It is Still Purim!

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YouTube video from Mar 22, “Purim is Still On-going”: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIesbmEHBa0  

Today is the 168th of the war in Gaza, and of the nightmarish captivity of still 134 Israeli, mostly Jewish, hostages.  Their families also live the nightmare daily, whether they sleep or whether they are awake.  Israel did not begin this war, yet most of “the world” is telling Israel not to win the war.  Thank-God, the day will come when Jesus/Yeshua will Himself come to fully defeat His enemies, and the enemies of His people.  What will “the world” be saying then?  You can find the answer in Rev 11.  From Heaven’s vantage, it will be a time of rejoicing and worship; from the inhabitants of the world’s perspective, it will be a “woe” for those have opposed Him and His servants the prophets and the saints.

As most of you are aware, the Jewish holiday of Purim is already on its way.  There is what is called the Esther Fast for three days, before the holiday begins this Sonday and Monday, which this year has special moment:  Queen Esther of Persia (read the Scroll/Book of Esther in the Bible) called for all Jewish people throughout the Empire (which was the largest Gentile world empire up to that time) to fast and pray before she would appear before the King without him requesting her.  She, and her uncle Mordecai the Jew, understood that there was an evil deceitful scheme to kill all of the Jewish people in the 127 provinces of the Kingdom.  The envious hateful schemer was named Haman, a descendant of Amalek and Esau/Edom, Jacob’s twin brother.  The Jewish Queen, who until then had concealed her lineage, was now going to let her husband know that the evil genocidal plan and threat would also include her and her family.  She did not know how King Ahasuerus would react.  Thankfully, praise God, he was infuriated by the plot, in which Haman had duped him to be the unwitting world leader to not only approve of it, but to instigate the genocide of the Jewish people.  Because Persian law stated that any decree by the King, sealed by his signet ring, could not be revoked, the King gave a second decree sealed with his ring, which gave the Jews the right to defend themselves.  Both of the Persian/Iranian decrees are therefore still in effect; and we can see it being played out today in our very own generation.  Praise the God of Israel that His own decrees, sealed with the blood of the Lamb/Yeshua the Messiah/Jesus Christ, are also irrevocable, and He will eventually bring peace to His people in His own righteousness and way!

Purim is also to be remembered throughout the generations not only by Jewish people, but also by those who would join them, to remember God’s providential deliverance according to His covenantal faithfulness. (Est 9:26-28)  All born-again Christians have been joined by the Creator and Redeemer to His chosen people, who are now part of HIS Kingdom, with all — both Jewish and not-Jewish — believers in Jesus/Yeshua the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.  Purim is one of two major Jewish holidays (the other being Hanukkah) which was not commanded by YHVH God through Moses, which God has accepted as a celebration of His redemptive acts on their behalf, even if they do not give Him the honor that is due to Him.  And, sadly, much of the Purim festivities have become paganized, which further pushes Him away from the hearts and minds of His own people.  This does not discredit the historical truth and lessons of what brought Purim about, which we need to pay attention to, sanctifying the Lord in our hearts, with much thanksgiving!

A couple days ago, I was part of a prayer and intercession gathering of Jewish, Arab, and “other” pastors, leaders, intercessors.  We all recognize the importance of our love and unity during such a troublesome time in our country, and affecting all sectors and people throughout, from the South to the North.  There was special prayer, and especially by the Arab pastors, for the well-being and release of the captive hostages being held in intolerable conditions.  It was also brought out that we do not have a mandate to demand their immediate release now, but that God would work through the government and military to effect their release in a manner that would also accomplish His other objectives.  As I wrote above, it is a cruel and horrendous situation that they and their families are enduring, yet the world seems more concerned that Israel must give Hamas the upper hand in bringing about their freedom.  We all pray that the God of salvation is communicating in His own spiritual way to some or all of them, and even to the captors, who have been totally brain-washed and seared of any conscience in order to do what they have done and are doing.  Some may well know what they are doing, and the righteous Judge knows the hearts.  There are also Christian believers suffering in Gaza, as well as in Israel, as a direct consequence of this devastating war, but it is Hamas who has purposely prepared for this very thing, and to make Israel and the Jewish people the scapegoat.  There is nothing new under the Sun.  May those believers maintain their hope and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, and be able to share the truth of the gospel with others around them, even to their enemies among them. 

It is important to remember that the Creator is not concerned only with individuals, even though without individuals there would not be collective entities such as families, tribes, people “groups”, nations.  He is also concerned with those collective/corporate entities.  Queen Esther and Mordecai understood that Jews are not just individuals, even when we may be living in other countries; we are a “people” with a common history and heritage and language and calling and destiny, with a particular land and city as an integral element of all of that.  YHVH God wants whole families to be saved and to inherit the Kingdom of God; He chose Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, so that through them there would not only be the Children of Israel (a large extended family), but also a nation and people of distinctive tribes who will become united under Messiah/Christ, and inherit and possess a particular geographic land, with a particular city, Jerusalem with her inhabitants, out of all the other possible lands and cities and boundaries on the face of the Earth; He is making collectively Jewish and Gentile believers in Yeshua the corporate Bride of the Lamb.  Not all Israel is Israel; not all the Church is the Church:  those who repent and believe the gospel will have part in the New Jerusalem for eternity with the Lord.  Our message remains the great commission commanded by our Savior and Lord, to freely preach to others the salvation by grace which we have also received, and to encourage one another to abide steadfast in that gospel until the end.  Glory to God in the highest!

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