Esther 9-10: Lessons about Jesus from the Jews’ Deliverance and the Feast of Purim

Introduction. Esther 9 and the three-verse epilogue in chapter 10 conclude the book. Here, Jesus saved the Jews, He established the Feast of Purim, and He established Mordecai’s righteous administration. “Purim” is the plural of the Hebrew word “pur”, which means “lot”. The day is called “lots” or Purim to remind the Jews that God is in control of history and He is faithful to protect His people. Haman believed that he had selected the day for the Jews’ destruction. But Jesus selected the day for the Jews’ salvation. For most Christians, this is an unimportant Jewish holiday. Yet, all the Feasts of the Old Testament reveal the “shadows” of Jesus (Col. 2:17). The “holy convocations” or “miqras” can also be translated as “rehearsals.” (Lev. 23:2). With the Feast of Purim, the Jews unknowingly rehearsed for the arrival of their deliverer, Jesus the Messiah. The Feast of Purim is a time for Christians to prepare for His return. Here, Purim reveals several truths about Jesus. He is the true source of your: (1) protection, (2) deliverance, (3) rest and peace, (4) provision, (5) joy, (6) faithfulness, and (7) righteousness and justice.

First, Jesus protected the Jews by causing many powerful nobles to support them and by filling their enemies with fear. You can also celebrate Jesus as the source of your protection when you take refuge in Him. Second, when Haman’s appointed day came to attack the Jews, Jesus granted the Jews victory in battle. Without His intervention, their victory would not have been possible. You can also celebrate Jesus as the true source of your deliverance. Third, after Jesus defeated the Jews’ enemies, He brought the Jews rest and peace. You can also celebrate Jesus as the true source of your rest and peace. Fourth, the Jews celebrated their provision by giving to those in need. You can also celebrate Jesus’ provision in your life by giving to those in need. Fifth, Jesus also brought the Jews joy. You can also celebrate Jesus as the true source of your joy. Sixth, the Jews celebrate Purim to forever celebrate their salvation. Jesus is sovereign over history and is always faithful to keep His promises to the Jews. You can also celebrate Jesus for His sovereignty and faithfulness to keep His promises to you. Finally, Mordecai used his God-given position to rule with righteousness and justice. You can also celebrate that Jesus, the King of Kings, will one day reign with righteousness and justice.

1. Protection: Celebrate Jesus as the True Source of Your Protection. Esther 9:1-4.

  • Jesus strengthened the Jews and protected them. Jesus protected the Jews by causing them to receive support from those in authority and by filling their enemies with fear: “1 Now in the twelfth month (that is, the month Adar), on the thirteenth day, when the king’s command and edict were to be put into effect, on the day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to gain the mastery over them, it turned out to the contrary so that the Jews themselves gained mastery over those who hated them. The Jews assembled in their cities throughout the provinces of King Ahasuerus to attack those who sought to harm them; and no one could stand against them, because the dread of them had fallen on all the peoples. Even all the officials of the provinces, the satraps, the governors, and those who were doing the king’s business were supporting the Jews, because the dread of Mordecai had fallen on them. For Mordecai was great in the king’s house, and the news about him spread throughout the provinces; for the man Mordecai became greater and greater.” (Esther 9:1-4). The 13th day of the 12th month (Adar) was the day that Haman selected using lots for the destruction of the Jews (Esther 3:13). Some historians believe that the day of Jews’ planned judgment was March 7, 473 B.C. Once a Persian king issued an edict, it could not be changed (cf., Esther 1:19; Dan. 6:8, 15). Yet, after Xerxes gave Mordecai Haman’s former position and power, Mordecai issued a new decree under Xerxes’ name that gave the Jews the right to arm themselves and defend themselves on the day that Haman selected for the Jews’ annihilation (Esther 8:11-13). With God’s influence, Mordecai also rapidly gained support from Xerxes and the people (Esther 8:15; 9:4). This caused the Persian officials to side with the Jews (Esther 9:3). These events also caused the Jews’ enemies to become filled with fear (Esther 9:2).

God empowered Mordecai to the delight of the Jews and the fear of their enemies1

  • The Jews’ enemies understood and feared God’s power. The Jews’ enemies feared the unexplainable protection that the Jews enjoyed. “And many among the peoples of the land became Jews, because the dread of the Jews had fallen on them.” (Esther 8:17b; 9:2). The fear that the Jews’ enemies felt fulfilled prophesies that God’s prophets had given: “It will be to Me a name of joy, praise and glory before all the nations of the earth which will hear of all the good that I do for them, and they will fear and tremble because of all the good and all the peace that I make for it.” (Jer. 33:9; Is. 31:9). This also fulfilled promises that God gave Moses: “10 So all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will be afraid of you.” (Dt. 28:10). “May those who are enemies of my soul be put to shame and consumed; may they be covered with disgrace and dishonor, who seek to injure me.” (Ps. 71:13). “My tongue also will tell of Your righteousness all day long; for they are put to shame, for they are humiliated who seek my harm.” (Ps. 71:24). “All my enemies will be put to shame and greatly horrified; they shall turn back, they will suddenly be put to shame.” (Ps. 6:10). “May those be ashamed and humiliated together who seek my life to destroy it; may those be turned back and dishonored who delight in my hurt.” (Ps. 40:14). “Then the chiefs of Edom were dismayed; the leaders of Moab, trembling grips them; all the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away. Terror and dread fall upon them; by the greatness of Your arm they are motionless as stone; until Your people pass over, O LORD, until the people pass over whom You have purchased.” (Ex. 15:15-16). All who oppose Israel are subject to the curse that God promised to Abraham (Gen. 12:3).

  • Pray for Jesus to be your shield and to strengthen you when you are attacked. When you are attacked, Jesus promises to be your shield if you take refuge in Him: “He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.” (Prov. 30:5(b); 2 Sam. 22:31). When you are attacked or threatened, Jesus will also strengthen you if you pray for His help: “On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul.” (Ps. 138:3). “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him.” (Ps. 28:7). “But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the One who lifts my head.” (Ps. 3:3). If you feel that you are under spiritual attack, are you praying for Jesus to strengthen you?

  • Faith puts your trust in Jesus for protection. You never need to fear evil people when you are doing Jesus’ will: “The LORD is for me; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Ps. 118:6). “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” (Ro. 8:31). “Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call; this I know, that God is for me.” (Ps. 56:9). If you are feeling fear when you are serving Jesus, that is not from Him. Pray for Jesus’ protection and rebuke Satan in Jesus’ name.

  • Praise and worship Jesus for His protection. Jesus is your rock. Thus, He deserves your praise for His protection: “The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock; and exalted be God, the rock of my salvation,” (2 Sam. 22:47). “My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my savior, You save me from violence.” (2 Sam. 22:3). “The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; a God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright is He.” (Dt. 32:4). “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Ps. 18:2, 31, 46; 19:14). Worship helps to clear your mind to receive Jesus’ Word when you are in turmoil. Do you praise Jesus for His protection in your life?

2. Deliverance: Celebrate Jesus as the True Source of Your Deliverance. Esther 9:5-16.

  • Jesus defeated the Jews’ enemies. Jesus then delivered the Jews and caused their enemies to be defeated in battle: “So the Jews struck all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying; and they did as they pleased to those who hated them. At the citadel in Susa the Jews killed and eliminated five hundred men, and they killed Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vaizatha, 10 the ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Jews’ enemy; but they did not lay their hands on the plunder. 11 On that day the number of those who were killed at the citadel in Susa was reported to the king. 12 And the king said to Queen Esther, ‘The Jews have killed and eliminated five hundred men and the ten sons of Haman at the citadel in Susa. What have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces! Now what is your request? It shall also be granted you. And what is your further wish? It shall also be done.” 13 Then Esther said, “If it pleases the king, let tomorrow also be granted to the Jews who are in Susa to do according to the edict of today; and let Haman’s ten sons be hanged on the wooden gallows.” 14 So the king commanded that it was to be done so; and an edict was issued in Susa, and Haman’s ten sons were hanged. 15 The Jews who were in Susa assembled also on the fourteenth day of the month Adar and killed three hundred men in Susa, but they did not lay their hands on the plunder. 16 Now the rest of the Jews who were in the king’s provinces assembled, to defend their lives and rid themselves of their enemies, and to kill seventy-five thousand of those who hated them; but they did not lay their hands on the plunder.” (Esther 9:5-16). The Jewish Targum says that those who attacked the Jews were descendants of Amalek. Haman and his ten sons were also Amalekites. The Amalekites were the first to attack the Israelites after they left Egypt (Ex. 17:8-16). God promised that He would “blot out” the Amalekites (Dt. 25:17-19). To deter attacks on the Jews, Mordecai’s prior decree gave the Jews the right to seize the property of anyone who attacked them (Esther 8:11). Yet, even though the Jews had the right to seize the property of their enemies “they did not lay their hands on the plunder.” (Esther 9:10, 16). This was to stress that the Jews acted in self-defense. In contrast, Saul decided to plunder the Amalekites’ property and spared the Amalekites’ king when God ordered him to do the opposite (1 Sam. 15:17-19). The second day of battle allowed for God’s final judgment on the Amalekites to be fulfilled (Ex. 17:14). “Now it was God’s intent that a last conflict should take place between Israel and Amalek: the conflict which began with Joshua in the desert was to be finished by Mordecai in the king’s palace.” (Charles Spurgeon on Esther 9).2 Haman’s defeated ten sons also foreshadow the ten world rulers under the future antichrist.

God empowered the Jews to defeat their enemies3

  • God also delivered the Jews on other occasions during Purim. God’s hand has silently protected the Jews throughout history. As another example, in 1953, the brutal dictator Joseph Stalin planned a campaign to address what he believed to be the “Jewish problem” in the U.S.S.R. Yet, he suddenly fell ill and died. His illness began on Purim! Likewise, in 1990, during the first Gulf War, Saddam Hussein launched SCUD missiles at Israel as part of his plan to divert attention from himself and stir up an Arab-led war against Israel. The U.S.-led forces quickly defeated Iraq with the hostilities ending on Purim! Just as in Esther’s time, only those with faith could see God’s hidden hand.4

  • Jesus offers deliverance from your enemies. When the Jews were faithful and obedient, God promised the Jews victory over their enemies: “But you will chase your enemies and they will fall before you by the sword; five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall before you by the sword.” (Lev. 26:7-8; Ex. 23:22; Nu 10:9, 35; Is. 54:17; Gen. 22:17). “The Lord shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way and will flee before you seven ways.” (Dt. 28:7). With His help, Jonathon killed 20 enemy soldiers (1 Sam. 14:14). Likewise, it was God’s blessing that allowed David to kill Goliath (1 Sam. 17:50-58). As another example, God used Gideon’s small army of 300 soldiers to kill 120,000 Midianites (Jdgs. 7:16-22; 8:10). After Hezekiah prayed, God also wiped out an army of 185,000 Assyrian soldiers before they could even begin a siege against Jerusalem (2 Kgs. 19:35-37; 2 Chr. 32:21-22).

  • God repeatedly delivered the Jews when their cycle of rebellions led to their oppression. When the Jews rebelled, God removed His hand of protection, and the Jews experienced oppression (Neh. 9:26). When the Jews then cried out, God delivered them (Jdgs. 2:16; Neh. 9:27; Acts 13:30). But each time God delivered they Jews, they returned to their sins (Neh. 9:28-30; Jdgs. 2:17-22; Jer. 11:10; 2 Chr. 7:22; 1 Kgs. 14:9; Jer. 9:3; Ro. 1:28). God’s mercy and grace, however, was greater than the Jews’ ongoing rebellions against Him: “Nevertheless, in Your great compassion You did not make an end of them or abandon them, for You are a gracious and compassionate God.” (Neh. 9:31).

  • Praise God for His deliverance from your enemies and from your sins. Although the Jews in the book of Esther failed to mention God’s name, you are encouraged to recount God’s provision for you and the many times that He has delivered you from your enemies. “I shall remember the deeds of the Lord; surely I will remember Your wonders of old.” (Ps. 77:11). You are also encouraged to teach your children and grandchildren what God has done for you: “One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.” (Ps. 145:4). Have you shared God’s blessings in your life with others? Have you praised Him for the many times that He has delivered you?

  • With faith, Jesus can also deliver you from any struggle. Through faith in Jesus, all things are possible (Phil. 4:13). If you have been freed from being a slave to sin, God instead wants you to become a slave to righteousness (Rom. 6:17-18). Your body has been bought with a terrible price (1 Cor. 6:19-20). Through both faith and obedience, God gave you the power to break free from any kind of bondage or addiction. If you are struggling with sin, are you following Christ to break your chains of bondage?

3. Rest & Peace: Celebrate Jesus as the True Source of Your Rest & Peace. Esther 9:17-18.

  • Jesus gives the Jews rest from their struggles. After defeating the Jews’ enemies, God blessed the Jews with both rest and peace: “17 This was done on the thirteenth day of the month Adar, and on the fourteenth day they rested and made it a day of feasting and rejoicing.” 18 But the Jews who were in Susa assembled on the thirteenth and the fourteenth of the same month, and they rested on the fifteenth day and made it a day of feasting and rejoicing.” (Esther 9:17-18). The Feast of Purim begins on the 13th day of the month of Adar. This is approximately one month before Passover, which begins on the 14th of Nissan. The Jews finally had the chance to rest in peace from the attempts to annihilate them. Today, Jews remember this with gratitude for God’s deliverance.

Purim’s rest and peace from struggle foreshadows Jesus5

  • Jesus fulfilled His promise to bring the Jews peace and rest during times of tribulation. God has not promised a pain free life. We live in a cursed world (Gen. 3:17). Yet, when the Jews acted in faith, God promised to give them peace and rest from their struggles: “And He said, ‘My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.”’ (Ex. 33:14). “I shall also grant peace in the land, so that you may lie down with no one making you tremble. I shall also eliminate harmful beasts from the land, and no sword will pass through your land.” (Lev. 26:6). “When you cross the Jordan and live in the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, and He gives you rest from all your enemies around you so that you live in security,” (Dt. 12:10; Ps. 4:8).

  • Wiping out the Amalekites was part of the path for the Jews to find rest. The promise of peace, however, required that the Jews wipe out the Amalekites, who symbolized the flesh: “So it shall come about, when the LORD your God has given you rest from all your surrounding enemies in the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, that you shall wipe out the mention of the name Amalek from under heaven; you must not forget.” (Dt. 25:19). Thus, the destruction of the Amalekites during Purim fulfilled God’s commandments from more than 1,700 years earlier.

  • Jesus also offers you peace and rest during times of tribulation. Just as the Jews encountered, Jesus warns that you will also experience tribulation in the world (Jo. 16:33). Yet, when you obey Jesus, He promises you the peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4:7). This means that you will find peace in the midst of struggle. You may not be able to control your environment. But you will control your response to your environment. If you have a relationship with Christ but you don’t feel peace, pray for Him to reveal any area in your life where you are failing to obey His will.

4. Provision: Celebrate Jesus as the True Source of Your Provision. Esther 9:19.

  • The Jews celebrate with gifts for the poor. The Jews’ celebration of God’s love and provision in their lives included the Jews displaying of love and provision for fellow Jews in need: “19 Therefore the Jews of the rural areas, who live in the rural towns, make the fourteenth day of the month Adar a holiday for rejoicing and feasting and sending portions of food to one another.” (Esther 9:19). Today, observant Jews celebrate that joy of their deliverance by: (1) exchanging food gifts (mishloach manot); (2) donating charity to the poor (mattanot la-evyonim); and (3) sharing a celebratory meal (se'udat Purim).

  • God provided for the Jews’ needs. In the wilderness, God provided both manna and quail after the Jews grumbled about their food (Ex. 16:1-8, 35). He later again provided the “rabble” (half breeds) meat when they grew tired of manna (Nu. 11:4-6, 32-33). He also gave the Jews “water for their thirst” (Neh. 9:20). He made water come out from a rock at Horeb (Ex. 17:6). He also transformed the waters of Marah to provide drinking water (Ex. 15:22-27). He later caused the waters to gush out of a rock at Meribah (Nu. 20:10-11; Ps. 81:16; 106:41; Isa. 48:21). God even miraculously protected their feet from swelling (Neh. 9:21; Dt. 8:4). Moses said at the end of their journey: “For the Lord your God has blessed you in all that you have done; He has known your wanderings through this great wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you; you have not lacked a thing.”’ (Dt. 2:7). How are you thanking God for His provision?

  • Jesus will also provide for you as well. Jesus cares for you in the wilderness (Hos. 13:5). He is your manna and your food (Jo. 6:35; Matt. 6:31). He is the “rock” who gives you the water of contentment in your wilderness (Jo. 4:14; 6:36; 7:37-38; 1 Cor. 10:3-4). He clothes you (Matt. 6:30). He is also “the rock of our salvation” (Ps. 95:1; Dt. 32:3-4; Isa. 26:4). Likewise, He is a rock and a shield for all who take refuge in Him (Ps. 18:30; 2 Sam. 22:3, 31). Thus, He tells you not to worry about your provision (Matt. 6:34). If you complain about your provision, you are not trusting Him. Are there areas of worry or doubt in your life? If so, repent of these things. If you are in need, “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33).

  • Because God loves you and hears your cries to Him, respond by helping others. God repeatedly responded to the cries of His people when they were oppressed. In addition to hearing the cries of His people in Egypt (Ex. 3:7), He also repeatedly responded to their cries of oppression in the Promised Land (Jdgs. 2:18). “Many times He would deliver them; they, however, were rebellious in their counsel, and so sank down in their iniquity. Nevertheless He looked upon their distress when He heard their cry; and He remembered His covenant for their sake, and relented according to the greatness of His lovingkindness.” (Ps. 106:43-45). This same love caused Jesus to come to Earth and allow Himself to be killed so that undeserving sinners might be delivered (Jo. 3:16). Believers are called upon to show His love to others in need. If a believer sees another believer in need and closes his or heart to that person, the Bible asks: “how does the love of God remain in him?” (1 Jo. 3:17; Jam. 2:16; Dt. 15:7). Are you showing your appreciation for God’s love and compassion by helping another person in need?

5. Joy: Celebrate Jesus as the True Source of Your Joy. Esther 9:20-22.

  • Mordecai commemorated the Jews’ deliverance by ordaining the Purim celebration. To ensure that the Jews never forgot their deliverance, Mordecai establish Purim as a joyful time of celebration and thanksgiving: “20 Then Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, 21 obliging them to celebrate the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same month, annually, 22 because on those days the Jews rid themselves of their enemies, and it was a month which was turned for them from grief into joy, and from mourning into a holiday; that they were to make them days of feasting and rejoicing, and sending portions of food to one another, and gifts to the poor.” (Esther 9:20-22). During Purim, observant Jews go to the synagogue for the reading of the scroll of Esther, called the Megillah (Babylonian Talmud, Megillah 1a). The Jews shout with joy whenever Mordecai’s name is mentioned and boo whenever Haman’s name is mentioned in order to drown out his name. The joyful time includes giving gifts and dressing in festive masks or costumes. The wearing of costumes was to remind the Jews that God frequently operates behind a cloak of seemingly natural events. But many have sadly corrupted this holy day by turning it into a day of carnival drunkenness.

Arent de Gelder (1645-1727) “Esther and Mordecai writing the first letter of Purim” (1685)6

  • Jesus observed Purim by healing a poor man. Because He came to fulfill the law, Jesus observed all of the Old Testament festivals (Col. 2:17). In John 5, Jesus observed an unnamed feast in Jerusalem. “Chronologically, the only feast that makes sense is Purim in AD 28. The feast of John 5 fell on a Sabbath (5:9). The only feast day to fall on a Sabbath between AD 25 and AD 35 was Purim of AD 28 (Faulstich 1986). The Spirit of God intentionally left out the name of the feast because the Lord’s name was deliberately left out of the Book of Esther. In John 5, Jesus healed a man who had an infirmity for 38 years near the Pools of Bethesda (John 5:1-9). On Purim, Jewish people are commanded to give gifts to the poor. The Lord Jesus gave this poor sick man the gift of physical health and presumably eternal life. What great Purim presents to receive!”7

  • Let Jesus turn your sadness into joy. Immediately before Purim, the Jews fast for one day to commemorate Esther’s three-day fast (Esther 4:16). Just as He did for Esther and the Jews, Jesus can turn a life of mourning into joy: “You have turned my mourning into dancing for me; You have untied my sackcloth and encircled me with joy,” (Ps. 30:11). “You have put joy in my heart, more than when their grain and new wine are abundant.” (Ps. 4:7). “Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will dwell securely.” (Ps. 16:9). If you are filled with sadness, let Jesus transform it into joy.

6. Faithfulness: Celebrate Jesus For His Faithfulness and Sovereignty. Esther 9:23-32.

  • The Jews celebrated God’s faithfulness in turning a day of destruction into deliverance. Mordecai and Esther together established Purim to celebrate the Jews’ deliverance: “23 So the Jews undertook what they had started to do, and what Mordecai had written to them. 24 For Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the adversary of all the Jews, had schemed against the Jews to eliminate them, and had cast Pur, that is the lot, to disturb them and eliminate them. 25 But when it came to the king’s attention, he commanded by letter that his wicked scheme which he had devised against the Jews was to return on his own head, and that he and his sons were to be hanged on the wooden gallows. 26 Therefore they called these days Purim after the name of Pur. And because of the instructions in this letter, both what they had seen in this regard and what had happened to them, 27 the Jews established and made a custom for themselves, their descendants, and for all those who allied themselves with them, so that they would not fail to celebrate these two days according to their regulation and according to their appointed time annually. 28 So these days were to be remembered and celebrated throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and these days of Purim were not to be neglected by the Jews, or their memory fade from their descendants. 29 Then Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail, with Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter about Purim. 30 He sent letters to all the Jews, to the 127 provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, namely, words of peace and truth, 31 to establish these days of Purim at their appointed times, just as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had established for them, and just as they had established for themselves and for their descendants, with instructions for their times of fasting and their mourning. 32 The command of Esther established these customs for Purim, and it was written in the book.” (Esther 9:23-32). Haman cast a lot to pick the day of the Jews’ planned destruction (Esther 3:7). But Jesus showed how He was in control by selecting this same day to deliver the Jews (Esther 9:24). Although God is never mentioned in Esther, God showed that He was in control through seemingly impossible coincidences. In their new position of authority, Esther and Mordecai continued to work together to bring “words of peace and truth” to the Jews (Esther 9:30). Where Haman meant for the day to be a day of death, God turned it into a day of life for His people (Rom. 8:28).

Arent de Gelder (1645-1727) Esther and Mordecai writing the second letter of Purim (1685)8

  • Purim is unique amongst the Old Testament festivals. In the first five books of the Bible, God lists seven Old Testament festivals. These holy days revealed the “shadows” of Jesus (Col. 2:17). They include: (1) Passover: Jesus was the Passover lamb who died for us to allow judgment to “pass over” us (Isa. 53:7; Jo. 1:29; 1 Pet. 1:18-19). This day (“Good Friday”) is a day to stop and remember the terrible sacrifice that Christ paid for you so that death would pass you over; (2) The Feast of Unleavened Bread. During this feast, Jesus was in the grave. Through Christ, we are freed from our sins, the “leaven” in our lives (1 Cor. 5:7; 6:13-20). This is the day to flee from the sins of your old lives the way that the Jews fled from theirs in Egypt; (3) The Feast of First Fruits. On this day (“Resurrection Sunday”), Jesus rose from the grave and became the “first fruits” of those who were once dead (1 Cor. 15:20). This is a day to give thanks to Him and offer the first fruits of your life as a “living sacrifice.” (Rom. 12:1); (4) The Feast of Weeks. On this day, God revealed His will for us by pouring out the Holy Spirit unto His believers (“Pentecost”) (Acts 2:3). This is a day to give thanks for the Holy Spirit and to discern God’s will for you through reading the Word and through prayer; (5) Rosh HaShanah. Rosh HaShanah is God’s New Years’ Day. It is celebrated by the blowing of trumpets (Lev. 23:24-25). Rosh HaShanah was celebrated over two days because no one knew the exact date that it began. Some believe that this foreshadows the rapture, the next event on the Christian calendar. Like Rosh HaShanah, the rapture will be preceded by the blowing of a loud trumpet (Matt. 24:31; 1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thess. 4:16-17). Yet, no one knows the exact day or hour of His return (Matt. 24:36; Mk. 13:32); (6) Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Yom Kippur is the day of atonement for sin (Lev. 23:26-32). It was a somber time for repentance and prayer for the sins of the nation. Those who failed to repent would face God’s judgment. This foreshadows the day of wrath when Jesus will come to judge the nations (Joel 2:1; Rev. 8-9). This is a day to repent of your sins, give thanks for what He did for you, and to pray and fast for the nations to repent; (7) Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths. Sukkot celebrates when God came to dwell or “tabernacle” amongst us. It also foreshadowed both when Jesus dwelled with us and when He will again “tabernacle” with us during His 1,000-year reign on Earth. (Lev. 23:41; Dt. 16:15). It may also correspond with Jesus’ actual birthday; (8) Purim. Excluding Hanukkah (which does not appear in the Protestant Old Testament), Purim is the only festival found outside of the Torah. Purim is your chance to celebrate Jesus’ completed work. He delivered us from death and will bring joyful, eternal life.

  • Jesus is sovereign and faithful to keep His promises. Jesus created the universe (Neh. 9:6; Gen. 1:1; Dt. 10:14; Acts 4:24; Col. 1:16). He later selected Abram, despite being an idol worshiper from Ur (Gen. 11:31; 12:1; Josh. 24:2). He then renamed him Abraham (Gen. 17:5; Neh. 9:7). And He made a covenant with Abraham and his descendants to give them the Promised Land (Gen. 12:6-7; 13:14-15; 15:18; 17:8; 26:4; 28:13-15; 50:24; Ex. 12:25; 23:20-31; 33:1-3; Dt. 1:19-20). He promised that He will never forget His Covenant with Abraham and his descendants (Gen. 17:1-8; Dt. 4:31). As part of this Covenant, He freed the Jews when they were in Egyptian captivity: “13 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so that you would not be their slaves, and I broke the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect.” (Lev. 26:13, Ex. 20:2). He even promised to protect the Jews when they were in their future captivity (Lev. 26:44-45). The prophet Isaiah later foretold of King Cyrus II of Persia’s future victory over Babylon 150 years before he was even born (Is. 44:28-45:5). Because God is faithful, He later raised up Esther and Mordecai to protect the Jews who returned to the Promised Land and those who stayed behind. Daniel explained: “It is He [God] who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding.” (Dan. 2:21; Job 12:23; Is. 40:15). Moses told the Jews to “Be strong and courageous, . . . , for the Lord your God is the One who is going with you. He will not desert you or abandon you.” (Dt. 31:6). God will also never leave or forsake you (Heb. 13:5). Even when believers are a persecuted minority, as was the case under Haman, He will never abandoned His people.

  • Worship the faithful Creator of the universe who is sovereign over everything. The psalmist worshiped God as the creator of all life: “May you be blessed of the LORD, maker of heaven and earth.” (Ps. 115:15). “Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” (Ps. 124:8). “May the LORD bless you from Zion, He who made heaven and earth.” (Ps. 134:3). If you have the faith to celebrate that God created everything, you can have the faith to know that there is no problem that is too big in your life for God to deal with. In times of trial, are you still thanking Jesus?

7. Righteousness: Celebrate Jesus for His Righteousness. Esther 10:1-3.

  • Mordecai’s leadership brings justice and righteousness to all under Xerxes’ reign. In the epilogue to the book, God recorded how Mordecai’s just and wise administration blessed both the Jews and all of Xerxes’ subjects: “1 Now King Ahasuerus imposed a tax on the land and the coastlands of the sea. And every accomplishment of his authority and power, and the full account of the greatness of Mordecai with which the king honored him, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia? For Mordecai the Jew was second only to King Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews and in favor with his many kinsmen, one who sought the good of his people and one who spoke for the welfare of his entire nation.” (Esther 10:1-3). Mordecai’s faithfulness in exposing a plot to kill Xerxes was recorded in the chronicles of the Kings of Persia (Esther 2:23). He never asked for a reward. Years later, God caused Xerxes to hear about his heroic act at a time when God induced Xerxes with insomnia (Esther 6:1-2). Mordecai’s just and righteous administration of Xerxes’ empire was again recorded in these chronicles (Esther 10:2). The example of taxation is believed to reflect his adjustment of the tax burden after Xerxes’ lost territory and money during his failed wars against the Greeks. God’s servants Joseph and Daniel also blessed both the Jews and the gentiles with their wise and just administration (Gen. 41:39-44; Dan. 6:3). But Mordecai’s administration is believed to have lasted no longer than eight years. Persian history reflects that another man held this role after Xerxes was assassinated in 465 B.C.

  • Jesus will bring justice and righteousness to the entire Earth. Mordecai’s just and wise administration foreshadowed the future administration of Jesus as the King of Kings. While Mordecai ruled for only eight years, Jesus Christ will rule eternity as the Prince of Peace with justice and righteousness: “There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of armies will accomplish this.” (Is. 9:7; Zech. 9:9-10). “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” (Lk. 1:33). ‘“Behold, the days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land.”’ (Jer. 23:5; Is. 24:15; 42:4).

Mordecai and Esther brought justice, wisdom, and fairness to Persia9

  • Serve Jesus in humility and He will exalt you. Mordecai served in humility before God exalted him (Esther 8:15; 9:4; 10:2-3). If you serve in humility like Mordecai, Jesus will exalt you in heaven and celebrate your service for Him: “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” (Matt. 23:12; Lk. 14:11; 18:14; 1 Pet. 5:6; Ja. 4:10; 2:5). Do you boast about your accomplishments? Or, do you give the glory to Jesus for His accomplishments in your life?

  • Be a Mordecai or an Esther in a fallen and hostile world. The book of Esther should inspire believers to act to help save others, like Esther and Mordecai did for others: “The challenge of the Book of Esther presents is that we must recognize when our ‘time’ has come to act (Esther 4:14). Upon such recognition we must immediately proceed to doing God’s will, trusting in God’s presence and favor. There are few books of the Old Testament more relevant to life in a society hostile to the gospel. Believers are scattered throughout the world, awaiting the Lord’s return. Although he is present and active now as much as ever, he is usually ‘hidden’ behind the events of life he is directing for his own glory and the benefit of his children.”10 Being a spectator is not a spiritual gift or a calling. If you are praying for Jesus to call someone else to serve and address wrongs in society, you are saying the wrong prayer. Are you responding to Jesus’ call in your life?

Shadows of Jesus in Old Testament Festivals Col 2.16-17

Civil calendar



US Events Jesus’ birth sequence
1. Tishri 7 10

1st. Ros Hashana – New year

1std Feast of Trumpets Lev 23.23

10th Day of Atonement – Yom Kippur

Num 29.7 / Lev 23.26

15th Sukkot – Feast of Tabernacles

A must to be at the temple

Num 29.12 / Lev 23.34

15th. If Jesus was born here

John 1.14

2 Cheshvan 8 11
3 Kislev 9 12
4 Tevet 10 1

If 15th Tishri, then Jesus conceived

Lk 1.26, 36 Elizabeth’s 6 month.

5 Shevat 11 2
6 Adar 12 3 14th or 15th Purim Esther 9.17-18
7 Nisan 1 4

14th Passover – Pesach Ex 12.18

15th – 21st Feast of Unleavened Bread Lev 23.5

16th to 6th of Sivan – Feast of Weeks 50 days

17th Feast of 1st Fruits = Resurrection Lev 23.11

8 Iyar 2 5
9 Sivan 3 6 6th Shavout (2nd) Harvest - Wheat Giving of the 10 Commandments/ Giving of the Holy Spirit Lev 23.15
10 Tammuz 4 7

If 15th Tishri John conceived

Luke 1.24

11 Av 5 8
12 Elul 6 9
Colors Meaning
Purple Jesus’ birth sequence
Blue Civil Calendar
Rust Religious Calendar
Aqua 3 Pilgrimage Festivals
Black Harvest Festivals

  1. Mervin Breneman, The New American Commentary, Vol. 10, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther (B&H Publishing Group 1993) p. 370.↩︎