The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Know Your Bible Lesson 39: The Great Divorce

KYB 39

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

It’s been eighteen years since 50,000 Jews returned to Jerusalem to rebuild their homeland. They were released back home by Cyrus the Great—the God-fearing king of the biggest empire the world has ever seen: the Persian Empire. Cyrus spread word throughout his entire empire that Yahweh had specifically told him to send the Jews back so they could rebuild Yahweh’s Temple in Jerusalem. Cyrus was all for the idea, and he even gave the Jews all the items that had once belonged in Yahweh’s Temple—items which were worth a lot of wealth—so that Yahweh could have His things back.

It’s pretty sad when a non-Jewish emperor shows more concern for honoring Yahweh than His own people do. It’s been eighteen years since the Jews have returned home and Yahweh’s House has a new foundation–but nothing more.  People have lost interest in the project.  To hear Ezra [EZZ-ruh] tell it, the Jews were forced to stop construction by outsiders who were oppressing and harassing them.   But this isn’t the picture we get from Yahweh when He starts speaking through a couple of prophets named Haggai [HAG-gee-EYE] and Zechariah [zeck-uh-RYE-yuh].

HAGGAI & ZECHARIAH, God’s Prophets

The book of Haggai is very short—only two chapters—but it grabs our attention with this angry introduction:

“Thus says the Sovereign Yahweh, “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild Yahweh’s House.’ Yet should you yourselves be living in paneled houses, while My House remains in ruins?” (Hag. 1:2,4)

Per Yahweh’s instructions, Haggai is speaking directly to Zerubbabel [zer-RUB-buh-bull] and Joshua—two men who will be sure to listen and care about what’s being said. Zerubbabel is the governor of Judah and Joshua is the high priest.  These two men are part of a small faithful remnant which Yahweh made sure to bring back in the first wave of returning exiles.

Now while Ezra puts the blame for the work stoppage on outside enemies, Yahweh puts the blame on the Jews and their rotten heart attitudes.  Yahweh’s assessment of the situation is far more accurate than Ezra’s and the vast difference between these two perspective shows us the importance of trusting God more than people.  When you’re reading the Bible, anything Yahweh and Jesus say directly should trump the opinions of writers like Ezra and the apostle Paul.  There is a lot of human bias happening in the Bible, and sometimes the truth becomes a bit contorted and rebels are painted in an overly positive light.

Now we learn in this passage that Yahweh is fed up with the Jews dolling up their own houses while His Temple remains a mess. Isn’t He God Most High? Isn’t He the One who just arranged for them to be released from captivity? Where is His respect?

“Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” (Hag. 1:5-6)

Now when God raises up prophets to convict people of sin, it’s because people are refusing to listen to direct conviction. God goes direct at first. He speaks to our hearts, tells us what we’re doing wrong and what we need to change. He doesn’t haul prophets in unless we decide to dig our heels in like stubborn mules. Well, that is exactly what these people are doing. Not only are they not responding to direct conviction, they’re also refusing to respond to discipline. God is ruining their crops, causing food shortages and poverty, yet these little punks refuse to budge. They won’t even admit that they are being disciplined, even when it’s right in front of their faces. They just pretend not to understand why their lives are going poorly. Well, now Yahweh is spelling it out for them very clearly.

“You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares Yahweh Almighty. “Because of My House, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house. Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the olive oil and everything else the ground produces, on people and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.” (Hag. 1:9-11)

Haggai isn’t the only prophet calling these stubborn people out on their sins. Zechariah is on their case as well, and his 14 chapter book also starts out with a grim tone.

“I, Yahweh, was very angry with your ancestors. Therefore, say to the people, ‘This is what Yahweh of Heaven’s Armies says: Return to Me, and I will return to you.’ Don’t be like your ancestors who would not listen or pay attention when the earlier prophets said to them, ‘This is what Yahweh of Heaven’s Armies says: Turn from your evil ways, and stop all your evil practices.’

Where are your ancestors now? They and the prophets are long dead. But everything I said through My servants the prophets happened to your ancestors, just as I said. As a result, they repented and said, ‘We have received what we deserved from Yahweh of Heaven’s Armies. He has done what He said He would do.’” (Zech. 1:2-6)

“Don’t be like your ancestors”—this is Yahweh’s bottom line in this speech. If you’ve been reading through this series in order, you understand the importance of that statement. The Jews’ ancestors were impossibly rebellious. Sometimes we fight God so long and hard that He finally decides to kill us off in disgust. That’s what happened to many of the Jews who were slaughtered seventy years ago during the fall of Jerusalem. Are these returnees going to repeat the same mistakes their parents and grandparents made? Well, yes, they are. But we don’t know that yet, because Yahweh changes His tone to be very optimistic in these two prophetic books. He promises future blessings for Israel. He predicts peace and prosperity. Of course we figure out later on that He is not intending to fulfill any of these glorious promises on earth. Whenever God talks about an Israel that is living the good life, He’s talking about Heaven.

For centuries before the fall of Jerusalem, Yahweh warned His people that one day He’d become so fed up with their rebellion that He would destroy their nation and scatter the Jews all over the world. But as the time for exile drew closer, Yahweh promised over and over again that when the exile was over, He’d regather His people from all the nations where He had thrown them and bring them back to a land that was filled with abundance, wealth, and joy. He described His people living in total peace with no fear of war. He also described this restored Israel as one in which He was being worshiped unceasingly. Well, back when Yahweh first gave these prophecies, everyone assumed He was describing what would happen after the seventy years of exile ended. Yet here we are: the exile is over and instead of a lush land filled with reverent Jews, we’ve got a poverty stricken land filled with rebellious twerps. So much for a literal fulfillment of Yahweh’s prophecies.

It’s very important to recognize how often God raises false hopes in the Bible, and intentionally paints a misleading view of the future. To God, His people are not just the Jews, but anyone who sincerely seeks Him and obeys Him in any age. We must remember that God dwells outside of time, and that to Him, human history is a book which He has read from start to finish. Maybe your time on earth happens in chapter 3 of that book. Since you are bound in time, when God says something is going to happen “soon”, you assume He means before the end of your personal chapter. But often God is talking about the very end of the book—which to Him is just as soon as the next sentence in your personal chapter. Why doesn’t God clarify when He’s speaking of eternal things and when He’s talking about the present? Because it’s much better for you if He keeps things vague.

To the Jews who were dreading exile, it was very comforting to imagine that when the exile ended, Israel would be restored to some glorious state of existence. Having such hope helped these people find courage and stamina to get through their present trials. And by the time seventy years were over, many of the people who benefited from that hope were long dead, and many others had so adjusted to their new lives that they no longer needed to believe their homeland would be restored in order to get through the day. God knows how to help us through the current moment, and if misleading us with positive prophecies of the future will help, that is what He does. In Revelation, Jesus urged persecuted believers to believe that He would show up any minute and rescue them out of their grim circumstances. Such eager anticipation helped believers press on in the moment and it helped them keep their focus on God. But of course in real life, Jesus knew He wouldn’t be coming back for thousands of years. God misleads us all the time in order to help us. But is that His only reason? No, it’s not.

In the Old Testament, when Yahweh talks about gathering His people together into some perfect, wonderful place, He’s talking about Heaven. But what’s the point of talking about Heaven to people who are still on earth? We must remember that God’s audience extends far beyond this earthly realm. Angels and demons and who knows how many other creations are watching how God unfolds His plan for human beings. Many of these other creatures have a much broader perspective than we do. They see how God takes believers up to Heaven when they die, and when they see this, it is the obvious fulfillment of prophecies that Yahweh made on earth. In the Bible, Yahweh speaks of eternally rewarding those who obey Him, and of establishing a new eternal Covenant of peace which will replace the Sinai Covenant. He speaks of a future Messiah, and of the Kingdom that Messiah will establish and reign over. Creatures who are not bound on earth like we are can see the fulfillments of these things much more clearly than we do. Sure we say, “Jesus fulfilled many prophecies in the Bible,” but we only see a part of the picture. We say, “The Church is the Kingdom of God,” but we only understand these things metaphorically, while those who are watching from a different vantage point have a much deeper understanding. The point is this: God uses earthly prophecies spoken through the mouths of human beings to exalt Himself in many different realms. It’s never just about us. God is a multitasker, and He’s always working on many angles at once. Everything He does with us is partly about exalting Himself and demonstrating to others how fabulous He is. When God draws near to comfort us in our sorrow, countless eyes are watching and marveling at how compassionate He is towards such frail and powerless creatures. When God is patient with our rebellion, countless eyes are watching and marveling at how gracious He is towards those who are willfully defying Him. God is always the star of His own stories, and we humans are just one of countless stories that He is writing. No matter what we choose to do—if we submit to and revere God, or if we defy Him and end up in Hell—God has worked out a way to glorify Himself in the way that He responds to us. It’s always about God.

THE TEMPLE IS REBUILT

Now when our two faithful leaders hear Haggai’s message they start making serious plans to rebuild the Temple. But, well, it’s rather discouraging to look at that big old pile of rubble and remember how glorious the first gold-encrusted Temple was. There is no way their attempt will look anything close to the original, and that’s depressing. It’s hard to get excited about putting a ton of time and energy into something that you know is going to come out mediocre. But here again, Yahweh has something to say.

“‘Who is left among you who saw this Temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? Does it not seem to you like nothing in comparison? But now take courage, Zerubbabel, declares Yahweh, take courage also, Joshua son of Jehozadak [jeh-HO-zuh-dack], the high priest, and all you people of the land take courage and work; for I am with you,’ declares Yahweh of Hosts. ‘I made a promise to you when you came out of Egypt, and My Spirit is still with you. So don’t be afraid.’”

“This is what Yahweh Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this House with glory,’ says Yahweh Almighty. ‘The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,’ declares Yahweh Almighty. ‘The glory of this present House will be greater than the glory of the former House, and in this place I will grant peace,’ declares Yahweh Almighty.” (Hag. 2:3-9)

Isn’t it comforting to know that God understands our human perspective? He knows how discouraged His leaders are when they look at that ugly pile of charred rubble, so He gives them a pep talk, assuring them that this project will not only succeed, but that it will turn out far better than they expect.

“This is what Yahweh Almighty says: Be strong and finish the task! Ever since the laying of the foundation of the Temple of Yahweh Almighty, you have heard what the prophets have been saying about completing the building. Before the work on the Temple began, there were no jobs and no money to hire people or animals. No traveler was safe from the enemy, for there were enemies on all sides. I had turned everyone against each other.

But now I will not treat the remnant of My people as I treated them before, says Yahweh Almighty. For I am planting seeds of peace and prosperity among you. The grapevines will be heavy with fruit. The earth will produce its crops, and the heavens will release the dew. Once more I will cause the remnant in Judah and Israel to inherit these blessings. Among the other nations, Judah and Israel became symbols of a cursed nation. But no longer! Now I will rescue you and make you both a symbol and a source of blessing. So don’t be afraid. Be strong, and get on with rebuilding the Temple!”  (Zech. 8:9-13)

ZECHARIAH, God’s Prophet

Now God knows how to motivate people, and in just four short years, the Temple is rebuilt despite all kinds of obstacles. We read about this reconstruction in Ezra 1-6. Once it is finished, the new Temple is dedicated with a grand ceremony and a ginormous offering to Yahweh of 100 bulls, 200 rams, 400 lambs and 12 goats. That certainly kept the newly activated Levites busy for a while.

Now whenever we read about sacrifices being made to God, it’s easy to assume that everyone involved is sincerely worshiping God in their hearts. Well, not quite. We’re going to learn that the hardcore rebellion these Jews displayed upon their arrival in Judah hasn’t just evaporated. Yahweh’s House might be up and running, but many hearts are still very far from Him. We get a glimpse of this rebellion when God responds to some men who ask if they should continue with a ritual of fasting and mourning each year on the anniversary of the destruction of the Temple. This was a tradition that the Jews had been practicing during their seventy years of exile. Yahweh answers this question through the mouth of Zechariah, and His tone is quite crisp.

“Say to all your people and your priests, ‘During these seventy years of exile, when you fasted and mourned in the summer and in early autumn, was it really for Me that you were fasting? And even now in your holy festivals, aren’t you eating and drinking just to please yourselves? Isn’t this the same message Yahweh proclaimed through the prophets in years past when Jerusalem and the towns of Judah were bustling with people, and the Negev and the foothills of Judah were well populated?’”

“This is what Yahweh Almighty says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another. Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other.

Your ancestors refused to listen to this message. They stubbornly turned away and put their fingers in their ears to keep from hearing. They made their hearts as hard as stone, so they could not hear the instructions or the messages that Yahweh Almighty had sent them by His Spirit through the earlier prophets. That is why Yahweh Almighty was so angry with them. “Since they refused to listen when I called to them, I would not listen when they called to Me, says the Sovereign Yahweh. As with a whirlwind, I scattered them among the distant nations, where they lived as strangers. Their land became so desolate that no one even traveled through it. They turned their pleasant land into a wasteland.” (Zech. 7:5-14)

Yahweh’s angry response tells us that the heart attitude accompanying this question is lousy. And notice how He said: “And even now in your holy festivals, aren’t you eating and drinking just to please yourselves?” Yahweh had ordered the Jews to celebrate many different festivals in His honor. The people are going through the motions, but no one is thinking about Yahweh—they’re just enjoying the party mood. God hates hypocrisy. He detests it when we put on phony acts of worship at church or in our homes or anywhere else. Sincerity is what God wants from us, and it’s not what He’s getting from these Jews even as they sweat and toil over the reconstruction of His holy House.

But unfortunately, these people are guilty of far more than hypocrisy and an irreverent attitude towards Yahweh. They are embracing evil on a core level: chasing it, cherishing it, and becoming utterly consumed by it. For centuries, Yahweh has done everything possible to turn the Israelites back to Him, yet no matter what He does, they refuse to budge. Yahweh is fed up and He is looking forward to the day when He will annul His Covenant with Israel and transfer the title of “My chosen people” to a group of souls who actually care about Him.  In a very chilling chapter of Zechariah, Yahweh has His prophet go through a series of actions which illustrates the divorce which will soon happen between Yahweh and Israel.

Prophetic Action: ZECHARIAH, THE ANGRY SHEPHERD

“This is what Yahweh my God says: “Shepherd the flock that are about to be killed. Those who buy them kill them and go unpunished. Those who sell them say, ‘Praise Yahweh, I have become rich!’ Their own shepherds have no pity on them, and I will no longer have pity on the people of this land,” declares Yahweh; “Instead, I will cause each man to fall under the power of his neighbor and king. They will strike the people of this land, and I will not save anyone.” (Zech. 11:4-6)

Yahweh wants His prophet to do some role playing. Zechariah is to sign on to shepherd a flock of sheep. Now shepherding is a hard, difficult job and no one wants to do it. So when they can afford it, flock owners hire other men to come and shepherd their flocks for them. But problems arise when shepherds get lazy and show no concern for the sheep. To properly care for the sheep, a man has to be constantly on the lookout for wolves, signs of illness, and a whole host of other problems (see Psalm 23: Yahweh is a Good Shepherd).

Now Yahweh is very angry as He speaks to Zechariah in this chapter, and we’re going to find a lot of doubletalk being used. The flock that Yahweh is talking about in this passage are the Jews. Zechariah is going to start shepherding a literal flock of sheep, but he will be roleplaying Yahweh—the great Shepherd over all of Israel.

Now the metaphor begins with Shepherd Yahweh observing the current state of affairs in Judah. The people are full of wickedness. Wicked people do wicked things, and the land is full of crime and abuse. These “shepherds” who God describes as buying and killing sheep without being punished represent the leaders of Jewish society—the priests, judges, and other authorities. Should a man be punished for slaughtering an animal that he owns? No, but he should be punished for killing a human being. Yahweh isn’t really talking about the abuse of sheep in this passage, but the abuse of human beings on every level: spiritual, physical, financial, and emotional. Not only are these evil “shepherds” intentionally killing the people they should be protecting, they are profiting off of their abuse and celebrating it. They’re even having the gall to say “Praise God, He’s blessing my actions and causing my evil ways to make me rich!” At this point, Yahweh is thoroughly disgusted with everyone in Judah: the leaders and the commoners. All of them have gone astray. None of them care about seeking the Lord anymore.

So I shepherded the flock intended for slaughter, the afflicted of the flock. I took two staffs, calling one Favor and the other Union, and I shepherded the flock. In one month I got rid of three shepherds. I became impatient with the flock, and they also detested me. Then I said, “I will no longer shepherd you. Let what is dying die, and let what is going astray go astray; let the rest devour each other’s flesh.” (Zech. 11:7-9)

Zechariah now gets hired on as an actual shepherd over an actual flock—but he’s really roleplaying Yahweh as the Shepherd of Israel. Shepherds usually carry two long sticks with them—a rod and a staff. Zechariah carries around two staffs which he gives symbolic names to: Favor and Union. “Favor” refers to Yahweh’s favor towards Israel which He’s been showing for centuries. “Union” represents the unity between Israel and Judah—the two kingdoms of the nation of Israel.

Now if the flock is large enough, multiple shepherds are needed. Zechariah—acting as Yahweh—is working with three other shepherds who are evil and do lousy jobs. So Zechariah drives them away in what was undoubtedly an ugly scene of yelling and threats. Meanwhile, the sheep in the flock he is tending are not accepting him as their shepherd. They don’t listen to him, they wander off, and they fight among themselves. In short, they are rebel sheep and a total pain to work with. Well, this flock represents the Israelites, who are also rebelling against their Shepherd and refusing to listen to Him. Notice what Zechariah says:

I became impatient with the flock, and they also detested me. Then I said, “I will no longer shepherd you. Let what is dying die, and let what is going astray go astray; let the rest devour each other’s flesh.” (Zech. 11:8-9)

Once we understand that Zechariah is roleplaying as Yahweh, this statement is downright terrifying. Yahweh is telling His people that the day is coming when He will no longer shepherd them. He’s going to quit. He’s going to tear up the Covenant.

Next I took my staff called Favor and cut it in two, annulling the covenant I had made with all the peoples. So it was annulled on that day, and so the afflicted of the flock who were watching me realized that it was the word of Yahweh. (Zech. 11:10-11)

Now everyone knows Zechariah is a prophet so they’ve been watching his strange behavior with the flock, trying to understand the metaphor. Once Zechariah cuts his staff in half, everyone gets it. Yahweh is talking about permanently annulling His Covenant with Israel. Oh well, He was annoying anyway. No one is upset.

I said to them, “If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but if not, never mind!” So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver as my wages. (Zech. 11:12)

Now in real life, Zechariah has shepherded someone’s flock for at least a little while. Even though he fought with the other shepherds and then quit, it could still be argued that he ought to receive some form of payment.

But then again, Zechariah really represents Yahweh, and by now everyone understand this. So when they give him a measly thirty shekels of silver, it’s reasonable for a human shepherd that did a lousy job, but it’s a massive insult to Yahweh. In this metaphor, it’s like Yahweh asks, “What was all My care of you worth?” and the people reply, “Here’s a nickel. We’re glad to get rid of You.”

Then Yahweh said to me, “Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them!” (Zech. 11:13)

Yahweh is being sarcastic when He calls the price magnificent, and when He tells Zechariah to throw it to the potter in the Temple, it’s like He’s saying, “Throw it to the dogs!”

So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the House of Yahweh. Then I cut in two my second staff, Union, annulling the brotherhood between Judah and Israel. (Zech. 11:13-14)

The cutting of the second staff annuls the relationship between the two kingdoms of Judah and Israel. This means that these two kingdoms can expect to never be restored again on earth. Yahweh is done. He’s going to leave Israel as a broken mess and let other nations and kingdoms constantly harass her. Gee…what do we see going on with Israel today?

Yahweh said to me, “Take again for yourself the equipment of a foolish shepherd. I am about to raise up a shepherd in the land who will not care for those who are going astray, nor will he seek the lost and heal the broken. He will not sustain the healthy, but he will devour the flesh of the fat sheep and tear off their hooves.” (Zech. 11:15-16)

In this metaphor, Shepherd Yahweh has abandoned the flock of Israel and resigned from the job as her Shepherd. But now He’s going to raise up another cruel shepherd to come make her life extra miserable. This new cruel shepherd will intentionally malign the sheep, cripple them, abuse them, and use them for his own wicked gain. Who is this cruel shepherd a metaphor for? Some say it represents the leaders of Judah who God will allow to thrive in their wicked roles. In our next period, we will find Jesus speaking very hatefully towards the scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees of His day, and accusing them of abusing their leadership roles.

Another theory is that this evil shepherd represents the coming Roman Empire, which will brutally oppress the Jews. This is the more likely theory, for in the Old Testament, we find Yahweh dropping hints about the coming Roman oppression, especially in the book of Daniel.

Right now Israel is under the power of Persia, but the current Persian emperor is a fan of Yahweh. This is a very miraculous situation. Today, it would be like having the president of Iraq conquer all of Europe, America, and China, and then announce that he was a devout Christian and order Jesus to be revered throughout his entire empire. You just don’t expect the president of Iraq to be a devout Christian, and you really don’t expect Jesus to be exalted on such a huge scale. This is the same freak situation that Israel is in. Since when does a pagan emperor care about Yahweh? How did this idol worshiping Gentile ever learn about Yahweh in the first place when he lives on the other side of the world? We need to remember that Yahweh loves all people and He knows how to illuminate souls who are sincerely seeking truth. Cyrus the Great is a believer.

Now let’s go back to our Iraq example. Suppose that when this new pro-Jesus empire forms, the Christian Church decides that she is no longer interested in Jesus. What if unbelievers all around us were seeking truth while we Christians wallow in rebellion and declare our loyalty to Satan? Wouldn’t this be horribly ironic—that God’s own people should be defying Him at a time in history when the whole world is focused on Him? This is what is happening right now in Zechariah’s lifetime. The whole known world is talking about Yahweh, but the Jews just can’t be bothered. Idol worshiping pagans are seeing the light, yet the Jews are refusing to give Yahweh the time of day. We have to step back and appreciate how rare this religious climate is to see how galling the Jews’ response to Yahweh is. After centuries of persecution, Yahweh has the whole world smiling on Israel and cheering her on in her efforts to rebuild her land and the Temple. Yet despite all of this, the Jews refuse to budge out of their state of willful defiance. Wow. No wonder Yahweh is talking about divorcing her.

THE GREAT DIVORCE

So when exactly will this prophecy come true? When will Yahweh break His shepherding staff and tear up His Covenant with Israel? When Jesus resurrects from the dead. Once that occurs, the New Covenant will be ratified and the Old Covenant will be annulled. But until that happens, the Old Covenant will still be in effect, and understanding this is critical to properly interpreting many of the things Jesus will say during His time on earth.

Now by the time Jesus is born, the Roman Empire will be in full swing, and we will learn about how she comes into power soon when we talk about the 400 years that pass between the Old and New Testaments. After Jesus leaves, the Jews will become horrifically oppressed by the Romans—even more than they were during Jesus’ lifetime. And during this time, Jews who try to cling to the tenants of the Old Covenant and refuse to submit to Jesus as their Lord and Savior—well, they’re going to find out how serious Yahweh was about tearing up His Covenant with Israel. You see, when God changes Covenants, He isn’t just tacking on a few new clauses at the end of the original document. He is tearing up the old one and replacing it with a fresh new contract. Many times throughout the Old Testament prophetic books, Yahweh talks about a brand new covenant that He will be establishing one day with His people—and once this New Covenant takes effect, the Jews lose their standing as God’s special people. As Jesus will explain to us in the next period, under the New Covenant, the world is divided into two groups: those who submit to Christ’s Authority and those who do not. Ethnicity and bloodlines have no significance under the New Covenant. No one cares if you are Jewish or not. No one cares who your ancestors are. Under this Covenant, only one question matters: are you revering Jesus as your God and Savior?

LOOKING AHEAD

It’s about 516 BC at this point—that means we’re still 516 years before the coming of Christ. But with a 400 year gap between the Old and New Testaments, we only have about a hundred years left to cover before we come to the end of the Old Testament. In our next lesson, we’re going to learn about a young Jewish woman named Esther who finds herself selected to be the new queen of Persia.

UP NEXT: Know Your Bible Lesson 40: Esther

Click here for all the lessons in this series.

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