Sunday, December 12, 2010


By My Anonymous Friend

This week I read on a Facebook posting where someone has determined that the return of Christ will take place in May of 2011. I am not sure what the basis is for that date exactly but I believe such statements are nonsense and directly contradict what Scripture teaches. No man knows the day or the hour. An event took place when Jesus was born that bears some similarity however to date setting. It is part of the Christmas story but probably not well known. Let me expand on it for you today.

Simeon was a righteous and devout man in Jerusalem who longed for the "consolation of Israel". This is a reference to the comfort and hope Messiah would bring to His people at His coming. It is also called the redemption of Jerusalem. Simeon had been told somehow by the Holy Spirit that he would live to see this day. When he beheld the infant Jesus he somehow knew that He was the fulfilment of this long awaited promise.

One theory is that Simeon was one of the translators of the Septuagint. This was a translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek completed sometime in the third century BC at Alexandria, Egypt. When Simeon came to Isaiah 7:14 which records that a virgin will conceive a bear a Son, he was filled with questions and doubts. This did not seem possible. An angel revealed to Simeon that he should translate this verse as written and that it would miraculously come to pass. Furthermore, he would live to see it happen! One problem with this theory is that Simeon would have been several hundred years old when Christ was born. I remind you that it is a theory.

What is sure is that Simeon had a profound faith and confidence that he would live to see the birth of the Messiah. How did he know that Jesus was the fulfilment of the Isaiah prophecy? I do not know the answer except that Scripture says the Holy Spirit revealed this to him. I simply leave it there. It is fascinating.

Simeon was overwhelmed with delight and thanksgiving when he realized that the Messiah had finally come. He responded with praises that are known as the Nunc Diimittis which are still an important part of worship in liturgical traditions. These words of Simeon are recorded in Luke 2:29-32.

Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.

Simeon then continued by speaking a blessing and a prophecy to Mary.

This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.

Please consider several fascinating aspects to this story.

1. How did Simeon know that this baby was finally the One he and others were longing to see?

2. Note that Simeon says that the salvation the Messiah would provide would be for ALL people.

3. Note that Simeon predicted the sufferings of Jesus which both He and His mother Mary would experience.

4. Simeon predicted the division and controversy Jesus would bring. I find it fascinating that to this day, it is relatively acceptable to speak of God in generic terms. However to refer to Jesus specifically brings out howls of protests and controversy. He is indeed a controversial and divisive figure.

Interesting points to ponder at this time of year.

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