1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

The Book of Luke, Psalm of Simeon and the Announcement of Anna, Part III - Lesson 19 

Luke 2:25-35,   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. 26And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lordís Christ. 27And 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, 28Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: 30For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, 31Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; 32A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. 33And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. 34And 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; 35(Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.


We left off last week at verse 34 where we read that Simeon blessed Mary and Joseph and then gave a message solely to Mary.


This message given solely to Mary gives us an indication that the message was not pertinent to Joseph because when Christ was crucified Joseph had most likely passed away because Jesus told John from the cross to care for his mother.


Up to this point in time, all of the inspired words pertaining to the Lord Jesus have been very positive, speaking with reference to His ruling on Davidís throne, setting right the things which are wrong, and bringing peace and salvation to men.


But now Simeon unveils the other side of the story, which is also a part of the Old Testament prophecies, such as those of Psalm 22 or Isaiah 53, prophecies of the rejection, crucifixion and death of Messiah, prophecies of His substitutionary atonement.


Thus Simeonís prophecy views the coming of Christ as revealing the hearts of men, and of dividing men, so that on account of Him some will rise and some will fall.


this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against


In other words a personís relation or attitude toward Jesus would be absolutely decisive of his eternal destiny. 


Some would reject him; others would by the grace of God accept him. 


The that reject him would fall; that is they would (unless they repented) be excluded from the kingdom. 


The latter would rise; that is, they would be welcomed to the kingdom.


Jesus Christ is the great divider between the rise and the fall.


He is the mid point, He is the watershed, the dividing ridge, the center of the universe, the dividing place which determines a man or womanís eternal destiny. 


We live or die on Jesus Christ.


We live in the dispensation of grace and because we do the call continues to go out, Repent and call upon the name of the Lord and you shall be saved. 


Simeon also tells us that the child would be a sign which shall be spoken against. 


Now a sign along the road does not point to itself but to another. 


We have a sign on the road that says Grace Bible Church.


What if all of us went and congregated by that sign this morning? 


That would be silly to do, wouldnít it?


We did not go to the sign for our services but we came to this place.


You do not visit the sign but to the place that the sign points.


Jesus Christ, we are told in scripture is the Word of God.


He is not your word, He is not my word but he is the word of God! 


By hearing the word of God we can know God.


We cannot know God without the word of God. 


The word of God is Godís agent to reveal God to us.


This means that Jesus as the word of God would point away from himself to his Sender, whose image he would reflect and whose works he would perform. 


When Christ claimed that he was sent from the Father he would be spoken against or contradicted.

This has not faded with time, in fact it is more clear with time. 


Philip In John 14:8, saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.


When He said he that hath seen me hath seen the Father He was demonstrating what the Father was like.


When he said in John 10:30: 


I and my Father are one;


The next thing we are given witness is: 


31Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. 32Jesus answered them, Many good works have I showed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? 33The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.


When he said I and my Father are one, he was immediately spoken against and they took up stones.


Among many examples of this speaking against is this passage in John.


John 6:35-41,  And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. 36But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. 37All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39And this is the Fatherís will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. 41The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.


By means of their attitude to Jesus men would constantly be revealing the thoughts or designs of their heart. 


They would show whether they were for or against him. 


Neutrality would be forever impossible.


Simeon said the babe was given for a sign and that sign pointed to the Father. 


This is the offense of all who do not believe down though the centuries and it is no different today, we preach Christ as the only way to the Father.


And finally Simeon is sent by the Holy Spirit to prepare Mary for the grief she must suffer, as the rejection of Her Son by men will cause her to witness His death on the cross.


Truly this will be a sword that will pierce her soul.


But Simeon was not given to see everything. 


He did not see that even in the midst of Maryís sorrow she would receive a measure of comfort. 


Remember the disciple whom Jesus loved would take her into his home. 


And this prophesy would also prepare her to accept Godís will and Godís plan and even her sorrow would work together for good. 


From this day forth Mary knew that her son, in carrying out Godís will, would bring her sorrow.


But, because of the resurrection on the third day Maryís sorrow would be changed to rejoicing and strengthening of her faith. 


As the psalmist has written: Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.


Now we move to the  Announcement of Anna:   Luke 2:36-38, 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; 37And 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. 38And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

Anna is a truly remarkable woman. Her name means Grace, the unmerited favor of God.


While we are told less about what she actually said, we are given more information about her background than Simeonís.


Anna was an Israelite, of the tribe of Asher (Asher, being Jacob and Leahís second son), one of the ten so called ďlost tribesĒ of Israel, which were scattered in the Assyrian captivity.


This shows that all who were of the tribe of Asher were not lost. 


In fact it shows us from what tribe one was from was still important and recorded.


Anna was also a prophetess.


She was a very aged woman, Luke says a great age and lived as a widow for 84 years after having lived with her husband 7 years. 


If she had married at age 14 she would at this time be 105 years old, a great age indeed.


She lived in the temple.


Day and night she was in the temple, praying and fasting.


For what was she praying and fasting?


Luke does not tell us, but it is obvious that she, like Simeon, was looking for the coming of Messiah for she: spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.


She was a godly person and like Simeon looked for redemption in Jerusalem and the only person that would bring redemption was the Messiah.


Anna understood from the Old Testament that the ďday of the LordĒ was a day of divine judgment, and that Messiah would come to deal with Israelís sin.


Thus, her prayer and fasting was evidence of her mourning for the sins of Israel.


Anna was evidently a very godly woman, a woman who was very aware of Israelís sins, a woman who was looking for and hastening the coming of Messiah.


The details of Annaís life are given to show her character.


Luke has been good to us in showing us the incredible character of this woman by considering the details he has supplied.


As a young widow, the natural thing for Anna to have done would be to remarry.


She must have had many such opportunities.


As a member of the lost tribe of Asher, there must have been a strong incentive to marry and bear children, since this tribe may have been in danger of extinction.


Her greatest womanly contribution, as well as her womanly fulfillment, would seem to have been marriage and child-bearing.


Nevertheless, she remained single, lived out her life in the temple, occupied with prayer and fasting.


Simeon had been divinely guided to the temple; Anna was always there.


Thus she, coming in that instant, came upon the scene of Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus and Simeon, just at the time Simeon was identifying the child as Godís Messiah.


She then immediately began giving thanks to God.


More than this, she began to broadcast the good news to all those who were, like she and Simeon, looking for the redemption in Jerusalem.


Anna did not miss a service, she was always in the temple and did not miss out on this great blessing of seeing the Messiah and it seems that those who did look for the Messiah knew each other and together longed for his coming.


She spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem


This tells us who Anna kept company with.


Anna kept company with the faithful, those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.


Here are some interesting facts concerning Jesus Christís first visit to the temple.


His first visit took place as a baby in his motherís arms. 


He was defenseless and without words or works.


It was the first of many visits which are recorded in scripture. 


All of his visits including this one were very significant events.


We are told of one of these visits to the temple later in this chapter when Jesus visited it when he was 12 years old.


The Old Testament prophets had spoken of the appearance of Godís Messiah at the temple:


Mal. 3:1,  Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.


But Jesusí first visit to the temple in Jerusalem, as recorded by Johnís gospel (John 2:13-25), commenced with the cleansing of the temple, and with strong words of rebuke, just as one well acquainted with the Old Testament prophecies concerning Messiahís appearance would have expected.