The Jewish roots of Christianity

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Episode: “Esther”
Winning a beauty contest positioned her to avert a pogrom to wipe out the Jewish people. God raises up people like Esther in each generation to deliver His people, culminating in the greatest redemption: through Yeshua.
Series: “Divine Deliverance”
from Avraham to Yeshua
In this series, we examine how the Lord offered a message of deliverance through 12 significant Bible characters, beginning with faithful Abraham and culminating with Messiah Himself. Dr. Jeffrey Seif teaches on location in Israel and discusses the lesson’s application with David and Kirsten Hart in the studio. We enjoy enlightening dramatic re-enactments from past series, along with Zola’s music, completely re-orchestrated and sung by David and Kirsten.

Caption transcript for Divine Deliverance: “Esther” (11/12)

  • 00:01 Kirsten Hart: God handpicked
  • 00:04 a young, teenage girl to save and rescue his people.
  • 00:06 Learn about this extraordinary woman today on
  • 00:09 "Zola Levitt Presents."
  • 00:11 ♪♪♪
  • 00:17 male announcer: From the beginning, our Creator revealed
  • 00:19 his will to the common man.
  • 00:22 Individuals listened to his call and responded in obedience, from
  • 00:28 the first Hebrew Avraham to the culmination of salvation in
  • 00:33 Messiah himself, the Lord faithfully intervenes with his
  • 00:38 divine deliverance.
  • 00:43 ♪♪♪
  • 00:49 David Hart: Shalom, friends, and thank you for joining us
  • 00:51 today on "Zola Levitt Presents."
  • 00:52 I'm David Hart.
  • 00:53 Kirsten: I'm Kirsten Hart. Jeffrey Seif: Jeffrey Seif.
  • 00:56 David: It's all about Esther today.
  • 00:58 What a great story of Esther.
  • 01:01 Kirsten: It is, and I've just gotta say, I'm a woman, I'm a
  • 01:03 girl, I think that's obvious.
  • 01:05 Jeffrey: No!
  • 01:06 Kirsten: Right?
  • 01:07 But this is a little bit rough for me.
  • 01:09 I know we talk about beauty treatments, but she was a young,
  • 01:12 teenage girl, snatched out of her home, taken to a palace,
  • 01:16 and she never knew if she'd even go back home.
  • 01:17 It was--
  • 01:18 Jeffrey: Keep talking, girl.
  • 01:20 Like, what do I know about women?
  • 01:21 You tell us about this one.
  • 01:23 Tell us about her and you drive this one home.
  • 01:26 Kirsten: But we think about all the beauty treatments, and
  • 01:28 then she went through such wonderful things,
  • 01:30 but it was rough.
  • 01:31 I mean, if the king didn't pick her, one person out of 400
  • 01:35 girls, she'd be in the concubine house for the rest of her life.
  • 01:38 But for such a time as this.
  • 01:41 Jeffrey: This is an interesting story here.
  • 01:42 Yes, for such a time as this.
  • 01:44 Kirsten: Let's go to our drama today, our dramatic
  • 01:46 reenactment, the story of Esther, followed by teaching
  • 01:49 with Dr. Jeffrey Seif.
  • 01:53 narrator: Mordecai, Esther's cousin, was among the captive
  • 01:56 Jews in Shushan.
  • 01:59 When Esther's parents had died, Mordecai had taken her as his
  • 02:02 own daughter and raised her, caring for her deeply.
  • 02:10 [speaking Hebrew]
  • 02:41 narrator: And so it was that Esther was taken before Haggai,
  • 02:44 the guardian of the king's harem, and she
  • 02:48 was pleasing to him.
  • 02:52 It would take 12 months of preparation before Esther would
  • 02:54 appear before the king.
  • 02:59 Attended to by seven maidens, she would receive six months
  • 03:03 treatment with oil of myrrh and then another six months
  • 03:07 treatment with perfumes and cosmetics.
  • 03:14 Esther had never looked so lovely.
  • 03:20 ♪♪♪
  • 03:48 ♪♪♪
  • 04:14 Jeffrey: Okay, I've heard it and you've heard it, quote,
  • 04:18 "The Lord works in mysterious ways."
  • 04:23 And ain't that the God's honest truth?
  • 04:28 Deliverance comes in different ways on different days.
  • 04:33 In this program, deliverance comes through a beauty contest,
  • 04:39 and the winner is Esther.
  • 04:42 As it says in the text, chapter 2, verse 17 of the book that
  • 04:46 bears her name, "Now the king loved Esther more than
  • 04:51 all the other women."
  • 04:54 And by the way, there were others trying for the job.
  • 04:58 "So he placed the royal crown upon her head
  • 05:01 and made her queen."
  • 05:06 And thus began a very interesting drama, one that
  • 05:11 we're gonna explore as we consider deliverance, how it
  • 05:14 came through a woman named Esther.
  • 05:21 You gotta love it.
  • 05:23 The Bible is so interesting.
  • 05:27 I think personally preachers that make it boring ought to be
  • 05:29 sued for malpractice.
  • 05:31 It is a very cool story.
  • 05:34 Instead of preachers engineering various sermons, I get that,
  • 05:38 I think it's important just to tell the story.
  • 05:41 You know, at least get the story out first and then we
  • 05:44 can explore what we wanna do with it.
  • 05:46 In this case, this story of redemption is played out against
  • 05:50 the backdrop of a drunken king who embarrassed his main queen
  • 05:58 and then felt disrespected by her, prompting him then to look
  • 06:03 for a replacement.
  • 06:05 So, word goes out.
  • 06:07 And there's a woman named Hadassah, and her guardian,
  • 06:10 Mordecai, puts her up to it and says, "Look, you know, you ought
  • 06:14 to try out for this I think.
  • 06:16 You know, something tells me you're in for something good."
  • 06:18 He prompts her to do it, so she does, and she goes through the
  • 06:25 whole warm up process.
  • 06:27 All these girls come that are applying for the job.
  • 06:29 There's a season of beautification and then they
  • 06:32 have an opportunity to present to the king with whatever
  • 06:33 they want.
  • 06:35 It all comes on loan.
  • 06:37 You know, you want a nice Rolex?
  • 06:38 Why not.
  • 06:40 Yes, we have some diamonds from Neiman Marcus.
  • 06:41 You're gonna love 'em.
  • 06:42 Everybody dressed up right to the hilt.
  • 06:44 This woman, Hadassah, however, when it came turn for her,
  • 06:48 rather than deck out in all the regalia, she stood out because
  • 06:52 of her kinda simplicity, and thus a beauty was able to shine
  • 06:56 that wasn't obfuscated by diamonds, and pearls, and gold.
  • 07:02 Not that I'm amiss to all that.
  • 07:04 I like to say I like to keep my wife in diamonds and furs.
  • 07:07 But the point is, here with this woman it's a little different.
  • 07:10 We read in chapter 2, verse 15, the following.
  • 07:15 When the turn came for Esther, the daughter, to go in, we're
  • 07:19 told she did not ask for anything except for what the
  • 07:22 guardian, we're told, said, "Here, listen,
  • 07:24 let's just go minimal."
  • 07:26 And that's the way she did it.
  • 07:29 The net result in verse 17 we're told, and it's the verse that
  • 07:32 I just read, I'll say it again, "Now the king loved Esther more
  • 07:36 than all other women, and she won his grace and favor more
  • 07:42 than all the other maidens."
  • 07:44 The concept of chosen people doesn't mean better than.
  • 07:48 I don't know that this woman herself necessarily is better
  • 07:52 than other women, but she's chosen in the sense she gets
  • 07:55 the attention of the principal.
  • 07:57 And he gives her grace and extends favor, subsequent to
  • 08:02 which he placed the royal crown upon her head.
  • 08:07 It's a great story.
  • 08:09 It's an old story, one that we're gonna explore as we look
  • 08:11 more at deliverance in the book of Esther.
  • 08:19 ♪♪♪
  • 08:29 [speaking Hebrew]
  • 10:50 Jeffrey: It's a classic story, replete with a heroine.
  • 10:54 And of course it wouldn't be a story if it didn't have
  • 10:57 a villain.
  • 10:59 His name is Haman. Did that shock you?
  • 11:04 Well, by the way, every time his name is mentioned in the
  • 11:06 synagogue, we get this.
  • 11:08 Everyone goes, "Boo!"
  • 11:10 and turns these groggers around.
  • 11:12 In fact, once a year, we read the book.
  • 11:15 There's an expression that's used among Jewish people,
  • 11:17 "The whole megillah," the whole story.
  • 11:19 People don't realize the word "gillah" is the word for
  • 11:22 "scroll," and the "megillot," the scrolls.
  • 11:25 And the book of Esther is brought out in the synagogue and
  • 11:28 it's read.
  • 11:30 And every time we hear the villain Haman, "Boo!"
  • 11:33 We get this every time we hear of the heroine, Esther, "Yay!"
  • 11:40 and Mordecai, "Yay!"
  • 11:42 It's a very interesting story.
  • 11:43 And by the way, it's the Jewish version of Halloween in the
  • 11:47 sense everybody dresses up.
  • 11:49 Not just the children, even the parents dress up and everybody
  • 11:55 acts foolish.
  • 11:57 Not only do the children party, and you know how kids can be
  • 11:59 kids, they're outdone by their parents who act absolutely
  • 12:03 obnoxious every time we hear the name Haman and so forth.
  • 12:09 It really is a festive atmosphere.
  • 12:11 And why is that?
  • 12:13 There's a story here where Jews found themselves between the
  • 12:17 literal rock and a hard place.
  • 12:19 Haman used his influence to set in motion that which would
  • 12:23 result in the destruction of all the Jews in the empire.
  • 12:27 And that's an age old story, by the way.
  • 12:30 People have been wanting to wipe out Jews for a long time.
  • 12:33 I think it's spiritual more than material, and I say that
  • 12:36 because, pound for pound, look, you know, we have our
  • 12:39 scoundrels, but the Jews, we're really not a bad lot.
  • 12:41 And if someone's guilty, they get arrested like everyone else
  • 12:44 and have to answer for their crimes, but Jews really do tend
  • 12:48 to be decent.
  • 12:50 Despite all that, l'dor va'dor, from generation to generation,
  • 12:54 people try and kill us.
  • 12:56 And so it is Jews celebrate this story, not because it's good
  • 13:01 news for the Jews, but it's a reminder that God raises up
  • 13:05 a deliverer.
  • 13:07 And I say that because unbeknownst to Haman, the new
  • 13:11 queen, the woman in charge, she was a Hebrew.
  • 13:16 Mordecai sends words and said, "Hun, listen, you know, maybe
  • 13:21 just maybe you've got to step up and weigh in on this to turn
  • 13:26 this around."
  • 13:28 And this is where you get in the story, you know, maybe this
  • 13:30 woman was chosen for such a time as this.
  • 13:34 At first she was reluctant, but then she stepped up.
  • 13:37 And though she wasn't supposed to go to the king lest she was
  • 13:40 invited, she said, "Look, I'm going to do it."
  • 13:43 And in chapter 4, verse 16, she says, "Listen, I'm gonna go to
  • 13:47 the king, even though it's not according to the law.
  • 13:50 And if I perish, I perish.
  • 13:52 I mean, if he wipes me out because I violated a principle,
  • 13:55 so be it, but I'm gonna step into the gap."
  • 13:59 Thank God.
  • 14:01 God raises up redeemers in generation, from generation to
  • 14:05 generation, and I'm certainly pleased that he used Esther for
  • 14:09 such a time as this.
  • 14:15 female announcer: Our resource this week, the series,
  • 14:17 "Esther: For Such a Time as This," on DVD.
  • 14:21 This eight-part series presents the biblical account of the
  • 14:25 young, beautiful, Jewish woman who becomes the queen of Persia.
  • 14:30 When Esther is confronted with murderous racial hatred, she
  • 14:33 allows herself to be used by God and saves the Jewish people
  • 14:37 from genocide.
  • 14:38 Contact us for the DVD series, "Esther: For Such
  • 14:42 a Time as This."
  • 14:45 male: Hi, thanks for watching "Zola Levitt Presents."
  • 14:48 You know, besides our television program, you can also reach us
  • 14:51 at levitt.com, as well as following us on Facebook
  • 14:55 or Twitter.
  • 14:57 And of course, we'd love to receive your mail.
  • 14:59 And as always, you can call us.
  • 15:01 We'd love to hear your voice at 1-800-WONDERS.
  • 15:04 And don't forget, your donations are what enable us
  • 15:08 to keep going.
  • 15:09 Thank you so much.
  • 15:13 ♪♪♪
  • 15:16 David: We have more dramatic reenactments that we want to
  • 15:18 bring you, Bible stories that come to life.
  • 15:21 We can't do that without your financial support.
  • 15:24 We're here today to say thank you.
  • 15:26 Right now, let's go back to our story, our dramatic reenactment
  • 15:29 with Esther.
  • 15:33 ♪♪♪
  • 15:36 narrator: Pur, a simple cube-like object.
  • 15:40 Pur had been used to determine the date of death for every Jew
  • 15:44 in the Persian empire.
  • 15:46 Now one year later, Mordecai considers a brighter day.
  • 15:53 [speaking Hebrew]
  • 16:50 ♪♪♪
  • 17:12 Jeffrey: In English, we speak of rolling the dice.
  • 17:14 It speaks of just taking a risk and throwing it out there.
  • 17:18 Well, it happened in antiquity as well.
  • 17:20 In fact, the word "pur" as in Purim comes from
  • 17:23 a word for "lot."
  • 17:25 They had a way of determining when to do things by throwing
  • 17:27 the dice and seeing when it landed.
  • 17:29 Well, they threw the dice to see when it landed.
  • 17:32 They looked to determine when to kill all the Jews.
  • 17:34 Happily, however, God had a plan to turn that around.
  • 17:37 The turnaround came from a woman, and it wasn't just her
  • 17:41 decree that saved them.
  • 17:43 It was her decree that gave them permission to fight for
  • 17:47 themselves, to make a spirited defense.
  • 17:50 Once the king issued a decree for a war, well then it had to
  • 17:54 live out, but here the Jews were allowed to push back, and indeed
  • 17:57 they did.
  • 17:58 We're explicit in the text, by the way.
  • 18:00 The author gives voice in no uncertain terms that they
  • 18:03 offered a spirited defense and held it all back.
  • 18:06 By the way, that which was permitted in antiquity needs to
  • 18:10 similarly be permitted in modernity.
  • 18:14 And I mention that because you can read the biblical story.
  • 18:17 In chapter 9, we're told the Jews assembled and they were
  • 18:21 able then to lay hands on those bent on their demise.
  • 18:25 I'm paraphrasing it, but it's there in 9:2.
  • 18:29 I'm not inventing it.
  • 18:30 The reason why I mention that is there is a wicked invention
  • 18:33 today, and that is that Jews don't have a right to defend
  • 18:35 themselves in the land.
  • 18:37 We should just be sheep and let the world roll over us like a
  • 18:40 freight train.
  • 18:41 Well, after 2,000 years, Jews are back in the land
  • 18:43 providentially and we're not minded to give it up so easily.
  • 18:48 And my hope and prayer is that women and men who are informed
  • 18:51 by biblical virtue will stand behind the Jewish right to be in
  • 18:57 the land and the Jewish right to make a spirited defense for
  • 19:01 themselves while being there.
  • 19:04 We're told here in chapter 9, verse 2 that those bent on their
  • 19:07 demise enjoyed no good success.
  • 19:10 We're told, an I'm explicit now, not just inferential, "No one
  • 19:13 was able to stand against them, for fear of them had fallen on
  • 19:18 all the peoples," roundabout.
  • 19:21 And you know what, same today as yesterday because history tends
  • 19:26 to repeat itself.
  • 19:28 When we look at deliverance, we see that God raises up a person.
  • 19:33 You wouldn't expect that person to be the person, but the fact
  • 19:37 that they exist, it means everything.
  • 19:39 Not everyone understands it.
  • 19:43 For some, Jesus was just some Jewish Palestinian who died
  • 19:47 2,000 years ago and some myth circulated about his
  • 19:51 resurrection subsequent to that.
  • 19:53 He doesn't mean something to them, but Jesus, the Jewish
  • 19:57 personality, means something to me and I hope he means something
  • 20:01 to you.
  • 20:03 The gospel's not some insignificant story, it's a
  • 20:06 turnaround story and Yeshua came to facilitate a great
  • 20:10 redemption, not so much political, but definitely
  • 20:14 spiritual and personal for people like me and you.
  • 20:23 Kirsten: A lot of people downplay teenagers and say,
  • 20:26 "Oh, that generation."
  • 20:28 Esther was a beautiful teenager, but boy, she was smart and she
  • 20:33 took a lot of risks.
  • 20:35 Remember the phrase, "For such a time as this," but she took a
  • 20:39 lot of risk in doing what she did to save the people
  • 20:42 of Israel.
  • 20:44 Jeffrey: Yeah, she wasn't altogether sure which way it was
  • 20:45 gonna turn, and she did put herself in harm's way.
  • 20:48 Most people avoid that in life.
  • 20:50 Kirsten: Right, because it is too risky and what she
  • 20:52 could--what could've happened to her, she could've been killed.
  • 20:56 If she approached the king and he didn't want to hear her, you
  • 20:58 know, onto the next concubine, onto the next girl.
  • 21:02 Jeffrey: It takes a little courage to kinda press into the
  • 21:04 darkness, yes, David?
  • 21:06 David: Right, and you know what?
  • 21:07 I'm thinking about our wives right now, that they have a
  • 21:11 strong influence in our world today.
  • 21:14 Your wife, my wife.
  • 21:15 She speaks all around the country, just like Esther did.
  • 21:18 Jeffrey: And to that point, I just think it takes a lot of
  • 21:21 courage just to become a wife.
  • 21:22 And I'm not saying that because women are watching, I'm saying
  • 21:25 that because I honestly believe it.
  • 21:27 Kirsten: Right, I was 20--I was 24 when I married you.
  • 21:29 I was already a woman.
  • 21:32 Here's Esther, a young teenage girl.
  • 21:35 You know, I mean, there's so many questions about
  • 21:37 a teenager girl.
  • 21:38 What do I wanna be when I grow up?
  • 21:39 What is my future?
  • 21:41 And Esther didn't have any of that choice anymore, but she did
  • 21:44 have a choice how she was gonna handle what she did for the
  • 21:47 Hebrew people.
  • 21:49 Jeffrey: That's true.
  • 21:50 She was in good shape herself there in the palace, just kinda
  • 21:53 chilling with all the perfumes with her rich husband.
  • 21:55 She could've just avoided the whole mess.
  • 21:59 Good point.
  • 22:01 Kirsten: And then along comes Mordecai in saying, "For--"
  • 22:04 and that's the famous phrase there, that verse,
  • 22:06 "For such a time as this."
  • 22:08 But who knows that you came into this place?
  • 22:12 And I just wanna personally speak to every woman that's
  • 22:15 watching this program today.
  • 22:17 Who knows, for such a time as right now, wherever you are
  • 22:20 sitting and watching this program, that God doesn't desire
  • 22:24 to use you in this time in your life to do great things for him
  • 22:29 and for his kingdom.
  • 22:31 One teenage girl can change the future.
  • 22:33 David: That's right.
  • 22:35 More on this story. We'll be right back.
  • 22:38 male announcer: Our resource this week, the series, "Divine
  • 22:40 Deliverance," on DVD.
  • 22:42 These 12 programs examine how the Lord offered a message of
  • 22:45 salvation through significant Bible characters, beginning with
  • 22:49 faithful Abraham and ending with the Messiah himself.
  • 22:53 Each program includes location teaching, discussions of
  • 22:57 applications, plus the music of Zola Levitt.
  • 23:01 Contact us for the DVD series, "Divine Deliverance."
  • 23:07 announcer: For insightful perspectives on Israel and Bible
  • 23:10 prophecy, ask for our free monthly newsletter,
  • 23:13 "The Levitt Letter."
  • 23:15 At levitt.com, you can read the newsletter, watch the TV
  • 23:18 program, or visit our online store.
  • 23:22 Stay current with us on social media via Facebook and Twitter.
  • 23:26 Come with us on a tour of Israel or Petra, or a cruise to Greece
  • 23:30 and Ephesus.
  • 23:32 Please contact us for more information.
  • 23:37 Kirsten: We've alluded to Esther and her beauty
  • 23:38 treatments.
  • 23:40 There is a beauty treatment in the holy land that is
  • 23:43 like none other.
  • 23:45 It is called Dead Sea mud.
  • 23:47 That's something that we get to experience on a Zola tour.
  • 23:51 It's one of my favorite places in the whole world.
  • 23:54 We get in the water.
  • 23:55 We don't swim in the water, but we get to apply this beauty
  • 23:58 treatment all over our skin, and it's something you won't wanna
  • 24:01 miss.
  • 24:03 Come on a Zola tour.
  • 24:04 Experience God's best beauty treatment in his land.
  • 24:08 Now, here is a song from Esther.
  • 24:12 ♪♪♪
  • 24:15 [singing in Hebrew]
  • 26:14 Jeffrey: You don't have to understand
  • 26:16 the meaning of those Hebrew words to know that that
  • 26:20 song is beautiful.
  • 26:22 So fitting.
  • 26:24 Esther was beautiful, was she not?
  • 26:26 Kirsten: She was, and she was very smart, and wise, and open
  • 26:30 to what God wanted to do with her life.
  • 26:32 Jeffrey: Yes.
  • 26:33 David: She was called, but also born for that position.
  • 26:36 Jeffrey: Yes she was, and she utilized her influence
  • 26:39 in that position.
  • 26:41 I tell my wife, Barri, that she's just beautiful inside
  • 26:45 and out.
  • 26:47 And great gal, Esther.
  • 26:49 Kirsten: Right, and I--my personal takeaway is don't
  • 26:51 underestimate what God can do with your life.
  • 26:55 She, through her decisions and what she did, saved his people,
  • 27:01 just like the Savior that came and saved his people.
  • 27:04 Jeffrey: Amen to that.
  • 27:05 And salvation, deliverance comes from different places.
  • 27:09 And here, we're talking about it on "Zola Levitt Presents."
  • 27:12 And as you go now, sha'alu shalom Yerushalayim.
  • 27:17 Kirsten: Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
  • 27:22 announcer: Our monthly newsletter, "The Levitt Letter,"
  • 27:23 is free and full of insightful articles and news commentary
  • 27:27 from a Messianic perspective.
  • 27:29 Visit levitt.com to find our newsletter, along with current
  • 27:32 and past programs, our television schedule,
  • 27:36 and much more.
  • 27:37 female announcer: Don't forget to order this week's
  • 27:39 resource by calling 1-800-WONDERS, or you can
  • 27:43 purchase it from our store at levitt.com.
  • 27:47 male announcer: Your donations to Zola Levitt
  • 27:49 Ministries help these organizations bless Israel.
  • 27:53 female announcer: Thanks again for joining us this week.
  • 27:54 Zola Levitt Ministries and this television program depend on
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  • 28:04 ♪♪♪
  • 28:25 male announcer: This has been a paid program brought to you by
  • 28:27 Zola Levitt Ministries.

Episodes in this series

  1. Abraham
  2. Isaac
  3. Jacob
  4. Joseph
  5. Moses
  6. Ruth
  7. David
  8. Isaiah
  9. Ezekiel
  10. Daniel
  11. Esther
  12. Jesus

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