Finally the last month of God’s year

After sunset next Yom Rishon (Sunday 10th March) we will eventually enter the last month of God’s Biblical Year, Adar Bet.

During this final month there is something traditional but, quite interesting. We will have the next three, of the special five Shabbats before Pesach. (The first, Shabbat Shekalim, is on the last Shabbat in Adar Aleph (9th March).

There will be one before Purim, Shabbat Zachor, and then Shabbat Parah and Shabbat HaChodesh. The last one, Shabbat HaGadol will be next month.

Shabbat Zachor, The Shabbat of Remembrance, with the extra reading from Deut. 25, describing the attack of Amalek, calling us to remember what Amalek did, and a reminder, just before Purim of what Haman attempted to do, and that Haman was an Agagite, a descendant of Amalek.

The reading in Deut. says: “REMEMBER what Amalek did to you on the road as you were coming out of Egypt, how he met you by the road and attacked those in the rear, those who were exhausted and struggling behind when you were tired and weary”

Of course, this is very pertinent this year for The Nation of Israel. It seems that October 7th was a result of us maybe not being alert, of letting our defenses down, of not being fully aware of the absolute evil that was just over the border in Aza waiting to attack the innocent, the unarmed, the easy prey. And indeed we do need to REMEMBER to be constantly alert to the enemy, not just in the flesh, but spiritually, as he is prowling around like a roaring lion wanting to devour us. We need to keep alert, keep close to our Heavenly Father, in body mind and spirit, and mindful of the constant distractions of the fallen world that we live in.

Shabbat Parah, the Shabbat of the Red Cow (Heifer), with the extra reading from Numbers 19, is seen as a paradox, as the ashes of the sacrificed red heifer, which are used to make people clean, then make the priest offering the sacrifice unclean.

But this is a parallel with Yeshua, The red heifer, which is almost unique, Yeshua of course, absolutely unique, sacrificed outside the camp making the one who is offering the sacrifice unclean but the one sprinkled by the sacrifice, the blood of Yeshua, becomes clean. Hallelujah!

Shabbat HaChodesh, when the extra reading is from Exodus 12: 1-20 reminding us of God’s instructions for Pesach.

So this final month is traditionally known as a month of celebration and happiness, because it contains the joyous Chag of The Feast of Lots, or Purim . First we have the Fast of Esther (Ta’anit Ester) normally on Purim eve, this year 11th Adar Bet, which commemorates the 3 day fast observed by the Jewish people in the story of Esther before she approached the King. Followed by the celebrations on 14th Adar Bet, with much drinking and re-telling the Megallah Esther In fact most references to this 12th month of Adar are in the Book of Esther apart from:

Ezra 6: 14 where we read: “The leaders of the Judeans made good progress with the rebuilding (of the temple) thanks to the prophesying of Hagai the prophet and Zecharia, the son of Iddo. They kept building until they were finished, in keeping with the command of the God of Israel. This house was finished on the 3rd day of the month Adar……and the people of Israel, the Cohanim, the L’vi’m, and the other people from exile joyfully dedicated this house of God.”

Then in Ezekial chapter 32 we have the prophecy which begins: “On the first day of the twelfth month the word of the Lord came to me. Human being raise a lament for Pharaoh king of Egypt say to him: You compared yourself to a lion among the nations, in fact you are more like a crocodile in the lakes, you burst out of your streams churn the water with your feet and foul their streams”. The Lord then carries on saying what He will do to Egypt – not at all good I can assure you!

The prophecy continues on the 15th day of the month: again not pretty, saying Egypt will go down and lie with the uncircumcised dead, along with Ashur, and Eilam, Edom and her kings and all her princes, because they terrorised the land of the living.
So we have this month reminding us of the joy when the second temple was finished, but also another reminder of what God does to those who stand against Him, His people, and His plans!

Now back to the book of Esther, which brings us joy and the downfall of Israel’s enemy.
A story with a happy ending: – I think we all like happy stories! So briefly Purim: as you all know happened in Ancient Persia in 4th century BCE. The Temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed more than 50 years earlier, and the Jews were subjects of the mighty Persian empire, which extended over 127 lands.

Purim celebrated on the 14 Adar, the day after Haman rolled his dice declaring that the 13th Adar was the most propitious date to exterminate the Jews. So it was the next day, after the Jews had successfully fended off their enemies, that we celebrate.
I am sure you know that the book of Esther (actually Hadassah in Hebrew), never mentions God, by name, but it is the amazing story of a young women, prompted by her uncle, to put her own life on the line for the deliverance of her people.

In summary, we have a bad Queen, Vashti; an evil Haman, the chief of the King’s officers; a King with insomnia; Mordechai who refuses to bow down to evil Haman; the beautiful Queen Esther, and the ultimate irony of Haman being hung on the gallows he built for Mordechia, and a happy ending!

Of course there are a couple of famous quotes: “ Who knows whether you didn’t come into your royal position precisely for such a time as this.” Esther 4:14 and, “Then I will go in to the King, which is against the law; and if I perish I perish” Esther 4:16

But, there is one other which I like. It is the quote from Haman’s wife, Zeresh, who said to her husband when he is in the middle of his plotting and planning to kill Mordechai the Jew, and building the gallows in readiness: She says to him: “If Mordechai, before whom you have begun to fall, is a Jew, you will not get the better of him, on the contrary your downfall before him is certain” …….(Esther 6:13)……Did he listen to his wife? NO!
But briefly back to the story of Esther. We need to remember that the first edict could not be stopped or reversed, so there had to be a new edict which gave the Jews in every city just the right to assemble and defend their lives by destroying, killing and exterminating any forces of any people or province that would attack them, their little ones or their women, or would try to seize their goods as plunder. ” And PTL, they were successful.
And that is exactly where we are today. Antisemitism is on the rise again, well as you know it has never died.

Thankfully since the birth of the modern State of Israel the Jews have not only had a homeland to come to, but also a land where they have the right to defend themselves against their enemies, who have continued to want to annihilate them through every generation. Though sadly most of the world do not support Israel when they are forced again and again to defend themselves. As many say to them: “So what would they do in our position?”

Purim a, celebration of God’s deliverance of His people. But maybe this year it would be most propitious for The Nation of Israel to observe the Fast of Esther (Ta’anit Ester), to set aside one day to cry out to The God of Israel to have mercy on us, to humble ourselves before Him, acknowledging the many ways The Nation is unrighteous, and not fulfilling the call to be set apart and holy, and a light of truth to The Nations.

And instead of drinking and eating too much on Purim, and dressing up as witches, supermen, and devils, to remember the true characters of this amazing story, and believe that this month may indeed be a month of deliverance for our people.

One final thing, on the 7th Adar every year there is a special ceremony on Mount Herzl remembering the IDF soldiers, the whereabouts of their remains being unknown. It is traditionally believed by some that Moshe died on 7th of the final month, and, like him, his burial place is unknown

Abba Father, As we enter this new month, we give thanks that you are the Sovereign Lord, the God of Avraham Yitzak and Israel, who reigns and rules for ever and ever. We dedicate ourselves afresh to you as we welcome and receive this new portion of time, and as we continue to live in this world of chaos and uncertainty, to keep our feet on The Rock and our eyes on You.

‘When the wicked sprout like grass, and all who do evil prosper, it is so that they can be eternally destroyed, while you, Lord, are exalted forever. Your enemies, will perish; all evildoers will be scattered.” Psalm 92 8 – 10

יהי רצון מלפניך יהוי אלהינו ואלהי אבותינו שתחדש עלינו חודש טוב באדונינו ישוע המשיח

May it be Your will Lord our God and God of our fathers, that you renew for us a good month in our Lord Yeshua the Messiah.