There is another Christmas miracle which is not spoken of much, today, outside of a few Christmas programs at church, or as a footnote as preachers tell the background story of the Nativity.
This often overlooked, yet significant account in the Book of Luke, carries both a one time incident, combined with a lesson for the believer, through the life of man called Simeon. Who Simeon is, how he lived and the miracle the Lord our God allowed him to witness are integral to the Christmas story, as it happened just 8 days after the Lord was born in the Bethlehem manger.
Bethlehem is almost 6 miles south from the center of Jerusalem where the Temple would have stood (the current Western – or Wailing – Wall is the only remnant left of the Temple). Under Jewish Law, ALL Jewish boys had to be circumcised on the 8th day after their birth and Jesus was no exception. His parents would have had to walk to the Temple in Jerusalem, so that a Levite priest could conduct this ceremony. There was ample time for the Joseph, Mary and Jesus to make it back to the Temple and then get back to Bethlehem so that the census down there could continue.
Something spectacular then happened when Mary and Joseph got to the Temple with the baby Jesus, which involved two elderly and faithful followers of Yahweh whom God had decided to bless in the most incredible way, in His Sovereignty. One of them was a man named Simeon. The Lord, had previously promised Simeon that he would not leave this earth until he saw “The Lord’s Christ” (New American Standard Bible)…meaning the Lord’s Messiah (Moschiach). When Mary and Joseph entered the Temple in Jerusalem, the story picks up in the following two verses:
"And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ" (Luke 2:25-26).
To wind up the historical account, Simeon, under strong Power from the Holy Spirit, blesses Mary and Joseph and the Baby and goes on to make accurate prophetic statements which came directly from the Holy Spirit. READ SIMEON’S PROPHESY HERE. The prophesy, which he gave about Jesus, has turned out to be absolutely accurate, because Jesus remains the only Eternal Force in all human history Who is the Sign of the rise and fall of many.
What is relevant to us today, as Christians in the end times, who are called a Holy Priesthood, a Royal Nation, are two words which were used by the Holy Spirit to describe Simeon, in the Scripture quoted from Luke 2.
These words are “righteous” and “devout”. Here is what the Bible says about Simeon in the original inspired language of Scripture:
Righteous (verse 25) - the original word is "dikaios" and it literally means "approved by God". Why? Because he - the righteous one - lived his life in alignment with God, and the Will of God. How did Simeon know the Will of God? He knew the Scriptures intimately. Do you know and love the Bible that way?
The question for you and I is this: are WE, who call ourselves disciples of Jesus Christ, in alignment with His Word, His Will and His Ways? This serious question makes all the difference between a truly converted, born-again believer and a professing false convert, or so-called Christian. The worldwide church today is full of the latter. God is only looking for those whose hearts are fully set on Him, are loyal to Him and are in line with all His Teachings.
Devout (verse 25 again) - the original word here is "eulabes". This word means careful, pious or holy, circumspect and God-fearing. This characteristic is deadly serious because, God demands complete respect. On the final Day, every knee will bow, including those from pagan so-called religions and those who hate the Lord. They will bow and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord. For now though, what the Bible and the word "DEVOUT" is telling us, is the following: in addition to being in full alignment with Scripture and thus the Will/Work/Ways of God, Simeon walked the talk!
In other words, the man who knows all this about the Father in Heaven was very careful with his faith, took it serious and walked the straight and narrow. It reflects the words of the Apostle Peter, who repeated the Old Testament command that we must holy as God is holy. Simeon was all of this and more. Because of his pious, healthy devotion and love for God, our Heavenly Father gave Simeon a privilege which no one will ever have then or since.
We already know that Biblical ignorance is worse now in the western church than ever. Because the culture has crept into the church and most Bible readings are now not from a physical bible taken into the Sanctuary, but a temporary visual on the screen behind the pastor, the Biblical worldview of western adults according to both the Pew Center for Religion and George Barna surveys is a pitiful 9-11% of adults! How can a person be in alignment with a God of Whom he/she knows almost nothing except for John 3:16? In spite of all kinds of compromised paraphrases and electronic versions of Scripture, now more than ever, Biblical ignorance is condemning people - and people in the church - left, right and center.
To compound this deadly spiritual error is the lack of respect for God by an increasing number of Christians and no discernment whatsoever. The wacky antics of a coat-swinging Benny Hinn and dozens "collapsing in the spirit" while the cameras roll (as pre-arranged) are well known to people, but the secrets sins of a lack of repentance which leads to holiness and sober respect for God inside of churches, by both young and old, stun. One of the meanings of the word for "Devout" which Luke 2:25 tells us that Simeon was, is circumspect.
The dictionary describes Circumspect, in essence, as being very prudent, watchful and discreet. It also means being able to have the presence of mind to think critically and see the consequences of potential actions, where forethought of these things would lead us to make the right decisions and step out of the way of trouble.
Being a Christian who is circumspect is just being what Jesus calls us to be and do. He says in John 10:10 that "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly". Therefore, we MUST be on the alert! A devout and God-fearing follower of Christ is ALWAYS on the alert. When we let our guard down, the Holy Spirit is there to protect us and our blind sides, if we trust.
These powerful lessons for us Christians today are all tied up in this great man, whom God blessed with a unique promise. We have a similar type of promise and it involves the same Jesus Whom Simeon held and prophesied over. All that is required is for the justified man or woman or child of God to walk fully grounded in the Bible, and to have a healthy respect, fear and love for our wonderful Father in Heaven. Just as the Lord rewarded Simeon for his lifetime of service, dedication and love for God, so will He reward any who submits to and love Him with all heart, mind, body and soul.