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Discussion Forum : General Topics : What about Simeon and Anna?

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roadsign
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Joined: 2005/5/2
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 What about Simeon and Anna?

Our Christmas traditions, such as the carols and nativity displays have enabled most people to know the main characters surrounding Christ's birth: Joseph, Mary, angels, shepherds, and Magi.

But what about Simeon and Anna? Should they not have been included? After all, they saw the Christ-child before the Magi did. And they didn’t even need to leave home or fields to find him. He was taken to them right where they were - in the Temple. They recognized him immediately, without the aid of angels or stars. Simeon and Anna were the first within the Jewish religious community to see the Christ-child.

These two elderly servants understood, by divine revelation, the implications of this child’s advent, even more than his parents did. Simeon foreshadowed “the rising and falling of many.” He also warned Mary: “A sword will pierce your own soul too.”Lk. 2:35

Anna “never left the temple, but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying. She spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem”

Did you notice that! Anna got to proclaim the Good News firsthand! What an exciting role! She deserved it; after all, she was watching and praying, and prepared for his arrival.

I am convinced that Simeon’s and Anna’s intercessions over their many years of faithful fasting and communing with God prepared the way for the child Jesus, and helped protect his life from the hordes of demonic forces pitted against him. I am also convinced that Simeon and Anna wept many tears over the suffering he was to endure.


So, how did these two spiritual giants of Israel, these mighty elders of the faith, become secondary characters in our traditional Christmas story?

There is a reason why Simeon and Anna have not received the recognition they deserve: Their lives closely paralleled the life of Christ. He was not recognized in the religious establishment of the day. His prophetic indictments were no more attractive than Simeon’s: “…a sign that will be spoken against, so the hearts of many will be revealed.” Lk. 2:35

Jesus said, “He who receives you receives me.” Matt. 10:40 Just as with Simeon and Anna, Christ has been relentlessly forgotten and rejected by those who have freely taken his name. Naturally his followers bear the same reproach.


There is no need to make miniature replicas of Simeon and Anna, or draw pictures of them on Christmas cards. I’d say, we honor them best by following their example: by looking only to Christ for our hope and salvation, and by waiting expectantly on him.

Isn’t that what they were eagerly anticipating?

Diane


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Diane

 2006/12/7 19:12Profile
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Joined: 2006/9/28
Posts: 108


 Re: What about Simeon and Anna?

Great insights Diane!

May we all be taught by their example of persevering prayer with expectancy.

 2006/12/7 21:30Profile
rookie
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Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4792


 Re: What about Simeon and Anna?

Sis wrote;

Quote:
There is a reason why Simeon and Anna have not received the recognition they deserve: Their lives closely paralleled the life of Christ.



I believe that the teachings of dispensational theology blind many to what you have come to understand. You will hear many a teacher say that God ceased to speak to His people once the book of Malachi was written. Yet as you have pointed out, Simeon and Anna's life paralleled the life of Christ. Faith can lead no other place...

God Bless
In Christ
Jeff


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Jeff Marshalek

 2006/12/8 0:12Profile
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Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


 Re: What about Simeon and Anna?

Diane!

Quote:
I am convinced that Simeon’s and Anna’s intercessions over their many years of faithful fasting and communing with God prepared the way for the child Jesus, and helped protect his life from the hordes of demonic forces pitted against him. I am also convinced that Simeon and Anna wept many tears over the suffering he was to endure.



Really these past couple of days are remarkable to me. It seems we are walking on the road to Emmaus discussing the scriptures...and the Lord is with us!

I would like to make a point about Simeon and Anna's regard towards prayer...at least what I'm seeing now.

Simeon and Anna, in the midst of a pretty hopeless time for their people, were undoubtedly aware of many prophecies of the Messiah. Indeed, many of these promises were also made when God's people faced seemingly hopeless situations...

For example, consider the plight of the Jews living in Judah under the wicked idolatrous King Ahaz..over 700 years before Simeon and Anna. Could there still be a remnant of people faithful to God even as Ahaz was immolating his son through the fire to Molech? There is always a remnant...but overall the King and nation had earned the judgement of God.

In those days, Syria and Israel joined forces to wage war against Judah. With guilty consciences instead of faith, Judah began to shake as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind. (Shaking like leaves I think is how we say it today! If only Americans had at least this much sense...)

Then Isaiah came to Ahaz with wonderful news from the Lord; Judah was going to be saved! Actually Isaiah didn't address Ahaz as Ahaz...but as the House of David, as if to indicate that this good news is not a measurement of Ahaz' worthiness,(sic) but a reflection of God's faithfulness to David.

Even so, Ahaz was still tempted to make a treaty with Assyria. (See the current thread on "What is Unequally Yoked?")So God promised that if Ahaz did trust in Assyria he would be destroyed...but the Lord also offered the wicked king a curious word of comfort.

Isaiah invites Ahaz to ask God for a sign to prove that He, the Lord, will deliver Judah from her enemies. Now apparently Ahaz suddenly gets religion and piously says...I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD.

Surely God would be impressed with such newfound humility and reverence. Ahaz knew that God was displeased with him...and here was Ahaz making up for it by lowering his head and playing the lowly and self-effacing king...

Ahaz still didn't get it...he should've known when God adressed him not as Ahaz, but as 'the house of David', that this deliverance wasn't based on Ahaz's meritorious behavior...but on God's promise to David! And so Ahaz' hypocritical piety was really nothing more then his typical disregard for the established Word of God.

And now I finally get to the point I am wanting to make about the way Simeon and Anna viewed prayer. Unlike the wicked hypocritical King Ahaz, these two saints weren't bashful about wanting to see a sign of God's deliverance. They didn't even seem to wait for an invitation from a prophet telling them to go. Believing the Word of God, they came every day, arranging their entire life around expectation.

Unlike the modern humanistic church, ubelief is not something God seems to feel sorry for. We reveal our own doubt in God's power and resentment for his holiness, as we soothe sinners and rebels with our highminded pity...coddling their unbelief in God's salvation as a type of innocent weakness...but God sees all of it as arrogance and pride that doubts His character and power.

Unbelief wearies God! Consider this when we come to pray. Accordingly Isaiah rebuked Ahaz...Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? Clearly Simeon and Anna were not doubters! They believed God and would not look anywhere else for their consolation and deliverance.

If only Ahaz would have been like Simeon and Anna, and honored God by expecting His sign of deliverance. When it comes to overcoming this world through the promises of God in Christ...do we remain in expectant prayer...or are we too 'humble' and 'pitiful' to expect any real move of God?

Incidentally what was the sign that God gave to King Ahaz, garanteeing the survival of Judah? Well, it's familiarity today might make us miss just how strange it must have seemed centuries ago to a nation facing their own extinction.

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.


Blessings saints!

MC



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Mike Compton

 2006/12/8 0:57Profile
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 Re:

Even though I have done some tweaking, I still don’t like the ending. After all, it’s is about us, not somebody else. I would like to use this as a message for seniors on Sunday, but feel I still need the right closing. I know there is a word that applies for all ages. Does anyone see it?

Something in here, I believe (thank you MC):

Quote:

...a remnant of people faithful to God...

Clearly Simeon and Anna were not doubters! They believed God and would not look anywhere else for their consolation and deliverance.

...arranging their entire life around expectation...




Diane


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Diane

 2006/12/8 5:53Profile
rookie
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 Re:

Brother Mike wrote:

Quote:
Incidentally what was the sign that God gave to King Ahaz, garanteeing the survival of Judah? Well, it's familiarity today might make us miss just how strange it must have seemed centuries ago to a nation facing their own extinction.



Is. 7:13 Then he said, “Hear now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. 15 Curds and honey He shall eat, that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good. 16 For before the Child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land that you dread will be forsaken by both her kings. 17 The LORD will bring the king of Assyria upon you and your people and your father’s house—days that have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from Judah.”

Isaiah 8:

8 He will pass through Judah,
He will overflow and pass over,
He will reach up to the neck;
And the stretching out of his wings
Will fill the breadth of Your land, O Immanuel.
9 “Be shattered, O you peoples, and be broken in pieces!
Give ear, all you from far countries.
Gird yourselves, but be broken in pieces;
Gird yourselves, but be broken in pieces.
10 Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing;
Speak the word, but it will not stand,
For God is with us.”

Have you ever gone a little further in this section of Scripture, that is, who is this Child that eats Curds and honey? This was a sign for Ahaz in his day also for it was Immanuel's land for those who were the remnant...

Christ is all in all outside of the constraints of human thought and doctrine...

In Christ
jeff


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Jeff Marshalek

 2006/12/8 6:11Profile
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Joined: 2005/5/2
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 Re:

Rookie said:

Quote:
teachings of dispensational theology blind many to what you have come to understand. You will hear many a teacher say that God ceased to speak to His people once the book of Malachi was written


I never thoguht about this. Actually, I thought that the dispensationalists put John the Baptist in the old dispensation, and so would have no trouble slipping Simeon and Anna in there also. After all these two were much older.
Diane


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Diane

 2006/12/8 6:53Profile









 Re:

Good piece, MC. Thanks. It answered something for me.

When considering JTB, I have been using the word "empty",--- of the world, totally separated unto God for God to reveal His word; Himself and the soon to appearing, "Lamb of God". I mean, how could John speak the way he did concerning Him who was "coming after him yet was prefered before him"? They weren't his words he spoke. They were from God by revelation. Using this from you explains it in a more practical spiritual way:

Quote:
They [Simmeon and Anna] didn't even seem to wait for an invitation from a prophet telling them to go. Believing the Word of God, they came every day, [b][i]arranging their entire life[/i] around "expectation"[/b].



I see the three of them experiencing a type of [pre]Pentecostal experience with manifestations following. And we can see what was required for the experience; separation/emptiness - purity and "expectation". We see the same thing [obedience/worship/adoration] just prior to Acts 2.4. God will not give to His own a stone when they ask for bread.

Is this not the day for us to examine ourselves that we be found in the Lord? With all that is a distraction in our lives, can we say we are separated unto Him and wait, "expectantly"?

Orm

 2006/12/8 8:12
Compton
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Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


 Re:

Diane, there is something here for us...last night I left my prayers and readings of Isaiah 7 and was able to minister to my wife with renewed power. You know we fathers are like rulers in our households...how many Christian husbands and fathers are loveless and faithless towards God like Ahaz...adopting pagan idols and customs while still maintaining some hypocritical traditions of the law?

I am looking forward to hearing what the Lord would share with you from the scripture you hilighted Diane...

Quote:
They believed God and would not look anywhere else for their consolation and deliverance.

...arranging their entire life around expectation...



Ormly mentioned a "[pre]Pentecostal" experience...or at least state. Well I've never heard it put that way before but I hope the Lord is bringing me there. (and others as well!) My hope isn't some working up...in fact it's exaustion. I am growing truly tired of a lifetime of human devices and solutions...

Perhaps the greatest dispute I have ever had to settle with God is the arrogant unbelief I hide...betrayed by my lack of regard for the importance of real prayer. It may be a fair statement, that for me, prayer is the great dispute I secretly harbor.

There are too many channels in the church competing for allegiance...pulpits are spewing confusion...politics, social causes and compassionate enterprises, entertaining and strange fire, deadness and self-absorbed pursuits. If we give our zeal over to these things they exaust us and might even leave us doubting God...because they are all only a cheap imitation of Godliness but not the power.

Rookie, this is awesome...

Quote:
He will pass through Judah,
He will overflow and pass over,
He will reach up to the neck;
And the stretching out of his wings
Will fill the breadth of Your land, O Immanuel.



I believe and understand it's national implications, but how I feel these words in my own being right now. Oh that I could stretch out my arms in surrender, and that Immanuel would pass through me, overflow me and over me...that I could abide in Him even as He dwells in me, to stretch out his wings and fill the breadth of my being.

How long it takes to lay our devices down.

Quote:
Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing



Quote:
Curds and honey He shall eat, that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good.



There is richer, and fattier food out there in the world for sure, but that we may follow Jesus and refuse the evil, to choose the good, we do not eat what the world eats. We do this because we live expectantly that the Lord is with us. Otherwise we would be like Ahaz who was unable to hear the Lord even when God was speaking plainly to him.

Quote:
Is this not the day for us to examine ourselves that we be found in the Lord? With all that is a distraction in our lives, can we say we are separated unto Him and wait, "expectantly"?



MC


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Mike Compton

 2006/12/8 13:56Profile









 Re: What about Simeon and Anna?


This is a splendid thread, all of you posters.

Here is a lazy question from me, based on my eye being caught by the phrase 'both her kings'.

Quote:
the land that you dread will be forsaken by both her kings.

Who were they, which 'land' had [i][b]two[/i][/b] kings, and why?

My thanks in advance.

 2006/12/8 15:23





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