Thursday, February 25, 2021

Happy Purim - Its Significance for Malaysia

This evening the Feast of Purim (Esther 9:20-23) is celebrated around the world among Jews and Christians. Sad, though, many Christians hardly know much about the biblical Feasts. Why do I use "biblical" instead of "Jewish" or "Hebrew" Feasts? Biblical is the right word because all these Feasts are written in the Bible, a book which we claim to be inspired. In fact, Paul the apostle says that "all Scripture is God-breathed.." referring to what we have now as the Old Testament or the Bible of Jesus' time. If the Feasts of Israel are in the Bible, why then Christians know so little about them? It comes down to biblical illiteracy. The lack of Scriptural knowledge among Christians who have confessed Christ for 30 or 40 years is widespread and not something remarkable.

When I asked my students to set up a "Sukkah" or tent for the Feast of Tabernacles in 2016, hardly anyone in the College knew what I was doing. Most have not heard about the Feast of Tabernacles which means they had not done their homework or have read little about their Bible. Sukkoth is found in John 7, even in the New Testament, so how can Christians think that these Feasts are no longer relevant? Granted that we do not celebrate them as according to the Mosaic Law, but yet their symbolic meaning and scriptural significance are immense for those who care to look deeper into God's Word. The Feast of Purim was especially pertinent to Malaysia last year. On the 1st March 2020, on the Feast of Purim, a new Prime Minister was sworn in and he would celebrate one year in office next week. When I meditated why there was a sudden change of government - Pakatan Harapan coalition fell the week before - I realised that human governments are in God's hands. In one day, as in the days of Esther, God could turn the fortunes of His people around from an imminent genocide to a great victory where an evil man and regime was put down and a righteous government was formed and installed in its place - all in a day - Happy Purim!

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