There was no question from scholars of the accuracy of the book of the book of Esther, because there was a king named Artaxerxes or Ahasuerus in the history of the Middle East. Of course, there were many other facts of the book that lead to its historical credence, and the information was clearly correct. But Esther is the only book in the Bible that does not use the word "God" in it. Because of that fact, many religious scholars were in disagreement whether it should be included in the Bible. The men who fought against including the book of Esther in the canon of God were serious but seriously mislead.
The very history of the time, the way life was lived then, is one of the very reasons that the book is so important and vital to the Christian faith. Present day feminists (1999) would probably be upset with the masculinity of the demanding king requiring his wife to attend his banquet when she has her own banquet going on. But the real truth in this book is not found in the pros and cons of the natural story. No, the spiritual truths are so rich and profound that everything else about the book on the natural plane must be overlooked in order to glean the life of God from the book.
The whole story is that it is not good enough to do good nor to be good. The battle between the King and the Queen is one not of male/female dominance nor of good against evil. Even the idea taught by many biblical scholars of the test of obedience of the queen is not really the issue in this book. Good and evil come from the same tree - the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Neither feature of the tree is godly nor can it be, because the tree is from the realm of death.
This story, whether based on fact or fiction is filled with fruit for the picking. The story is not one of death and failure but of life and success. Joshua states we must chose life (Joshua 24:15). The book is about choosing the way of life in a world that has many choices, most of which lead to death. Esther is about choosing and making right decisions and the results of such decisions.
Yet, the book of Esther is a clear, vibrant story of the difference between the carnal and religious mind and the mind of Christ. The fabric of the story is entwined with the red thread of salvation in juxtaposition against the black thread of death. How does one choose the right answers? Can one do such? If one does choose the right way, is it the way of life or do you have to have life to choose the right way? This is the struggle of the book of Esther: What is the mind of Christ?
Paul writes in Romans 15:4 and 1 Corinthians 10:6,11 that the things written down in the Old Testament were for our edification and are types and shadows for us. The shadow is an image of the real but is not the real. A shadow is a reflection of the real. Thus, when we study something as a shadow we must only do so in order that it brings us to the real thing. Therefore as we look at Esther, we see many types and shadows, which if they remain but a shadow and do not bring us life, then we have failed in our study of the scripture. Let me add another thought. Doctrine (if by doctrine we mean anything other than Christ) is not substance. We must have His life from the study.
The King's Banquet
The King called for a banquet. As you may remember from your study of the book of Revelation there is another banquet mentioned, that of the marriage supper of the Lamb. These two banquets are quite similar in many respects. We shall discuss that at length later. The banquet was a reward for being part of the kingdom, the kingdom of God, if you will. The king called for the banquet as a time of celebration, rejoicing because of the peace, prosperity etc. of his kingdom. The king represents the spirit for the spirit always rejoices at the way of the Father.
The queen, Vashti, which means beautiful, has her own banquet at the same time that the king has his. Since he represents the spirit, she represents the soul, the mind, the seat of the will and emotions. In a marriage the two are not to be two but one. The soul and the spirit should be of joint purpose, one goal, one vision. On a personal note, Joyce and I have been married for 27 years in 1998. But we were not of one purpose all the time. We were both saved, filled with the Spirit before we were married. We both had a ministry. I writing and evangelizing. She founding and administrating a Christian school of over 100 students. We were both in the ministry but running parallel. Like two train tracks, we were joined together but never touching. We had to come to the understanding of oneness. One of us would have to join the other. I sought the Lord, willing to lay down my ministry and support hers if this was the way of the Lord and she vice versa. Neither one of us felt we had "our ministry" but rather believed that God was more important in our lives than either ministry!
Vashti and Ahasuerus had the same problem as we. One would have to give up their banquet, their "thing" for the sake of the other. Who should do such a thing? Should the spirit be subservient to the mind, or should the mind yield to the leading of the spirit? Could the two be one and each continue in their own path? Would one lose its identity for the sake of the other, and would the identity really be lost? Such are the issues of the book.
In 1:2 it states that the King sits on the throne. The spirit reigns in the affairs of men whether it appears so or not (Daniel 4:17). God sits in every individual (John 1:9) whether the individual recognizes it or not. The path the person walks is ordained (Romans 13:1, Ephesians 2:10) of God for the purpose of bringing the person into an intimate relationship with God. So the spirit sits on the throne. The spirit rules.
Many times, however, it might not seem that the spirit rules, and the question always arises: If there is a God, why does He allow evil? The answer is: He extends grace so that the rebellious might have an extended time to find life in Him (Romans 5:20, 2 Corinthians 9:8). The king here extends a party, a banquet for the entire kingdom; including the rebellious wife, Vashti. He extends grace, even though his wife is not walking with him but parallel, like train tracks. For God rules even in the affairs of the rebellious so that He might judge righteously and effect change.
Esther 1:4 states that the party goes on for 180 days, six months. What a party it must have been! For there is joy in the kingdom (Luke 15:7). The king has done righteously, gloriously, etc. Six months the banquet lasted. Six is the number of man (Revelation 13:8). God created six days, then stated it was good. So too this banquet reflects the creation story. God created and rejoiced even as the king rejoiced over his kingdom.
When the celebration was complete, there was a special seven day feast (1:5). Note that the feast was held in the garden of the king’s palace. Ah, the garden of Eden was the heart of the Lord’s pleasure, delight, finery, luxury (what Eden means)! God is looking for a woman (a soul) that seeks to enjoy the delight of God (Job 22:26, Psalm 37:4). The king was having a seven day feast for all who dwelt in the city – least to the greatest (Esther 1:5, Hebrews 8:11). Everyone will know the King and have fellowship with Him, even as this story expresses. For all people are in the kingdom of God (some don’t know it yet), but those who live in the city of the king, the New Jerusalem, that spiritual realm, they from the least unto the greatest know Him.
The court, representative of the outer court of the Tabernacle, the area of the brazen altar (salvation) and the laver (sanctification), is decked with fine linen – not wool. Wool is an unfinished fabric, speaks of self-effort and work, but this court has linen. Linen speaks of a cool, finished fabric without the use of effort. Walking by grace instead of the Law is what linen is all about. We are able to live this life of Christ because we walk after the spirit and not after the flesh. Violet, purple, are some of the colors of the linen. These colors speak of royalty, the blood of Christ, a heavenly creation.
Rings made of silver speak of redemption. It is the redeeming work of Christ that permits us to have linen hung from the rings. For our life is hid with God in Christ, and when we remain in His nature there is no wool, no human effort. Thus, linen is found with the rings. He who bore our sins, shed His garment to reveal the glory of God. Matthew 27:59 shows that when Jesus finished the work He was wrapped in linen. When we realize that He has finished the work for us (hear our tape: It is Finished), the resurrection life comes forth!
Gold speaks of divinity. The crucible is for silver, but the furnace is for gold (Proverbs 27:21). The crucible provides protection from the fire, but the furnace is direct heat! Some settle for redemption but others seek the nature of Christ to appear in the midst of their fire (Daniel 3:25). Gold processed through the fire has the impurities come to the surface to be removed. The man of sin is revealed in you as he is being skimmed off! How so? Because the Lord has come to His temple which you are!!
Precious stones speak of a finished work polished for the glory of God. Gold, silver and precious stones speak of the works of the saints (1 Corinthians 3:12). Twelve stones are found in the wall of the city of the New Jerusalem in the book of Revelation. Twelve speaks of divine government. All different stones, speaking of different natures, personalities. Moh’s scale of hardness goes from the softest rating 1 to the hardest 10. All the stones of the breastplate of the Aaronic priesthood as well as the stones in the wall are rated 7 – 10. God has done a complete work, a personal testing to prove each piece and place it in its own location. Whether gold, silver or precious stones, all are in the king’s court, His garden. Lest we forget, all the stones were found in Lucifer, Adam in Ezekiel 28:13. Stones of brilliance and color. Stones of finery and luster. Stones symbolical of the nature of God and used by God in those redeemed by God.
The king’s banquet was a splendor to behold. It was a magnificence that the world had never seen. So are you! The king goes on and gives "drinks in golden vessels" (1:7). It states the drinking was done according to the Law. But hear and understand. This does not mean a normal Law (like Christians trying to live after the 10 commandments)! NO! You see the KING IS THE LAW. Whatever He decrees, goes. Remember Jesus having the disciples eating corn on the Sabbath? The religious Pharisees came against Him as breaking the Law. But He who is King is the Law! When we walk in Jesus we walk in grace and live by the Law of the Spirit in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:2). So drinking was done by grace!
Don’t get carnal now and think I am writing about natural wine and that you can have all you want and become an alcoholic! No, I am writing about spiritual things. For the wine here speaks of the life of the kingdom. In the Old Testament it states the "life is in the blood" (Lev.17:11). The Hebrew word there for "life" is actually "soul." The wine is given in golden vessels. The vessel is you refined, filled with the soul, the new soul, the mind of Christ. Therewas "no compulsion for the king had given orders…do according to the desires of each person." (1:8) The Hebrew for "desires" is the word used for grace, delight and goodwill. Drinking is done by grace. It is grace alone that enables us to be at the king’s table and to drink.
The Refusal by Vashti
At the King’s banquet were seven wise men (1:14). These men are the type and shadow of the seven spirits of God in Isaiah 11:2 – spirit of the Lord, spirit of Wisdom, spirit of Understanding, spirit of Counsel, spirit of Strength, spirit of Knowledge and fear of the Lord. It was these seven wise men who counseled Ahasuerus concerning the queen Vashti. These men full of wisdom gave their advice to the king and he accepted it.
The concern was that if the queen refused to come at the bidding of the king, then all the women in the kingdom (verse 20) would follow her lead. The seven were concerned with their being masters in their own house if their wives followed the lead of the queen. Therefore according to the Law (verse 15) of the king, Vashti should no longer be in the presence of the king. Her reign as queen has ended.
Jeremiah wrote of the same problem in 7:18 when he said under the spirit of the Lord: "The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger." Vashti represents the soul, that carnal mind which seeks its own worship as god itself. The sin that Eve made was setting herself up as God. She knew what was best for her, and therefore independently acted to choose that which God said she should not. Jeremiah continues to lament the situation of the nation of Judah. He becries the failure of the people and its leaders to follow the way of the Lord: "But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil." So, too, the king’s seven wise men were groaning with the concern of the queen (the soul) setting herself up over her Lord, her Master.
The queen refused to come when the king’s eunuch came to her (1:12). She had her personal banquet going on, which was perfectly all right. But the soul is to be submissive to the spirit and leave its doing which for that which is better. Eunuchs came to her; men who could not place a seed in her. The banquet she was at was for those other ladies, not men. There was no one there at her banquet that could place a seed in her, that is to say, there was no one in her realm, her order, that could produce life in her. Only the king could, but she would have to leave her order for that to occur. She chose to remain in the realm of death, that realm that cannot produce life by itself. Choose this day life or death. She chose death. She knew the king and the king’s way but she was willing to sacrifice all that she had with the king for her own desires. Yet, even in choosing the queen knew her reign would be over and she would lose everything. But still she chose the same. The heavens rule (the king) at all times - not the earth (the soul, the will, and the emotions).
A little leaven leavens the whole lump, scripture states. The queen’s rebellion would lead to the rebellion of all the other women (souls) in the kingdom. The queen was in a place of life. She was on a higher plane than sowing/reaping, or a karmic law. Sowing/reaping is for those who live after the flesh. Jesus even supported the idea that people should choose life, for if not they would be subject to the lower order. God doesn’t see health but rather He sees life. If God saw health, he would have to recognize the opposite of health – disease, death. But He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. He sees life.
Vashti was in the life realm. The soul was in the place it didn’t have to die. She was part of the kingdom. She was part of the big picture. Yet, she chose to remove herself from such a heavenly place and seek to be "king" of a lower order. Such is the struggle of man. Man seeks a higher order but wishes to remain in control. It is an untenable position."Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:" Romans 5:17 states. So Vashti, like Adam, brought death and judgment upon all the women of the kingdom. But wait. Did she?
The Disintegration of his Kingdom?
I do not think so. Vashti was dead to the king. He was free to marry another. Let me quote some different translations of Romans 7:4:
King James: Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ, that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
Williams: So, my brethren you too in the body of Christ have ended your relation to the law so that you may be married to another Husband, to Him who was raised from the dead in order that we might bear fruit to God.
Rotherham: So then brethren ye also were made dead unto the law through the body of the Messiah, to the end ye might become another’s - His who from among the dead was raised in order that we might bring forth fruit unto Jehovah.
Moffat: The crucified body of Christ made you dead to the law so that you might belong to another to him who was raised from the dead that we might be the fruit of God.
Diaglott: Therefore my brethren you also were put to death by the law through the body of the Anointed One, in order that you may belong to Another – to Him who was raised from the dead that we should bring forth fruit unto Jehovah.
Amplified: Likewise, my brethren, you have undergone death as to the Law through the [crucified] body of Christ, so that now you belong to Another, to Him Who was raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit unto God.
New American: Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raise from the dead, that we might bear fruit to God.
The king died to the Law. He died to Vashti. He removed himself from the dead body so that he would not be contaminated. He was free through the body of Christ to be joined with another. He was called to bear fruit. The spirit has to be joined with the soul that is willing, has the same goal, the desire for the manifestation of God in the flesh, the fruit. The soul (Vashti) which seeks to be a law unto itself must die because it is in sin, that is, it is acting as a god itself. The soul that sets itself up as the rule or law sins and must die (Ezk.18:4).
The spirit which represents grace cannot be bound with the Law, which tries to justify itself with its own efforts, even as Vashti did with her own party. Grace has to be supreme. Grace allowed Vashti to have her own party. But Vashti used her own efforts for her own gain. Grace gives her the liberty to conform or not conform to the king’s desire. Later we will see how Esther conformed, but grace is always victorious.
The king, like God, made a provision. The king sought not to allow the disintegration of his kingdom. The king had another plan. He decided to select another star (Esther means star). Just as God had a plan and picked before the disruption of the world Jesus, His star, for the salvation of the world (Revelation 13:8), so too the king.
The book does not discuss the selection of Vashti and how the king found her for a bride. But it does discuss the selection of Esther, the new queen. We must leave no stone unturned in the discussion of the selection of Esther because it intimately involves us and our selection as a bride for Christ.
The Selection of a Bride
First, the king sought to find beautiful young virgins (2:3). That is to say that the women had to be beautiful in the king’s eyes, and he had to be attracted to them. Why is a man attracted to a woman? What some men might consider beautiful, other men would seriously question. A man is attracted to a woman because from the man’s point of view she is beautiful. The man looks for what pleases him. It may be the way she cocks her head or smiles. It may be the way she walks or talks. Whatever it is, it is what pleases the man, and he selects.
The king wanted a beautiful woman but one that was a virgin, an original, an untainted person. He sought one that could be the bride of his youth (Proverbs 5:18). He wanted a woman who had purity and innocence. The overseers sought far and wide to find a future bride, even as God sought for a special virgin, Mary. Even so, the sons of God seek far and wide for that bride which can receive the truth.
Hegai, the king’s eunuch, was in charge of the women that were selected. Mordecai, a type of the Holy Spirit, led Esther. He sought to guide her and advise her for she was to be the salvation of her people. He was to prepare the soul (Esther) for the spirit (king). She had neither father nor mother (2:8). While this speaks of Mordecai as her cousin, the concept of neither father nor mother speaks of Melchizedek (Hebrews 7:3) of which order Christ was. So in the writing of the book of Esther, the writer hints at the spiritual truth of Melchizedek, while transcribing under the unction of the Holy Spirit.
Esther found favor with Hegai (2:9). Grace is evident here not the Law. She was given seven choice maidens to help her – symbolic of the spirits of God to guide and assist. Plus she was elevated to the best place in the harem of the king. When one walks in the grace of knowing who you are, doors open, but when one walks in the condemnation of the Law, rejection, lack of self-worth and failure are imminent.
Chapter 2 verse 12 brings out that the ladies were given 12 months, one year for preparation. Twelve is the number of divine government in scripture. One year represents a time of fullness. A lamb of one year without spot or blemish was offered to the Lord. So, this young virgin without spot or blemish is prepared and offered before the king.
Note that the first six months was a time when myrrh was used with oil. Myrrh speaks of suffering and oil of anointing. When Jesus was born the wise men brought gold, frankincense and myrrh (Matthew 2:11). They saw Jesus as divine (gold), anointed (frankincense) and sacrificial (myrrh). If we are to enter into the realm of the Spirit (king) we must first humble ourselves, which speaks of myrrh, suffering. The oil speaks of anointing. When you and I are humbled, then the anointing comes.
In the last six months, the concept of suffering leaves and in its place is the usage of spices. These spices are used to make the lady smell nice and enticing. When death has its work then the aroma of the fragrance of Christ can be seen in us! When the soul is yielded to the dealings of the Lord then the life of God can be seen in the soul (2 Corinthians 4:10). So Esther is prepared and ready to appear before the king.
But there is a problem. One cannot just go before the Lord when one is ready! If you go when you are not summoned by the king, you will not be accepted, that is, you will not be allowed to enter into his presence. All the preparation is wasted if the soul (Esther) goes in unto the king when he is not ready. The soul must understand the spirit (king). These two are to be one. The soul must desire the will of the spirit and not present herself when she deems because if she does, she is like Vashti.
So, Esther waits. When her time comes (2:14), she seeks the advice (2:15) of Hegai. She does not dress in the color she looks best in nor does she wear the perfume that she feels most comfortable with. She doesn’t color code her outfits for the best appearance based upon her skin’s color. No! Even though she has had 12 months in learning how to prepare herself, she forsakes it all. Imagine how the other ladies scoffed at her for setting aside all that she was taught.
Yet, Esther was wise beyond her years. She asked Hegai, the king’s eunuch, for advice. She asked questions like: What is his favorite color? What perfume scent does he like? What jewelry does he prefer? Every question asked was designed to make her pleasing to him. She was setting aside her identity in order to become his identity. Vashti didn’t do that. But Esther did and did so willingly! Oh, that our soul desires not its own way but the way of God!
Esther goes before the open doors of the palace. If the king waves his sceptre for her to enter, she will not return to the harem and be a concubine but will sit with him, rule and reign with him, as a queen. Prepared in all that will catch his eye, arouse his scent, be pleasing to touch, with a lilting voice that ushers a sound to the ear with captivation, and a visual taste that makes the king’s mouth water, she steps forward before the door. The eternal moment lasts but a second before he beckons her with the sceptre for her to enter. She pleased him more than all the other virgins because she appeared as his nature to him. What a union.
So, in the tenth month (2:16) of the seventh year of the king’s reign, Esther was taken into the palace to be his bride. Ten in the scripture is the number of personal testing. She had passed the test. She had run the gauntlet of trials and been found acceptable. Guided by the Holy Spirit the soul is always found acceptable. In the seventh year, in the year of completion, she came forth and complemented the king. She established his reign because the soul and the spirit were one.
What Victory can be won with a Submissive Soul!
Haman, the Agagite, was a descendant of the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15). Amalek was a descendant of Esau. All throughout the scriptures the name Esau is associated with the flesh. The carnal mind, that Vashti, is part of the flesh nature, that thing which is at enmity with God for it stands as God in the house of God. Haman sought the removal of Mordecai, a type of the Holy Spirit
As one reads the story of Esther, we must remember that Haman could also be an example of Satan contending with the plan of God. In one sense as one reads about Satan, we see that he is the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10) and surely Haman accuses Mordecai. But if we study further we find that Jesus states that Moses' accuses the people (John 5:45). Of course it was not the man Moses that Jesus was talking about but the Law! So Haman is a type of the Law, even as Vashti was a law unto herself, and influenced by the Law of Haman too.
But the soul that is married to the spirit, and "he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit" (1 Corinthians 6:17) can overcome all the flesh. For the saint born of God does not practice sin and the one who saves keeps the saint from sinning too so that the evil one cannot touch the saint (1 John 3;9, 5;18). Esther prepares the counter attack and in the end it is Haman who is hung by his own law. Grace abounds bringing the death knell to the Law.
Let us rejoice at the beauty of the marriage supper of the Lamb whicht is none other than the spirit and the soul becoming one! The Law is destroyed by such a marriage in the individual. If enough of the saints come into this union (John 17:21) then a critical mass is started and the end result is the world will be set free from the law. Press on into grace! For it is Esther operating in grace, the freedom of expressing her true Christ nature, that removes the power of the law. My soul pants after Thee, of God, as a hart after the water brooks (Psalm 42:1).
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