The Summons Of The King
(This is chapter 47 in my book The Resurrected Bride.)
A few years ago, during a lunch break at work, I asked the Lord to show me something new. Without feeling led to turn to a certain passage or book of Scripture, I found myself reading from the book of Esther. As I began to read the Holy Spirit revealed a mystery regarding the Bride of Christ.
The Persian king Ahasuerus gave a banquet that lasted for seven days. On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded the seven eunuchs that served in his presence to bring Queen Vashti before him with her royal crown. His desire was to display her beauty to everyone. Vashti refused to come at the king’s command and he became very angry.
In Matthew, chapter 22, Jesus told a parable to the chief priests and the Pharisees regarding a wedding feast that a king gave for his son. He sent out his servants to call those who had been invited but they were unwilling to come. Not only were they unwilling, but they killed those who came to them with the message. The king was enraged. He sent his armies to destroy the murderers and set their city on fire. He said to his servants;
“The wedding is ready, but those who were invited [“to call or summon”] were not worthy.”
After gathering as many as they could find into the wedding hall until it was filled, the king came to look over the dinner guests. He noticed a man that was not dressed appropriately in wedding clothes. After questioning how he had come in like that, the king had him bound hand and foot and “thrown into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:13-14/NASU)
Jesus was telling us of His own wedding feast referred to in Revelation, chapter nineteen as “the marriage supper of the Lamb.” There are many who have received His invitation but when it is time to come, like Vashti, they will be unwilling. They are rebellious sons and daughters who turned away from following Christ (Isaiah 1:2, 30:9). Because of their disrespect for the summons of the King, they will be rejected and replaced by those who are more commendable.
As pictured by the man without the proper wedding clothes, some will come that have not taken it as seriously as they should to put on the righteous garment of the Lord Jesus Christ. They too will find themselves on the outside, uncovered in the day of God’s wrath. Many have been given ears to hear through their receiving of Christ and are being called this very day but are unwilling to draw near to Him in this final window of opportunity.
The chosen ones will be those who kept themselves pure, especially after hearing that it was time for the wedding feast. Like the few in Sardis who did not soil their clothes, they will walk with Jesus, dressed in white, “for they are worthy.” (Revelation 3:4/NIV)
Wise Guys In The Kingdom
After being enraged by Vashti's refusal to enter the king’s presence, Ahasuerus conferred with wise men who “understood the times.” They were the seven princes of Persia and Media who were close to the king and understood the law and justice. It is written that they “had access to the king’s presence and sat in the first place in the kingdom.” (Esther 1:14) Similarly, there are those today in the church who have a close relationship with the Lord and have become knowledgeable of His ways. Like the men of Issachar, they understand the times and, having been given knowledge, know what the church should do (1 Chronicles 12:32).
The king asked what, according to the law, should be done with Queen Vashti who refused to come at the king’s command. Their advice was that if Vashti’s conduct was allowed it would result in further rebellion among the ladies of Persia and Media causing much disrespect and anger. The same thing could be said of the Lord’s kingdom. When disrespect of the Lord’s commands is allowed to continue as it is today in many congregations, it causes further rebellion among His people.
There is very little respect shown in society today for God’s word. This is due to the lack of God’s standards being upheld within the church. As the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, many in the church have been led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:3)
The lack of carrying out church discipline per the Lord’s command has caused much indifference in the church regarding obedience. The fear of the Lord and of His righteous judgments are to keep us from sinning. Because we have not upheld God’s standard of holiness there is very little regard among most of God’s people for the necessity of purity and holiness in order to be dressed in readiness for His return. We have moved the age-old boundaries of God and reestablished them per our standards.
What the Lord revealed to me next was both humorous and serious.
God’s Replacement Theology
Memucan, one of the princes, stood up in the presence of King Ahasuerus with a recommendation of what he should do because of Vashti’s rebellion. He said;
“If it pleases the king, let a royal edict be issued by him and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media so that it cannot be repealed, that Vashti may no longer come into the presence of King Ahasuerus, and let the king give her royal position to another who is more worthy than she. When the king's edict which he will make is heard throughout all his kingdom, great as it is, then all women will give honor to their husbands, great and small.”
This suggestion pleased the king and the princes. The king then did as Memucan proposed and the search for her replacement began.
There is a teaching in some seminaries and churches that states because Israel rejected Jesus as their Messiah that they have now been replaced by the church. It is called Replacement Theology. Supporters of this teaching believe that the Jews no longer have any specific role in God’s redemptive plan for the world. The Bible teaches otherwise.
This isn't a new teaching or idea. Balak, the king of Moab, tried to get a Gentile prophet by the name of Balaam to curse the children of Israel. Instead, blessings came out of his mouth. Many gentile prophets today, through this theology, are still trying to curse Israel.
Romans, chapter eleven, states that Israel was broken off from God for their unbelief. Paul says if they do not continue in their unbelief that God is able to graft them in again. He also says that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.
The “fullness” means “that which has been filled, completion.” The Gentiles who were last to receive the salvation of Christ will now be first in filling up their portion of God’s chosen. The first, who was Israel, will now be last for their rejection of Jesus as their Messiah. They have not been totally rejected. A remnant will be grafted back in again for their “fullness,” their completion in Christ. This will occur when they receive Jesus as their Messiah during a time of great tribulation at the end of this age.
The devil knows the role of Israel in bringing to completion God’s salvation. It will be the end of his reign of terror over mankind which is why he has continually tried to wipe out the Jewish people throughout history. Replacement Theology is a doctrine directly from the mind of Satan.
As I read Esther, the Lord revealed to me that it won’t be Israel who will be replaced, but those among His own people in the church who, like Vashti, defiantly reject His summons to enter His presence. The Lord’s desire in this last call is to reveal to the world the identity and beauty of His Bride. Unfortunately, many have fallen away with hard hearts, stubbornly choosing instead to go their way (Matthew 22:5). It will cost them eternal life with Christ.
Further on in Romans, chapter 11, Paul said to the Gentile believers who had been grafted into Christ;
“But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, ‘Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.’ Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.”
Many leaders in the church now teach that being cut off from Christ is impossible once you have received Him (i.e. become a partaker that has been grafted in). If they do not repent, they will be shamefully cut off from the Lord for preaching lies among God’s people.
Losing Our Crown
In summary, when the Lord calls us into His presence, we must be careful not to ignore Him lest we become as Queen Vashti and lose our crown. Her rejection of the king's rule over her (i.e. Lordship) cost her the throne. She was in turn rejected and cast out of his presence. So will all those in the Kingdom of God who refuse King Jesus when He summons us to come into His presence at the end of this age in order to display us as His glorious bride to the world.
In His message to the “angel of the church in Philadelphia,” Jesus said;
“Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell upon the earth. I am coming quickly; hold fast [“be master of, to rule, to continue to hold”] what you have, in order that no one take your crown.”
The discipline of the Lord is to deal with the flesh which, left unchecked, will ultimately cause you to be cut off from God's people. He loves us so much that He “plans ways so that the banished [“outcast, driven away”] one will not be cast out from him.” (2 Samuel 14:14/NAS)
Part of Jeremiah’s horror after the judgment of God on Israel was; the crown has fallen from our head, woe to us for we have sinned! (Lamentations 5:16/NASU)
The Psalmist declared;
“But you have rejected, you have spurned, you have been very angry with your anointed one. You have renounced the covenant with your servant and have defiled his crown in the dust. You have put an end to his splendor and cast his throne to the ground. You have cut short the days of his youth; you have covered him with a mantle of shame. (Psalm 89:38-39/NAS)
As we have seen, the Bible clearly warns us to continue abiding in Christ, remaining near Him with an obedient heart, so as not to shrink back in shame at His return.
Having this warning from God in His word we should heed the warning of John;
“Now, little children, abide in Him [NIV- “continue in Him”], so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.”
(1 John 2:18/NAS)
Will you and I listen to the summons of the Lord to prepare our hearts in order to be ready to enter His presence at His return? Or will we be shut out on the wrong side of the door because of spiritual apathy and disrespect? May we all search our hearts and take seriously His midnight shout to come out and be separate.
(This is chapter 48 in my book The Resurrected Bride.)
The Beautification Process
After Vashti had been removed from her place in the kingdom, the search began in earnest for her replacement. All the beautiful, young virgins in all the provinces of the king were then gathered together for him to choose a new queen from. Among the young virgins was a beautiful woman named Esther. The Bible says she had favor with all who saw her.
Before each young lady went before the king, they were required to undergo twelve months of beautification which included six months with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and cosmetics for women (Esther 2:12). There is an inner process of beautification that we too must undergo before entering the presence of our King. Without the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, we will not be allowed to stand in the Lord’s presence.
The Lord has taken the initiative by giving Himself up in order to cleanse His bride and present her back to Himself. As I previously quoted, Paul spoke of this to the church in Ephesus;
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless.”
Solomon’s description of the favored bride is Jesus’ description of His Bride;
“There are sixty queens and eighty concubines, and maidens without number; But my dove, my perfect one, is unique: she is her mother's only daughter; she is the pure child of the one who bore her.”
(Song of Solomon 6:8-9/NASU)
Like Esther, the chosen bride of Christ will be the pure children among those He bore. Through their submission to His beautification process they have been “chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit.” (1 Peter 1:1-2)
The author of Hebrews exhorts God’s people, saying;
“Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”
The deciding factor determining whether you and I will have eyes to see Christ in the days ahead and to be His Bride is our obedience to His invitation to approach Him now, submitting to His inner process of heart preparation, while it is still called today. Intimacy gained through repentance is the key.
The “Little Man” Ministry
Esther’s mother and father had died so her cousin, Mordecai, raised her as his own daughter. According to the Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew Lexicon, one of the meanings of Mordecai’s name is “little man.” Not only was he the adoptive father of Esther, but by God’s intervention would become a co-deliverer with Esther of the children of Israel from their destruction that had been schemed by Haman, the wicked chief minister of King Ahasuerus.
In the ruling elite’s eyes, Mordecai was a man of little significance who posed no threat whatsoever to them. Eventually, though, they came to despise this Jewish man because of his lack of fear towards them. In the end, God would raise him, along with Esther, into a place of ruling authority. He became second only to King Ahasuerus of Persia and great among his own people, the Jews.
Mordecai was very instrumental in Esther’s maturing process. He was used by God to help prepare her to be the bride of the king. Esther listened to him even after she became Queen.
Mordecai also sustained and protected her through a time of great danger. His life and ministry are a type of end-time ministry, describing those who will be used to prepare and protect the Bride of Christ.
Under Divine guidance, Mordecai was used to deliver God’s people from destruction that had been plotted against them by their enemies. Publicly refusing to bow down to Haman, the King’s right-hand man, would bring about a confrontation that at first looked bad for him as well as the entire Jewish nation.
Haman sent out a decree to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, women and children, in one day. God would use this dire circumstance to deliver His people, revealing to them, and us, that their fate was not in the hands of their enemies, but in Almighty God. Purim, the celebration of the Jewish nation commemorating this event, was instituted by Mordecai in celebration of this great deliverance.
Esther 9:1 says;
“…on the day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to gain the mastery over them, it was turned to the contrary [“the opposite occurred”] so that the Jews themselves gained the mastery over those who hated them.”
To “gain the mastery” means “to dominate, to govern, have dominion or power over.” Through the decree of Queen Esther and Mordecai who had been raised to a place of ruling authority by God for that specific time in history, the decree of judgment upon God’s people was turned around so that the exact opposite occurred to those who desired to destroy them.
Their story is an Old Testament type of what will soon take place at the end of this age. I believe the Esther’s and Mordecai’s of the last days will also be used for a great deliverance of God’s people. Just when it looks like Satan will obtain total world dominion because of the incredible increase of darkness around the earth, God’s government will suddenly be established through the authoritative decree of His unassuming “little-men” who will rise up in the power of the Holy Spirit. They will be used for a great end time deliverance, gaining the mastery over those who hate the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16).
In a quick turn of events, Mordecai, the little-known man who sought the good of his people and spoke up for the welfare of his entire nation, would soon come to be known and respected by all;
“Mordecai the Jew was second only to King Ahasuerus and great [“distinguished”] among the Jews, and in favor with the multitude of his kinsmen, one who sought the good of his people and one who spoke for the welfare of his whole nation.”
The Hebrew we interpret as “welfare” is defined as “peace, completeness, soundness, safety.” This definition clarifies the ministry of the last day Mordecai’s. They have been called by God to help bring to completion His people’s journey in faith. In a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, they will be used to bring true “peace and safety” to those whom the devil is attempting to annihilate.
The end-time Mordecai’s that are presently unknown to most will also be known and respected by all when God acts through them. Their little-man ministry is currently being used in almost total obscurity to help prepare the “pure one” who will become the King’s Bride. You will recognize them by their defiance of the wicked ones who, like Haman, demand their allegiance and worship.
Their rising up in the authority of their King, Jesus, will result in the overthrow of the wicked one’s reign of terror over God’s people. To God be the glory for His great and mighty works of deliverance He will accomplish on behalf of those who are called by His name.
The Appointed Time Has Come
The Lord has been sending out His servants, declaring to His people that everything has been made ready for the marriage feast of the Lamb, giving us time to prepare our hearts to enter His presence. There must be a separation from all that would keep us from entering in.
God’s testimony of Noah was that he was “a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.” (Genesis 6:9/NASU) The Hebrew definition for “blameless” is “complete, whole, entire, sound.” It was this righteous, blameless man, and his household, that was allowed to enter into the vessel of deliverance when the judgment of God destroyed everyone else.
Noah is a picture, in type, of the final group of believers who will hear and do what the Spirit is saying to them right before judgment comes to the world. He represents the faithful Bride of Christ that has been made complete in Him and will be eternally joined to her beloved Bridegroom.
Queen Vashti’s rejection of the king's summons to draw near would cost her throne and glory in the kingdom. She was in turn rejected and cast out of the presence of the king. So will all those who refuse to draw near to King Jesus when He summons us at the end of this age in order to display us as His beautiful and glorious Bride to the world.
May we be encouraged to humble ourselves before God and surrender to His beautification process of sanctification by the Spirit so as to be a people who have been made ready to enter His Presence, and live.
Do you hear His voice? The King of kings and Lord of lords is extending His hand, summoning His Bride to arise and shine. He will soon reveal her to the world so that they may behold her glorious beauty. What will your response be?