, Ruth “the Moabitess” to be his wife, in order to raise up children as an inheritance in the name of the dead men. The people in the city rejoiced at this, and offered many blessings pertaining to the tribe of Judah.  Subsequently, Boaz and Ruth were married and had a son, named Obed.  Naomi was able to hold the baby boy in her arms.  The women proclaimed that Ruth was to Naomi better than seven sons. Obed grew up to become the father of Jesse, who became the father of King David…hence Ruth and Boaz were genealogical ancestors, through Davids’ son Nathan down to Mary, of the Lord Jesus Christ.

If we compare this historical account with the rest of the Bible, we can find some amazing and unequivocal parallels between the following:

1) Boaz with the Lord Jesus Christ (as the Kinsman Redeemer of all believers, who otherwise, apart from God’s intervening grace, would have remained “widows indeed”)

2) Ruth “the Moabitess” with the body of believers (the remnant from the Gentile nations; as an in-grafted Jew of the eternal Israel) and hence representative of the church, the eternal bride of Jesus Christ. (Who would have otherwise remained destitute (estranged from a husband) and under the curse of God as a stranger in Israel, as God frequently reminds us through His repetitive use of the term “Moabitess”)

3) Naomi with the remnant of the Nation of Israel, who repent and come to God on His terms and who are saved by the grace of God to also have an equal inheritance in the eternal Israel, and hence who, by redemption, are also a full partaker in the eternal spiritual marriage with Jesus Christ.

4) The unnamed servant of Boaz (who was set as headmaster over the reapers) with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit provides a watch, and guidance, and intercession for the believers while they are here on Earth while they work in the fields of humankind.  The Holy Spirit Communes with Jesus and intercedes for the believers with God.  In Romans 8:26, we read, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

5) Obed, as the first born son of Boaz by Ruth, with all believers who are the result of the marriage between Jesus and His church, hence his name means “servant” and “worshipper.”

6) Elimelech, as a type, or figure, of Old Testament National Israel, which rejected the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ, and who fell into spiritual adultery and sin as typified by his leaving Bethlehem and moving to Moab and with his sons going on to marry Moabitish women.

It is Jesus Christ who is the believers’ Kinsman Redeemer.  Jesus was born in Bethlehem (the “House of Bread”), and Jesus specifically announced that He was the “Bread of Life” in John 6:47.  Jesus established the New Covent symbols of bread and wine to represent His Body and blood.   It is Jesus of Whom we must be partakers to have eternal life.  Jesus is also the Mighty Man of Wealth.  Jesus was born in Bethlehem (just as Boaz was) and Jesus is described as the Lion of Judah…He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords…the cattle on a thousand hills belong to Him…He is the Creator of the Universe!  Jesus shows grace to destitute sinners as typified as widows throughout the Bible, who humbly come as supplicants for that grace.  Moreover the believers are chosen from a remnant of the world, both Jew and Gentile, and are viewed by God as true “Jews” (the true believers in Christ, the Messiah, please see Romans 2:28-29) and will find rest in Him.  We also know that the believers are referred to throughout the Bible as the Bride of Christ (and Jesus Christ is also God).  That bride is described in the Bible with the attributes ascribed to Ruth (e.g., virtuous).  Jesus Christ imputes His righteousness to sinful mankind and in God’s sight all the believers become virtuous as described in Proverbs 31:10.

Biblical Validation of the Ruth Exposition: Taking a Closer Look by Expository Reading

The preceding review was not written with any presumption that this author understands every nuance of the Book of Ruth.  No one (other than God Himself) can ever claim the ability to plumb the depths of the riches of God’s word, the Bible.  However, this writer is confident that if we humbly, faithfully, approach the Bible with no other pre-suppositions than that God is the sole author of the Bible, then we can begin to see by that faith (albeit as through a glass darkly) the truths that God has hidden within His word.  As we have already learned, there is much more to the Bible than meets the “physical” eye, and it’s not just an intellectual exercise. The Bible itself uses such terms such as “mystery” and “dark sayings” to describe how it has been uniquely crafted by God in a magnificent, and yes, even a mysterious way, whereby He has deliberately veiled or hidden the true spiritual meanings of its passages from those whom He has not given the “spiritual eyes and ears.”  The following is this writer’s best effort to explain that hidden truth.

Chapter 1: As was stated earlier, the story of Ruth took place in the day of the Judges, about the time of Eli, and just before Samuel during a time of famine in the land.  The famine evidently led Elimelech to choose to move to Moab in search of sustenance.  It would seem then that Elimelech had made a particularly bad decision in response to the famine that God had sent.  Elimelech had turned his back on the essence of all true sustenance, the House of Bread, and instead turned to the world as is typified by Moab.  And God uses famines as punishment for His people when they turn from Him and put His words behind them. Moreover, and more importantly, famine is used by God to represent something else “spiritually.”  We read in Amos 8:11, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:”. When we fail to seek the Lord first, and fail to trust in Him alone, and instead look to the world for our help in times of trouble; God will send a famine of the hearing of His Word (as is found in the Bible) and we will suffer spiritually as a result.

Moreover Moab was a foreign territory that was inhabited by a people whom God had cursed, as we read in:

“Deuteronomy 23:3-6, “An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever:  Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee. Nevertheless the LORD thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the LORD thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the LORD thy God loved thee. Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever.”  (Remember also that both Moab and Ammon were the sons of Lot, after his wife became a pillar of salt during the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.  Lot’s Daughters assumed that they were the only people left on the earth, and so they decided to get their father drunk so they could lie with him and conceive children by him…Moab and Ammon were the result of those incestuous acts.  See Genesis 19:30-38). [SIDE NOTE: It is also interesting that if one does a careful review of the geneology from Jacob (who was the son of Isaac, and who was also the same generation as Moab, the son of Lot, and Isaac’s Cousin) down to Boaz, the number of generations can be shown to be nine (see Mathew Chapter 1: 2-5 and Mark 3:32-34).  However, Ruth was young enough to be the daughter of Boaz, so she would have been of the next generation…the tenth generation.  It would therefore seem that God was showing us that His curse on Moab stopped with Ruth’s generation.]

We read early in Chapter 1 that Elimelech soon died, and then his sons each took wives from the women from Moab (Ruth and Orpah respectively), which was another grievous sin in contradiction to God’s edict as stated in Deuteronomy, Chapter 23.  The next thing we read is that both of the two sons soon die and also leave behind no children (no heirs).

Naomi fully realized her state of destitution (according to the Bible, Naomi was a “widow indeed”, having been made bereft of both her husband and her children and any hope of livelihood) and decided to return to Bethlehem, because she “had heard in the country of Moab how that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread.”  The immediate reaction from her daughters-in-law, “Surely, we will return with thee unto thy people.”  Nonetheless, Naomi warned them of the hazards and hardships with respect to finding a husband, etc. (e.g., as Moabites, they would be treated like lepers in Israel), and then she instructed her daughters-in-law to return to the homes of their husbands to find “rest”.  Orpah went back, sadly, but Ruth stood fast and, despite one last admonition from Naomi, said,  “Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:

After the death of the Naomi’s husband and two sons, Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem because she had heard of God’s showing mercy to His people and His provision of bread to them there.  Initially, the daughters-in-law both sought to accompany Naomi back to her people in Bethlehem.  Naomi is recorded as having nonetheless instructed her daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah, to return to the homes of their husbands to find “rest”.   This is particularly significant because Naomi did not use any other word other than “rest”.  She was uttering a biblical, spiritual, truism. Isn’t it to the house of Jesus that we go if we truly seek rest from both our sins and our enemies?  Absolutely!  Remember how Jesus said, Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Naomi could have used other language… but she didn’t.  God the Holy Spirit moved Naomi to say “rest” so that it would harmonize with the rest of this historical parable (and the rest of the Bible) to convey important spiritual truths.

But there is another important spiritual aspect of this admonition by Naomi.  In Luke 14:25-27, we read that great multitudes began to follow Jesus Christ and then Jesus turned and gave them a similar admonition, “and there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”

 Many people hear the gospel call and are intrigued, at least initially.  However, once it becomes clear that the true nature of the gospel is such that we are called upon to make a choice, to follow Jesus and abandon all else: friends, family, and self…then the number of followers dwindles quickly and most go back to the enticements of their old world. We are instructed to put God first in our lives as stated in Matthew, 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness…” We must be willing to put all cherished worldly things and sins into the trash bin. We must truly repent (turn back to God, rather than stay fixated on the enticements of the world) and not go backward.  We must be fully committed to serving God in order to achieve eternal life. “Many are called but few are chosen.”(Matthew 22:14)

Ruth typifies those who recognize their destitution and desperate need of finding the bread of life by “grace”, which the underserved favor of God.  The two, Naomi and Ruth, returned together to Bethlehem, and were greeted by the townspeople who wondered what had happened to Naomi (she was entirely alone, except for “Ruth the Moabitess”).  Naomi made the point of saying that she had come back home out of the land of Moab entirely empty, and moreover, that they should no longer refer to her as Naomi, meaning “sweet”, but rather Mara, meaning “bitter” because, “the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.”  It is no accident that Mara is the same as Mary, the mother of Jesus, in the New Testament.

The final key piece of information provided is that this was the time of the beginning of the barley harvest (which not coincidentally happens to also be the same time as Pentecost, the Feast of First Fruits, which was also when the New Testament church was instituted with the pouring out of the Holy Spirit).

Chapter 2: In the second chapter of Ruth, we immediately learn of Naomi’s “kinsman” by marriage, Boaz, a “mighty man of wealth.”   And Ruth suggests that she go out humbly as a beggar to glean the fields of “corn” (likely the barley) owned by Boaz and she also describes her hope of finding “grace” in his eyes.  But then we are led to believe that by “happenstance” she came into the fields of Boaz…but the reality is that it was in God’s plan and that it is now clear that this was exactly as God purposed (e.g., In John 6:44, Jesus said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him:”).  Next we see that Boaz “came from Bethlehem.”   Next we read that Boaz greets the reapers with “The LORD be with you” and the reapers respond with “The LORD bless thee.

When Boaz notices Ruth, and then asks the reapers this question, “Whose damsel is this?” The person in charge of the reapers responded, “…It is the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab: And she said, I pray you, let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves: so she came, and hath continued even from the morning until now, that she tarried a little in the house.” The key points here are that the servant reminds us quickly, twice, that Ruth is a “Moabitess”…a person who is an outcast, and from a God cursed people.  We, by nature, are all God cursed people.  We are all descended from Adam, but who by God’s grace alone, like Ruth, can find salvation through the intercession of the Lord Jesus Christ as typified here by Boaz as our Kinsman Redeemer.  Also it was made clear that she was a diligent worker and worked in the fields all day as a gleaner.

With respect to “gleaning”, God set down specific laws as found in the following Bible verses:

Leviticus 19:9&10, “And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the Lord your God.”

Leviticus 23:22 “And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the Lord your God.”

Moreover, in Deuteronomy 24:17-21 we read,  “Thou shalt not pervert the judgment of the stranger, nor of the fatherless; nor take a widow’s raiment to pledge: But thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt, and the Lord thy God redeemed thee thence: therefore I command thee to do this thing. When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands. When thou beatest thine olive tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it afterward: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow.”

This is a picture of the fact that we (who have the gospel of salvations through Jesus Christ (and the fruit of the blessings of God) because He has saved us) are to have a concern for those who are still aliens, as orphans and widows, and to provide the necessary spiritual food for those who are without but come seeking for spiritual nourishment.

An interesting parallel can be found in Matthew Chapter 15 where we read in verses 22-28: “And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.”  There we see an unsaved person, from a Gentile nation, outside of the people of God (corporately speaking), call upon Jesus as “Lord” and admit that she is no better than a dog, but yet asks if it might be that she (like a dog) might glean some crumbs from her Master’s table. And Jesus showed her grace. Like Ruth, we see another picture of someone who humbly gleans of the spiritual bread to become born again by the grace of God who would have otherwise remained a stranger, orphan, or widow.

Boaz came from Bethlehem just as Jesus came from Bethlehem.  Boaz was of the Tribe of Judah, just like Jesus.  Boaz said, “The LORD be with you,” to the reapers, and the reapers responded with “The LORD bless thee.”  Isn’t this exactly what God says to the believers the reapers in the world?  See for example, in Luke 10:2 “Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest,” …However we also know that in the Parable of the Sower, in Matthew 13:39, Jesus said, “the reapers are the angels.” The fact is that “angels” in the original Greek text can also be interpreted as “messengers,” and both the angels of God (from Heaven) and the believers on earth are both considered as being God’s “messengers”.   And don’t we say with all our heart like the Psalmist of the Old Testament, “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, [bless] his holy name.”?  Of course we do if we are believers and therefore among God’s reapers and messengers.

In verse…. He knows us Romans 8:29, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

Ruth was a “stranger”, but Boaz called her, “My Daughter”!

In Chapter 8, beginning at verse 1, we read, “Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens: Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn. Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?

Imagine that! Boaz knew he was speaking to a “Moabitess”, a widow and a stranger, and yet he showed loving kindness to her, to the point of calling her his daughter!  Does this sound at all familiar?  It should, because that is exactly how God views His elect.  While we were yet strangers, through Jesus’s intercession, we become the children of God.   This is what we read in Ephesians 2:19, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;”

(Still a work in progress)

 Conclusions

We also see that God has provided some interesting factual insights regarding Himself in the Book of Ruth.  We can see that Jesus was descended (through Mary’s line through David, See Mathew 6:5) via an incestuous relationship (through Ruth, hence Moab, hence Lot with Lot’s daughter).  We are also reminded of another somewhat seamy point when we are provided this verse, “And let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah, of the seed which the LORD shall give thee of this young woman.” Tamar was the daughter-in-law of Judah and she played the harlot (prostitute) to entice Judah in order to conceive Pharez by him. Moreover, the mother of Boaz (Booz in the New Testament) was named Rahab (Rachab in the New Tetament), and Rahab is the name of a harlot whom Joshua (Jesus) saved, when the city of Jericho was destroyed, see: Joshua 6:17. Even David was both an adulterer and murderer. These sordid historical issues were all included in the Bible by God deliberately to show us how God was willing to clearly and unequivocally associate Himself with sinful mankind from every possible perspective (and yet he Himself knew no sin, 2 Corinthians 5:21) in order to take the believers’ places on the cross and for what would have otherwise been an eternity in Hell.  Jesus came to save sinners.


[1] Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Committed: An Old Testament Study- Ruth And Esther, SP Publications, Inc, 1993 (ISBN 1-56476-067-7)

Psalm 119 and Discernment

September 21, 2011

Discernment and Psalm 119:

In the past year or so a number of  “Psalm 119 Discernment ” conferences have been held and continue to be held according to this website:  http://www.wretchedradio.com/wretched-events.cfm

On the home page we find this verse: Psalms 119:15-16, “I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.  I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

With that as our starting point, let’s take a brief look at a just a few verses of Psalm “119” (the longest chapter in the bible) to see what we might discern from them.  One thing we  should all notice immediately is that nearly every single verse has some direct reference to God’s law, statutes, precepts, commandments, judgments, testimonies, way(s), and word(s).  This is what makes this chapter unique! (although interestingly, and not by coincidence, Chapter “19” comes the closest to it…please take a look)

It is clear that from beginning to end, from A to Z, chapter 119 is all about God’ s Word, and that can only mean that ultimately, spiritually, it is all about Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh.

In Revelation we read four times (1:8, 1:11, 21:6, 22:13) that Jesus says,

I am ALPHA AND OMEGA, the beginning and the end, the first and the last”   Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet and equivalent to the Hebrew first and last letters of the alphabet,  Aleph and Tav (tau) in the Old Testament that demarcate the beginning and end of Psalm 119.  We also know that Jesus is the Word made flesh…

John 1:14, And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”  Therefore if we really use “discernment” with respect to Psalm 119, we can see Jesus is in every verse of Psalm 119.  The Word (hence Jesus) is described in almost each and every verse of Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible, as the following: Word, Testimonies, Precepts, Law, Commandments, Judgment(s), Statutes, Ways (or The Way), Ordinances. 

Psalm 119:11, Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

As True Christians, We all want to have Jesus hidden in our hearts by reading and pondering God’s Word, the Bible, in our hearts.

Psalm 119:18  “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law

We should all pray that God gives us the discernment to see Jesus wondrously interwoven throughout the whole Bible.

Psalm 119:105 “Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

Jesus in the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:16), and we should all hope that Jesus shines His Light into our life through the reading and hearing of His Word, the Bible. 

What have you discerned from Psalm 119?


 

The Mount of Transfiguration: What Was It Really All About?

May 26, 2010

There is some additional corroborative evidence that Jesus Christ should be the primary focus of every Christian’s Bible study.  It has already been shown in the previous paper, “Unveiling the Mystery of the Bible“, that it is the purpose of God, working through the ministration of His Holy Spirit, that He, alone, is the One Who must remove the veil from a person’s heart to allow him to see Jesus in the Old Testament scriptures.  God explains that it is by this means (and for His glory) that God revealed the New Testament of Jesus Christ (whereby salvation is possible, to both Jew and Gentile, only through Jesus Christ’s work of perfectly keeping the law and applying His work to us by His Spirit and not through our keeping the law apart from Him).  We see this in II Corinthians chapter 3, verse 4: “And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:  Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency [is] of God;  Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.  But if the ministration of death, written [and] engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which [glory] was to be done away:  How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?

God also underscores that the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ was not some last-minute addition to God’s original plan, but all along was central to it.  This is found in Romans 1.  There we read, “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called [to be] an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,  (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)  Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;  And declared [to be] the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:”  To underscore that the term “gospel” does not just relate to the New Testament, God speaks of the Jews in Moses’ day as having heard the same gospel as we read beginning with Hebrews 3:12: “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.  But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.  For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;  While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.  For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.  But with whom was he grieved forty years? [was it] not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?  And to whom sware he that they (the unbelieving Jews in Moses’ day) should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?  So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.  Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left [us] of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.  For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard [it].”

Again, in Colossians chapter 1, we read, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus [our] brother, To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace [be] unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,  Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love [which ye have] to all the saints, For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word (they heard it before only out of the Old Testament in those days) of the truth (Jesus is the “Truth” [John 14:6]) of the gospel (God’s covenant of grace through the person and work of Jesus Christ);”.

The Mount of Transfiguration Accounts:

The transfiguration of Jesus is a rather surprising account that we read about in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  The following verses review that account in its entirety:

Matthew 17:1-8, “And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,  And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.  And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.  Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.  While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.  And when the disciples heard [it], they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.  And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.  And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.  And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.

Mark 9:2-10, “And after six days Jesus taketh [with him] Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.  And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.  And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus.  And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.  For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid.  And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.  And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves.  And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead.  And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean.

Luke 9:28-36, “ And it came to pass about an eight days* after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.  And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment [was] white [and] glistering.  And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias:  Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.  But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him.  And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said.  While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud.  And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.  And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept [it] close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.

*NOTE: There is one “apparent” contradiction between the Luke account and that found in Matthew and Mark (i.e. eight days versus six days).  Please note that the Luke account says “about an eight days after” while the Matthew and Mark accounts state unequivocally “after six days.”  Although God’s purpose in providing this variation in the timing description is not immediately clear, it is not inconsistent with a parallel account in Exodus 24:16, where we read, “And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.”  We are also reminded of the fact that on that same mount Moses was told in Exodus 34:21  Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest.

When we review and combine (or synthesize) these three accounts of the transfiguration into one, cohesive, whole, we find that the disciples (Peter, James, and John) first saw Jesus transfigured to a glorified state, and, furthermore, Moses and Elijah (who were also in a glorified state) were speaking with Jesus (concerning Jesus’s death that would occur at Jerusalem).  Setting aside for a moment the issue of Peter’s offer to build “three tabernacles,” we next learn that a cloud overshadowed them, and God the Father speaks to the disciples concerning Jesus, “this is my beloved son:” and commands, “hear him.”  They “fell on their face, and were sore afraid.”  “Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise and be not afraid.”  Immediately afterwards, the only other person they see is Jesus (Moses and Elijah are gone).  Finally we read of Jesus’s reference to His death and resurrection, and His command to the disciples to keep secret what they had seen until after that time.

A number of questions come to mind.  What was the purpose for Jesus having been “transfigured”, and why did it happen before His death and resurrection?  Why did only Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus?  Why did they talk of Jesus’s coming death?  Why did they vanish after God the Father spoke from the cloud?  What was the significance of Jesus’s coming, His touching the disciples, and saying arise, be not afraid?  What about the three tabernacles that Peter offered to build?  Why did the disciples not understand the coming death and subsequent resurrection of Jesus Christ?

The Transfiguration: A Witness and Testimony of Jesus’s Majesty, Honor, and Glory That is Linked to His Resurrection* 

The most obviously significant aspect of the Transfiguration account is the Transfiguration of Jesus Himself.  The Bible tells us in Matthew 17:2 that Jesus “was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.“; and in Mark 9:2&3 “was transfigured before them.  And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.“; and in Luke 9:29, “And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment [was] white [and] glistering.”  The big question we are immediately faced with is, “What is the purpose of this phenomenon?”   In seeking to answer this question, rather than just speculate, let’s look to God’s own commentary as spoken through an eyewitness to the original event.  Peter, as one of those witnesses states emphatically in II Peter 1:16-18, “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majestyFor he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.  And this voice which came from heaven we (Peter, James, and John) heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.

We are told that Jesus received honor and glory from God the Father in His excellent glory in Heaven.  This reaffirmation of the transfiguration account emphasizes that Jesus was indeed “glorified.”  The word translated as “majesty” that was used first by Peter is from a seldom used word, “megaleiotes” (Strong’s #3168).  It is a reference to more than Christ’s beauty of holiness and royal splendor.  In Luke 9:43, the same word is used to refer to Jesus’ “mighty power” over physical things.  Therefore, Peter is saying in effect that the prophets (both of the Old Testament as represented by Moses and Elijah, and the New Testament represented by Peter, James, and John (because, like Moses and Elijah, they too heard God speak directly to them)) were witnesses to the glory and mighty power of Jesus in the universe.

*  Thanks to the late Thomas Schaff, for his significant contributions to this section.

Certainly Jesus performed many amazing works to which Peter was a witness, but Peter had particular work in mind, that was Jesus’s resurrection and therefore His power over death and hell.  We can conclude this because Jesus tied His transfiguration to His resurrection in Mark 9:9, “And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead.”  Jesus knew that His apostles would not fully understand the meaning of what they had seen on the mountain until He arose from the dead.  Therefore He told them to say nothing until then.  The resurrection would make the meaning of all that happened on the mountain clear to them so that they could tell it to others.

The Transfiguration was a revelation, or “preview,” of Who Jesus Is, and, in a way, the resurrection was proof that the revelation was true.  If they understood the resurrection, then they would understand the meaning of what happened on the mountain.  Also, if they understood the events on the mountain, then they would understand the meaning of the resurrection.  However, until Jesus rose from the dead, the apostles wondered about the meaning of the resurrection, as we see in Mark 9:10, “And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean.

At the time that Peter wrote the letter of II Peter, Peter understood the meaning for the events on the mountain and the meaning of the resurrection.  One other thing that stood out according to Peter, was the statement by the Father repeated in II Peter 1:17, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”  Therefore, there is a close correlation between the resurrection and the Words of the Father.  The resurrection was proof that Jesus was indeed the “beloved Son,” the Person of whose glory Peter caught a glimpse when he was on the mountain.  (Incidentally, there is another corollary that can be found at the time of Jesus’s baptism.  We read in Matthew 3:16&17, “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:  And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.  In that account Jesus’s coming out of the water was a another preview of the Jesus’ resurrection after having come under the judgment of God [the river Jordan is a type of Hell] at the hands of John the Baptist [a type for the law of God that demands “…the wages of sin [is] death;” [Romans 6:23].  Please refer to the paper, The Role of Baptism in the Life of the Believer)

Jesus was declared “beloved”.   He perfectly obeyed the Will of the Father in that Jesus voluntarily laid down His life.  Jesus showed that He completely paid for the sins of His sheep when He raised Himself from the dead and prove that His sacrifice was acceptable as a holy and complete payment for sin as we read in Romans 1:4, “And declared [to be] the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:” and Hebrews 5:8&9, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;“.

Moses: An Allegory for the Law of God that Spoke of Jesus Christ (In a Veiled Fashion)

But what of Moses and Elijah?  Where do they fit in?  We know that Moses is so intimately identified in the Bible with the Law of God that we often read of the “law of Moses” as we read in I Kings 2:2&3 where David’s last words to his son Solomon were, “I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man; And keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself:.”  We also read in John 5:45 where Jesus said to the Jews, “Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is [one] that accuseth you, [even] Moses, in whom ye trust.  For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.  But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?”  Furthermore, in II Corinthians, Chapter 3 beginning at verse 11, we find that the emphasis is on the fact that Jesus was concealed by God as if by a “veil” in the Old Testament (represented allegorically by Moses with “a veil over his face”), but revealed with “great plainness of speech” in the New testament as follows, “For if that which is done away [was] glorious, much more that which remaineth [is] glorious.  Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:  And not as Moses, [which] put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished:  But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which [veil] is done away in Christ.  But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart.  Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away.

Elijah: An Allegory for the Old Testament Prophets that Spoke of Jesus Christ and His Sufferings and the Glory that Should Follow

The Bible also makes it clear that the prophets of God in the Old Testament spoke of the Person and Atoning Work of Jesus Christ (i.e. His suffering and death) as we read in IPeter 1:7-11, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:  Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see [him] not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:  Receiving the end of your faith, [even] the salvation of [your] souls.  Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace [that should come] unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.”  Again, in Acts 3:18, “But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.

Mark 14:21, “The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.

The Law and the Prophets

When we look at how God uses the law (represented here by Moses) and the prophets (represented here by Elijah) we find some additional corroboration to underscore that indeed we are on the right track.  To begin, we find that God describes “the law and the prophets” as being essentially equivalent to the Old Testament as we read in Matthew 11:13, “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John (referring to John the Baptist who we read about in the New Testament).”  We also know that God distills the essence of the whole Old Testament into just two commandments (one of which is commonly referred to as the “golden rule”, as we find both in Matthew 22:37-40, “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.“) and in Matthew 7:12, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”  In John 1:45, we also find the account where, “Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”  Furthermore, in Acts 28:23 we read about the preaching of Paul from “the law and the prophets”, “And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into [his] lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and [out of] the prophets, from morning till evening.”  Finally, in Luke 24:44, we read of Jesus speaking to the disciples after His resurrection, “And he (Jesus) said unto them, These [are] the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and [in] the prophets, and [in] the psalms, concerning me.”  The law and the prophets (as well as “the psalms”) spoke concerning the person and work of Jesus Christ! (And only Jesus was able to perfectly keep “the law and the prophets” and therefore also “the two great commandments.”)

Please note that the last quoted verse, Luke 24:44, is in perfect harmony with what can be found earlier in Luke (in verses 18:31-33) regarding what Jesus told the disciples just before his death and resurrection, “Then he (Jesus) took [unto him] the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.  For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on:  And they shall scourge [him], and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.”  Please also note that when Jesus originally told the disciples these facts, they did not understand them because it was “hid” from them, as we read in the next verse, Luke 18:34, “And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.”  However, when Jesus appeared to the disciples after His resurrection, we then read in Luke 24:45-47 that Jesus gave them the understanding, “Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,  And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:  And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”  This is just one more example of everyone’s need for God to open his spiritual eyes to spiritual truth even when something is plainly stated in the scriptures.

Before we leave this section, we should also consider one more aspect about the Mount of transfiguration and its relationship to “the law and the prophets.”  In Matthew 5:17 Jesus says, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.”  Jesus fulfilled all that the law commanded and demanded, and prophets spoke concerning.  

One more thing…When we look at the last few verses of Luke, Chapter 16 we see the parable of the rich man in Hell crying out to Abraham (while holding Lazarus) in Heaven to send messengers to his brothers who haven’t died yet so that they could be warned to repent and avoid Hell, we read the following:  “Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear themAnd he (the rich man in Hell) said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he (Abraham) said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” The one rose from the dead was not just Lazarus, it was Jesus Christ.  And then we are reminded of Mathew 17:5, “While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.”!!!

The Overshadowing Cloud Points to the Glory of God in the Presence of His Saints 

There are numerous references to a “cloud” in the Bible, but the ones that appear to best express the its biblical meaning are found as follows: Exodus 19:16, “And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that [was] in the camp trembled.”  Exodus 24:15, “And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount.   Exodus 24:16, “And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.”  Exodus 33:21&22, “And the LORD said, Behold, [there is] a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:  And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:,” and a little later referring to the same account in Exodus 34:5, “And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him (Moses) there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.”  Exodus 40:34, “Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.”  Numbers 14:14, “And they will tell [it] to the inhabitants of this land: [for] they have heard that thou LORD [art] among this people, that thou LORD art seen face to face, and [that] thy cloud standeth over them, and [that] thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night.”  Deuteronomy 31:15, “And the LORD appeared in the tabernacle in a pillar of a cloud: and the pillar of the cloud stood over the door of the tabernacle.”  There are also these verses, in the Book of Hebrews that follow immediately after the recountng of the great heros of faith (The Believers/the Saints) that glorified God, we read in Hebrews 12:1&2, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Then compare with these verses: Joh 17:10  And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I (Jesus Christ) am glorified in them (the saints).  2Th 1:10  When he (Jesus Christ) shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

The Three Tabernacles?

Notice also the numerous references to “the tabernacle”.  Remember that in John 1:14 we read, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt (tabernacled) among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”  The word translated “dwelt” is from the Greek word “skenno” which means “to tabernacle” which is the same as we find in Revelation 21:3, “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God.”  Can you see why it was erroneous for Peter to want to build “three” separate tabernacles for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah?  In the historical setting it was unnecessary because Moses’ and Elijah’s habitation was a heavenly one, and more importantly, there is only one tabernacle, or abode, for the people of God.  As Jesus states in John 14:2, “In my Father’s house (singular) are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”  Furthermore, in the spiritual context, the Door of the Tabernacle, and the Tabernacle Itself, is Jesus Christ.  Most importantly, it was Jesus alone, Who prepared that tabernacle, not the disciples.

The Disciples’ Fearful Falling to the Ground, and Jesus’s Raising Them Up

We read in Matthew 17:6 that the disciples, when they heard the voice of God, “fell on their face.”  That action is representative of what anyone will do when he hears the voice of Almighty God.  It is a sign of worship, reverence, and obeisance.  We see examples of such action in Genesis 17:3, “And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying,…”; in II Samuel 9:6, “Now when Mephibosheth (an allegorical type of every believer), the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David (an allegorical type of Jesus Christ), he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant!“; in II Chronicles 20:18, “And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with [his] face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the LORD, worshipping the LORD.“; and in Luke 5:12, “And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on [his] face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.”   Please also note the similarity of the obedient nature exhibited by Joshua in Joshua 5:14, “And he said, Nay; but [as] captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?” and the obedient nature of Jesus in Matthew 26:39, “And he (Jesus) went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou [wilt].

In the Matthew account of the Transfiguration, we read in Matthew 17:7, “And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.”  Immediately, we see a number of features in this verse that pertain to the gospel message (regarding the Person and work of Jesus Christ) that are found everywhere else in the Bible.  The essence of salvation is predicated on the coming of Jesus Christ.  He, alone, is the means of that salvation.  Salvation is dependent on His Work.  That is also why we next read that He touched them, and He said to arise, and He said to be not afraid.

Touch:

There are quite a number of verses in the Bible that pertain to Jesus’s “touching” or being “touched” by someone.  In every case the result is symbolic of what happens to someone who becomes saved.  We see this in the case of Jesus’s healing the leper in Matthew 8:3 (and Mark 1:41 and Luke 5:13), “And Jesus put forth [his] hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”  In the cure of the Peter’s mother-in-law from a fever in Matthew 8:15, “And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.”  In the cleansing of the woman from her issue of blood as we read in Matthew 9:20 (and Mark 5:27-34), “And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind [him], and touched the hem of his garment:  For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.  But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.” and Matthew 14:35 (and Mark 6:56), “And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased;  And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.”  In Matthew 9:27-30, “And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, [Thou] son of David, have mercy on us.  And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.  Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.  And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See [that] no man know [it].”  In Mark 7:32, we read of the deaf and dumb man being healed by Jesus, “And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him.  And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue;  And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened.  And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.”  Finally, in Luke 7:12-16, “Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.  And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.  And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare [him] stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.  And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.  And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people.

Not only did these miracles serve as physical proofs that Jesus was the promised Messiah (according to Luke 7:22 which, in answer to John the Baptist’s query on that subject, which states, “Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.“), but in each of these miracles are found clear references to the miracle of salvation so equally and graciously given by God to whomever He wills.

Arise:

The word “Arise” spoken by Jesus to the Dead man in the funeral bier in Luke 7:14 is the same word spoken by Jesus to the disciples on the Mount of transfiguration!  The word used in both accounts is from the Greek word, “egiero” (Strong’s # G1453)  It is also the same word used in Luke 8:49-56, “While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue’s [house], saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master.  But when Jesus heard [it], he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.  And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden.  And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.  And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead.  And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise.  And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.  And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.”  Again we see the beautiful portrait of God performing the miracle of salvation.  Note that just as was the case on the Mount of Transfiguration, we see Jesus “touching” (in this case the dead girl), Jesus”s saying both to “Arise” and “Fear not.”

Fear Not:

According to the Matthew account, after the disciples heard the voice of God the Father speaking to them from the cloud, they “fell on their face, and were sore afraid.”  This fear is reminiscent of what we find was the case back in Exodus 19:16 when the ten Commandments were given.  That Exodus account closely parallels the Mount of Transfiguration account in that it involved another “Mount” (Mount Sinai), another cloud (a thick cloud), when the people heard another “voice” (of a trumpet and thunderings) and trembled.  Furthermore, in Exodus chapter 20:18&19, immediately after Moses had finished reading the Ten Commandments (“the Law”), we read, “And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw [it], they removed, and stood afar off.  And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.”  Then Moses told the people to “fear not” (just as Jesus told to the disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration to “be not afraid”) as we read in the next verse, “And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.

The Bible makes it clear that the “fear” of God is the beginning of Wisdom as we read in Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy [is] understanding.”  We also know, according to Hebrews 10:31, “[It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”  God tells us Matthew 10:28, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”  God is the One Who has that power, for we read in Isaiah 8:13, “Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and [let] him [be] your fear, and [let] him [be] your dread.”  However, once someone has become saved, because, in reality, Jesus “touched” that person (to cleanse him of his sinfulness (typified by the various states of leprosy, uncleanness, disease, deafness, dumbness, blindness, and death) and commanded that He “Arise” (from the dead), while that person would have rightly “feared” God with a terrifying “Fear” at the initial “hearing” of the word of God, there is no longer any reason to continue to have that kind of “fear,” but rather an ongoing reverential “Awe” of the God of his salvation.

 

The Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ

The disciples questioned among themselves concerning the meaning of the Jesus’s being risen from the dead.”  This was because the revelation of the meaning of it was withheld from them until the appropriate time by God as we read later in the account of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus following (and on the very day of) Jesus’s resurrection in Luke 24:13-32.  Interestingly, there again we read of “Moses and all the prophets,” “And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem [about] threescore furlongs.  And they talked together of all these things which had happened.  And it came to pass, that, while they communed [together] and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.  But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.  And he said unto them, What manner of communications [are] these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?  And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?  And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:  And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.  But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.  Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre;  And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.  And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found [it] even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.  Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:  Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?  And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.  And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further.  But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.  And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed [it], and brake, and gave to them.  And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.  And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?”  Please also note how just a few verses later, in verse 44, Jesus reiterates to His disciples the point that all the Old Testament scriptures ultimately have their fulfillment in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ, “And he said unto them, These [are] the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and [in] the prophets, and [in] the psalms, concerning me.”

The Ethiopian Eunuch

A similar account is found in Acts 8:26-39 concerning the encounter between the Ethiopian eunuch and Philip, “And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.  And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,  Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.  Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.  And Philip ran thither to [him], and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?  And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.  The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:  In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.  And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?  Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.  And as they went on [their] way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, [here is] water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?  And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.  And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

 

Conclusion

In all these accounts, we find the Old Testament scriptures (typified by Moses and Elijah, and in the last account, by Isaiah) are always pointing to the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Once the scriptures are expounded upon by a guide, or preacher, of the Word (in the first instance God the Father; secondly Jesus Himself; then, in the third account, the Holy Spirit led disciple, Philip) the elected hearers see and hear only Jesus.  They know Him.  But, perhaps most significantly, it is with their spiritual eyes and ears, not their physical ones.  In the transfiguration account the disciples first saw Moses and Elijah (who typified the Old Testament scriptures) but after they were told by God to “hear” Jesus, they “saw” only Jesus (Moses and Elijah had disappeared).  In the road to Emmaus account, the two disciples didn’t see the person and work of Jesus in the Old Testament Scriptures, they only saw Moses (“the law”) and “the prophets” (including Elijah).  They didn’t recognize Jesus because it was witholden from them until Jesus “broke the bread” for them.  Lastly, the Ethiopian eunuch didn’t know if Isaiah spoke of himself or some other man.  However, once Jesus was expounded to him from the text (by a disciple commissioned and under the power of the Holy Spirit), then the Ethiopian believed Jesus to be the Son of God.*

Other Verses to Ponder:

II Corinthians 4:5-10, “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.  For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.  [We are] troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair;  Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;  Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

Hebrews 1:1&2, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,  Hath in these last days spoken unto us by [his] Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

Hebrews 12:2, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

II Peter 3:17&18, “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know [these things] before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.  But grow in grace, and [in] the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him [be] glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Colossians 2:6-9, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, [so] walk ye in him:

Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.   For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

I Corinthians 8:6, “But to us [there is but] one God, the Father, of whom [are] all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom [are] all things, and we by him.

* It is interesting to see yet another parallel with the account of Jesus and the disciples on the road to Emmaus in the account of Joseph (who typified Jesus Christ) and his brothers (typifying the disciples/believers) in Genesis 45:1-5.  In both cases, the identities of Joseph and Jesus were hidden from the others until a later time when they were alone with them.

 

Postscript: Elias (Elijah) Must First Come?

There is yet another lesson to be learned from the Mount of Transfiguration account.  Immediately after the recording of that account in both Matthew and Luke we find the following statements:

Matthew 17:9&10,  “And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.  And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?

Mark 9:11, “ And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come?

Notice that it is evident that the scribes of Jesus’ day had concluded that Elijah would have to return in a physical, bodily, form before a resurrection of the dead on Judgment Day could occur.  In all likelihood, they were drawing that conclusion from what they read in Malachi 4:5&6 where we read, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD; And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

In Luke 1:13-17, we see that this should correctly be understood to mean that the children of Israel (the children of God) would be led back to God (the fathers) by John the Baptist as a prophet of God.  It reads, “But the angel said unto him, fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard: thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.  Thou shalt have great joy and gladness and many shall rejoice at his birth.  For he (John the Baptist) shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and he shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.  And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.  And he (John the Baptist) shall go before him (Jesus Christ) in the spirit and power of Elias (Greek for Elijah), to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

We see then, that the prophesy of Malachi 4:6 was already fulfilled during the life of John the Baptist!  Jesus Himself confirmed this, because when speaking of John the Baptist in Matthew 11:14+15, Jesus said, “And if ye will receive [it], this is Elias (Elijah in Greek), which was for to come.  He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.“!  To further underscore that this is the only way to interpret Malachi 4:5+6, we read in Matthew 17:10-13, “And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.  But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed.  Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.  Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.

The disciples of Jesus “understood” that Malachi 4:5+6 had been fulfilled by John the Baptist.  They “received it.”  They “had ears to hear.”  If anyone can’t accept this, then he is exactly like those who had John the Baptist thrown into prison and beheaded, and worse, also had Jesus Christ crucified, because “they knew him not.”  Such a person would be doing what he pleased (listed) with the word of God and would be rejecting the true Jesus of the Bible.

Let’s Look back again for a moment at Malachi 4:6, to consider the meaning of “the hearts of the fathers are being turned to the children, and the hearts of the children are being turned to the fathers.”  Again, we must compare scripture with scripture (1 Cor 2:13) to see what God really has in mind.  We know that while, historically, “fathers” in the Bible refer to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (i.e. see Deut 29:13, and 30:20) we also know that they are allegorical representatives of God Himself.  Remember that in Malachi 1:6, we see that, “a son honoreth his father and a servant his master: if then I (God) be a father, where is mine honor?”  Even the plural form, fathers, is consistent with this idea (i.e., God in three persons, as in “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:,” from Genesis 1:26).  The “children” on the other hand (the disobedient in the land of Israel, the children of God), would be turned to the wisdom of the just (their hearts turned to God) and that this would be done so that God would prepare a people for Himself (through salvation through Jesus Christ, as John the Baptist preached).  Also note that in Titus 3:3 we read, “for we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived,… But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared.

When God warns of “smiting the earth with a curse,” from Malachi 4:6, He was teaching that if He did not prepare a people for Himself through the redemptive action of Jesus Christ (as the Lamb of God) which was required for the salvation of His people, then His justice would demand that the whole earth would remain under the curse of God, doomed to destruction on that great and dreadful day (Judgment Day), and none would be saved.

Remember that John the Baptist’s primary message was, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world,” as he declared when he saw Jesus Christ coming (see John 1:29 and 1:36).

 

                       The Holy Temple of God Must Be Built Before Jesus Can Come?

This reminds me of a similar misunderstanding of Scripture that faces most Christians in our day.  Many people believe that before Jesus Christ can return there must first be the rebuilding of a literal, physical, earthly holy temple of God in the earthly, physical, city of Jerusalem.  They fail to realize that the holy temple of God is a spiritual structure made up of true believing Christians (described as pillars in the temple) that will be made manifest coincident with the appearance of the new Jerusalem in Heaven.  This is what we read in 1 Peter 2:5-8, where God equates the true believers to “lively stones” that are part of the spiritual temple of God of which Jesus Christ is the “chief cornerstone.”  “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.  Wherefore also it is contained in scripture, (Found in Isaiah 28:16 and Psalm 118:22) behold I lay in Si-on a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.  Unto you therefore which believe he (The Lord Jesus Christ) is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” (See also Isaiah 8:14, Matthew 21:42, Mark 12:10, Luke 20:17, Acts 4:11, and Romans 9:53)

So that there can be absolutely no doubt that the holy temple of God could never, ever, again be defined by physical stones and mortar, we read in Ephesians 2:19-22, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God: And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone: In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Finally, in 2 Corinthians 6:16, we read, “Ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said (see Ezekiel 37:26&27), I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

To more clearly understand why there could never again be any need for an earthly, physical temple of God following the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, we have only to search the scriptures to review what happened at the precise moment of His death.  We read in Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:38, and Luke 23:45 that, at that very moment, the veil of the temple was rent in twain (torn in two) from top to bottom.  The result was that the “Holiest of all,” (see Hebrews 9:3) the tabernacle altar of God (where only the high priest, alone, could venture once a year to make an atoning sacrifice of blood on the Day of Atonement) which had heretofore always been hidden from outside view by the veil, had now been fully exposed by God to show that the sign or figure that the “Holiest of all” of the temple represented had been perfectly fulfilled in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ; as He was both the sacrificial Lamb of God and the High Priest that offered the perfect atoning blood sacrifice.  God was showing that the function of the earthly temple had come to an end! (Read all of Hebrews chapter 9 to see that this is so)

Although the Jewish high priest (Caiaphas) no doubt rushed in to repair the torn veil so that he, and the other Jewish high priests that followed him, could continue the yearly atonement sacrificial rite until the physical temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D., the priestly actions would have been pure vanity and rebellion against God.  They could not have had any effect or substance so far as God’s plan of salvation was concerned.  In fact, (according to Isaiah 66:1-4) they would have only been an abomination in God’s sight (because by carrying out those rites, the Jews were continuing to deny that Jesus Christ had come to fulfill the law of sacrifice, which had all along been the sole focal point of the blood sacrifices that were carried out in the temple before Christ died).  This is the most likely reason why God finally allowed the physical temple in Jerusalem to be destroyed for the third (and last) time, and why he scattered the Jews (until our day).  Additionally, because God also subsequently allowed the Islamic Dome of the Rock to be built on the temple site in Jerusalem, the Jews have been prevented from rebuilding the temple ever again (despite the fact that the Jews have had political sovereignty over Jerusalem since 1967).

Today’s Application

When people today argue that Jesus cannot return until the Temple is first rebuilt in Jerusalem, they are in effect speaking just like the scribes in Jesus’s day who did not have the understanding that the fulfillment of the coming of Elijah would be spiritually fulfilled in John the Baptist.  They do not see that in the same way the Temple of God is a “spiritual house” (made up of the universal body of believers joined together through the witnessing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ) that must be first be completed, and not a physical building.

An Exposition of the Book of Esther: A Christian Commentary

September 19, 2009

An Exposition of the Book of Esther: The Little Known (Little Understood?) Book of Prophecy that Reveals God’s Magnificent Plan of Salvation Through the Person and Work of Jesus Christ

The Book of Esther is read every year to the assembled congregations of the Jewish people in their synagogues to the present day.  It is read as part of the celebration of the Feast of Purim.  The feast is celebrated to remember the deliverance of the Jews. Esther is indeed about the miraculous physical deliverance of the Jews of national Israel (the physical descendants of Abraham).   More importantly, however, it is also about the miraculous spiritual deliverance of the true “Jews,” the body of believers, the Church of Jesus Christ (the spiritual descendants of Abraham through Christ who include a remnant of both national Israel and the Gentile nations).  Because the Book of Esther has both an earthly (historical) and a Heavenly (spiritual) meaning, it is an historical “parable.”  While it does provide an account of an actual period in history, it was nonetheless written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and has been incorporated into God’s Word the Bible.  It is a vignette orchestrated by God in the first instance (historically) and written down as precisely crafted in the Bible in the second instance (spiritually) to fulfill God’s own purposes.

Perhaps the most important of God’s purposes was to convey in one short, ten chapter, account most, if not all, of the key elements of His magnificent salvation plan.  The message of the Book of Esther is the same Gospel message that can be found everywhere else in the Bible as it focuses on the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The only difference is that, each time Jesus is found in the Bible, we can learn more about Him and God’s Gospel plan through Him (which glorifies God in the process).  However, to truly “see” Jesus (to believe with our hearts and not just our minds), we must have our spiritual eyes opened by God.  Given that this can be the case, then another purpose for God having provided us with the Book of Esther is that it will edify and strengthen the faith of the saints (the believers).  (Esther is also a prophetic book because it culminates with a picture of Judgment Day and the eternity in Heaven that will follow for all who are counted among the people of Jesus.)

So where do we see Jesus in the Book of Esther?  Some Christian commentaries conclude that it is Esther who, “as the advocate for her people,” is the deliverer of salvation to her people and therefore portrays Jesus Christ.  Is that correct?   Let’s look at the six main characters in the order of their appearance:

1) King Ahasuerus: A very great and powerful king who reigned over a “glorious  kingdom” with the “honour of his excellent majesty.”

2) Queen Vashti: A beautiful queen, the first wife of the king Ahasuerus.  When she was bidden by the king (by his “commandment”) to a great feast, she refused to come; so the king decreed that she could never again come into his presence.  He also decreed that her royal estate be given “to another that is better than she.”  King Ahasuerus sent letters to all his provinces to be published “to every people after their language.”

3) Mordecai: A certain Jew who lived in the king’s palace and sat in the king’s gate.      He was the nearest kinsman to Esther.

4) Esther: A fair and beautiful maid, a virgin, (and orphan) brought up by Mordecai and he “took for his own daughter“… “for she had neither mother or father.”  Esther pleased king  Ahasuerus and “she obtained kindness of him.”  “And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti.

5) Hegai: The King’s Chamberlain, the keeper of the women (very likely a eunuch).

6) Haman: A chief prince of king Ahasuerus who because he saw that Mordecai bowed  not to him (Haman), nor reverenced him, “Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that  were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai.

The Plot:  King Ahasuerus replaces his first queen, Vashti, for her disobedience, and gives her royal estate to Esther (the Jewish orphan raised up by her elder kinsman, Mordecai) who has been anointed by the King’s Chamberlain, Hegai.  Later, prince Haman, in his prideful wrath, convinced the king to decree the destruction of “a certain people” (the Jews) from throughout the land at the end of the year by accusing that they did not keep the king’s laws.  Haman also sought to have Mordecai hanged on the highest gallows that Haman had made.  However, Mordecai, because of an earlier act of faithfulness to the king (certified to the king by Esther in Mordecai’s name), was instead honored by the king and arrayed in the king’s royal apparel wearing the king’s royal crown and allowed to ride through the street of the city on the king’s horse.  This was the very honor that Haman, because of his pride, had sought for himself.  Instead of receiving that honor as he expected, Haman was humiliated.  Later under commandment from Mordecai, Esther went into the kings presence (at the risk of death, but walking by faith…”if I perish I perish“) to inform the king of Haman’s plot to kill her people.  As a result, Haman was hung from the same gallows he had made for Mordecai.

In the final battle, at the end of the year, where Haman had planned to have all the Jews destroyed and consumed in one day, all those who hated the Jews, including all of the ten sons of Haman were themselves removed “with the stroke of the sword, and slaughter, and destruction.”  The next day, after this great battle, the Jews rested from their enemies and “made it a day of feasting and gladness,” to be remembered and kept throughout every generation.  Finally, because the king had advanced Mordecai “next unto the king” (his right-hand man, so to speak), Mordecai was “great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren, seeking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace to all his seed.”  We also read earlier, after the death of Haman, that “Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a garment of fine linen and purple: and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad.  The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honour.

If we compare this historical account with the rest of the Bible, we can find some amazing and unequivocal parallels between the following:

1)  King Ahasuerus with Heavenly Father (or more generically, Almighty God)

2)  Mordecai with Jesus Christ (God as Savior)

3)  Queen Esther with the body of believers (from both Jew and Gentile; the true “Jews” or the eternal Israel)

4)  Hegai with God, the Holy Spirit

5)  Haman with Satan

It is Jesus Christ who delivers His people, the “Jews.”  He is the one who ascended to the Right Hand of God the Father.  Jesus is the one we read about in Revelation 19 Who wears the crowns, riding the white horse whose name is Faithful and True.  He is the one who Satan sought to destroy on the cross, but it was Jesus who instead vanquished Satan at the cross.  Jesus (as the God-Man) is the One Who rears up the believers by serving in the role of their near kinsman.  We also know that at the Great Battle at the end of the age, on Judgment Day, all who are in league with Satan (the unbelievers) will be destroyed with him at that time.  Then will the “Jews” (the true believers in Jesus Christ, the Messiah, please see Romans 2:28-29) find rest from their enemies.  We also know that the believers are referred to throughout the Bible as the Bride of Jesus Christ (and Jesus Christ is also God).  That bride is described in the Bible with all the attributes ascribed to Esther.  The believers replaced national Israel (pictured by Vashti), God’s former chosen people, whom He effectively divorced at the cross (please see Jeremiah 3:8 regarding the initial divorce by God of the first ten tribes of Israel, see also Isaiah 50:1) because they would not come when bidden to the penultimate Passover Feast (they rejected Jesus as Messiah, the Perfect Passover Lamb of God, see also Luke 14:15-24).

Regarding Haman’s role, from Isaiah 14:12-15, we clearly see that Satan, the chief prince of all the angels that became devils, in his great pride sought to “be like the most High,” but was subsequently consigned to Hell. (Note that Satan wanted to exalt his throne above the “stars” of God; In the Bible the stars represent the believers, typified by Esther (whose very name means “Star”).  Remember also, in Matthew 4:8-10, how the devil, like Haman to Mordecai, desired for Jesus to “fall down and worship” him, and Jesus answered, “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”

Biblical Validation of the Esther Exposition

             The preceding commentary was not written with any presumption that this author understands every nuance of the Book of Esther.   No one (other than God Himself) can ever claim the ability to plumb the depths of the riches of God’s Word, the Bible.   However, if we humbly, faithfully, approach the Bible with no other pre-suppositions than that God is the sole Author of the Bible, then we can begin to see by that faith (albeit as through a glass darkly) the truths that God has hidden within His Word.  As we have already learned, there is much more to the Bible than meets the “physical” eye, and it’s not just an intellectual exercise.  The Bible itself uses such terms such as “mystery” and “dark sayings” to describe how it has been uniquely crafted by God in a magnificent, and yes, even a mysterious way, whereby He has deliberately veiled or hidden the true spiritual meanings of its passages from those whom He has not given the “spiritual eyes and ears.”

In Mark 4:11+12 we read, “And he (Jesus Christ speaking to His disciples) said unto them, Unto you (the elect of God, all true believers) it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without (the non-elect), all [these] things are done in parables:  That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and [their] sins should be forgiven them.”  In the final analysis, it is only by the Grace of God that anyone is empowered to discover that Jesus Christ is the mystery and hidden wisdom of the whole Bible, and that salvation is by Him alone. (See 1 Corinthians 2:7+8.)

I Corinthians 2:13 teaches, “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (i.e. scripture with scripture).  The only thing “dangerous” about this method of interpretation is that unless it is done faithfully, using the Bible as its own sole interpreter, men will arrive at wrong conclusions based on their own thoughts rather than those of God.

Having reviewed these fundamentals, let’s look at a few questions that have been brought to this author’s attention regarding the preceding commentary.  First, it has been asked, “What are the implications of a pagan, drunken, self-centered, and rash king (who seeks and is bound by the counsel of his advisors) being likened to God?”

Can A Pagan King Be Likened To God?

             Is it really possible that a “pagan” king can be likened to God?  If we turn to Genesis 41:39-44, we can see a similar account where another pagan king, a pharaoh of Egypt, elevated Joseph (who, like Mordecai, is a classic allegorical pre-figurement of Jesus Christ) to his right hand.  Notice the language, “And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck;  And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him [ruler] over all the land of Egypt.”  Isn’t it Jesus Christ to whom every knee will eventually bow? (see Philippians 2:10)  And doesn’t the fine linen pertain to the righteousness of Christ which will eventually also be imputed to the believers? (See Rev. 18:19).  What about kings Cyrus and Darius of Persia when they each gave a commandment to rebuild the temple? (see Ezra 1:1-2, Ezra 6:12)  (Also note that in Ezra 6:14, Artaxerxes (Ahasuerus) is also listed with Cyrus and Darius, right after the God of Israel as having given that commandment.)  In Daniel 6:25, we read, “Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.”  Who is it that has the power to declare to all people, nations and languages, that dwell in all the earth, “Peace be unto you?”  Only God Himself! (John 20:19, 21, 26, and Rev 1:4)  So then, you be the judge, can a pagan king be likened to God?

Drunken with Wine?

             Regarding the issue of “drunkenness”, there is no place in the book of Esther where there is an explicit reference to drunkenness on the part of the king Ahasuerus.  What was recorded in Est 1:10 was only, “When the heart of the king was merry with wine.”  We should take a moment to review what is a parable…A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly or spiritual meaning.  While we may speculate that in the historical context this means drunkenness, we have to be careful to see what God means spiritually by the use of such language.  If it can only mean drunkenness, then you would also have to accuse God of being a drunkard, because in Judges 9:12-13, we read, “Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, [and] reign over us.  And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?”  (Incidentally in this parable, “the vine” represents Jesus Christ (John 15:1+5), and as everywhere in the Bible, good wine represents the shed blood of Jesus Christ.  Take for example, in Luke 10:34, we read how the Good Samaritan treated the half-dead man, “And went to [him], and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.”  The wine represents the shed blood of Jesus Christ and the Oil represents the Holy Spirit (Psalm 23:5), and Jesus is that Good Samaritan as He saves every believer.)  In Psalms 104:14-15, we read how the Lord God “causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;  And wine [that] maketh glad the heart of man, [and] oil to make [his] face to shine, and bread [which] strengtheneth man’s heart.”  We have just observed what the wine and oil represents, and every believer should know that the bread represents Jesus Christ’s body that was given for us (please see John 6:35 and John 6:31 and Matthew 26:26, Mark 14:22, and Luke 22:19 ).

Before we leave the subject of wine at the feast (Jesus’s death on the penultimate Passover) to which Vashti (national Israel) refused to come.  Did the wine (Jesus’s shed blood, as the atoning sacrifice culminating with His crucifixion) cheer God (make His heart merry)?  In Isaiah 53:5 we read how Jesus “[was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”  And then in Isaiah 53:10, “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put [him] to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see [his] seed, he shall prolong [his] days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

One other aspect that relates to feasting and wine that is in the book of Esther not yet mentioned relates to the “banquets of wine” at which king Ahasuerus sat down with Haman in the presence of Esther (Esther, chapters 5-7).  Did God ever sit down at a feast table with Satan in the presence of believers where wine was also present?  Indeed He did.  At the last Passover feast, the “last supper,” God (as Jesus Christ) sat next to Judas Iscariot (who we know was indwelt with Satan, Luke 22:3) in the presence of Jesus’s eleven other disciples (believers) at the Passover feast where we know the Jesus instituted the sacrament service with wine (representing His shed blood).  As Jesus said in John 13:18, “I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture (Psalms 41:9) may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.

Note also how that immediately after the banquet of chapter 7, Haman was hung on the high gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai.  The same day as the Passover Feast at which Judas Iscariot subsequently betrayed Jesus (under the prompting of Satan, see John 13:2), Jesus was hung on the cross (see Gal. 3:13).  The fact of the matter is, although Satan sought to destroy Jesus at the cross, it was Satan who was actually dealt a death blow on that same cross.  (Incidentally, at the same time, so was Judas Iscariot (who in effect was typifying Satan) hanged, see Matt. 27:5).  On the last day, Judgment Day, Satan and all his dominion will be permanently cut-off and cast into the lake of fire, as typified by the death and subsequent hanging of Haman’s ten sons.

Self-Centered?

             There is not too much that can be said about this other than God is the Great “I AM.”

In Revelation 4:11, we read, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

In Esther 1:4, we read about king Ahasuerus’s “riches of his glorious kingdom and the honour of his excellent majesty …”  (Psalms 148:13, “Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory [is] above the earth and heaven.” and Psalms 150:2,

“Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.“)

In Est 1:1 we read that the kingdom comprised 127 provinces.  This is a large prime number, and as a result, it cannot be divided into any smaller numbers.  God’s kingdom is also great and indivisible.  Just as the decrees or commandments of king Ahasuerus could not be rescinded, neither can the laws of God be nullified by another decree.  God’s law is eternal and irrevocable (as is to be expected of a just God).  Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33, God says, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”  God also says in the Bible (Romans 6:23), “For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  When someone goes to hell for his sins, it is an irrevocable edict.  And if someone is saved by grace (through Jesus’s perfect fulfillment of the law), God assures that person will remain in Heaven forever.

Rash?

             The anger and wrath of a just God in the face of sin is never rash.  When God sends sinners to hell for eternity, some might consider that rash (particularly in our day).  If all we see in Esther chapter 1 is a simple historical account, it might appear as though the action of Ahasuerus was rash.  Keep in mind that one sin is sufficient to send anyone to hell (just look at what happened to Adam and Eve for their one sin).  Queen Vashti was bidden by the king to come to the feast.  Remember the parable of Matt. 22:1-14?  The “remnant”, that Jesus said was bidden to the wedding feast, but who refused to come and then slew the King’s servants (the Christians), was National Israel!  Like Vashti, she acted rebelliously.  She refused to come.  She was disobedient.  Anyone who takes the same action in response to God’s command to “Come unto me” will be cast out of the presence of God forever.  Would anyone dare call that rash?

Seeking and Being Bound to the Advice of Counselors?

             The answer to this question is found in the fact that God is in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  That is why we read in Genesis 1:26,  “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”  God Counsels with Himself.  Note also how there were 7 counselors.  The number seven pertains to the perfection of God’s plan, so it is entirely appropriate that there would be 7 counselors.  Please see Revelation 1:16 and 20 regarding the 7 stars in Jesus’s right hand that were described as a “mystery” and which were “the angels (messengers) of the seven churches.”  Finally, as was explained above, God is bound by His own law that He established before the foundation of the world.

 Queen Vashti Permanently Replaced by Esther?

             Many people have taken issue with the idea that Queen Vashti could represent National Israel and “her royal estate being given unto another that is better than she,” (The another, meaning Esther, a figure or type of the true eternal body of believers from both the Old and New Testaments.)  This can be so because the gospel of salvation (through the person and work of Jesus Christ) is intended for the whole world, both Jew and Gentile, and no longer exclusive to National Israel (although a remnant will nonetheless be saved).

The concept of God becoming estranged from National Israel is a difficult one for most Christians to accept.  God said that except for adultery there could be no divorce (please see Matt. 5:32 based on Deut 24:1) and the Bible makes clear the spiritual adultery of National Israel (please see Hosea 2:2).  Nonetheless, based on Mark 10:2-12, God took the higher road, in that the final separation did not finally take place until the death of Jesus (God in the Flesh) on the cross.  That death effectively terminated the previous marriage according to the original law (Gen. 2:24), freeing Jesus to marry another whom God esteemed to be better than she, which is the new bride, the Christian Church. 

The Likeness of Jesus Christ: Esther or Mordecai?

            Many, if not all, other commentaries on the Book of Esther claim that Esther (if she can be likened to anyone or anything) is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ, because (the authors of those commentaries claim), “Esther saved her people from destruction.”  Is that true?  Before we begin to answer that question, we must first be aware that absolutely nowhere in the Bible is a bride (or queen) ever likened to Jesus Christ.  He is always the Bridegroom (or Prince or King), while the Church (the body of Believers) is always the bride (see Matt. 9:15, Mar 2:19, Luk. 5:34, Psa. 19:5, Isa. 61:10, Jer. 7:34, Jer. 16:9, Jer. 25:10, Jer. 33:11, Joel 2:16, Rev. 18:23).  That having been said, was it Esther or Mordecai that saved the Jews?

In Esther 2:22, we read, “And the thing was known to Mordecai, who told [it] unto Esther the queen; and Esther certified the king [thereof] in Mordecai’s name.”   Who had the knowledge at the first, and in whose name was the testimony certified?  In Mordecai’s name, not Esther’s!  When we, as Christians, petition (pray to) Heavenly Father, do we close the prayer in the name of the bride, or the Bridegroom?  We pray to Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ.  He is the one with knowledge that gives life, and He imparts it to us by His Holy Spirit.  We don’t even know how or what to pray for unless He first tells us.  Romans 8:26, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Remember also that Esther was an orphan (being “fatherless,” she was, according to the Bible, spiritually desolate by nature…as everyone is before being saved), she was brought up or nourished by Mordecai, and not the other way around.  He was, in effect, her kinsman redeemer (much as Boaz, another figure of Christ, to Ruth the Moabitish widow…and as a “widow” she was another Biblical figure of everyone who is desolate by nature before being saved).  Esther went into the king’s presence at the instruction of Mordecai, walking by faith (“if I perish, I perish“).  She only acted as any faithful believer in Christ should act, humbly trusting in God’s mercy alone to save her.  Note that in Hebrews 12:2, we read, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  The Church is the vehicle that God uses to bring the salvation message to save the true Jews (the elect of God, the true believing Christians).  The believers pray to their Father in Heaven for the salvation of God’s elect in the name of Jesus Christ.  We walk by faith and not by sight (II Corinthians 5:7).  Furthermore, aren’t the believers told in Hebrews 4:16 to “…come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.“?

Other Biblical Insights from the Book of Esther

Hegai: a Type of the Holy Ghost

In Esther chapter 2 we read of the King’s chamberlain, the keeper of the women, Hegai (who was in all likelihood a eunuch).  We are told that Esther obtained kindness of him, and later received twelve months of purification with the oil of myrrh and sweet odors.  It would not be inconsistent to conclude that in this prophetic parable, Hegai is a type of the Holy Spirit that anoints and purifies the believers, and Who makes it possible for them to come into the presence of the King, God Himself.  Please note how in Esther 2:15 we are told, “Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail (which in the Hebrew means “the father of power, might, strength, and virtue,” i.e. another portrait of God the Father) the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, was come to go in unto the king, she required nothing but what Hegai the king’s chamberlain, the keeper of the women, appointed. And Esther obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her.”  The believers who have been sanctified by the anointing and indwelling of the Holy Spirit require nothing more than that which the Holy Spirit provides in order to come into the presence of the King.

Esther 2:1: God Remembers His Covenant

In Esther 2:1, we read, “After these things, when the wrath of king Ahasuerus was appeased, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed against her.” This verse can in no way be interpreted as saying that King Ahasuerus changed his mind and later intended to restore Queen Vashti to her former estate, for verse 2:4 and 2:17 make it clear that she is replaced by Esther.  How then are we to interpret this verse?  When we realize that God had in effect been married to National Israel in the Old Testament as we read in Isaiah 50:1, “Thus saith the LORD, Where [is] the bill of your mother’s divorcement, whom I have put away? or which of my creditors [is it] to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away.” and in effect did warn that he would put her away for her rebellion in Hosea 2:2, “Plead with your mother, plead: for she [is] not my wife, neither [am] I her husband: let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts;” and furthermore that He would betroth Himself to whom He had not been married as we read in Hosea 2:23, “And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to [them which were] not my people, Thou [art] my people; and they shall say, [Thou art] my God.”  We also know that this people who were “not my people” includes the remnant chosen by Grace out of all the world, including a remnant from National Israel (Hosea 2:16-20).

What else does the Bible say on this issue?  With respect to remembering Vashti we know that God never forgot His covenant with Israel for we read in Leviticus 26:42, “Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.”  That is why we read in Luke 1:72, that Zacharias, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit said that in Jesus Christ, God was about, “To perform the mercy [promised] to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;”.  God remembered and performed His covenant to Israel in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Esther Chapter 3: The “Law” is Given

In Esther chapter 3 we read where Haman, as the chief of the princes with him, because of His pride, reports to the king in verse 8, that there is a people that is scattered throughout the kingdom who do not keep the kings laws and the king should not suffer them to live.  Haman even offered a great sum of silver to bring about the people’s destruction in verse Esther 3:11, “And the king said unto Haman, The silver [is] given to thee, the people also, to do with them as it seemeth good to thee.”  Isn’t it an interesting “coincidence” that when God gave the commandment (the Law) to Adam and Eve not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he told them that the day they ate of it the would die, the serpent (Satan) tempted them to not “keep the King’s law.”  Isn’t it also true that, until the cross, Satan was allowed to come before God (see Job 1:6 & 7) to be the accuser of the believers for not perfectly keeping the Law of God, for in Revelation 12:10 we read, “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.”  Note also that the not only was Judgment Day in view when God gave the first commandment, i.e. Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin [is] death;” (in the second part of that verse is the way of escape that we read about in Esther chapter 8, “the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.“), but God allowed Satan to have dominion over this whole creation by right of conquest.  That is why Jesus said in John 18:36, “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”

Esther 4:1: The Atonement of Christ

When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry;

A close look at Esther 4:1 will reveal a beautiful summation of the atonement of Jesus Christ, the One Who “perceived all” that God’s Law decrees.  He knew that He must come as the sinbearer to redeem His people and so He humbled Himself (typified by Mordecai’s putting on of sackcloth with ashes, as the king of Nineveh did in Jonah 3:6, “For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered [him] with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.”  Jesus humbled Himself by taking on a human body of low estate to become the sin bearer of all who would believe on Him.  Incidentally, if we look Psalm 69, we find in verse 11 of this Messianic Psalm that, “I made sackcloth also my garment; and I became a proverb to them.”  Please remember that this is the same Psalm that so particularly reveals the details of Christ’s atonement on the cross.  As a result it is the most frequently quoted Psalm referring to Jesus Christ in the New Testament, including that by Jesus Himself.  In verse 4, “They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, [being] mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored [that] which I took not away.”  Compare this with John 15:24&25, “If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.  But [this cometh to pass], that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.”  In verse 21 we read that, “They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.”  That verse Messianically describes what happened to Jesus while He was hanging on the cross, as we find in Matthew 27:34, “They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted [thereof], he would not drink.”  Also in John 19:28-30 we read, “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.  Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put [it] upon hyssop, and put [it] to his mouth.  When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”  In verse 9 we find, Psalms 69:9, “For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.”  Compare this with John 2:17, “And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.” and Romans 15:3, “For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.

If Jesus had not provided a substitutionary atonement for His people, the “Jews,” the Law would demand that they would perish at Judgment Day at the end of the age (typified by the end of the year in Esther).  When Jesus died on the cross in Jerusalem, Jesus completed that work and, like Mordecai, gave out a “loud and bitter cry” as we read Matthew 27:46, “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”  Matthew 27:50, “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.” (see also Mark 13:34&37 and Luke 23:46)

Notice also the parallels between the actions of Esther (as a type for the Church) and Mordecai in Esther 4:4, “So Esther’s maids and her chamberlains came and told [it] her. Then was the queen exceedingly grieved; and she sent raiment to clothe Mordecai, and to take away his sackcloth from him: but he received [it] not.” with that of Peter (as another “type” of the Church) and Jesus when Peter attempted to physically defend Jesus and keep Him from His atoning work.  In John 18:10&11 we read, “Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.  Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?

That cup was the cup of God’s wrath for sin that Jesus had to suffer.

Esther Chapter 8: The New Testament Era, Beginning at Pentecost

As additional confirmation that the parallels derived from Esther with God’s whole plan of salvation are correct, please look at Esther 8:9, which describes how on the 23rd day of the third month a new decree (“all that Mordecai commanded“) went forth by messengers on beasts under the commandment of Mordecai to every people and tongue in every province in the kingdom of King Ahasuerus.  This new decree, while not annulling the first decree, which originally allowed for the destruction of the “Jews” (the people of Mordecai), did offer a way of escape for the people of Mordecai from the judgment set forth in the first decree.

NOTE: Is it only a coincidence that The Feast of Pentecost is always during the third month of the Hebrew calendar (Sivan)?   On Pentacost in 33 AD (in the third month), we read in Acts Chapter 2, that the apostles were “all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”  “And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.  Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because every man heard them speak in his own language.”  And what they each heard the apostles speaking in his own language was “the wonderful works of God.”!  At that same time, Peter stood up and preached the Gospel of Salvation to that multitude, and of those who heard, about three thousand souls “gladly received his word were baptized.”

In Esther 8:9 we read, “Then were the king’s scribes called at that time in the third month, that [is], the month Sivan, on the three and twentieth [day] thereof; and it was written according to all that Mordecai commanded unto the Jews, and to the lieutenants, and the deputies and rulers of the provinces which [are] from India unto Ethiopia, an hundred twenty and seven provinces, unto every province according to the writing thereof, and unto every people after their language, and to the Jews according to their writing, and according to their language.

Please note the similarity of this language with what Jesus commanded in Mark 16:15, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” and Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”  In Revelation 14:6, “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,

Note also how in Esther 8:17, “And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day. And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.”  Doesn’t this sound exactly like what happened at the beginning of the New Testament era starting at Pentecost* in 33 A.D. when the Gospel of Salvation through Jesus Christ was first proclaimed?  The New Testament did not annul the Old Testament Law, but it offered the Good News of the Way of escape from the penalty of the Law, “the wages of sin is death” through Jesus Christ, as we read in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Didn’t many of the people obtain the necessary “fear” of God and become Christians (the true “Jews”), thereby obtaining peace with God, as a result?  Isn’t that what also took place in the account given in Acts 10:42-45?  There we read, “Acts 10:42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God [to be] the Judge of quick and dead.  To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.  While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.  And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

To underscore this idea, God tells us in Ephesians 2:11-22, “Wherefore remember, that ye [being] in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;  That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:  But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.  For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [between us];  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, [so] making peace;  And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:  And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.  For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.  Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone];  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Esther Chapter 9: The End of the Year, Judgment Day, and the Transition to Eternity

With this concept in mind let’s look at Esther, Chapter nine.  There we read of a slaughter of Haman’s ten sons (a probable reference to the ten horns/ten kings that “completely” rule in the apostate corporate churches with the beast/antichrist during the final tribulation according to Rev. 17:12) on the thirteenth day of the last month of the year.  We read in Esther 9:18, “But the Jews that [were] at Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth [day] thereof, and on the fourteenth thereof; and on the fifteenth [day] of the same they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness.”  Isn’t it interesting that the Feast of Unleavened Bread (which presaged the partaking of Jesus Christ) also began on the fifteenth day immediately following the Passover (that was Judgment Day for Jesus and hence the believers, Leviticus 23:6 and Numbers 28:17).  Please note how it was also on the fifteenth day that God declares the children of Israel departed from their bondage in Egypt, because of what we read in Numbers 33:3, “And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians.

The End of the Year is When Eternity Begins

In the Book of Esther, the first decree went forth into all the great kingdom of Ahasuerus to be carried out in the end of the year in the twelfth month, Adar.  Isn’t it interesting that just as it is obvious that the twelfth month in the Book of Esther can be equated to the end of the year, God Himself defines the “end of the year” to a time of harvest.  In Exodus 23:16 we read, “And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, [which is] in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field.”  Remember that Jesus said in Matthew 13:39 that, “the harvest is in the end of the world.”  The harvest that is equated to “the end of the world” refers to the completion of the final harvest wherein the believers’ souls, the “wheat,” are gathered into God’s barn, while the unsaved, the “tares,” are gathered together and taken out to be burned as we read in Matthew 13:30, “Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.”   At the end of time, the last Trump should herald the end of this creation and the transition to eternity wherein the true “Jews” (Christians from all nations, kindreds, people, and tongues) will celebrate the eternal Jubilee brought about by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ in the new Heavens and the new Earth in the presence of Almighty God.

 Esther Chapter 10: In Heaven, Believers Rest in the Peace of Jesus Christ

In Esther 10:3 we read, “For Mordecai the Jew [was] next unto king Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren, seeking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace to all his seed.”  Isn’t it a fact that Jesus Christ is the “Prince of Peace” (see Isaiah 9:6) and that in John 20:21 we read, “Then said Jesus to them again, Peace [be] unto you: as [my] Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”  In Psalms 85:8, we learn that, “I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.”  In Acts 10:36, “The word which [God] sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)

All believers are considered the seed of Christ (the true eternal Jews), for we read in Galatians 3:26, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.“, and in Galatians 3:29, “And if ye [be] Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (and the promise is the Covenant of God which He made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob).  Please note the beautifully clear parallels between Esther 10:3 and the following verses:

Psalms 18:50, “Great deliverance giveth he to his king; and sheweth mercy to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore.

Psalms 89:29, “His seed also will I make [to endure] for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven.

Psalms 89:36, “His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me.

Psalms 112:2, “His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed.

The Bible makes it clear that, in God’s eyes, a “Jew” does not necessarily refer to a literal physical descendent of Abraham through Isaac, as we read in Romans 2:28&29, “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither [is that] circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:  But he [is] a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision [is that] of the heart, in the spirit, [and] not in the letter; whose praise [is] not of men, but of God.

Romans 9:1-8 reiterates how God views the eternal spiritual Israel (the believers in the Messiah, Jesus Christ), for Paul was moved by the Holy Spirit to write the following: “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,  That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.  For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:  Who are Israelites; to whom [pertaineth] the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service [of God], and the promises;  Whose [are] the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ [came], who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.  Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they [are] not all Israel, which are of Israel:  Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, [are they] all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.  That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these [are] not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.”   This is also consistent with what we read in Psalms 22:30, “A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.”

Chapter by Chapter Expositional Outline of the Prophetic Book of Esther:  Comfort for the Believers at all Times

 (Psalms 68:5, “A father of the fatherless (i.e.,Esther), and a judge of the widows (i.e.,Ruth and Naomi), [is] God in his holy habitation.“)

I.          God’s Magnificent Salvation Plan: National Israel (under the Law)                                                         rebels: making a way for the remnant of both Jews and Gentiles (under Grace)(Est. 1:12 and Est. 1:19)Please see Romans 4:15

II.         God Remembers His Covenant:  The Establishment of the New and Better Covenant (Est. 2:1-4)   Please also see Hebrews 8:6-13

                        Jesus Christ (Mordecai) Shows Mercy to the Fatherless  (Esther)  (Est. 2:7)

The Work of the Holy Spirit: (Est. 2:15)

The Rebellion and Fall of Adam and Eve?: (Est. 2:21-23)

III.       Satan’s Dominion Over This Creation After the Fall of Adam (Est. 3:1 and 8-15)  Please see Romans 6:23

Temptation of Christ,  Satan Seeks to Destroy Jesus and His People (Est. 3:6) Please see Rev.12:10

IV.       The Atonement of Jesus Christ (Est. 4:1)

V.        The Faith of the Saints (Christ’s Faith, Eph. 3:11&12)  (Est. 5:2) Please see Hebrews 12:2, Numbers 24:17, and Psalms 45:6

VI.       Palm Sunday (Est. 6:11)

VII.      The Last Passover Feast and Christ’s Victory over Satan at the Cross (Est. 7:10)

VIII.     The Ascension and the New Testament Era (Est. 8:1-17)

IX.       Judgment Day and the Transition to Eternity

X.        Eternity in Heaven (Est. 10:3) Please see Gal. 3:16 & 29

NOTE: There is not one direct reference to God found anywhere in the Book of Esther.  As a result, Martin Luther declared it to be an apocryphal book.  It is also the only Old Testament book missing from the Dead Sea Scrolls, possibly because the Essene sect believed that Esther was not sufficiently faithful to the Mosaic Law, i.e., she married the Persian king.

Four Main CHARACTER PROFILES:

King Ahasuerus, Who Sat on the Throne of  “His Glorious Kingdom and The Honour of His Excellent Majesty”

 Ahaseurus:  According to Strong’s Concordance of Persian origin.  It is said to be more of a title, refering to a king, rather than a specific name.  It is believed to be the same as either Artexerxes or Xerxes.  No genealogy is provided (Remember that God Himself has no genealogy).

All Glory and Honor are God’s, He Alone is Excellent

Esther 1:4,  “When he shewed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honour of his excellent majesty many days, [even] an hundred and fourscore days.

Psalms 8:1, “{To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David.} O LORD our Lord, how excellent [is] thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

Psalms 145:5, “I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.

Psalms 72:19, “And blessed [be] his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled [with] his glory; Amen, and Amen.

I Chronicles 29:13, “Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.

Psalms 148:13, “Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory [is] above the earth and heaven.

Psalms 150:2, “Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.

Revelation 4:11, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

I Chronicles 16:25-27, “For great [is] the LORD, and greatly to be praised: he also [is] to be feared above all gods.  For all the gods of the people [are] idols: but the LORD made the heavens.  Glory and honour [are] in his presence; strength and gladness [are] in his place.

I Timothy 1:17, “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, [be] honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

 God and His Word are Unchangeable

Esther 1:19, “If it please the king, let there go a royal commandment from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, that it be not altered, That Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal estate unto another that is better than she.”   (Compare with: Daniel 6:8, “Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.”  and Daniel 6:15, “Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians [is], That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.“)

Malachi 3:6, “For I [am] the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

Numbers 23:19, “God [is] not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do [it]? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

I Samuel 15:29, “And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he [is] not a man, that he should repent.

Jeremiah 4:28, “For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black: because I have spoken [it], I have purposed [it], and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it.

God’s Word (the Gospel of Jesus Christ) is “Published” Throughout All His Empire

Esther 1:20, “And when the king’s decree which he shall make shall be published throughout all his empire, (for it is great,) all the wives shall give to their husbands honour, both to great and small.

Psalms 68:11, “The Lord gave the word: great [was] the company of those that published [it].

Mark 13:10, “And the gospel must first be published among all nations.

Mark 16:15, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Deuteronomy 31:30, “And Moses spake in the ears of all the congregation of Israel the words of this song, until they were ended.  Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.  My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass:  Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God.  [He is] the Rock, his work [is] perfect: for all his ways [are] judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right [is] he.

 The Seven Wise Men in Shushan the Palace

In Esther 1:13&14 we read, “Then the king said to the wise men, which knew the times, (for so [was] the king’s manner toward all that knew law and judgment:  And the next unto him [was] Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, [and] Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, which saw the king’s face, [and] which sat the first in the kingdom;)”  Who do these seven wise men represent who know both times, law, and judgment?  God gives us the answer in Revelation 4:5, “And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and [there were] seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

Please note the similarity to what we find in Exodus 19:16 where we read, “And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that [was] in the camp trembled.  And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.  And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.”  and in Exodus 34:2, “And be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me in the top of the mount.  Remember what God told Moses when Moses was to go up to Mount Sinai to visit with God?  In Exodus 33:20 we read, “And he (God) said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live“.  Doesn’t it appear that Mount Sinai was used of God to typify His throne?  Furthermore, by typifying God’s throne, both Mount Sinai in Exodus (and Shushan the palace in Esther 1:2, “[That] in those days, when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which [was] in Shushan the palace,“) must therefore represent Heaven.  We can say this because of what we read in Isaiah 66:1 (and Acts 7:49), “Thus saith the LORD, The heaven [is] my throne, and the earth [is] my footstool: where [is] the house that ye build unto me? and where [is] the place of my rest?“.  Finally, isn’t it also reasonable to conclude that the seven wise men in the book of Esther could therefore be representative of the “seven Spirits of God” that are always with Him and see His face and Who know the times, law, and judgment (which relates to the “fire”)?

 Mordecai, a Jew, and an Elder Who Sat in the Gate

 Esther 2:5, “[Now] in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose name [was] Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite;  Who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity which had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away.

Although the meaning of “Mordecai” is not clear, we do know that as a Benjaminite, Mordecai was of the tribe of Benjamin (the only full brother of Joseph), whose name means “son of my right hand.”  When Jacob gave a blessing to his sons this is how he blessed Benjamin: Deuteronomy 33:12, “[And] of Benjamin he said, The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by him; [and the LORD] shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders.”  Jair means “He Enlightens”: “Shimei” means “famous”: and “Kish” means “power.”  From this genealogy we are given at least some insight into the possibility that Mordecai could represent the Lord Jesus Christ.

It should also be noted that the genealogy provides some additional information that could be pertinent to any study of Mordecai.  The genealogy makes it clear that Mordecai was at least indirectly related (a kinsman) to King Saul.  A man named Kish was the father of King Saul, who was also a Benjaminite (similarly, so was the Saul in the New Testament who later became known as Paul).  While King Saul was an outwardly handsome man, of great stature, and a king after the people’s heart, he was faithless and not a king after God’s own heart as was King David.  Nonetheless, God did show compassion and grace toward a remnant of that line by the hand of King David.  This was true for Mephibosheth (a grandson of Saul through Jonathan) who we read about in II Samuel 9:13, “So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king’s table; and was lame on both his feet.”  It was also the case for another man named Shimei who we read about in, II Samuel 16:5, “And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name [was] Shimei, the son of Gera: he came forth, and cursed still as he came.”  Later in II Samuel 19:16-20, Shimei repented of his sin against David and begged for mercy and David granted it in as we read in II Samuel 19:23, “Therefore the king said unto Shimei, Thou shalt not die. And the king sware unto him.”  However, in the case of that Shimei, we later read I Kings 2:36-46 that because he did not obey King Solomon’s commandment not to cross the Brook Kidron (he turned again to folly), King Solomon had that Shimei put to death.

As for Jair, we read of a man named Jair in Judges 10:3-5, who was a judge in Israel; and in I Chronicles 20:5 of another son of a man named Jair (named Elhanan, which means “God is a gracious giver”) who slew the brother of the giant Goliath.  The genealogical namesakes remind us that Mordecai (like Saul who became Paul) was of a line that should have been cut-off by God, but nonetheless was instead a recipient of God’s grace.

We know that Mordecai was an elder in the city because he sat in the king’s gate.  Further, despite having saved the life of the king, he and his good deed were soon forgotten.  This is similar to the account in Ecclesiastes 9:14&15, “[There was] a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it:  Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man.”  Isn’t this similar to the wisdom of Jesus Christ who became poor that the believer’s might become rich in Him.  Didn’t Jesus save His beloved Church, the “city” of the New Jerusalem?  Nonetheless, following the abasement Mordecai suffered by the putting on of sackcloth and sitting in ashes, eventually he was exalted to the right hand of the king.  Isn’t this similar to what we read of Jesus?

Hebrews 2:9, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

I Peter 1:17, “For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Also in Revelation 4:11, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Revelation 5:11-13, “And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.  And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, [be] unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

Revelation 7:12, “Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, [be] unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

Revelation 19:1, “And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:

Mordecai’s Attributes:

Humility

Mordecai was a humble man who did not boast of his having saved the King.

Wisdom

Mordecai always took the wise and appropriate actions towards God and man.

Concern for Others

Mordecai showed compassion to Esther by raising her up as his own daughter and continuing to be concerned about her welfare and that of her (and his) people.

A Man to Whom Glory and Honor Was Ultimately Given

In reviewing the attributes of Mordecai and his portrayal relationship to Jesus in overturning the forces of darkness and receiving honor and glory in ultimate victory we can look to Psalm 21:1-13, “{To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.} The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!  Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah.  For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head.  He asked life of thee, [and] thou gavest [it] him, [even] length of days for ever and ever.  His glory [is] great in thy salvation: honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him.  For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance.  For the king trusteth in the LORD, and through the mercy of the most High he shall not be moved.  Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies: thy right hand shall find out those that hate theeThou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them.  Their fruit shalt thou destroy from the earth, and their seed from among the children of menFor they intended evil against thee: they imagined a mischievous device, [which] they are not able [to perform].  Therefore shalt thou make them turn their back, [when] thou shalt make ready [thine arrows] upon thy strings against the face of them.  Be thou exalted, LORD, in thine own strength: [so] will we sing and praise thy power.

 Esther: A Portrait of the Bride of Jesus Christ

Esther 2:7, “And he brought up Hadassah, that [is], Esther, his uncle’s daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid [was] fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter.

Esther 2:15, “Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, was come to go in unto the king, she required nothing but what Hegai the king’s chamberlain, the keeper of the women, appointed. And Esther obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her.

Esther: Her Persian name, of uncertain meaning or derivation.  Some commentaries claim that the name means “a star,” which, if true, would be consistent with the theme that Esther represents the believers over whom the devil wants to reign as we read in Isaiah 14:13.  Esther’s Hebrew name Hadassah, means “myrtle wood.”  Because this name is of Hebrew origin it is easier to find correspondence in other parts of the Bible.  When we search the scriptures, we find the following verses in which hadassah (myrtle) is also used:

Nehemiah 8:15, “And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as [it is] written.

Isaiah 41:19, “I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, [and] the pine, and the box tree together:

A quick aside…In Isaiah 61:3, we read where God says, immediately following the most significant Messianic verses in 61:1 & 61:2 (The same words proclaimed by Jesus in Luke 4:18 and John 1:32, 3:34) addressing Jesus’s salvation gospel message to the otherwise hopeless of the world (those who would become His Church) ” ...that they might called the trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”

Isaiah 55:13, “Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign [that] shall not be cut off.

Zechariah 1:8-11, “I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that [were] in the bottom; and behind him [were there] red horses, speckled, and white.  Then said I, O my lord, what [are] these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will shew thee what these [be].  And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These [are they] whom the LORD hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth.  And they answered the angel of the LORD that stood among the myrtle trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest.

It can be concluded from the above that the myrtle tree is a representation of the believers, i.e. in the case of Isaiah 41:19, where in the wilderness (i.e. the world) thorns (unsaved people) flourish, God raises up myrtle trees (the believers).  Notice how in Zechariah 1:11, the “angel” (actually “messenger”) of the LORD stood among the myrtle trees.  Does not God stand among the believers?  Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

Esther’s Attributes:

Esther was a “maid” (verse 2:7)…II Kings 5:2-4, “And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman’s wife.  And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord [were] with the prophet that [is] in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy.  And [one] went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that [is] of the land of Israel.”  NOTE; God used the little “maid” to be a witness of His power in Syria.

Esther was “fair” (verse 2:7)…Job 42:15, “And in all the land were no women found [so] fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren.”  Song of Solomon 2:10, “My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.

Song of Solomon 4:7, “Thou [art] all fair, my love; [there is] no spot in thee.

Song of Solomon 6:10, “ Who [is] she [that] looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, [and] terrible as [an army] with banners?

Esther was “beautiful” (lit. of good appearance or good countenance) (verse 2:7)…Song of Solomon 6:4, “Thou [art] beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as [an army] with banners.” and Isaiah 52:1, “Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.”  NOTE: God declares his bride to be the new Jerusalem in Revelation 21:2, “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Isaiah 52:7,  “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

Esther was a “virgin” (verses 2:3 with 2:8)…Isaiah 62:5, “For [as] a young man marrieth a virgin, [so] shall thy sons marry thee: and [as] the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, [so] shall thy God rejoice over thee.”  Jeremiah 31:4, “Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry.

I Corinthians 7:28, “But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.”

II Corinthians 11:2, “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present [you as] a chaste virgin to Christ.

Esther was an “orphan.” (Esther 2:7)… Lamentations 5:3, “We are orphans and fatherless, our mothers [are] as widows.

As and orphan, Esther was also “fatherless”…Deuteronomy 10:18, “He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment.

Job 29:12, “Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and [him that had] none to help him.

Psalms 68:5, “A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, [is] God in his holy habitation.

Jeremiah 49:11, “Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve [them] alive; and let thy widows trust in me.

James 1:27, “ Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Esther was “loved.”  (Esther 2:17)… Deuteronomy 33:2&3, “And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand [went] a fiery law for them.  Yea, he loved the people; all his saints [are] in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; [every one] shall receive of thy words.

I Kings 10:9, “Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the LORD loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice.

John 3:16,  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  We know that God loves those whom He sacrificed His Son to save.

John 13:23, “Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.”  Jesus loved John who typified all true believers.

John 13:34, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

John 14:21, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”  Jesus reveals (manifests) Himself to those whom He loves.

John 15:9, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

II Thessalonians 2:16, “Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given [us] everlasting consolation and good hope through

grace, Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.

Esther found “grace.”  (Esther 2:17)…Genesis 6:8, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

Jeremiah 31:2, “Thus saith the LORD, The people [which were] left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; [even] Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.

Acts 4:33, “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.

Acts 15:11, “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

Acts 20:32, “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:

Esther found “favor.”  (Esther 2:17)…Genesis 39:21, “But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.

Psalms 5:12, “For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as [with] a shield.

Psalms 30:5, “For his anger [endureth but] a moment; in his favour [is] life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy [cometh] in the morning.

Psalms 30:7, “LORD, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, [and] I was troubled.

Psalms 89:17, “For thou [art] the glory of their strength: and in thy favour our horn shall be exalted.

Psalms 119:58, “I entreated thy favour with [my] whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word.

Proverbs 3:4, “So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.

Proverbs 8:35, “For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD.

Proverbs 12:2, “A good [man] obtaineth favour of the LORD: but a man of wicked devices will he condemn.

Isaiah 60:10, “And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favour have I had mercy on thee.

Luke 1:30, “And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.

Acts 7:10, “And delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favour and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house.

Acts 7:46, “Who found favour before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob.

Esther was made a “Queen.”  (Esther 2:17)…I Kings 10:13, “And king Solomon gave unto the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside [that] which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty. So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants.

II Chronicles 9:1-3, “And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to prove Solomon with hard questions at Jerusalem, with a very great company, and camels that bare spices, and gold in abundance, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart.  And Solomon told her all her questions: and there was nothing hid from Solomon which he told her not.  And when the queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built,.

Matthew 12:42, “The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon [is] here.

Esther wore a “crown” (Esther 2:17)…Genesis 49:26, “The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.

Leviticus 21:12, “Neither shall he go out of the sanctuary, nor profane the sanctuary of his God; for the crown of the anointing oil of his God [is] upon him: I [am] the LORD.

Proverbs 4:9, “She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.

Isaiah 28:5, “ In that day shall the LORD of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people,

Revelation 2:10, “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast [some] of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

II Timothy 4:8, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

Haman as an Agagite Was Also an Amelekite: a Vessel “Unto Dishonour”

 Esther 3:1, “After these things did king Ahasuerus promote Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that [were] with him.

Esther 7:6, “And Esther said, The adversary and enemy [is] this wicked Haman. Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen.“*

* The words “adversary”, “enemy”, and “wicked” (when taken together) are used in the Bible to describe satan (i.e, I Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:; Matthew 13:39, “The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.“; and, Matthew 13:38, “The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked [one];

Haman:  According to Strong’s Concordance: of foreign derivation, however is very close to Hebrew word meaning “rage,” “tumult,” “destroy,” or “vex.”

Hammedatha:  “Threshing”?   Possibly pertains to the last judgment, or threshing when the evil are cast into hell

Agagite:  “Flame”?  Again possibly pertaining to those things that are taken out and burned by fire.

Haman’s Genealogy: Haman was a direct descendent of King Agag, hence Amalek, hence Esau.  Let’s see what God has to say about these individuals that make up the ancestry of Haman:

Malachi 1:2&3, “I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? [Was] not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob,  And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.

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

Genesis 36:12, “And Timna was concubine to Eliphaz Esau’s son; and she bare to Eliphaz Amalek: these [were] the sons of Adah Esau‘s wife.

Exodus 17:14-17, “And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this [for] a memorial in a book, and rehearse [it] in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.  And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi:  For he said, Because the LORD hath sworn [that] the LORD [will have] war with Amalek from generation to generation.

Deuteronomy 25:17-19, “Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt;  How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, [even] all [that were] feeble behind thee, when thou [wast] faint and weary; and he feared not God.  Therefore it shall be, when the LORD thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies round about, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee [for] an inheritance to possess it, [that] thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget [it].

I Samuel 15:2&3, “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember [that] which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid [wait] for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.  Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

I Samuel 15:18, “And the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed.

I Samuel 15:32&33,  “Then said Samuel, Bring ye hither to me Agag the king of the Amalekites. And Agag came unto him delicately. And Agag said, Surely the bitterness of death is past.  And Samuel said, As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the LORD in Gilgal.

It is also interesting to note that in the parable of Balaam versus Israel (where Balak, the king of Moab, sought to hire Balaam to curse Israel), God made Balaam prophesy that Israel (and its ultimate King, Jesus Christ) would be exalted above king Agag as we read Numbers 24:7, “He shall pour the water out of his buckets, and his seed [shall be] in many waters, and his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted.”  However, Balaam was forced by God to curse the line of Amalek as we read in Numbers 24:20, “ And when he looked on Amalek, he took up his parable, and said, Amalek [was] the first of the nations (the first of the  nations to confront returning Israel); but his latter end [shall be] that he perish for ever.

(Side note: The Bible,in Joshua 13:22, also tells us that this same Balaam (the son of Beor, “of Pethor of Mesopotamia”, according to Deuteronomy 23:4) was a “soothsayer” (diviner) and was among those that Israel subsequently slew with the sword.  According to the Bible, Balaam was deserving of death because he gave counsel to Balak to cause Israel to stumble as we read in Numbers 31:16, “to commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord.” and in Revelation 2:14,”But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac (Balak) to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.”  Moreover in Micah 5:12 God specifically stated,”And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers:”)

Haman, like Satan, is the “Accuser”

Note the similarity between the accusation by Haman against the Jews in Est. 3:8&9 (“And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king’s laws: therefore it is not for the king’s profit to suffer them. If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed: and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those that have the charge of the business, to bring it into the king’s treasuries.“) with what we find in Ezra 4:4-6, “Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building,  And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.  And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, wrote they [unto him] an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.”  Furthermore, we also know according to Revelation 12:10, that Satan is the accuser of the brethren before God, “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 

Recently found on the internet at http://www.gotquestions.org/Book-of-Esther.html under “Foreshadowings” …very well said…
“Just as Haman plotted against the Jews in order to destroy them, so has Satan has set himself against Christ and God’s people. Just as Haman is defeated on the gallows he built for Mordecai, so does Christ use the very weapon that his enemy devised to destroy Him and His spiritual seed. For the cross, by which Satan planned to destroy the Messiah, was the very means through which Christ “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Colossians 2:14-15). Just as Haman was hanged on the gallows he built for Mordecai, so the devil was crushed by the cross he erected to destroy Christ.”

The Battle of Armageddon: The Earthly Version Already Happened!

September 19, 2009

Judges Chapters 4 & 5: The Battle of Armageddon (Judgment Day) Prefigured!

            Judges chapters 4 & 5 are unusual.  This is because God not only records an historical parable in chapter 4, but He assists with the revelation of the deeper spiritual meaning of that historical parable in chapter 5.  We are therefore provided the uncommon opportunity to prove or test this methodology of typological interpretation through a direct comparison of the preliminary understanding of, and conclusions drawn from, chapter 4 with those that God Himself specifies in chapter 5.

Concerning end-times prophecy, you can pick up almost any book today and you’ll find references to the battle of “Armageddon” (mentioned in Revelation 16:16).  In those books you’ll often find a description of some future earthly/physical battle that the authors believe will take place between various nations of the world and national Israel in the literal physical location of the plain of Megiddo in northern Israel.  Is there any validity to this interpretation?  Let’s take a look at what God has to say in Judges Chapter 4 & 5.

Israel Under the Judgment of God

             Judges, chapter 4, begins with the ominous statement, “And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, when Ehud was dead.

This statement reminds us of what God said earlier in the book of Judges.  In Judges 2:11-23, “And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim:  And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that [were] round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger.  And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.  And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies.  Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed.  Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them.  And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the LORD; [but] they did not so.  And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them.  And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, [that] they returned, and corrupted [themselves] more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way.   And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and he said, Because that this people hath transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not hearkened unto my voice;  I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died:  That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk therein, as their fathers did keep [it], or not.  Therefore the LORD left those nations, without driving them out hastily; neither delivered he them into the hand of Joshua.

What is particularly ominous about the first verse of Judges 4 is that it was Israel, the people of God, that did evil in the sight of the LORD.  As a result, in the very next verse we learn, And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor; the captain of whose host [was] Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles.

It should be noted from the preceding that God is sovereign, and fully in charge of the historical situation and the destiny of His people.  He turns them over to the oppressor as a judgment against them for their sin of apostasy (rebellion, a form of spiritual fornication).  We should therefore not be surprised to learn that the oppresser in this case is Jabin, which means intelligent, cunning, wisely, who is the king of Canaan, the country originally inhabited by Canaan, the grandson of Noah, who Noah cursed in Genesis 9:25.  Furthermore, Jabin reigned in Hazor which happens to be a city (like Ai) that Joshua (Hebrew for Jesus, meaning “Saviour”) burned and where he slew a previous king also named Jabin (Joshua 11:1-15).  Although we are not given the meaning for the name “Sisera”, who was the captain of Jabin’s army, we do know that he is from Harosheth.  Harosheth, also spelled Charosheth, meaning to engage in mechanical work, carving, or cutting, is derived from the root word, charash, which is often translated negatively as “deviseth” as in Proverbs 6:14; and in Proverbs 6:16-19, where it is used in a context to describe the things that God “hates” and are an “abomination” to Him.  It appears already, therefore, that Jabin and Sisera can be none other than types or figures of Satan/antichrist, the abomination of desolation (Matt. 24:15), as he rules just before Judgment Day.

In Judges 4:3, we read how the children of Israel cried unto the LORD: for he (Jabin) had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel.  The iron represents the judgment of bondage and its accompanying oppression for sin (see Psalms 107:10 & 11, Rev. 2:27 and Rev. 19:15).  That is why God refers to the land of Egypt as the “ironfurnace” in Deu. 4:20, 1 Kings 8:51, and Jer. 11:4.  It also corresponds to what we find in Daniel 7:19-7:27, where the fourth beast (representing the antichrist during the final tribulation?) had “iron teeth” (1 Pet 4:17, “judgment must begin at the house of God“), but his kingdom would be destroyed at the end of that period when the “Ancient of days (God Himself) came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.

Deborah*, a Portrait of the Bride of Christ, Declaring Judgment

             In the next verse we learn of the woman, Deborah (meaning bee, from the root word dabar, meaning to “speak” or “declare” and is intimately linked with “word”).  It is an interesting fact that where bees gather you will also find honey, and honey is a type that God uses in relation to the gospel (see Judges 14:8&9, and Psalms 119:103, and Rev. 10:9&10).  However, “bees” are also used by God in the Bible to denote the judgment that God sends in response to rebellion (because they are given power to “sting” God’s enemies?, see Isaiah 7:18 and Deu. 1:44).

* It is often claimed by theologians (particularly in our day) that, in this historical account, it was Deborah who “saved the Israelites from Canaanite forces.”  In this study it will be shown that it was not Deborah, but Barak (as a type of Jesus Christ Who is shoved aside by modern humanistically focused theologians who, consciously or not, are in rebellion against God’s line of authority (please see 1 Cor 11:3, Eph 5:23, & Col 1:18).  They want to elevate the woman, Deborah (who actually represents the Church, the Body, the Bride of Jesus Christ) above the man, Barak (who represents Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church, and the Bridegroom in the Heavenly Marriage in the Book of Revelation), who was really the savior in this historical account.  Interestingly enough, when God recounts the great persons of Faith in Hebrews 11, in amongst the Judges Gideon and Sampson, it was not Deborah who was mentioned, but rather Barak.  We find this in Hebrews 11:32-34, “And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and [of] Barak, and [of] Samson, and [of] Jephthae; [of] David also, and Samuel, and [of] the prophets:  Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,  Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.”  This is because in each case the “man” named is actually a type of Jesus Christ that is entirely consistent with what we read in Luke 24:27 and John 5:39.

Deborah was a prophetess (one who declares the word of God) and a judge in Israel.  We also know that she was the wife of Lapidoth (a plural form of the Hebrew word, lapid, meaning “lamp” or “lightning“, see below under Barak).  We see the word lapid used 14 times in the Bible… lamp 7, firebrand 2, torch 2, brand 1, lightning 1, burning 1.  In Isaiah 62:1, “For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.

Deborah must therefore very likely be a typological representation of the true believers during a time of great apostasy who actively, and faithfully, declare the whole counsel of God’s word that brings the message of both deliverance and judgment.  Such believers, together with all other believers throughout history, are described in the Bible as the Bride of Christ (remember that Jesus is the “Lamp,” 2 Sam 22:29 and Psalms 119:105, Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”, because Jesus is the Word made flesh as we read in John 1:14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.).

Note that Deborah dwelt under the palm tree (the “palm tree” may be another reference to Jesus, because as we read in Psalms 92:12, “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.”).  Such trees represent life and strength typifying the attributes of Jesus Christ.  Reinforcing this idea is the use of the word “dwelt.”  For the believer, Jesus is our dwelling place (i.e. Psalms 90:1, {A Prayer of Moses the man of God.} “LORD, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.  Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou [art] God“).  We also know that the palm tree was located between Ramah and Bethel in Mount Ephraim.  Ramah means “high place,” and Bethel means “house of God.”  Ephraim pertains to the tribe of Ephraim, descended from the younger son of Joseph who received the double portion, and who Jacob blessed with his right hand and said “in thee shall Israel bless.”

It is worth a moment to consider why the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.  A judge is someone who hears a matter and then pronounces a sentence against an accusation whether vindication or condemnation and punishment.  When the believers bring the gospel of salvation they are always bringing the two-fold message of deliverance from the bondage to sin and Satan through Jesus Christ or the alternative just punishment of sin which is an eternity in hell on Judgment Day.  How can anyone truly know about salvation through Jesus Christ unless they first understand from what they are being saved?  Every human being is by nature in desperate need of a Savior to protect him from the coming judgment and wrath of God which is the just penalty for his or her sins.  Furthermore, we know that if “He that spared not his own son” (Romans 8:32) in that Jesus had to endure God’s wrath in hell, will not God also do the same to those who do not become saved?  II Corinthians 5:11, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;

Barak, a Portrait of Jesus Christ as the Ultimate Judge

             Next we read in verse 6, And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedesh-naphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the LORD God of Israel commanded, [saying], Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun?

This is the first reference to Barak.  Barak, interestingly enough, also means “lightning” (exactly as Lapidoth, the husband of Deborah!) but also “glittering sword.”  Might Barak therefore also be a type or allegorical prefigurement of Jesus Christ?  In Exodus 19:16 we read of when Moses was on Mount Sinai and God made His presence known to the people, “And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings (barak), and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that [was] in the camp trembled.”  It should be noted that immediately following the giving forth of the Ten Commandments, we also read in Exodus 20:18, “And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings (lapid), and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw [it], they removed, and stood afar off.”  It is as if God is saying that Barak and Lapidoth are essentially the same.  As proof that this is indeed the case, in Ezekiel 1:13, we read in the same verse where Ezekiel describes the “visions of God,” “As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance [was] like burning coals of fire, [and] like the appearance of lamps (lapid): it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning (barak).”  This is repeated in Daniel 10:6, where we read how Daniel describes Jesus in a vision, “His body also [was] like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning (barak), and his eyes as lamps (lapid) of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.

As though the picture of Barak representing the Lord Jesus Christ is not clear enough, we find in Psalms 77:18 and 97:4 the following declarations of the LORD reigning and His works and judgments, “The voice of thy thunder [was] in the heaven: the lightnings (barak) lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook.” and “His lightnings (barak) enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled.”  Furthermore, in Deuteronomy 32:41, the same word barak is translated as glittering sword, “If I whet my glittering sword (barak), and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me.”  So not only does Barak represent Jesus Christ, but he also represents Jesus Christ as Judge!  Remember how in Matt. 24:27 we read where Jesus’s coming on Judgment Day will appear as lightning, “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Abinoam, a Portrait of The Father in Heaven

             Barak is also the son of Abinoam.  If the typological/allegorical methodology of interpretation, that has so far been employed in this study, is Biblicly valid (i.e. God ordained and true), then we should logically expect, given the evidence that Barak represents Jesus Christ, that Barak’s father, Abinoam, would provide some evidence that he is a typological representation of The Father in Heaven.  In other words, we have a sound basis, or “scientific” means, to both test and hopefully prove this methodology of interpretation.  We start with the theory based on previous evidence found in God’s Word (1 Corithians 2:13), and now we are making a prediction using that theory.  In this passage of scripture we can put the theory to the test.  If the prediction (i.e. that Abinoam should be a clear “type” of The Father in Heaven) is validated, then likewise the theory is also validated. 

In perfect confirmation, with the above prediction, we find that Abinoam means “father (abi) of beauty (noam)” or “father (abi) of pleasantness (noam).”  Both progenitive attributes are unequivocal references to Jesus Christ.  In Psalms 27:4 we read, “One [thing] have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty (noam) of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.”  In Zechariah 11:10-13, we read, “And I took my staff, [even] Beauty (Noam), and cut it asunder, that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people. And it was broken in that day: and so the poor of the flock that waited upon me knew that it [was] the word of the LORD.  And I said unto them, If ye think good, give [me] my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty [pieces] of silver.  And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty [pieces] of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.

These prophetic verses describe exactly what happened to Jesus Christ (we know that Jesus (The WORD of the LORD) was broken by God for all believers and that the first covenant of works under the Law was broken, so that the new covenant of grace could be instituted) and the thirty pieces of silver were the price given to Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus  and which were cast down in the temple (The house of the LORD”)and which was later used to buy the potter’s field (see Matt. 27:3-8).  But what about “pleasantness”?  In Proverbs chapter 3, God, through King Solomon, is describing wisdom and understanding (again clear references to Jesus Christ) and in verse 17 we read, “Her ways [are] ways of pleasantness (noam), and all her paths [are] peace.”  [Note: Don’t let the feminine gender reference confuse you, because in the very next two verses, we see wisdom equated to “the tree of Life” and “that by wisdom the LORD founded the earth.”  We know, therefore, that “wisdom” has to be referring to Jesus Christ because of what we read in John 14:6, and Rev:2:7 and 22:2, and John 1:1-4.]  We can see, therefore, another excellent example of the perfection of God’s craftsmanship of both the actual history, and the recording of it in the Bible, to convey spiritual truth which can be found out if sought for like hidden treasure (see Proverbs 3:13-15).  If “beauty” and “pleasantness” (noam) represents Jesus Christ, then Abinoam unequivocally represents The Father in Heaven.  Because Abinoam is the father of Barak, Barak is again seen (from a new perspective, beyond the meaning of Barak in the Hebrew and God’s use of Barak in Biblical scripture) to represent Jesus Christ, the Son of God The Father.

Perhaps most importantly, the prediction was correct and therefore, likewise, the methodology is also proven to be valid. We have thus all been clearly shown a proven means of interpretation of the Bible from the Bible!  (and it was all simply done by only comparing spiritual things with spiritual things…by comparing scripture with scripture)

The Believers are From Every Nation

But what does it mean to be from Kedesh-naphtali?   Kedesh (meaning ceremonially clean) was established as a city of refuge (together with the city of Shechem in mount Ephraim, see Joshua 20:7).  Furthermore, in Joshua 21:32 we read that Kedesh is in the area of land given to the tribe of Naphtali known as Galilee.  We know that Jesus came from Galilee, and, not surprisingly, now we see that so did Barak!

But what about Barak taking ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and Zebulun toward mount Tabor?  From Matthew 4:12-15 (and Isaiah 9:1), we learn that the land of both Naphtali and Zebulun (Naphtalim and Zabulon in Greek) is identified as being within the region of Galilee, “Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he (Jesus) departed into Galilee;  And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim:  That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias (Isaiah 9:1) the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, [by] the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles (nations);“.  We get the distinct impression that God is declaring that a multitude (typified by the number ten thousand) of believers drawn from the Gentile nations (primarily during the New Testament era) would go with Jesus to whatever mount Tabor represents.

This interpretation is corroborated by Revelation 5:9-13, where, with respect to the Lamb (Jesus Christ, “Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Root of David”  Who “prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof” Rev 5:5-6, and Who we know is “the Lamb of God” John 1:29) where we read the following:

And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.” And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

The “out every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” refers to the Gentile nations and “the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands” shows us that the number of believers saved by Jesus out of the Gentile nations is a greater multitude than those saved from national Israel (the house of Jacob) that is typified by a lesser number “an hundred and forty and four thousand.“(Rev 7:4) while those saved from “all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues” (The Gentile nations) was “a great multitude, which no man could number.

So we see then that the “ten thousand(s)” is a spiritual number used by God for typifying the great multitude of those who are saved by Jesus Christ, Who Is their Redeemer.

That multitude of believers is found in Heaven, praising God for their salvation as we read on in Rev. 7: 9-10 where they, “stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.”

Remember also what we read in Matthew 12:14-18, after Jesus healed the man with the withered hand, “Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him. But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them allAnd charged them that they should not make him known: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.

Mount Tabor, a Portrait of Heaven with Judgment in View?

         As a mountain, we know that there is at least the possibility that mount Tabor could represent Heaven for we read in Psalms 121:1 {A Song of degrees.} “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills (from “har” in Hebrew which can also be translated “mountains”), from whence cometh my help.” and Psalms 123:1 {A Song of degrees.} “Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens.”  See also Psalms 24:3 “Who shall ascend into the hill (har) of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place” and  Psalms 48:1 “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain (har) of his holiness.” (A photo of Mt. Tabor can be seen here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:PikiWiki_Israel_3346_Geography_of_Israel.jpg). 

It is not entirely clear what the actual derivation of “Tabor” is…there seem to be a number of somewhat conflicting explantions.  One is that it is from the root word “taher” (Strong’s #2891) meaning to be pronounced clean or purged and purified.   Without doubt, Heaven is entirely “Pure” and those who ascend to Heaven have to have been made spiritually clean by Jesus’s sacrifice. (It is also interesting to note here that Mt. Tabor is a leading candidate to be the site of  Jesus’s Transfiguration (The Mount of Transfiguration)…and while we can’t confirm or deny that assertion from the Bible; based on what we can learn in the course of this study,  it would not be surprising)

In verse 7, we read how Deborah would bring Sisera to the river Kishon (from the Hebrew qowsh or yaqosh, meaning “to set a trap or snare, like that of a fowler”) that is located at the foot of Mt. Tabor in the middle of the plain of Megiddo (from which Armageddon is derived) for Barak to meet in battle.  (Remember, that in Luke 21:34 & 35, Jesus spoke of Judgment Day in the context of a snare, “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and [so] that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.“)  Moreover, regardless of the derivation of Mt. Tabor, we do know that God clearly has established severe Judgment at the foot of Mt. Tabor in association with the river Kishon (“to snare”), and the Megiddo (e.g., Armageddon) valley that it flows through, because it is also a fact that after Elijah confounded the 450 prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18, that we read in verse 40, “And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.

By verse 9 we find that Deborah “arose” and went with Barak to Kedesh (the city of refuge).  In verse 10, we read how Barak “called” Zebulun and Naphtali (the believers from out of the Gentile nations) and he “went up with ten thousand men at his feet: and Deborah went with him.  These references of going up with Barak prophetically make it clear that all believers are partakers of the first resurrection of the dead “in Christ” which took place on Easter Sunday, 33 A.D.  This is why we read in verse eight, “And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, [then] I will not go.”  While anyone can speculate that in the earthly historical account that Barak was fearful, the Bible does not support that anywhere explicitly.  This is because the spiritual implication (that Jesus’s resurrection and ascension to Heaven includes that of His Church…without whom He would not go) would otherwise be lost.  This idea is also entirely consistent with what we find in Ephesians 1:20, “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set [him] at his own right hand in the heavenly [places],” and in Ephesians 2:6, “And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus:

  Judgment Day (The Ultimate Armageddon) is Coming!

 

Skipping ahead to verse 14, we read, “And Deborah said unto Barak, Up; for this [is] the day in which the LORD hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: is not the LORD gone out before thee?  So Barak went down from mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him.”  Does this sound familiar?  It should, because in Jude 14&15 we are given a prophesy of the second coming of Jesus on Judgment Day with “ten thousands of his saints.”  There we read, “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,: To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard [speeches] which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

Please note the similarity in the language we find concerning the last words of Moses before his death in Deuteronomy 33:2&3, “And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand [went] a fiery law for them.  Yea, he loved the people; all his saints [are] in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; [every one] shall receive of thy words.

In verses 15 & 16, we see the total defeat of Sisera and all his host: “And the LORD discomfited Sisera, and all [his] chariots, and all [his] host, with the edge of the sword before Barak; so that Sisera lighted down off [his] chariot, and fled away on his feet.  But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the host, unto Harosheth of the Gentiles: and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword; [and] there was not a man left.

 Judges Chapter 5 is God’s Commentary on Judges Chapter 4

             Although there is one last aspect of final judgment in this historical account, let’s move ahead to Chapter 5 to test the validity of this exposition and interpretation of Judges chapter 4.  In Judges chapter 5, we read of the song of Deborah and Barak.  In that song, giving praise to God for “the avenging of Israel,” we find four very important verses.  First, in verse 12, we read, Awake, awake, Deborah: awake, awake, utter a song: arise, Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam.  The key phrase is “lead thy captivity captive.”  This phraseology describes the restoration of God’s elect to their former estate.  It refers to the action of God in bringing His people back, or delivering them, from the bondage and oppression into which He had earlier placed them for their transgressions of His law (see Jer. 29:14, Jer. 30:3, Jer. 32:44, all of Jer. 33, Eze. 39:25, Amos 9:14, and Zeph. 3:20).  It pertains to the ultimate restoration of the fellowship mankind initially had with God in the Garden of Eden; the significant difference being that this restored fellowship can never be lost again.

The specific phraseology of “lead thy captivity captive” is found in only two other places in the whole Bible.  In Psalms 68:18, “Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, [for] the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell [among them].” and in Ephesians 4:8, “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.”  In Psalm 68 it is a Messianic prophecy, and in Ephesians it is a specific statement about the Lord Jesus Christ, Who Is the means whereby the elect of God are delivered from the bondage to sin and oppression of Satan and finally restored into fellowship with God at the end of time!  There can therefore be absolutely no doubt that God specifically established Barak as a pre-figurement of Jesus Christ, and what Jesus will do to the oppressor and his host when Jesus returns on Judgment Day.

The second important verse is Judges 5:19, because God makes it clear that the battle is to be linked with the valley of Megiddo, and therefore no question of its relationship to the Armageddon we read about in Rev. 16:16, The kings came [and] fought, then fought the kings of Canaan in Taanach by the waters of Megiddo; they took no gain of money.

Thirdly, in verse 20, God shows that this whole event has been a perfectly crafted historical parable typifying Armageddon at Judgment Day, because He says, They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera.  Clearly, this description has nothing to do with the earthly, historical and physical battle we read about in Chapter 4.  Rather God is telling us that Chapter 4 contained typological representations.  Chapter 4 portrayed Jesus Christ (typified by Barak) coming from Heaven (typified by mount Tabor) with His multitudes of saints (typified by the stars, see Gen 22:17, Isaiah 14:13, Dan 12:3) on Judgment Day (typified by the battle in the valley of Megiddo, a.k.a. Armageddon) to slay Satan and all of his host, the fallen angels and the unsaved of the world (typified by the kings of Canaan and all their host).

Finally, in verse 21, God tells us that, The river of Kishon swept them away, that ancient river, the river Kishon. O my soul, thou hast trodden down strength.  This appears to be further evidence of the finality of the death that is in view, i.e. when God casts Satan and all his dominion into the lake of fire (from Revelation Chapter 20) for all eternity!

Conclusion

             In this study we have seen yet another case where God has masterfully crafted history, and the recording of it, to prefigure the return of the Lord Jesus Christ on Judgment Day.  From it we have learned that the battle of Armageddon is not some future earthly battle involving earthly political nations, i.e. Russia, etc., attacking the political state we now know as national Israel in the valley of Megiddo.  That scenario has nothing to do with the Armageddon of the Bible, because Armageddon is actually Judgment Day itself!  Judgment Day will be the last event in history when the Lord Jesus Christ will come back in the clouds of Glory to destroy all wickedness and put an end to this entire creation, which is under the curse of sin.  It will mark the end of time and the beginning of eternity wherein righteousness will dwell in a new heaven and a new earth forever.  In II Peter 3:10 we read, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” but thankfully in II Peter 3:13 we read, “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

It should also be noted how prevalent judgment is in the word picture painted by God in Judges 4 & 5.  It is safe to say that the whole account is dripping with judgment.  First we found that Deborah, who typified the believers, is described as a judge who declared judgment during a time of judgment from God on National Israel.  Then we found that Barak represents Jesus as the ultimate Judge at a battle that perfectly typifies the ultimate judgment that definitely will come on the Last Day, Judgment Day.  We even saw how the geographic setting appears to be pointing to that judgment.  It is therefore entirely appropriate that God has painted this so very vivid picture of judgment in the book entitled “Judges.”

In II Corinthians 5:11, we are admonished, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.”  Given that God has recorded such a clear and unequivocal prophetic warning of the final judgment that is so assuredly coming; it is incumbent on everyone to search his own conscience (and heart) and ask himself the big question: Am I ready to meet God?  It is my sincere prayer that whosoever reads this review will undergo that self-examination and be able to answer in the affirmative.  If not, it is still possible to cry out to God for mercy, for it is still the day of salvation.  (Please also remember that Barak was just a pre-figuring “shadow” of Jesus Christ, not the “substance.”  Only through the Person and Work of Jesus Christ is there any hope of salvation.  Acts 4:12, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.“)