Archive for Persian Empire

Purim 5781/2021: Who Is Mordecai?

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Purim with tags , , , , , , on February 21, 2021 by paulthepoke

Esther 9:20-22 Then Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, obliging them to celebrate the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same month, annually, because on those days the Jews rid themselves of their enemies, and it was a month which was turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and rejoicing and sending portions of food to one another and gifts to the poor.

This is the decree for the celebration of the holiday Purim. The celebration is to take place in the Hebrew month of Adar on the 14th and 15th day. In the Gregorian year of 2021, that starts on sundown Thursday, February 25th and ends the next day on Friday, February 26th. Scripture tells us the holiday is to be celebrated annually.

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Then Mordecai recorded these events

Mordecai, his name means “little man”. We know Mordecai is from the tribe of Benjamin. And he is related to King Saul by his lineage in Kish. King Saul’s father was Kish.

Esther 2:5 Now there was a Jew in Susa the citadel whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, son of Shimei, son of Kish, a Benjaminite…

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Mordecai adopted Esther as his daughter. He was a man of God as he took care of orphans. Mordecai’s role in the book of Esther is consistent with the Psalmist. He was just in the defense and protection of his national people.

Esther 2:7 He was bringing up Hadassah, that is Esther, the daughter of his uncle, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman had a beautiful figure and was lovely to look at, and when her father and her mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter.

Psalms 82:3 Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.

Mordecai heard of a plot to assassinate King Xerxes. He shared the evil plan against the king to his adopted daughter Queen Esther. She shared the details with her husband the king. These men were put to death when the plan was confirmed (Esther 2:21-23).

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Mordecai refused to bow down to one of the king’s officials, Haman. As a result, Haman set out to destroy Mordecai and all of the Jewish people in the kingdom (Esther 3). Out of concern for his fellow countrymen, Mordecai informed Queen Esther of Haman’s written plan to eliminate the Jewish people (Esther 4). Later, Mordecai was honored by the king and Haman for saving the king’s life in the plot against him (Esther 6). He was appointed and succeeded as the chief minister to King Xerxes after Haman’s death at his own gallows (Esther 8).

Mordecai was respected and honored throughout the kingdom. He grew in great power and prestige. Which takes us back to the beginning of the post and the verses in Esther 9. Mordecai was the initiator of the celebration of Purim.

God is never mentioned in the book of Esther. Yet, His sovereignty and plan are executed according to His will.

Purim is a reminder. The Spring Feasts and Passover are only a month away.

Gabriel Visits Daniel a Second Time

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Angels with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 9, 2020 by paulthepoke

Daniel 9:1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, by descent a Mede, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans…

In general, history records Babylon was taken by the Persian Empire in 539 BC. This is the year Daniel is about to be visited again by the angel Gabriel.

The last time Gabriel visited Daniel was 14 years earlier. We know Daniel received understanding of the first vision from Daniel 8:1 in the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar to be about 553 BC.

Gabriel’s second visitation would be a reminder of the fulfillment of his first message to Daniel. Babylon was promised to fall to the Medes and Persians and lose its seat of the world’s dominant power. Gabriel appears a second time to Daniel after his initial prophecy from God was reality.

Daniel 9:20 While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my plea before the LORD my God for the holy hill of my God…

Daniel 9:20 is an effective summary of his petition to God in Daniel 9:3-19. Daniel is approaching God in prayer. Daniel is more concerned about God’s name and His reputation. He knows God is forgiving and merciful.

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Daniel 9:21 …while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the first, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice.

…the man Gabriel… God’s messenger Gabriel appears as a man or ish in the Hebrew. Gabriel looks like a man.

In both cases when Gabriel visits Daniel, he appears as a man. The first time in Daniel 8:15 Gabriel was described as a geber. This is the term for a mighty warrior. Gabriel is physically imposing and intimidating.

…came to me in swift flight… Gabriel arrived in a condition of yeaph in the Hebrew. He was tired, weary, or faint. Gabriel appears to be in a hurry to get to Daniel.

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…the time of the evening sacrifice. Gabriel visited Daniel in the mid afternoon. Typically, the evening sacrifice at the Temple took place at the ninth hour. This would translate to 3:00 in the afternoon for us in the western world and culture.

Cornelius also encountered an angel in the ninth hour in the book of Acts.

Acts 10:3 About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, “Cornelius.”

Jesus died on the cross at the ninth hour or 3:00 p.m.

Matthew 27:46  And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Matthew 27:50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.

The Persian Empire

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Angels, Persia/Elam/Iran, Prophecy with tags , , , , , , , , on June 21, 2020 by paulthepoke

Daniel 8:20 As for the ram that you saw with the two horns, these are the kings of Media and Persia.

Media or the Medes or Madai, is a son of Japheth. Madai is Noah’s grandson.

Genesis 10:2 The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras.

Wikipedia

Historically, the Medes and Persians formed the Persian or the Achaemenid Empire.

Daniel was not written in chronological order. Historically, Daniel 8 was written before Daniel 5.

We know Daniel received understanding of the vision from Daniel 8:1 in the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar to be about 553 BC.

In receiving the vision, Daniel understood Babylon would no longer be a player on the world stage and the Babylonian Empire was on its last legs. Recall, Daniel was physically in Babylon. At the time of the vision, Babylon was the head of gold of world empires from Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in chapter 2.

In 553 BC, The Persians were led by Cyrus the Great (559 BC to 529 BC). At the time of Daniel’s vision, secular history records Cyrus was yet to invade and capture Babylon. Secular history records that would happen 14 years later in 539 BC. Legend has it, Babylon was taken by the Persians without any conflict.

This is where secular history and the Bible collide. Secular history says Cyrus captured Babylon. The Bible says Darius the Mede captured Babylon. Secular history has no mention of Darius the Mede. Critics of the Bible view the character of Darius the Mede as a work of fiction. Darius the Mede would continue to be a part of Daniel’s writings in chapters 6 and 9. Some critics even go to the extent Daniel never existed.

King Belshazzar’s reign would come to an end in Daniel 5 with the hand writing on the wall.

Daniel 5:30-31 That very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed. And Darius the Mede received the kingdom at the age of sixty-two.

The Persian Empire was on the cusp of its greatest power. Darius I would rule from 522 BC to 486 BC. Under his leadership, this would be the largest empire known to man at that time. It was often referred to as “The Empire”. Historical dates provided by Wikipedia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achaemenid_Empire

Wikipedia

The eastern border of The Empire was essentially the Indus River which runs through modern day Pakistan. The southern border in the eastern part of the empire was the 21st century Persian Gulf. The southern border extended west across what is northern Saudi Arabia into what is modern day Egypt and eastern Libya. The northern border ranged from what was the old Soviet republics in the east to the Balkans to modern day Turkey moving west. It is in the far northwest corner of the Achaemenid Empire where resistance was ultimately encountered in Macedonia or what we know as modern day Greece.

The Empire would come to an abrupt end as Gabriel is about to inform Daniel.

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