Monday, March 24, 2014

Reason 1 for Christians to Celebrate the Feast of Passover

Passover is on the 14th day of Nisan on the Biblical calendar.  It just so happens that it is also April 14 on our secular calendar this year.  Yeshua (Jesus) celebrated many Passovers in His lifetime, but the last one with His disciples was a special one.  He gave them special instructions and He told them about the deeper meaning of the Passover; that it spoke of Him and the LORD's redemption plan for man.  Here is part 1 of three video presentations on reasons why Christians should celebrate the Passover.

Shalom and be blessed
Dan & Brenda Cathcart

Sunday, March 16, 2014

On That Night: The Book of Esther and the Festival of Purim

The Book of Esther records that an enemy of the Jewish people, Haman plotted to have all the Jewish people killed. The king of Assyria had promoted Haman above all the princes of the kingdom. As second in command to the king, he wore the signet ring of the king. All the servants of the king very properly bowed before him and "paid him homage"—all that is except for Mordecai the Jew. Haman began to hate Mordecai and his entire people.

Esther 3:5-6 NKJV 5 When Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow or pay him homage, Haman was filled with wrath. 6 But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone, for they had told him of the people of Mordecai. Instead, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus-the people of Mordecai.

In fact, there came a day when He nearly achieved his goal. He actually thought that he had won his battle against the Jewish people. Haman had convinced the king that the Jewish people were enemies of the state because they kept laws other than those of the Assyrian empire.

Esther 3:3-4 NKJV 3 Then the king's servants who were within the king's gate said to Mordecai, "Why do you transgress the king's command?" 4 Now it happened, when they spoke to him daily and he would not listen to them, that they told it to Haman, to see whether Mordecai's words would stand; for Mordecai had told them that he was a Jew.

These laws are, of course, the commandments of God recorded in the Torah. Even today, the Jewish people are hated because they keep these laws which separate them from the people of the nations where they live. Yeshua said that we are to be a people separate from those around us. We are to be in the world but not of the world.

John 17:14-16 NKJV 14 "I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 "I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 "They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

Haman succeeded in getting the king to sign the decree authorizing the murder of all the Jewish people. The decree was signed on the thirteenth day of the first month, the day before the Passover

Esther 3:12 NKJV 12 Then the king's scribes were called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and a decree was written according to all that Haman commanded-to the king's satraps, to the governors who were over each province, to the officials of all people, to every province according to its script, and to every people in their language. In the name of King Ahasuerus it was written, and sealed with the king's signet ring.

So Haman and the king sat down together and celebrated. On that night, Haman thought he had won! But unknown to both Haman and the king, Queen Esther was a Jew and ready to intercede on the behalf of her people. On the fourteenth of Nisan, the day of the Passover, Esther and all the Jewish people began a three day fast. On the third day of the fast, Esther went in to the king and invited him and Haman to a banquet that night. Haman was beside himself with joy! He alone was singled out to be included in the banquet with the king and the beautiful young queen!

The banquet went well and Haman was invited back to attend a second banquet the next evening. It just so happened (Many of the events in Esther "just so happened" reminding us that God is the one in charge!) that the king couldn't sleep that night and called for the books of the records of the chronicles. In them, he discovered that the Jew Mordecai had uncovered a plot against the king and had not been rewarded for his deed. Haman happened to be hanging out in the court that night, so the king summoned him and asked him what he would do for a man the king chose to honor. Haman thought surely that man was him! After all he was the only one invited to join king at the banquet given by the Queen Esther. So Haman described how he would want to be honored.

Esther 6:6-9 NKJV 6 So Haman came in, and the king asked him, "What shall be done for the man whom the king delights to honor?" Now Haman thought in his heart, "Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?" 7 And Haman answered the king, "For the man whom the king delights to honor, 8 "let a royal robe be brought which the king has worn, and a horse on which the king has ridden, which has a royal crest placed on its head. 9 "Then let this robe and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king's most noble princes, that he may array the man whom the king delights to honor. Then parade him on horseback through the city square, and proclaim before him: 'Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!'"

On that night, Haman though he would be honored above all others in the kingdom. But this was the night that Haman's world would begin to fall apart! The man the king chose to honor was Mordecai not Haman. Haman was charged with the task of parading Mordecai through the streets as he proclaimed that Mordecai was the man the king delighted to honor! O the morning of the eighteenth of Nisan, Haman carried out the king's instructions.

Esther 6:10-11 NKJV 10 Then the king said to Haman, "Hurry, take the robe and the horse, as you have suggested, and do so for Mordecai the Jew who sits within the king's gate! Leave nothing undone of all that you have spoken." 11 So Haman took the robe and the horse, arrayed Mordecai and led him on horseback through the city square, and proclaimed before him, "Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!"

That evening, Haman attended the banquet consoling himself with the thought of the gallows that he had already had built to hang Mordecai. But it was on that night that Esther exposed him as the one who would have her and all her people killed.

Esther 7:9-10 NKJV 9 Now Harbonah, one of the eunuchs, said to the king, "Look! The gallows, fifty cubits high, which Haman made for Mordecai, who spoke good on the king's behalf, is standing at the house of Haman." Then the king said, "Hang him on it!" 10 So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the king's wrath subsided.

Mordecai was hung on the gallows he had erected to kill Mordecai.  

Five hundred years later, Yeshua was crucified on Passover and put in the grave where he would remain for three days, the same three days as Esther's fast. Like Haman, Satan believed he had won when Yeshua died and was laid in the grave. Unbeknownst to Satan, Yeshua would not stay in the grave! Yeshua rose from the grave on the day Esther went in to the king to invite him to the banquet. Yeshua appeared before His disciples that evening, the same evening as Esther's first banquet!

John 20:19 NKJV 19 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, "Peace be with you."

We can imagine that next day in heaven as Yeshua is honored as one in whom the King delights. Clothed with the royal robe riding the horse with the royal crest with the hosts of heaven proclaiming this is the one the king delights to honor! One day He will return to earth in the clouds of heaven and all will see the one the King chooses to honor.

Matthew 25:31-32 NKJV 31 "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 "All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.

But when will Yeshua come and sit on His throne? Let's go back to the Book of Esther. The signet ring that was given to Haman was now given to Mordecai.

Esther 8:1 NKJV 1 On that day King Ahasuerus gave Queen Esther the house of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. And Mordecai came before the king, for Esther had told how he was related to her.

The king clothed Mordecai in royal apparel and awarded a crown.

Esther 8:15 NKJV 15 So Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, with a great crown of gold and a garment of fine linen and purple; and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad.

But the decree exacted by Haman still stood, all the Jewish people were to be killed at the end of the year on Adar 13. So the king issued a new decree sealed by the signet ring worn by Mordecai that the Jewish people could gather and protect their lives.

Esther 8:11-12 NKJV 11 By these letters the king permitted the Jews who were in every city to gather together and protect their lives-to destroy, kill, and annihilate all the forces of any people or province that would assault them, both little children and women, and to plunder their possessions, 12 on one day in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar.

At the end of the year, when the enemies of the Jews attacked, the victory belonged to the Jews. Great fear came on all the enemies of the Jews and they were overwhelmingly defeated!

Esther 9:2-5 NKJV 2 The Jews gathered together in their cities throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus to lay hands on those who sought their harm. And no one could withstand them, because fear of them fell upon all people. 3 And all the officials of the provinces, the satraps, the governors, and all those doing the king's work, helped the Jews, because the fear of Mordecai fell upon them. 4 For Mordecai was great in the king's palace, and his fame spread throughout all the provinces; for this man Mordecai became increasingly prominent. 5 Thus the Jews defeated all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, with slaughter and destruction, and did what they pleased with those who hated them.

All their sorrow turned to joy!

Esther 9:22 NKJV 22 as the days on which the Jews had rest from their enemies, as the month which was turned from sorrow to joy for them, and from mourning to a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and joy, of sending presents to one another and gifts to the poor.

Mordecai ruled second only King Ahasuerus. While he ruled, tribute from the nations flowed into Assyria and Mordecai's people prospered and knew peace.

Esther 10:1-3 NKJV 1 And King Ahasuerus imposed tribute on the land and on the islands of the sea. 2 Now all the acts of his power and his might, and the account of the greatness of Mordecai, to which the king advanced him, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia? 3 For Mordecai the Jew was second to King Ahasuerus, and was great among the Jews and well received by the multitude of his brethren, seeking the good of his people and speaking peace to all his countrymen.

When Adam sinned, dominion over the earth was given to Satan. With Yeshua's death and resurrection, dominion is returned to Yeshua. He wears the signet ring of God. God has turned over to Him authority to judge all the peoples of the earth! When the appointed day comes when all the nations gather together at Jerusalem to destroy the Jews, great fear will come on those nations; fear of God's people and fear of Yeshua.

Zechariah 14:3-4 NKJV 3 Then the LORD will go forth And fight against those nations, As He fights in the day of battle. 4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south.
Zechariah 14:13-14 NKJV 13 It shall come to pass in that day That a great panic from the LORD will be among them. Everyone will seize the hand of his neighbor, And raise his hand against his neighbor's hand; 14 Judah also will fight at Jerusalem. And the wealth of all the surrounding nations Shall be gathered together: Gold, silver, and apparel in great abundance.

Revelation 19:19-21 NKJV 19 And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.

All the sorrows of their former defeats will turn to joy!

Zechariah 8:18-19 NKJV 18 Then the word of the LORD of hosts came to me, saying, 19 "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'The fast of the fourth month, The fast of the fifth, The fast of the seventh, And the fast of the tenth, Shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts For the house of Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.'

Isaiah 25:8 NKJV 8 He will swallow up death forever, And the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces; The rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken.

Revelation 21:3-4 NKJV 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."

On that night when Satan thought he won, his final defeat was certain! We await that day when the nations will think to defeat Israel and all those grafted into Israel through Yeshua. When they will come against Jerusalem, but their defeat will be certain!

All the nations will bring tribute to Jerusalem as Yeshua rules second only to His Father.

Zechariah 14:16-17 NKJV 16 And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. 17 And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, on them there will be no rain.

As we celebrate Purim on March 16 this year, know that victory is assured. Yeshua will return leading the attack against those who hate Israel, Yeshua, and God. He will establish His reign, and during His 1000 year reign, His people will prosper and experience peace.

Shalom and be blessed
Dan & Brenda Cathcart

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