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010b    Jesus Presented at the Temple                   [Luke 2:22-38]

Last week, we looked at the days of separation and purification.

The laws in Leviticus 12 are given to the children of Israel, not to the nations, and they lay down the rules for purification.  It says, “Speak to the children of Israel”; this is very specific.  There were a few days of uncleanness, followed by a few days of purification and during the period of uncleanness, those who came in contact with her became ceremonially unclean as well.  That’s why the baby was unclean; it was association; the law in no way appoints uncleanness to the baby itself.  This should serve as a reminder to you that fellowshipping with those who are unclean can make you unclean by association.

Why was there this time of ceremonial uncleanness?  It was given to signify the pollution of sin under which we are all conceived and born.  Remember, Psalm 51:5 says, “Behold, I was shapen in my iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me”.  If the root is impure, so is the branch.

If sin had not entered into this world, this would not be an issue; nothing but purity would attend all of this.  God said in Genesis 1:22 to be fruitful and multiply, but now the nature of man has degenerated, and the propagation of that nature is laid under these marks of disgrace because sin and corruption are propagated with it; this is a mark of remembrance of the curse upon the woman that was first in the transgression.  Genesis 3:16 tells us that in sorrow (and this shame of uncleanness is a sign of that sorrow) the woman would bring forth children.

Why was the time of purification longer if the baby were a girl?  [1 Timothy 2:13-15]  This was a ceremonial sign given as a significance of this.  Today, is there a difference in God’s eyes between male and female?  Galatians 3:28 tells us, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”  There is still a difference in our roles within the church, but…

I think the fact that the woman is excluded from the sanctuary for so many days and the fact that she’s excluded from all participation in things that are holy, signifies that our original corruption, the sin nature that we bring into the world with us when we are born, would have excluded us forever from the fellowship with God and eventual entrance into the coming Kingdom, if he had not graciously provided a sacrifice for our purification.

Then, in Leviticus 12:5-6, we saw that after the days of her purifying, whether it’s for a male or female, she’s to bring this burnt offering.  This burnt offering is for her, not for the child.  This burnt offering is in gratitude for the mercies she has received.  John 16:21 says, “A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man [human child] is born into the world.”  This is an offering of thanks for the mercies she has received, thanks for the child, and atonement for the implied sins and perpetuation of sin.

After the days of purification, the mother offered a sacrifice of thanks to God for the child that she had been given.  Contrast the thanks offered in the past to the way things are today, when children are considered a curse.  Today, the sacrifice that is offered is the life of that little baby to the god called convenience and self.  Self-esteem is the root of all the problems in the world today.  The first sin recorded in the Bible is Satan saying, “I’m going to be like God”.  Then, he tempted Eve with, “You can be like God”.  Today, it’s all “me, me, me”, and that’s a problem.  There is a high rate of divorce, particularly in the church and it’s all, “He didn’t do this”, or “She doesn’t do that”.  Marriage is not a 50-50 proposition; it’s a 100-100 proposition, and if you put the other person first, and they put you first, you will have a very successful marriage.  But, if it’s “me first” (and many so-called Christian psychologists teach, “love yourself”, and “I’m number 1”), then you’re bound for failure.

Any way, it’s the mother, not the child that is unclean.  But, this offering is for her restoration to the Lord and his sanctuary.  This purification does not so much reference any particular moral guilt as it does that which has been indirectly manifested in her bodily condition, so the sin offering was represented by the smallest of blood sacrifices, whereas a yearling lamb was used for a burnt offering; this expresses the importance and strength of her surrender of herself to the Lord after this long separation.

[Leviticus 12:6]  The word that is translated here as “lamb”, is a word that denotes a ceremonially clean animal, which is therefore eatable.  It could be a yearling of the goats or the sheep. 

[Leviticus 12:7; shall be cleansed; this is the law]  But, there’s an exception made in [verse 8].  If she’s too poor or is incapable of affording the lamb, for whatever reason, she can bring two turtledoves or two pigeons.  I’m sure there were some mothers who could have brought a lamb that did not, but God knows what’s in the heart.  This was a provision that was a sign of God’s mercy to those who were incapable (not simply unwilling) of following the law.

This was the offering made by Mary in Luke 2.  This is evidence of the poor and humble origins of our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ.  His mother took advantage of the mercy that was offered to the poor, and I don’t think the mother of the Messiah was simply a cheapskate.

But, why were these laws in Leviticus 12 given to Moses alone and not to Moses and Aaron together?  It’s the difference between laws of the priesthood and spiritual laws.

[1 Corinthian 10:11:  “Now all these things…”  (The things that are being talked about in the previous verses that happened to the children of Israel)  “…happened…”  (This verb is in the imperfect tense, so they happened from time to time in a successive unfolding of events.)  “…happened unto them for ensamples…”  (The best texts read “tupikos” or by means of figure; typically; for types.)  “…and they are written for our admonition…”  (The same root word as “warn”; they are written to us as a warning.  (Acts 20:31 has “warn”; 1 Thessalonians 5:12 has “admonish”; 1 Thessalonians 5:14 has “exhort”.))  “…upon whom the ends of the world are come.”  (Literally, “the ends or the consummations of the ages”.  The phrase assumes that the second coming of Christ is near.  Both “ends” and “ages” are plural, and this marks very distinctly the idea of each age of preparation having passed into the age that follows it; one stage succeeds another in humanity, so now, all the ends of the ages have come down to us.  It’s almost time for the closing curtains on this sin-filled world.)

[Hebrews 9].  There is a similar expression in Matthew 13:40, which says, “As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.”  “In the end of this world” is “at the conclusion of this age”.

[Hebrews 9:26]  “For then must he often have suffered…”  In other words, if the previous were true (and the grammar means that it’s assumed to be untrue), then it would be necessary for him to suffer often.  He doesn’t.  His sacrifice was plenty.  Since sin required atonement by sacrifice, if Christ had not been a perfect sacrifice, then the sacrifice would have to be offered repeatedly.  If his sacrifice were good for only a certain amount of time, like the animal atonements, he would have been obliged to repeat his offering whenever the time expired.  Since his atonement was designed to be universal, it would have been necessary for him to appear repeatedly upon the Earth and to die repeatedly…

“…since the foundation of the world.”  The word “foundation” here is interesting in that it comes from a word meaning “disruption”.  In other words, this is not talking about creation.  Atonement for sin was not necessary from the beginning of creation; only since sin entered into this world.  So, it says, “If this were true, then he would have had to suffer often since the disruption of this world when sin entered in.”

“But now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”  See the word “world” in the phrase “since the foundation of the world” and the word “world” in the phrase “once in the end of the world”?  Those are two different words.  The second word “world” is the word “ages”.  “But now once in the end of the ages hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”  He gave himself as a sacrifice that was good for everyone, once and for all.  (This doesn’t mean that we don’t have to confess our sins; his death was for all that all might be saved, but his blood was shed for many as atonement for sin.)

But we’re looking in Matthew 13:40 at the end of this age when the tares will be separated from the wheat; in Hebrews 9:26 we have the end of the ages; and in 1 Corinthians 10:11, we are told that these things happened to the fathers so as to give us types for our admonition; for our warning; for our exhortation; they’re given as types to us upon whom the ends of the ages are come.  This is talking about types, and Moses is a type or a figure of Jesus as our prophet.

[Acts 3:22a; like unto me.]  In Deuteronomy 18:14-18, Moses claims that God raised him up as a prophet and that another and greater one will come.  That one will be the Messiah.  The Jews understood Moses to be a type of the Christ.  John 1:21 tells us, “And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias [Elijah]? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.”  God spoke to Moses face to face, and he was the greatest of the prophets.

[Acts 3:22b-23:  him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.  And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed [being exterminated; not appolumi] from among the people.]  Every soul.  This is not simply talking about being saved; it’s talking about salvation of the soul; rewards; things to come; the coming Kingdom of our Lord and our part in it; our life in the age to come.

This passage of Scripture is a prophecy that was given by Moses in Deuteronomy chapter 18 (verses 15, 18, 19).  The apostle Peter, who was quoting this in his second sermon, makes if very clear that the Lord Jesus Christ is the prophet to whom Moses referred.  He’s not Moses, but he is a prophet like unto Moses.

Scripture is our authority for saying that Moses is a type or figure of Christ.  There are analogies between the lives and ministries of these two.  These analogies are very enlightening to the extent that Jesus the Christ is far better understood and appreciated after studying these things.  We looked at the comparisons between Moses and Jesus.

We looked at the relation of Zipporah and Asenath as a type of the bride of Christ, and in this connection, the Lord calls attention to a very blessed and sublime truth.  Neither the wife of Moses, Zipporah, and the wife of Joseph, Asenath, both of whom are types of the bride of Christ, has any part in the suffering of the children of Israel.  This reveals to us that the church, which is the bride of Christ, will have no part in the suffering of the children of Israel, which is known as the Great Tribulation.

This brief, but pertinent, analogy that we looked at last week, reveals many things pertaining to our Lord and Savior, chief of which is the fact that He shall deliver His people Israel, and after that, the Lord Jesus and His bride will occupy a blessed relationship to Israel, which will have been redeemed as a nation. 

That’s what Simeon, back in Luke chapter 2 was looking for.  [Luke 2]  It’s important to remember that these events occurred before the magi showed up on the scene.  The magi weren’t present at the Nativity, as we so often see around Christmas time; they didn’t show up until Jesus was about two years old, and the Bible tells us they found him in a house with his mother.

Here in Luke 2:25, we find, “And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout…”  He was devout.  This word is akin to the word for “godly fear”, which is used in Hebrews 5:7 and 12:28, and it is talking about a circumspect or cautious person who takes hold of things carefully.  When this word is applied to morals and religion, it emphasizes the element of circumspection; a cautious, careful observance of divine law, and it is thus peculiarly expressive of OT piety, with it attention to precept and ceremony.

We’re told that this devout man or this man who was full of godly fear was waiting for something.  What was he waiting for?  He was waiting for the “consolation of Israel”.  What is the “consolation of Israel”?  Is an old Greek verb that means to “admit to one’s presence”, and then to expect.  It’s talking about the hope of Israel; the Messianic blessing of the nation; and of the Messiah himself.

This verb is used in Luke 15:2, which says, “And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.”  Even in this chapter, we find this word used again, down in [Luke 2:38; looked for].  This word means the Messianic hope, calling cheer to one’s attention, and is also referenced in Isaiah 40:1, which says, “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.”  That word “comfort” is the same word in the LXX.  It was a common adjuration or solemn appeal to God to show his true character, “so I may see the consolation”.

But, we have this devout man who was waiting for this Messianic hope, [verse 25b:  “and the Holy Ghost Spirit was upon him.  Verse 26:  And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost Spirit, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.]  He would not die before he saw the anointed one of God.  There were so many signs given to the nation of Israel, but the Jewish leaders turned a blind eye to the.  However, many individuals saw the truth; they saw the signs, and they were looking for the Messiah, and this man, this Simeon, was one of those.  He was devout; he had a godly fear.  He was led by the Holy Spirit.  [Luke 2:27-29; 28; arms – Greek word meaning the curve or inner angle of the arm; he held him dearly.]

[Verse 29:  Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart [thou dost release; used in reference to the setting free of a bond servant] in peace, according to thy word:]  “Lord” here is a Greek word should be translated “despot”; one who would exact his pound of flesh; justice is justice and right is right.  He said unto his disciples on day, “why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things that I say?”  A lord is one who has control; he has authority and is one before whom we should prostrate ourselves and humbly submit ourselves to his will in obedience to his commandments.  Here, Simeon is calling him Lord and is saying that he is set free in peace.

[Luke 2:30-31]  “All the peoples”; it should be plural.  This is not merely talking about the Jews, and it’s another example of the way Luke wrote to all men, and this refers equally to Gentiles.

[Luke 2:32]  He’s a light, as distinguished from a lamp, which the KJV unfortunately often renders as “light”.  What’s he a light for?  This word is “apokalupsis”, which does not mean “lighten” as it is used here, but as you can tell from the sound of it, it’s “revelation”.  Revelation 1:1 begins, “The revelation of Jesus the Christ…”  That’s the same word:  “revelation”; “apokalupsis”.  He’s a light for the revelation of the Gentiles and the glory of thy people Israel.  He is the glory of Israel, and yet they rejected him.  I don’t want you to be guilty of rejecting the glory of the Lord!

[Luke 2:33]  “And Joseph [his father; ordinary custom, not denying the virgin birth] and his mother marvelled (marveling) at those things which were spoken of him.”

[Luke 2:34]  He blessed the parents and then said to Mary, “this child is set…”  This verb means to be laid or set forth, as in the law is said to be “laid down”.  So, “this child is appointed or destined for the fall and rising again of many in Israel.”  He’s set for the fall, because he will be a stumbling block to many, as we’re told in Isaiah 8:14, Matthew 21:42 & 44; Acts 4:11, and other places; He’s set for the rising because many will be raised up through him to life and glory, as it says in Romans 6:4 and other places.  [Romans 6:4; hold your hand here.]

Simeon also says that he is set or appointed to be a sign, which shall be spoken against.  This expression does not voice a prophecy, but it does describe an inherent characteristic of the sign; a sign in which it is the character to experience contradiction from the world.  If you’re being embraced by the world, there’s something wrong.  In the beginning, even as a baby, Jesus experienced this at the hands of Herod, and he experienced this all throughout his earthly ministry, and he experienced this upon the cross.  We’re told that this will be true, this contradiction this adversity will exist up until the very end; until he shall have put all enemies under his feet.  Hebrews 12:3 tells us, “For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”  We’re to expect this contradiction and this adversity in life.  If you do things that are right and just, you will be hated by the world.  Nietzsche regarded Jesus Christ as the curse of the race because he spared the weak and had mercy on them.

[Luke 2:35]  “Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also.”  This is talking about a very large sword.  It occurs in the LXX in reference to Goliath’s sword.  Did Mary understand completely the meaning of Simeon’s words?  They must have seemed very much out of place in the midst of the glorious things that had already been spoken.  This was a sharp thorn in their roses.  But, as we know, one day, Mary will be standing by the cross that has Jesus hanging on it with this sharp sword clean through her soul.  It’s only parenthetical here, and may have only been a passing cloud over Mary’s heart that is already puzzled and confused with rapture and ecstasy.

“That the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”  Revealed.  Unveiled.  Apokalupto.  This expresses God’s purpose in the mission of the Messiah.  He is to test men’s thoughts and purposes and those thoughts and purposes will be revealed.  People will be forced to take a stand for Christ or against him, and that’s still true today.  Matthew 12:30 says, “He that is not with me is against me.”

[Luke 2:36-37]  Asher was celebrated in tradition for the beauty of their women and their fitness to be married to high priests or kings.  She was a great age.  There is some debate as to her actual age, but no matter what, she was aged.  “Which departed not”, or literally, she kept on not leaving.  The Holy Spirit kept her in the temple, just as he had brought Simeon to the temple.  She continuously served in the temple, both day and night.

[Luke 2:38]  Anna was deeply moved and repeated her thanksgiving.  The verb originally meant “to make a mutual agreement”, and the idea of reciprocity is retained in the expression, “to return thanks” for something received.

Anna also kept speaking “to all them that were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem”.  Some of the later manuscripts have “redemption in Jerusalem”, but “redemption of Jerusalem” is correct.  There was evidently a group of such people that gathered in the temple and met from time to time that were prepared for the coming of the Messiah.  When she spake, this was not a public utterance, for which the words, “those that waited” would be inappropriate; it was to the devout ones who were with her in the temple, waiting for the Messiah.  There was this nucleus of old saints in Jerusalem that was prepared for when he finally appears. 

[Luke 2:38-39]

Don’t reject the glory of the Lord.  Just like those in the temple, we need to be waiting for the Messiah; or rather, the return of the Messiah.  Just as it was in that day, he is being spoken against.  Just as in that day, the thoughts of many hearts are being revealed.  What does yours reveal?  “He that is not with me is against me.”  Take a stand.