Turn over to Esther 1. We read in Esther 1:1:
Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus, (this is Ahasuerus which reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces:)
That is 127 and that is quite a kingdom that he is reigning over. If you can picture India in Asia on the map and then Ethiopia in Africa, there are many provinces in between. Here, it is 127. This kingdom has grown a little bit because when Darius the Mede took the kingdom from the Babylonians, it said in Daniel 6:1:
It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom;
More than likely, this indicated a prince per province; and so they had 120 provinces. This was in the year 539 B.C.
I want to do a little bit more work on the dating for Esther; but according to Mr. Camping in one of the studies that he gave at the conferences, Ahasuerus began to reign in 404 B.C. and the book of Esther goes until his twelfth year. It concludes with the feast of Purim in the month Adar, which came in the twelfth month of the twelfth year of Ahasuerus. Then it was written in a book and that is how the book of Esther ends.
Mr. Camping pointed out that this would have been the last entry of the Old Testament, which would have been in 391 B.C. This is just going from dates that Mr. Camping has given and they are probably accurate, but I want to check into this a little bit more.
So from 404 B.C., this would be the third year of his reign. It tells us in verse 3 when he is going to have this feast and it would be about 401 or 400 B.C. in his third year. From 539 B.C. when Darius took the kingdom, about 139 years later, the kingdom has grown by seven provinces.
Once you get so big, it is not as easy to multiply. You are running out of options concerning nations to bring under your authority and rule. In Esther, it is 127.
127 is an interesting number. It is one of those numbers that you cannot break down. When you try to break down a number, which is Biblical by the way, you cannot break down the number 127. You try to divide it by 3 or 7 or 11 or 13 and it does not break down. It is a number that stands alone.
Outside of the book of Esther, this number is found in one other place. In Genesis 23:1, this number is used of Sarah when she died. We read in Genesis 23:1-2:
And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah. And Sarah died in Kirjatharba…
So she died at 127. Why is it unusual that we know this? This is the only woman in the whole Bible whom God tells the age of her death. This is kind of unusual.
(A person from the fellowship offers that she is the mother of all nations or the mother of the elect.)
This is the significance of that. “Why?” is the question when we find out that she is the only woman in all of Scripture. We get plenty of dates of men and the years that they died, but only Sarah does God tell us that she died at the age of 127. Right away we should ask why. Why is this? Why would God give us only Sarah’s age? The answer is what we just heard.
Go to Galatians 4 where we read of Sarah and Hagar. God here once again gives us a glimpse into how He wrote the Bible. You had better watch out if you are just looking to learn the historical and moral things from the Bible, because you are going to get lost and you are going to just be confounded by the Bible itself.
God speaks of the historical events in the book of Genesis. Abraham was married to Sarah but she was barren and they could not have a child. Then Sarah comes up with the idea that Abraham can have a child with Hagar, her Egyptian maid. Abraham does this. Of course, that was not God’s plan. His plan was to bring forth Isaac through Sarah. So Abraham ends up with two wives and two sons from these women.
So God in Galatians 4, first of all, tells us in Galatians 4:21:
Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?
Then He is going to refer to a historical account in the book of Genesis, which explains to us that the Law is not just the Ten Commandments. It is the whole Bible. The Bible is a Law Book. It is everything that we read in the Bible. This phrase, “Do ye not hear the Law?” reminds us of when Jesus would give a parable and then say, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” This is a key phrase indicating that you had better look for a deeper spiritual meaning.
Then He goes on to say in Galatians 4:22-24:
For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory…
An allegory means a parable, but this is true history. So it was in a historical parable that God gave this information and then He is wondering if people who read this are going to truly hear it or if they are just going to do as the churches do and come up with fine morality teaching. They can tell you all the history of that day, even though they do not have proper dates because they reject the true Biblical calendar of history. Or are you going to, yes, learn that, too, but dig deeper to find out why God wrote this?
We know that all Scripture is given by His inspiration and is profitable. We know that God’s main focus in the Bible is the Gospel. What does this have to do with the Gospel?
Then He tells us in Galatians 4:24-25:
Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.
Mount Sinai is where God gave the Law. It continues:
For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth…
This word “answereth” means “corresponds.” It continues:
…and [corresponds] to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
That is that they are still under the bondage of the Law. They are trying to keep the Law in order to get right with God. There is no freedom in this because you can try all of your life and you can keep 99.9%, if that were possible (which it is not), and then you are going to end up under the Law’s condemnation because you failed to keep that one Law. If you do not keep the whole Law, you are guilty of all. So that always ends up with spiritual bondage.
But then we read in Galatians 4:26:
But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
This is referring to the other covenant of a free woman who was Sarah. So Sarah is identified as the “mother of us all.” Is she the mother of all people like Eve? No; not all mankind but of the free people. She is the mother of the free and the only ones who are free are the elect, the children of God.
So her death age has to be very significant. She was 127 and this is a number that does not break down. If this was the only place in the Bible where we found this number, we would still say that this was significant but we really would not know what the significance was too much; but we find this also in the book of Esther.
Is this not unusual that King Ahasuerus is ruler over 127 provinces? How many times does the number 127 appear in Esther? We see this three times.
If we go to Esther 8:9, we read:
Then were the king's scribes called at that time in the third month, that is, the month Sivan, on the three and twentieth day thereof; and it was written according to all that Mordecai commanded unto the Jews, and to the lieutenants, and the deputies and rulers of the provinces which are from India unto Ethiopia…
Here we see this span again. Did you know that Judah was a province? Babylon was also a province and India was a province. That one province of India was a pretty big province all by itself. Of course, it was nowhere near the population of today, but it still had to be a huge country with a great population. So we can just get a picture of the kingdom that Ahasuerus ruled over when one province was the nation of India.
…from India unto Ethiopia, an hundred twenty and seven provinces, unto every province according to the writing thereof, and unto every people after their language, and to the Jews according to their writing, and according to their language.
The third time we see this number is in Esther 9:30:
And he sent the letters unto all the Jews, to the hundred twenty and seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth,
Again, we see 127.
Do you know what is interesting about the book of Esther? It is that there is this great and vast kingdom of 127 provinces and there is a central place of power and authority, which was in Shushan where the palace was, as it says in Esther 1:2:
That in those days, when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace,
Shushan was where? Where was Shushan located?
(Someone from the fellowship indicated Persia. Someone indicated Babylon.)
Well, that is not fair. We know that they were under the rule of the Persians. Actually, you are both correct. It was also under Babylonian rule, so we could say that it was Babylon. But if we go to Daniel 8:2, it tells us:
And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai.
So Elam is the province and it was under Babylonian rule and Shushan became the central government. That is where the king had his palace, just like our Washington, D.C. is the central government of the United States.
For the kingdom of the Medes and the Persians, wherever that king located, that would have been the central point, and King Ahasuerus was located in Shushan in Elam. And it is interesting that we find in the book of Esther that events unfold. We might not get to this today, but for instance, in chapter one of Esther, Vashti the queen refuses to come at the king’s commandment. Then seven princes of the Medes and Persians consult with the king because he is so furious. They counsel him and he decides to have Vashti never come before him again. Then a writing is written and sent to all the provinces that a man is to bear rule in his own home. That is towards the end of chapter one.
This is the interesting thing. Then later, we know that Haman goes to the king because he hates Mordecai and his people. The lot is cast and then it is determined that the Jews would be destroyed on the 13th day of the twelfth month.
So Haman has the king seal the letter, or he uses the king’s seal to seal that message, and where is this sent? It is sent to 127 provinces. Then later, this is reversed. I am just giving us an overview. Later, this is reversed. Esther pleads with the king and the king grants her favor. Then Esther and Mordecai develop a writing that is sent to 127 provinces.
Then we see in Esther 9 again when finally after the twelfth month comes and goes and the Jews are victorious over their enemies that Mordecai and Esther write to keep the feast of Purim yearly. Then this writing goes to all of the provinces.
This is very unusual in the Bible. The only other thing that I can think of is in the days when Christ is being born when the Roman Caesar gave the declaration that all the world was to be taxed. This information went to all of Caesar’s kingdom, whatever the Roman empire comprised. So this news went out in that way.
Maybe you could think of something else, but I cannot really find in the Bible where there are messages developed like this, and certainly not as often as in the book of Esther, where a law is given or a message is developed and posts are sent into all the provinces in all the realm of the king.
So all of this activity is in Shushan. This is where it is all happening. Then from Shushan, messengers are going out to all of these provinces.
This would not have been easy because they would have had this message in one language and then they would have needed to have translated this. There is information in Esther that tells us that they translated this message into all the languages of all of the provinces.
We know how difficult it is to get the Gospel message and to translate it into all the languages of the world today. I think that Family Radio got up to about 70 languages. The Gospel was not translated into many other languages, but it was in the main languages.
There are many interesting things about Esther. Number one is that it speaks of 127 provinces. Number two is that the events taking place in Shushan are published to the whole realm of the kingdom, and we would say to the whole world. Posts are sent or messengers are sent. There are many other things that are also interesting.
(Someone from the fellowship asks about the spiritual understanding of these things. Could that letter be like the Word of God?)
Yes. Ahasuerus is the king over these provinces and there are 127. 127 is a number that ties into Sarah who we know is “the mother of us all,” as God says.
So here is Ahasuerus. Now, there are things about Ahasuerus that we wonder about. Historically, what kind of person was he? We ask this because Haman comes to him and tells him that there is a people who do not obey his laws and that they are not worthy to live. Ahasuerus then quickly says to Haman to do with them as he wills. Then Haman writes to have them all killed and Ahasuerus seems fine with this. He has no problem with this.
What type of a man was he? We do know that later he was taken by Esther. She could have influenced him and did influence him in many ways. But, historically, in all probability, he was not a saved man. Yet God uses him as a picture of Himself. Ahasuerus is a figure of God Himself. Later when Ahasuerus is promoting Haman, the Bible has answers for this and how this fits in.
(Someone from the fellowship asks a question concerning the church age.)
We do not want to get too far ahead. If we get all of the answers out now, then you are going to be bored when we continue on. But we are going to find that the feast of Purim, as believers have thought for some time, actually relates to the end of the world.
Let us just look at this. This will be a teaser. In Esther 3:7, we read:
In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar.
So the lot was cast and this is because Haman wants a date. Haman wants a date when he can kill the Jews, so the lot is cast.
Now, remember what Proverbs tells us in Proverbs 16. I think it is the last verse of the chapter. We read in Proverbs 16:33:
The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of JEHOVAH.
With casting a lot, nobody knows. You take a chance. What is going to come up? What is going to happen?
Well, God knows and it is God who determines things. When the lot is cast, even by or for a wicked man like Haman, the date that was selected was fingered and chosen by the hand of God. It would be the 13th day of the twelfth month Adar. This was handpicked by God. This is the day that He wanted.
Think about this and then we will continue on to sing some more hymns and maybe read another Scripture passage. In Daniel 12:13, which is the last verse in this chapter, it says:
But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.
So this is that same word for “lot” and this also connects it to “the end of the days.”
We can see how this relates to the book of Esther. The lot is cast in the first month. The date is selected in the twelfth month, the thirteenth day. So what would “the end of the days” be of that particular period? Well, the date that was picked. That would be “the end of the days” of the lot. This is why the feast of Purim developed.
There is something else that really relates to Daniel 12; but like I said, that is a teaser and I do not want to get too much into this too quickly. But this is something that I think is going to help us to understand some things. There are still a few questions, but this is information that fits in with our Biblical calendar and this is information that we never had before.
(Someone from the fellowship asks a question. Could the lot also refer to the inheritance?)
Yes, because they also cast the lot to divide up the land of Canaan. To “stand in thy lot” means that you will receive your inheritance, and this fits with the phrase “at the end of the days.”
Let us close with a word of prayer and then we will go back to singing.
Dear Father, we do thank You for Your Word. Father, we are humbled before You and we want to be careful. We do pray that You would give us continued understanding and wisdom and that Your will would be done. Father, we ask for your blessing upon the Word that we read. We pray this in Christ’s Name. Amen.