And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said…(Luke 2:25-28)
One of the last prophetic words given to Israel through the prophet Malachi, was a warning that “The Lord Whom you seek shall appear suddenly in the temple”, and the prophet asks,”Who may abide the day of his coming? for he shall be like a refiners fire, and a launderers soap and He shall purify the sons of Levi that they may offer an offering in Righteousness…”(Malachi 3:1-2)
Little did the worshippers who thronged the temple that day realize, that the scripture was being fulfilled in the little peasant couple, making their way through the crowds, the new mother, having been ritually purified after bearing her first Son, and the Son having been redeemed according to the law of Moses.
Cradled in the couple’s loving arms, was no less than the LORD of the Covenant himself, making a sudden appearance in the temple. The implications of the otherwise routine events of that day, would lead to nothing less than the salvation of all men, the destruction of Satan and the downfall of all of the Kingdoms of this world, to be replaced by the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ!
But first the little child must take upon his shoulders the entirety of the LAW of God, fulfilling it in every exacting detail in Spirit and in Truth. He too must undergo circumcision, Redemption, and become a “Son of the Law of God”. Though He never sinned, He must be numbered with the transgressors and suffer with the transgressor nation.
Who really saw what was going on there? At east two of the worshippers did.
Simeon was an old man, whose description seems to embody all of Old Testament piety,for He was Just( regarding his relations with God and man), and Devout, truly devoted inwardly and outwardly to God,A God fearer and a worshipper. His life was also characterized by an expectancy,He waited for the coming of the Messiah, the restoration of Israel, the end of the “Times of the Gentiles”, and the “Time of favor” promised by God.
Since the “Secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him“, God had shown this man, that He would not see death until he had seen the Messiah. One author said,’… it is almost as though the sting of death departs upon seeing him…’.
Simeon recognized by the Spirit of God that the newly redeemed babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes was the Messiah he, and Israel had been waiting for.He took Him in His arms and began to prophesy over the child…
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.(Luke 2:29-32)
Simeon called Jesus, “Thy Salvation”, and “a Light to enlighten the Gentiles”, and finally, The Glory of Israel”. Flesh and Blood didn’t reveal this to him, for the Glory of God was hidden beneath the roughly woven swaddling clothes and the poor man’s offering brought to the temple by Joseph and Mary.
And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.(Luke 2:33-35)
Simeon also prophesied that Jesus would be a kind of sign…a sign of contradiction, that is Jesus’ presence will bring out of others either the hidden love or hidden hatred for God within their hearts. People will in essence be exposed in their true nature, especially towards God, in this child.
Reaction to him will be the fall or rising of many in Israel, for there can be no neutral position. Fake love and piety will be revealed as false, depending on people’s reaction to Him, the cloud of obfuscation and pretense will be cleared away in His presence and the secrets of all men’s hearts will be revealed.
Will this child unite? Yes, but he will also be a divider, for he brings a sword of division. All men from here on will be divided in accordance with their reaction to him.Those who love sin will hate him, and those ready to forsake sin will cling to Him.
To reject Him is to reject goodness and truth no matter what your religion is. To accept Him is to come over to the side of goodness, to love him is the only way to love truth itself.
Those who come into contact with this one, can never be the same,either they will be bettered or worsened but they will never remain as they were.
Therefore this child is destined to endure fanatical opposition, since by contact with him, men are forced to reveal their true feelings towards God. The closer one gets to Him, the more conscious they are of their sin…The sword will even pierce your own soul,Mary, for no one is exempt from the examination of the heart which he brings.
As the Law of God says, “Let everything be confirmed by the mouth of two or three witnesses…”.As if Simeon’sprophecy was not enough, another remarkable elder was alert and looking in the temple and recognized “The LORD whom we seek”.
Anna of the tribe of Asher, an eighty-four year old widow, who took her refuge in the temple, living to worship, pray and intercede, and fast. She too recognized Him and came in as Simeon was prophesied, to give her Amen, and to praise God for his Redemption was nigh!
And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.(Luke 2:36-38)