Arlen L. Chitwood
The King’s Hand Turns
Now it happened on the third day that Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace, across from the king's house, while the king sat on his royal throne in the royal house, facing the entrance of the house.
So it was, when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, that she found favor in his sight, and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther went near and touched the top of the scepter.
And the king said to her, “What do you wish, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given to you-up to half the kingdom!” (Esther 5:1-3)
Esther chapter three began with Haman’s promotion to a position of power in the kingdom, directly under the king. In this position of power, Haman was to be accorded honor and worship. And, in keeping with the custom among many Gentile nations of that day, it is evident from the text that Haman was apparently viewed in a divine manner.
Haman being viewed in this manner would account for the different things that transpired in the chapter. First, Mordecai refused to bow before Haman and worship him, though it was customary among the Jews of that day to recognize and honor individuals holding high positions of power (cf. 2 Samuel 14:4; 18:28; 1 Kings 1:16). Then, because of Mordecai’s refusal to bow and worship, Haman reacted in a manner that went far beyond Mordecai’s actions alone. Haman, because of Mordecai’s refusal to bow and worship, sought to slay not only Mordecai but all of the Jewish people dispersed throughout the kingdom.
Haman knew that the Jews in the kingdom followed laws that were different than the laws of the Medes and Persians. Further, he could only have known that the Jews were a monotheistic people, and the laws that they followed were the laws of their God. And, knowing these things, he knew that all of the Jews in the kingdom that he controlled under Ahasuerus, following the laws of their God, would do the same thing that Mordecai had done. They, as well, would refuse to bow before him and worship. And, as a result, Haman issued a decree, validated by the king, that all of the Jews throughout the kingdom were to be slain.
Following this, beginning chapter four and leading into chapter five, the Jewish people are seen reacting to this decree. Because of Haman’s decree, and the dire straits in which this decree left the Jewish people, Jews throughout the kingdom arrayed themselves in sackcloth and ashes; then the queen, arraying herself in royal apparel (proper apparel [cf. Esther 4:2]), entered into the inner court of the King’s house and appeared in the king’s presence on behalf of the Jewish people.
And it is at this point in the book that matters began to change rapidly relative to both Haman and the Jewish people. In one respect, Haman, at this time, is seen at the height of his power. He is seen possessing everything, with the fate of the Jewish people resting in his hands. But in another respect, Haman, at this time, is seen nearing the end of his power. He is seen about to lose everything, with the Jewish people about to be delivered from his hands.
Then, beyond that, the Jewish people at this point in the book are seen as a people who, following deliverance, are about to come into possession of all that which Haman possessed — his house, and his position in the kingdom (8:1-7; 10:3).
In the latter part of chapter five — after the Jewish people had arrayed themselves in sackcloth and ashes, and after the queen had gone in before the king — Haman called attention to that which he now possessed, in his exalted position. He spoke of the glory of his riches, his large family (which included ten sons), his position in the kingdom above all the other princes, and his being the only person in the entire kingdom whom the queen had invited (with the king) to a banquet (vv. 11, 12).
But there was one problem insofar as Haman was concerned, which, until the matter was resolved, canceled out everything else:
Yet all this avails me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate. (v. 13; cf. v. 9)
The Jews in the type, in the person of Mordecai, were seen as a people whose laws were different than the laws of the Medes and Persians. They would not bow down and worship Haman, which brought about his wrath. But the entirety of the matter is brought to an apex because of a position in which Mordecai is continually seen to occupy in the book — seated in the king’s gate. And this fact, combined with the former, was something that could have only been uppermost in Haman’s thinking after the Jews had been brought to the place where they are seen arraying themselves in sackcloth and ashes, along with the queen appearing before the king (arrayed in royal garments) on the Jew’s behalf.
In the antitype, matters will be exactly the same. The Jews will be seen as a people whose laws are different than the Gentile nations. They will not bow down and worship Antichrist, which will bring about his wrath. But, as in Haman’s day, the entirety of the matter will not be brought to an apex because of any attitude that the Jews may have toward Antichrist, his ascribed deity, and their laws. Rather, it will be brought to an apex because of the position that the Jews will hold — seated in the King’s gate. And this fact, combined with the former, will have to be something uppermost in Antichrist’s thinking after the Jewish people have been brought to the place where they will have no choice but to call upon the God of their fathers (in complete accord with the type, seen in both Mordecai’s and Esther’s actions).
This entire scene in the antitype will begin to occur near the end of the Tribulation, for it will only be at this time (with the Jewish people having almost completed their passage through “the time of Jacob’s trouble” [Jeremiah 30:7], having endured Antichrist’s wrath for almost three and one-half years) that the Jewish people will be brought to the place of repentance. Thus, it will be at this time that Antichrist will be seen in the antitype viewing himself at the height of his power, as Haman in Esther chapters three through five. Yet, exactly as in Haman’s case, he will know that all of this power and prestige will avail him nothing as long as Israel continues in existence, seated in the King’s gate.
Antichrist, as Haman, will initially vent his wrath upon the Jewish people because of their refusal to worship him. But also, exactly as in the type, Antichrist’s wrath will be exhibited in its fullness because of the position held by the Jewish people within God’s economy — the ones seated in the King’s gate. Or, as ultimately seen through Esther, it would be the ones crowned and arrayed in royal apparel (who, alone, are destined to enter into the inner court of the King’s house on the third day [5:1; cf. Hosea 6:1, 2], clothed in royal apparel, for no one will be able to enter clothed in sackcloth [4:2]).
It was at this time that Haman vented his wrath against the Jewish people in all its fullness by building a gallows upon which he planned to impale Mordecai; and it will be at this time, in the antitype, that Antichrist will vent his wrath against the Jewish people in a manner causing conditions to ultimately become such that “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved” (Matthew 24:22a).
It will also be at this time that, through Gentile persecution that has lasted for centuries and millennia, the Jewish people will finally be brought to the place where God has been working to bring them. And, once the Jewish people have been brought to this place, God will step in and begin to rapidly bring about changes.
As things began to rapidly change for both Haman and the Jewish people at this point in the type, so will it be in the antitype. Why? The answer, whether type or antitype, is the same.
In the type, Haman had raised his hand against the Jewish people, bringing them to the place where they had arrayed themselves in sackcloth and ashes, with the queen going in before the king (on the third day, arrayed in royal apparel) on their behalf. And in the antitype, Antichrist will raise his hand against the Jewish people, bringing them to the place of repentance, a place where the Jewish people (who are to appear before the King on the third day, arrayed in royal apparel) will have no choice but to call upon the God of their fathers.
In the preceding respect, God brought two things to pass in the type: (1) Haman had filled his cup of iniquity, which God had both measured and allowed (cf. Genesis 15:16); and (2) the Jewish people, through God delivering them into Haman’s hands, for a time, had been brought to the place in which God had promised to intervene on their behalf (cf. Exodus 2:23-25; 3:9-12; Leviticus 26:39-42).
Haman’s wise men, along with Haman’s wife, possibly summed up and stated the whole of the matter best after Haman began his fall. And because of the nature of their statement, as it pertained to the issue at hand, the Holy Spirit saw fit to move the writer of this book to record the statement for all to read, throughout all time:
If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish descent, you will not prevail against him but will surely fall before him. (6:13b)
And the antitype will be no different, with the statement from Esther 6:13b applying equally to Antichrist and the Jews in that coming day as it applied to Haman and the Jews over twenty-four hundred years ago. When Antichrist, through venting his wrath upon the Jewish people, causes them to come to the place of repentance toward God (the place to which God will bring them through delivering them into Antichrist’s hands, for a time, allowing Antichrist to vent his wrath upon them), things will begin to change rapidly.
Antichrist’s fall will begin at this point and will occur in the same rapid and complete manner seen in Haman’s fall. This last king of Babylon will be as Nebuchadnezzar at the time of his fall (the first king of Babylon during the Times of the Gentiles). Or he will be as Belshazzar at the time of his fall (the last king of Babylon during that period covered by the first part of Daniel’s image — the head of gold).
Nebuchadnezzar was at the height of his power when he lifted up his eyes and said,
Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty? (Daniel 4:30b)
But before the king had even finished speaking, a voice from heaven revealed that the kingdom would be taken from him and that he would be driven out into the field, among the animals, to live and to eat grass, for seven years (a complete period of time). And the same hour God brought the matter to pass, exactly as He had revealed to Nebuchadnezzar (v. 33).
And Belshazzar, during what could possibly be considered the height of his reign, not only defiled vessels taken from the temple in Jerusalem at a drunken feast in Babylon but, at the same time, praised “the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know.” And Belshazzar, also at this time, failed to acknowledge and glorify the God responsible even for his very life — the One responsible for man’s “breath,” which provides life (Daniel 5:1-4, 23; cf. Genesis 2:7).
At the very time that these things were occurring, God stepped in and began to rapidly bring about changes. God first revealed a message of doom through the fingers of a man’s hand writing four words upon the wall — “MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN” (words interpreted for the king by Daniel, a Jew [Daniel 5:5, 25-28; cf. Psalm 147:19, 20]): God had numbered and finished Belshazzar’s kingdom, Belshazzar had been weighed in the balances and had been found wanting, and his kingdom had been divided and given to the Medes and the Persians.
Then, that very night, bringing matters to pass in complete accord with that which had been written upon the wall, two things were taken from Belshazzar — his breath, and his kingdom. Belshazzar was slain; and the kingdom passed into the hands of the Medes and the Persians, setting the stage for later events as seen in the book of Esther (vv. 30, 31).
Belshazzar had not learned the lesson from Nebuchadnezzar’s previous experiences along similar lines. Rather, he made similar mistakes and paid a similar price. And Antichrist will not have learned the lesson through Haman’s previous experiences in the type. Rather, he, in the antitype, will make exactly the same mistakes and will pay exactly the same price that Haman made and paid.
Thus, God will bring matters to pass in a similar swift manner for the last king of Babylon as He did for Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar. And God will bring matters to pass for Antichrist, in the antitype, in exactly the same swift manner as He did for Haman in the type.
One simply cannot do that which Haman did and escape God’s wrath. If a person could, God, by allowing such to occur, would be violating that which He has set forth in His unchangeable Word — an impossibility (cf. Genesis 12:1-3; Psalm 12:6, 7; 138:2).
And, on the same basis, one simply cannot do that which Antichrist will do and escape God’s wrath. When Antichrist raises his hand against the Jewish people in that coming day, his fate, as Haman’s in the type, will be sealed.
(Though God is not dealing with Israel on a national basis during the present dispensation, the principles that God has set forth in His Word surrounding Israel must not only remain true and valid but must remain in effect as well [e.g., Genesis 12:2, 3]. And, with that in mind, note something that will illustrate this matter, regardless of the dispensation or time.
World War II in Europe [1939-1945] was not lost by Germany in 1945. Rather, this war was lost years earlier — 1938 or earlier — when the Third Reich began to raise its hand against the Jewish people throughout Europe. Germany’s fate was sealed in the ’30s, with the war lost at a time before it even began. The 1945 date simply marks the time when God completed an out-working of the principles set forth in His Word, with the Third Reich lying in ruins because of their previous anti-Semitic policies and actions.)
God will allow Antichrist to exercise power over the Jewish people for a time, as seen in Haman’s exercise of power over the Jewish people for a time in the type. But, when God’s plans and purposes for allowing this to occur have been brought to pass, exactly as seen in the type, things will begin to change rapidly.
That is to say, when God has used Antichrist’s wrath to bring His Own plans and purposes to pass — God using man’s wrath to effect praise (Psalm 76:9, 10) — then things will begin to change rapidly. And when these things do begin to change, Antichrist, at the zenith of his power, is going to suddenly and swiftly not only find himself removed from power but he will find himself, as well, in the same position that he had sought for the Jewish people. And, again, this will occur exactly as in the type.
A Crown of Twelve Stars
Both Mordecai seated in the gate and Esther seated on the throne are positions referred to over and over in the book of Esther (e.g., 2:17, 19, 21; 4:2; 5:1, 9, 12, 13; 6:10, 12; 7:5). And “the gate,” as “the throne,” points to a place of regality in the kingdom. Both point to two different facets of the same thing (ref. chapter 3 in this book).
The book of Esther deals with God’s wrath from a two-fold perspective. The book deals with the purpose for God’s wrath (to bring Israel to the place of repentance), and the book deals with the position that Israel has been called to occupy (regal). And God’s manifested wrath in this two-fold manner is dealt with in an integrally related fashion in the book. That is, God is manifesting His wrath in this manner in order to bring Israel to the place of repentance; and Israel is being brought to the place of repentance in order to realize her calling, which is regal — appearing in the King’s presence, on the third day, arrayed in royal apparel.
In the type in the book of Esther, Mordecai is seen seated in the king’s gate and Esther is seen crowned as queen at the same time Haman occupies power under the king. How could this possibly foreshadow that which will occur in the antitype, for Israel (typified by both Mordecai and Esther) will occupy power only after Antichrist (typified by Haman) has been put down?
The answer can be found in Revelation chapter twelve, comparing Scripture with Scripture. Note how this chapter begins:
Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. (v. 1)
It is evident from subsequent revelation in the chapter that the “woman” represents Israel [vv. 4-6, 13-16; cf. Matthew 24:15-22]. After Satan (represented by “a great red dragon” [vv. 2, 3, 7-9, 13]) has been cast out of heaven near the middle of the Tribulation, he is seen centering his attention upon Israel, ready to devour the nation’s child at birth — the “man child” — which Israel will bring forth at this time (which, contextually, can only be the 144,000 from Revelation 7, 14 [vv. 5, 17; cf. Matthew 24:8, 14; Mark 13:8, 10; Revelation 11:13; 14:1-4]).
Note that the woman (v. 1), during the time that Antichrist is in power, seated on Satan’s throne (v. 3; cf. Revelation 13:2), is seen crowned. In fact, exactly as in the book of Esther, both Israel and Antichrist are seen associated with regality at this time.
But note that there is a difference in the regality in the antitype, which would be the same difference seen in the positions occupied by Mordecai and Haman in the type.
In the type, though Mordecai is seen seated in the king’s gate, he didn’t actually hold a position of power in the kingdom. This continued reference to his position at the king’s gate portended the position which he was about to hold.
In the antitype, matters are exactly the same. Though Israel is seen crowned at the time Antichrist reigns, Israel will not actually be exercising regal power at this time. Rather, the twelve-starred crown upon the woman’s head portends the position that Israel is about to hold, with “twelve” being the number of governmental perfection.
There are two words used for crown in the Greek text of the first three verses of Revelation chapter twelve. The word used in verse one, relative to the crown upon the woman’s head, is stephanos. And the word used in verse three, relative to the seven crowns upon the seven heads associated with the dragon, is diadema.
The change in words for “crown” in the text reveals one thing: Israel, at this time, will not be occupying the throne and exercising regality. Rather, Antichrist, at this time, will be occupying the throne and exercising regal power. The crown upon the woman’s head, depicted by the word stephanos, shows that the woman is destined to occupy regal power. But crowns upon the seven heads associated with the dragon (Antichrist will be the seventh head, incorporating all that preceded in the first six), depicted by the word diadema, show these seven heads not only in a regal capacity but actually occupying regal power at this time (in the person of the seventh head — Antichrist).
(For additional information concerning the use of stephanos and diadema in the preceding respect, refer to the Appendix. Also, see the author’s book, Judgment Seat of Christ [reprint edition], chapter 12.)
Then, aside from viewing the matter in the preceding respect through Mordecai alone, that which is seen through Esther seated on the throne depicts another facet of the type. Note that Esther reveals herself to be a Jew only when it is time for Haman to be put down (at the end of two days, on the third day [cf. Esther 5:1; 7:4-6; Hosea 6:1, 2]), which was following the Jewish people’s appearance in sackcloth and ashes and Esther’s appearance before the king. It will be at this time in the antitype when the stephanos upon the woman’s head will change to a diadem (similar to Christ appearing in Revelation 19:12 with diadems upon His head rather than crowns depicted by the word stephanos [as in Revelation 14:14], immediately before Antichrist is put down).
Thus, the manner in which regality is seen relative to Israel in the type (not only through Esther but through Mordecai as well) is in complete keeping with the antitype. It has to be, for the type foreshadows that which will occur in the antitype, and the antitype must follow the type in exact parallel and detail. This is simply the way in which God chose to deal with two different aspects of the same thing, from type to antitype.
Favor in the King’s Sight
The stage is set in Esther chapters four and five for that which is about to occur — the Jewish people being brought to the place where they array themselves in sackcloth and ashes, along with Esther appearing before the king (arrayed in royal apparel) on behalf of the Jews in the kingdom.
Then, in chapters six and seven, things begin to rapidly transpire in a completely different manner than in the past — things that in a very short period of time carry Haman from the top to the bottom. Haman suddenly finds his world turned upside-down.
The sequence begins with Haman holding a high regal position directly under the king, a position to which the king himself had elevated him; and, in this position, the fate of the Jewish people had been placed in his hands. Then, all at once, by command of the king, Haman found himself being humiliated at the hands of a Jew; and he was powerless to do anything about the matter (6:10-12). And shortly after that, Haman found himself in particular circumstances, which resulted in his being impaled upon a gallows at the command of the king, because of a Jew; and, again, Haman was powerless to do anything about it (7:6-10).
But why did these things occur? Why were matters so completely turned around? The answer is given in the book of Esther and elsewhere in Scripture. This complete change occurred because of two things: (1) that which the Jewish people did, and (2) God keeping His promises to the Jewish people.
1) “What Is Your Request?”
There is really nothing more fundamental in the study of the Jewish people in Scripture than that which is outlined in the book of Esther. But how many Christians know and understand these things? Or, how many Jews know these things, or are willing to admit them? Or, how many Gentiles (and, yes, even many Christians) know why they are singling the Jewish people out for persecution?
The answer to the questions is simply, very few to none. Very few Christians have any understanding at all concerning that which Scripture teaches concerning Israeli persecution; the Jewish people, spiritually dead, are in no position to either understand or admit the truth about Israeli suffering at the hands of the Gentiles; and the Gentiles, also spiritually dead, along with being alienated from “the commonwealth [citizenship] of Israel” (Ephesians 2:12), are in no position to understand that which they are doing as well.
But the simple truth of the matter has been set forth in God’s unchangeable Word for all to see.
Down through the centuries God has allowed the Jewish people, because of their disobedience, to be dispersed among and persecuted by the Gentile nations. The matter surrounding Israel’s persecution by the Gentiles — past, present, and future — is that simple. And to deny this would be to deny the Word of God, for this is exactly what God promised would happen in Leviticus chapter twenty-six and Deuteronomy chapter twenty-eight if the Jewish people did not obey His voice.
And disobedience is the direction that the Jewish people took. Then, God, in complete accord with His Word, uprooted and drove His people from their land and scattered them among the Gentiles, where they have found no rest. And dispersed among the nations in this manner, they have been, are being, and will continue to be persecuted by these same nations, until . . . .
And the thought of the Jewish people being dispersed among and persecuted by the Gentiles, until, presents the other side to the matter. God has allowed, continues to allow, and will continue to allow this persecution to occur at the hands of the Gentiles, for a purpose. God has delivered His people into the hands of the Gentile nations, to effect their ultimate repentance, in order that His plans and purposes concerning Israel might ultimately be realized.
And to bring this about will take more than 6,000,000 Jews being slain in the death camps in Europe. It will take that which — except for the Jewish people’s repentance and God’s intervention — would seemingly bring about the very destruction of the nation itself, at the hands of a man seated on Satan’s throne.
This is why God will deliver the Jewish people into this man’s hands for three and one-half years. Through this man’s actions, that which occurred in Europe over fifty years ago when 6,000,000 Jews were slain during a period of about seven years will pale by comparison.
This man will slay approximately twice as many Jews as the Third Reich did in less than half the time (note that the days forming his three and one-half-year reign of terror will be shortened [Matthew 24:22]). And, he won’t stop with Europe or the Middle East. He will seek to do to the Jews worldwide that which God did in the past to the Amalekites and Assyrians.
It will take this type of Gentile persecution to bring the Jewish people to the place seen during Moses’ Day, when they were forced to cry out to the God of their fathers; it will take this type of Gentile persecution to bring the Jewish people to the place seen in Esther chapters four and five, where the Jews arrayed themselves in sackcloth and ashes, along with Esther going in (arrayed in royal apparel) before the king.
All of these things, foreshadowed by these two types, will occur in the antitype at a future date, under the reign of the future Assyrian, for a purpose.
This is what individuals don’t seem to understand about Jewish persecution at the hands of the Gentile nations — past, present, or future. But this is so fundamental to any correct biblical interpretation surrounding Israel that it cries out to be understood, by Christian and Jew alike (even though the Jew is spiritually dead).
But the preceding is simply not the case, in either instance. Christians are interested in other things, even if Israel is involved in their thinking. And the Jewish people, as well, are interested in other things.
But all of that is immaterial, for the entire matter concerning how God has decreed that His plans and purposes surrounding Israel will be worked out has been set. And matters will come to pass exactly as God has stated in His Word.
2) “It Shall Be Given To You . . . .”
God has been working with the Jewish people through centuries and millennis of time in order to bring them to one place, for one purpose. That place has to do with their repentance, and that purpose has to do with regality.
The means that God will use to bring Israel to this place is seen in Esther chapter three; Israel being brought to this place is seen in chapters four and five; then, that which God will then do, along with God’s purpose for bringing Israel to this place, is seen in succeeding chapters (chapters 6-10).
When Israel has at last been brought to this place, their request for deliverance will be heard. It was only at this point in the type that the king asked, “What is your request”; and it was only at this point in the type that the king said, “It shall be given to you . . . .” In like manner, it will only be at this point in the antitype that the King will ask, “What is your request”; and it will only be at this point in the antitype that the King will say, “It shall be given to you . . . .”
Haman was put down, and Antichrist will be put down. The house of Haman was given to a Jew, and the house of Antichrist will be given to the Jews. Deliverance was provided for the Jewish people, and deliverance will be provided for the Jewish people. And a Jew occupied the position that Haman had occupied, and the Jewish people will subsequently occupy the position that Antichrist will occupy.
This is what the book of Esther is about — God, through His means, in His time, bringing His people to the place that they were called to occupy in the beginning, the place that they are seen occupying at the end of this book.