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Wednesday, November 28 2012
Simeon and Anna
The prophecy of the birth of the Messiah in Bethlehem was brought about by a decree from a Roman Emperor, Caesar Augustus.
"2:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus [see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars], that all the world should be taxed. 2:2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 2:3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
The local shepherds of Bethlehem were the first witnesses of the birth of the Messiah (the "wise men" didn't arrive until months later; see the Fact Finder question below). It wasn't merely a happenstance occasion; an angel appeared to them and made the announcement that "this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."
"2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 2:9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 2:10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David [see Jesse The Bethlehemite and Bethlehem In History And Prophecy] a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 2:12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." (Luke 2:8-12 KJV)
Whether they sang it, or merely said it together, "suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
"2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host [see also Legions Of Men And Angels] praising God, and saying, 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." (Luke 2:13-14 KJV)
The shepherds then went into the town to "see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us."
"2:15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord [see The Kingdom Of The LORD God] hath made known unto us." (Luke 2:15 KJV)
Exactly as instructed, they found "Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger" (months later, the "wise men" would find them living in a house in Bethlehem, as directed by the star of Bethlehem: "2:9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 2:10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 2:11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh." Matthew 2:9-11 KJV).
"2:16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 2:17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 2:18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 2:19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 2:20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them." (Luke 2:16-20 KJV)
According to custom and law, the circumcision and naming were done.
"2:21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb." (Luke 2:21 KJV)
The name of the Messiah had already been given to Joseph and Mary before the Birth. While many debate whether the Greek "Jesus" is accurate, consider carefully that Luke was a Greek-speaking Gentile - that the LORD chose to record one of the four "gospel" books and the Book of Acts (see also The Epistles: Luke and The Epistles: Acts).
"1:26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee [see also The Cities Of Lake Galilee], named Nazareth, 1:27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. 1:28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
Exactly as stated in the Law that the LORD (see Who Is The LORD?) gave to Israel, the LORD, when He was born as a human, obeyed the Law.
"2:22 And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses [see Israel In History and Prophecy: Law Of The LORD] were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; 2:23 (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) 2:24 And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons." (Luke 2:22-24 KJV)
The shepherds and the "wise men" / Magi are the most famous first witnesses of the Coming of the Messiah. But two other people, filled with the Holy Spirit, also have their testimony recorded for us. The first 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."
"2:25 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 [see The Harvest Prophecies]. 2:26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the LORD's Christ. 2:27 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, 2:28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
Notice, amazingly, apart from what they already knew (e.g. the virgin birth), "Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him."
"2:33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. 2:34 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; 2:35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." (Luke 2:33-35 KJV)
So too, Anna, a prophetess, "in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem."
"2:36 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; 2:37 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. 2:38 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 KJV)
Fact Finder: The "wise men" from the east arrived months after the birth of the Messiah. Why did they come?
This Day In History, November 28
1095: At the Council of Clermont, Pope Urban II appointed Bishop Adhemar of Le Puy and Count Raymond IV of Toulouse to lead the First Crusade (there were actually many "crusades" before that; see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy).
1520: Off the southern tip of South America, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan passed through a strait from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. It is today know as the Strait of Magellan.
1698: Louis Frontenac, governor of New France (at first, only what is today eastern Canada), died at age 78. Ignoring orders from his superiors, Frontenac pushed French exploration in the New World, establishing forts throughout North America, from Atlantic to Pacific, and south to Louisiana - an expansion that eventually led to conflict with the British for control of the north of the North American continent (the Spanish held most of the south of North America and South America).
1729: Natchez natives (that early white explorers called "Indians" because they thought North America was Asia) massacred most of the 300 French settlers and soldiers at Fort Rosalie, Louisiana.
1821: Panama joined Colombia after declaring independence from Spain.
1868: A major eruption of Sicily's Mount Etna.
1899: During the Second Boer War in South Africa, the British under Lord Methuen battled a force of 9,000 Boers (boer is the Dutch word for farmer) in the Battle of Modder River.
1905: In Dublin, the Irish Sinn Fein was founded.
1912: Albania declared its independence after over 400 years of Ottoman (Turkish) rule (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire).
1941: The U.S. aircraft carrier Enterprise left Pearl Harbor, Hawaii to deliver fighter planes to Wake Island, to the northwest of Hawaii, unaware that a Japanese attack force was approaching within striking distance from the north. In doing so, it barely missed being in the harbor during the Japanese attack which occurred only 9 days later (the attack on Pearl Harbor was just one of many Japanese near-simultaneous attacks on Australian, Dutch, British and U.S. targets all across the Pacific in December of 1941).
1943: During the Second World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), Britain's Winston Churchill, Russia's Joseph Stalin and U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt met at the Tehran Conference in Iran.
1950: 200,000 North Korean troops launched an attack on South Korea.
1962: Queen Wilhemina of the Netherlands died at age 82.
1971: The Prime Minister of Jordan, Wasfi Tell, was shot by "Black September" terrorists outside the Hilton Hotel in Cairo.
1979: An Air Zealand DC-10 flying from Auckland to the South Pole hit Mount Erebus in Antarctica, killing all 257 people aboard.
1984: Over 250 years after his death, England's William Penn was made an Honorary Citizen of the U.S. (although Penn did much city building and political work in the colonies that England had created in the uninhabited wilderness, he did not participate or agree with the revolution - the reason that he returned to England where he lived the remainder of his life).
1989: With communism crumbling all across Europe, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia announced that it would surrender its monopoly on political power.