Since 2005 more than 12,000 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip. Twelve thousand. There have been so many, for so long, it’s barely news anymore. When over 700 were fired this past weekend it was mostly ignored. The other reason why it’s ignored in the news is because the victims are Jews. Shockingly similar to what we just experienced when “Easter worshipers” were recently slaughtered in Sri Lanka and Nigeria - over 400 souls martyred. Whether it manifests as apathy or outright murderous hatred, Jews and Christians are targets of the spirit of the age that is at work in the sons of disobedience (Eph. 2:2).
In my US travels, I have witnessed this hatred surfacing first hand. I had just boarded a Southwest flight and sat down in the 5th row from the front. As I had walked past the first row, I overheard an older woman talking about her family escaping the holocaust with someone near her. Within minutes a man across the aisle and a couple of rows back yelled up to her “You know that never happened, it was just Jewish propaganda that you bought into.” It was on. She quickly snapped with some choice and colorful language while yelling back “I know who you are and what you are like, you Nazi!” The plane was suddenly tense and quiet. As I was getting up ready to defend this woman, a flight attendant was on the scene, telling the man to sit down and not speak to her anymore and another was consoling the woman. Everyone was wondering if someone was going to be removed from the plane. After a few minutes, we were on the runway, all still wondering if more conflict was coming. Thankfully it never did. One thing was clear to me on that flight. Aggressive anti-Semitism is on the rise in the US.
“For such a time as this,” is phrase is often lightly used in Christian circles to encourage others to get involved in a variety of ways or to take bold action. Yet the original context of why this was spoken is often overlooked and ignored. Given the recent current events of terrorism and unprovoked rocket attacks from Gaza, Mordechai’s words to Queen Esther in Persia are as significant now as they were then, as the Jewish people were facing an undeterred enemy, driven by hatred.
In the context of this passage, Queen Esther was in a position of power in Persia while a plot to destroy the Jewish people was being openly plotted. We often take this as a gentle encouragement to act but it was spoken more like an ultimatum. These were Mordechai’s words:
Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, "Do not imagine that you in the king's palace can escape any more than all the Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?" Esther 4:13-14
The message found in our Bible was this: “An attack against your family is and will be an attack against you. If you do not use this position to speak out in defense of the Jewish people when your family needs you, God will still protect and deliver His people another way and you will die. Don’t waste your position or your voice. Perhaps this is why you are alive in this season of history, to play a role in Israel’s deliverance.” This is a serious, life-altering or potentially life-ending statement. There was no middle ground.
One of the most repeated promises in the Scriptures is that God will return His people to this land. After 2600 years it is unfolding as promised. As this is happening, anti-Semitism is rising at a dramatic rate around the world. In many European nations, the rates are exceeded what they were in World War II. Jews are flooding back home, of which I and many others are first-hand witnesses and are actively supporting in practical ways. There is a direct correlation between the establishment, the growth and prosperity of the nation of Israel and the revival of Jewish hatred and Islamic terrorism, bent on Israel’s destruction. How are we to respond?
I can’t tell others exactly how to respond, but one thing the Scriptures are clear on- there must be a response. If we remain silent while the Jewish family is being attacked, we are forfeiting the opportunity to be a part of God’s plan with the Jewish people and potentially will die. Mordechai’s words were an ultimatum with no middle ground. We each get to choose as anti-Semitism is on the rise. “And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?”
Doug Hershey is the author of Israel Rising, conference speaker and founder of Ezra Adventures, an Israel focused travel and education company. From years of hands-on experience, cultivating unique relationships in Israel and a love for history, Doug provides a rare perspective on the connection between the Jewish Scriptures and present day Israel. When he is not in Israel, he is speaking in churches and synagogues about the prophesied restoration of Israel.