Arlen L. Chitwood
Haman’s Rise to Power
After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him and set his seat above all the princes who were with him.
And all the king’s servants who were within the king’s gate bowed and paid homage to Haman, for so the king had commanded concerning him. But Mordecai would not bow or pay homage. . . .
When Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow or pay him homage, Haman was filled with wrath.
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.
(Esther 3:1, 2, 5, 6).
The book of Esther begins with a panoramic view of the entire history of Israel, revealed through the experiences of three individuals in the kingdom of Ahasuerus: Vashti, Esther, and Mordecai. The complete story is told in very brief form throughout chapters one and two. The things revealed in these two chapters have to do with Israel’s calling, Israel’s disobedience, Israel’s rejection, God’s wrath because of Israel’s disobedience, God’s wrath coming to an end, God remembering Israel, and Israel’s restoration.
In this respect, the first two chapters of Esther provide a sequence of events that briefly cover 3,500 years of Jewish history, extending from the things that occurred after Moses had appeared to his people a second time to the things that will occur after the One greater than Moses appears to His people a second time. Then the remainder of the book (chapters 3-10) forms commentary material on these two chapters, providing details concerning events that will occur during the time covered by these two chapters.
This commentary material though does not deal with the whole panorama of Israeli history, as revealed in brief form in chapters one and two. Rather, this commentary material begins with and deals with a particular aspect of this history — God’s wrath, because of Israel’s disobedience.
But the whole panoramic view of God’s wrath, as seen in the opening two chapters, is not covered. Rather, revelation forming this commentary material begins with and deals with God’s wrath at the time this wrath reaches an apex, at the end of Man’s Day.
And further narrowing down and pinpointing the time when God’s wrath will be manifested in this manner, this part of the book centers on and deals with events during the last three and one-half years of this wrath. And then the book moves into that time when God’s wrath will end, followed by subsequent events, which carries matters beyond Man’s Day into the Lord’s Day.
Thus, most of the book of Esther, as the book of Revelation, centers on events during three and one-half years of human history (related in Esther 3-9 and Revelation 6-19). And, as in the book of Revelation, so in the book of Esther — one man is seen moving center-stage at this time. This man is introduced at the very beginning of Esther chapter three, in the person of Haman; and the remainder of the book is mainly about God’s wrath being executed through the actions of this man, along with the end of the matter.
The man typified by “Haman” is the prophesied man of sin, the Antichrist, who will arise at the very end of the time fulfilling Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy. This man will arise in the Middle East, from within the territorial boundaries of the northern segment of the kingdom of Alexander the Great, as it was divided following his death in 323 B.C. (which, today, would cover parts of Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey [Daniel 8:8-12, 21-25]).
And this man will rule from that part of the world, not from Europe, as is often erroneously taught. From an established Middle East power base in the proximity of ancient Babylon, this man, during the first part of Daniel’s Seventieth Week, will rapidly move into a position in which he will (near the middle of Daniel’s Seventieth Week) control all of Gentile world power. He will then become the last “king of Babylon,” as he reigns from Babylon (Isaiah 14:1-7, 25).
Satan will give to this man “his power, his throne, and great authority” (Revelation 13:2b). At the end of Man’s Day, he will occupy the same position that Satan offered to Christ during the temptation account, at Christ’s first coming (Luke 4:5, 6).
This man is seen occupying a central place in books such as Exodus, Esther, Daniel, and Revelation. And he is seen occupying a prominent place in numerous other books as well (both Old and New Testaments).
Excluding that which Scripture reveals about Christ (for the whole of Scripture is about Him), Scripture deals with and reveals more about this man — Antichrist — than any other one person throughout Man’s Day.
Thus, in this respect, two prominent Men are seen in Scripture — One throughout Scripture, and the other in numerous parts of Scripture. And one of the great paradoxes of the times in which we live is the fact that man, in general (which would include numerous Christians as well), knows very little about either person. Man, in general, knows very little about the Christ who came and will come again; and man, in general, knows very little about the Antichrist who is to appear on the scene immediately before Christ reappears.
(God has used, continues to use, and will continue to use the Gentile nations as the instrument to execute His wrath upon Israel, because of the Jewish people’s disobedience. God has used the Gentile nations to uproot His people from their land, and He has used the lands where the Gentile nations dwell as the place where His people are to be scattered and dealt with, leaving the Jewish people as strangers among and at the mercy of the Gentiles.
This scattering has occurred in the past, bringing about the present situation in the world [most of the Jews in the world today are not located in the Middle East, in the land of Israel, but remain scattered among the nations]; and this scattering will occur again [for the last time] when the remnant presently in the land is uprooted, followed by conditions in the world becoming far worse for the Jewish people than have ever existed throughout the 3,500-year history of the nation.
The Gentile nations often overstep their bounds and seek to help God “forward the affliction” of His people [KJV: Zechariah 1:14, 15]. This has happened numerous times in the past [e.g., in modern times, through events in Europe during the days of the Third Reich]; and this will happen once again, yet future [during that coming day when Antichrist rules the world].
God, in order to bring His plans and purposes surrounding Israel to pass, allows the Gentiles to act in this manner. But, through the actions of the Gentiles, not only will the promises set forth in Genesis 12:2, 3 ultimately be brought to pass but the principles set forth in verse three must ultimately be brought to pass as well:
I will make you [Abraham] a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. (Genesis 12:2, 3)
God is using the Gentile nations to bring His disobedient son, Israel [Exodus 4:22, 23], to the place where this son will acknowledge his offense. This will allow His son to occupy the place seen in Genesis 12:2, 3.
But, in turn, God is also going to deal with the Gentile nations in accord with verse three. Though He is using the Gentile nations to bring His plans and purposes surrounding Israel to pass, He is going to ultimately judge these same nations in accord with their attitude toward and treatment of Israel, exactly as stated in Genesis 12:3 [cf. Esther 6:13; 7:6-10; 8:7; Joel 3:2-8; Zechariah 14:7-21; Matthew 25:31-46].)
It is clear from the way chapter three begins that Haman, in the past, had held a particular position of power in the kingdom. The text begins with reference to that position and to Haman’s promotion to the highest of all positions under the king — a position “above all the princes that were with him” (v. 1).
Haman is said to have occupied the “seat” above other princes who, from the text, could only have occupied subordinate positions of power in the kingdom. The word “seat” (v. 1) is the same word in the Hebrew text translated “throne” in Esther 1:2; 5:1 (cf. Genesis 41:40; Psalm 45:6; 103:19, where the same Hebrew word is also used). The picture has to do with Haman occupying a high position of power in the kingdom, with his power emanating from the king’s throne; and it also has to do with subordinate rulers placed under Haman, with their power emanating from this same throne as well.
The things foreshadowed by these events, along with the time when they will occur, is quite simple to ascertain. These things have to do with the man of sin, the Antichrist, being promoted to a regal position directly under the One whom the king typifies (directly under God), with subordinate rulers also occupying positions of power with him.
Since Satan presently occupies this high position — ruling the earth directly under God, though a rebel ruler — these things can only occur at and following that time when Satan gives to this man “his power, his throne, and great authority” (Revelation 13:2b).
In this respect, Antichrist, at this time, will occupy Satan’s throne; and, though Satan will not be removed from his position as the earth’s ruler until Christ returns at the end of the Tribulation, he will give his regal power and authority to Antichrist.
And Antichrist, occupying Satan’s throne in this manner, will rule the earth in a position directly under God (a rebel ruler, as Satan), with the power and authority to rule coming from God’s throne. And, occupying this position, Antichrist will have ruling princes under him who will exercise power from this same throne (cf. Romans 13:1)
According to Scripture, those ruling with Antichrist will form a ten-kingdom, Middle East confederacy (cf. Esther 9:10-14; Daniel 2:34, 35, 44, 45; 7:7, 19, 20; Revelation 13:1; 17:12); and those forming this confederacy will rule the earth from within the territorial boundaries of ancient Babylon (which is seen in the Old Testament as a city-state — a country with a capital city by that name, with the name “Babylon” including the surrounding country and other cities as well [Jeremiah 51:24, 29, 37, 42, 43]).
According to the chronology of Revelation 12:3, 4, this man will be positioned on Satan’s throne shortly before Satan and his angels are cast out of heaven onto the earth. In verse three, all seven heads of the Beast (Revelation 13:1) are seen crowned, wearing diadems (Greek: diadema), which shows that they, at this time, will be exercising regal power.
The seventh head of the Beast will be the Antichrist. This man (represented by the seventh head) will receive a deadly wound (apparently be slain, possibly by an assassin), become the eighth (through being raised from the dead, for this man will rise from “the abyss [Greek: abussos, ‘the underworld’]),” but still be of the seven (cf. Revelation 13:1-4, 14; 17:8-11).
(Ref. the Appendix for information concerning the use of the Greek words stephanos and diadema — words translated “crown,” apart from differentiation, in the English text.)
At this time, immediately before Satan and his angels are cast out of heaven, the final form of Daniel’s image will come into existence. And the power represented by this part of the image, as the powers represented by the previous parts of the image (which it will incorporate [Daniel 2:35, 45]), can only bear rule from one location — Babylon, in the Middle East. The image, depicting the beginning and the end of Gentile world power during the Times of the Gentiles, is associated with that part of the world alone.
And the closeness of this final form of the image coming into existence (Revelation 12:3) and Satan being cast out of heaven (Revelation 12:4; cf. vv. 7-9) is shown by the time in which Antichrist will occupy Satan’s throne.
Revelation 11:7 reveals that this man will slay the two witnesses in Jerusalem following his rise to power (following his ascending Satan’s throne). And the slaying of these two witnesses can only occur in the middle of the Tribulation, for not only will they have testified for three and one-half years but, following their being slain, the Gentiles will tread the city of Jerusalem under foot for a subsequent three and one-half years (cf. vv. 2, 3).
Then, Daniel 7:25 reveals exactly the same thing. This display of Gentile power, under Antichrist, will last for “a time and times and half a time [three and one-half years, the last three and one-half years of the Tribulation].”
According to Revelation chapter twelve, Satan and his angels will have been cast out of heaven apparently very near, but before, the middle of the Tribulation. After being cast out, Satan will first direct his attention toward one thing — slaying the “man child” (144,000 Jewish evangelists), whom Satan will know are destined to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom throughout the earth during the last three and one-half years of the Tribulation (Revelation 12:4-6, 17; cf. Matthew 24:14).
These 144,000 Jewish evangelists will apparently have heard the gospel message and will have been saved through the testimony of the two witnesses during the first three and one-half years of the Tribulation (cf. Revelation 11:13; 12:17). But once these Jewish evangelists have been removed from the sphere of Satan’s control, he will then continue to vent his wrath by turning upon the entire Jewish nation (Revelation 12:5, 13; 14:1-5).
At that time, a remnant from the nation will escape to a specially prepared place in “the wilderness,” where God Himself will take care of and protect them for “a thousand two hundred and sixty days,” for “a time and times and half a time” (cf. Revelation 12:5, 6, 13-16). And, again, as in the previous chapter and other portions of Scripture, the time element is the same — three and one-half years, the last three and one-half years of the Tribulation.
All of these things occurring in the middle of the Tribulation follow two revealed events: (1) Satan giving to Antichrist his power, throne and great authority, and (2) Satan and his angels being cast out of heaven. And both of these events appear to occur shortly before the middle of the Tribulation.
From comparing Scripture with Scripture, the picture appears to be that this man, Antichrist, at the beginning of the Tribulation, will possess sufficient power to make a covenant with Israel. He will not be the world ruler at this time, but he will possess sufficient power to make this covenant (which will possibly be done through his bringing together an alliance of nations as the guarantor of the covenant). And this covenant can only be one that will seemingly effect peace in the Middle East — something that has been and remains uppermost in the minds of those in the Middle East and the world at large today; and also something which, in that day (as today), will have eluded all his predecessors.
Then, near the middle of the Tribulation, when this man finds himself seated on Satan’s throne, possessing vast power and authority, he will break his covenant with Israel (for he will then possess power and authority over all nations, not just those in any type of possible alliance concerning the covenant). He will then slay the two witnesses (which will have testified in Jerusalem during the first three and one-half years of the Tribulation); and this will be followed by his genocidal activities relative to Israel, as foreshadowed through Haman’s activities in the book of Esther.
As previously shown, Satan and his angels will have been cast out of heaven onto the earth shortly before these things occur. And from this point forward, Satan and his angels will no longer rule the earth from a heavenly sphere. They will have been cast out, with a view to Christ and His co-heirs ultimately taking the kingdom and ruling the earth from this same heavenly sphere.
Satan knows the things that Scripture reveals about Christ and His co-heirs, along with the things that Scripture reveals about Israel’s future destiny as it pertains to the theocracy. He was present when God, in His sovereign control of all things, brought all events recorded in Scripture to pass. And he has had centuries and millennia to study and reason out the significance and meaning of all these events.
Referring to an earthly prince, the prince of Tyre, it is said of Satan (and possibly of Antichrist as well [note that this individual is called “a man,” who will declare himself to be “God”; and he is also called “the anointed cherub,” who sought to be “like the most High”]),
Behold, you are wiser than Daniel! There is no secret that can be hidden from you! (Ezekiel 28:3; cf. vv. 2, 14; Isaiah 14:12-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4, 8, 9).
And, knowing the things that God has revealed about Israel in His Word, when Satan is cast out of his place in heaven, he will do all within his power to thwart God’s plans and purposes concerning Israel, directing his actions through the one to whom he will have given his power, throne, and great authority.
This is why wrath will befall Israel in the manner seen in Scripture during that coming day. It has to do with God allowing His wrath upon Israel to be manifested through the actions of the Gentile nations under Satan, with a man seated on Satan’s throne. The Gentile nations, led by the man seated on Satan’s throne — and, in this manner, led by Satan — in an effort to thwart God’s plans and purposes surrounding Israel, will forward God’s affliction of His people to an extreme without parallel in history. And God will use this manifestation of wrath to bring about an end to the matter, to bring Israel to the place of repentance.
Esther chapter three begins at the point Haman is promoted to a position of power and authority directly under the king. Nothing is revealed in the chapter about this man’s previously held position in the kingdom. He is only said to have been promoted, alluding to a previous position. And matters surrounding Haman begin at this point, moving immediately into events having to do with things transpiring in the kingdom following his promotion.
The book of Revelation, revealing the actions of the one whom Haman foreshadows, is only slightly different. Chapter six begins with an introduction of Antichrist (the seventh head of the Beast in chapter thirteen) by introducing this man as he is seen during the first part of the Tribulation.
Through the breaking of the first seal, this man is seen crowned, seated upon a white horse, with a bow in his hand, going “forth conquering, and to conquer” (v. 2). The Greek word used for the “crown” which Antichrist will wear at this time though is stephanos, not diadema (again, refer to the Appendix for a discussion on distinctions between these two words). But, in the middle of the Tribulation, when the seventh head of the Beast controls Gentile world power from Satan’s throne, the seventh head is seen wearing a diadem (a type crown depicted by the Greek word diadema, not one depicted by the Greek word stephanos).
Thus, there is a change of words in the Greek text for the type crown that will be worn by this man at this time, from stephanos to diadema. Only the word diadema could point to one seated on the throne and exercising regal power. The word stephanos would be used in any other instance (e.g., one anticipating a position of power, or one removed from his position of power [though still retaining his crown, awaiting the appearance of his successor to take the crown; cf. Revelation 4:4, 10 where stephanos is used in the latter manner]).
The type crown seen upon Antichrist’s head in Revelation 6:2, depicted by the word stephanos, can only point to one thing. His wearing this type crown can only point to a position that he will aspire to attain — his aspirations to exercise controlling power over all of the Gentile world, as he goes “forth conquering, and to conquer.” And, when he achieves this goal, the word for “crown” in the Greek text changes from stephanos to diadema (Revelation 12:3).
Something very similar is seen concerning Christ in the book of Revelation, prior to the time He takes the scepter and reigns. He is seen wearing a crown depicted by the word stephanos in Revelation 14:14 (same word used for the crown of thorns placed on Christ’s head at His first coming); but when that which is revealed in verses fifteen through twenty is brought to pass at the time of Christ’s return (cf. Revelation 19:11-21), He will come forth wearing many crowns upon His head (v. 12). And the Greek word used for “crown” at this time is diadema, for Christ’s Father will have previously given to Him “dominion, and glory, and a kingdom” (Daniel 7:13, 14); and He will be returning to the earth to overthrow Gentile world power and take the kingdom.
The diadems upon Christ’s head at this time though are not crowns that Christ will wear during the Messianic Era. Rather, He will wear the crown presently worn by Satan; and the crowns upon His head at this time can only be crowns that will be worn by those who will rule with Him, His co-heirs.
(Ref. the author’s book, Judgment Seat of Christ [reprint edition], chapter 12, for a full discussion of the crowns on Christ’s head at the time of His return, along with the crown that He will wear during the Messianic Era.)
Thus, the book of Revelation, revealing the sequence of events foreshadowed through Haman’s rise to power and his actions in the book of Esther, covers certain things about Antichrist that are not covered in Esther. And the reverse of that is equally true. Certain things about this man and his reign are revealed in Esther (not seen in the book of Revelation) that will help to complete the picture seen in the book of Revelation.
As previously shown, the book of Esther, covering this period of time, begins with events occurring near the middle of the Tribulation and continues from that point. Then, the book of Revelation adds to the picture. Centering around this same period of time as well, the book of Revelation, unlike the book of Esther, drops back and briefly covers this man’s rise to power, though providing very little detail.
God’s revelation surrounding this subject always follows the same pattern any place in Scripture where it is dealt with. God’s revelation concerning this man always centers on that which will occur when he ascends Satan’s throne, wears a diadem, and rules the world.
This is where the book of Esther begins when this man is introduced in the person of Haman. And, as well, this is where the book of Revelation rapidly moves after this man is introduced as the rider on the white horse. And exactly the same thing that is true of the book of Esther and the book of Revelation is also true of the book of Daniel and numerous other books in the Old Testament where the subject is dealt with.
Numerous Old Testament books deal with this subject, providing different facets of teaching; and Scripture must be compared with Scripture in order to properly grasp and understand the complete picture presented by the whole of Scripture (1 Corinthians 2:9-13).
1) Appointed by the King
In the type, Haman was appointed to his position in the kingdom by the king himself. And it is no different in the antitype. God is the One who rules in the kingdom of men, as well as in the angelic world. He alone positions and removes rulers within the overall scope of His kingdom.
God is the One who placed Satan (in his unfallen state) in his present position — as the ruler of the earth: “You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you . . . .” (Ezekiel 28:14a). And this would, as well, have to hold true for all other provincial rulers (angelic rulers over other provinces) elsewhere in God’s universal kingdom. God alone positions rulers in His kingdom; and He alone, as in the case of that awaiting Satan, can remove these rulers.
Exactly the same thing holds true in the kingdom of men throughout Man’s Day. God alone positions and removes rulers. “Heaven rules,” beginning with God and progressing through angels; and then, on the earth in the present kingdom, this rule progresses from angels through men (among the Gentile nations, this rule progresses through angels in the kingdom of Satan to men; the nation of Israel though is an exception, with this rule progressing through Michael to men [Jews], apart from Satan’s kingdom [Daniel 10:13-21]).
. . . the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men. . . .
. . . the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses. . . .
. . . Heaven rules. (Daniel 4:17b, 25b, 26b).
In relation to God ruling in the kingdom of men in the preceding respect, different forms of government among nations are of no consequence. Whether a democracy or a dictatorship, God, in His sovereign control of all things, brings matters to pass in such a way that Daniel 4:17, 25, 26 holds true. God alone is the One who positions and/or removes rulers — angels or men. Satan will give his throne to Antichrist; but God alone is the One who can, and will, place this man on the throne. He alone is the One who gives the kingdom “to whomsoever He will.”
The first king of Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar, during the Times of the Gentiles) came into possession of and held his position after this fashion. And this has been and will be true of any subsequent king of Babylon during the Times of the Gentiles, which will include the last king of Babylon (Daniel 4, 5).
2) An Exalted Position
Haman — once he had been appointed to a position of power directly under the king, by the king himself — expected to be accorded honor in keeping with his exalted position. The king had commanded that Haman be accorded this honor (3:1, 2); and any refusal would not only reflect negatively upon Haman’s exalted position but upon the king himself, the one who had appointed Haman to this position.
In the world of that day, individuals occupying positions as kings, or exalted positions such as Haman held, were to be accorded honor of this nature. It was customary among all nations, even among those comprising the nation of Israel, to bow or fall to the earth before such individuals, recognizing their position (cf. 2 Samuel 14:4; 18:28; 1 Kings 1:16).
The picture in the third chapter of Esther though goes far beyond honor of the preceding nature. Among numerous Gentile nations of that day, it was customary to ascribe divinity to an individual such as the king or Haman. And bowing before a person of this nature would be openly acknowledging, by this act, that the exalted person was recognized by that individual to be more than a mere mortal.
This will answer questions concerning both Mordecai’s and Haman’s actions relative to the exalted position in which Haman had been placed by the king.
Mordecai refused to bow before Haman. Why? Unless something beyond simply his high position in the government was involved, this would not be in keeping with the custom of the Jews (according honor of this nature to individuals occupying high positions of power and authority). Something else had to be involved.
Then there is the matter of Haman not simply seeking to slay Mordecai alone because of his refusal to bow before him. Rather, Haman, because of Mordecai’s actions, sought to slay all of the Jews in the kingdom, not just Mordecai. Why?
There can be only one answer to both questions.
Haman, in keeping with the custom among many Gentile nations of that day, was apparently viewed in a divine manner because of his exalted position. For Mordecai to bow before Haman would have been an open display of worship by acknowledging that he recognized Haman’s ascribed divinity; and this would, in turn, have been an open repudiation by Mordecai of his faith in the one true and living God.
This would also be the reason why Haman, seeing Mordecai refusing to bow and worship him, knowing that he was a Jew, sought to slay not only Mordecai but all of the other Jews in the kingdom as well. Haman knew that the same attitude that Mordecai exhibited would be exhibited by the whole monotheistic Jewish nation. Thus, he looked for a way to slay all of the Jews in the kingdom.
(The antitype of Haman’s actions toward the Jewish people in this respect is dealt with in the next chapter of this book.)