The Old Testament gives us a glimpse into times past; in that it shows the power and authority of kings. Could there be those today who lust for the same supremacy over others?
In the days of Esther, King Ahasuerus reigned supreme over the 2nd great kingdom as described in the book of Daniel. The kingdoms that God showed Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel through that king’s dream were those of the Babylonians, Medes and Persians, Greece, and Rome. Ahasuerus was among the Persian kings whose sovereignty stretched over a huge land mass; in fact, we’re told his kingdom extended from India to Ethiopia.
You’ll recall that when Israel clamored to Samuel for a king to be like all other nations, God warned them it meant they’d be in complete subjection to their king. This meant that he would control them and have all dominion over them. He would take a portion of their crops, he could decree that certain men came under him in employment or servitude, and he would take their young women for himself. Of course, because God foresaw it because He knew the ways of men, the Israelites came under their kings in that very way.
What did a king’s authority over others look like? With King Ahasuerus – who I’m sure wasn’t much different than other rulers – consider the queen’s status with him. Vashti was his beautiful but obviously headstrong queen. At one time she had pleased him. In the Esther narrative, Queen Vashti’s pride seems to have gotten the best of her. Rather than submit to the authority and command of her husband, she rebelled and wouldn’t appear before him at his beck and call
This caused the king great anger. It resulted in their immediate divorce, and her banishment from that position. No doubt Vashti regretted her poor decision, although we never hear about her again.
Vashti’s fall meant the king had no consort. Look at the power he had to change this. He made a decree and all virgins in the kingdom were brought to his harem. This was a separate place where wives, concubines, and servants lived in preparation to service the king in whatever way he pleased. A young woman thus summoned could not say no; she’d likely be under a death sentence if she did.
In the gathering of all these virgins into the harem, they were then brought to the king night after night for his pleasuring. In the case of Esther’s narrative, the purpose was to replace Vashti as the king’s new queen. It seems that many young women were part of this auditioning process as noted in Esther 2:8:
So when the king’s order and his edict were proclaimed, and when many young women were gathered in Susa the citadel in custody of Hegai, Esther also was taken into the king’s palace and put in custody of Hegai, who had charge of the women.
This is simply a tiny glimpse into what a king could decree, and to which all subjects had to comply. It was absolute power. Anyone disagreeing and refusing would meet with his wrath and likely die.
These days we currently only see this played out in third world nations that aren’t as “civilized” as we are. I place quotes around that word because civilization is only a veneer. In first world countries we cover over our savage instincts with a supposedly refined culture. However, as Jeremiah 17:9 so bluntly states:
The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?
The heart of man, whether in primitive conditions or in the wealthiest of nations, is wicked beyond what we can know. When given the opportunity to exercise its vile nature, the heart prompts men to do things that are seemingly beyond imagination, but they are not. Richard Wurmbrand in his book Tortured for Christ wrote of the extreme cruelty of his guards when he was imprisoned by the Communists. Wurmbrand recounted the following:
There is no restraint from the depths of evil that is in man. The Communist torturers often said, “There is no God, no hereafter, no punishment for evil. We can do what we wish.” I heard one torturer say, “I thank God, in whom I don’t believe, that I have lived to this hour when I can express all the evil in my heart.” He expressed it in unbelievable brutality and torture inflicted on prisoners.
I bring this up because this is the nature of man and of those in control over others. In 2020 we experienced insight into those who are in positions of authority when the COVID pandemic resulted in dictatorial mask mandates, lockdowns, fines for businesses or churches that did not comply, and even people tossed into prison. When presented with the opportunity to display the evil in their hearts, these governors, mayors, and other government officials played right into the human template that Jeremiah described.
This is just the beginning of this insanity. We are in a time of increasing lawlessness. Do you think this kind of power these bureaucrats have tasted will cease? That they’ll want to return to a time when they couldn’t exercise their will over a certain populace? No. The descent of man into complete chaos and anarchy is assured. In Scripture we see how much worse things will get once the Restrainer is removed who keeps lawlessness at bay.
Once the Rapture of the true church occurs and the Holy Spirit steps aside from the affairs of man in this world, the power wielded by a king of old like Ahasuerus will seem like child’s play. Everyone will be vying for that same control over others. Once the ultimate evil king arises in the form of the Antichrist, his rule will destroy many men because of his extreme cruelty.
And that’s the point. Men truly lust to reign over others, to control them; and in their hearts’ self-interest and desire to play God, they will do whatever it takes and use whatever necessary means to accomplish their ends.
Right now we see this played out in little fiefdoms here and there with men and women who think they are in charge. It will get much worse as we approach the very last hour. Thankfully, this time of unrestrained dominion over others by sinful man will come to a conclusion.
Jesus, the righteous judge, will bring an end to it. Justice will prevail. His truth, love, and mercy will bring order to the world. Because of Him, there will be peace and joy. No longer will petty tyrants rise up to harm others. Won’t that be glorious?