Finding Jesus in Esther
Holocaust. It’s a word that brings to mind images that we’ve seen on TV or in movies. It’s an ugly word. The massive, reckless, deliberate, and systematic extermination of an entire race of people: that was Hitler’s goal. He intended to wipe the nations free of a group of people for no other reason than they were Jewish. Interestingly, the Hebrew word for ‘burnt sacrifice’ is olah and it means literally ‘going up in smoke’. The parallel is unmistakeable. The burning furnaces of the death camps was not God’s intention, it was Satan’s. His original plan was the burning sacrifice of an animal to take the place of the sins of His people until the Messiah appeared: He would be the final substitute. Even though it seemed that Hitler’s plan of genocide was working, God’s plan was that His Son Jesus was the final solution, not the extermination of the Jews. How does this coincide with the book of Esther? Let’s dive into the story.
Hopefully you’ll remember from previous blogs that God had reached His limit with His chosen people and their idolatry. The Babylonian armies were allowed by God to capture and exile His people as Jeremiah had prophesied: a 70 year captivity and so it was. We previously read that Ezra and Nehemiah, under the new Persian Empire, were assigned to return and rebuild with those in agreement. Among the ones who decided to stay and continue their life within the Persian empire was Hadassah, a young Jewish girl. As you read the dramatic story of Esther (Hadassah’s name-change) keep in mind that Satan is never ahead of God. He’ll always try to steal, kill, and destroy but God doesn’t follow him: God is sovereign over him.
As Esther emerges into royalty through God’s divine plan, she becomes the star player; it’s quite poetic that her name means ‘star’. God moved His plan of deliverance through her in juxtaposition to the evil plan of Haman. Satan has been working in the darkness to bring a holocaust to the Hebrew people in Persia. Haman-Hitler is the same murderous spirit that tries, with no success, to systematically exterminate God’s treasured possession.
The Feast of Purim, instituted after Esther’s plan of deliverance was successful, is the year-end celebration of God’s deliverance of His people from their enemies. Remember back to Moses and the first feast of the year, Passover. God loves to celebrate with His people. There are many similarities between these two great deliverers, Moses and Esther, ending with the two yearly feasts as reminders of God’s covenant faithfulness. Jesus the Messiah is the final fulfillment of those two great forerunners as He was the chosen One, The Deliverer, that would bring salvation to the world. That’s where we find Jesus in the story of Esther.
No Haman, no Hitler, and no Antichrist will be able to thwart God’s plan of deliverance. He was in total control then and will be forever: Jesus, our Deliverer.