Purim is celebrated every year on Adar 13-14 (13th and 14th days of the twelfth Hebrew month), which this year on the Gregorian Calendar is March 11-12, 2017. This special Biblical day is celebrated in remembrance of the miraculous deliverance of the Jewish people from the evil Persian, Haman, in the 4th century B.C. The details of this amazing deliverance are chronicled in the Book of Esther.
Esther 9:1, “Now in the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king’s command and edict were about to be carried out, on the very day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to gain the mastery over them, the reverse occurred: the Jews gained mastery over those who hated them.”
Esther 9:17-19, “This was on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar, and on the fourteenth day they rested and made that a day of feasting and gladness. But the Jews who were in Susa gathered on the thirteenth day and on the fourteenth, and rested on the fifteenth day, making that a day of feasting and gladness. Therefore the Jews of the villages, who live in the rural towns, hold the fourteenth day of the month of Adar as a day for gladness and feasting, as a holiday, and as a day on which they send gifts of food to one another.”
While there is much to be said about the Feast of Purim and the amazing story of Hadassah (Esther), in this article we will explore a little known corollary prophecy that is often overlooked.
The prophet Joel is one of the most enigmatic prophets of the Tanakh (Old Testament). It is unclear when exactly he wrote his prophecy, but most scholars believe he lived sometime before the fall of the northern House of Israel (722 B.C.), likely mid 8th century B.C. Others think he prophesied before the Babylonian exile of the southern House of Judah (605-586 B.C.). Regardless of the exact date, it is clear that his prophecies cover an extensive period of time, from his own time through the time of the great tribulation, which culminates with the Day of the Lord/Second Coming of Messiah, the establishment of His millennial kingdom, and the restoration of Israel.
In Joel chapter 3, we are given glimpses of the Second Coming events and the reasons for the righteous judgments of the Lord.
Joel 3:1-2a, “For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. And I will enter into judgment with them there, on behalf of my people and my heritage Israel."
During the great tribulation, the Lord will gather all nations into the Valley of Jehoshaphat for judgment at His second coming. In the first part of this prophecy, the Lord promises to “restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem.” Then, He will judge the nations on behalf of His people and His heritage, Israel. Keep in mind that the phrases “in that day” or “in those days” are euphemisms for the last days, or the second coming of Messiah. But why, “in those days,” does the Lord judge the nations? The next part of this verse is very telling:
Joel 3:2b-3, “Because they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up my land, and have cast lots for my people, and have traded a boy for a prostitute, and have sold a girl for wine and have drunk it.”
Here we see several particular things that bring judgment upon the nations:
1. They scattered His people among the nations
2. They have divided His land (Israel, the promised land through the Abrahamic Covenant)
3. They have “cast lots” for His people
4. Traded boys for a prostitute and joined themselves to this prostitute (The Great Harlot, Mecca/Saudi Arabia, Revelation 17, Isaiah 13,21,34, Jeremiah 49-51)
5. Sold girls for the wine and drank the wine (Wine of the Great Harlot’s Fornication, Mecca/Saudi Arabia, Revelation 17, Isaiah 13,21,34, Jeremiah 49-51)
While all of these points are reasons for judgment, the third reason, casting lots for His people, has a clear reference to the story of Esther and Haman, and the Feast of Purim!
Esther 3:1-2, “After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, and advanced him and set his throne above all the officials who were with him. And all the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman, for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage.”
Esther 3:5-7, “And when Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage to him, Haman was filled with fury. But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone. So, as they had made known to him the people of Mordecai, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus. In the first month, which is the month of Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, they cast Pur (that is, they cast lots) before Haman day after day; and they cast it month after month till the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar.”
Haman is a picture of one who wants to destroy the people of God. He, like many others, is a prototypical Antichrist figure. His murderous rage will be paralleled and magnified by the Antichrist (Satan incarnate) at the end of the age.
Revelation 12:17, “Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.”
The Hebrew word used for “lots” in Esther is “gowral” (Strong’s H1486-גורל), and this is the exact same word for “lots” in Joel 3:3. While the prophecy of Joel was likely written around 850 B.C. (maybe as late as 590’s B.C.), and the story of Esther does not take place in the Medo-Persian empire sometime around the mid 400’s B.C., both use identical language and very similar situations to describe the reason for judgment upon the enemies of God! While Joel’s prophecy is clearly about the end of the age, Esther gives us additional details and imagery to uncover these end time events.
It is clear that the story of Esther is a magnificent prophetic picture that God used to show His awesome plan and providence for His people. Purim is the pinnacle of this story, and within it we see the redemption of the Lord through His wonderful Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus)!
Just as the soldiers cast lots for Yeshua’s clothing just before He died and accomplished the ultimate sacrifice for the forgiveness for sin and defeat of death (Matthew 27:35, Mark 15:24, Luke 23:34, John 19:24), so will God redeem His people and nation at the end of the age. The enemies of God may think that they are casting lots for their victory, but ultimately it is the Lord who determines ALL lots, and His Word will stand!
Proverbs 16:33 , “The lot is cast into the lap, but it’s every decision is from the LORD.”
Chag Purim Sameach (Happy Ferstival of Purim)! Amen, Amen, and Amen!