Esther for the Endtimes
Moab Seventh-day Adventist Church. 4 December 1999
Review the Revelation 13
Before we go to Esther, let's take a moment to review the general end-time
scenario presented in Revelation 13. Turn there with me please. And hear
my disclaimer: I am summarizing here, and I am going to speak forthrightly.
Do be aware that I am not speaking generally of individuals, but of
powers and organizations. There are many sincere, first-rate Christian
people in these groups. Keep that in mind.
The First Beast
The chapter discusses two beasts and their interactions with the world
in which they operate. These beasts represent Satanically-led powers fighting
against God and His followers. Notice that the first ten verses are about
the first beast--a beast rising up out of the sea, and wearing crowns of blasphemy
(vs. 1). It combines the elements of the main beasts from
Daniel (vs. 2), receives a deadly wound that is healed (vs. 3), and through
this power, "all the world" wonders after the beast, worships the
dragon, and worships the beast (vv. 3, 4).
Starting with verse five the message about the first beast shifts more
directly to its actions--it's speaking great things and blasphemies,
its long reign of 1260 years, and the particular focus of its blasphemies:
against God, against His tabernacle, and against those that dwell in
heaven. Verse seven focuses then on this beast's war with God's people,
the saints, and points to the vast influence wielded by this power in the
end-time--influence so great that "all that dwell upon the earth," who
are not worshiping the true Creator, "shall worship him" (the non-creator)
Finally, verses 9 and 10 give an additional identification of this beast
and a warning for God's people. The section closes with, "Here is
the patience and the faith of the saints." Sounds a lot like Revelation
14:12 across the page, doesn't it?
I think, friends, that we all know which power this is. Together, recently we've gone
through the main prophetic applications, so won't go into this in detail
today. We know that historically, only one power matches the
points of identification fitting this beast. We can identify this
beast only as the religious body known both today, and down through history, as the
Roman Catholic Church.
The Second Beast
Verses 11-18 identify a "second" or "image" beast. And they follow
just the same pattern as the first ten verses. Verse 11 identifies this
beast just as the first verses
of chapter 13 identified the first beast. Here we find a beast coming
up out of the earth, in contrast to the first beasts' coming up out of
the sea. The horns of this beast are different, as is the characterization.
While the first beast is uniformly represented as wearing crowns
of blasphemy and having a persecuting character, this second beast instead has
"two horns like a lamb," and speaks finally "as a dragon." The image beast
undergoes a transition from lamb-likeness to dragon-likeness.
We have correctly
understood this beast to represent the United States of America which over
the passage of time, veers away from its constitutional principles of religious
freedom. It ultimately comes under the power of an apostate Protestantism--an amalgamation
of religious bodies--which eventually take on the dragonic characteristics
of the Roman Catholic Church. Remember, when this nation came up at the
close of the 17th century, the churches would be in the pre-Laodicea
period (Revelation 2 and 3); they had not yet rejected the principles upon
which Protestantism was based. But in the mid-1800's they did truly rebel
against God--they rejected the light of the end-time message of Revelation
14:6-12 and broke decisively away from obedience to God's law. Heaven was forced at that time
to reject them, issuing the plain statement that "Babylon is fallen, is fallen" (Revelation 14:8).
As time has continued, these religious entities have entered into a dark decay
phase, sinking inevitably downward from one apostasy to another. Today
many of these churches are playing the world's music, some are ordaining
homosexuals to serve as their ministers, there is spiritualism with the
tongues-speaking deception, and the list goes on. And we (...surprise...) also see a movement growing
to use government to enforce the will of a "Christian" power-block.
Notice that, following the same pattern as the first verses do with
the first beast, we next read of the actions of the second beast. Verse
12 speaks of the enforcement of false worship by this second beast, causing
the worship of the first beast. Verses 13 and 14 speak of the capacity
of this second beast to deceive people through its miracles.
The bottom of 14 and then 15 tell us that the second beast causes the image
of the beast to "speak" through its legislative branches. Verses 16 and 17
remind us that the mark of the beast is enforced so that no one can buy
or sell who does not have it--who has not sold-out conscience to
break God's holy Sabbath day and observe Sunday, the false-sabbath imprinted
upon the compromised theological systems of false-christianity.
The Number of the Beast
Finally, verse 18 again turns to warning, in a pattern identical John's treatment of
the first beast. Now there's something interesting here, because
we have historically identified this number with the first beast. But if
you look at the pattern, that would appear to break the pattern. I won't
go into it very far right now, but I believe that while 666 is applicable
to the first beast, its primary application is to the second beast.
That number of the name spells out to 666, and we know that "vicarius
fili dei," "vicar of the son of God" means to put in the place of the Son
of God. And the Pope is indeed an individual putting himself in the place
of the Son of God. The true vicar of the Son of God is the Holy
Spirit (John 16:7). But may I suggest that today most of the deceptions
entering into Christianity are coming in through the fallen churches of
apostate Protestantism? It's true, you know. Now I'm not saying that the
first beast doesn't have a part in it--it very plainly does! But
if the first beast is largely the origin point, I can assure you that it is
the second beast that is the strong influencer and promoter of the
adoption of those dark teachings and apostasies. The floodgates of apostasy
are today open and the false-innovations are pouring in to Christianity in torrents
through the fallen churches of Protestantism. And this number really points to
apostate Protestantism's giant role in bringing these events which have
so long been foretold by the book of Revelation to a climax. Remember,
in the old world--in Europe and most of the rest of the planet, Roman Catholicism
will be the primary power, but here in America--in this, the
"new" world--the second beast will be the primary agent of
Satan, and will push us to embrace the false-teachings and practices of
the first beast.
No, the second beast may not formally use the title "vicarius fili dei," but
by teaching that we should disobey the law of God, it positions itself surely in
that darkling role; it makes itself the vicar of the son of God; it takes
that place. "The patience of the saints" comes up again in Revelation 14:12, under
the proclamation of the third angel's message at the end. When
the second beast is fully dragonized, it will enforce the worship
of the first beast. Yes, the names of blasphemy and the great words spoken
against the most High are associated pointedly with the first beast; but
the second beast enforces the worship of the first. So what we have
here are really two religious powers, a mother and her daughters. And the
young ladies--the false churches--the harlots that have descended from
the mother of harlots, finally enforce upon the world the worship of their
mother. Is it not so?
Well, let's turn now to Esther, and see the parallels. I think you'll
|The Movements of Revelation 13
1-4 = First beast introduced and characterized
5-8 = Actions of the first beast
8a = Fate of those who worship
8b = Fate of those who do
not worship the beast
9-10 = Additional identification of the beast and warning to the saints
11 = Second beast introduced and characterized
12-17 = Actions of the second beast
16 = Fate of those who worship
15 = Fate of those who do
not worship the beast
18 = Additional identification of the second beast and warning
to the saints
A Walk Through the Core Story of
The core story of Esther comes at us from chapters two through nine of
the book. The king providentially selects Esther, a Hebrew young lady,
to be the new queen. Haman, eventually becoming the most influential counselor
to the king, receives reverence from all of the other counselors and, at
the kings command, they all bow down to him when he passes by. But Mordecai
the Jew, Esther's uncle and step-parent, refuses to bow down to a mere
human. Haman is outraged that Mordecai won't bow down to him, and hatches
a plot to destroy not just Mordecai but all of the Jews in the kingdom.
But he doesn't know that queen Esther is Jewish!
A Refusal to Bow Down
Haman became obsessed with Mordecai and killing the Jews. Day after day,
we read in Esther 3:7, that they cast lots before Haman to determine just
the right time to present Haman's plan to kill all the Jews to the king.
Finally a day came that, doubtless, according to the lots, was opportune--the
fates were right! Haman went in and succeeded in pursuading Ahasuerus to approve the
genocidal plan to destroy the Hebrews. What was the basis of his argument?
Look with me at Esther 3:8-10:
And Haman said unto king Ahaseurus, There is a certain people
scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of
thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they
the king's laws: therefore it is not for the king's profit to suffer them.
If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed: and
I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those that have
the charge of the business, to bring it into the king's treasuries.
See that? On what basis did Haman urge destruction of the Jews? Because
their laws were "diverse from all people!" Not only that, but "neither
keep they the king's laws." Now do you remember Daniel six? What did the
enemies of Daniel conclude there? Look at Daniel 6:4-5:
Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against
Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault;
forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found
in him. Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this
Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.
Bowing down is the all-important satanic goal--bowing down to the principles of a
false-god. That's what it was all about then, and that's what it is all about now too.
An Issue Between Two Laws
See? It is the same issue! It is all about the law of God. What did we
read just one page previously in Daniel about the little horn? Daniel 7:25 says
that "He shall speak great words against the most High, and shall
wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws."
Friends, this all comes down to laws. The universe faces a choice between
law A and law B--between God's law and Satan's law.
And did you see how Haman sweetened the pot? He said, "King, I'll even
cover the costs for this deed. It won't cost you a thing." So what happens
in Esther? The king gives his approval to Haman's plan. Ahasuerus hands over his
ring to him and his authority is placed behind Haman.
In Revelation 13:12 what do we find? "And he [the second beast] exerciseth
all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and
them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound
was healed." Notice that while both beasts ultimately put themselves in
the place of God, forcing the consciences of their subjects, that only
one beast is directly worshiped: the first beast. The second beast never
receives worship in the same sense as the first. In the story
of Esther Mordecai refuses to bow down to Haman, and he must get
the authority of king Ahasuerus behind him in order to issue the death
decree against the Jews. That is just like the relationship between the
first and second beast in Revelation 13. Apostate Protestantism enforces
the worship of the first beast--the Roman Catholic Church. And what is
at stake in the end-time? God's law versus Satan's law: in particular Sabbath
versus Sunday. In Esther it is the king's law versus Mordecai's conscientious
response to God's laws--laws that were "diverse" from the laws of all other
people. I am suggesting that Haman is an echo of Apostate Protestantism
and Ahasuerus is an echo for the Catholic Church. These persons represent
in symbol the situation that will obtain in the end-time.
The Mark of the Beast
What is the mark of the beast involved with in Revelation 13? With a death
decree on all who will not bow down to the false sabbath. What is the death
decree involved with in Esther? With a faithful remnant who refuse to bow
down and give undue reverence to another man--a genocidal man who would
kill a whole race to make his point. And don't forget the golden image
of Daniel three. There it is again: a law made by the state to enforce false
worship--bowing down--to an idol.
When the death decree is published, Mordecai puts on sackclothe and
ashes and goes out into the street where Esther can see him mourning. A series
of messages are interchanged by Esther's servants through which
she learns of the decree. No, she had never revealed her ethnic heritage
to anyone, and it was not known that she was Jewish. And Mordecai's noble
faith comes to front and center here. Look with me at Esther 4:13-14:
Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself
that thou shalt escape in the king's house, more than all the Jews. For
if thou hold thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance
arise from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed:
and who knoweth if whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time
Mordecai was sure that God would deliver his people, but who he would
use depended on the faithfulness of the participants to His call. If
Esther refused to stand up for her people, they would still be delivered,
but she would be destroyed.
Mordecai saw that it had been the providential hand of God that had
placed Esther in a position able to influence and intercede with the king.
He also knew that God had other means to fulfill His will that are not always visible.
God Can Go Around Us If We Force Him To.
And by the way, that goes for us too. If we do not do faithfully our
Father's work, then there is no question in my mind that He will replace
us with "other husbandmen" who will bring forth the fruits of His
vineyard. Matthew 21:33-43. God wants to use us, but He is not limited
to us. Nonetheless, I believe that He will finish His work with this body--the
Seventh-day Adventist Church--and Jesus will come. But we had best not
become complacent. We need to step up to the plate, like Esther, and do
Esther's Intercession and the Results
Fortunately, Esther saw the crucial importance of risking her life in order
that her people might be saved. If anyone would go in to the king, having not been
called, unless he extended his mercy it meant instant death.
So I don't think he probably had too much trouble with people bothering him.
Esther and her close associates in the women's house fasted. Through
Mordecai the Jews throughout the city were alerted and they fasted three
days without food or water. Finally, at the end of the period, Esther still
had not been called to go in to the king for over a month. When the time came, by faith
she stepped into the presence of the king. See it in Esther 5:1-3:
Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her
royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king's house, over against
the king's house: and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house,
over against the gate of the house. And it was so, when the king saw Esther
the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favour in his sight:
and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand.
So Esther drew near and touched the top of the sceptre. Then said the king
unto her, What wilt thou, queen Esther? And what is thy request? It shall
be given thee to the half of the kingdom.
Now look at this. Where was the king? In his "inner court." Kind of interesting,
because we find in the Bible the truth that the earthly tabernacle was
but a copy of the greater heavenly tabernacle, a tabernacle "built without
hands," and "pitched" by the Lord (Hebrews 8:1-5) "and not man." No, Ahasuerus'
"inner court" was not a literal sanctuary in a tabernacle/temple type structure.
But it was a place where one came before the presence of the king, and
where doing so was a matter of life and death! And should we enter the
presence of God with less revernece? Of course not. There is a parallel here.
And notice the king's response to Esther. He didn't hesitate, or waffle,
or sit there with his eye squinted saying "hmm. Maybe I should let her
live, or maybe I should kill her." The record of Scripture says that "When
the king saw Esther" she obtained favour in his sight, and he held out
Esther a Figure of Jesus
And you know friends, just right here is where Esther ought to remind us
of Jesus. She goes in before the king to intercede for the salvation of
her people from the death decree. And Jesus goes into the presence of God
the Father in heaven for us to intercede for the salvation of His people
not from a mere temporal death decree, but from an eternal death. This
is recorded in Hebrews 2:9-18. Notice that, like as Esther risked her life
and identified herself with her people, Jesus risked His eternal union with His
Father, and in the process gave His life to identify Himself with His people.
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels
for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the
grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became Him, for Whom
are all things, and by Whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto
glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one:
for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, I will
declare thy name unto My brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing
praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in Him. And again, Behold
I and the children which God hath given Me. Forasmuch then as the children
are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of
the same; that through death He might destroy Him that had the power of
death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were
all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily He took not on Him the
nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in
all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might
be a merciful and faithful high Priest in things pertaining to God, to
make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself
hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted.
Esther goes in before the king just like Jesus goes in before the King.
Esther requests the life of her people, just like Jesus requests the life
of His people. The King receives Esther's request, just as our Father in
heaven receives Jesus' request.
Now notice that at the end of the story, Esther invites the king and
Haman to a feast she puts on. It is at this feast or banquet that she makes
her request to the king and uncovers Haman's role as her and her people's
persecutor. And by the way, as this climactic feast was coming up, Haman
had made a gallows to ask the king to hang Mordecai on. No, oh no; it was
not enough to kill virtually the whole Hebrew race for Mordecai's steadfastness,
but he must even erect a gallows and hang Mordecai on it to appease his
wrath. Haman's character is demonic.
But notice with me that it is when Esther goes into the inner court
of the king that Haman's true character is revealed. See, we realize
that a lot of the gospel is about God's character being revealed, and that's
true. But it is also about Satan's character being revealed--not to God,
but to the universe. King Ahasuerus did not know what Haman was, but what
he was was revealed by his murderous actions. He was hanged on his own
gallows. What Esther was and what her people were was also revealed by
their actions, as they united in prayer and fasting for heaven's deliverance.
Some Parallels Between Revelation 13 Events
and the Story of the Book of Esther
||Roman Catholic Church
||Second beast (or "image beast")
|Revelation 13:15, 17
||Death decree on saints
||Death decree on Sabbath-keepers
||Death decree on the Hebrew people
|Revelation 13:16, 17
||Mark of the beast
||Enmity with the Hebrew people
||Intercessor protects God's people
|Revelation 13:15; 14:4; 14:12; 12:17
||God's obedient remnant
||Commandment-keepers in end-time
||Mordecai refusing to bow down
Application to Us
And we cannot close this worship today without
pondering together now how all of this may apply to us. Did you notice
that when Esther interceded with the king, she did not intercede alone?
Read with me back in Esther 4:15-17:
Then Esther bade them return Mordecai
this answer, Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan,
and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day:
I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the
king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish. So
Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded
There was a spiritual preparation undertaken
by all of the Hebrews in connection with Esther's intercession. She went
in on the third day (Esther 5:1), and so we know that they were all still
fasting. There were evidently many hungry and thirsty Jews that day praying
for the success of Esther's intercession in their behalf. These things all came
together in one climactic, decisive spiritual battle for the ransom of
Brothers and sisters, we were put here for communion with God; we were designed
for prayer. A fish needs water, and a bird needs a sky to fly in so that it may fulfill
its "birdness." How can we be all that a being made in the image of God can be, if we don't
commune with God Himself? If we are made in His image, let's talk with He who
is our Father. We are not taking the fullest advantage of prayer. If we were,
the world would know it.
Friends, are we not in the same position
as the Hebrew people while Esther was going in to plead for their lives?
We say we are living in the anti-typical day of atonement--that we are
living at the time of heaven's judgment of humankind just before the
coming of Jesus. But how faithful are we at standing in our tent-doors
while our High Priest is in the inner court of the tabernacle before the
King? How much are we willing to cooperate with Jesus so that His intercession
for us can be made effective in our lives? How can we forget the solemnity
of the hour in which we live; an hour when everything that heaven has been
working for for thousands of years is at stake? Cannot we be more prayerful,
more sober, more aware of the spiritual battle being fought all around
us, not only for our souls, but even for our neighbors and our friends
that may not know God or understand how important obedience to His law
is? God's laws are "diverse from all people." And don't forget that the
devil is busy hammering and sawing, constructing a gallows to hang you
and me on.
So heaven's appeal today must be that we go before
our God and plead with Him as He pleads for us. We must plead for our own
souls and those of those around us. A death decree is coming. It may not
currently be showing on CNN, but we know from Scripture that it is coming. All
will worship the adversary whose names are not written in the Lamb's book of life.
A whole world exists beyond the doors of this sanctuary that will see the
great wonders of the second beast that deceive them that dwell on the earth;
that will watch as fire comes down on the earth in the sight of men--counterfeit
fire--a counterfeit Elijah experience. We are commissioned to present a
true Elijah experience to the world. And such an experience must begin
in our closets as we join Jesus in intercession. Let us pattern after Jesus
and after Esther.
Now is the appointed time.
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Last Modified 23 March 2000