Esther and Mordecai

Esther and Mordecai

Scripture: Esther 4:14, 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, Romans 1:18-20
Date: 08/08/2015  Lesson: 6
"Though not your 'typical" missionary story, the narrative of Esther and Mordecai does present some interesting principles that can help us to understand what it means to witness in peculiar circumstances."

Shadows of Light: Seeing Jesus in all the Bible by Doug Batchelor

Shadows of Light: Seeing Jesus in all the Bible by Doug Batchelor
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Good morning everyone and welcome to Sabbath school study hour. A very special welcome to our friends joining us across the country and around the world. Thank you for being a part of our extended Bible study group today. To the members here at the Granite Bay church and the visitors, a very warm welcome to you. Thank you for taking the time to come out this morning and study God's Word together.

We're working on our new lesson quarterly dealing with biblical missionaries and today we find ourselves in lesson #5 - actually, it's lesson #6, I believe it is, dealing with the story of Esther. So if you'd like to follow along with us, you can turn to that - Esther and mordecai - lesson #6. And for those watching, if you don't have a copy of today's lesson, you can download today's lesson from the Amazing Facts website - just amazingfacts.org - click on the link that says Sabbath School Study Hour and you can follow along with us. We have a free offer that goes along with our study today, dealing with the Holy Spirit. And for anyone who would like to receive this book, just give us a call.

Our resource number is 866-788-3966 and you can ask for offer #723 - that number again is 866-788-3966 and ask for the book dealing with the Holy Spirit - offer #723 - and we'll be happy to send that to you. Well, at this time, I'd like to invite our song leaders to come and join me here on stage. And we're going to begin our time together with a few songs, bringing praise and glory to God. Thank you. Thank you, Pastor Ross, it's nice to have you and Pastor Doug back from Texas.

And, of course, it's nice to see everyone here this morning and those of you around the world. It is time to sing so let's pull out our hymnals, if you have them at home, and join with us - #100 - great is thy faithfulness - we will do all three stanzas - #100. Great is thy faithfulness, o God my father, there is no shadow of turning with thee; thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not; as thou has been thou forever wilt be. Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see; all I have needed thy hand hath provided, great is thy faithfulness! Lord unto me! Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest, sun, moon, and stars in their courses above, join with all nature in manifold witness to thy great faithfulness mercy and love. Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see; all I have needed thy hand hath provided, great is thy faithfulness! Lord unto me! Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide; strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.

Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see; all I have needed thy hand hath provided, great is thy faithfulness! Lord unto me! Thank you so much for joining with us. And now we're going to have Pastor Ross bring us - lead us in our opening prayer. We'd like to invite you just to bow your heads as we ask God's blessing upon our time together. Dear Father in Heaven, we thank you, once again, that we're able to gather together to study Your Word. We want to invite the Holy Spirit to come and fill our hearts and our minds and guide us, Lord, as we look at this very interesting story in the Scripture that demonstrates a true missionary spirit.

So bless our time together for we ask this in Jesus' Name, amen. I'd like to invite Pastor Doug Batchelor to come forward and lead us in our study today - lesson #6. Thank you Pastor Ross. Morning everybody. Morning.

Welcome to the granite back church. If you're visiting, we're glad you're here. We know that there are many that may be visiting via the programs on satellite or the internet - watching from hither and yon. We always say the same thing - we always say "across the street and around the world" so I thought I'd throw in hither and yon just to throw you. We're going to go into a very good lesson today - the subject is good, I hope the presentation will be good - on Esther - and it's lesson #6.

We have a memory verse. The memory verse comes from Esther 4:14 - those famous words - and I'm reading it from the new king James version. I'd like you to say it with me, those who are in our class - are you ready? Mordecai sent a message to Esther and it said, "for if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the jews from another place, but you and your Father's house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the Kingdom for such a time as this?" God, providentially, had taken Esther from a place of low estate and brought her to prominence in the Kingdom and mordecai, her uncle, was saying, 'you, providentially, have been placed in a position of influence for God's purposes.' And, you know, I think that's true of everybody. If God has placed you in a position of influence - well, whatever position he places you in, it's for his purposes - but especially when you can be a missionary for him.

And, you know, Jesus says that in the last days we will be brought before Kings and rulers to bear testimony for his sake. I think that will happen again. It's happened several times in history and it happened in the story of Esther. And so, we're going to dive right in and do a little studying on the book of Esther. First of all, the name Esther means star.

The book of Esther is a unique book in the Bible in, for one thing, it's written from the persian perspective because the children of God are captives. the Kingdom has transferred from Babylon to persia - it's a persian influence. Among the dead sea scrolls, part of every old testament book was found except the book of Esther. And it could be because the asseans, this extremely zealous religious sect that was down there protecting the scrolls, they had questions about the book of Esther because the word God or jehovah appears nowhere in the book of Esther. The term pray does not appear in the book of Esther.

I think there are a few good reasons for that, that the scholars have explained. The book of Esther being written from persia - they had to be very careful what they said about other Gods and prayer because they were a conquered people at that time and so it was written in a very diplomatically, tactful way. It talks about prayer - it doesn't use the word pray - it says, "gather all the people and tell them to fast for me." Well, what where they doing? They're fasting and praying, obviously, and the providence of God is so clearly seen through the book of Esther that, you know, writers before and after have no doubt about its authenticity as Scripture. I think, when you read the book of Esther, while it is a true account of history, you need to put on your spiritual spectacles. Read the book of Esther with a prophetic mind set - and there's a number of reasons for that.

First of all, why don't you just start - go to Esther chapter 1, verse 3 and you can read, "in the third year of his reign" - the reign of king ahasuerus - "in the third year of his reign he made a feast for all his officials and servants - the powers of persia and media," - so it was the medo-persian kingdom, just as Daniel had foretold - later known more as just the persian kingdom - and "when he showed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the splendor of his excEllent majesty for many days, one hundred and eighty days in all." First thing you notice about the book of Esther that ought to get your attention, in the third year of his reign he has a feast lasting 180 days. How much time is in a Jewish year? How many days in a Jewish year? A lunar calendar - they had 360 in a year. One reason we know this is because three and a half years was 42 months for the jews. Days to the month - they used to add an additional month every years, I think, to compensate for what we use for leap year and our solar calendar, but it's actually, mathematically, a good number - 360 - if you're a pilot you know that there's 360 degrees in the circle. So the jews had a lunar calendar 360 days.

What is half of 360? 180. 180. That's why you get the expression "he turned 180." That means a complete turnaround. So you begin the book of Esther with a three and a half-year number. In the third year of his reign a feast lasting 180 days.

Does that number appear other places in prophecy? It appears in Daniel. It appears in Revelation. And then what happens at the end of that period? He has this banquet, this feast, and he asks for his beautiful queen - a pagan queen - by the name of vashti - to put on her royal apparel and crown and come, that all might behold her beauty. Now, frankly, I'm disappointed sometimes that people read the book of Esther as though it's some kind of a social statement or it's to be written in perspective of women's rights. And I'm not saying there were not problems in persia in those areas, but that's not the way - the book is written as a spiritual book.

You need to look at it as the King gives a command that others may behold the beauty of his wife and she spurns his command and does not come. Vashti is de-throned and a Jewish queen named Esther comes. It is a change between two women: one who becomes the bride of the King and her name means star - in Revelation 12 you've got a woman who is beautiful, clothed with The Son and the moon and the what? Stars. The stars - she's God's church. Esther is a type for the church.

She intercedes for her people with the King and she finds grace and it's the whole book. It's a true story. It's a true place in history. And one thing is the historians - when they read Esther they're amazed by the book because the little details are given of persian court that they know are very accurate - and persian law and persian communications and how they - 127 provinces. But it is an amazingly spiritual book about the battle between good and evil and you'll find, as we proceed, more about that.

So when you read the book of Esther, read it for its fascinating history. There are practical lessons that are in there, but please don't miss the prophetic significance of the book. I'll read you a spirit of prophecy quote at the end of our study today, where Ellen white says the same, that the book must be read with at least - make sure - don't forget to read it at least once, putting on your spiritual spectacles, and say, 'what is the prophetic implication of this book?' Because what God's people go through in the book of Esther will be repeated in the history. And then you notice also, in verse 10 - Esther chapter 1, verse 10, "on the seventh day, when the heart of the King was merry" - that's when he gives the command for vashti to come. So you've got a three and a half and you've got a seven.

Do you have those Numbers in Revelation? And then you get to the end of the book of Esther it said that in the twelfth year of his reign this decree happens. You've got three and a half, you've got seven, you've got twelve. Do those Numbers appear in Revelation? Those are very significant biblical Numbers that have meaning, so just - just keep that on a shelf in your mind, so as you're reading it you meet all that. Now let's look at the practical perspective. It says that - of course, everyone knows - I don't have time to go through every chapter of Esther in detail during our Sabbath school time here - vashti does not come.

the King takes counsel and says, 'what do we do?' His advisors say, 'this is not going to be good for husbands in the Kingdom and it doesn't look good for the King. You need to de-throne her.' She was not executed, she was just - lost her position. She lived out with - one of - her life as one of the King's concubines, no doubt. And they have a royal beauty pageant that is very elaborate and they go and they find - out of 127 provinces they get, who knows how many, of the most beautiful women in the Kingdom. And then those women must go through this beautification process.

You know, training to come and to be prepared to meet before the King. It was a big thing to come and be - get a personal intimate relationship with the King. Don't we all long to have that intimate relationship with our king - to know the Lord, as the Bible says? Not anyone can just walk, you know, as my grandmother would say, 'you can't just schlep in' before the King. There was preparation that was made. And so there was all this beautification and these oils and these fragrances and the clothing that she wears and it's very important when you're going to come in before the King.

And Esther is chosen because of the graceful humble way - all the other girls in the beauty pageant, they're - you know, they're just looking for the best and they're trying to be the best and they're elbowing each other and Esther says to the chief of the eunuchs, 'whatever you suggest, that's what I'll do.' She has a very humble attitude through the training process - as the bride of Christ would. the King, of course, is a symbol here, in this story anyway, of our king. And so she's chosen but she never mentions that she is a Jewish captive. Doesn't mention her - the mean estate - as the old hymn writers would say - her humble origins. Her people are a captive people.

Now there is a time when you are mingling among The Sons of men, to let people know who you are and what you believe. And there is a time that Paul says that you need to, as far as possible, without sacrificing Christian principles, be as much like your society as you can, to reach the people. Let me give you a verse here. Now somebody, in a minute, is going to read for me, Esther :20. Who has that? I'll just see.

Okay, Jordan, you'll be - in just a moment we'll get to that. But first let's look at 1 Corinthians 9:19. Paul said, "for though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more;" what does he mean "win"? Win to Christ. He says, 'I'm free of all men but I want to be a servant to all that I might win more.' "...to the jews I became as a jew, that I might win jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law;" you know, friends, I might just let you know, I do the same thing - I'm half Jewish. I just ant you to know I exploit that as often as I can for Christ.

And when I'm talking to my Jewish friends, I let them know right away - they know I'm a Christian - I say, 'you know, I'm Jewish.' 'Oh, you are?' It kind of opens the door where you can then talk. 'How can you be a jew and a Christian?' I said, 'oh, they make the best Christians - jews.' I said, 'by the way, did you know Jesus was a jew? And he was a Christian.' Isn't that right? And so I say, 'in the new testament - Christian book - written by jews.' And so I use it. So Paul says 'to reach the jews I became a jew.' Now if you're Seventh-day Adventist you can do that too. If you meet jews you can say, 'oh, I'm kosher.' Right? 'I'm a Sabbath keeper.' Find all the things in common that you can to reach people. I've got a friend who's muslim.

I say, 'you know, I don't eat any unclean food.' 'Really?' 'Yeah.' I say, 'I don't pray to idols.' 'I thought all Christians pray to idols.' 'No, that's not true.' And so whenever you find any common ground where you can reach these people, use it to reach them. And this is what Paul was saying - 'as those under the law, that I might reach those under the law. To those that are without law,' - speaking about the pagans - 'as without law' - not being without law towards God - in other words, we're always following the law of God - "but under law towards Christ that I might win those who are without the law; to the weak I became weak that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some." Beautiful statement. As far as possible he related to everybody on their ground so he could reach them.

Isn't that what Jesus did? When he came to our world he became a man to reach men. Mankind. So this is a beautiful statement. Alright, now we're going to read - let me read for you first Esther 2:10, then Jordan'll read Esther 2:20. It says, "Esther had not revealed her people or family, for mordecai had charged her not to reveal it.

" The Holy Spirit somehow revealed to him to keep this quiet. And a similar verse - Esther 2:20 - why don't you read that? "Now Esther had not revealed her family and her people, just as mordecai had charged her, for Esther obeyed the command of mordecai as when she was brought up by him." You know, this is important in that it's telling us that Esther was humble and Esther was obedient. She is in the palace of the King. God has placed her there to save her people. The only way she was going to be successful in saving her people in the palace of the King, is by obeying mordecai.

Now, you can also find as we read on in this story, that mordecai really becomes a type of Christ. And mordecai - you know, Esther means star - mordecai means 'little man.' Could be that he was of a diminuative size, but that's what his name meant. It could also refer to someone who is small in their own eyes and a sign of their humility. There was no one meeker than Jesus - no one more humble than Christ. Now you can't run through this story of Esther without at least making note of another principle.

Someone is going to read for me Ecclesiastes 4:14 - who has that? Sam? "One can indeed come out of prison to reign; even though being poor in the Kingdom." Someone can come out of prison to reign even though born poor in the Kingdom. That's a promise. Are we in prison? Can we come out of prison to reign even though we might be poor in spirit? "Blessed are the poor in spirit; theirs is the Kingdom." Can you see examples of this in the Bible? What happened to Joseph? Did Joseph have an experience where he went from the prison to the palace? Yeah. He's a, you know, son of a shepherd. All of a sudden he's the prime minister of Egypt.

By the way, there's another verse in the Bible - psalm 142, verse 7, "bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise your name;" did David go from the low esteem, low estate to the palace? People like to talk about Abraham lincoln because he's, sort of, our American example of that - of somebody who is, you know, just dirt poor family, couldn't even read, living in a log cabin and went to the highest office. It happened with Daniel. Daniel went from the status of being a captive in Babylon - you read in Daniel 2, verse 48, "then the King promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts; and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon." And before he interpreted the King's dream, he was a captive in the Kingdom. Have you read the last verses in the book of Jeremiah? It talks about the last king of judah. He was The Son of king josiah.

He was imprisoned by Nebuchadnezzar and he was in prison for 37 years. And you can read here in Jeremiah 52:31: it comes to pass "in the thirty-seventh year of the captivity of jehoiachin king of judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-fifth day of the month, that evil-merodach king of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, lifted up the head of jehoiachin king of judah and brought him out of prison. And he spoke kindly to him and gave him a more prominent seat than those of the Kings who were with him in Babylon. So jehoiachin changed from his prison garments, and he ate bread regularly before the King all the days of his life. And as for his provisions, there was a regular ration" - the King gave him a regular allowance - a credit card - from "the King of Babylon, a portion for each day until the day of his death, all the days of his life.

" And so here, jehoiachin, who had been in prison 37 years has been brought from the prison, new clothes - not wearing rags anymore, he's wearing royal apparel - new seat, he's not in prison anymore with a bucket, he's now at the Kings table. He's got new finances. He's got new status - new bread - everything changes because the king shows him mercy - from the prison to the palace. Do you know that there was a time also where king manasseh - he was in prison - he was a wicked king - he was in prison. He prayed in prison.

God forgave him, brought him from the prison back to the palace. There's many, many stories like this and Esther is exhibit a of a person who goes from the - just the very lowest - first of all, women were not treated very highly in the Kingdom. You can read that in the beginning of the book of Esther. Secondly, she's a captive woman. Thirdly, she doesn't even have parents - she's an orphaned captive woman.

Fifthly, she's young. The young were not respected as the aged. So Esther is going from the bottom of the bottom to being the queen of persia and she becomes the fulcrum on which the destiny of the entire Jewish nation is going to pivot. Does God often use women to make a big difference with big news? Who does the Lord Jesus choose when he raises, to give the announcement of the resurrection? Mary magdalene who they thought was the lowest, who knelt at Jesus feet, who they said, 'don't let her touch you.' And she's the instrument that God uses. God uses humble instruments to accomplish great things.

Alright, so back to our study of Esther. Oh, who does Jesus use as a missionary to the people of samaria? He waits until all the other women who have come as a group have left, and there's this one woman who comes alone because she's got a bad reputation, and he tells the woman at the well - we don't know her name, it's just a certain samaritan woman - that's he's the Messiah. She goes and tells the town and they all come and hear Jesus and accept him because of her message. God delights to use humble means that sometimes would not be expected. I want to read a quote from the book Desire of Ages, p.

, "Christ was far more reserved when he spoke to them" - the Jewish people - "that which had been withheld from the jews and which the disciples were afterward enjoined to keep secret, was revealed to the woman at the well. Jesus saw that she could make use of her knowledge in bringing others to share his grace. She does it very tactfully. She doesn't run through town saying, 'I know the truth and you don't.' She says, 'come see a man that showed me everything I did.' In other words, 'come and see.' Which was the same thing that Jesus said when he first began his mission work. The disciples said, 'master, where are you staying?' And Jesus said, 'come and see.

' And then after he revealed he was the Messiah, Philip and nathaniel, they go and they find Peter and - or Philip finds nathaniel and he said, 'can anything good come out of nazareth?' And what does he say? 'Come and see.' And so can all of us do that kind of mission work? Just come and see. Alright, so back to the palace of persia here. So now it gets very interesting. Esther's in the throne, she's established, things - life is wonderful. Mordecai is - he's sitting in the King's gate.

There's an attempt made to assassinate the King. Mordecai somehow learns of this. He reveals it to the King. Now, why would a Jewish captive want to save the King? Maybe he should think, 'well, maybe, you know, get rid of this king and he'll send us all back to Israel or something, but he obeys the laws of the land. He takes care of the King.

He protects the King. He exposes this illegal plot and the King is saved. But nothing's ever done for mordecai to honor him for doing this. No reward is ever given. Then you read on - go to Esther chapter 3, verse 1 - "after these things king ahasuerus promoted haman, The Son of hammecatha the agagite," - that's very important to notice.

Do you remember the name 'agag' in the Bible? Do you remember there's a people that were forever at war - they were the archenemies of Israel. They were more at war with Israel than the philistines. They were more at war with Israel than the edomites, the moabites, the ammonites. They were more at war than the Babylonians or assyrians. The avowed, most archenemy of Israel were the amalekites.

The amalekites were the first to attack them when they came out of Egypt. They were constantly at war. It was the amalekites that attacked David's village and carried of his family. He later rescued his family from them. King Saul, when he was king, he was told by Samuel - and people find this a very brutal command - to attack the amalekites and exterminate them.

But Saul did not listen to Samuel's counsel and he spared the King - and evidently some of his family - and the King's name was 'agag.' And so, Saul was told to exterminate - and he just about did exterminate the amalekites - some of them survived and he didn't kill agag, Samuel the prophet finally did. Saul was from the tribe of what? Benjamin. Saul was The Son of kish. Are you with me? Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin, son of kish. Now what does it say about haman? The agagite, a descendent of the amalekites, agag.

And what does it say just above that - about mordecai? It says he was The Son of jair, The Son of shimei, The Son of kish, a benjamite. So here you've got a long-standing family feud comes back to life in persia between these two groups. And so it's the battle between the Israelites and the amalekites resumes. the King, knowing nothing of this history, for whatever reason he likes haman. Haman probably flatters him or whatever, and he exalts him to be the King's friend.

He's, sort of, prime minister - the King's personal advisor - and everybody's commanded to bow to him. But one of the King's subjects does not bow to haman. Who's that? Mordecai won't bow. Now, we'd like to think it's because the Bible says that you should not bow to a man. Did Joseph's brothers bow to Joseph? They did.

So it may be a combination of the fact that he's just not going to worship a man, which is one of the Ten Commandments. It may also be that he's not going to bow to an amalekite. But either way, he will not bow. I'd like to think it's because of the biblical principle. And once or twice haman thinks, 'what's wrong with this guy? He doesn't understand.

' And then he talks to his servants and they say, 'no, he's a jew. He's not going to bow to you.' He says, 'oh, he's a jew, is he? I can deal with that.' And he thinks, 'I'm going to get rid of all the jews.' And so there's this battle going on here. Now through the effort to exterminate the jews, when do you think God's people, historically, have been the best witnesses? We always pray that God'll bless us and save us from persecution but, you know, historically, when the Gospel has gone the quickest? God's people are always the best missionaries in persecution. You didn't want me to tell you that but it's true. When is there an international command to worship jehovah? When shadrach, meshach, and abednego are about to go to the furnace.

When God saves them from the furnace, Nebuchadnezzar issues an international decree about jehovah. When is there an international decree from the persian king from jehovah? When Daniel goes to the lion's den, because God preserves him through trial, God is glorified and there is an international decree. They do their best mission work through trial. It's when Joseph is in prison in Egypt that he's able to be a missionary for God in that kingdom. And so, what you'll often find - when did the Gospel spread the most quickly through europe? It was the time when the caesars prohibited Christianity and they went underground.

Who was it? Turtolian that said, "the blood of the martyrs is seed for the Gospel." It seemed like the more Christians were persecuted, the more they were noticed. So when you pray for revival in the church, are you aware of what you're praying for? All that live Godly will suffer persecution. And sometimes persecution inspires Godly living and that's when we're the best witnesses. So you're going to see now there's a great conflict that happens, but at the end, not only are God's people preserved but God's name is exalted and the message spreads through this great trial. So mordecai will not bow to haman.

Haman says, 'well, I'm going to get rid of him.' He finds out what his people are and he tells the King, 'there's a people that lives in your kingdom and they just don't obey your laws.' You see, he never specifies who they are. And there's, you know, they - he's got 127 provinces and the king is figuring, 'I don't know, there's all these tribes and sects and groups and I don't know which one it is.' And he said, 'you know, they are just a rebellious people and king, remember, there's just been an assassination attempt on the king. Some of these different groups want the King out of there.' So haman says, 'I'm looking out for your interests. Matter of fact, I'm so concerned about your interests, king, I am willing to contribute a lot of money to exterminate these people.' And the King says, 'well, thank you very much. Sure, I'll sign the decree.

Whatever you think is best.' Are king's sometimes tricked into making laws? the King doesn't even know. Did the King of persia know when they told him to make this law, that thirty days 'don't pray to anybody but the King' - he didn't realize they were trying to use this to get rid of his friend Daniel. And neither did king ahasuerus realize that this was a law that would kill his queen - but that's because haman didn't realize the queen was a jew, because mordecai said, 'do not reveal your people yet.' There was going to be a time and timing is very important. You know, if you work in a secular environment, you may not want to wear your religion on your sleeve every day. You pray for opportunities to let people know what you believe and then you tastefully share with them.

So, this law is signed and the Bible tells us that when all of the jews hear about it, they're all mourning. They're rending their robes - and a date is set when all of God's people are going to be exterminated. And so, there's a feast - haman prepares - he's very happy about this. He's celebrating, but he can't be completely happy because even after he gets the King to sign the decree that all of God's people are going to be killed on this certain date, he has to walk out of the gate and everybody bows except mordecai won't bow. Haman goes home and he tells his family - he says, 'look, I'm glad about the honor I got from the King.

And I'm glad that now we're going to exterminate these people, but haman still doesn't bow.' And his family says, 'well, why don't you deal with him specifically? Teach him a lesson - make a gallows 50-feet high and you'll have him hung on it. Why don't - before - don't even wait for the decree. Go get a special permit to have him hung early.' He says, 'I'll do it.' And he goes into the King. He's got this law he wants signed to hang mordecai on these gallows. And that morning - you realize, I'm not going through the lesson, I'm just sort of talking here.

We've got to tell the story. That very morning - the King cannot sleep that night. You know that God can give you peace and rest and God can keep you up. And he's tossing and turning and he can't sleep and the King says, 'oh, man, get the scribe to come in here and read the Chronicles to me - about what's been happening - because nothing puts me to sleep quicker than listening to that guy moan on and read the - and so they got the, you know, the harps are playing and he said, 'just read the Chronicles to me. That'll put me to sleep.

' I am absolutely serious. You can't believe how many times people tell me - it happened again last week - 'Pastor Doug, I just love your sermons. Whenever I can't sleep I put them on.' Or they say, 'I go to sleep listening to your sermon every Thursday. That way, when we do Sabbath school...' And I just say, 'well, thank you very much.' I don't know what to say. I thought maybe I ought to just put out some cds and say, 'to help you sleep.

Some, you know, special sleeping aid' - or something. So the King, he gets - and the scribe is reading. He's saying, 'blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.' And the king is starting to doze off and then the scribe reads, 'and there was an assassination attempt against the King and bigtha and thera tried to assassinate the King but the plot was revealed by mordecai and the King's life was spared and they were executed.' And he - 'what? What? What? ! Read that again!' the King wakes right up and he thinks, 'now what did we do for this guy mordecai who saved my life?' And he looks at the footnotes and the scribe says, 'nothing.' 'Oh,' - the King is saying - 'I'm not that - that's not very kingly of me. The guy saves my life - I don't give him anything. I don't give him a discount at the cafeteria.

I don't give him anything.' And he's thinking, 'I've got to do something for that guy. What do you do for a guy that saves your life?' And while he's thinking that (knock-knock-knock) haman is knocking at the gate. He says, 'who's out there? It's awful early.' Haman, he's going, 'I've got to get this signed. I'm going to have him hung. The gallows are - I'm going to get him hung today.

' And he comes in and just when haman comes in the King says, 'oh haman - you! Come on in. I'm glad you're here. I've got a question to ask you. I'm glad it's you. What shall I do for the one that the King delights to honor?' Haman is so full of self - now if mordecai represents Christ, who does haman represent? Who is it that wants to destroy God's people? The dragon was wroth with the woman and wants to destroy the seed of the woman.

And what does haman want? He wants to destroy the seed of Esther. And so what does haman say to the King? 'Who would the King delight to honor more than me?' He thinks within himself, 'i, i, i. It's all about me. Who would he want to delight - honor more than me?' And so he begins to tell the King what he wants, thinking it's all going to be about him. 'Well, put him on the King's horse and have the King's most prominent people announce before him - put the King's robe on him.

Put the King's crown on his head. Parade him up the streets and say, 'thus will it be done for the one whom the King delights to honor.' Well, if I didn't know better, I would think that mordecai - haman wanted to be the King. What did lucifer want? 'To exalt my throne above the stars - to sit on the' - he wanted the throne of God and the size of the congregation. He wanted to be like the most high. So haman is very much like the devil - all about him.

And the King listens - he listens - he's telling the scribe, 'write this down. This is good. This is good. Yeah, yeah, yeah.' And haman, he's saying 'oh, do this and this and this.' And the King says, 'okay, sounds good. Good idea.

That's what I want you to do for mordecai the jew that sits in the King's gate.' And right in haman's hand, he's got the death decree for mordecai he wants the King to sign. And he walks out of there and he tears his clothes - 'oh, oh.' And he has to walk by mordecai in the gate, who still will not bow down. And he goes to his house and he says, 'this is what happened.' And his family says, 'you know, this doesn't look good. It seems like these jews are indestructible, historically.' And so then he gets invited to the second feast - Esther keeps inviting the - haman and the King - to these special banquets where she's going to make a great announcement. Have you noticed in the Bible how many big things seem to happen at feasts? How many times a feast represents a change of status.

I've got a couple little notes here. Let me see if I can find that - about - yeah, feasts of change. Sodom is destroyed after a feast, remember? Lot invited the angels in and feasted with them. They had bread. Hagar is cast aside at the feast where Isaac is weaned.

Pharaoh hangs the baker and restores the butler at a feast. Job's children died while feasting. Egypt is humbled and Israel is freed at the passover feast. Samson begins his battle with the philistine because of a wedding feast. Nabal dies and David takes abigail following a feast.

Jeroboam ordained a feast and Israel is cursed. Jehu slew the baal worshipers at a feast for baal. It's at a medo-persian feast the handwriting appears on the wall and the Kingdom changes. Esther begins with a feast and there's a change of queens. John the baptist dies at a feast - birthday feast - when the girl comes out and dances.

And the new testament covenant is established at a feast. This is just a few. How often things change in the context of a feast. So Esther invites haman to the feast. And at the first feast she says, 'I want to have another feast.

I want you to come.' So now haman's coming back for the second feast - he's being summoned. He still can't get over the fact that he had to parade mordecai up the street. He had to do it right when the King said. He said, 'I want you to go do it right now.' Mordecai was there at the gate and haman comes. He said, 'come with me.

' They put the King's robes on mordecai. They put the King's crown on mordecai. He's been wearing sackcloth because of the decree to destroy all God's people. He's brought up and down the streets. You know, doesn't it say a haughty spirit goes before a fall? The story of Esther is amazing because the one who exalted himself the most gets humbled the most and the one who is in sackcloth and ashes at the King's gate gets exalted.

Jesus, who came and humbled himself, is going to be exalted; and the devil, who wanted the position of God, is going to be humbled. So the book of Esther is teaching the whole great controversy. It is a complete reversal of roles that is happening here and how it happens in God's timing and providence. You might wonder why, sometimes, you're always at the low end. You humble yourself and in God's time he will lift you up.

And every knee will declare that Jesus Christ is Lord. Mordecai - I'm sorry, haman had to declare that mordecai was the one whom the King delighted to honor. Did he want to say that? No. Does the devil want to say that Jesus is Lord? But he will someday, won't he? Do you think the book of Esther's inspired and it belongs in the Bible? Oh, it's an amazing story. But we're not done yet.

So finally, after all that, he comes back to his house and he's just a bundle of nerves. Mordecai - or haman doesn't know what to do and he's now invited to this feast. And at this feast, Esther finally says to the King, 'please, if you sold us into slavery I'd say nothing. But my people have been Marked for annihilation and destruction.' And the King is outraged and aghast. 'Who would dare to do such a thing?' You've got one of these great moments in the Bible and even haman is thinking, 'yeah, who?' (Laughter) he doesn't know what she's talking about.

Maybe he starts to get a creeping hunch. 'Could she be a jew?' And she points to haman. She says, 'this wicked haman is trying to destroy my people.' And now the King, he thinks, 'what? Oh yeah, he had me sign the decree. But once I sign a decree, I cannot unsign it. What am I going to do? I've made a law that all of Esther's people are to be destroyed.

' the King goes out to think about it. Now haman, he thinks, 'oh, I see the handwriting on the wall. This doesn't look good for me.' He thinks the only one who can work with the King now - he needs Esther to intercede for him and he falls on Esther and he's overwhelmed with fear now. the King walks back in and there he looks like he's accosting his bride. And he said, 'will you abuse the queen in my presence?' And as soon as he says that the servants, they came and then they block him from the queen.

It's a very interesting dramatic scene. And then the servants - they're like the angels - they let the king in on a little tip. They say, 'king, go out on your balcony. You see the house of haman's? You see there's a gallows that he built? He says, 'he wanted that gallows to execute mordecai, who saved the King's life.' And the King now becomes very decisive and he says, 'hang him on the gallows.' You know, the Bible says that he that rolls a stone will have it roll back on him. What you do unto others will be done unto you.

And you've got to be careful when you set a trap for your enemy, you might fall in the trap that you set. That's why it's better to forgive and let vengeance be the Lord's, right? He ended up getting hung on the gallows that he built. And in the end of the story it's just wonderful how mordecai is taken - he's exalted, he seeks the peace of God's people in the throne, and all of it is because he revealed who he was. Will someone read for us Esther 8, verse 16. Who's got that? We'll give you the microphone.

Let's get a camera there. Matter of fact, just before you read that I want to read this. That'll give them a chance to set up. Last book Ellen white wrote, called Prophets and Kings - let me read to you page 605. Keep in mind, what you just read in the story of Esther, a death decree is made against God's people because they would not break the commandments of God.

They're all to be exterminated on a certain day, but at the time when the day comes, their enemies are destroyed. They are delivered. Mordecai is exalted and the people rejoice. Complete reversal of roles. Here's what she says - and this is 605 in Prophets and Kings - "the trying experiences that came to God's people in the days of Esther are not peculiar to that age alone.

The revelator," - in the book of Revelation - "looking down through the ages to the close of time, he declared the dragon was wroth with the woman and he went to make war with the remnant of her seed that keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Some who are today living on the earth will see these things fulfilled." - She wrote that, I think, 1915 - "the same spirit that in ages past led men to persecute the true church will, in the future, lead to a pursuance of a similar course towards those who maintain their loyalty to God. Even now preparations are being made for this last great conflict. The decree that will finally go forth against the remnant people of God will be very similar to that issued by ahasuerus against the jews. Today the enemies of the true church see, in the little company of Sabbath commandment keepers, a mordecai in the gate.

The reverence of God's people for his law is a constant rebuke to those who cast off the fear of the Lord and are trampling on his Sabbath." Isn't that interesting? Same things. Now go ahead. Let's read that final verse. "The jews had light and gladness, joy and honor, and in every providence and city, wherever the King's command and decree came, the jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a holiday. Then many of the people of the land became jews because fear of the jews fell upon them.

" Amen. Well our whole lesson today is about missionaries, right? This whole ordeal that God's people went through in a foreign land, what was the final result? Many of the people became jews. And so, they were able to - by standing for their convictions and by enduring trial, everybody could see God was with them and, because of Esther's beauty and she let her light shine so to speak, she interceded - oh, there's just so much in the story about the King holding out the scepter of grace and all that. And that represents - we don't have time to go through it all. We've run out of time for Sabbath school, but I do want to remind, before we go off the air, that we do have a free offer if you did not hear.

All you've got to do is call and ask for it. It's called the Holy Spirit: the need - and ask for offer #723 when you call. You can read it for free online at amazingfacts.org or call -3966. God bless you, friends, and we'll study lesson #7 next week. Amazing Facts began in 1965 with a God-inspired concept.

Hello, this is Joe Crews and the Amazing Facts broadcast - facts which affect you. These radio broadcasts would begin with an amazing fact from science, nature, or history, followed by a Bible message that touched the hearts of listeners from every walk of life. The program was an instant success and the ministry soon began expanding to include Bible lessons. In 1986 Amazing Facts added the medium of television to its growing outreach efforts, offering soul-winning evangelistic messages for viewers around the world. In 1994, Pastor Doug Batchelor assumed leadership of the ministry, adding the Bible answers live call-in radio program and new ministry tv programs began airing on multiple networks around the world.

For 50 years, the driving vision of Amazing Facts has been the bold proclamation of the everlasting Gospel and, with a team of evangelists circling the globe and thousands of men and women being trained through the Amazing Facts center of evangelism program - afcoe - the ministry is helping God's church see a rich harvest of souls. Amazing Facts - God's message, our mission. In six days God created the heavens and the earth. For thousands of years, man has worshiped God on the seventh day of the week. Now, each week, millions of people worship on the first day.

What happened? Why did God create a day of rest? Does it really matter what day we worship? Who was behind this great shift. Discover the truth behind God's law and how it was changed? Visit 'Sabbathtruth.com'. Amazing Facts, changed lives. Well, my conversion story is when I was in the Philippines I just graduated as a nurse and afterwards I did not have any religion and one time I found myself inside a small church - catholic church in manilla - and before a big cross and I was kneeling before and I could hear Jesus telling me to enter the convent, save myself, and also my family. And I said, 'Lord, I would like to follow you all the way.

' At that point I seemed to be happy, externally, but because inside the convent we don't read the Bible - we don't study about the Word of God, we pray the rosaries. We also, at the same time, study the lives of the saints and also our founders and the encyclicals of the pope, and the virgin mary. And so I do not know the truth and I had this torture of conscience - the guilty feelings that cannot be resolved. So I would confess to the priest in the confessional box saying, 'father, forgive me. Since my last confession was last week - since then I have committed the following sin including the root cause, 'why am I falling and falling in that same sin over and over again?' And still, for 21 long years I struggle and I struggle and I struggle.

I realized that I was totally empty. I was totally helpless and hopeless and so depressed and so desperate that I would like already to end my life. I was working for five years as dean of the university of saint Augustine college of nursing in oola oola city, one of the islands of the Philippines. After five years I received my commission from my parents to help my sister who is being a battered woman. This is one of the reasons why I came over to the United States.

It is because my sister needs my help. As I was working in the hospital in New York, my boss, seraphin, he was so gracious enough to give me an invitation to the 'millenium of prophecy'. As I was listening to pastor Doug Batchelor's presentation, my heart really was beating so fast and my mind - I am able to grasp the truth that this is the truth that I've been longing to hear all my life - that I have been seeking for so long. My personal relationship with Jesus - I can see Jesus as my personal Savior. He is not only the Savior of the whole world, but he is my personal Savior.

He was the one who delivered me mightily from the depths of sin - from the mirey clay. Pastor Doug Batchelor has been used by the Lord in my conversion. The Amazing Facts - I owe to them. the Lord really blessed this ministry and I'm so proud I was able to attend this 'millenium of prophecy'. My life has never been the same.

It has given me that peace - that joy that never - I have never tasted in my life. Now I am set free to be able to work for him and to follow him.

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