Arlen L. Chitwood
Mordecai’s Rise and Greatness
So Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, with a great crown of gold and a garment of fine linen and purple; and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad.
The Jews had light and gladness, joy and honor.
And in every province and city, wherever the king’s command and decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a holiday. Then many of the people of the land became Jews, because fear of the Jews fell upon them. . . .
And King Ahasuerus imposed tribute on the land and on the islands of the sea.
Now all the acts of his power and his might, and the account of the greatness of Mordecai, to which the king advanced him, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia?
For Mordecai the Jew was second to King Ahasuerus, and was great among the Jews and well received by the multitude of his brethren, seeking the good of his people and speaking peace to all his countrymen. (Esther 8:15-17; 10:1-3)
In chapters one and two of the book of Esther, the complete story of the Jewish people is told in brief, minute form. Then, throughout chapters three through ten (forming commentary material for chapters 1 and 2), the thought of the Jewish people ultimately occupying their God-ordained place on earth — as seen in the opening two chapters (a place having to do with regality) — is continually brought to the forefront. And, as the sequence of events depicted in the book relative to Israel and the Gentile nations draws to a close, information surrounding the Jewish people occupying their proper place within God’s economy is brought to the forefront in an ever-increasing manner.
Throughout chapters three through ten, which have to do mainly with a time near and following the end of Gentile world power (foreshadowing events during the last three and one-half years of the Tribulation, progressing on into the Messianic Era), regality relative to Israel is shown a number of times, several different ways. And when one arrives at the last four chapters of the book (chapters 7-10), this is seen even more so, with the book ending by taking two whole chapters (chapters 8 and 10) to foreshadow Israel holding the scepter during the Messianic Era.
Mordecai, at different times throughout the first part of the book, is seen seated “within the king’s gate” (2:19; 3:2, 3; 4:2, 6; 5:9, 13; 6:10, 12), an act portending regality (cf. Genesis 22:17, 18; 24:60). Esther, in chapter five, is seen appearing before the king in “royal robes” on the third day, which is the time when Israel will appear in the King’s presence arrayed in this manner — after two days, on the third day; after 2,000 years, in the third 1,000-year period (cf. Hosea 6:1, 2).
And following Haman’s death (chapter 7), the whole of chapter eight is given over to thoughts surrounding the Jewish people and regality. Then, following Haman’s ten sons being slain (chapter 9), the whole of chapter ten is given over to thoughts surrounding the Jewish people and regality once again, which is how the book ends.
Events surrounding Haman’s death at the end of chapter seven foreshadow the destruction of Gentile world power (headed up under Antichrist) at the end of Man’s Day, resulting in the end of the Times of the Gentiles. God’s purpose for the Times of the Gentiles will have been realized, for the Jewish people will have been brought to the place of repentance.
Then, in chapter nine, another word picture is given concerning the end of the Times of the Gentiles. Haman’s ten sons (foreshadowing Antichrist’s ten-kingdom confederacy) are slain and impaled upon the same gallows that Haman had built for Mordecai, the same gallows upon which Haman had previously been impaled.
Thus, the whole of that seen in chapters seven and nine foreshadow the destruction of Antichrist and his ten-kingdom confederacy, depicting the destruction of Gentile world power at the end of Man’s 6,000-year Day.
But in chapters eight and ten, quite another story is seen. The Jewish people are seen occupying their proper God-ordained place in relation to the kingdom and regality. And this place is seen to be the highest of all positions in the kingdom on earth — next to the King (10:3).
Insofar as the book of Esther itself is concerned, chapters seven and nine together present a complete picture of the end of Gentile world power, and chapters eight and ten together present a complete picture of Israel in the Messianic Era, following the destruction of Gentile world power. And this is where the book ends — Gentile world power destroyed, Israel holding the scepter, the theocracy restored, and the Messianic Era ushered in.
And as the book progresses more and more toward that day, Israel is seen being moved more and more from the shadows into the spotlight. Then as the book is brought to a close, following the overthrow of Gentile world power, it is the Jewish people alone who are seen in relation to regality, ruling directly under the King.
Anticipating That Coming Day
Israel though is presently scattered among the nations and has been since the days of Nebuchadnezzar, about 2,600 years ago. And, throughout this period, the Times of the Gentiles has been allowed to continue. The Gentiles, during this time, have been allowed to hold the scepter; and, throughout this same time, the Gentiles have been allowed to persecute the Jewish people whom God has scattered among them.
Israel must first be brought to the place of repentance. Only then can the Times of the Gentiles be brought to an end, for the entire purpose for the Times of the Gentiles is to bring Israel, through Gentile persecution, to the place of repentance. Only then, following Israel’s repentance and the end of the Times of the Gentiles, can the things depicted at the end of the book of Esther be brought to pass. Only then can Israel, as God’s firstborn son, hold the scepter directly under the King.
And to show all these things in what would be considered the commentary section of the book of Esther (chapters 3-10), God begins at the very heart of the matter. Viewing Esther within a type-antitype framework, God begins very near the end of Man’s Day and details a sequence of events, lasting three and one-half years, which brings Man’s Day to a close. Then, following this sequence of events, which completes Man’s Day, the Messianic Era is ushered in.
This sequence of events begins with the rise of Antichrist to a position of world power near the middle of the coming Tribulation. This will be the man who, as the antitype of Haman, brings Israeli persecution to an apex — attempted worldwide genocide. And, as also seen in the type, this will be the man whom God will use, through this intensified persecution, to bring Israel to the place of repentance.
Thus, the reason God begins at this point in the book is evident. The book of Esther throughout centers on Israel in relation to a future regality. But Israel must first be brought to the place of repentance; and Gentile world power (which cannot end before Israel has been brought to this place) must then be destroyed (after Israel has been brought to this place), allowing repentant Israel to hold the scepter.
Accordingly, Esther chapters three through ten begin very near the end of the Times of the Gentiles, showing the final outworking of God’s plans and purposes surrounding the Times of the Gentiles. God simply moves to near the end of the matter (not only here but numerous other places in Scripture as well) and reveals a concluding sequence of events at the end of 2,600 years of Gentile persecution during the Times of the Gentiles.
The purpose for the Times of the Gentiles will ultimately be realized. Israel will ultimately be brought to the place of repentance. Then, Gentile world power will be destroyed, Israel will take the scepter, and Israel will be elevated to the nation’s proper place on the earth.
But, until that day arrives, matters relative to Israel and the nations will remain unchanged. The Gentiles will continue to hold the scepter, and the Jewish people will remain scattered among and persecuted by these same nations.
1) Israel, Today
Thus, Israel in the world today still finds itself in exactly the same position that the Jewish people have occupied since the days of Nebuchadnezzar — living during the Times of the Gentiles, scattered among the nations, persecuted by these nations, and still unrepentant. And, these conditions will, they must, persist until God’s purpose for the Times of the Gentiles has been realized.
During the Times of the Gentiles, there have been two restorations of remnants of Jews to the land of Israel. The first occurred during the years following the Babylonian captivity, forming the remnant in the land when Christ came the first time; and the second has occurred during modern times, forming the remnant that is not only presently in the land but will be in the land when Antichrist appears.
The first remnant returning to the land (near the beginning of the Times of the Gentiles) ultimately found itself uprooted from the land and scattered among the nations. And this exact same fate awaits the second remnant returning to the land (near the end of the Times of the Gentiles). This remnant too is about to be uprooted from the land and scattered among the nations, where most of world Jewry still resides (about one-third of world Jewry is presently in the land, with the remaining two-thirds still scattered among the nations).
The first remnant was uprooted in this manner through the actions of Titus and his Roman legions in 70 A.D. Titus marched against Jerusalem, besieged the city, and ultimately destroyed both the city and the temple. And more than one million Jews perished in this destruction, with the remainder subsequently driven into Gentile lands.
The second remnant, in the land today, will be uprooted in a similar manner by Antichrist and his armies. Antichrist, after three and one-half years (in the middle of the Tribulation, Daniel’s 70th Week), will turn against the Jewish people, break his seven-year covenant with Israel, and destroy both Jerusalem and the rebuilt temple (cf. Daniel 9:26; Matthew 24:15-22; Luke 21:20-24). And, in the process, above one million Jews in the land will be slain (Zechariah 13:8), with the remainder (other than the remnant that escapes into a specially prepared place in the mountainous terrain of the land [cf. Matthew 24:16-20; Revelation 12:6, 14]) being uprooted and driven into Gentile lands.
Then, for the last three and one-half years of the Tribulation, Jerusalem will be “trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (cf. Luke 21:24; Revelation 11:2). And it will be during this period that Israel’s suffering at the hands of the Gentiles will reach such extremes (cf. Matthew 24:21, 22) that the Jewish people will be left without a choice other than to cry out to the God of their fathers, fulfilling the type seen in Exodus 2:23; 3:9 (among numerous other types and prophecies in Scripture).
God’s purpose for the Times of the Gentiles will then be realized. Israel, through Gentile persecution, will be brought to the place of repentance. It will have taken 2,600 years of Gentile rule and Jewish suffering at the hands of the Gentiles to bring this to pass; and Jewish suffering will have been climaxed by the Holocaust in Europe during the reign of Hitler and a succeeding worldwide Holocaust during the reign of Antichrist.
Thus, in that coming day, preceded by Jewish persecution and suffering over millennia of time, God’s plans and purposes surrounding Israel and the nations will have been worked out.
For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable [without a change of mind]. (Romans 11:29)
The context of Romans 11:29 has to do with Israel’s future deliverance at the time of Messiah’s return (vv. 24ff). Israel will have been brought to the place of repentance, and the Times of the Gentiles will have been brought to an end. God is not going to change His mind concerning the reason He called man, then the nations, and then Israel into existence. God is not going to change His mind concerning the reason He brought the Times of the Gentiles to pass. God’s plans and purposes surrounding individuals and nations, occurring during time, will ultimately be realized.
The Infinite God, unlike finite man, does not get in a hurry in matters of this or of any other nature. Nor does God do things as man might seek to do them.
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8, 9)
God is often seen taking millennia to bring His plans and purposes to pass. He is seen working with man in general, with Israel and the nations, and with the Church in this manner. God, in this respect, brings matters to pass within His own set times, with one thing clear and certain. God’s plans and purposes — that which He has decreed and revealed in His Word — will ultimately always be brought to pass.
2) The Remnant Presently in the Land
As previously seen, the Jewish people in the world today can be divided into two categories: (a) those in the land, forming the present nation of Israel; and (b) those remaining scattered among the Gentile nations. Only a remnant though has returned to the land, with the majority of the Jews remaining outside the land and scattered among the nations.
But why is there a segment of world Jewry back in the land today? There has been no repentance on Israel’s part, neither the people nor the land has been healed, and man is still living during the Times of the Gentiles.
Is this somehow the beginning of God’s restoration of the Jewish people back to their land, as foretold by the prophets, anticipating their repentance and that seen at the end of the book of Esther? Or, is this something else?
Note a short history of Israel during modern times, bringing the matter somewhat up-to-date in this respect:
The present existing Jewish nation in the Middle East is the end result of a Zionistic movement that had its beginning during modern times through the efforts of Theodor Herzl (and other Jewish leaders) during the closing years of the 19th century. Herzl (1860-1904), who became the first president of the World Zionist Organization in 1897, was a Hungarian-born Jew who would presently be looked upon as the father of modern-day Zionism. Herzl, and other Jewish leaders of his day, opened the door to a renewed Zionism among Jews worldwide, Jews scattered among and persecuted by the Gentiles.
Then, at the beginning of the 20th century, Britain figured prominently in the matter. Britain, throughout the years leading into and during World War I (1914-1918), was sympathetic toward the Zionistic aspirations of the Jewish people. But it was only near the end of World War I that all of this was brought out into the open, with the British government acting on the matter. And a Russian-born Jew, Chaim Weizmann (1874-1952), who had become a British subject prior to the war, figured prominently in that which the British government did in this respect near the end of the war.
Chaim Weizmann, a chemist, had been placed in charge of the Laboratories of British Admiralty during the war. And, as director, he discovered a process for synthesizing acetone, a substance necessary for the manufacture of high explosives — something that helped, in a major way, to bring about an Allied victory in the war.
Weizmann was an ardent Zionist. And the British government, near the end of the war, exercised governmental control over Palestine (though they were not officially given the mandate by the League of Nations until 1922). Thus, the stage was set for that which then occurred.
Weizmann, because of his contribution to the war effort, in a manner of speaking, was in Britain’s debt. And, with Britain both in governmental control of Palestine and looking favorably upon Jewish Zionistic aspirations, Weizmann, through his influence in the British government, brought Zionism to the forefront.
Weizmann was the person largely responsible for Arthur James Balfour (Foreign Secretary in Britain’s government during the war), on Nov. 2, 1917, issuing what later became known as “The Balfour Declaration.” This declaration, in essence, set the course for future actions that the British government took toward Jewish Zionistic aspirations of that day. The declaration read, in part:
“His Majesty’s government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object . . . .”
Britain though, seeking to carry matters forward in this respect in the Middle East, immediately ran into the same problem that the Jews have experienced in the land for the past half century. The British government found itself in the middle of and adding fuel to a 4,000-year old conflict between two half brothers. And, seeking to appease both participants in the conflict (Arabs and Jews alike), the British began to issue what were called “White Papers,” sharply limiting Jewish immigration. And the issuance of these papers all but closed the door during the ’20s and ’30s to the Jewish dream of a national homeland in Palestine.
Then in the late ’30s, World War II, with its Holocaust, began to envelope Europe. And, because of that which occurred during these years (1939-1945), with a Zionistic base already well-established in the Middle East, the flood of Zionism among Jews worldwide following World War II was unstoppable. Regardless of the White Papers and continued British control and rule in Palestine, nothing was now going to stop the Jewish people from establishing a national homeland within the boundaries of the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
And the nation in the land today can be traced back to the succeeding events of May 14, 1948, when David Ben-Gurion stood beneath a picture of Theodor Herzl in the Tel Aviv Museum Hall and, shortly before sunset, declared Israel’s independence.
Events beginning with Theodor Herzl and continuing through men such as Chaim Weizmann paved the way and opened the door for that which occurred in Tel Aviv May 14, 1948. And the Jewish frame of mind, worldwide, at the conclusion of World War II was the central driving thrust that brought all that had preceded into reality.
So, again the question: Is the remnant presently in the land today (approaching 5,000,000 strong) somehow the beginning of God’s restoration of the Jewish people back to their land, as foretold by the prophets, anticipating that seen at the end of the book of Esther? Or, is this something else?
To address the issue, note two simple facts: (a) The Times of the Gentiles presently continues, and (b) Israel has yet to be brought to the place of repentance. And, as has previously been shown, an inseparable relationship exists between the two. The reason for the Times of the Gentiles is to bring about Israel’s repentance through the Jewish people being scattered among and persecuted by the Gentiles.
And, in keeping with the preceding, Scripture clearly reveals when God’s purpose for the Times of the Gentiles will be brought to pass — under the reign of Antichrist yet future, at the end of Man’s Day. Only then and not before, will God heal His people, heal their land, and restore His people to their land within a theocracy.
The remnant presently in the land is there as a result of Zionism, which, in this case, is little more than finite man’s efforts to help an infinite God fulfill His plans and purposes — an effort to push God’s plans and purposes ahead of His timetable. Thus, from a Scriptural standpoint, under no stretch of the imagination could this remnant be said to exist in the land in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies concerning God restoring the nation to its land.
For the latter to be true, God would be violating His own Word — an impossibility. He would be ignoring the purpose behind the past 2,600 years of Jewish history — the scattering of a disobedient people among the Gentiles in order to bring about their repentance. He would be re-gathering a disobedient and unrepentant people back to a desolate land, during the Times of the Gentiles, before His purpose for scattering these people among the Gentiles had been realized (e.g., Isaiah 1:4-15).
Thus, God re-gathering His people in fulfillment of the restoration foretold by the Old Testament prophets is simply not what is presently occurring. According to Scripture, both Israel and the land must first be healed. Only then can the prophesied restoration occur (e.g., Isaiah 1:16-2:5).
In more ways than one, the remnant presently in the land has returned before the time. Not only has this remnant returned before God has completed His purpose for the Times of the Gentiles, but this remnant has returned while Christ is still exercising His high priestly ministry in the heavenly sanctuary. And, according to the type in Numbers chapter thirty-five, the slayer (Israel, in the antitype) cannot return to the land of his possession (the land of Israel, in the antitype) until the death of the high priest (which, in the antitype, could only have to do with the termination of Christ’s present high priestly ministry after the order of Aaron, when He departs the heavenly sanctuary and comes forth as the great King-Priest after the order of Melchizedek).
According to the type in Numbers chapter thirty-five, for Israel to return to the land before the time foreshadowed by the death of the high priest is to place the nation in great danger. It is to place the nation in danger of being slain. And this danger is not only very real but it is about to be realized.
When Antichrist rises to power in the immediate future, he will attempt to slay the slayer. He will break his covenant with Israel, uproot the remnant presently in the land, and attempt to destroy all of the Jews worldwide.
Hitler attempted to bring about a Jew-free Europe, and Antichrist will seek to bring about a Jew-free earth. Failure marked Hitler’s efforts, and failure will mark Antichrist’s efforts (cf. Jeremiah 31:35-37). And, as a nation arose from the ashes of the first Holocaust, so will a nation arise from the ashes of the latter Holocaust, with the latter being the restoration foretold by the prophets.
Thus, to bring matters to pass, a remnant of Jews has been allowed to return to the land near the end of Man’s Day, not as part of the prophesied Old Testament restoration of the Jewish people, but as a Zionistic undertaking that has occurred under God’s sovereign control of all things. God, in His sovereignty, has allowed this remnant to return in order to bring about a conclusion to the outworking of His plans and purposes surrounding the Times of the Gentiles and Israeli repentance.
(For a detailed discussion of the slayer in Numbers chapter thirty-five, refer to the appendix.)
When That Day Arrives
The day of Israel’s prophesied restoration to the land will be following Israel’s repentance, following Christ’s return and the overthrow of Gentile world power, and following the healing of both the people and the land. This is simply what the Old Testament prophets have revealed about the matter, and this is what must be followed.
Further, Israel will be restored to the land in accord with the seven “feasts of the Lord” in Leviticus chapter twenty-three. These festivals form the prophetic calendar of Israel and detail the chronology of events, as they will have to do with Israel, from the time of Christ’s return to the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom (a period, which, according to Daniel 12:11, 12, will apparently be seventy-five days in length).
The first festival, the Passover, has to do with Israel’s national conversion after Christ returns and the Jewish people (still scattered among the nations) look upon the One “whom they have pierced” (Zechariah 12:10). The Jewish people, in that day, will look upon the Aleph and the Tau (the first and last letters in the Hebrew alphabet, as Alpha and Omega in the Greek alphabet [cf. Revelation 1:8; 21:6]). These two letters form an untranslated word in the Hebrew text of Zechariah 12:10, which follows and refers back to “Me [Christ]” in the verse.
Israel has slain the Lamb, but the Jewish people have yet to apply the blood. Thus, insofar as Israel is concerned, not a single festival from Leviticus chapter twenty-three (festivals that must be fulfilled in the order given) has been fulfilled. But, in that coming day, following Christ’s return, these festivals will be fulfilled, beginning with the Passover (during what would appear, from Daniel 12:11, 12, to be a seventy-five-day period).
But note within this order where Israel’s restoration is placed. It is seen in events surrounding the fifth festival, the Feast of Trumpets (which follows Israel’s national conversion [fulfilling the first festival], among other events set forth through the intervening three festivals). It will be then, not during the present day, that the fulfillment of verses such as Deuteronomy 30:3; Ezekiel 37:11-14; Matthew 24:31 will occur.
Then, a restored nation, in a restored land, during the Messianic Era, is seen through events surrounding the seventh and last festival — the Feast of Tabernacles. And it is toward this day that the whole of Scripture moves.
1) Next Unto the King
Israel in that coming day will be the restored wife of Jehovah, with the theocracy restored to the nation. “God” will be King; and “Israel,” a nation separate and distinct from the Gentile nations (cf. Numbers 23:9; Deuteronomy 7:6), will be queen.
Israel will be placed back in the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (a healed nation placed back in a healed land). Israel, in that day, will occupy her proper, God-ordained place at the head of the nations. The Times of the Gentiles will be past, Israel will hold the scepter, and the Gentile nations of the earth will be ruled by and blessed through Israel.
In that day, Israel is going to go forth in the antitype of Joseph’s brethren after his reappearance to and their acceptance of him. Joseph’s brethren, in the type, went forth with the message, “Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt” (Genesis 45:1-4, 9, 26). And Jesus’ brethren, in the antitype, are going to go forth with the same message: “Jesus is yet alive, and He is Governor over all the earth.”
The Jewish people, in that day, will fulfill the one thing that they have yet to fulfill surrounding their calling. They, as Jonah following his being raised from the dead after two days, on the third day, will carry God’s message to the Gentiles. And, as in Jonah’s experience, the Gentiles will hear and take heed (cf. Isaiah 43:1, 10; Jonah 1:17; 2:10-3:10).
2) Greatness, Acceptance, Wealth, Peace
The end of the matter is seen in both Esther chapters eight and ten. Chapter eight depicts one facet of Israel’s royal position during the Messianic Era — arrayed in a regal manner (v. 15); and chapter ten depicts another facet of the matter, with four words used to describe Israel in that coming day — greatness, acceptance, wealth, peace (KJV: v. 3).
The only word that probably needs any comment at all is the word “wealth.” This is the translation of a Hebrew word that has to do with “good,” or a reference to “the welfare of the people.”
Israel in that day will be great (at the head of the nations, rather than as today), the Jewish people will be accepted (the present-day situation will be reversed), the Jewish people will do that which is good (looking out for the welfare of all), and there will be worldwide peace (cf. Luke 1:31-33; 2:13, 14).
And it will be in that day, in accord with Esther 8:17 — “. . . many of the people of the land became Jews, because the fear of the Jews fell upon them” — that the Gentiles are going to recognize the Jew in complete accord with his true identity and calling:
Thus says the LORD of hosts: “In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’” (Zechariah 8:23).
“Ten” is the number of ordinal completion, pointing to all of the Gentiles, calling attention to that which the future holds for both Israel and the nations (Psalm 122:6; 126:1-6; Isaiah 60:1-22).