Arlen L. Chitwood
But Queen Vashti refused to come at the kingís command brought by his eunuchs; therefore the king was furious, and his anger burned within him. . . .
What shall we do to Queen Vashti . . . ?
If it pleases the king, let a royal decree go out from him, and let it be recorded in the laws of the Persians and the Medes, so that it will not be altered, that Vashti shall come no more before King Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal position to another who is better than she. (Esther 1:12, 15a, 19)
Chapter one in the book of Esther begins with the ruler of the world empire of that day (Ahasuerus), the most powerful of all the kings on earth, performing certain regal tasks relative to his kingdom. As he sat on his throne, ďhe made a feast,Ē and ďhe showed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the splendor of his excellent majesty.Ē And these things were done in connection with set times ó ďthe third year,Ē ďone hundred and eighty days [six months],Ē and ďseven daysĒ (vv. 1-5).
Then, also in connection with these set times, ďon the seventh day,Ē the king commanded that Vashti the queen be brought before him, ďwearing her royal crownĒ (v. 11).
The queen was to appear in the kingís presence at a set time, for a particular purpose. She was to appear following the festivities, on the seventh day; and the purpose of her appearance had to do with regality, for the queen was to come forth wearing a crown. Further, the king planned to openly present the crowned queen to those in his kingdom at this time, ďto show her beauty to the people and the officials, for she was beautiful to beholdĒ (Esther 1:10, 11).
But ďQueen Vashti refused to come at the king's command.Ē The king was enraged, for Vashti, through this refusal, had dishonored the one with whom she ruled as consort queen. And through dishonoring the king in this manner, she had ďnot only wronged the king, but also all the princes, and all the people who are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus (vv. 12-16).
And because of Vashtiís refusal to come, she was rejected as queen. Not only would she never again be allowed to appear before the king, but ďher royal positionĒ would be taken from her and given to ďanother who is better than she.Ē And this matter was made known through a decree issued by the king and published throughout the kingdom in all the various languages of those in the kingdom (vv. 17-22).
That is the story seen in chapter one. It is actual history fraught with significance and meaning. This chapter forms one part of the end result of God, through His sovereign control of all things, bringing events and circumstances to pass in such a manner that He could use the end result of His work (in this case, events in the book of Esther) to teach His people great spiritual truths. And, drawing from biblical history, the central means that God uses to make known spiritual truths in this manner is typical teachings.
Chapter one in Esther, within a type-antitype framework, has to do with God ruling over a province in His kingdom (God ruling over the earth). This chapter centers on certain things concerning the King and this one segment of His kingdom, which lead into certain things concerning the queen (Israel, the wife of the King).
This chapter has to do with God and a province in His kingdom, with Israelís calling relative to the King and this province, with Israelís refusal to come at the Kingís command, and that which the King did about the matter. And, in this manner, this chapter covers the complete history of Israel, up to and including the present day and time.
And note where the emphasis is placed in the book of Esther. It is placed first on set times in which certain things are brought to pass. In complete keeping with these set times, there was a display of the riches of the kingdom, along with the splendor and greatness of the kingís majesty. And this all led into things stated about the queen, who was to be brought forth in a regal capacity, on the seventh day.
Bringing matters over into the antitype, Godís plans and purposes are carried out at set times. In complete keeping with these set times, the riches of Godís kingdom have been/are being/will be made known, along with the splendor and greatness of His majesty. And, within a Scriptural framework, this all leads into things stated about the queen (about Israel), whose calling involves being brought forth in a regal capacity, on the seventh day.
(For a detailed discussion of the significance of the set times mentioned several places in chapter one of Esther [along with chapter two as well], see chapter 1 in this book.)
Man, at the time of his creation, was brought forth to rule in Godís kingdom. Satan, the incumbent ruler whom God had placed over the province in the beginning, had disqualified himself; and man, created in Godís image, after Godís likeness, was brought on the scene to replace the disqualified ruler (cf. Genesis 1:26-28; Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:14-19).
However, because of Satanís intrusion, man, following his creation, found himself (as Satan) disqualified to rule. Satan, knowing the reason for manís creation, sought to thwart Godís regal purpose for man through bringing about his fall. And, with man in a fallen state, Satan was allowed to continue holding the scepter (cf. Genesis 3:1-7; Luke 4:5, 6; John 14:30; Ephesians 3:9-11; 6:12).
(A principle of biblical government necessitates that an incumbent ruler, if he is to be replaced, must continue holding the scepter until his replacement is on the scene and ready to ascend the throne. Then, action will be taken by God [the One who both places and removes rulers (Daniel 4:17, 25)].
An example of this can be seen in the account of Saul and David in 1, 2 Samuel. Saul, through disobedience, had disqualified himself; and David was then anointed king in Saulís stead.
But David didnít immediately ascend the throne. Saul continued in power until David was ready to ascend the throne [in Godís time, when David had acquired all of the necessary qualified rulers to govern with him in the kingdom]. Only then did God remove Saul and give his crown to David.
And exactly the same thing is true in the antitype. Satan, through sin, has disqualified himself; and Christ has been anointed King in Satanís stead.
But, as in the type, Christ didnít immediately ascend the throne. Though Christ has already been anointed King, Satan continues to hold the scepter. And Satan will continue holding the scepter until Christ is ready to ascend the throne [in Godís time, when Christ will have acquired all of the necessary qualified rulers to govern with Him in the kingdom (through the work of the Spirit during the present dispensation)]. Only then will God remove Satan and give the crown to His Son.)
Both manís fall and Satanís fall have to do with regality, but their respective falls differed in one major respect. Following manís fall, unlike events following Satanís fall, redemption was provided; and redemption was provided with one end in view ó man realizing the purpose for his creation in the beginning.
But still, though redemption was provided, man had to wait for Godís time before he could exercise regal power. And, even though almost 6,000 years have come to pass since Adamís fall, the time for man to rule has not yet arrived. The time for God to remove the incumbent ruler and place another One in his position is still future. Weíre still living during that day and time when Satan has been allowed to continue holding the scepter.
Thus, man seeking to rule today, should he be successful, would find himself ruling before the time. And, ruling before the time, he could only find himself occupying a position of power in the present kingdom, in Satanís kingdom.
Satan and his angels presently rule the earth through the Gentile nations, from a heavenly sphere. This is the way in which the present kingdom of the heavens (under Satan) is structured, paralleling the way in which the coming kingdom of the heavens (under Christ) will be structured. And man exercising regal power today, among the nations of the world, can only find himself ruling under a fallen angel who occupies a position of power with Satan, seated in the present kingdom of the heavens (Daniel 10:13, 14, 20).
For an unsaved person to occupy a position of this nature is one thing, but for a saved person to occupy a similar position is a completely different matter. Saved individuals have a calling to occupy regal positions in the coming kingdom of Christ (from a heavenly sphere), not regal positions in the present kingdom of Satan (from an earthly sphere); and for a saved person to aspire to occupy a position of power in the present kingdom of Satan could only be an act diametrically opposed to his high calling.
Viewing the matter from the framework of the type in 1 and 2 Samuel, such action on the part of saved people would be comparable to one or more of those who had joined themselves to David out in the hills leaving the camp of David and returning to Saulís kingdom, in a regal capacity. Christians doing something of this nature will find themselves ruling before the time, in the wrong kingdom. And such can only lead to dire consequences:
No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.
And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. (2 Timothy 2:4, 5)
Man is to exercise regal power on the seventh day, in Christís kingdom, not prior to the seventh day, in Satanís kingdom. And man is to bide his time, waiting for that future day.
Man, at the time of his creation, was brought forth on the sixth day, for regal purposes; and manís creation for regal purposes could only have been with a view to the seventh day, for that was the only day left within the framework of the complete type seen in Genesis 1:1-2:3.
Then, the same thing is seen relative to Israel in the opening two chapters of Esther. Vashti, in chapter one, was to appear before the king, wearing her crown, ďon the seventh dayĒ; and Esther, in chapter two, appeared before the king, wearing this same crown, ďin the seventh yearĒ (1:10, 11; 2:16, 17).
Thus, manís calling to exercise regality has to do with one time alone. It has to do with the coming seventh day, the coming seventh millennium, the Messianic Era. Satan will continue on the throne until that time. And man exercising power today can only do so before the time, within the wrong kingdom.
1) But, Godís Dealings with Israel
Regality in relation to Israel during the past dispensation though presented a slightly different situation than exists for Christians during the present dispensation. Following Adamís fall, any man seeking to exercise regality among the nations could only rule in one realm. He could only rule in Satanís kingdom, under a fallen angel ruling with Satan. But, when God created a second man (Jacob [Isaiah 43:1]), with a nation emanating from the loins of this second man (the nation of Israel), things changed in this respect.
Following the nation of Israel being brought into existence, God had a nation that could exercise regality within the sphere of Satanís kingdom, though separate from exercising this power in connection with the kingdom itself. Michael would be the ďprinceĒ over Israel (Daniel 10:21), not an angel in Satanís kingdom (vv. 13, 20). Israel would occupy the position of not only Godís firstborn son (only firstborn sons can rule in this manner) but also that of the wife of Jehovah (the King could rule only in conjunction with a queen, fulfilling a requirement seen in Genesis 1:26-28 ó ďlet them [the man and the woman together] have dominionĒ). Thus, God could rule in ďthe kingdom of menĒ (Daniel 4:17, 25), through Israel, within a theocracy, in this manner.
This rulership within the theocracy though had to be entirely Jewish. That is, those exercising this rulership had to be from the lineage of Jacob through his twelve sons, ruling within a nation comprised of individuals from this same lineage.
The descendants of Jacob alone comprised a nation that could exercise regality in this manner, separate from Satanís rule. The regal system that God established for Israel wouldnít, for example, have worked through a Jew ruling in a Gentile nation. That would be no different than a Christian today ruling in a Gentile nation. The Jew during past time would have found himself completely out of place; and the Christian today can only find himself equally out of place.
The Jew was (and remains today) of the old creation in Jacob (separate from the Gentiles), and the Christian is a new creation in Christ, a part of the one new man (separate from both Israel and the Gentiles). A Jew during the days of the Old Testament theocracy (and even today) who associated himself with a Gentile power in a regal capacity would simply have found himself associated with power in Satanís kingdom, exercising power in the kingdom under a fallen angel, exactly as any Gentile holding a similar position. And the same would be true for Christians today.
The simple fact of the matter is that Israel was called into existence to rule during Manís Day (while Satan still held the scepter), within a theocracy. Israel was to rule in this manner, within the sphere of Satanís kingdom, though separate from exercising regal power in connection with the kingdom itself. And the Gentile nations within Satanís kingdom were to be both ruled over and blessed through Israel within the theocracy.
2) Still, with the Same End in View
But, despite all of the preceding, the full and ultimate end of Israelís regal calling had to do with the seventh day, the seventh millennium, the Messianic Era. This is made plain from not only manís creation on the sixth day (with a view to the only day left, the seventh day) but from that which is seen in the first two chapters of Esther as well.
The crux of chapters one and two in Esther ó the introductory chapters to the book, which relate the complete history of Israel, from the time of the nationís inception to the Messianic Kingdom ó has to do with a crowned queen being brought forth ďon the seventh day,Ē ďthe seventh year.Ē And, comparing Scripture with Scripture (going back to Genesis 1, 2 and progressing from there), this can only point to one thing.
The full and ultimate end of Israelís calling has to do with the Messianic Era, not with the Old Testament theocracy. Israelís calling during Old Testament days was not an end in itself, as the Law governing the Jewish people within the theocracy was not an end in itself. Rather, Israelís calling was designed to lead into and reach an ultimate goal only during the Messianic Era.
Israelís Refusal to Come
The history of Israel though, in relation to the nationís calling, could be summed up under words such as a disobedient people, a rebellious people, a people who had forsaken and rejected God and His Word. And, because of this, toward the closing years of the Old Testament theocracy, God pictured the nation, from a spiritual standpoint, as sick and unsightly beyond oneís imagination.
Because the nation had become ďa people laden with iniquity, a brood of evildoers . . . corrupters,Ē ones who had ďforsaken the LORD,Ē God viewed the nation as sick, ďfrom the sole of the foot even to the head.Ē The nation was viewed as completely unsound, a people whose spiritual appearance before God was that of ďwounds and bruises and putrefying soresĒ (Isaiah 1:1-6).
And not only was this the case, but, because of Israelís disobedience, even the land of Israel itself had become in a parallel condition to that of the people. The land was pictured as desolate and devoured by strangers, with the cities pictured as burned with fire (Isaiah 1:7). And, as with the result of Israelís disobedience, this was also in exact accord with Godís promise (Leviticus 26:33).
Israelís calling was of such a nature that obedience would result in the nation being taken to the heights (Leviticus 26:3-13; Deuteronomy 28:1-14), or disobedience would result in the nation being taken to the depths (Leviticus 26:14-39; Deuteronomy 28:15-68).
And exactly the same thing can be seen in the Christiansí calling today (e.g., contrast Romans 1:1-17 and Romans 1:18-32; all thirty-two verses deal with Christians, not just the first seventeen).
God will reward manís adherence to and obedience surrounding the greatest things He has ever designed for redeemed man. And the opposite of that is equally true. God will not take lightly manís aversion to and disobedience surrounding that which He deems of utmost importance. This applies equally to Israel during the past dispensation and to Christians during the present dispensation.
When one reads sections of Scripture such as Leviticus 26:1ff and Deuteronomy 28:1ff relative to Israel, or 2 Thessalonians 1:5-12 and Hebrews 10:26-39 relative to Christians ó in the light of manís calling (regal) ó the whole of the matter, as it pertains to both Israel and Christians, can be clearly seen.
Matters surrounding Israelís disobedience have been openly revealed for man to see during Manís Day, as was Davidís sin of adultery with Bathsheba. Davidís sin was committed in connection with Israelís earthly calling (a king ruling those whom God had called to be ďa kingdom of priests and n holy nationĒ [Exodus 19:5, 6] in an earthly land). Accordingly, Davidís sin was not only a sin against God but against Israel and the nations of the earth (because of Israelís position in relation to the Gentile nations). And, because of this, Davidís sin was openly revealed at this time, not only ďbefore all IsraelĒ but ďbefore the sunĒ as well (2 Samuel 12:12).
Israelís disobedience, in like manner to Davidís, has not only been against God, but against the nations of the earth. God called Israel to occupy a particular position in relation to the Gentile nations, wherein blessings for these nations were involved. And, because such blessings were withheld as a direct result of Israelís disobedience, Israelís sin has been openly manifested in the presence of these same nations.
This is why one finds Israel scattered among the Gentile nations, with the nations not only allowed to rule over Israel but to also be the instrument of Godís promised wrath upon Israel as well. This is why there could be, and was, a Holocaust during the days of the Third Reich. And this is also why there will yet be a far worse Holocaust during the days of the man of sin. Matters surrounding the Christian though are of a different nature. The Christiansí calling is heavenly alone and doesnít presently involve the nations of the earth. Thus, events of a parallel nature to those which Israel has undergone and continues to undergo, await decisions and determinations at the judgment seat of Christ.
It is Israelís disobedience alone, not that of Christians, which involves the nations in this respect (though, within another frame of reference, parallel sins of numerous Christians are just as terrible in Godís sight; and these sins will one day be dealt with accordingly). But, because Israelís disobedience involves the nations of the earth during Manís Day, God deals with Israel accordingly during the present day and time.
Israelís disobedience in respect to God and the nations can be seen throughout the days of the Old Testament theocracy, beginning almost three and one half millennia ago. This disobedience was brought to an apex at Christís first coming, and it will not be brought to an end until the time Christ returns yet future.
During the interim, as in the past, Israel continues to be called to an accounting for the nationís disobedience. And this continues to occur in exact accord with the way in which God has outlined the matter in Leviticus chapter twenty-six and Deuteronomy chapter twenty-eight, with the Gentile nations being allowed to step in and help ďforward the afflictionĒ (Zechariah 1:14, 15 (KJV); cf. Joel 3:6-8; Zechariah 14:1-3; Matthew 24:15-22; Luke 21:20-24).
1) During the Old Testament Theocracy
Following Adamís fall, God waited 2,000 years before he brought forth the man ó Abraham ó through whose lineage the nations of the earth were to be blessed. Then, 500 additional years passed before God was ready to begin fulfilling his promises to Abraham concerning a seed and a land, through a nation emanating from his loins (Genesis 12:1-3; 13:14-17; 15:13-21; Exodus 6:3-8; 12:40, 41).
Twenty-five hundred years beyond the creation of Adam, during the days of Moses, the nation emanating from the loins of Abraham found itself exactly where the same nation (because of disobedience) finds itself today. The Israelites found themselves in a Gentile land (in ďEgypt,Ē a type of the world in Scripture), ruled over and persecuted by a Gentile power.
God called the nation out of Egypt under Moses, to dwell in the land that had been covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They were to dwell in this land as ďa kingdom of priests and a holy nation.Ē And, in this position, they were to be placed ďabove all people,Ē with the Gentile nations of the earth being blessed through Israel (cf. Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5, 6; Deuteronomy 6:23; 7:6; 28:13).
However, unbelief and disobedience marked the history of the Israelites ó from the days of Moses to that time centuries later when God allowed Gentile powers to come into the land, uproot his people, and carry them away captive into Gentile land.
A theocracy existed in the land of Israel for about eight centuries, which reached its heights during Davidís reign, extending into part of Solomonís reign. But this theocracy, because of Israelís disobedience, never rose to the heights that God had intended. It never became a theocracy in which the nations of the earth could be ruled by and blessed through Israel.
During the latter part of Solomonís reign, things began to go even further awry. And about fifty years after his reign, Elijah appeared, followed by Elisha, calling attention to sin, disobedience.
But matters remained unchanged. And, to remain true to His Word, God was left with only one recourse. The Israelites were to find themselves occupying a position diametrically opposed to the position that God had called them to occupy.
The Israelites would be removed from their land and scattered among the Gentile nations; they would find themselves under subjection to these nations and mistreated by these nations in every conceivable way, exactly as God had promised (cf. Leviticus 26:21, 22, 27, 28, 33-39; Deuteronomy 28:25, 30, 37, 65-67).
In 722 B.C. the Assyrians were allowed to come into the land and take the northern ten tribes into captivity. And slightly over one hundred years later, about 605 B.C., the Babylonians were allowed to come into the land and take the southern two tribes into captivity. These were captivities from which only remnants of Jews have ever been allowed to return, more particularly at two different times ó one that began seventy years following the Babylonian captivity, and the other that began in 1948, during modern times.
The nation itself has never been allowed to return from the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities. Rather, because of disobedience, the nation has remained scattered among and persecuted by Gentile nations. And that which happened in Europe during particularly the years 1939-1945 ó 6,000,000 Jews slain as a result of Gentile persecution ó is simply an extreme outworking of that which God promised would happen to His people if they did not obey His voice. In short, the Holocaust was the direct result of two things: (1) Jewish disobedience, and (2) God keeping His Word.
But the Holocaust also had to do with something else relative to God keeping His Word. Though the Gentile nations may seek to carry out genocidal activities surrounding Israel, this nation cannot be destroyed.
As the bush burned during Mosesí day, apart from being comsumed (Exodus 3:2, 3), the nation of Israel will continue to be persecuted by the Gentiles, apart from being destroyed. For, as God was in the midst of the burning bush during Moses day (v. 4), or as a fourth person was seen in the fiery furnace during Danielís day (with the three Israelites [Daniel 3:19-25]), God has always resided in the midst of His people, Israel (even today, in their disobedience). Thus, to destroy Israel, God Himself would have to be destroyed.
Two things relative to Israel in the preceding respect are contingent entirely upon God fulfilling that which He has promised in His Word. One has to do with the position in which the nation of Israel finds itself today (scattered among and persecuted by Gentile nations), and the other has to do with the fact that Israel will continue as a people until Godís purpose for calling this nation into existence has been realized.
2) At Christís First Coming
Christís first coming occurred about six centuries following that time when the complete nation (northern ten tribes and southern two tribes) had been removed from their land, carried away by Gentile powers, and scattered among the Gentile nations. And His first coming occurred at a time slightly over five centuries following the return of remnants under Zerubbabel and Ezra.
These remnants formed the original nucleus for that segment of the nation that was in the land, under Roman dominion and persecution, at Christís first coming. Most of the Jews at this time were still scattered throughout Gentile lands (Acts 2:8-11), and even the ones in the land of Israel found themselves under subjection to a Gentile power.
Christís first coming occurred during ďthe times of the Gentiles,Ē which began about 605 B.C., when Nebuchadnezzar was allowed to come into the land and begin carrying the remaining southern two tribes into captivity; and this time will continue until the heavens are opened, Christ returns, overthrows Gentile world power, and places Israel in the position to which the nation was called in the beginning.
Jerusalem was being trodden down of the Gentiles when Christ came the first time, and it will be trodden down of the Gentiles for the three and one-half years immediately preceding Christís return (Luke 21:20-24; John 19:10-15; Revelation 11:2). Then, ďthe times of the GentilesĒ will end, for Israel, in that day, will be brought to the place of repentance.
In this respect, note the message of John, Jesus, the twelve, and the seventy at Christís first coming. It was a simple message: ďRepent, for the kingdom of the heavens is at handĒ (cf. Matthew 3:2; 4:17; 10:7; Luke 10:9). There was a call for national repentance, and this was to be followed by national baptism (showing exactly the same thing that the Red Sea passage during Moses day depicted relative to the entire nation in the type [ref. the authorís book, Search for the Bride, chapter 6]).
And this call for repentance, followed by baptism, was voiced by Peter on the day of Pentecost, after the promised Spirit had been sent: ďRepent and be baptized every one of you [the entire nation of Israel] . . . .Ē (Acts 2:38a).
This was the beginning of the re-offer of the kingdom of the heavens to Israel (which lasted until about 62 A.D.). During the original offer (during Christís earthly ministry), the message was to the Jew only (Matthew 10:5, 6; 15:24). But, during the re-offer, the message was to the Jew first, not to the Jew only. And, during this time, it was also to the Gentile (Romans 1:16; 2:9, 10, 16).
However, Israel refused to repent during both the offer and the re-offer of the kingdom. During the offer, the Jewish people climaxed their unbelief and disobedience through rejecting the message and the Messenger, pledging their allegiance to a pagan Gentile king, and then crucifying the true King (John 18:19-23; 19:14, 15). This was then followed by continued rejection during the re-offer of the kingdom (Acts 2:37-41; 3:19-4:3, 10-21; 5:17-33; 7:51-8:4; 9:20-29).
This left God with only one recourse ó to continue fulfilling in the lives of the Jewish people that which He had stated in His Word relative to the consequences of disobedience (e.g., allowing a Gentile power to destroy Jerusalem in 70 A.D., followed by a scattering of the remnant in the land, followed by continued Gentile persecution). Though the nation was set aside for a dispensation, there must be a continuation of the outworking of the principles that God has laid down in His Word surrounding Israel (for Jew or Gentile, as seen in Genesis 12:3).
Man is living today during a time when Israel remains in an unbelieving and disobedient state. And Godís Word, relative to Israel in this state, must be fulfilled. Thatís what most of the book of Esther is about. The matter is introduced in chapter one, and the remaining chapters present the full and ultimate end of the matter ó the unparalleled sufferings that the nation is about to undergo, followed by the glory to then be revealed.