The Remarkable Story of Queen Esther - Part 1

Norbert Lieth

An Amazing Historical Parallel
The historical events in the book of Esther take place between the first and second return of the Jewish people from Babylonian captivity.

• The first return occurred under Zerubbabel, about 538 B.C. (Ezra 1–6).

• The second return took place about 80 years later, under Ezra, about 458 B.C. (Ezra 7–10).

• The persecution of the Jews by the Persian official Haman, described in the book of Esther, fell between these two returns. This occurred about 60 years after the first return. Haman’s cruel goal was total and systematic extermination of the Jews in the Persian Empire, confiscation of all their assets, and plunder of their homes (Esther 3:5–6:13).

• Esther’s story began in 483 B.C., she became queen in the year 479 B.C., and her story ends in 473 B.C.

• Construction of the Jerusalem wall under Nehemiah took place about 20–30 years later, circa 445 B.C. (thus, the sequence is actually: Ezra – Esther – Nehemiah). Under Nehemiah, Jerusalem once again became a functioning Jewish city with Jewish laws (temple worship was instituted again).

• Following these events, when the time was fulfilled, Jesus came the first time.

In summary, it roughly looked like this: a return, a persecution, another return, reconstruction of Jerusalem…and then Jesus came.

These events are a very interesting parallel to the story of the return of the Jewish people from the second, worldwide Diaspora by the Romans.

• In 1882, the first great immigration wave of the Jews was initiated. They came from the Russian regions of the later Soviet Union. Even though again and again Jews would come into the country, the first and truly major immigration wave was the one of 1882.

• After the Second World War, in 1948, there came another great return of Jews and the establishment of the State of Israel.

• In between, also about 60 years after the first return, developed the events of the persecution of Jews during Hitler’s time. The goal was total, systematic elimination of Jews in Europe and the confiscation of their wealth, just as with Haman.

• Circa 22 years after the crushing of Hitler’s regime, the repossession of Jerusalem took place, so that the city once again came completely under Jewish control, similarly as in Nehemiah’s time.

• Following these events, when the time will be fulfilled, Jesus will come again.

History repeats itself.
The purpose of this exposition is not to find an exact match in the number of years or the interposing times of immigration; rather, much more to show the divine principle which repeats itself. Roughly observed, both periods look chronologically like this:

• First wave of immigration
• Persecution
• Second wave of immigration
• Building in Jerusalem (wall)
• Arrival of the Lord Jesus

Just as the return of the Jews from Babylonian captivity, in the final analysis was in preparation for the first coming of Jesus as Messiah, so the return of the Jews from their worldwide Diaspora is in preparation for the coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Just as no one back then could disrupt God’s plans, but rather God thwarted the plan of man, so also today: the strategy of man will fail because of the strategy of the Lord.

These biblical truths can reassure us in view of the increasing anti-Semitism of our time. There will be distress for the Jewish people, as there was back then for Esther and at times for Ezra and Nehemiah. But the final goal stands firm.

This can reassure us concerning all the troubling situations that we see displayed in our present world; all the confusing situations that could bring about the question: Where is God in all this?

This can reassure us in our own confused lives, when we think that everything is slipping away from us. We feel helpless, that we no longer have a grasp on ourselves, our family, our congregation, our work and our environment.

There are no confused situations for God. He has everything in His view and overview. God’s objective will always be realized, despite the actions of the enemies. God does not manipulate the enemies but since He has foreknowledge of their machinations, He includes that in planning for His purpose. There is no situation, either in our lives or otherwise, which is not under God’s control.

“The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to naught: He maketh the devices of the people of none effect. The counsel of the Lord standeth forever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations” (Ps 33:10-11).

News From Israel - 03/2017

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