And Mordecai wrote these things and sent letters to all the Jews, near and far, who [were] in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, to establish among them that they should celebrate yearly the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar, as the days on which the Jews had rest from their enemies, as the month which was turned from sorrow to joy for them, and from mourning to a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and joy, of sending presents to one another and gifts to the poor. So the Jews accepted the custom which they had begun, as Mordecai had written to them, because Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to annihilate them, and had cast Pur (that [is], the lot), to consume them and destroy them; but when [Esther] came before the king, he commanded by letter that this wicked plot which [Haman] had devised against the Jews should return on his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows. So they called these days Purim, after the name Pur. Therefore, because of all the words of this letter, what they had seen concerning this matter, and what had happened to them, Esther 9:20-26 NKJV
The festival of Purim is a yearly celebration of the deliverance of the Jews from a plot by Haman to completely anihlate them. The story of Esther occurs during the Babylonian Captivity after the Babylonians had been conquered by the Persians. Haman, advisor to King Ahasuerus (identified by Josephus and others as King Artaxerxes), devises a plan to kill all of the Jews because of personal animosity towards Queen Esther's cousin Mordecai, who was a Jew. The plot is foiled, and Haman is hanged while the Jews are allowed to defend themselves against any attacks they might suffer.
This celebration in Israel is one of the most joyous, including the giving of gifts, wearing costumes, singing, eating, drinking, and of course reading the Book of Esther in the synagogue. The fourteenth of Adar occurs in our month of February or March, and this year it lands on Sunday, February 28th. So if this is such a happy time in Israel, why am I bringing it up in relation to "Rumors of Wars"?
In late 2002, the United States began a building up of forces in the Middle East with the apparent intent of deposing the ruler of Iraq, Sadaam Hussein, who was pursuing the capability of weapons of mass destruction with the stated intent of using them on the nation of Israel. I had been invited to lecture on the situation in the Middle East in early 2003 and was in the process of preparing when I noticed the Festival of Purim on my calendar was just a couple of weeks away. Reminded of the story of Esther, the first thought that went through my mind was what if history was about to repeat itself with God's sense of timing thrown in for good measure? As the world was watching and waiting, I contacted a few friends in the ministry and shared my thoughts about the possibility that an attack on Iraq could occur on the very anniversary of the deliverance of Israel some 2500 years earlier. So surprise?The festival of Purim, the 14th of Adar, occurred on Wednesday March 19, 2003, the very day the first bombs dropped on Baghdad.
Why do I bring this up? Well, after what has been happening in the Middle East over the past few months, and the increasingly virulent rhetoric emanating from Israel's enemies in the region, many believe another war is just on the horizon. Between Iran and their stated desire to wipe Israel of the map, and increasing tension with Syria and Lebanon to the North and Hamas in Gaza to the West, the future of Israel seems to be another major conflict. I am listing a few links to only a small part of what has been written over the past couple of weeks, but I encourage you to keep an eye on the news about that region of the world. Is history about to repeat itself again with a conflict occurring on Purim? I have no idea, but as the Bible says, we all need to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
PS My apologies if you looked earlier in the week for this blog, but no surprise, as I began to work on it Tuesday, another virus attacked my computer and it was back to the computer doctor again. Sort of makes you wonder doesn't it?