A Change from Mourning to a Good Day
1. Why are true Christians not puzzled when persecution comes?
TRUE Christians know they will be hated by this world, because the world also hated Jesus, even cruelly putting him to death. (John 15:18-25) The apostle Peter wrote to the Christian congregation: “Beloved ones, do not be puzzled at the burning [persecution] among you . . . On the contrary, go on rejoicing forasmuch as you are sharers in the sufferings of the Christ [Messiah], that you may rejoice and be overjoyed also during the revelation of his glory.”—1 Pet. 4:12, 13.
2, 3. (a) What did persecution allow for in the case of Mordecai and Esther, but why would Mordecai go into mourning? (b) On what course of action did Mordecai determine, and what was Esther’s response?
2 This privilege of sharing in the vindication of God’s name through endurance and through reliance on Jehovah’s power of deliverance was demonstrated by both Mordecai and Esther when Haman schemed the annihilation of all the Jews. A writing, naming Adar the thirteenth as the fateful day, was published throughout the 127 jurisdictional districts of the empire of the Persians and the Medes, including Shushan the royal castle. Mordecai, learning of it, put on sackcloth and ashes, doubtless in supplication to Jehovah, as others of God’s servants have done. (Dan. 9:3; Ps. 12:1) When Esther inquired the reason for his deep grief he told her all the things that had happened and laid the command upon her to come in to the king and make request directly before him for her own people.
3 Deeply moved by this command of Mordecai, Esther reminded him that according to the law of the Medes and the Persians anyone coming in before the king unbidden was to be put to death. Only in the case that the king would hold out to him the golden scepter would he stay alive. Besides, Esther informed Mordecai, she had not been called to come in to the king for thirty days. To do so now as Mordecai requested, without being bidden by the king, could mean her death. Mordecai, however, was adamant and replied to Esther: “Do not imagine within your own soul that the king’s household will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you are altogether silent at this time, relief and deliverance themselves will stand up for the Jews from another place; but as for you and your father’s house, you people will perish. And who is there knowing whether it is for a time like this that you have attained to royal dignity?” Esther’s obedience to Mordecai and her love for her people won out. She replied: “Go, gather all the Jews that are to be found in Shushan and fast in my behalf and neither eat nor drink for three days, night and day. I too with my young women, I shall fast likewise, and upon that I shall come in to the king, which is not according to the law; and in case I must perish, I must perish.”—Esther 4:1-17.
DISCERNMENT IN FACING DANGER
4. What attitude did both Esther and Mordecai display, and what example is set by those whom they pictured?
4 Esther did not presume on her relations with the king. Neither did Mordecai rely upon his own deed of loyalty, which had gone unrewarded up to this point. (Esther 2:21-23) Both relied entirely on Jehovah and sought his guidance in the course of action they would follow to serve as instruments for the preservation of God’s people alive. Esther, taking her life in her hands, dressed up royally and took her stand before the king. “As soon as the king saw Esther the queen standing in the courtyard, she gained favor in his eyes, so that the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand.” (Esther 5:1, 2) Today, too, the Esther class are in the same danger as the Mordecai class. But they do not back down, they show real love for all of God’s people and work along with the Mordecai class in complete unity seeking the preservation of the ones whom God is calling out of this world to represent him in this “time of the end.” (Matt. 12:30; Ps. 133:1) What an example this is to those who are in association with the anointed ones of Jehovah, confident of the outcome in their reliance upon the Greater Ahasuerus, Jesus Christ.
5. What request did Esther make, but how was her course toward Haman not contradictory to Mordecai’s?
5 Esther approached the king but asked simply that the king attend a banquet that she had prepared for him and for Haman. The king readily accepted. (Esther 5:3-5) Apparently by including Haman in this arrangement, Esther was showing favor to Haman, unlike Mordecai. This agrees with the fact that in the antitype the Esther class, acting under the instructions of the Mordecai class, do not try to destroy by violence the professed Christian clergy of Christendom. They do not try to undo the closeness of their Church-State union. (Eph. 6:12) According to Bible prophecy it must be shown up to its fullest degree. The Haman class will expose themselves for what they really are: enemies of God by being friends of the world. It must become very apparent that those pictured by Haman are the “man of lawlessness” toward God, absolutely doomed to destruction.—2 Thess. 2:3, 4, 8.
6. How did Haman respond to this seeming favor of Esther, but what did he not purpose toward Mordecai?
6 Still Esther did not reveal what was in her heart. No doubt acting under Jehovah’s direction, as subsequent events strongly suggest, she asked the king to return for a second banquet, to be attended by Haman also. Haman went out, “joyful and merry of heart.” But seeing Mordecai at the king’s gate not bowing or quaking on account of him, he was immediately filled with rage. However, he controlled himself and came into his house where he boasted of his greatness to his wife and friends. They rejoiced with him but agreed when Haman complained that “all this—none of it suits me as long as I am seeing Mordecai the Jew sitting in the king’s gate.” Then Zeresh and all his friends advised him: “Let them make a stake fifty cubits high. Then in the morning say to the king that they should hang Mordecai on it. Then go in with the king to the banquet joyful.” This pleased Haman immensely. He determined that early the next morning he would go in before the king and press this request upon him.—Esther 5:6-14.
JEHOVAH MANEUVERS MATTERS
7. What unexpected occurrence that night changed the situation for Mordecai?
7 Now events took an unexpected turn. That night while Haman was plotting mischief against Mordecai, King Ahasuerus went to bed but could not sleep. Drawing the conclusion that he had omitted something, was guilty of some delinquency, some failure, he had the book of records brought to him and asked his servants to read. They ran down the list to see if anything had failed to be done. “At length there was found written what Mordecai had reported concerning Bigthana and Teresh, two court officials of the king, doorkeepers, who had sought to lay hand on King Ahasuerus. Then the king said: ‘What honor and great thing has been done to Mordecai for this?’ To this the king’s attendants, his ministers, said: ‘Nothing has been done with him.’” The king determined at once to honor Mordecai.—Esther 6:1-3.
8. What developed that assured Mordecai a continued part in the outworking of Jehovah’s purpose?
8 Early the next morning Haman came to present himself before the king and King Ahasuerus had him brought in. But before he could carry out his resolve toward Mordecai, the king put in his question first, thereby averting what could have been an altogether different outcome of events. Had Haman been allowed to ask first that Mordecai be hanged, the king, seeking to honor Mordecai, might well have turned on Haman then and there without the intervention of Queen Esther or Mordecai. Thus, their role in this drama would have been anticipated and they would not have served to finish Jehovah’s warfare against the Amalekites.—Esther 6:4, 5.
9. How was Haman humiliated before Mordecai?
9 According to Jehovah’s purpose, the king spoke first: “What is to be done to the man in whose honor the king himself has taken a delight?” (Esther 6:6) Haman, with his boasts of the night before still fresh in his mind, could view no one but himself as being in the highest estimation of the king and concluded that he must be the one whom the king delighted to honor. Therefore he advised the king according to his own ambitions: ‘Bring out the king’s own horse with a crown upon its head and the man who is to be honored is to be seated on the horse and the chief officer in the king’s realm is to take the horse and make this favored man ride in the public square of the city and proclaim aloud before him: “This is how it is done to the man in whose honor the king himself has taken a delight.”’ Confidently, Haman awaited the king’s reply, only to hear him say: “Quickly, take the apparel and the horse, just as you have said, and do that way to Mordecai the Jew who is sitting in the king’s gate.” Haman was completely crushed. But he could do nothing but comply. Failure to do so would have meant certain death. Thus, when Mordecai most needed to be remembered, Jehovah acted in his behalf for his protection and the saving of his life. Haman, by contrast, was obliged to admit that, not he, but this hated, despised Jew Mordecai was the one whom the king delighted to honor.—Esther 6:6-11.
A COMPLETE REVERSAL
10. What led up to Haman’s comedown, and what parallel is taking place today?
10 Haman was a proud man. Proverbs 16:18 says: “Pride is before a crash, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.” According to this principle, there was only one outcome for Haman. There had to be a comedown. Today, an exact parallel is taking place. In times past the clergy have been exalted to the very highest position in this system of things. Though claiming to rule by the grace of God and by his King, Jesus Christ, the clergy have no real standing with God, which fact is becoming increasingly evident to all open-minded observers. (Matt. 7:15-23) The Mordecai class, on the other hand, is coming more and more into favor with the Lord Jesus Christ, particularly since 1926 when they declared themselves favorable toward God in The Watch Tower, issue of January 1 of that year, in the leading article, “Who Will Honor Jehovah?” Many events since that time have borne out these facts. From 1922 to 1928 a series of proclamations went out by Jehovah’s witnesses, many of these aimed directly at exposing the clergy. In 1930, two books called “Light,” explaining Revelation, were published and these, too, exposed the clergy of Christendom, at the same time exalting God’s kingdom by the Lord Jesus Christ. All these proclamations and exposés stung the clergy of Christendom with humiliation. Yet, even at the height of their power they were unable to prevent these and many other publications from being distributed world wide in millions of copies.* This record still stands, and in the light of current events it is proved even more true. Those who care to look into the record can see for themselves that the faithlessness of the clergy toward the Bible and their lack of interest in building up the moral standards of the people is not new but is just as it has been exposed by Jehovah’s witnesses from this early period when God showed his favor upon his true servants, the Mordecai class, at the expense of the clergy and to the clergy’s shame. What further humiliation awaits them before their ignominious end, the future alone will reveal.
11. What future did Haman’s wife and friends see for him now?
11 Haman slunk home to his family and friends, but there he found no comfort. On the contrary, “his wise men and Zeresh his wife said to him: ‘If it is from the seed of the Jews that Mordecai is before whom you have started to fall, you will not prevail against him, but you will without fail fall before him.’” Hardly were these words of doom out of their mouths when the king’s court officials arrived and proceeded to take Haman to the second banquet that Esther had made for the king.—Esther 6:12-14.
IDENTIFICATION AND EXPOSURE
12. How did Esther accomplish Haman’s exposure, and what was the outcome for him?
12 Now, at the conclusion of the second banquet, the time had arrived for Esther to state her request to the king. “If I have found favor in your eyes, O king, and if to the king it does seem good, let there be given me my own soul at my petition and my people at my request. For we have been sold, I and my people, to be annihilated, killed and destroyed. Now if we had been sold for mere men slaves and for mere maidservants, I should have kept silent. But the distress is not appropriate when with damage to the king.” The king was highly aroused. “‘Who is this, and just where is the one who has emboldened himself to do that way?’ Then Esther said: ‘The man, the adversary and enemy, is this bad Haman.’” The king, unable to contain his rage, withdrew to the garden of the palace to regain his composure. Haman, terrified at this turn of events, pleaded with Esther for his life because he knew that the king’s face was set against him. So intense were his pleas that he fell upon her couch beside her just as the king returned from the garden. Seeing this the king said: “‘Is there also to be a raping of the queen, with me in the house?’ The word itself went out of the king’s mouth, and Haman’s face they covered. Harbona, one of the court officials before the king, now said: ‘Also, there is the stake that Haman made for Mordecai, who had spoken good concerning the king, standing in Haman’s house—fifty cubits high.’ At that the king said: ‘You men, hang him on it.’ And they proceeded to hang Haman on the stake that he had prepared for Mordecai; and the king’s rage itself subsided.”—Esther 7:1-10.
13. (a) How was the identification of the Esther class brought about; how has this added to the exposure of the Haman class? (b) What is pictured by Haman’s being hanged on the stake prepared for Mordecai?
13 Esther’s exposing of Haman as the archenemy necessitated her revealing her own identity. When did those of the Esther class in modern times identify themselves according to the historical record? The best evidence is the identification that took place Sunday, July 26, 1931, at an assembly of Jehovah’s people in Columbus, Ohio. On that occasion they adopted a resolution by which they identified themselves, embracing the name “Jehovah’s witnesses.” (Isa. 43:10, 12) A booklet containing this resolution was published and given a wide circulation. This identification also worked for the exposé of the clergy class. The hatred already manifested toward the true servants of God was now revealed in even stronger action and the Haman class now became identified even more positively as anti-God, determined to destroy God’s servants. (Matt. 23:29-36) Jehovah’s people ran into opposition as never before in their history.* The fulfillment of Haman’s being hanged on the stake prepared for Mordecai does not need to wait until the destruction of Babylon the Great, for by these acts, from this time forward, the Haman class died in the sight of God and in the eyes of honest-hearted persons the world over. Additionally, Haman’s ten sons survived him to carry forward the picture to a further fulfillment.
14. What further work was now seen to be ahead for the Mordecai class?
14 It was in this same year, 1931, that the first volume of a series of three books was issued, namely, Vindication, and at that same assembly a speech was given explaining in detail the ninth chapter of Ezekiel. In this talk the man clothed with linen and carrying the recorder’s inkhorn was identified in antitypical fulfillment as well as those sighing and groaning that were to be marked in the forehead and the twenty-five men in front of the temple who were worshiping the sun instead of Jehovah God. The Mordecai class and the Esther class together now realized they had a further work to do for which they were being retained on earth for a while longer. This was to find those who were sighing and groaning because of the conditions brought about by those perverting the true worship of God, those pictured by the twenty-five men worshiping the sun, namely, the clergy class. This lifesaving was to take place before destruction was to be brought upon all who did not receive the mark on their foreheads. So the identification of Jehovah’s people by the significant name Jehovah’s witnesses came at a time of great need for God’s people and simultaneous with the opening up of a new and important phase of the purpose of God in this “time of the end.”
ORGANIZED FOR DEFENSE AND OFFENSE
15. (a) What reversal for the Mordecai class did Jesus foretell? (b) What threat still loomed ahead for the Jews, and what steps did Mordecai take to avert it?
15 Now Mordecai was promoted and was given the king’s signet ring, which had been removed from the finger of Haman before he was hanged. The fulfillment is in harmony with the prophecy of Jesus when he said: “This is why I say to you [that is, to the clergy of his day], The kingdom of God will be taken from you and be given to a nation producing its fruits.” (Matt. 21:43) This has indeed been a dramatic reversal that has taken place in our day. But something else needed to be done. Though Mordecai’s personal life had been saved and he had been exalted, Haman’s ten sons were still alive and there still stood the decree for the extermination of all the Jews throughout the empire on Adar 13. Mordecai realized that there was a way out for the Jews, one that Haman’s decree had not allowed for. This was authority for Jehovah’s people to gather together and fight back in self-defense. Now the Jews could take the initiative against those who would destroy them and destroy the malicious enemy instead. To this provision the king agreed and the decree was sealed with his ring and copies were sent to all 127 jurisdictional districts.—Esther 8:1-14.
16. (a) What changed attitude among the Jews now came about? (b) How has this been fulfilled in modern times?
16 This caused a great change to take place. Now, instead of great mourning among the Jews, and fasting and weeping and wailing, they began to rejoice and to gather together and unite themselves for their stand against their enemies. Furthermore, the fear of the Jews fell upon the peoples of the land and many began to declare themselves Jews. (Esther 8:15-17) This part of the drama had a dramatic fulfillment during the critical decade in the 1930’s. Realizing they were entitled to take all peaceful, law-conforming measures for the protection of their lives, God’s servants proceeded to appeal to the courts and the governments in behalf of their God-given work of finding those honestly disposed toward Jehovah and his people. Further steps of unification were taken and the theocratic structure of the organization came to its full realization by 1938. God’s people were now fully united and ready when the time for the antitypical fulfillment of Adar 13 should arrive.*
17. When did the antitypical day of Adar 13 arrive, and what occurred?
17 This time came during the period of the second world war. All the evidence points to the conclusion that the enemies of God’s people determined to use that war situation with its patriotism, its nationalism, its bias, its false accusations of Communism on the one hand and Nazism on the other in order to get Jehovah’s witnesses and destroy them. A global attack shaped up that appeared as though it might completely blot out the worldwide preaching of the Mordecai and Esther classes and their companions who had now begun to join with them.* It could have been a bleak day indeed, one of mourning, but these faithful servants of God did not take this concerted action lying down. During this time represented by Adar 13 Jehovah’s witnesses fought as they have never fought before. They made a spiritual fight to preserve their spiritual lives all around the world, fighting from a centralized headquarters, presenting an organized front against the enemy. There were casualties, but there was no fighting with carnal weapons by Jehovah’s people. (2 Cor. 10:3, 4) Even in the concentration camps Jehovah blessed this demonstration of courage on the part of his witnesses, and the result of this fight has made a lasting impression upon those sighing and groaning in Christendom because the clergy exposed themselves more than ever as being anti-God and anti-kingdom of Christ.* (2 Thess. 1:4, 5) This continuing spiritual death of the clergy in the eyes of honest-hearted people is well represented by the death of Haman’s ten sons killed on Adar 13. Along with them, 500 of God’s enemies were slain in Shushan and 75,000 throughout the rest of the realm. On Adar 14 the fighting was continued in Shushan the castle and 300 more enemies of the Jews were put to death, whereas in the outlying districts the Jews were celebrating their victory.—Esther 9:1-19.
FROM GRIEF TO REJOICING
18. What was the outcome of the enemy’s efforts to annihilate God’s people, and what pictures the continuation of this spiritual warfare?
18 This day that it had been schemed was to be a day of mourning had become a good day, a day of victory, vindication and rejoicing! So also in modern times! When World War II began in 1939, there were 71,509 of Jehovah’s people united in their defense of true worship. By the time this war was over among the nations of the world, far from being annihilated, the faithful band of active witnesses had almost doubled, and 1945 saw 141,606 carrying on the spiritual warfare against God’s enemies. But our spiritual war of self-defense is not over. It continues down to this day as pictured by the annual celebration of “Purim” that was imposed on all the people by Mordecai, namely, “to be regularly holding the fourteenth day of the month Adar and the fifteenth day of it in each and every year, according to the days on which the Jews had rested from their enemies and the month that was changed for them from grief to rejoicing and from mourning to a good day.” (Esther 9:20-32) This year (1971) the Orthodox Jews celebrated their “feast of Esther” on March 10, and their feast of Purim on March 11, 12.
19, 20. What final outcome is certain, and how should we view in its fulfillment the “forced labor” that was imposed by King Ahasuerus?
19 With full proof of Jehovah’s deliverance already a part of the historical record both in ancient and in modern times, we will look forward with confidence and keen anticipation to the “great tribulation” just ahead when all those of the Haman class and their supporters will literally reap what they have sown, just as King Ahasuerus pronounced upon Haman: “Let his bad scheme that he has schemed against the Jews come back upon his own head.” (Esther 9:25; Matt. 24:21, 22) When that time comes, the Greater Ahasuerus will literally make an end of all his enemies and will exalt the Mordecai and Esther classes to the position reserved for them in the Messianic kingdom.—2 Thess. 1:6-10.
20 In the meantime, the final preparation of the rest of the King’s subjects must be accomplished according to Jehovah’s purpose for this “time of the end.” This is as indicated by Esther 10:1: “And King Ahasuerus proceeded to lay forced labor upon the land and the isles of the sea.” What a blessed privilege it is today for those of Messiah’s “other sheep” to comply wholeheartedly and loyally with the modern-day service commission! This they do by cooperating, to their own everlasting benefit, with those taking the lead in this “energetic work” as promoted by those anointed Christians foreshadowed by Mordecai. “For Mordecai the Jew was second to King Ahasuerus and was great among the Jews and approved by the multitude of his brothers, working for the good of his people and speaking peace to all their offspring.”—Esther 10:2, 3.
For an outstanding instance, see the book Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, pp. 117, 118.
For some of the details, see the book Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, pp. 125, 126, 128-147.
See the book Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, pp. 127, 147-149.
See the book Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, pp. 150-153.
See the book Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, pp. 154-185.
[Picture on page 183]
Esther exposed Haman as the archenemy, thus also revealing her own identity