SIMEON, THE PROPHET
What do we know about ‘Simeon’? He was a prophet. He prophesied to Mary and Joseph in the Temple when they brought Jesus there as a baby. This is about as much as we ever hear told to us. He gets a sentence of two of a few Christmas sermons. Yet, this man was a great prophet. We need to check out this prophet, and his message.
There are many false and evil methods of prophecy.
In Greece, prophets would use vapors to give a prophecy. In Dodona, prophets would listen to the rustling of the leaves, and the sounds of moving waters, and then give their prophecies. In spiritism, mediums put themselves into semi-waking trances, and demonic spirits speak through them. The Babylonians would cut open animals, take out the liver, and by spots on the liver make predictions. The witches of different ages use tea leaves, crystal balls, tarot cards, lines on the palms of the hands, bumps on the head, etc. to make predictions. In the New Age sects, we find astrology, seances, quija boards, crystals, etc. that are used to give prophecies. Those methods are all wrong. They are not sourced from God.
Simeon’s message was from God, proves true, was not some gentle exhortation promising wealth if they gave him a big offering. No, Simeon’s prophetic word shows us much of what a true prophet is.
Some imitators of prophets today, give psychic type blessings and words that are little more than just soothsaying. Some parts of the Christian church are preaching and teaching a ‘prophetic message’ that is not Scriptural. They want it to have ‘no correction’, ‘no rebuke’. This fits well into the plan of the devil, for the Lord wants to clean up the church today, to get it ready for the revival and rapture. The devil wants to lull the church to sleep, and make it think like ‘Laodicea’ that they have need of nothing. So, some, following that encouragement of devils, are being seduced into reducing the message of prophets to be wimpy, and blessing only.
If such a false prophet had ‘Judas’ come to him, he would have told Judas something like unto:
“I see you having a financial need. Some have offered you a business opportunity. Take it, but then take that money and plant it as a seed. Your seed will bring great rewards. Your name will be remembered through the ages for your investment.”
Would that be an acceptable prophecy for Judas? Hardly!!! Rather, Judas needed warned, and told the whole of truth. There is a seed of truth even in that deceptive prophecy. Many so called ‘prophets’ of today are false and are offering a ‘seed of truth’ mixed with a bucket of lies.
If “Demas’ had come to one of those ‘wimpy’ prophets, he could have been told:
‘You have been held back by your associates. You feel blocked from enjoying life as you should. You feel like you are at the starting blocks and the starting gun is about to sound. Race toward your goals. Seek that which you so greatly desire. Do not look back, You’re about to be blessed with the desires of your heart.”
Is there a seed of truth in that prophecy? Of course, there is only a seed of truth, but it is not from God, and would lead Demas down the wrong road.
If ‘Mary Magdalene’ had come to one of these modern day ‘wimpy’ prophets, she may have heard; ‘God has blessed you abundantly, by turning your life from sin and degradation to a life of joy and blessing. Take what you have, do not waste it on the temporal. Invest your savings in to helping a ministry. Watch your savings grow. Do not squander it on a ‘dead’ ministry. Do not waste your savings on that which will die and be gone.’
Would that have hindered Mary from pouring out the precious ointment on the feet of Jesus? Would that have made here hoard and seek to get rich, instead of giving her all for the Lord? Yes, it would have. But she did not heed such a prophet, if there were that kind back then.
If one of today’s wimpy and false prophets would have encountered John the Baptist, the prophecy would have gone as such:
“The failures and sins of some have disturbed you, but do not lose your head over other’s sins. Turn your eyes on the goal of building your own ministry. Those who follow you may be confronted with a choice of your ministry or another’s ministry to follow. Do not let the goals of another to interfere with the increase in your ministry. Purpose to increase, not decrease.”
Would such a prophecy to John, if heeded, have hindered the kingdom? Would it have really benefitted John the Baptist to have followed such a prophecy? Of course, it would have hindered John the Baptist, if he had listened to that kind of prophet.
The ‘rich man’ who had barns full of goods could have been told by the prophet who is more interested in carnal mammon and wealth than spiritual goals, something like this:
“There are some who would distract you from gaining and keeping the wealth you have. Look away from those who distract you, or who encourage you to waste it on those who are not blessed as you are, for they would not appreciate it as you do. Plant a seed in various ministries, but keep most for yourself, so you can enjoy the things you deserve. Build more, so you can possess more.”
The rich man died as a fool, for he lived by what that prophet would have told him. He would have said ‘amen’ to the prophet, for that prosperity obsessed prophet was his kind of prophet.
The rich young ruler who came to find what he needed to do, to have eternal life, was told to sell all he had and give it away, and then follow Jesus. The prosperity prophets of today would have asked for a share of it, and told the man to go and prosper more, and send in his monthly partner amount, and he would be fine. The rich young ruler would not have gone away ‘sorrowful’ after that prophecy, as he did when Jesus told him to give all of his wealth to the needy. Yet, he would gain so much more heavenly wealth, if he would not listen to the prosperity seeking prophet.
If ‘Zachaeus’ had come to one of those ‘prophets’, they would not have wanted to say anything negative. They would have avoided talking about reimbursing those he had cheated. They would have only sought a percentage of his gain from that time on, and sought to have him keep his eye on the goal of making enough to prosper their ministry along with his own lifestyle. Zachaeus would have had a friend, a golfing buddy, and been awarded the gift of the month from the prosperity prophet’s ministry. Still, he would have missed Jesus.
Prosperity prophets seek to enrich first themselves, and then promise to enrich others, by taking what little they have. They offer blessings and no judgment. They do not point out self sacrificial giving with no hope of enrichment on this earth. They offer acceptance, without demand for purity with God. They offer what you want to hear, instead of what God wants them to know and do. Prosperity prophets speak their own words, of their own minds, instead of God’s words of discernment and spiritual value.
There are many various kinds of prophets out there, with various ministries. Some sound almost Christian, and use the Christian vocabulary. Their dictionary has different meanings for the words, but the vocabulary is the same as the true prophet’s. The Lord is not pleased with any prophet who does not prophesy as He instructs prophets to prophesy. So, how is a prophet to prophesy? How do we know the true from the false prophet?
I John 4:1
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”
Simeon’s prophecy needs examined, tested, proven, as we are to do with all prophetic words. The prophets of the Old Testament spoke what God revealed to them. Sometimes they were called ‘seers’, for they were see-ers of visions and dreams.
II Peter 1:21
“Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”
So, what do we know about Simeon?
Jewish legend says that Simeon was the son of one of the High Priests, one named Hillel. They also say that Simeon’s son was Gamaliel, the teacher of Saul of Tarsus, before he became Paul, the apostle. Gamaliel was therefore raised by a true prophet, but had been educated by the religious rabbis of the time. Gamaliel lived in the days of Jesus’ coming, but he missed recognizing Jesus while He ministered. His father probably told Gamaliel what happened at this incarnation time, yet, Gamaliel was too worried about the reaction of Herod, than to heed the advice of his father. What a difference it would have made, had Paul’s teacher, i.e. Gamaliel, been aware of the great prophecy of his father to the Messiah’s parents.
Simeon was a just, a devout, a Holy Spirit-anointed man of God. God had spoken to this prophet about the coming Messiah. He had been given a prophetic promise by the Spirit, that he would see the Messiah before he died. Likely, he had long awaited, impatiently longed to see this Messiah.
Imagine having a prophetic promise from God, that you would be one of the first to recognize the Messiah. Simeon was waiting at the Temple, knowing that when only 40 days old, the Messiah would be brought to the Temple for the purification of the mother. That is why the prophecy of Simeon was made mostly to Mary.
The law proclaimed:
Leviticus 12:1-8 (KJV)
1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean.
3 And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.
4 And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled.
5 But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her separation: and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying threescore and six days.
6 And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest:
7 Who shall offer it before the LORD, and make an atonement for her; and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood. This is the law for her that hath born a male or a female.
8 And if she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean.
On the 40th day after a birth of a son, the mother was to obey this passage. There were some commands for the purification of women. If a woman had given birth to a male, she was unclean for seven days. On the eighth day the child was to be circumcised. She was to continue in purification for 33 more days (40 days total). She was not to come into the sanctuary until her purification ended. When the days of purification were over, the woman was to bring a lamb and a turtle dove to the priest at the door of the tabernacle which he offered to God to make atonement for her; and she was thereby cleansed from her issue of blood. If she were unable to bring a lamb and a turtle dove, she was to bring two turtle doves, one for a burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering. The priest made propitiation for her, and she was pronounced clean.
It was on this day of purification of Mary that the Spirit led Simeon to the Temple. And while standing there, watching the babies being carried to the temple for their circumcisions, the Spirit revealed to him that the baby being carried by Mary was the promised Messiah. Simeon took the baby Jesus into his arms, and blessed Him. Now Simeon was ready to die. He had witnessed an event that all godly women of Israel had prayed for. He had been allowed to see the coming of the Messiah. His study of the prophecies of Daniel had allowed him to know the day was close, but his studies could not have identified which child it would be, or which mother carrying her child would be the one.
He had likely heard of the wise men who had come some 32 days prior. He had likely heard the words of the shepherds from Bethlehem and the announcement from angels they had proclaimed to have seen. He had witnessed much of the anger of Herod as soldiers had been searching out all babes two years and under to kill. Yet, Simeon needed a word from the Lord to know which child it would be. His faith was strong, and he was listening for God to speak to him.
Simeon gave a very interesting prophecy here.
"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.
And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
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.
Then took he Him up in his arms, and blessed God and said, Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word.
For mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, Which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people, Israel.
And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him.
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: (Yea, a sword shall pierce through Thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
THE PROPHECY ABOUT JESUS
Simeon knew that Jesus would be the ‘salvation’. He used the word ‘soterion’ (Greek Strong's #4992) meaning ‘one that brings salvation, one that gives defense, a defender’ . Jesus came to defend us from the curse, from sin, from the one who wants to doom our souls in eternal fire, i.e. the devil. Jesus is a Defender.
Simeon called Jesus to be the "light", and Jesus is the "Light of the world..." Jesus is also called the "glory" of His people. When Jesus came, He came as the LIGHT OF THE WORLD. Before His coming, many believers in God were awaiting a Messiah, but they were in a twilight of understanding of it. Jesus had to come the first time, to bring LIGHT, so that they could see that it was not their nationality or ancestors that made them God’s, but it was a righteous heart. Jesus came, as had John the Baptist, beginning with the message ‘repent’. The LIGHT had begun to dispel the twilight.
While Jesus was here, He was the LIGHT. Now we are to ‘do the works’ that He did. We are all to be lights to the world. The world is approaching the time of the second coming of Jesus, and as John the Baptist was a forerunner to the Lord’s first coming, we are to be Lights in these last days.
The LIGHT is dispelling darkness more and more, and is affecting the ‘twilight’ that has crept into the church. The church first must choose to step further into the LIGHT, and escape the twilight. We are to bear that message of LIGHT to the church, and to the world outside of its walls.
To the church of Laodicea, which is representative of many of the churches of the last days, we see Jesus said they were not ’hot nor cold’ but were ‘lukewarm’ and that condition would soon cause Him to ‘spue them’. The twilight is the same condition, and those who remain in the twilight, will soon be extinguished, and put into darkness or judgment.
The coming of more LIGHT will make the church to not be tolerated as much as it has been.
“Ye shall be hated of all nations, for My name’s sake.”
The revival of the last days, will bring more and more LIGHT into the darkness of the world, and into the twilight of the church. We are to be, like Jesus was in His first coming, in the forefront of LIGHT BEARING. And thereby, we are in the forefront of those hated by others. Moslems hate Christians. Media and government laws are often designed to discriminate against Christians. In many countries, Christians are hated and abused. We find in families, the saved one, the new Christian is shunned, mocked, hated, and sometimes divorced. This will become more and more pronounced in the last days, for the LIGHT of the Christians will become brighter, and the darkness of the sinners will become darker. The twilight will soon disappear, for the church will be judged. And we will be left with LIGHT versus DARKNESS.
The world will soon note a marvel and wonder. There will be LIGHT amidst DARKNESS, with no twilight. Of course, I am speaking in a spiritual sense. This lack of twilight will make the world more adamant and hateful toward the LIGHT. The twilight of many in churches has made the world more tolerant of Christianity. The lack of a broad difference between them and the saints, have made them accept what few differences they saw from their own lives and the lives of the saints. Too often, there has been little noticeable difference between those in the church and those good, moral people of the world. There will become more and more noticeable difference.
God began His work of re-creating this world, with the words ‘LET THERE BE LIGHT.’ First the Spirit brooded upon the waters, and the Spirit has been ‘brooding’ and warming up the cold and dark church in the first days of LIGHT coming to it.
John spoke that ‘God is Light’. (I John 1:5).
Paul spoke that God is ‘dwelling in light unapproachable.’
(I Timothy 6:16)
Paul had met Jesus on the road to Damascus, and there saw a ‘great light’. (Acts 22:6, Acts 9:3)
“The opening of Thy words giveth light.’
“The law is light.’
“Jehovah is my light and salvation.’
“The life was the light of men.”
Isaiah records in Isaiah 42:6 and 49:6 that the Messiah was to come ‘for a light to the Gentiles.’
‘Christ shall give thee light’.
John the Baptist was spoken of by Jesus, and called a ‘burning and shining light.’ (John 5:25)
The disciples of the church age are called ‘the light of the world’. (Matthew 5:14)
Christians are called the ‘children of light’ (Luke 16:8, John 12:16, and Ephesians 5:18)
Therefore, we see that LIGHT is in Jesus, in His Word, in His followers. We are to receive a great revelation of light, and having been given that, will be greater LIGHT before a darker world.
When Moses came down off the mountain, after having stood before God, his face ‘shown’ with the glory of God. Having been in God’s presence, Moses’ face was also aglow with the LIGHT.
When Stephen was being stoned, and he looked up to see Jesus at the Father’s right hand, his face shown, and was enlightened by the LIGHT from God.
We need that encounter with the Lord, and need to receive many encounters with Him, so that the Spirit of Truth will give a new LIGHT to this us.
The revelation of that great light, made Paul to become one who would be a great light to others.
Acts 13:47 (speaking of Paul and Barnabas)
“For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.’
Paul said that ‘now we see through a glass darkly...’ Yet, the day has now come, when the LIGHT will shine brighter and brighter, dispelling the twilight. The LIGHT came and suffered and died for us, and soon He will come back for us. We are walking more and more close to that time, and the LIGHT is getting brighter and brighter.
II Peter 3:19
“We have also a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arises in your heart.”
As we walk and serve the Lord, we need to abide in LIGHT. This life will take on new dimensions, new horizons, new revelations, as we abide in the LIGHT.
I John 2:10
“He that loveth his brother, abideth in light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.’
A new zeal will accompany this LIGHT bestowment from God. Sometimes, the revelation of new LIGHT, will bring some side effects, and one of them is misguided zeal.
There are many prophets in our day, eagerly awaiting the second coming of this same Jesus, longing for His glory, and His light to reappear. We, in these last days, want to see the rapture before our death. Simeon saw that Jesus was that LIGHT to come into the world. He also saw what that ‘LIGHT’ would mean to Mary, the mother of Jesus.
THE PROPHECY TO MARY
Simeon had much revelation from the Spirit, for he knew of the "fall", the "rising again" of this Jesus. He knew that Jesus would be rejected of many, and the painful suffering of Jesus would greatly affect His mother also. And Simeon also knew of the revelation of the sins of mankind, that the coming of this Jesus would bring to the world.
Mary was to be the mother of this Messiah. She was to watch Him grow, mature, but be hated by some family, by neighbors, by the many He came to save. She could not ‘announce’ Him, she had to let Him do it Himself. The pain of watching His suffering, His rejection, His inner hurts from such pain, would be hard for Mary to endure.
Elijah faced hundreds of false prophets upon Mt. Carmel. This was a dangerous place, and Elijah’s life depended on God doing something he had never seen done before. All the other prophets were hiding in caves. Elijah stayed there bravely. Soon Elijah would be under a juniper tree, fearing for his life, due to the death sentence on him from Jezebel. It still took a bit more help from God Who sent an angel to recommend rest and food to the weary prophet. Yet, the events that seemed so horrible, like the events on Mt. Carmel, built Elijah’s faith, and he survived all the later trials.
God allowed Joseph to be thrown into a pit, sold into slavery, be lied about by his master’s wife, sit in a prison with criminals, so that later, he could rise power, and be ready to save his own people from starvation in a time of long famine. Sometimes the hard things in life, are preparation for the great miracles of God to come.
Job was called the ‘greatest’ by God. God bragged on him to the devil. Then the devil was allowed to strip from Job, his wealth, family, friends, possessions, and health. Job stood firm, refused to ‘curse God and die’. He stood strong in faith, and God delivered him.
Why do we face trials, persecutions, mockings, and battles? We face them so we can be overcomers. We are told that ‘all things work together for good to them that are called of God and working according to His will...’ That describes what we are to be.
Mary had to face a ‘sword’ of pain within her, watching her Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to suffer, to bear pain, to be rejected, to be hated and finally crucified. She knew Who He is, and yet, watching the suffering her Son endured, would be almost unbearable pain to her.
The messages to the seven churches in Revelation 2 & 3 says ‘to him that overcometh will...’ God has ‘will’ for each overcomer. The overcomer will receive great blessings for their stedfast faith, for their willingness to not hide. If there were no mountains, not barriers, no burdens, no trials, no persecution, not battles, there would be nothing to overcome. God gave us armor, not tuxedos and wedding dresses. God gave us a sword, not a lazy boy chair. God gave us a shield, to a ping pong paddle. God said we would be hated, not loved. God said ‘many are the afflictions’ not many are the carnal rewards.
Paul and Silas sang in the dungeon. Job said ‘though He slay me, yet will I trust Him...’ Peter said to Jesus ‘bid me come’ when the Lord was walking on the water. Elijah heard the still small voice, Joseph was made second to pharoah in Egypt. Why? They were not hiders, they were overcomers.
Mary was to be an overcomer. She was to suffer a deep, inner sword of pain in her work of raising Jesus. He was to watch Him unfold His work, revealing a plan that was not one she would have chosen for her ‘Firstborn’.
Why do some saints have bland, pew sitting existences? They have no victories to report, no overwhelming joy to express because they are not overcomers. To avoid battle, Jonah took a ship of flight and hiding in it from the storm. Saul hid in baggage. Prophets hid in caves. !3,000 of Gideon’s army would rather be hiding from battle, and 9700 more would like to delay battle for a while so they can refresh themselves. They were rejected for Gideon’s army, and God rejects the same for His army of prophets.
Mary needed to, and she did, endure the agony of watching a ministry for her Son unfold before her. She would not have chosen for Jesus to endure such pain, and Mary’s sorrow was to unfold as His work in His first coming unfolded.
THE PROPHECIES’ MESSAGE FOR US.
Some today can receive the outpouring of the Spirit, and receive the prophetic revelations of the second coming. Jesus is seeking for such people, and the Holy Spirit is anxious to so bless any who will accept this ministry of a Simeon.
In our last days on this sinful earth, we are watching a plan for Jesus’ second coming unfold. It means persecution, it means mockings, it means rejections, and it means a final escape up to the arms of Jesus in the clouds, which we call the rapture. That event will make it worth it all. Mary watched Jesus suffer, die on a cruel cross. Her reunion with Him after His resurrection, made it worth it all.