The Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar defeated Jerusalem and began a long process of deporting most of the Jews to Babylon. Only the poorest were left to work the land and pay tribute to their conquerors. The upper classes were taken captive. After seventy years, the Babylonians were defeated by the Persians. The new Persian ruler began a process of allowing many of the Jews to return to their homeland. The first six chapters of Ezra detail the first group’s return and rebuilding of the Temple. Chapters seven through ten record the return of a second group.
The events in the book of Esther fill in the historical gap between Ezra chapter six and Ezra chapter seven. It is set in the Persian Empire at its zenith. God uses a young, unknown, Jewish girl, Esther, and her uncle Mordecai to save the Jews still living in Persian land from being wiped out.
The book of Esther is a wonderful story of God saving His people from certain destruction. It provides a beautiful preview of the salvation God the Father would later offer through His Son to all who will believe. Haman was very close to the Persian king. He was well connected with influence. Haman hated the Jews. Mordecai, a devout Jew, would not prostrate himself before Haman as Haman demanded. It was not enough for Haman to kill one individual Jew; he wanted to destroy the entire nation. Using deception, Haman plotted to have all the Jews killed on a particular day. Esther, at great risk to herself, exposed Haman’s plan. He was ultimately killed on the very same gallows he had constructed for the express purpose of killing Mordecai. Instead, Mordecai was elevated to Haman’s former position of prime minister of the Persian Empire.
Let me urge you to spend some time with this little book of history. The historical narrative is fascinating. The story is spell-binding. In addition, it presents many previews of New Testament teachings regarding Christ, our sin nature, our new nature, Satan, the Wedding Supper of the Lamb, etc. Your investment of time in this book will be rewarding.
As Esther (a picture of our new nature) is wavering in the face of great danger, her uncle Mordecai (a picture of Christ) says to her, “Who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” NIV Mordecai goes on to warn her that if she falters, God will still rescue His people, but she and her family will perish.
You, as a believer in Christ, have come to royal position. God has adopted you into His royal family, with all the accompanying inheritance and abilities. You and your people (the church) face grave dangers. You are being attacked on so many fronts, in so many ways. The theory of evolution is being taught to your children not as theory but as fact; and not just as fact, but fact that is off limits to examination or discussion. The opponents of Christianity understand, often times far better than Christians, that undermining Genesis renders the rest of Scripture powerless in the lives of people. This attack on the integrity of the Bible allows rogues and scoundrels to market alcohol, illegal drugs, sexual immorality, materialism, false ideas of marriage, false ideas of salvation, etc. to your children who no longer have an Absolute Truth with which to defend themselves. God can and will rescue His people, the church, but will you and your family perish? Who knows, maybe you have reached your position of royalty for such a time as this? Esther answered the call, will you? Teach and train your children at home. Accompany your children to a Bible believing church.