Jew-Hatred from Ancient Persia to Modern Iran
Dear Christian Leader,
The Jewish holiday of Purim, instituted in the book of Esther, begins tonight and is observed by Jews around the world through tomorrow. Every year, for almost 2,500 years since the time of Queen Esther, the Jewish people have read the story and celebrated the deliverance of the Jews of ancient Persia from intended annihilation. The annual observance is in accordance with Esther 9:27-28, which states that the Jews committed themselves and their descendants to this yearly commemoration, so that Purim shall never cease among the Jews and the memory of it shall not perish.
In the time of Esther, the Persian Empire included most of the known world, including the land of Israel. This means that if the genocide planned by the enemies of the Jews had been successful, it would have resulted in the elimination of the world's Jewish population. However, as we know from the book of Esther, the Jewish people were saved through the actions of Queen Esther, who was willing to do what was necessary - at the risk of her own life - to bring about deliverance for the Jews. In commemoration of the defeat of the plan to kill every Jewish man, woman and child, Esther and Mordecai instituted the holiday of Purim.
The annual celebration of the continued existence of the Jewish people is obviously quite meaningful for Jews. But it is also significant for Christians! If the enemies of the Jews had been successful in eliminating them from ancient Persia, there would have been no survivors who would become the ancestors of Jesus, born approximately 450 years after the time of Esther. In other words, if all the Jews of Persia had been murdered, there would have been no Jewish Jesus and therefore, no Christian faith rooted in the Jewish faith.
Purim's commemoration of the survival of the Jewish people is also quite relevant in light of today's current events, which include an alarming rise of Jew-hatred and efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel. In some cases, animosity towards Jews results in violence towards them as individuals and towards the collective Jew - the Jewish State.
Indeed, Israel is surrounded on all sides by enemies intent on its destruction. These hostile forces are trained, funded and directed by the government of modern Iran, which now rules over the same territory that was the center of ancient Persia. The Iranian regime chants "Death to Israel," publishes pictures of missiles with Israel's name on them, and publicly states that the first target of the nuclear bomb they intend to produce is the Jewish State. The same Jew-hatred that manifested in ancient Persia through the plan to annihilate Jews throughout the Empire is now demonstrated through the stated intent of the rulers of modern Iran and its proxies in the Middle East.
At this time of unprecedented danger for Israel and Jews everywhere, we as Christian leaders need to follow the example of Queen Esther - who was willing to do what was necessary at the risk of her own life - and stand in solidarity with the Jewish people. We are where we are for such a time as this!
So, as the holiday of Purim begins tonight, let us rejoice with the Jewish people over their deliverance from an ancient attempt to annihilate them and make a fresh resolution to stand with them in the battles ahead!