The Book of Esther – Movie Review

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Persia 482 B.C. – Hadassah is talking with her uncle, Mordecai. He had a strange dream. He describes it to her. “Behold, there were earthquakes upon the earth, and in time, two great dragons came forth, ready to fight against one another. And at their cry, all nations were stirred up to fight against the Nation of the Just, and the Nation of the Just was prepared for death. But, the Nation of the Just cried out to the Lord, and as they were crying, the little spring grew into a great river, and abound into many waters. The sun rose up and the humble were exalted, and they defeated the haughty!”  God will reveal the meaning, in His time.

The Book of EstherUncle makes Hadassah promise never to reveal that she is a Jew from  the Tribe of Benjamin. He changes her name to Esther; a proper name for a proper Persian girl. He will be called, Teacher.

Esther, the grown woman.

King Xerxes is the king, he passes by Esther’s home. She and Teacher are talking inside. He’s going to the royal banquet to honor the king and queen. Esther envies the queen. She wishes to be married. Teacher will find her a suitable match, someday. Until then, patience.

Mordecai and Esther

Mordecai and Esther in their home

At the royal banquet, Mordecai, the Jew, is there. Lord Haman and Azada also. Haman has an issue with Jews. They bicker.

King Xerxes arrives. They celebrate the anniversary of his ascension to the throne. They feast and drink.  Queen Vashti isn’t there.

There are rumors and threats circulating throughout the kingdom against the king, which Xerxes is unaware of.

Jacob and Judith are married with children but she doesn’t love her husband. Judith and Esther are friends.

Queen Vashti remains absent from the celebration. The guests, nobles and advisors, chat about her as the King’s guard, Sardar, eavesdrops. “Why is she not there?”

Sardar reports the chatter about the queen’s absence. King Xerxes orders Queen Vashti to join them. And dance for them. Sardar, Commander of His Majesty’s Royal Army, talks to the queen. She is to dress appropriately with jewels and gown and dance at the celebration. The King commands!

Queen Vashti

Queen Vashti

Queen Vashti refuses! Even after Sardar begs on one knee. Sardar reports to the King. “She’s not in the mood for dancing.”

“This is Treason you speak against the queen,” King Xerxes declares.

“It is not Treason Your Magesty, but truth.”

King Xerxes commands angrily, “Queen Vashti be removed from the palace at once, and I decree that my marriage to her is null and void!”

Judith brings Esther the terrible news! The King’s marriage is dissolved. Judith is a gossip. She’s on her way to her next friend to share the chatter.

The close advisors begin to scheme. Lord Haman has a young daughter he wishes to be wed to the king.

Esther and Teacher celebrate the Sabbath in the Jewish custom. They light the Sabbath candles.

Gaspar, the eunich, addresses the King

Gaspar and Lord Haman before the King

Gaspar, the eunich, addresses the King, look to your Nobles and Advisors for a queen since a queen has not been found elsewhere.

More than half of the king’s counselors are eunichs. They’re at a definite disadvantage for offspring.

Zara, daughter of Lord Haman, is suitable for marriage.

Mordecai, having never been married, offers the orphan girl he is the guardian, also. She is obedient, modest as she is beautiful.

The King commands the daughters of Persia be brought to the palace at the time of his choosing and presented to him for his royal perusal. Then he will find a new queen.

Mordecai tells Esther she’s to marry the King of Persia. But, first she must compete.

As Esther prays, God calls, “Hadassah, Hadassah. It is I. Because I am with you, you shall not be harmed, for I am the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. There will come for you a time to keep silent, and a time for you to speak, for in all things shall I be glorified.”

Lord Haman fears his daughter, Zara, is not beautiful enough to win the King’s heart. If she loses the contest, he will disown her.

Zara covers her face

Zara covers her face before the King

Esther and Mordecai go to the palace. The girls of Persia present themselves one by one before the king, as he sits board.

Zara’s face is covered as she steps before the King.

It’s Esther’s turn. She introduces herself. “My name is Esther, Your Magesty.” Mordecai says, “that a virtuous wife is more precious than rubies.”

Esther and Zara make the final cut. They are escorted to the King’s chamber awaiting further instructions.  In secret, the King eavesdrops  as the two ladies talk. Zara fears banishment from her family if the king does not choose her, banishment into the streets. Esther promises her a grand job in the palace if she is chosen. Esther also tells her she’s beautiful. All as the King watches and listens, secretly.

The King made his choice. “Summon Mordecai and Haman.” He chooses Esther. She keeps her promise to Zara. He places a crown on her head. Issues a royal proclamation, “Let the word go forth that Esther is my queen. Prepare a feast and declare a holiday!”

Haman plots war on Mordecai.

Esther and King

Queen Esther and King Xerxes

The King and Esther begin to get to know one another.

Sardar and Teres talk, both guards in the King’s army. They feel Persia is growing soft. The King is foolish. Sardar wishes to seize the crown. They strike at midnight. “Prepare the men,” Sardar orders. Mordecai overhears the conversation.

Lord Haman talks to the King. He wishes to be Prime Minister, have people bow down to him. The position requires that respect.

Mordecai enters the King’s chamber, as well. He reports what he heard. King Xerxes sends for Sardar and Teres.

Haman continues to scheme against the King and Mordecai and the Jews.

Esther and the King are now married.

Haman tries to trick the King into killing all the Jews in his kingdom.

Judith brings bad news to Esther. Mordecai sent her. Lord Haman convinced your husband to destroy all the Jews. On the 13th of the month, all the Jews will be put to death, including you.

Mordecai wants Esther to go to the King and beg for mercy and plead for our people. Esther says she cannot go in unsummoned.

Mordecai’s response, “There is a time to remain silent and a time to speak, but if you remain silent now, you and your people will perish. Is it not possible that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

Esther pleades with her husband

Fast for me, people of Persia

She wants all the Jews of Persia to fast for her. They shall not eat or drink for three days, day or night. Esther will do the same. Then she will go to the King. “If I perish, I perish.”

Three days later, Esther tells Azada to take her to the King, against his warnings.

Esther goes before her husband. She invites him and Lord Haman to a banquet the following evening to make her request known. Only the King, Haman, and Esther will be there.

The banquet, her request, “Grant me my life and spare my people, for this is my request.”

“Who has threatened your life?” the King asks.

“Lord Haman.”

“Tomorrow at noon, I will hear testimony,” the King orders. Azada spreads the word.

The next day. They hear the case against the Jewish people.  Haman presents his evidence, again.

Mordecai defends the Jews.

Esther speaks on behalf of Mordecai.

Lord Haman

Lord Haman

King Xerxes finds Mordecai and the Jewish people innocent of Treason. He sentences Lord Haman to death for Treason.

Haman had a gallows already built for Mordecai; it is used for Haman.

Mordecai is the new Prime Minister.

King Xerxes orders, “These events shall be recorded in history. And hence forth forever this will be, for the Jews, a time of joy and happiness, and let it be written that it is Queen Esther who saved her people from the villain, Haman.

A banquet is commanded.

Queen Esther and King Xerxes

Queen Esther and King Xerxes

The End.

This was an interesting book of the bible, The Book of Esther. From the old testament.

I’d say, the King got his wish, wouldn’t you?

Hope you enjoyed it.

May good fortune guide your path.

J.A. Ireland

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Noah – Movie Review

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Friends,

NoahHere’s a movie review of a motion picture that is bible based. Russell Crowe plays Noah in this action film.

In the beginning there was nothing… Temptation led to sin… Cast out of Eden, Adam and Eve had three sons: Cain, Abel, and Seth.

Cain killed Abel and fled to the East, where he was sheltered by a band of fallen angles: The Watchers. Rock giants. These Watchers helped Cain’s descendants build a great industrial civilization. Cain’s cities spread wickedness, devouring the world. Only the descendants of Seth defended and protect what is left of Creation.

Noah receiving the birthright from Dad

The boy Noah receives the birthright from his Father

Today, the last of Seth’s line becomes a man. Noah is a child. He receives the birthright from his father. The Shrine of Seth!

Descendants of Cain arrive. They kill Noah’s father and steal the birthright. Noah flees.

The next scene, Noah the fifty-something man. His Wife and sons; Shem, Ham, and Japheth, an infant.

Noah's dog

The family dog

Men are coming. They kill Noah’s family dog for the meat. Noah kills all three men. He cremates the pet.

Noah has a dream. God speaks to him. There will be a great flood. God is going to destroy the world. He saw Methuselah’s Mountain. They are to journey there and see his grandfather. Noah hopes  his grandfather, Methuselah will know what to do. A long journey by foot along a baron wasteland.

They come upon a tzohar  mine. A family is dead, all but a small girl named Ila. She is stabbed in the stomach with a sword.

The Watcher leads Noah's family to the mountain

The nice Watcher leading Noah’s family to the mountain

Men attack. Noah’s family flees. They’re saved by a Watcher. The Watchers quarrel over having humans on their land. That night, the nice Watcher helps them. It leads them to the mountain.

God created the Watchers on the second day of creation, to watch over Adam and Eve. They were light, but disobeyed God. Their punishment was to be turned into rock, mud, and crust. Methuselah protected the Watchers. They were hunted and mostly killed.

Great grandfather meets Shem

Great grandfather, Methuselah, meets Shem in the cave

Noah and Shem climb the mountain as his wife and family remain at the base with the friendly Watcher. Great grandfather is in a cave. Shem introduces himself. Noah’s oldest.

They talk about his dream. After drinking a special herbal tea, Noah sleeps and has another dream. Now he knows about the Ark and filling it with animals. Grandfather gives him a seed from the Garden of Eden.

Noah and Shem return to the camp. He explains a great flood is coming. They will survive to start a new world. They save the animals too. They are to build an Ark. He plants the seed Grandfather gave him.

Reptiles enter the Ark

Snakes enter the Ark

Water flows from the ground. Trees spring up. An entire forest grows in minutes. They’re in the middle of dense woods. The lumber for the Ark.  The Watchers help. The construction begins immediately on the Ark.

As the Ark nears completion, animals come. Birds fly in by the thousands, snakes, lizards, etc…

Noah and King Tulal-cain argue

Noah and King Tubal-cain faceoff

Tubal-cain is there with his army. He is the King. He followed the birds. He’s heard talk of miracles.  He wants to claim the Ark as his. The Watchers stand with Noah.  Noah tells the King they will perish in a great flood.

“I am not afraid of miracles, son of Lamech!” the King yells at Noah. He vows to return with Legions of solders with weapons.

Livestock enter the Ark by the hundreds.

King Tubal-cain prepares his army for a war on Noah.

Livestock enter the Ark

Livestock enter the Ark

Noah has another vision. He sees an evil people in a city destroyed by fire. He saw the wickedness in everyone.

Ham meets Ná el. They talk.

Great grandfather gives Ila his blessing . He waved his hand over her stomach. There’s a magic pulse. Ila runs. She’s driven Mad with desire for Shem. They make love in the forest.

The Watchers battle the army

The Watchers fight the King’s army

The Ark is complete. A storm blows in. Fast! The sky darkens. It begins to rain.

The King and his army try to capture the Ark. The Watchers battle them.

Ná el is killed during the fight. Ham makes it into the Ark.

A Watcher ascends to Heaven

A Watcher ascends to Heaven

The Watchers are killed one at a time by the King’s army as the battle rages. As they die, they ascend to Heaven in a beam of light.

Noah’s family is in the Ark. He closes the door.

The King finds a way inside the Ark. Ham helps his out of revenge because Noah let Ná el die during the battle.

Grandfather parishes in the flood as he eats a berry.

The Ark

The Ark

Noah and his family can hear people outside screaming as they struggle for their lives in the floodwaters.

The earth is covered in massive storms. The floodwaters consume the earth in minutes.

Noah believes man is to become an extinct species. His family is to die. Creation without man.

Ila and Shem

Shem and Ila

Ila is pregnant. Noah’s grandchild. Noah goes Mad when he finds out. He wants to kill the baby thinking it’s God’s will.

The rain stopped.

His wife tells him if he kills the child his family will leave him and hate him forever.

Shem and Ila prepare to leave on a raft. Noah burns the craft. Ila goes into labor and delivers twin girls.

Ham and the King prepare to kill Noah.

As Noah and the King fight, the Ark runs aground. Ham stabs the King, killing him. “Ná el. Her name was Ná el. You let her die,” Ham said.

They begin new lives on a mountain

Their new lives on the mountain

Later, Noah can’t kill the twins.

They begin their new lives on a mountain. Next to the sea. They build homes.

Noah is a drunkard old man. His wife left him.

Ham left the family and struck out on his own.

At Ila’s advice, Noah makes up with his wife. They are reunited.

The Ark on the mountain top

The Ark on the mountain top

Noah hands down the birthrights to his granddaughters. “Be fruitful and multiply. Replenish the earth.” On the mountain, next to the Ark, under a rainbow. Birds are fling in the sky overhead.

The End

The Watchers

A Watcher

This was an interesting story of the Noah and the flood.

You decide if the Watchers and this movie are fact or fiction. The movie was entertaining.

Noah demonstrated how easy it is to be confused about God’s Will. It’s a good thing he followed his conscious and didn’t kill those innocent baby twins.

Hope you enjoyed my review of Noah.

My rating: 4 stars

May good fortune guide your path.

J.A. Ireland

The Jesus Papers – Book Review

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Friends,

Recently I read, The Jesus Papers; by author Michael Baigent. This is a very provocative novel similar to Dan Brown’s; The Da Vinci Code. It’s written from a historian perspective rather than a novel format.

The story begins with the introduction; May 28, 1291, The Holy Land: Acre, the Crusader Kingdom’s last port city, lay in ruins. The Arab armies of Khalil al-Ashraf, the young Sultan of Egypt, had first besieged and then attacked the city. The last capitol of the Christian Kingdom was finished. This was a battle between The Marshal of the Templars and the Sultan.

The Jesus PapersMichael Baigent gives the Templars credit for introducing the power of money over the sword by means of checks and safe financial transfers from city to city and country to country. They helped open a space for the middle class, according to Michael.

He and Richard Leigh wrote Holy Blood, Holy Grail. They believe in an important bloodline, a dynasty; that of the Jewish royal lineage, the line of David. They believe the line of David lives in Southern France; a descendant from the marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. The wedding at Cana was Jesus and Mary’s wedding. When Jesus turned the water into wine, they were Mr. and Mrs. Christs, according to Michael and Leigh.

In Chapter 1 Michael writes, during his twenty-year search, he believed when Jesus was crucified, he either had a child by his wife or she was pregnant.

He also writes, both kings and high priests were anointed and were thus a meshiha, a messiah.  In fact, he writes, from as early as the second century B.C. the term “messiah” was used to name a legitimate king of Israel, one of the royal line of David, who was expected to appear and to rule. According to the Gospels, through his Father, Jesus was of the Line of David; through his mother, he was of the line of Aaron the high priest.

Michael restates several times in this story; in his novel Holy Blood, Holy Grail, the wedding at Cana was Jesus and Mary’s wedding. He believes at the crucifixion, Mary already had Jesus’ baby or was pregnant with Jesus’ baby. He claims; if Jesus was unmarried and celibate, Paul would have told us. He admits there is no proof to support his allegation; only circumstantial evidence. He cites the 1977 publication, Nag Hammadi; the Gospel of Philip. Also The Gospel of Mary as his evidence.

His book centers around the concept; The Church is at pains to conceal secrets about Jesus. One incident he cites; Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey. He believes Matthew’s account is filled with cover-ups. He explains his theories in detail in the story.

Michael Baigent also questions Jesus’ death on the cross. In this book, he analyses details in the bible and cross references them with his own understanding of history. He believes God’s Word is impregnated with cover-ups—thus the cover text; Exposing the Greatest Cover-Up in History.

He believes the Church is covering up Jesus’ life on Earth and offers no solid proof to support his claims.

To be fair, I reread John 2: 1-11-NIV; Jesus Changes Water to Wine. “On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, They have no more wine.”

“Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Nearby stood six, stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.

Many believe God’s Word is flawless and perfect—without cover-up; and to be followed as written—not manipulated or twisted.  Countless would disagree with Michael Baigent or anyone else’s theory that the wedding in Cana was a wedding between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. And that Mary was either pregnant or had Jesus’ child before the crucifixion.

Hosts would also disagree with Michael’s conclusion that if Jesus was unmarried and celibate, Paul would have told us. Because something isn’t stated, doesn’t presume it to be factual.

Dan Brown’s novel, The Da Vinci Code, was entertaining fiction about the same  hypothesis. I read the book and watched the movie, enjoying both. I’m a big Tom Hanks fan.

Michael Baigent’s story, The Jesus Papers, is about the same topic while also fiction;  without Dan Brown’s writing skills.

My rating: 2 stars

May good fortune guide your path.

J.A. Ireland

The Mystery of God’s Will; What Does He Want For Me? – Book Review

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Dear Faith Readers,

Recently I had the opportunity to read Charles R. Swindoll’s book about God’s Will—What does He want for me?  This is a question that I have struggled with from time to time — perhaps others have too.

I read this book to learn Chuck’s insight on God’s Will and the scars that many believers have. In this book, the author believes God encourages scars. So many believers are well scared. It’s easy to take that point of view.

The Mystery of God's WillIn this book,Chuck takes the strong view that everything we experience, good and bad, is God’s plan and His will—everything. When something bad happens to us it’s God’s Permissive Will. God permitted it to happen. He admits many times throughout this book to not understanding God’s Will—especially God’s permissive will; it’s a mystery, according to him.

I found the section on how God leads us interesting. According to Chuck, God leads us with the Bible, inner prompting of the Holy Spirit, and through the counsel of wise, qualified, trustworthy people. Finally, God leads us into His will by giving us an inner assurance of peace.

Another part I found interesting is, The Truth About Holiness. Chuck says, His holiness assures us that he is absolutely trustworthy. No deceitful agenda, no questionable motives. A model of perfection.

The section on God closing doors was also interesting. He says when God closes a door in our lives, He opens another. He also says, a door that God closes, no one can open. A door that God opened, no one can close.

He says most of life is learning and growing, falling and getting up, forgiving and forgetting, accepting and going on. He concludes this book by saying, God’s will—That’s right, M-Y-S-T-E-R-Y.

I read this book to get the perspective of a very big, charismatic minister. I thought his answers on these life altering questions to be theological—seminary based. Interesting but arguably helpful. Especially when he refers to these issues as a mystery.

God’s Will and the painful things that sometimes happen as a result of us doing God’s Will are confusing issues for me and perhaps you as well.

There you have it. God’s Will; a Mystery according to Charles R. Swindoll. Our lives are His plan. Everything. Even the pain. I’m still… confused? Uneasy?

My rating: 4 stars

May good fortune guide your path.

J.A. Ireland