News Review - 06 Mar 2020
NuclearIranTodaysHaman

Nuclear Iran – Today's Haman?

"...let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request: For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish ... And Esther said, The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman." (Esther 7:3-6)

From sunset Monday to sunset Tuesday this coming week there is a biblical festival – a festival that praises God and one clearly found in scripture – yet most in God's Church feel they do not have to keep it. So the question has to be, "why not?"

Feast of Purim:

The festival is the Feast of Purim, kept on the 14th of Adar each year and on the 15th of Adar in ancient walled cities such as Jerusalem. This year the primary day is this coming Tuesday, March 10. Purim is found in the book of Esther:...

  • And Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters unto all the Jews that were in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, both nigh and far,
  • To stablish this among them, that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, yearly,
  • As the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day: that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor.
  • And the Jews undertook to do as they had begun, and as Mordecai had written unto them;
  • Because Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had devised against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast Pur, that is, the lot, to consume them, and to destroy them;
  • But when Esther came before the king, he commanded by letters that his wicked device, which he devised against the Jews, should return upon his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows.
  • Wherefore they called these days Purim after the name of Pur. Therefore for all the words of this letter, and of that which they had seen concerning this matter, and which had come unto them,
  • The Jews ordained, and took upon them, and upon their seed, and upon all such as joined themselves unto them, so as it should not fail, that they would keep these two days according to their writing, and according to their appointed time every year;
  • And that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and that these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed. (Esther 9:20-28)

As you can see within the verses above, Purim is NOT described as a "Feast of the Eternal" as are the Holy Days found in Leviticus 23:2, but it is indeed a Feast of the Jews, as it says in verse 27; " The Jews ordained, and took upon them ... that they would keep these two days ... every year" . This is why several Jews I have known within God's Church have also celebrated Purim, but it has never been something kept by the rest of the Church as a whole.

The History:

For the Jews Purim is a most meaningful day. The book of Esther is historically the last book added to the Old Testament. The events it relates took place several years after the return to Jerusalem following the decree by Cyrus the Great in 538 BC. Following the death of Cyrus, his son Cambyses ruled the empire and later died in 522 BC. Darius the first, a Mede, began his rule after the death of Cambyses. When Darius died, his son Ahasuerus (or Xerxes) became king of the Persian Empire. His reign began in 486 BC.

The story of Esther is normally understood to have taken place during the time of this king – Ahasuerus, king of Persia – whose empire extended from Ethiopia to India. During his reign many of the Jews who did not return to Palestine lived within the 127 provinces of the Persian Empire. It was this entire band of Jewish people that Haman set himself to destroy, much as has taken place throughout history. But though the words: Lord, God, Eternal, Almighty, etc do not appear a single time within the entire book, God's hand is undeniably evident throughout. Spectacular "coincidences" conspire together to thwart all of the plans of wicked Haman and save the entire Jewish nation.

The Present:

Many would think that a memorial of events that took place 2500 years ago can have no meaningful bearing whatsoever on the events of today. But as we approach the end time the memorial of Purim is appearing to have progressively greater meaning and significance for the Jews who celebrate it around the world. The nation that calls itself Israel today — modern Judah — finds itself surrounded by threats on all sides. That aspect is certainly not new. But the greatest threat today is coming from the nuclear program of Iran — known until recently by its more ancient name, Persia — the very nation in which the events of Purim took place!

This fact was not lost on Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu who referred to the memorial of Purim as he addressed the American Congress back in 2015:

...Tomorrow night, on the Jewish holiday of Purim, we'll read the Book of Esther. We'll read of a powerful Persian viceroy named Haman, who plotted to destroy the Jewish people some 2,500 years ago. But a courageous Jewish woman, Queen Esther, exposed the plot and gave for the Jewish people the right to defend themselves against their enemies. The plot was foiled. Our people were saved.

Today the Jewish people face another attempt by yet another Persian potentate to destroy us. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei spews the oldest hatred, the oldest hatred of anti-Semitism with the newest technology. He tweets that Israel must be annihilated...

...But Iran's regime is not merely a Jewish problem, any more than the Nazi regime was merely a Jewish problem. The 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis were but a fraction of the 60 million people killed in World War II. So, too, Iran's regime poses a grave threat, not only to Israel, but also the peace of the entire world. To understand just how dangerous Iran would be with nuclear weapons, we must fully understand the nature of the regime. The people of Iran are very talented people. They're heirs to one of the world's great civilizations. But in 1979, they were hijacked by religious zealots – religious zealots who imposed on them immediately a dark and brutal dictatorship.

That year, the zealots drafted a constitution, a new one for Iran. It directed the revolutionary guards not only to protect Iran's borders, but also to fulfil the ideological mission of jihad. The regime's founder, Ayatollah Khomeini, exhorted his followers to "export the revolution throughout the world."

I'm standing here in Washington, D.C. and the difference is so stark. America's founding document promises life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Iran's founding document pledges death, tyranny, and the pursuit of jihad. And as states are collapsing across the Middle East, Iran is charging into the void to do just that...

...Don't be fooled. The battle between Iran and ISIS doesn't turn Iran into a friend of America. Iran and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam. One calls itself the Islamic Republic. The other calls itself the Islamic State. Both want to impose a militant Islamic empire first on the region and then on the entire world. They just disagree among themselves who will be the ruler of that empire...

...The difference is that ISIS is armed with butcher knives, captured weapons and YouTube, whereas Iran could soon be armed with intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear bombs. We must always remember – I'll say it one more time – the greatest danger facing our world is the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons. To defeat ISIS and let Iran get nuclear weapons would be to win the battle, but lose the war. We can't let that happen. But that, my friends, is exactly what could happen... ( pmo.gov.il)

Bible Study:

It is clearly a religious fervour that is driving the militant Islam within Iran. Indeed, it is even Jewish religious fervour that appears destined to play a progressively greater role as we approach the return of Christ and the end of this age – particularly in the areas surrounding Jerusalem. This fact makes the following, dated December 2011, very relevant prophetically:

Taking a page out of David Ben-Gurion and Menachem Begin’s playbook, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will begin hosting a regular Bible study group in his official residence for researchers, public officials and invited guests. Netanyahu announced the establishment of the study circle on Friday at a ceremony marking 30 days since the passing of his father-in-law, Shmuel Ben-Artzi. The study group will be named after Ben-Artzi, a noted poet and Bible teacher.

Both Ben-Gurion and Begin, when they each served as prime minister, hosted regular Bible study groups.

Netanyahu said he was establishing the class to perpetuate love of the Bible. Last Sunday, at a ceremony in Sde Boker marking the 38th anniversary of Ben-Gurion’s death, Netanyahu recalled the first premier’s Bible study class, saying that his father-in-law used to attend.

“Ben-Gurion understood that the Book of Books is our mandate for our country, as he said in that same unforgettable statement before the Peel Commission in 1936,” Netanyahu said. “He viewed the Bible as the wondrous story of the Jewish people, the unique spiritual, cultural and historic heritage of our people, and also as one of the cornerstones of all of human culture.” ( jpost.com)

The profound nature of the scriptures moulded the very fabric of the early nation under Ben-Gurion – the first Prime Minister of the Jewish nation of Israel. And Mr Menachem Begin – the contemporary and close personal friend of Mr Herbert Armstrong – continued the tradition. But this more recent recognition of the religious basis lying behind the State of Israel can be seen, not only in Netanyahu's Bible studies, but elsewhere in the country as well. Note the following comment from israelnationalnews.com on the recent "Deal of the Century" proposed by President Trump:

Mr. Prime Minister, please do not falsely interpret your election victory as sign that we, the over one million healthy citizens who voted for you and your Likud party, agree to accept the "Deal of the Century" in full.

We do not! We, of course, graciously express our gratitude for U.S. recognition of our sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, and thank President Trump for that and all the other wonderful things he has done for Israel.

But we insist on changes in the parts of the plan that are anathema to the Jewish State.

We will never agree to a building freeze anywhere in our God-given homeland – not for four years, and not even for four seconds! It's not up to us. Prime Minister Netanyahu: please tell President Trump, who is a believer in God and the Bible, that we have no choice – God commanded us to conquer, build, and settle all of the Land of Israel, and that's what we must do.

After all, God commanded us – who would even consider transgressing His command?! ( israelnationalnews.com)

Temple Sacrifices:

That this movement back to the scriptures – and Jewish origins – should be taking place today within the leadership and elsewhere in Israel – with all the other significant aspects also rising to the fore in the world – is very telling. One of the most profound prophetic events of all that we are currently waiting for on the world scene is for evening and morning sacrifices to begin at Jerusalem. As Mr Armstrong says, commenting on Daniel chapter 12:

But, verse 11, from the time the daily sacrifice shall be taken away. Consider this a moment. This does NOT imply a material temple to be built in our time in Jerusalem. It does seem to imply the Israelis may restore the daily (twice daily) sacrifice – possibly at the Wailing Wall. The indication is the armies of the “beast” of Revelation 17, entering Jerusalem (Dan. 11:41, Zech. 14:2) will stop this daily sacrifice. ( The Good News – January 1980)

For regular religious sacrifices to begin, even greater philosophical changes must take place within the country – some sort of truly profound religious revival within the state of Israel. We can thus begin to place the Bible Studies by Mr Netanyahu and his recognition of the parallels with the events of Purim into their correct prophetic place as merely the prelude to such things. Could the problem with Iran – the Persia of old – eventually turn out to be the catalyst – as their nuclear ambitions have certainly not gone away?

Just this past Wednesday, 4 March 2020, the following was reported in The Jerusalem Post:

On Tuesday, the IAEA [The International Atomic Energy Agency] reported for the first time that Iran has far exceeded the low enriched uranium threshold for a nuclear bomb...

...The threshold is 1,000 kilograms of enriched uranium. The IAEA confirmed that the Islamic Republic has enriched over 1,500 kilograms.

In addition, the agency’s relatively new chief, Rafael Grossi, told AFP on Tuesday: “Iran must decide to cooperate in a clearer manner with the agency to give the necessary clarifications.”

“The fact that we found traces [of uranium] is very important. That means there is the possibility of nuclear activities and material that are not under international supervision and about which we know not the origin or the intent.

“That worries me,” Grossi added.

Those are fighting words coming from the normally “no drama” IAEA. ( https://www.jpost.com)

Written for Our Admonition:

It may only take a slight touch on the nuclear tiller within Iran to goad the current Jewish mindset in Israel into accepting evening and morning sacrifices in Jerusalem. For there is something even greater going on than what can be physically seen. Just as was true at the time of Mordecai and Haman, the same God remains on His throne today. God's name may not once appear within the book of Esther, but there is absolutely no doubting His presence throughout – guiding everything that takes place – as that exceedingly " strong Hand from someplace" – to fulfil His intended purpose.

But what we need to recognise is that God's Mind is not primarily on the physical nation of Judah, but on His people of Spiritual Israel – for whom the account in the book of Esther has really been preserved – "written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." (I Corinthians 10:11) For to us – Spiritual Zion – is the reminder of just how frail in comparison to that Being are all the wicked Hamans in this world that we may come across:...

  • My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth, and mine arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm shall they trust.
  • Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.
  • Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings.
  • For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from generation to generation.
  • Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.
  • I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; ...
  • ...But I am the LORD thy God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared: The LORD of hosts [armies] is his name.(Isaiah 51:5-8,11-12,15)

And to physical Israel God says:

  • But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.
  • Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.
  • Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
  • Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish.
  • Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought.
  • For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee (Isaiah 41:8-13)