We all want to be queen. We all want the recognition, easy life, good time feelings, and positive reinforcement from being queen to the King, bride of the Groom, etc. We all want Kingdom Living right here and right now. But such living comes with a cost few of us actually ever anticipate or are even willing to pay.
Kingdom Living is a mindset that brings us into the fullness of the dimension of spiritual life. There is no magic formula. It is a complete change of mindset which can be, at times, an arduous task.
The story of Esther is an example of preparation for Kingdom Living.
Esther was born around 492 BC as Hadaseh. She was an orphan whose father was a Jew named Abihail of the tribe of Benjamin. Her family was of royal blood as they were descended from Kish, father of Saul. Esther’s family was among those Jewish exiles who chose to stay in Babylon after their brethren were allowed to return to Jerusalem. Once orphaned, she was taken in by her first cousin, Mordecai, who was the royal accountant in Susa. Susa (Shushan) was formerly the capital of Elam and was 200 miles east of Babylon.
At this time, the Persian Empire ranged from India to Ethiopia and contained 127 provinces. The king, Ahasuerus, is more commonly known to us today as King Xerxes. After banishing his first wife, Queen Vashti, Xerxes ordered his men to bring the most beautiful women of his kingdom before him so he could choose a new wife.
Esther, who was then only 14, was chosen as one of these girls. Xerxes, at the time Esther entered the royal harem was 44 years old and was 45 years old when she became queen.
127 has the meaning of the Completion of the Divine Period of Probation
14 has the meaning of Salvation and Deliverance
44 has the meaning of Judgment of the World
45 has the meaning of inheritance and preservation
Putting the numbers together with events, we find that at the completion of the divine period of probation salvation and deliverance entered into the kingdom during the judgment of the world, bringing about inheritance and preservation.
It is an interesting story indeed. And it so summarizes the entire book of Esther. But let’s dig a little deeper into the story.
Esther was born into a Jewish family who lived in a Jewish community in Susa. Despite the fact that she was of the royal bloodline of Saul, she was now nothing more than a mere orphan. Adopted by Mordecai, Esther moved out of the Jewish community to a house near the palace. Mordecai, a royal accountant to the king, put no emphasis on his Jewish roots. It is suggested in Jewish tradition that Mordecai could speak 70 languages.
At the age of 14, Esther was one of 400 virgins who were gathered from every corner of the kingdom to enter harem life.
400 has the meaning of children of promise of the earth
Esther moved into an upper level family. Mordecai was well paid for his accounting work at the palace. Mordecai raised Esther as if she were his own daughter. She learned the duties of a woman, drawing water, cooking meals, washing clothes, sewing, shopping, cleaning, etc.
The king’s soldiers and eunuchs went throughout the kingdom in search of the most beautiful virgins of royal and wealthy families. The virgins were invited to the king’s harem for a chance to become queen of Persia. Women in ancient Persia were accorded the same rights as men. They had authority in the land. They could own property and were fluent in commerce.
Esther was brought up with the knowledge and practice of Jewish tradition. Mordecai was called a prophet by the Jewish people and obeyed all the laws and commandments of the Torah. The Persians allowed religious freedom within their borders and everyone was allowed to practice the religion of their choice. Esther would have known the rituals of their feasts and the constant vigilance of looking for the time of their Redeemer.
There were many ways to become a member of a 400-1200 or more woman harem. Slave girls brought from distant lands would be sold from the caravans to the king or wealthy men. Slave girls were kept from wars and battles as part of the spoils given to the winners of the battle. Some girls were sold for money by their parents who were poor. Girls who came into the harem through these means were concubines and consorts. These women, although part of the royal household, would receive the smaller rations. And any woman who bore a girl would receive a small portion while the double rations went to the women who boy babies.
Another way for a woman to become part of the king’s harem was if the hand of a daughter of a royal household were given to the king to seal an alliance. A Persian man could have as many wives and concubines as he could afford. Finally, a woman of nobility or royal blood could be invited by the king to join his harem and become his queen or one of his royal wives.
The head of the Harem was the king’s mother who held authority over all those that dwelt within the confines of the harem. Daughters would remain in the harem while boys were removed when they were 16, it being inappropriate for them to remain in the women’s quarters.
The king’s mother had great wealth and possessions which she administered over every day. The queen also had great wealth and possessions which she managed every day. The third highest woman was the mother of the crown prince regardless of what number wife she was. She could even rent out or lease her lands to earn monies. These women were trained in commerce and business and looked after the financial matters of the king’s household.
Unlike what is commonly believed, these women enjoyed great liberties and freedom. The guards at the doors and on the walls were there for the women’s protection rather than to prevent the women from escaping. The women of the harem did not want to escape.
The story of Esther gives new understanding to the verse, “Many are called but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14) 400 women were called but only 1 was chosen.
In this case, 400 women were called to the king’s palace to be chosen as his queen over the entire empire. Each one a virgin despite their religious allegiances. Each one from a royal or wealthy household. Each one with some degree of understanding the most rudimentary living standards of the kingdom of Persia.
We are called, each one of us a virgin for we are a babe in Christ. We are washed anew and given a new life. We are covered with the righteousness of Christ and so, despite our upbringing and former religious allegiances, we are all the same – in this scenario, Persians.
Despite what we may think of Persia; especially after the movie 300 which cast them into the light of despicable despots, there are many things they are famous for.
The Persian King, ruler of 127 provinces, or kingdoms, was called King of Kings. It was his formal title because he never destroyed the kings over the kingdoms he conquered. The conquered still maintained their way of life including their kings, making the Persian king, the king of many kings. This is the same title Jesus holds – Jesus, mighty Savior and King of kings.
King Darius, Xerxes predecessor, wrote the first Human Rights Charter. It is still engraved in the Alvand Mountain (Ganj-Nameh), near the ancient Persian Capital of Hagmataneh (present city of Hamadan). It was this concept of Human Rights, freedom of religion and the equality of all races that lead to the freedom of the Jews, from the captivity of Babylon, by Cyrus the Great of Persia (539 B.C.).
While all other world powers persecuted and discriminated against the Jews the Persians were the only world power who actually liberated and protected the Jews (the only monotheistic religion of that time). By doing so, the Persians pioneered the freedom of religion and culture of the minorities in the world. The Persian kings supported the local culture and religion.
Women had more rights and freedoms in the Persian Empire than what we see today under the Taliban and other countries. Queens reigned as Regent if their husbands, the king, died. Women were taught in the art of commerce and politics, owned lands and ran businesses.
400 virgins were chosen from the lands between India and Ethiopia. 400 just so happens to be the period between the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham in the birth of Isaac (2048 or 1713 BCE) to the Exodus from Egypt to the Promised Land (2448 or 1313 BCE).
There was also a period of 400 years between the Old and New Testament. The number 400 stands for period between 2 periods/events. We are at the end of that period now, standing between the 6th day and the 7th day of the Biblical timeline.
Like Esther, we have been called beyond the veil into a new way of living. And like the 400 who were brought into the harem, it is a new, strange way of thinking and living.
Harem life was a battle ground. Instead of joining forces and helping one another, there was vicious competition between the would-be rivals. They all wanted to be the one chosen queen. But it could only fall to one to be chosen. So each girl had to become the prettiest, the most graceful and the one with the loveliest personality. In other words, each girl had to become as perfect as she could be, a woman fit for the king.
Now I can hear every one groan because this is dangerously sounding like works. I am not now nor ever going to suggest that your works will do one iota for you. There will be so many people who go up to Jesus and judgment day and say they did this and that (their works) in His name, and He should consider them. However, He does say, “Go away, I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:23)
No, there was nothing for these women to do in the first 6 months they were in the palace. They bathed. They dressed. They ate. They slept. They bathed again. And I can guarantee you, the harem being run by the king’s mother, that the mother spent every possible moment teaching these women about her son.
They learned what he liked and what he did not. They learned his favorite meals, colors, hobbies, habits, etc. They learned everything that was necessary to make the king pleased.
And in the meantime, they let go of their former life. They bathed away the sores and the scars of the outside world, the world outside the walls of the King’s palace. They bathed in myrrh and the fragrance enveloped them. They soaked away the weariness of life and remembered the things the king’s mother had taught them. They meditated on the words and took them deep into their hearts.
I heard Todd Bentley say one time that Holy Spirit was female. I do not understand that statement, but I do know in this story the king’s mother is similar to the Holy Spirit. And please understand, I am NOT saying that Jesus is the son of the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit is the one who teaches us everything about the King. He writes the words of the Bible upon our hearts, just like the king’s mother.
Esther had to give up not only her family but the old way of doing things. There were 400 different religions in that harem due to the religious freedom of the Persian Empire. The most beautiful virgins were taken from every culture and race in the kingdom. There were Greeks, Babylonians, Assyrians, Indians, Ethiopians, Egyptians, Sumerians, Elamites, Akkadians, Kassites, Medes, Cimmerians, Thracians, etc. But I suspect there was only 1 Jew amongst them.
Esther was brought from the “outer court” into the inner sanctum of the palace. She moved from a place of doing her own labors to a place where she could no longer do her own works. The food she ate was prepared for her, brought before her and served to her. Her bath of healing was prepared for her. The oils she was anointed with were brought to her and servants rubbed the aromatics into her skin. Her clothes were picked out for her for now she wore the garments of the kingdom. They were expensive fine linens, brightly colored and cool. Outside the walls people wore wool and cotton garments.
Esther found herself suddenly in a position where nothing she could do would add or subtract from her provision. She needed only to ask the eunuch for anything she wanted and it was provided. She could ask for anything that could be found in the kingdom, that is, she could ask for anything except her old life.
The one thing Esther could do was to heal in the daily baths of myrrh, wear the clothes of the kingdom and eat from the king’s table. And she could learn of everything that would please the king. Other than that, she could do nothing of herself.
Consider for a moment our lives as followers of Y’shua.
We have been chosen to be the bride of the King. But we are not the only one who has been called. Many have been called from every corner of the kingdom and we all come with our mindsets, cultures, religions and issues. We are brought from outside the wall to inside the wall. The parables Jesus spoke are now ours to understand. The Bible that explains everything is ours to explore and dig into as if it were a Kingdom treasure. We have been brought into the kingdom where we no longer labor under our own works or struggle to work for our own provision.
The Holy Spirit provides our food, bringing to us the very food from the King’s table. He prepares for us a banquet sweets, wine and meats. We can eat whenever we want, getting fat on the word and revelation of the King. Those who do not take the time to eat from the King’s table run the risk of malnutrition and even death.
The Father has provided for us the robes of righteousness given to us through the sacrifice of His Son. We no longer wear the worn and tattered rags of the world that are coarse and unattractive. Fine linen is labor intensive and difficult to produce. It keeps a person warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It is a material designed for all seasons and circumstances. Whatever the weather throws at us, it covers us without effort on our part. The clothes of righteousness we are given are fit for every occasion and every circumstance.
The guards of ancient Persia walked the hallways fully armored. They stand outside the windows and doors, dutifully on patrol over the gates and walls of the palace. They were not there to prevent the women from escaping but were on duty to protect the women from intruders. The women of ancient Persia did not try to escape their harem life for, unlike today, they were given a great deal of freedom in the kingdom. They are like the angels the Father dispatches to watch over and protect us from enemy forces from Lucifer’s kingdom.