Mysteries of the Kingdom
By Arlen L. Chitwood
God and Israel
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. . . .
The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. . . .
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. . . .
Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and Mordecai the Jew, “Indeed, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows because he tried to lay his hand on the Jews.” . . .
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 1:19; 2:17; 3:1; 8:7; 10:1-3).
The books of Ruth and Esther are companion books in Scripture, presenting two overall chronologies of interrelated events having to do with the marriage relationship as it pertains to regality. The book of Ruth presents a history of Christ and the Church, culminating with the Son possessing a wife to rule as consort queen with Him; and the book of Esther presents a history of God and Israel, culminating with the Father possessing a restored wife to rule as consort queen with Him. Both books begin in past time, carry the reader through events occurring during present time, and culminate at the same point in future time.
These are the only books in Scripture named for women, and no one knows who wrote either book. They both stand together in this respect. But they also both stand together in a far greater and more significant respect. These two books, together, relate the complete story of both the Father and the Son as it pertains to a regal principle within the marriage relationship, set forth very early in Scripture:
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion . . . .” (Genesis 1:26a).
Man, created in the image and likeness of God, was created to rule the earth. But man could not rule alone. The woman, formed from a part of the man, was to rule as consort queen with him. She was bone of his bones, and flesh of his flesh. And the man could not rule as a complete being apart from the woman (Genesis 1:27, 28; 2:23, 24).
This will explain Adam’s act after Eve had partaken of the forbidden fruit. Adam could not have eaten of the tree of life following Eve’s sin (the tree that would have provided the wisdom and knowledge to rule and to reign), for he could not have ascended the throne as a complete being. Eve had to be brought back into the position that she had occupied prior to the fall in order for Adam to rule and to reign, as a complete being.
Thus, Adam had no choice other than to partake of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, with a view to redemption. And redemption would be with a view to both the man and the woman, together, one day being in a position to eat of the tree of life and ascend the throne, as God intended when He created man and formed the woman from a part of the man.
The sequence of events set forth through Adam’s act forms a type of the second Man, the last Adam, finding His bride — a part of His very being — in a fallen state and being made sin, with a view to redemption (2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 5:30-32; cf. vv. 21-29). And redemption in the antitype is the same as in the type. It is with a view to Christ and His bride (His wife) one day ascending the throne together, as God intended for man in the beginning, at the time of man’s creation.
Thus, Christ, the second Man, the last Adam, cannot reign apart from a redeemed bride (to be His wife), who is presently being formed from a part of His body, His very being. To do so would violate an established biblical principle. The Son, during the coming Messianic Era, must have a wife if He is to ascend the throne and rule the earth.
And, understanding this, the present ministry of the Spirit of God in the World — seeking a bride for God’s Son (Genesis 24) — can easily be understood as well. God has set aside an entire dispensation, lasting 2,000 years, during which time He has sent the Spirit into the world to acquire a bride for His Son.
But there is another facet to this principle set forth in the opening chapters of Genesis, and this is what the book of Esther is about. Abraham had a natural seed, through Isaac and Jacob, which was not only established in a theocracy on earth during Old Testament days but will be reestablished in a theocracy on earth during the Messianic Era.
And two things should be noted about Abraham’s natural seed, the nation of Israel, during the Messianic Era:
1. This nation will not form part of Christ’s wife.
2. In order to rule, this nation will have to occupy the same type of relationship with Another (with God) as the Church will occupy with Christ — a Husband-wife relationship.
The latter is the reason Israel is seen in the Old Testament as the wife of Jehovah. This is a position that the nation had to hold in order to reign in the Old Testament theocracy, and this is a position that the nation will have to hold in order to reign when the theocracy is restored. There had to be such a relationship for Israel to rule and reign during Old Testament days, and there will have to be such a relationship for Israel to rule and reign during the Messianic Era.
A relationship of this nature had to exist in the past and will have to exist in the future because of the God-established relationship between the man and the woman as it pertains to regality in Genesis 1:26. Man simply cannot fulfill the reason for his creation apart from this relationship.
During the coming Messianic Era, the theocracy will have two parts — heavenly and earthly. The wife of the Son, acquired during the present dispensation, will rule from the heavenly part; and the wife of Jehovah, restored from the past dispensation, will rule from the earthly part. As the book of Ruth dealt with the former (the heavenly), the book of Esther deals with the latter (the earthly).
The entire present dispensation, having to do with the Spirit’s search for a bride for God’s Son, is not dealt with at all in the book of Esther. It is passed over entirely, for this book has to do with God and Israel.
And dealing with God and Israel after this fashion, the book of Esther covers events surrounding both Israel’s past rejection and the nation’s future acceptance. The emphasis in the book though is on the latter, not the former. Most of the book deals with events surrounding Israel’s future acceptance, not with events surrounding Israel’s past rejection.
Vashti — Rejected
Israel’s past rejection is seen in the experiences of Vashti, the queen. This is the manner in which the book of Esther begins, following a brief introduction of the king and his kingdom (1:1-9).
Vashti refused to heed King Ahasuerus’ command, and, because of the far-reaching ramifications of her refusal, the king became enraged. Through her actions, Vashti had not only committed a transgression against the king but also against all the people of the provinces under his command as well. And, resultantly, the king rejected Vashti as queen, with a view to “her royal estate [postion]” being given to another (1:10-19).
This part of the book of Esther covers a history of Israel extending from the days of Moses to that future time when God once again turns to Israel and begins to deal with the nation. This part of the book covers 3,500 years of human history.
1) From Moses to John
Israel’s history, in one respect, can be traced back to God’s statement to Satan at the time of man’s fall (Genesis 3:15). The Seed of the woman was a reference to “Christ,” whom Israel, 4,000 years later, brought forth.
The nation’s history, in another respect, can be traced back to Noah’s words concerning Shem (Genesis 9:26). Of Noah’s three sons — from whom the entire human race descended — Shem alone was revealed to have a God. And so it is with the descendants of Shem through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Ephesians 2:12, 13).
Then, in the preceding respect, the nation’s history can be traced back to God’s command and promise to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3). Abraham was the one called out of Ur to be the channel through whom the nation of Israel and the Messiah would come. And it was through Israel, the nation bringing forth the Messiah, that God promised to bless all the nations of the earth (Genesis 12:3; John 8:37; Galatians 3:16).
And the nation’s history, in still another respect, can be traced back to God’s actions as they pertained to Jacob (Isaiah 43:1-10). It was in the person of Jacob that God performed a special creative act, setting his lineal descendants forth as separate and distinct from all the surrounding nations.
But the beginning of the nation in relation to the theocracy was not seen until Moses’ day (Exodus 12:2). It was only during Moses’ day that God began to deal with Israel, on a national basis, in relation to the theocracy, as it pertained to sonship and the rights of primogeniture (cf. Exodus 4:22, 23; 19:5, 6; 40:34-38).
A nation was born the night of the Passover in the land of Egypt. Death had occurred through sacrificial lambs, blood had been applied (showing a substitutionary death), and the Lord had passed over those households where the blood had been applied. Burial then occurred in the Red Sea, and the nation subsequently stood on the eastern banks of the sea in resurrection power.
The Passover, in this respect, marked “the beginning of months” for the nation of Israel (Exodus 12:2ff).
And Israel under Moses, having left Egypt (a type of the world in Scripture), was to ultimately dwell in the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, within a theocracy. God Himself was to rule in the midst of His people, and this rule was to extend throughout the entire earth, with all the nations of the earth being blessed because of and through Israel.
The extent to which Israel was to rule and be a blessing (wherein the nation refused to heed the King’s command) is that which is in view in the extent to which Vashti’s actions reached (wherein she refused to heed the king’s command).
Vashti’s refusal in the type had far-reaching ramifications that extended not only to the king but to everyone in the kingdom as well (Esther 1:1, 11, 12, 16).
And Israel’s refusal in the antitype had the same far-reaching ramifications. Such a refusal extended not only to the King but to everyone in the kingdom as well (Genesis 12:1-3; Isaiah 43:1-10).
The nations of the earth were to be blessed through Israel, as Israel occupied her God-ordained place in the theocracy (Genesis 12:3; Exodus 19:5, 6). And any refusal by Israel to occupy this place would have negative repercussions (Leviticus 26:14ff; Deuteronomy 28:15ff; Hosea 1:9). By such a refusal, there would be a failure to bring matters to pass concerning the King’s decreed manner in which the nations were to be blessed, and this would result in these blessings being withheld.
Thus, such a transgression on Israel’s part would be directed not only toward God Himself but toward the Gentile nations of the earth as well. And a transgression of this nature on Israel’s part is exactly what is seen in Old Testament history.
The theocracy reached its heights during the days of David and Solomon (some four centuries following Moses and Joshua). But even during this period, conditions within the theocracy were still far removed from that which God had intended when He called the Israelites out of Egypt under Moses.
Then, following Solomon’s death and the division of the kingdom, things began to go even further awry. Matters progressively deteriorated, and the voice of the prophets went unheeded (cf. Matthew 23:34-37; Acts 7:51, 52). And this ultimately resulted in God allowing Gentile nations to come in and carry His people captive into the very nations that those being taken captive had previously been called forth to bless.
God allowed the Assyrians to come down in 722 B.C. and carry away the northern ten tribes. Then He allowed the Babylonians to come over in 605 B.C. and carry away the southern two tribes. And once the entire nation found itself under Gentile dominion, that period in Scripture known as the “times of the Gentiles” began.
The “times of the Gentiles” has to do with that period during Man’s Day when the Gentile nations exercise regal power and authority in the world. This time began when the theocracy was taken from Israel, and it will end when the theocracy has been restored to Israel. The “times of the Gentiles” will come to a close only at that future time when God concludes His dealings with Israel, at the end of the coming Tribulation, at the end of Daniel’s unfulfilled Seventieth Week. It will be at that time, not before, that the theocracy will be restored to Israel.
2) From John until . . .
But even after the “times of the Gentiles” began, God did not cease dealing with Israel. His promise to Solomon four hundred years earlier remained just as true then as it had always existed:
If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Two climactic points, following the captivity, can be seen in Israel’s history in this respect — one past, and the other future. The former occurred over six hundred years after the “times of the Gentiles” began, and the latter will occur at the end of the “times of the Gentiles.”
Almost two thousand years ago (over six hundred years after the “times of the Gentiles” began), when God sent His Son the first time, Israel was given opportunity to repent; and this was done in association with events and circumstances of a nature never before seen in the nation. Messiah Himself was present, the kingdom of the heavens was offered to Israel (which, if the nation had accepted, would have necessitated the restoration of the earthly segment of the theocracy as well), and there was a manifestation of signs (associated with the proffered kingdom) unlike anything previously seen in Israel.
John the Baptist appeared as the forerunner of the Messiah, calling for Israel’s repentance, declaring that the kingdom of the heavens was “at hand” (Matthew 3:1ff). Then Israel’s Messiah Himself appeared, calling for the nation’s repentance and extending the same offer of the kingdom to the Jewish people (Matthew 4:17ff). But though numerous Jews heeded the message, the nation at large continued in the same non-repentant way that had marked Israel’s actions so much during the days of the Old Testament theocracy (cf. Matthew 12:14, 22-24; 23:13; John 9:14, 33, 34; 12:9-11; 19:5-14).
Others were sent to the nation at this time — the Twelve, then the Seventy (Matthew 10:1ff; Luke 10:1ff). But a refusal on Israel’s part continued. And Israel climaxed this refusal by crucifying the very One whom John the Baptist had initially gone before and proclaimed to the nation — the One who had taken up the message following John’s imprisonment, the One who had commissioned and sent the Twelve and the Seventy, Messiah Himself.
Then following the death, burial, and resurrection of Israel’s Messiah, a re-offer of the kingdom was made by the apostles and others (detailed in the book of Acts). But Israel still refused, continuing to persecute and even kill those sent to proclaim the message (Acts 4:1-21; 5:17-40; 7:51-60; 8:1ff; cf. Matthew 23:31-36).
And the nation, following this re-offer of the kingdom, was then set aside while God called out from among the Gentiles “a people for His name” (Acts 15:14). Israel was set aside for a dispensation, allowing the Holy Spirit, already in the world, to procure a bride for God’s Son from among the Gentiles.
All the preceding actions surrounding Israel can be seen in the experiences of Vashti in the book of Esther. Vashti, in her experiences, forms the type; and Israel, in the nation’s experiences, forms the antitype.
But Vashti’s experiences form only part of the story, that of disobedience and rejection. There is another part to the story, a part that has to do with obedience and acceptance. And this part is seen in the experiences of Esther.
Esther — Accepted
At the end of the present dispensation when God turns once again to Israel, His actions will be with a view to Israel’s repentance, followed by His acceptance and the subsequent restoration of the nation. The Jewish people will be brought to the place of repentance; and there will then be acceptance on God’s part, with restoration following.
Chapter one in the book of Esther has to do with Israel’s rejection, and chapter two has to do with Israel’s acceptance. Vashti, typifying Israel past and present, was rejected (1:19); and Esther, typifying Israel yet future, was accepted (2:17). Then the remainder of the book presents a number of details surrounding Israel immediately preceding and at the time of the nation’s acceptance, with the end of the matter being seen in the experiences of both Esther and Mordecai.
In the chronology of Esther, God views Israel as already restored to her rightful place (cf. 2:17; 5:2, 12; 7:1, 5, 7, 8) prior to the occurrence of certain events that actually precede this restoration (3:1-9:14).
Haman and his ten sons typify Antichrist and his ten-kingdom confederacy. And Israel’s repentance in the antitype, followed by God’s acceptance and restoration of the nation, will not actually occur until very near the end of the Tribulation, extending into events that will be brought to pass following Christ’s return immediately following the Tribulation.
That which will bring Israel to the place of repentance is centered in the actions of those typified by Haman and his ten sons. Then Israel being accepted and exalted is seen in the experiences of both Esther and Mordecai after Haman and his ten sons had been removed from the scene.
The fact that Esther is seen married to the king and crowned in the book prior to and during the events surrounding Haman and his ten sons — which seemingly would be out of line with a proper chronology in the antitype — is perfectly aligned with the way God often presents things in His revelation to man. God often presents matters in His revelation as having already occurred before they have actually been brought to pass (e.g., the crucifixion of His Son “from the foundation of the world,” four thousand years before it occurred in human history [Revelation 13:8]; or His viewing Satan’s “fall from heaven” two thousand years before it actually does occur [Luke 10:18]).
And also, God often provides a complete chronology of events in His revelation prior to providing details for things within the chronology (e.g., in Revelation chapter twelve, the first six verses provide a complete chronology of events, with the remainder of the chapter (vv. 7-17) simply providing a commentary for these events).
(Actually, the whole of Scripture is structured in the preceding fashion. Genesis 1:1-2:3 provides a complete chronology of events covering 7,000 years of time. Then, the remainder of Scripture is simply a commentary on these opening verses, providing all the numerous and necessary details.)
The account in Esther combines both of the two preceding ways God often presents things in His Word. First, the matter of Esther being made queen is seen as having occurred; and then a complete chronology of events is given, providing a commentary surrounding Esther being made queen.
God views the complete matter of Israel’s past and present rejection in chapter one, along with the complete matter of the nation’s future acceptance in chapter two. Then, the remainder of the book (chapters 3ff) forms not only a commentary on chapter two — providing necessary details — but, throughout this commentary, God continues to view Israel as occupying the exalted position in which the nation is seen in chapter two (e.g., 5:2, 12; 7:1, 5, 7, 8).
And, with these things in mind, note the commentary that God has provided — eight chapters (chapters 3-10), which all reflect back on the fact that Esther had been made queen/that Israel will be made queen (2:17). And this fact is continuously kept in view throughout the commentary.
(“Time” is relative, not a constant. And God can easily move through time, going back in time or forward in time, bringing events occurring anywhere in time into the present. Note God’s actions in this respect as seen in Ecclesiastes 3:15: “That which is has already been [the past is present], and what is to be has already been [the future, seen as past, which is present]; and God requires an account of what is past [‘God seeks that which has been pursued’].”)
Haman — Defeated
Chapters three through ten in the book of Esther, forming a commentary on chapter two, begin by introducing Haman, not seen in the book prior to this time. And, from the point he is introduced, Haman and his family occupy a place at the forefront of events seen throughout the remainder of the book, save the final chapter.
Revelation concerning Haman begins with the king promoting and placing him in a prominent position of power and authority in his kingdom. The king “advanced Haman and set his seat above all the princes that were with him” (3:1).
And, because of Haman’s exalted position, all the king’s servants were commanded to accord him honor (such honor, reverence, was normally shown in that day through falling to the knees and touching the ground with the forehead). But one individual refused. Mordecai, the Jew, refused to accord Haman such honor. Mordecai “would not bow or pay homage.” And this infuriated Haman to the extent that he sought “to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus” (3:2-6).
And Haman, seeking to destroy all the Jews throughout the kingdom, directed his efforts particularly against Mordecai, who had refused to accord him honor. But matters, through God’s sovereign control of all things, were brought to pass in such a way that Haman was the one who found himself on the road to ruin and destruction, rather than Mordecai or the rest of the Jewish people (3:7ff). And, once Haman found himself on this road, the matter was exactly as stated by his wife, Zeresh:
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)
Once Haman had turned against the Jewish people he found himself forced into situations and circumstances completely beyond his control, situations and circumstances that brought about events completely contrary to that which he had sought to effect. He found himself not only being forced to exalt Mordecai, whom he had sought to put down, but he also, in the end, found himself impaled on the very gallows which he had built for Mordecai (6:1-7:10).
Then, if that wasn’t enough, his ten sons were subsequently slain and impaled on the same gallows (9:10-14). And all of this brought an end to “the house of Haman,” allowing the Jewish people to occupy their rightful, prominent place in the kingdom.
This sequence of events, in type, foreshadows that which will one day occur in the kingdom of Antichrist, and beyond, seen beginning with the breaking of the first seal of the seven-sealed scroll in Revelation chapter six (vv. 1, 2). The King Himself will promote Antichrist and place him in the position of power that he is destined to occupy, as Ahasuerus did with Haman. It is God alone who rules in “the kingdom of men” through His sovereign control of matters. He is the One who establishes and removes rulers, giving the kingdom “to whomsoever He will” (Daniel 4:17-26; 5:18-28).
And, in his exalted position of power, “above all the princes,” Antichrist will command the same honor accorded Haman (Revelation 13:2-8). He will have previously made a covenant with many in Israel (Daniel 9:27a). But numerous other Jews will have rejected this covenant; and, in the light of the type in Esther, these Jews will apparently also have rejected the man making the covenant as well, refusing to accord him honor.
Then, because of this, Antichrist, in his wrath, after three and one-half years, will turn against the Jewish people “throughout the whole kingdom [worldwide]” and seek their complete destruction, exactly as seen in Haman’s actions (cf. Daniel 9:27b; Matthew 24:15ff; Luke 21:20ff; 2 Thessalonians 2:3ff).
But once Antichrist has turned against the Jewish people, he will have placed himself on the same road of no return previously traveled by Haman. It will be a downward path, leading to the destruction of not only himself but also his ten-kingdom confederacy (wherein Gentile world power will be centered in that day), seen in the destruction of Haman and his ten sons in the type (cf. Daniel 2:33-35, 40-45; 7:7-12, 23-28; Revelation 19:11ff).
Once Antichrist turns against the Jewish people, a period of progressively intensifying trouble will ensue. This period will begin with the breaking of the second seal of the seven-sealed scroll in Revelation chapter six (vv. 3, 4) and will continue until the last of the judgments wrought through the breaking of the seals on the seven-sealed scroll have been brought to pass — the judgments depicted through the breaking of the seventh seal, the sounding of the seven trumpets and the pouring out of the seven bowls (Revelation 8:1ff; 16:1ff).
And conditions in Antichrist’s kingdom will progressively deteriorate throughout this period until the point is reached where, except for the Lord’s intervention, mankind would literally destroy itself:
And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved . . . . (Matthew 24:22a)
This is what lies in store, in the immediate future, for the enlightened world system in which man finds himself today. This is how Man’s Day will end after 6,000 years of human history and so-called advancement.
Mordecai — Exalted
But, just as the book of Esther doesn’t end with the destruction of Haman and his ten sons, neither does Scripture end with the destruction of Antichrist and his ten-kingdom confederacy. Scripture brings matters to a conclusion in this respect the same way in which the book of Esther foreshadows these same events and brings them to a conclusion in the type — the Jewish people exalted in a kingdom, following the destruction of their enemies (cf. Deuteronomy 30:1-10; Isaiah 2:1-4; Joel 3:12-21).
Though Antichrist will be seeking the destruction of the Jewish people, God, through His sovereign control of all things, will use Antichrist’s efforts to bring about the very thing that He Himself desires. God will use this man, who will be responsible for the without-parallel-in-history judgments that will befall those on the earth during this coming time of trouble, to bring His people to the place of repentance (Revelation 17:16, 17).
The matter will be exactly as seen in another type — the Israelites in Egypt during Moses’ day. They, because of the severity of the bondage under an Assyrian ruler, were brought to a place where they were left with no choice other than to call upon the God of their fathers. God used the vain efforts of this Assyrian ruler to bring His people to the end of themselves (Exodus 9:15, 16).
God heard His people’s cry, He remembered His “covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob,” and He then sent Moses back to deliver them (Exodus 2:23-3:10).
And exactly the same thing will occur yet future. The Jewish people, because of the severity of the trouble that will ensue under another Assyrian ruler, will be brought to the place where they will have no choice but to call upon the God of their fathers. God will use the vain efforts of this Assyrian ruler to bring His people to the same end as seen during Moses’ day.
And God, as in Moses’ day, will hear His people’s cry; and He will remember His “covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob,” and He will then send Jesus back to deliver them (cf. Deuteronomy 30:1-3; Ezekiel 36:16-28; Matthew 24:29-31).
When matters were brought to a close in the book of Esther, the king gave Esther “the house of Haman” (8:1, 7), which she placed under Mordecai’s control (v. 2); and also, when matters were brought to a close in this book, the king advanced Mordecai in the kingdom, with Mordecai then holding a position of power next to the king himself (10:2, 3).
Esther and Mordecai, together, present the complete picture of restored Israel in that future day. Not only will God give Israel the worldwide kingdom of Antichrist but the nation will be elevated into a position of power on earth next to God Himself.
Deliverance for Israel occurred during Moses’ day, with a kingdom in view; deliverance for Israel occurred during Esther and Mordecai’s day, with a kingdom in view; and deliverance for Israel will occur yet future, at the end of Man’s Day, during the Lord’s Day, with a kingdom in view.
God, in His sovereign control of all things, will bring all events to pass, exactly as foretold by the prophets. Nothing will fail of fulfillment. And Israel, in the end, will occupy her God-ordained place relative to both God and the nations of the earth, as the restored wife of Jehovah, within a theocracy.
(For additional information on God’s dealings with Israel, as presented in this chapter, refer to the author’s book, Esther.)