finding truth matters

The Book of Esther is controversial Biblical book. Why is it in the Bible? There is not even a direct mention of “God” in it. This has led some to question whether it even belongs in the Bible. But what these critics have missed is one of the most profound messages from God in all of Scripture.

While the book of Esther is obviously about Esther, it is also rich in Biblical allegory about God and His relationship with His people. But what is not immediately obvious is that this book is very prophetic. It describes how God was to end His Old Covenant and establish a new one. All the while, the characters in this pivotal story unwittingly reveal some amazing truths about God, family, and the relationship between religion and politics.

 

VASHTI WAS LIKE ISRAEL

Queen Vashti

But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command delivered by the eunuchs. At this the king became enraged, and his anger burned within him.
Esther 1:12

The Book of Esther, like the Song of Solomon, deals with a national picture that is often overlooked by commentators. The characters in the story of Esther’s rise to glory played allegorical roles which paralleled Israel’s relationship with the LORD, and God’s plan to have a New Covenant people.

Like any good story, the author introduces us to the main characters. We are firstly introduced to King Ahasuerus, who is a type of God. We are then introduced to the recalcitrant Queen Vashti who is a type of Old Covenant Israel. Like Israel, she is enjoying the privileges and benefits of King, but is not prepared to obey the King. This was Israel’s condition. This was why they were in exile in Persia. Some commentators justify Vashti’s disobedience by claiming that she rightly refused to come to the King because he was trying to humiliate her (by demanding that she appear naked). But there is nothing in the text that justifies this presumption. The text simply presents Vashti as disobedient. The reader of the book of Esther should pause and ponder whether they too are guilty of Vashti’s sin. Are we too enjoying the benefits of God’s favour without enjoying God Himself? Are we prepared to obey God when He summons us?

¶ “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!”
Matthew 23:37

Like Israel, Vashti was banished for her disobedience.

 

HADASSAH, A TYPE OF THE CHURCH

King Ahasuerus

¶ After these things, when the anger of King Ahasuerus had abated, he remembered Vashti and what she had done and what had been decreed against her. Then the king’s young men who attended him said, “Let beautiful young virgins be sought out for the king.
Esther 2:1

The King had banished and divorced Vashti. God had also divorced and banished Israel.

She saw that for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, I had sent her away with a decree of divorce. Yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but she too went and played the whore.
Jeremiah 3:8 (See also Isaiah 50:1)

Like King Ahasuerus and his outrage over Vashti, God’s decision to banish Israel came only after His patience had been tried because of their repeated disobedience.

My God will reject them
because they have not listened to him;
they shall be wanderers among the nations.
Hosea 9:17

King Ahasuerus ordered that new bride be sought out. After God had divorced Israel, He declared that He would also have a new bride. In the pathetic story of Hosea, God uses this willing servant to live out His own tragic relationship breakdown with unfaithful Israel and declares that He would put them away and that the day was coming when He would take a people who were currently not His people and He would make them His people (Hosea 1:10). Then the Lord declares-

And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD.
Hosea 2:19-20

Hadassah, Esther, was chosen to be among the finalists in contention to become the wife of King Ahasuerus. She had been orphaned early, but was raised as his own daughter by her much older cousin, Mordecai. Although he was probably childless, he has gone down in history as one of the greatest “fathers” the world has ever seen. He raised Esther to be a beautiful, pure, godly, submissive, devout, young lady. Many parents today would like to know how he did it! Mordecai is type of a pastor who, like any good pastor, has given up his life for his “children”. There was someone in the New Testament who was also childless, but also a great father-

For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
First Corinthians 4:15

But you know Timothy’s proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel.
Philippians 2:22

Mordecai and EstherThere is an old German saying that says Es ist einfacher, einem Vater als zu stehen, einer zu sein (It is easier to become a father than it is to be one). There are many men who have fathered a child but are not fathering that child. Mordecai was a father to Esther. Notice what he had achieved by the time Esther was a young woman. He had built a good communicating relationship with her. This communication may have left Esther with a sense of being very special to God and having a unique destiny because later we read of Mordecai sending a message to her that seems to her remind of this.

For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Esther 4:14

When Esther was selected for the King’s Harem, we learn something insightful about Mordecai’s fathering. Firstly, he counseled Esther. Fathers counsel their children.

Esther had not made known her people or kindred, for Mordecai had commanded her not to make it known.
Esther 2:10

Secondly, he visited Esther continually. Fathers take initiative and get into their children’s world (do you know the names of your child’s school teachers?). Thirdly, during these visits, Mordecai sought to learn about Esther’s progress. Fathers studytheir children.

And every day Mordecai walked in front of the court of the harem to learn how Esther was and what was happening to her.
Esther 2:11

Esther is a type of the Church, the “Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16). Like King Ahasuerus who had put away his first wife, God had put away His wife (Israel), and like Ahasuerus, declared His intention to have another wife. God’s new bride would not be the earthly Jerusalem but one whose names were registered in a different Jerusalem-

But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.
Galatians 4:26

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,
Hebrews 12:22

The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.
Revelation 3:12

 

HEGAI, A TYPE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

So when the king’s order and his edict were proclaimed, and when many young women were gathered in Susa the citadel in custody of Hegai, Esther also was taken into the king’s palace and put in custody of Hegai, who had charge of the women.
Esther 2:8

Esther being beautifiedBut perhaps the thing that Mordecai did that all fathers, wanting the will of God for their children, have to do is: he trusted the King’s assistant to beautify his daughter. Although already beautiful, Esther was beautified by the King’s agent, Hegai. God’s agent in the beautification of His people is the Holy Spirit. Hegai applied perfumes and cosmetics to Esther for a period of about a year. Esther could have objected to this seemingly unnecessary process. In a similar way, many “good” people fail to see why they need saving. But the Christian must submit to the Holy Spirit’s process of beautifying. He has a goal of making us resemble the most Beautiful One.

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…
Romans 8:29

The New Covenant believer must walk “in the Spirit” (Romans 8:9). As he does, he will hear the Holy Spirit prompting him to obedience. He will sense the Holy Spirit correcting and convicting him. He will encounter the Holy Spirit bringing abrasive people into his life to smooth out his roughness. And most potently, he will recognise the Holy Spirit placing him into a community of fellow believers who will offend him and therefore provide opportunities for him to learn to forgive and forebear and thus become more like Christ (the next time you feel like leaving your church, you may well be running out on a vital work of the Holy Spirit in your life).

 

HAMAN, A TYPE OF SATAN

The Amalekites seemed to be genetically opposed to God’s people. Joshua led Israel in their first battle which was against a surprise attack from the Amalekites (Exodus 17). After this, God declared that justice must be done regarding the Amalekites. But despite ensuing battles by judges and kings, including Saul and David, the Amalekites were not removed. Although, when the time was right to do it, the Prophet Samuel had King Saul go into battle against them with the simple instruction: destroy them all – even their cattle (1Sam. 15:2-3). And Saul nearly did. It appears that when he spared King Agag of the Amalekites, that he had also spared some of Agag’s family who appeared to have escaped. Then we are introduced to Haman-

¶ After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, and advanced him and set his throne above all the officials who were with him.
Esther 3:1

Esther's feastIt seems that Haman, who is a type of Satan, was a descendent of King Agag of the Amalekites. Like Satan, this Haman despised God’s people. He orchestrated a plot to wipe them out. Satan is also trying to wipe God’s people out today. But as the story of Esther arises, Haman meets is demise. Firstly, he is humiliated when he was made to march Mordecai through the streets of Susa. Similarly, Satan was humiliated when Christ triumphed over him on the Cross.

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
Colossians 2:13-14

The final destruction of the Amalekites happened not at the hand of a great warrior-king, but at the orchestration of a young Jewish lady: Esther. This victory is still celebrated today by Jews (the “Festival of Purim”). But this strategically important victory would not have been possible if it had not been for the masterful fathering of Mordecai. At the moment when Queen Esther needed the courage to act, she needed metaphysical strength. It was this time that this First Lady knew who she could trust and call upon. She asked Mordecai to pray for her. Today, Christian leaders need to build bridges of trust with political leaders and governing rulers. When they need courage to do the right thing at the right time, I hope they know who to call. How many of us actually pray for our political leaders? How many of our Christian leaders have taken the time to prepare “for such a time as this”? All too often the only time politicians hear from Christian leaders is when they want to protest against something! God knows we need people in power like Esther- who have been groomed by wise and loving pastor-fathers. But God only knows how much these political leaders need people like Mordecai to pray for and counsel them when they need courage the most.

 

MORDECAI, A MODEL MAN

It may not have been convenient for Mordecai to become a father to Esther. Real men rise up to their responsibilities when there is a need for commitment. He may not have had the means to support an extra mouth in his home, but he would have taken measures to ensure that he could. Real men are responsible men. Rather than run away when they are put under pressure, they step up! Rather than seeing his role as a Dad as an inconvenience, he seems to have regarded it as a priority. Dads need to regard their fathering as being of world-importance! Mordecai’s efforts in raising his daughter changed the world! But his fathering role didn’t end when she married. But it did change.

Mordecai changed from being someone who could command his daughter to one who counseled his daughter after she was married. But we see something quite rare in Mordecai that many of us would love to see in more fathers: he cared for his community not just his family. Mordecai was passionately concerned about the plight of his people. He took a keen interest in politics. But not the kind of petty party politics we see today, his political interest was in the genuine welfare of his people.

¶ When Mordecai learned all that had been done, Mordecai tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and he cried out with a loud and bitter cry. He went up to the entrance of the king’s gate, for no one was allowed to enter the king’s gate clothed in sackcloth.
Esther 4:1-2

The result was the urged the Queen to take political action on behalf of their people. She in turn requested prayer. What a wonderful thing it would be to have a church genuinely concerned about the people of its community, and prayerful for its political leaders as well! All too often when a pastor speaks of issues beyond his own church he is shouted down for trying to mix religion and politics – and often this is loudest from within his own church! But God is concerned with more people than we realise. And so should we be! At a time when other voices are silent on behalf of the community’s welfare, the church should not be. Mordecai the pastor became courageous and prophetic when the occasion called for it-

Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Esther 4:13-14

I think more dads should be like Mordecai. I think that churches can be like Mordecai. I know that as a pastor, and father of 4 children, I certainly want to.

Dr. Andrew Corbett

September 10th 2009, writing from Scamander, Australia.

This article may be copied and distributed if due credit is given to the author, the article is not altered, and the website- “http : // www . findingtruthmatters . org” – is hyperlinked or referenced.

Impossible Faith

Some people find faith in God to be impossible. These people have reasons for their impossible faith. Their objections may be intellectual, moral, or emotional. There are three well-known figures who each exemplify each of these objections to faith in God. Charles Darwin, Thomas Hardy and Bob Hawke each respectively held these particular objections to Christianity.

The Reliability of The Bible and How Best To Interpret It

The Bible is the most influential book of all time. It’s contents have changed the course of history. It’s story has formed the pattern for all the great literary classics. It also makes the astounding claim that it is the uniquely authoritative revelation from God and therefore has the authority to command our moral behaviour. But if the Bible is not reliable, then its claims are indefensible and Christianity is without foundation! Yet despite this glaring vulnerability, the Bible has withstood rigorous scrutiny and repeated attempts to refute it. Here’s why it is indeed reliable.

What Is Heaven Like?

I honestly used to think that Christianity was all about having the assurance of going to Heaven. But as I learned more about the Gospel and the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth I became curious about the relative scarcity of references to Heaven in the Bible. Yet, while my understanding of the place of Heaven in my Gospel proclamation has been refined, some God-Channel evangelists have headed in the other direction and made Heaven central to their Gospel. Some of these evangelists now even claim to have the spiritual power to make repeated visits there!

Presumably God, the Supreme Being, has a supremely beautiful home, in a supremely magnificent neighbourhood. Amazingly, God invites mankind to move into His neighbourhood- for eternity! But what is Heaven like? Is it possible, as some are now claiming, that we can visit Heaven? While I am going to lead readers to conclude that Heaven is not the Gospel’s focus, if it is the only reason someone is motivated to convert to Christ, then we should rejoice!

The Tragedy of Suicide – And How We Can Help

Suicide hurts. It is motivated by pain, but causes much greater pain. For those affected by suicide the guilt and anguish it produces is almost unbearable. But since suicide is in the Bible, how can we know that it is wrong? How should we regard the sinfulness of suicide? Is it unforgiveable? How can we help avoid suicide? What should those affected by it know after its happened?

The funeral celebrant rang me to warn me. He was used to dealing with sensitive situations but this one had a few extra layers of complexity. He decided to get me involved. He outlined the story to me and then told me the purpose of his call. When a loved one dies there is often a measure of guilt for those left behind. But when the death is caused by suicide that guilt is compounded. Suicide hurts. The funeral celebrant told me that a young man with a diagnosed mental illness, who had professed Christianity, had taken his own life and his devout mother (who we will call “Betty”) was devastated. The celebrant told me that Betty would ring because her guilt was beyond his expertise due to her Biblical understanding of suicide.

True For You But Not True For Me

Have you ever heard someone say, “That may be true for you but it’s not true for me!” It’s the kind of sentiment which might be appropriately limited to our experiences and our emotional responses to them, but it can not be true about those issues which effect us all, known as universals. These include what we consider to be morally right or wrong, whether a fact is true or false,  or whether we should regard something as either good or bad. For example, one of the universal laws that is not subject to personal opinion is gravity. Someone may disagree with it, but their disagreement doesn’t change its reality.

The kind of judgment needed to distinguish right from wrong, true from false, or good from bad, must allow for those things which are universal and thus common to all. This kind of truth, what Francis Schaeffer called ‘true truth’ is also not subject to context, circumstances, popularity, or fashion (Beckworth & Koukl 1998, 20). Neither is it restricted to a time or place. Thus, what can be known as true has generally been acknowledged as such down through the ages by various peoples located in different parts of the world. Philosophers refer to this kind of truth as…

How To Handle A Crisis

The definition of a crisis is a calamity or event which disrupts a person’s sense of well- being and lifestyle. It is generally short term and requires immediate action in order to restore balance and control in the person’s life.  The results of crisis are: anxiety, bewilderment, confusion, desperation, anger, helplessness and even apathy. There is an increased sense of dependency upon others, a sense of urgency, and decreased efficiency in decision making and performance. The account of Judah being sieged by the Assyrians in Second Chronicles 32, involves all the aspects of a crisis. The major distinctive is that it involves a nation of people rather than just one person. The “helper” in this instance was their leader – King Hezekiah.

Roman Catholicism Compared With Christianity

Any discussion about religious wars, clergy violations, or child abuse, and it won’t be long before the The Roman Catholic Church unfortunately features. But I want to have a different discussion. And unlike most of the ‘discussions’ of this nature, I’m not on a mission to attack, ridicule, or mock anyone. Rather, I want to look at what the Roman Catholic Church officially teaches and asserts and compare it with the Bible’s teaching.

I’ve been a denominational minister for over two decades, so I know that it is possible to be a part of an organisation with which you disagree on some points.  I understand that this is certainly the case with the Roman Catholic Church as there are many priests who do agree with all that their Church asserts. For the purposes of this discussion, I have chosen to take the official Catholic positions on the matters I am comparing with the Biblical data. It is my hope that my Roman Catholic audience will acknowledge that I have represented their views fairly – but it is also my hope that I can appropriately demonstrate how these core views compare with the Biblical prescriptions.

Soli Deo Gloria

The final statement in The Five Pillars of Biblical Christianity is Soli Deo Gloria – for the glory of God alone! The reason we are saved is so that we can glorify God. In one sense it is true that reason Christ died for us was to save us from our sins and the just wrath of God for our sin. But the main reason Christ died to redeem us was for the glory of God.

How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?
John 5:44

The glory that comes from God is when we give God glory. One of Christ’s last prayers was that His disciples would see His glory (John 17:24). Therefore God’s glory, His radiant magnificence, is visible and apprehendable. God’s glory is described several times in Scripture. In this sense, God’s glory is a visible reality (a noun). God’s glory is variously described as being like a cloud (Exodus 16:10), a devouring and consuming fire (Exodus 24:17), fire and smoke-like cloud (2Chronicles 7:1), and a brightly glowing cloud (Ezekiel 10:4).

Where Are The Dead?

Sitting across from me in my office was an older middle-aged man who had just read my draft commentary on the Book of Revelation. He had come from Queensland to visit friends in Tasmania and while in the neighbourhood, dropped in to see me to have chat and get a later edition of my book. He asked a lot of theoretical questions and we discussed the implications of what we discussed. Not until he returned to Queensland did I get an email regarding the chapter on the Resurrection. It was at this point that he confided in me that he was in the advanced stages of cancer and that his query was far more than theoretical.
The ancients believed that death was merely a change of location for the soul of a person. The place of the dead was called “Sheol”. When Jacob thought his son Joseph was dead: “All his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted and said, “No, I shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.” Thus his father wept for him.” (Gen. 37:35 ). When the judgment of God came upon Korah and his rebellion.

TULIP, The Essence of The Reformation

Jesus Christ taught that following Him was only possible through the miracle of conversion. He taught that for someone to authentically claim to be a Christian they needed a spiritual encounter that changed their heart and mind. Without such a miracle, known Biblically as ‘regeneration’, no one could merely decide to be a Christian.
It’s important to appreciate the geo-socio-politico conditions at the time of the Reformation. This was the time when John Calvin, Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, and others dared to defend the Biblical revelation against a militant Papal Church which had previously executed similar voices (Wyclif, Tyndale, Savonarola, to name a few) for daring to defy the teaching of the Papacy. One of the central claims of the Papacy was “Universalism”, the doctrine which taught that Christ’s sacrificial death was repeated over and over through the celebration of the Mass and was effective in saving all those in communion with the Roman Catholic Church (thus, universal salvation was activated by works). Since Salvation was universal (everyone is automatically saved), the Papal Church was more concerned about administering this salvation through having people in communion with it, or alternatively, disfellowshipping (or, ex-communicating) those who it disliked. Calvin on the other hand saw that Scripture did not teach universalism, but conversely- that not everyone would be saved.

FTMtweets

@FTMtweets

- April 22, 2018, 12:04 pm

RT @DrFWBoreham: Read Dr.F.W. Boreham’s essay, ‘Sister Kathleen’ written in 1918 - https://t.co/6Bzvci8SBq https://t.co/j0JAdAD8Q8
h J R
@FTMtweets

- April 21, 2018, 11:57 am

Why Charles Darwin found it impossible to believe in the God of the Bible … https://t.co/YD6y3pdiOF #apologetics https://t.co/V820gazbvo
h J R
@FTMtweets

- April 20, 2018, 5:24 am

Christians claim that the Bible is divinely inspired and without error! But just reliable is the Bible really? Chec… https://t.co/yMSPikQMHD
h J R
@FTMtweets

- April 19, 2018, 7:15 pm

How could a good, loving, forgiving, all-powerful God send anyone to Hell for eternity? https://t.co/VZuTBfi2Tjhttps://t.co/TnjaanPXDQ
h J R
@FTMtweets

- April 18, 2018, 6:15 pm

How can there be a good, loving, all-powerful God if there are natural disasters which kill thousands of innocent v… https://t.co/8tQVr0XS49
h J R
Dr. Andrew Corbett

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