Esther – a word for the season.
Seasons come and seasons go but in the Lord’s timing there’s always a purpose to the season. Right now, as the summer of 2019 drifts into Autumn, there’s a particular focus on the book of Esther. This is an Esther season and with that comes an emphasis upon preparation and promotion, destiny and victory, risk and justice; all aspects of the story of Esther. I’m carrying the book of Esther in my spirit and I don’t want to miss the word in the season because one of the characteristics of seasons is that they carry ‘words’. Proverbs puts it this way, ‘a word spoken in due season: how good it is’ (Prov 15:23 KJV). Many of us are familiar with this verse but have we ever really thought about the implications of a word for the season? It means words can be spoken out of season but there is a right word for the right season and when its spoken, the Bible says it’s good!
I’m convinced that the book of Esther is a word in season – this is an Esther season for the Body of Christ so we should take the time to delve into the riches of this book – the entire book is about the Kingdom of God. In this story the Holy Spirit is using a broad brush to paint a picture of the church, redemption, destiny, sacrifice and bravery. These are all qualities of the Kingdom and I believe at this time, we would do well to take the book of Esther seriously and ask the Lord what are the implications for us as believers in this season?
So let’s begin at the beginning. I could take a lot of time going over the descriptions of the Empire of King Xerxes that we’re presented with at the start of Chapter 1. However, there are some specific things I want to highlight which means other details may get sacrificed. Perhaps it’s enough to say that the introduction to Esther should put us in mind of God the Father, who reigns over a vast, unending Kingdom. I believe this to be the case, even though Xerxes is in fact, a heathen king, reigning over a demonic Empire. Nonetheless, he had a role to play in securing the deliverance of God’s people and the Lord enabled grace to work through this man for the sake of a greater purpose. Xerxes name means ‘warrior’ or ‘hero among rulers’ – in this way he represents aspects of Christ the King. Jesus himself is a warrior, he conquered death, the greatest enemy of all but our King doesn’t just hold victory for himself, instead he imparts his victory into his followers; ‘in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us’ (Rom 8:27). Jesus is a warrior King but this King empowers others to be more than conquerors. Xerxes was also a ‘hero among rulers’, when the Apostle of love, John, sees the risen Jesus, he sees a name written upon a vesture on his thigh which reads ‘KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS’ (Rev 19:16). Jesus’ throne is established over all the thrones of the world, over all of time and creation – he truly is the hero among rulers. So there are some parallels for us to observe here.
As I said, there are perhaps lots more details that would be right to draw out from the opening passage but I feel constrained to highlight some specific themes. These themes intertwine a little but could be categorised as:
- The time of wine
- The seven spirits of God
- The counterfeit bride
These are all major themes but it’s in these themes that the real ‘word for the season’ rests.
The time of wine
Esther 1:7 tells us that ‘wine was served in goblets of gold, each one different from the other, and the royal wine was abundant, in keeping with the kings liberality’. Wine takes on its own significance throughout the scriptures but there’s a specific correlation between wine and the bridegroom and it’s at the ‘time of wine’ that we begin to be introduced to the bridal theme within Esther. I believe there is now an emergence of the bridal theme and it’s coming at the time of wine. You see – wine also represents revival, specifically ‘new wine’. The prophet Joel, in the same chapter that relates to Pentecost, talks about the restoration that will come to Israel as a result of their repentance. Joel 2:24 says ‘the threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil’. This speaks to us of the time of harvest, when the threshing floor is full of grain and the vats overflow with new wine and oil. This is a clear prophetic picture of an end time harvest and an ingathering of grain; a time when new wine and oil are being poured out. Just to really drive this point home, we know wine speaks of revival for other reasons but specifically tied to Joel 2 is the most profound outpouring of the Spirit we have ever witnessed – Pentecost itself. That would be a whole article on it’s own but I want to point out what the crowds said of those in the upper room (Acts 2:13), they didn’t just say they’ve had too much wine, they said they’ve been drinking ‘new wine’ or the ‘sweet wine’. The world doesn’t really know what it’s talking about but sometimes, God will use a secular prophet just to show he’s still the boss! Even in their ridicule of the 120, the crowd were confirming God’s plan and timing, as prophesied by Joel, that the spirit would be poured out on all flesh and it would be like ‘new wine’.
Jesus too, the ultimate carrier of new wine, enters his earthly ministry at the time of wine. At the wedding feast of Canna he performed his first miracle, which is all about the wine. It’s also about the wedding, Jesus is Lord of the wedding and the wine. The wedding and the wine also appear in the book of Ruth. She’s told to go down to the threshing floor, a place where women weren’t supposed to go, at midnight and specifically at a time when Boaz is satisfied with food and wine. Here’s the point of all this, the Bride will emerge at the time of wine. At the end of the age, at the midnight hour, I believe the new wine will be poured out in abundance, but its wedding wine and at the same time we’ll see the emergence of the true Bride of Christ. As the Bride gets ready, God will release the wine of the Kingdom as a foretaste of the wine to come at the wedding feast of the Lamb. The new wine of revival will fill the earth and it will overflow from the church, at the same time, we’re going to see an emergence of the Bride as she goes through her preparations. There will be an increasing prophetic call for righteousness, holiness and the fear of the Lord. All of this will find expression in messages of purity and a restoration of the truth of purity in marriage and holy courtship amongst Christians. God will send the purging fire of revival, the fires of refinement and purification to the church and this will begin to remove stains and wrinkles, spots and blemishes from the Bride of Christ. We’re going to see sin confronted and exposed and the new wine will cause the church to make herself ready for the Groom. Jesus will marry a bride that can be equally yoked to him, he’s not coming for a harlot bride, a zombie bride or an apathetic bride. He’s coming for a powerful, beautiful, passionate bride without spot or blemish. This means a cleansing is coming to the house of the Lord. It means God, in his love and mercy, will send fires of purification to the body of Christ, we’re going to see repentance from within the church (2 Chron 7:14), at a scale that to some, will seem shocking . But this is the wine, this is the new wine we require. We will see this taught throughout the nations and the western Church will awaken to love, at the time of love and she’s making herself ready. Now is the time of the new wine.