On Monday, March 17 Kiev Jewish Messianic Congregation welcomed guests at the Interchurch meeting. Bishops and pastors of Ukrainian evangelical churches and unions gathered in “Christ Cathedral” in Kiev, to pray in unity, to enjoy fellowship in informal surroundings and celebrate Purim.
KJMC senior rabbi Boris Grisenko provided an overview of the history of this Jewish Biblical holiday and spoke about its relevance today (in light of the political situation prevailing in Ukraine). The rabbi noted that the holiday of Purim does not have any special rigid religious rituals. But there are a few commandments; key among them are reading the book of Esther, having a joyful meal with friends, and giving generous gifts and alms to the poor. "If it was not for this holiday, we would have nothing, neither the Bible, nor the Messiah, nor the Church... Therefore, Purim is in fact the holiday for all nations and for every believer in Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ)," stressed Boris Grisenko.
After the speech and meal were finished, the guests of the meeting - pastors, bishops and leaders of church associations - shared their thoughts on how can our country and our nation move in God’ will and how to pray in these difficult days. They also prayed in unity for God’s Purim breakthrough for our country, for sincere repentance of all the Ukrainian people and for the revealing of God's will and His victory in the nearest days.
“It is important for us to remember that all the prophecies of the end-time events will take place not somewhere far away, but here with us. Therefore, in the current situation in our country we can see the hand of God, the foreshadowing of the last days, when the return of our Lord is near. So we can rejoice over it and remember that the Lord is always with us. And, of course, pray that He will give us wisdom...” noted the president of the Ukrainian Bible Society Grigoriy Komendant.
"It will be Purim for Ukraine. Because we see that evil still remains in this country. And we really need fruits worthy of repentance, complete cleansing of the people before God. For God's purpose for all people and nations, including Ukraine, that all submit themselves to His truth," shared the bishop of the United Christian Evangelical Church of the Living God, Sergey Baliuk. Also, in accord with all meeting participants he prayed for the real fruits of deep repentance for the Ukrainian people.
The Purim meeting was attended by the ex-president of the European Union of Evangelical Christian Baptists, the president of the Ukrainian Bible Society, Master and Honorary Doctor of Theology - Grigoriy Komendant, the elder "House of Mercy" congregations - Igor Rogov, the bishop of the United Christian Evangelical Church of the Living God - Sergey Baliuk, senior pastor of the House of the Gospel Church - Vitaliy Kozubovskiy, founder and leader of "God's seekers Movement" - Sergey Shidlovskiy, pastor of "Christ Cathedral" - Phillip Barnett, senior rabbi of Kiev Jewish Messianic Congregation - Boris Grisenko, and executive director of the Institute for Religious Freedom - Maxim Vasin.
The Purim Interchurch meeting is one of a series of meetings organized by KJMC that dedicated to the Biblical Jewish holidays. These meetings are intended to unite God's ministers of different confessions and denominations to enjoy fellowship in informal, friendly settings, and discuss important and topical issues.
The name of the holiday, Purim, comes from the word “puhr”, which means lot.
Purim is the most joyful holiday on the Jewish calendar. One Book of the Old Testament is fully dedicated to description of this holiday. It’s the book of Esther. This is a special holiday among other Jewish festivities mentioned in the Bible; it is celebrated in atmosphere of lightness and joy. On this day people give many presents to friends and strangers, generous alms to the poor and help the needy (in different ways).
The events described in the Book of Esther, actually took place during the reign of the Persian king, Ahasuerus, also known as Xerxes 1, who had ruled from 486 to 465 B.C. In those days the Jewish people were in captivity, they were scattered over the vast territory of the Persian empire, spread from India to Ethiopia, which covered 127 provinces.
Royal adviser, Haman being angry at the Jews, tricked the king into signing a decree about immediate extermination of all Jews. But after sincere Jewish nationwide repentance (tshuvah), fast and prayer to God, involving Mordecai and Esther, the enemy’s own weapon was turned against him. The Living God, Who loves His people, miraculously saved them from death. Haman was hanged on a tree prepared for Mordecai, and many thousands of the Jew’s enemies were killed, because God gave them into the hands of Jews. And since then the Jewish people annually celebrate Purim days as the days of God's miraculous deliverance and great joy.
Learn more about the holiday of Purim here: http://www.kemokiev.org/celebrate