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Passover

Passover

“A Festival to the Lord”

 

This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover. On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt. This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance.” – Exodus 12:11-14

 

Exodus, the second book of the Pentateuch, tells the story of deliverance from bondage and of restoration—the establishing of a special relationship between Jehovah and the children of Israel and the first Passover. It is the story of Moses and his birth, life, and sudden departure from Egypt after murdering an Egyptian overseer (see Exodus 2:11–12).

 

Moses fled to the desert of Midian where God hardened him to desert life in the place he would spend the second 40 years of his existence. The adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter learned meekness and humility and, at the same time, grew physically stronger for the task that, unbeknownst to him, lay ahead. At the end of 40 years on the backside of the desert, Moses was charged by Yahweh with storming into the throne room of Pharaoh, the most powerful man in the vast region, and demanding that his Israelite bond slaves be allowed to pack up and leave Goshen, the area to which they had been assigned.

 

As he returned to Egypt, Moses encountered Aaron, his older brother, in the desert. The two men made their way to the palace to challenge Pharaoh. With the ruler’s refusal to let the Israelites go, God began to visit ten plagues on the land. Rather than persuade the ruler, it achieved the opposite effect, and the burdens that had been placed on the children of Jacob were intensified. The last plague, the death of all of Egypt’s firstborn, was the final straw for the rebellious Pharaoh.

 

“Thus says the Lord: ‘About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt; and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the animals. Then there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as was not like it before, nor shall be like it again. But against none of the children of Israel shall a dog move its tongue, against man or beast, that you may know that the Lord does make a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.’ And all these your servants shall come down to me and bow down to me, saying, ‘Get out, and all the people who follow you!’ After that I will go out.” Then he went out from Pharaoh in great anger (Exodus 11:4-8).

 

Moses was vitally aware of what was about to befall the Egyptian people. Remember, as a baby he was saved by Pharaoh’s daughter because of an edict that demanded the deaths of all babies born to the children of Israel. Because of that action and the king’s refusal to free God’s people, a dire penalty would be exacted—not only on Pharaoh’s household but also on each family in the land of Egypt. Harsh, yes, but Pharaoh had been given numerous opportunities to heed the warning.

 

God did not send His people out of Egypt empty-handed. He repaid their decades of unpaid labor on the night of the Passover. Years of deprivation and disfavor culminated in one night of provision and preferential treatment. Jacob’s descendants were set free bearing the blessings of Jehovah as they hurriedly followed Moses to the Red Sea. Psalm 105:37 recounts, “He also brought them out with silver and gold, and there was none feeble among His tribes.”

 

In the midst of their captivity, Jehovah-Mephalti—the Lord my Deliverer—blessed His people with both health and wealth. Moses discovered that the favor of Jehovah God opens doors that no man can shut! It provided material goods that would never have been offered to the suffering Israelites while in bondage to the Egyptians. Can you picture those who opened their doors to the knocks of their Hebrew neighbors? How they might have bowed and then hurried back inside to fulfill the requests of their hated, and now feared, enemies?

Was this abundance of wealth provided only to line the pockets of the Israelites—to pay them back for all the years of hard labor under the harsh reign of Pharaoh? No, it was also for a greater purpose: God would eventually ask that His people open their hearts and coffers to provide the materials needed to build and furnish the tabernacle. God had given Moses very specific instructions regarding the tenth and final plague that was to grip the land of Egypt.

 

With a lamb, God had provided a way of escape for His people—an exchange for the firstborn in each family. Obedience was all that was required for the death angel to pass over Israelite homes. Jehovah then instructed that as a reminder of His graciousness, the Israelites were to observe a memorial day annually and in perpetuity—Passover. God stated in precise detail how the event was to be observed:

 

  • The lamb was to be selected and carefully tended until the appointed time.
  • It was to be slaughtered and its blood collected in a basin. It was to be roasted and totally consumed—anything left over was to be burned with fire.
  • Its blood was to be brushed on the lintel and doorposts of the home with a branch of hyssop. Can you picture the care that must have been taken by the head of the household to be sure the lintel and doorposts were painstakingly covered with the blood of the lamb?
  • The unleavened bread is symbolic of the haste of the Israelites’ departure from Egypt—the lack of sufficient time for the dough to rise.
  • The bitter herbs represent the harsh treatment received at the hands of their cruel Egyptian taskmasters. Might this also be symbolic of the bitter tears shed by the children of Israel during their captivity? Or the cries of the mothers as their children were born and then immediately murdered by the midwives? It might have been indicative of the groanings as backs were lashed by whips or bent beneath the heavy load laid upon the Israelites. Such deep and abiding bitterness was the result of 400 years of pain and agony for the children of Israel.
  • The people were to be fully clothed while eating the meal. They needed to be ready for the trek before them…cloaks donned, sandals fastened, and staff in hand. God had already promised in Exodus 6:6-7, “Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.” God always keeps His promises!

 

THE SEDER CEREMONY

 

Today, as the Jewish people prepare for the feast, every vestige of yeast is removed from the home. In the days before the Passover observance, Jewish dwellings must be cleansed of anything containing chametz or leaven. Not only is it symbolic of the speed with which the Israelites were chased out of Egypt, Unger’s Bible Dictionary says that it is a “symbolic way of removing the ‘puffiness’ (arrogance, pride) from our souls.”

 

This picture of puffiness might also be labeled “self-righteousness.” The Message has an excellent interpretation of 1 Corinthians 5:6–8: “Your flip and callous arrogance in these things bothers me. You pass it off as a small thing, but it’s anything but that. Yeast, too, is a ‘small thing,’ but it works its way through a whole batch of bread dough pretty fast. So get rid of this ‘yeast.’”

 

Our true identity is flat and plain, not puffed up with the wrong kind of ingredient. The Messiah, our Passover Lamb, has already been sacrificed for the Passover meal, and we are the Unraised Bread part of the feast. So let’s live out our part in the feast—not as raised bread, swollen with the yeast of evil, but as flat bread…simple, genuine, unpretentious.

 

When leaven is added to flour, a chemical reaction causes the bread to increase in volume. Could it be that Jehovah was presenting yet another picture with the unleavened bread? God wanted His people to understand that He alone was the Redeemer, and there was no cause for them to be “puffed up.” He was the miracle maker, the rescuer of His people from the bondage of Pharaoh. There was no place in His plan for haughtiness or vanity, just a total reliance on Jehovah-Mephalti—the Lord my Deliverer.

 

The grains that must be swept from the home are wheat, rye, barley, oats, and spelt, a type of hulled wheat. Some Orthodox Jews also include rice, corn, peanuts, and legumes.

 

These items are not to be eaten or even possessed by the homeowner during Passover. The housecleaning undertaken during the pre-Pesach days is a massive assignment. Every crumb, every speck, and every iota of anything that contains leaven is to be scrubbed away. A few pieces of bread are left behind for the children to discover. These are burned outside the home to rid it of the symbol of sin that pervades daily life. Now the home is ready for the observance.

 

The Passover Seder, or ceremonial dinner to celebrate the exodus from Egypt, is to be practiced by Jews as an observance—a reminder—of Jehovah’s mercy, grace, and deliverance centuries before in Egypt. Individuals seated at the table are to see themselves as being the recipient of God’s deliverance and His promises recorded in Exodus 6:6–8: “Therefore say to the children of Israel: ‘I am the Lord; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. [The first three promises speak of redemption. The next three promises speak of relationship.] I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. [The last two promises speak of provision.] And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage: I am the Lord.’”

 

As family members gather around the table to celebrate the Seder, the woman of the home lights candles to mark the beginning of the hallowed event. A Seder plate has been readied for the ceremony. It contains the following:

 

  • Karpas from the Greek means “fresh vegetable.” It may be a boiled potato, parsley, or celery.
  • The roasted shank bone of a lamb, a reminder of the Paschal lamb. Paschal means “He [God] skipped over” the houses of the children of Israel.
  • Beitzah, or a hard-boiled egg. The egg is symbolic of mourning and is a reminder of the loss of Solomon’s and Herod’s temples in Jewish history.
  • Charoset, a paste made of apples, nuts, wine, and spices. It comes from the Hebrew word cheres, or clay. It is representative of the mortar for buildings that the Egyptian overseers compelled the Hebrews to craft.
  • Maror, or bitter herbs. This is a reminder of the brutal slavery the Israelites endured under Pharaoh.
  • In some homes, a small bowl of salt water is placed on the plate as a reminder of the tears shed by the Jews and of the Red Sea through which God led the Israelites.

 

After the last candle has been lighted, the person seated at the head of the table raises the first of four cups of wine—this one representing sanctification—and blesses it before partaking. The guests seated at the table recline, or lean to the left, to signify freedom. (In ancient times, only those people who enjoyed freedom reclined as they partook of a meal.) The leader of the Seder ceremonially washes his hands and then passes a vessel containing salted water around the table. The salt is indicative of the cries of the children of Israel while in captivity. Each person then dips a piece of parsley or lettuce, signifying a new beginning, into the water.

 

Three matzot are placed into a special bag designed with three separate compartments. (In the matzah prepared today, even centuries after the death of and resurrection of Christ, this symbolism—the piercings and stripes—remain as the picture of Jehovah’s perfect plan of salvation.) One matzah is broken, and half is wrapped in linen and hidden away. A whole matzah is placed in the first and second compartments, and in the third, the Afikomen, or part of the broken matzah. It is eaten at the conclusion of the meal as dessert.

 

The second cup of wine—representative of the plagues—is raised and blessed but not drunk at that moment. A child is selected to ask the age-old question with answers in four parts: “Why is this night different from all other nights?”

 

  1. On all other nights, we may eat chametz and matzah, but on this night only matzah.
  2. On all other nights, we eat any vegetables, but on this night, we eat maror [bitter herbs].
  3. On all other nights, we do not dip even once, but on this night twice.
  4. On all other nights, we eat either sitting or reclining, but on this night, we all recline.

 

The meal begins with a hard-boiled egg. The story is told of a rabbi who was asked about the inclusion of an egg: “Because eggs symbolize the Jew,” the rabbi answered. “The more an egg is burned or boiled, the harder it gets.”

 

At the end of the meal, the Afikomen is removed from the pouch and consumed. It is symbolic of the Pascal Lamb. No other food is eaten for the remainder of the night. The third cup of wine—the cup of redemption—is then drunk. Those at the table sing the second part of the Hallel (a song of praise)—Psalms 115–118—after which the fourth cup of wine, the cup of praise, is consumed. It signifies the end of the Seder, after which point some families add, “Le-shanah ha-ba’ah bi-Yerushalayim,” or “Next year in Jerusalem.”

 

 

This phrase is also infused with hope for the coming of the Messiah. Author Sam Nadler wrote: “This cup calls us to praise God as we remember all that He has done for us. In remembering, let us also proclaim and rejoice in the true meaning of Passover. The head of the house sits opposite an empty seat traditionally left for Elijah the Prophet. Traditionally, Elijah is expected to arrive at Passover preceding and proclaiming the Coming One, that is, the Messiah Himself. 

 

This tradition is taken from the book of Malachi.

 

In Malachi 3:1, we read, ‘Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming’.”

 

Hebrew scholar Gilad Barach also offered this insight into this cry of hope: “Although Jews pray each day for their immediate redemption, ‘Next year in Jerusalem’ signifies something more—their longing for the return of the holiday sacrifices. Yom Kippur and Passover are unique in the Jewish calendar because, more than any other holiday, their fundamental identities are inherently and integrally bound to the Temple service . . . . Though not despondent as we conclude this festive night, we admit that the highlight of the Seder night is missing in the Temple’s absence . . . . Next year, we will observe the day properly, in a rebuilt Jerusalem, with a rebuilt Temple and a reenacted sacrificial service.”

 

It is impossible to separate Judaism and Christianity. Judaism is the seed that falls onto the ground from which a tree grows. From the seed of Abraham and David came the Messiah, the One “sent” from the Father. Jesus was born to Mary, a Jewess from Nazareth. He closely identified with God’s Chosen People. He studied with them, walked among them, and ministered to His kinsmen, all the while preaching a universal message of His Father’s love and grace.

 

Thirty-three years after His miraculous birth, 1,500 years after the celebration of the very first Passover, Jesus had His disciples prepare a place to celebrate the symbolic meal on the night before His crucifixion. In Luke 22:15–16, we read: “Then [Jesus] said to them, ‘With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’” This Passover meal was the fulcrum point of His earthly ministry, His last before being betrayed into the hands of the Sanhedrin and, ultimately, the Romans. Each Passover is a reminder to us that the Lamb of God was slain for the sins of the world, and His blood is our salvation.    
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What’s Behind the Pro-Hamas, Anti-Israel Protests?

What’s Behind the Pro-Hamas, Anti-Israel Protests?

As I’ve been praying for America and Israel in light of the riots that have been happening across America on university campuses, my question to you is who’s behind the college and university riots taking place in America?

One of the key backers of these protests is being ignored by the liberal media—it is the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic organization with a political approach to Islam, founded in Egypt in 1928. It is this key source that fuels Islamic terrorism. Its charter states that it is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose Islam on all nations, and to extend its power to the entire world. The Islamic motto is “Allah is our objective, the prophet is our leader, the Qur’an is our law, jihad is our way, and dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”

If you travel in Europe, you can see the impact that the Muslim Brotherhood has had. From Holland to France, it’s unspeakable the damage they’ve done to these nations. During the Iraq War, the Muslim Brotherhood issued a fatwa saying it was the religious obligation of Muslims to kill Americans. And they did indeed. They killed great numbers of our U.S. soldiers and wounded tens of thousands of others.

The Muslim Brotherhood condemned the U.S. killing of Osama bin Laden and also facilitated the growth of al Qaeda. The mastermind of the 9/11 attack was an Islamic Brotherhood cleric and deputy of bin Laden, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The Muslim Brotherhood operates in 70 countries of the world and has deep roots in Washington, D.C., and on university campuses, with billions of dollars spent establishing and funding chairs—professorships—on university campuses.

What transpired in Syria in the Arab Spring was birthed by the Muslim Brotherhood through protests in the Arab world, similar to what’s happening on America’s university campuses. It receives massive financial support from the entire globe of Israel haters, and even America haters, especially from Qatar and Turkey.

And according to the U.S. Department of Education, those same sources have contributed billions of dollars to America’s colleges and universities. More than $3 billion from Qatar…more than $1 billion from Saudi Arabia…hundreds of millions more from Kuwait and Turkey and Iraq. This money has helped create the cesspool of Jew-hatred that we now see publicly displayed.

When you see professors and administrators and staff joining the chorus of pro-Hamas and anti-Israel protests, there is a good chance their paycheck comes from grants and funding provided by the Muslim Brotherhood or their Islamist friends. Everything we are seeing in the news is part of prophecy. And God is calling us to take a stand like Esther of old to deliver His Chosen People.

 

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Yom Hashoah: A Day to Remember, A Day to Mourn

Yom Hashoah: A Day to Remember, A Day to Mourn

At sundown on May 5th, the nation of Israel will come to a halt.  Sirens will wail across the country.  People will stop driving, stop walking, and simply stand silently.  It is Yom HaShoah—the day when Israel renews the holy vow “Never Again.”  The demonic evil of anti-Semitism did not go away when the Holocaust ended…it is still alive and active in our world today.

And it must be confronted…

 The only reason Auschwitz continued in operation until very near the end of the war is that those who could have stopped it did nothing.  The United States refused to bomb the railroad tracks leading to Auschwitz, with boxcars transporting innocent Jews to their deaths in the ovens there. Alan Dulles, a U.S. diplomat assigned to monitor Nazi intelligence furnished the U.S. government with a multitude of Nazi documents marked “top secret.” None of the approximately 300 documents provided specifically remarked on the killing of Jews, nor did any reveal the seriousness of Hitler’s “final solution.” Neither was there any indication that the railroad tracks to Auschwitz should be bombed.

Why did America and its allies look away?  The answer is anti-Semitism; as with a cancer, it mutates and takes on many forms. Today, anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism. To understand this, one only need look at the #1 country on which the UN vents its spleen over human rights and promotes the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement: Israel.

Anti-Semitism is the reason the U.S. and Great Britain, and indeed, much of the world, closed their borders to Jewish refugees. A “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was implemented in the 1930s when the events in Germany were uncovered.

The British and the Americans combined dropped some 2.7 million tons of bombs on Germany. American planes were also used to drop supplies to Polish fighters. Such missions were commonplace during World War II. Perhaps it is not difficult, then, to understand why one of the most damning charges brought against Roosevelt and his administration was the failure to acquiesce to bombing the railroad lines that carried boxcars to Auschwitz. They were filled with Jews destined for the gas chambers inside its compound.

It was possible that by the spring of 1944 such an action would have been practicable, yet it was rejected with the official explanation that it would have taken necessary men and airplanes away from definitive operations in other areas. That was seen as a smokescreen, especially since the Allies had already marked for destruction industrial complexes near the death camp.  

Historians believe that had American bombers been sent to target the railroads, thousands of Jews from Hungary and Slovakia might have lived. Sadly, polls taken during the late 1930s and early 1940s revealed more than 50 percent of the U.S. public surveyed asserted that Jews were avaricious and unscrupulous. In response to U.S. refusal to aid Jews fleeing the Holocaust, Benjamin Netanyahu’s father Ben-Zion said, “The spirit of the Swastika hovers over the Stars and Stripes.”

The German company Ig Farben actually operated its own dedicated concentration camp!  As the Second World War erupted, the company was the leading manufacturer in operation in Europe and fourth on the list of worldwide corporations. An Ig Farben’s subsidiary distributed Zyklon B to Auschwitz. That was the poison gas utilized to kill over one million Jews in the gas chambers there.

Statistics reveal that more than one of six Jews slaughtered in Europe was slain in Auschwitz. Woefully, the life expectancy of the Jewish workers at Buna Werke was only three to four months. For those working in the mines, it was barely one month. Those deemed unfit to work at the facility were gassed.

Ig Farben’s massive factory near Auschwitz was built to exploit the workforce imprisoned there. That concentration camp was, from its inception, an Ig Farben undertaking. The plant supplied both synthetic rubber and liquid fuel.  It also manufactured synthetic, high-performance fuels including aviation gasoline, an extremely crude version of bunker oil for ships, plastic synthetic fibers, stabilizers, and pharmaceuticals.

Before the war, Germany had been forced to import 95 percent of its rubber, but due to Ig Farben, that number soon shrank to 7 percent. Ig Farben also ran the mines that provided two million tons of coal needed each year for both its factories. They were able to do this due to the more than two million inmates that passed through Auschwitz Camp #1 to meet Farben’s labor demands.

There are numerous questions surrounding Roosevelt and his refusal to at least allow the quota of 200,000 Jews to enter the U.S. Why were those places left unfilled? Why did the pleas of Jews trying to escape Hitler’s “final solution” fall on deaf ears? Why were those aboard the St. Louis denied entry into the U.S.? Why were the railroad tracks leading to Auschwitz not bombed? Why did the U.S. not bomb the Ig Farben plants? Why? Why? Why?

The question is not historical.  The Western world, including America is once again failing to take action to defend Israel.  In fact, many are trying to tie Israel’s hands as it defends itself against the worst attack since the miracle rebirth of the Jewish state in 1948.  

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Iran Launched First Ever Direct Attack On Israel!

Iran Launched First Ever Direct Attack On Israel!

On April 13th Iran unleashed more than 300 drones, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles in its first ever direct attack on Israel. Though the situation is rapidly changing, we wanted to give you this update on the current situation…and what to expect. As soon as the airport in Tel Aviv reopened for flights, I immediately flew to Israel to coordinate our emergency response and rally support for Israel—to be your voice of help and hope to the suffering Jewish people.

While the attack on Saturday, April 13th was Iran’s first direct attack on Israel, it did not come from Iran alone. In addition to launching attacks from their own country, Iran issued orders to their allies and terror proxies to join in. Attacks were launched from five different countries—Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen. The attacks utilized three different types of weapons.

Drones
Iran’s Shaheed drones have been used extensively by Russian forces in Ukraine. Sometimes referred to as kamikaze or suicide drones, they are designed to carry a payload of explosives on a one-way mission to their target. Rather than needing a guidance system, they are sent to crash into the target.

Cruise Missiles
These guided missiles are relatively slow and low-flying. Launched on a direct trajectory toward the target, they carry a payload of up to 2,000 pounds of explosives. Because of the limits on their speed, they are vulnerable to counterattacks from missile defenses and even advanced planes like the F-35.

Ballistic Missiles
Ballistic missiles carry a larger payload, and fly on a much higher trajectory and much greater speed. They are targeted prior to launch and do not need to be guided to the target. Only the most advanced missile defense systems (which Israel’s Iron Dome and David’s Sling are) can respond to this kind of attack. It is believed that all of Iran’s drones and cruise missiles were shot down, and that the only missiles that managed to actually strike in Israel were ballistic missiles.

Because of the long flight time of the drones and missiles, there was advance notice of the attack and time to plan a response. In addition to Israel’s own defense, support and countermeasures were provided by both America and the United Kingdom including the use of advanced aircraft. Beyond that, help also came from unlikely sources. Israel’s neighbor Jordan shot down a number of drones that crossed into their air space. This is a major step, as while the two countries have been at peace since 1994, there is widespread support for Hamas and the Palestinians in the country. But King Abdullah still took the unprecedented step of defending Israel from attack. In another surprising move, while the kingdom of Saudi Arabia has not publicly acknowledged their role, it is widely believed that they intercepted attacks launched from Yemen.

WHAT COMES NEXT
Though America’s military provided vital assistance to protect Israel from Iran’s attack, the Biden Administration has made it clear both publicly and privately that they strongly oppose Israel responding to the attack. Iran claimed that they would carry out no further attacks (although it is obvious they have no intention of standing down their terrorist proxies even if they refrain from direct attacks) against Israel.

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Courage & Faith in Action

Courage & Faith in Action

She was just an ordinary girl.  Esther had no famous or well-connected relatives.  In fact, she and her people were living as a minority in a foreign land where they had been taken by a conquering enemy army; yet, today her name is synonymous with faith and courage.  The short book that bears her name tells a story of divine deliverance—a message that is very much relevant to our day when once again a plot has been hatched in Persia to destroy the Jewish people.

Esther became queen of the Persian Empire without the king or anyone in authority knowing that she was Jewish.  This was on the wise advice of her guardian Mordecai, who instructed her to hide her ancestry for the sake of her future.  Not long after Esther became queen, an evil man in a high government position named Haman, motivated by his hatred of Mordecai (who refused to bow before Haman because he would only bow before God), devised a scheme to destroy the Jewish people.

Haman presented the king with a distorted picture of God’s Chosen People.  He falsely accused them of disobeying the laws of the Persian Empire and suggested that destroying them would promote order and stability throughout the realm.  To further sweeten the deal, Haman offered to pay a large sum of money to the royal treasury to cover the expenses of exterminating the Jewish people.  The king went along with the plan, setting a date for the destruction of the Jewish exiles living in the 127 provinces that made up his kingdom.

When Mordecai received this news, he began fasting in sackcloth and ashes, along with Jewish people throughout the Persian realm.  There seemed to be no hope for them, but God was at work behind the scenes.  Mordecai sent word to Esther that the time to reveal her heritage had come and that she should use her position as queen to plead for the Jewish people to be spared.

When she pointed out that entering the king’s presence without an invitation was a capital offense, Mordecai made his famous declaration that God had put Esther where she was “for such a time as this.”  Esther courageously went before the king, and God granted her favor in his eyes, and he spared her life.

Esther asked the king and Haman to come to a private meeting.  Then she asked them to return a second time, and finally revealed to the king the evil that he had unknowingly agreed to support.  The king’s wrath was kindled against Haman, and he ordered the evil plotter to be hung on the very gallows that Haman had constructed to have Mordecai executed on—and provided the Jewish people the opportunity for self defense.  The Jewish people were spared from destruction.  Even to this day, this wonderful miracle of deliverance is celebrated as the Feast of Purim.  Esther remains a wonderful example of what we can do when we fully rely on God.

As I read this story again recently, I was struck by something that doesn’t often receive a great deal of attention.  Esther did not face her moment of crisis alone.  Here was her response:  Spiritual battles are not meant to be fought alone.  Before Esther entered the king’s presence, risking her life to plead for her people, there was a massive campaign of prayer and fasting on her behalf.  The deliverance of Israel depended on the power of God, and the people of God sought His face and His help together.  That is a perfect description of the work of the Jerusalem Prayer Team. 

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The Jerusalem Prayer Team with Dr. Michael D. Evans exists to build Friends of Zion to guard defend and protect the Jewish people and to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. We pray for peace in Jerusalem because the Scriptures tell us to in Psalm 122:6. The Jerusalem Prayer Team was inspired from the 100-year long prayer meeting for the restoration of Israel held in the ten Boom family home in Haarlem, Holland. We are committed to encouraging others to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and God's Chosen People. Jerusalem Prayer Team members are also members of Churches United with Israel, Corrie Ten Boom House, Friends of Zion Heritage Center and Jerusalem World News. The Jerusalem Prayer Team mailing address is PO BOX 30000 Phoenix, AZ 85046 or you can call us at 1-888-966-8472. The Jerusalem Prayer Team is a dba of the Corrie ten Boom Fellowship. The Corrie ten Boom Fellowship is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization and is registered with the IRS, Fed Tax ID# 75-2671293. All donations to CTBF (less the value of any products or services received) are tax-deductible as allowed by law. Donations made to the Jerusalem Prayer Team are put to work immediately and are not refundable.