Arlene Bridges Samuels
The Eclectic Evangelical @InEssentialsUnity

An American Christian’s “Take” on Esther Winning an Ancient Beauty Contest

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I’m a Christian Zionist. I deeply appreciate the ancient Jewish communities who built the foundation of my faith in the Old and New Testaments and the beloved individuals in both. While Purim is not one of my traditions, Esther is a powerful role model for me. In her ten-chapter book, she taught me how to advocate for Israel and Jewish people today.

Here are some of my reflections, what I call “biblical politics” when reading about Esther’s entrance onto the runway of history. After all, the simplest definition of politics in its purest form is to lobby leaders-whether a Pharaoh, a king, or a legislative body-on an issue of importance. The high value of advocacy manifests itself when a leader listens and makes the right decisions for a worthy cause. But they must be educated and then asked.

Esther was an ordinary young woman until God favored her by using an ancient beauty contest to save His chosen people. As Queen, she listened to her family member Mordecai, fasted, prayed, and overcame her initial fear. She developed a strategy, appealed to her King, Ahasuerus, and asked him to save her people. We ordinary Christians can make ourselves available as Esther did.

Christians must consider what the fate of the Jewish people would have been if Esther had not taken the case to her King. Esther—along with Moses, Jeremiah, and others—are political activists who made a lifesaving difference. Again, where would the Jewish community be without these role models? Indeed, where would I be since Judaism is the foundation of my Christian faith? Evidence of Esther and Mordecai’s ancient tombs is located in Hamadan, Iran. We Christians can honor their legacy today by following their examples.

In today’s toxic, bifurcated American political climate, many Christians are opposed to political advocacy, even those who love and respect Israel and her people. Yes, politics is a brutal, mostly unpleasant game. Nevertheless, if we take scripture seriously, political activism is necessary, affirmed—and directed—by God through willing vessels. Advocacy opportunities await us.

Iran’s leaders and its proxies make up a cartel of “Hamans.”

Using Mordecai’s inspired words—“at such a time as this”—as our guide, Christians must not only pray as Esther did, but we must act to help secure Israel’s safety. Iran’s leaders know that the U.S. has millions of pro-Israel believers-and Christian and Jewish organizations-that oppose their terrorism. We must add the practical action through politics to oppose Iran’s theocratic Imams. We must seriously embrace the fact that we Christians also live at “such a time as this.” It is absolutely critical for Christians to be politically involved with our United States Congress.

In fact, it is the U.S. Congress that votes every year to enact security aid to Israel, also an immense benefit to the US. That aid is paramount, as threats and anti-Semitism are mushrooming from Iran and its proxies.

Christians United for Israel (CUFI) and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) are especially focused on political advocacy by advancing interaction with Members of Congress. Advocates responding to their action alerts and special petitions on Israel-related legislation takes only minutes. Both organizations are indispensable gateways for helping Christians contact their members of Congress. This is the main way we can help guarantee Israel’s safety through the political process since Israel does not seek or ask for American boots on the ground. Consistent Congressional support for a strong US-Israel relationship is due in large part to Americans who choose to follow Queen Esther’s example.
Silence is not an option.

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Recognizing the importance of ensuring Israel’s security on Purim and always, I ran across a great story sent out by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in 1945. It reported an inspiring Purim celebration in a castle formerly owned by Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Reich Minister of Propaganda. It took place a week after Purim since American soldiers had been fighting on the front lines and couldn’t stop for the annual observance. The spacious room where they gathered was packed.

The chaplain, Captain Manual Poliakeff, “carefully arranged the candles over a swastika-bedecked bookcase in Goebbels’ main dining room.” He and two Jewish soldiers told the Purim story to their fellow Christian soldiers. They compared the Nazis to Haman. I’m guessing the soldiers tasted their victory over Nazi Hamans even more profoundly. Chaplain Poliakeff declared, “It is so fitting that Purim services should be held in a castle belonging to Goebbels.”

I often refer to Esther when I am authoring articles or talking with Christians. I encourage them to follow her example as a political advocate. Her courage is a reminder that we must also rise up against evil since Israel faces Iranian leaders who have chosen the mantle of modern “Hamans.” I’m indebted to the biblical account for showing me, and I pray, today’s Christians, Queen Esther’s powerful example still relevant more than 2,500 years later.

About the Author
Pro Israel Christian Advocate Arlene Bridges Samuels has held pioneering positions for two decades with Israel Always, American Israel Public Affairs Committee, (AIPAC) and International Christian Embassy Jerusalem USA's project, American Christian Leaders for Israel. Traveling to Israel since 1990, she is an author at the Times of Israel and weekly columnist for The Christian Broadcast Network Israel. Invited by the GPO she has attended their Christan Media Summit three times. Arlene serves on the board of South Carolina's Violins of Hope and co-edited The Auschwitz Album Revisited. She posts her devotionals, The Eclectic Evangelical, on Facebook and on her website www.ArleneBridgesSamuels.com. After attending Winthrop University in her home state of South Carolina, Arlene earned her Masters degree at the University of Alabama.
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