By Greg Manalli

The book of Esther is rich with revelation for today. It has a "Third Day" message in it. It's hidden there for us. Their lives and conditions have spiritual parallels for the church. Our destiny as the body of Christ is revealed. The preparations and conditions we must attain to are all similar.

Israel was living in captivity, taken to Babylon by Nebucadnezzar. They had been idolatrous and now were paying for it. Xerxes was king when Esther was taken into his harem. He did have a beautiful but rebellious wife in Queen Vashti. Her defiance cost her throne rights and the king wanted a suitable replacement. She must be beautiful and a virgin, Esther 2:2. The church must be the same.

Three main characters emerge. They are Mordecai, Haman, and Esther. Their struggle and its outcome shadow a present day truth of our conflict and destiny. Like Esther, our goal is to be in the presence of the king, in the throne room, with His scepter extended in favor towards us.

Haman is an evil oppressor and was the chief minister to the king. Like Satan himself, he would love for all God's people to be slain. He may have been an Amelikite descendent. Because of his hatred towards Mordecai, he devised a wicked plan and got the king to buy into it. Haman had gotten the king to decree that all should bow when in Hamans' presence. Mordecai of course wouldn't, incurring the wrath of Haman. Thus a plot was devised to have Mordecai hanged on an 80-foot gallows.

Mordecai is of the tribe of Benjamin, the same as the apostle Paul. Mordecai is the cousin of Esther, yet he adopts her as his own daughter, Esther 2:7. He thus foreshadows the adoptive work of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Adoption, Rom. 8:15. He lives to see Esther prepared for the king, Esther 2:7-17. Thus, the king upon seeing Esther immediately had favor towards her and requested she come to his palace. The king loved Esther above all the other women. Mordecai's life is like that of the Holy Spirit preparing the church which the Lord will present to himself, Eph 5:27.

Esther is Queen, but as an unknown Jewess. Her Hebrew name is Hadassah, which means myrtle. In classic mythology the myrtle shrub was a symbol of heroism and immortality. For the Hebrews, it typified peace and thanksgiving. It was one of the four kinds of bow branches used for the making of the booths for the Feast of Tabernacles. Myrtle is very fragrant and was used to make wreaths for the heads of nobles. If this isn't a name pregnant with meaning I don't know what is. The church like Esther is to be brave and of course it is immortal. It is to live in peace and bring peace. It is to show forth its thanksgiving. It is the dwelling place of God a tabernacle. It will be crowned as royalty.

Esther is a woman of incredible courage. Haman's relentless hatred of the Jews has influenced the king to issue a decree that all Jews living in the 27 provinces will be put to death within 11 months, Est.3: 8-15. All the Jews are in sackcloth, weeping and wailing. Mordecai gives her a challenge, that if she keeps quiet before the king she will not escape the death edict either, Est. 4:14. Deliverance then, will arise from another place Mordecai tells her. It is here that Ester rises to her call. It is in this framework that we see five attitudes for the Third Day church.

The first is that the church will come to a new sense of corporate destiny. We too have come into the kingdom for "such a time as this", Est. 4:14. We have come to a royal position for purposes beyond our own personal desires and petty wishes. Crisis often define destiny. Our present focus is blurred and the pressure of a crisis will cure that. What is our crisis you ask? It is an identity crisis. Fulfilling our identity is fulfilling our destiny. As He is so are we in the world, 1John 4:17. We must put on our royal robes just as Esther, Est. 5:1

Second, a new level of corporate unity is required. We must all "gather together" just as the Jews in Shushan, who fasted and prayed for three days, Est. 4:16. We have far too many go it aloners. We have the wrong people setting the agenda for the church. With the restoration of the apostles we will need to come to grips with the fact that as God's generals they are given the responsibility of leading the church. Through them, the type of unity described in Eph. 4:3-6 will be maintained. I emphasize maintained and not attained. We cannot attain to something that is given in the Spirit. We walk in it by faith.

Third, new attitude of determination will be instilled in the church. One of the primary marks of an apostle is the enduring character that says, "I don't quit". Endurance is not just a sign of an apostle but also the apostolic church, 2 Cor. 12:12. We must say as Esther, "If I perish, I perish", Est.4:16. Living in a society of ease, comfort and immediate gratification has made us weak in patience and endurance. We have bailed out too soon, failed to cross too many finish lines and given up just short of the manifestation of a prayer. (By the way, endurance may be the most significant sign of an apostle. An apostle without endurance is not an apostle).

Fourth, we must have an understanding that this is our day, the Third Day. It is a time set in the plans of God. We must see that we have "come to such a time as this", Est.4:14. But notice clearly, it was on the third day that Esther went in to see the king, Est. 5:1. Timing is every bit as important as the cause. It is when time and purpose come together that you achieve the goal. Jesus was born in the fullness of time, Gal. 4:4. There is a time for everything Eccl. 3:1.

Fifth, we must expect the king to put out His scepter and grant us favor, Est. 5: 2-3. This is a season of favor of God. We are not talking about a few acts of favor granted to an undeserving people. There is no sacrifice on God's part to do something good for us. This kind of favor is a condition, not an act! Just as Mary was highly favored and Jesus walked in favor with God and man so is the church to accept its condition as favored also with God and man! This year, 2003, is the third year of the third millennium. The numbers, 2 and 3 equal 5, which is the number for grace or favor. It has been said that a sure way to get what you ask for is to expect nothing and thus you will get exactly what you expected, nothing. We beloved must change our expectation levels to agree with our condition as favored of God.