Purim; also known as the Feast of Lots has its origins from the accounts in the Book of Esther. Its timing in the month of Adar (14) allows for a Lunar Eclipse to occur during or very close to this feast. The events leading to the creation of this festival took place around the fourth century BC.
33 The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.
Purim is also known as the month of the Hidden Hand of God, and demonstrates the mysterious way that God acts in the world. It should be noted that the Book of Esther is the only book within the Holy Bible where the name of GOD is not mentioned. This is deliberate because of the strong allegorical parallel that is contained in these scriptures.
Through this feast, it is understood that there are two basic categories of miracles: firstly those that defy the laws of nature, but secondly there are hidden miracles in which God’s redemptive actions seem to take place during the course of normal human events. It is for this reason, that when there are Eclipses occurring in succession in these last days on Jewish Feast days, that they should not be just cast off, because we can now accurately predict when they will take place, and where they would be visible.
The Book of Esther opens with king Ahasuerus having a 180 day feast in the third year of his reign over 127 provinces that constituted the Medo-Persian Empire. He inherited the empire after the death of king Cyrus, who along with king Darius jointly attacked Babylon and killed king Belshazzar, the grandson of king Nebuchadnezzar.
After this feast, he held another seven day feast for all that were in Shushan the palace. On the seventh day while in a drunken stupor he called for queen Vashi to be paraded before every one, so that they could admire her beauty. However, she refused to present herself, which caused Ahasuerus to be embarrassed. Fearing that reports of her behavior would cause other women to disrespect their husbands in a similar fashion throughout the land, he was advised to replace Vashti with a fair virgin.
Esther, a fair and beautiful young woman eventually became the queen that replaced Vashti. She was an orphan Jew and prior to becoming queen, she was provided for by Mordecai (she was his uncle’s daughter).
17 And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favor 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.
Some time afterwards, king Ahasureus appoints Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite as his chief minister. However, Mordecai, who sits in the palace gates, refuses to bow or to show any reverence to Haman. As a result he then conceives of a plot not only to destroy Mordecai, but all Jews.
7 In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month, that is the month Adar. 8 And Haman said to king Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of your 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 allow them. 9 If it please the king, let it 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.
Lot in the Persian language is Pur. Haman was casting lots to see when would have been the best time to approach the king with his diabolical plan to exterminate the Jews. While not fully knowing the extent of the plot, the king gave his ring to Haman thereby allowing the events to put into motion.
13 And the letters were sent by posts into all the king’s provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey.
Mordecai learns of the horrific plot and rents his clothes and cries. He also dresses in sackcloth with ashes. There is great mourning amongst the Jews. Esther is also advised of the foreboding events and requests that all Jews of Shushan fast and pray for three days together with her so that she would find the favor of the king when she appears before him without being summoned.
2 And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favor in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the scepter.
Ahasuerus and Haman are then invited to a banquet, during this event the king offers to meet Esther’s petition, and she invites him and Haman to a second banquet. It is at this banquet that Esther reveals Haman’s plot to exterminate her and all the Jews:
3 Then Esther the queen answered and said, If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request: 4 For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish. But if we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, I had held my tongue, although the enemy could not counter-veil the king’s damage.
5 Then the king Ahasuerus answered and said to Esther the queen, Who is he, and where is he, that dare presume in his heart to do so? 6 And Esther said, the adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman. Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen.
The net result is that Haman was hung on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Haman’s ten sons were also hung on these gallows. Mordecai was then given the king’s ring that Haman had been using, and was promoted. The previous decree against the Jewish people could not be annulled, so the king allows Mordecai and Esther to write another decree as they saw appropriate.
They then decreed that the Jewish people may preemptively kill those thought to pose a lethal risk. The Jews were then able to obtain a magnificent victory over all their enemies, and an annual celebration was instituted:
19 Therefore the Jews of the villages, that dwelled in the unwalled towns, made the fourteenth day of the month Adar a day of gladness and feasting, and a good day, and of sending portions one to another.
The significant value of Purim is its allegorical content where it is somewhat of a foreshadow of the Book of Revelation:
|Symbolism in the Book of Esther||Book of Revelation|
|Queen Esther||The Bride of Christ (Revelation 22:17)|
|King Ahasuerus||The Lord Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:16)|
|Haman||The Beast (Revelation 13:5-6)|
|Haman’s 10 sons (Esther 9:10)||10 Horns of the Beast (Revelation 13:1)|
|7 Princes of Persia (Esther 1:14)||7 Heads of the Beast (Revelation 13:1)|
|Mordecai (2 events:Esther 2:21-22 & 4:1-3)||The Two Witnesses (Revelation 11:3-4)|
Purim will be celebrated from the evening of February 28, 2018 and wll end at nightfall of March 1, 2018.