UPDATED 17 FEBRUARY, 2010
Do you think that all Messianic Believers should celebrate Purim?
There are some in the independent Messianic community (as opposed to Messianic Judaism), who do not believe it is necessary to observe Purim. Purim is obviously not listed among the appointed times of Leviticus 23, because the events that it commemorates occurred after the giving of the Written Torah to Moses on Mount Sinai. Purim commemorates the events of the Book of Esther, where the Jews are threatened with annihilation at the hands of the evil Haman. Via the sovereignty of God, Esther is in the right place at the right time to thwart his evil plans.
While not one of the moedim in Leviticus 23, the Book of Esther does record that the commemoration of these events was to be honored by the Jews for centuries to come, and never to be forgotten:
“For Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the adversary of all the Jews, had schemed against the Jews to destroy them and had cast Pur, that is the lot, to disturb them and destroy them. But when it came to the king’s attention, he commanded by letter that his wicked scheme which he had devised against the Jews, should return on his own head and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows. Therefore they called these days Purim after the name of Pur [lot]. And because of the instructions in this letter, both what they had seen in this regard and what had happened to them, the Jews established and made a custom for themselves and for their descendants and for all those who allied themselves with them, so that they would not fail to celebrate these two days according to their regulation and according to their appointed time annually. So these days were to be remembered and celebrated throughout every generation, every family, every province and every city; and these days of Purim were not to fail from among the Jews, or their memory fade from their descendants” (Esther 9:24-28).
As Believers, we have the responsibility to remember these events as well, not only because the account of Esther is a significant part of the Biblical tradition—but most especially because if the Jewish people had been eliminated, then there would have been no people of Israel and thus no Messiah. It is not only the Jewish people who survived Haman’s plan that were supposed to remember Purim, but it was also for “their descendants and all who joined them” (v. 27, RSV). This is strong Biblical evidence for the necessity for today’s Messianics to remember Purim.
We should always be rejoicing in the triumphs of God’s people over evil, and Purim is definitely an appropriate time for us to remember the mighty deeds that He has performed. It is also an excellent time for us to stand up to fight the evils of anti-Semitism, as the spirit of Haman has never left us, embodying itself in anyone who wants to destroy the Jewish people.