WEEK 16 : The Presentation in the Temple and the Homage of Simeon and Anna

1. SCRIPTURE

Luke 2:22-39

Lk. 2:22 Now when the days of her purification according to the Law of Moses were completed, they brought him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord.
Lk. 2:23 As it is written, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord” (Exodus 13:2,12,15).
Lk. 2:24 And to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons” (Leviticus 12:8)
Lk. 2:25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
Lk. 2:26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.
Lk. 2:27 So he came by the Spirit into the Temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Yeshua, to do for Him according to the custom of the Law,
Lk. 2:28 He took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
Lk. 2:29 “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word;”
Lk. 2:30 “For my eyes have seen your salvation..”
Lk. 2:31 “Which You prepared before the face of all peoples.”
Lk. 2:32 “A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.”
Lk. 2:33 And Yoseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him.
Lk. 2:34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Miriam His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against.”
Lk. 2:35 “(Yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.”
Lk. 2:36 Now there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity.
Lk. 2:37 And this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the Temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
Lk. 2:38 And coming in that instant, she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for the redemption of Israel.
Lk. 2:39 So when they had performed all things according to the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth.

Luke 2:22-39 (NKJV) Other versions ...


2. COMMENTARY

Yeshua is now forty-one days old. The purpose of the ceremony here is the purification of the mother. The mother was reckoned unclean after giving birth to a son for forty-one days. She was reckoned unclean for eighty days if she gave birth to a girl. On the forty-first day she goes to the Temple for her purification. The other reason for going is for the Pidyon haBin (Redemption of the Firstborn) ceremony. Here again is evidence that both Yoseph and Miriam were righteous people, as shown by their obedience to the commandments of the Mosaic Law. Yeshua was being brought up by two people that were spiritual, righteous and obedient to the Law of Moses.

The redemption price today is five dollars which is placed next to the child in front of the cohen (priest). The cohen asks, “Which do you prefer, to give your son or redeem him?” The father says, “To redeem him.” The redemption money is used for charity. Since Yeshua was from the tribe of Y”Hudah, and not from the tribe of Levi, He had to be redeemed.

Vs. 23: Exodus 13:2 says, “Consecrate to Me every firstborn; man and beast, the first issue of every womb among the Israelites is Mine.” Numbers 3:13 says, “For every firstborn is Mine; at the that I smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt, I consecrated every firstborn in Israel, man and beast, to Myself, to be Mine, the Lord’s.” Notice that the “Law of the Lord” is mentioned here, but it is called the “Law of Moses” in verse 22. This demonstrates that the Jews believed that God spoke through Moses and gave him His law at Mt. Sinai, both written and oral. These two terms “Law of the Lord” and “Law of Moses” mean the same thing.. The Mishnah or Oral Law (commentary on the Written Law) carries the same authority as the Written Law by the time of Yeshua.

The offering that they gave was “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” That tells us that they were a poverty-stricken family, because the giving of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons was allowed under the Law if you couldn’t afford the normal sacrifice. This is in keeping with the teaching in Israel that the Messiah would make His appearance only when the House of David, which was once a mighty and glorious tribe, had been cut down and reduced to a stump.

That is why Isaiah mentions Jesse rather than David. He pictures the great House of David as a tree that has been felled with only a stump remaining. While it appeared to be nothing but dead stump, suddenly a shoot began to grow and produce life. The whole point of the picture in Israel is that when the House of David had been reduced to poverty again, when it had been reduced to what it had been in Jesse’s day, that is when Messiah would appear.

Vs. 25: In this passage, we have mention of a man named Simeon. It may very well have been the famous Simeon of Talmudic literature, Rabban Simeon, who was the son of Hillel and the father of Gamaliel who Paul studied under. Whether or not it was this person, the timing would have been about right.

It says that he was looking for the “Consolation of Israel.” The Consolation of Israel was one of the titles of the Messianic Hope among the Rabbis. One of the names of the Messiah in Rabbinic literature was Menachem, meaning Comforter. The Hebrew word Nechama, which is usually translated as comfort or condolence, has a deeper meaning than the English translation of that word conveys. The Jewish notion of “comfort” does not mean to sublimate and forget the tragedy of the past. Rather it means to deal with it somehow in the best way humanly possible and move forward with life. The main purpose of Messiah’s coming was to usher in the Kingdom of God.The prophet Micah gave this description: “Thus He will judge among the many peoples, and arbitrate for the multitude of nations, however distant; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not take up sword against nation; they shall never again know war” (Micah 4:3). Isasiah 40:1, 2 says it this way: “Comfort, oh comfort My people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and declare to her that her term of service is over, that her iniquity is expiated; for she has received at the hand of the Lord double for all her sins.”

In the course of their stay that day, they have two encounters. Simeon, we are told, was a member of those who were looking for the Messiah. This man was righteous and devout, looking for the Consolation of Israel. Although he was fairly old, nevertheless, it was revealed to him that he would not die until his eyes beheld the Messiah. When his eyes beheld the forty-one day old boy, he realizes the fulfillment of that promise in what he saw.

Vs. 27: Yoseph and Miriam had come to the Temple to offer sacrifice for Miriam’s cleansing and to perform the ceremony called Pidyon haBin. The ceremony of redeeming the firstborn on the thirty-third day following circumcision has its origin in the Torah (Numbers 18:15,16). This precept was originally designed to counteract the heathen practice of sacrificing the firstborn son or beast to the Semitic gods. What an incredible thought it is that the Redeemer of mankind had to also be redeemed.

Numbers 18:15, 16 tells us, “The first iss of the womb of every being, man or beast, that is offered to the Lord, shall be yours; but you shall have the first born of man redeemed, and you shall also have the firstling of unclean animals redeemed. Take as their redemption price, from the age of one month up, the money equivalent of five shekels by the Sanctuary weight, which is five gerahs.” The redemption price today is five dollars which is placed next to the child in front of the Cohen (priest). The cohen asks the father, “which do you prefer, to give your son or to redeem him?” The father says, “to redeem him.” The redemption money is used for charity. Since Yeshua was from the tribe of Judah, not from the tribe of Levi, He had to be redeemed. The ceremony of redeeming the firstborn on the thirty-first day following circumcision has it origin in the Torah. This precept was originally designed to counteract the heathen practice of sacrificing the firstborn son or beast to the Semitic gods.

Vs. 29: Now Simeon says he is ready to die because he has finally seen the Messiah. It should be remembered that he is not speaking English or Greek, but Hebrew. When he said, “My eyes have seen Your salvation,” he would have actually said, “my eyes have seen Your Yeshua.”

Vs. 30: The hope of the Jewish people was that someday God would send a Redeemer to them as promised in His word: “A Redeemer shall come to Zion” (Isaiah 59:20). The Redeemer is described as a king who shall reign and govern wisely. The principle features of this expectation are the recovery of independence, an era of peace and prosperity of faith in God and His Torah, of justice and brotherly love among men, and the Ingathering of the Exiles. The Jews were looking for an earthly Deliverer, and that is why they had difficulty in accepting the ministry of Yeshua. The two-fold element of the ministry of Yeshua is again brought out in this verse. The Gentiles are the ones, according to the previous segment, who “sit in darkness.” Upon them the Light is also to shine.

Both Isaiah and Jeremiah spoke of what God was beginning to do here that Simeon was sensing. In Isaiah 52:10 we read, “The Lord will bare His holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the very ends of the earth shall see the victory of our God.” In Jeremiah 23:5, 6 we read: “See, a time is coming – declares the Lord – when I will raise up a true branch of David’s line. He shall reign as king and shall prosper, and he shall do what is just and right in the land. In His days Judah shall be delivered and Israel shall dwell secure. And this is the name by which He shall be called – the Lord is our Vindicator.”

Vs. 32: In Judaism the word “revelation” means an act whereby the hidden, unknown God shows Himself to man. The meaning of this verse is that God intended, through Israel, to show Himself to the entire world. It is worthwhile to note that both here and in Zacharias’ prophecy, Israel believed that the Messiah was for the entire world, not just for them. In Isaiah 49:6 this was prophesied: “For He has said, ‘It is too little that You should be My servant in that I raise up the tribes of Jacob and restore the survivors of Israel: I will also make You a light of nations, that My salvation may reach the ends of the earth.”

Vs. 34,35: The sign spoken of here is Yeshua Himself and He spoke of that division that Simeon prophesied about. Many in Israel would fall because they rejected Him as Messiah. But, many would rise again in the glory of God that Israel once had because they accepted Him. Miriam and Yoseph stood there in amazement. Although they had already received divine visitations and experienced the touch of God in marvelous ways – they kissed the face of God whenever they kissed Yeshua. Still, they had not realized the scope of what was now being revealed through Simeon. Yeshua was not just the Messiah of Israel, but for the whole world.

Simeon recognizes something else: that Yeshua would become a point of division in the Jewish world. He will be for some “a falling” and for others “a rising.” He will be that sign that will be spoken against because He will cause a division in the Jewish world. The piercing of the soul of Miriam will come when Yeshua is crucified. The decision on whether a person will serve God is the most intimate one a person will make. It is a decision that effects the very core of who we are and can be made only by that person. When Miriam would see her Son nailed to a cross, beaten almost beyond recognition, only a mother’s love knows the pain that she must have felt. But this again is a tribute to the kind of woman that Miriam was.

Vs. 36: The second encounter was with a prophetess named Anna. She, we are told, is of the tribe of Asher. Now, there is a popular concept spreading in various churches and Christian groups about the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. When Sargon came against the ten northern tribes and took them captive, it is a very real possibility that refugees from all ten tribes returned to Judah to escape capture. When the tribes of Benjamin and Judah were taken captive to Babylon, more than likely representatives from all twelve tribes were there. Here we find that Anna is a member of the tribe of Asher, one of the so-called “ten lost tribes,” and she is hardly lost. When the Jews returned from the Babylonian Captivity, it is very probable that they returned with members of all twelve tribes. If a member of one of the ten tribes is present, it is a very real possibility that the other nine had representation there also.

Since the return from the Babylonian Captivity occurred some 400 years prior to this, there had to be some members of her tribe come back from Babylon in order that she could be a descendant of them.

Vs. 37: The text further states that by this time she was of great age, having lived with a husband for only seven years before becoming widowed. After her husband’s death, she lived another eighty-four years, for a total of ninety-one years. She would have normally married at somewhere between the ages of twelve and fifteen years. That means that she is approximately 103-105 years old. She is indeed a matriarch of Israel, a lady greatly respected in her community. Here we see the principle of two witnesses at work, and what two witnesses they are.

Vs. 38: Like Simeon, Anna also recognized this forty-one day old boy as being the Person of the Messiah and rejoiced greatly. She was finally free to leave the Temple compound and went out to tell everyone that the Messiah had been born and that she had seen Him.

3. DISCUSSIONS

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