I. Historic Truth
The book of Esther can be read on three levels. The first is historic truth. The events were real; they took place approximately 500 years before the time of Yeshua. Esther is the only book of the Bible in which the name of God is not mentioned directly. Yet God’s sovereignty is demonstrated in this book perhaps more than in any other.
For instance, the same night that Haman plans to kill Mordechai, King Ahashueros can’t sleep and coincidentally reads the account of how Mordechai saved his life. Haman just happens to be in the court when the King decides to honor Mordechai. God is in control, even when we don’t see Him working and the situation seems to be hopeless.
Mordechai is the son of Kish, which means he was a descendant of King Saul (Esther 2:5). Haman is an Agagite (Esther 3:1), which means he may have been a descendant of King Agag. Some 500 years before this time, God punished Saul for not having executed Agag. The punishment seemed to be overly harsh. Only when we read of Haman’s plans for mass murder, do we understand that God was correct in telling Saul to execute Agag. God’s judgments often appear harsh because we do not see all that He does. God’s judgments are righteous, even when we don’t fully understand them.
God’s sovereignty also contains incredible grace. While Saul failed with Agag, Mordechai succeeded with Haman. God provided a second chance. If we have faith (and patience), God will work all things for our good, even if it takes a lot longer than we think it should.
II. Foreshadow of the Gospel
The second level of the book of Esther is a foreshadowing of the gospel. Haman is an image of Satan, and Mordechai of Yeshua. The Bible says that the crucifixion was planned before the creation of the world (Revelation 13:8, I Peter 1:20). Therefore all the events of the Law and the Prophets were orchestrated by God in expectation of the crucifixion (Luke 24:26-27, Acts 2:30-31, I Peter 1:10-11).
There is no word in the Old Testament for “cross”. That is why the apostles sometimes referred to the cross in Hebrew as “ets” (Acts 5:30, 10:39, 13:29). “Ets” can mean tree, wood or a wooden structure. In the book of Esther the word “ets” appears in 7 passages as the place of execution (Esther 2:23, 5:14, 6:4, 7:9, 8:7, 9:13, 9:25), translated as “gallows”.
Villains were executed by hanging on this wooden structure. In the story of Esther the righteous hero is almost hanged there. Then the same wooden structure suddenly transforms the situation from defeat to victory. Like Isaac on Moriah, like Joseph in the pit, and like Jonah in the fish, Mordechai is almost killed and then miraculously saved. Mordechai is then appointed to the second place in the kingdom, with his throne above all other thrones.
III. End Times Prophecy
On the third level, the book of Esther can be interpreted symbolically to foreshadow end times prophecies. Haman symbolizes the Antichrist, Esther, the interceding Church and Mordechai, the Messianic Jewish movement.
The historical events took place in ancient Persia, equivalent to modern Iran. There was an evil man who called for the destruction of the Jews, like Ahmadinejad today. There was a confederation of 127 nations, reminiscent of the United Nations.
The closest word in biblical Hebrew for “antichrist” is “tsorer”. Haman is referred to as “tsorer” four times (translated as “enemy”, Esther 3:10, 8:1, 9:10, 9:24). Like Haman, the Antichrist will try to kill Jews (and Christians), and unite the nations to attack Israel (Revelation 13, Ezekiel 38-39, Zechariah 12-14).
The root of anti-Semitism can be found in Esther 3:6, where the satanic figure is so offended at the Messiah figure that he is not satisfied just to kill the Messiah, but wants revenge on all of His relatives as well. Anti-Semitic, anti-Christ and anti-Christian spirits come from the same source.
IV. The Interceding Bride
Esther is a beautiful model of today’s “Bride of Christ” (Ephesians 5:23-32, Revelation 12). She is enjoying bridal intimacy of worship with the king. She has Jewish roots, but no one knows. Although she tries to avoid it, she gets caught up in the horrible tribulation concerning the Jews. She is challenged prophetically that her own destiny and her privilege of bridal intimacy is primarily for the purpose of interceding for the salvation of Israel (Esther 4:14, Romans 11:11-15).
Although Esther is traumatized by this call to risk her life in intercession for the Jewish people, she decides to accept her prophetic destiny. It is through her beauty, grace, prayer and fasting that disaster is turned into victory and the kingdom delivered to the saints. (Many who know of bridal intimacy with Christ are being called as end time Esthers today.)
During this drama,
“many of the peoples of the earth became Jews” (Esther 8:17).
This signifies two things: 1) a great harvest of souls for the gospel during the tribulation, and 2) many saints reconnecting to the covenants of Israel and the Jewish roots of the faith.
V. Destiny for Iran
The book of Esther also points to a positive prophetic destiny for Iran. While Persia was the source of the conflict and anti-Semitism, it was also the source of the faith that brought victory.
The great kings of Persia – Cyrus and Ahashueros – covenanted with the people of Israel 1,000 years before Islam. Persians are not Arabs. Their roots are in biblical faith, not in Islam. Their partnership with Israel goes back more than 2,500 years.
I believe there will be a strong underground Church in Iran in the end times, which will grow in numbers, stand in faith, and identify with the remnant of Israel.