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I recently came across a Wikipedia article about the ‘Nunc Dimittis’, the Song or Canticle of Simeon. It is based on Luke 2:29-32. Here is a brief extract from the article:

According to the narrative in Luke 2:25-32, Simeon was a devout Jew who had been promised by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. When Mary and Joseph brought the baby Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem for the ceremony of consecration of the firstborn son (after the time of Mary's purification: at least 40 days after the birth, and thus distinct from the circumcision), Simeon was there, and he took Jesus into his arms and uttered these words:

English (Translation of the Vulgate): Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace; Because my eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples: A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Nunc Dimitis - Wikipedia

What did Simeon mean when he said God’s salvation, which was prepared in the sight of all nations, was a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of His people Israel (verses 30-32) and then (in verse 34) that the child would cause the falling and rising of many in Israel?

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    Excellent Question +1. – Dottard Sep 25 at 22:07
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What is the meaning behind Simeon’s words in Luke 2:29-32; 34-35?

Simeon now at an advanced age, moves through the crowd and takes the babe into his hands.

Luke 2:25-28 (NASB)

25 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. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’sChrist. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, 28 then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said,

Simeon now content that he will depart in peace- "sleep in death"(Vs 29) lifts his voice and praises God .

Luke 2:29-32 (NASB)

29 “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, According to Your word; 30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation, 31 Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 A Light of revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.”

The NT Scriptures , the miracles and and the physical facts have since borne out, that the Messiah, Jesus Christ, is the true Light to the nations, the One to remove the veil of spiritual darkness and bring salvation, not just to the Israelites but to all the nations of the earth. Compare the prophetic words of Simeon, with Isaiah 42:6 and 49:6

And now in a serious tone , Simeon turns to Mary and says;

Luke 2:34-35 (NASB)

34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed— 35 and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

"A sword will pierce even your own soul" (Vs 35a) Obviously the rejection of her Son by the majority of Jews made her grief, and the manner of His death was painful to Mary - it was like having a sword piercing through her.

"The end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed. " (Vs 35b) Simeons words indicate that people would react to Jesus in different ways ,and that his teachings will reveal the thoughts in the hearts of many. As prophesied by Isaiah to those trusting him, will become a "sanctuary" a protection (Isaiah 8:14a), however, the majority of the Israelites proved unfaithful, opposed him, a rock to stumble over as foretold by Isaiah 8:14b-15

Isaiah 8:14 - 15 (NASB)

14 “Then He shall become a sanctuary; But to both the houses of Israel, a stone to strike and a rock to stumble over, And a snare and a trap for the inhabitants of Jerusalem“15 Many will stumble over them, Then they will fall and be broken; They will even be snared and caught..

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  • Luke 2:25 – Simeon was waiting for the consolation of Israel – now he could die in peace. He quotes from Isaiah 8:14 re “the falling and rising of many in Israel”. – Lesley Sep 28 at 16:56
  • Correct Lesley, also Isaiah 49:13 – Ozzie Ozzie Sep 28 at 17:03
  • Oh, that's good! Just what we need to reflect upon during these difficult times. Thank you. – Lesley Sep 28 at 17:06
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Luke 2:30 For my eyes have seen your salvation 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations

Simeon alluded to the concept of salvation in Isaiah 52:10

The LORD will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.

salvation,
יְשׁוּעָ֑ה (yə·šū·‘āh)
Noun - feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 3444: Something saved, deliverance, aid, victory, prosperity

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance

deliverance, health, helping, salvation, save, saving health, welfare Feminine passive participle of yasha'; something saved, i.e. (abstractly) deliverance; hence, aid, victory, prosperity -- deliverance, health, help(-ing), salvation, save, saving (health), welfare.

Luke 2:32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel."

Simeon knew that Jesus wasn't just for the Jews but for the Gentiles also as he alluded to Isaiah 9:2

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned.

Concerning the Jews, it wasn't just all good news:

Luke 2:34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against,

This alluded to

Isaiah 8:14 14“Then He shall become a sanctuary; But to both the houses of Israel, a stone to strike and a rock to stumble over, And a snare and a trap for the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 15“Many will stumble over them, Then they will fall and be broken; They will even be snared and caught.”

Simeon confirmed the words of Isaiah concerning the coming Messiah. He identified the Messiah and prophesied that Jesus would be God's saving power for the Jews and Gentiles and would cause the downfall of many Jews.

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Simeon's dual prophecy about Jesus in the temple consists of two parts:

  • Luke 2:29-32 - thanks God for being able to see the Messiah and praises God for this gift
  • Luke 2:34b, 35 - prophesies about Messiah Himself and a brief prediction about Mary

These two prophecies have quite different functions and different settings.

1st Prophecy, Luke 2:29-32

The most important thing to observe about this prophecy is it very unusual choice of the Greek word for "Lord" which is δεσπότης, despotes. [The Normal choice is kyrios.] This word is used for the master in the master-slave relationship. Thus, Simeon is thanking his (literally) slave-master, God, for allowing him (Simeon) to see the One, the Messiah, that would liberate him. Thus Simeon, couches this prophecy in terms of the manumission of slaves, and his own slavery in particular.

Simeon then goes on to predict that Messiah would be, "a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to Your [God's] people Israel." John tales up the same theme in his Gospel (John 1:4, 5, 9, 8:12, etc; see also 1 John 1:5, etc.)

"Your people" is possibly an allusion to the prophecy of Dan 9:24-27 where this same theme is taken up

2nd Prophecy, Luke 2:34b, 35

This second prophecy is much more difficult as it alludes to the both the joy of salvation for many (Isa 25:9) and the horror that it brings the wicked (eg, Rev 6:15-17). Even the righteous would suffer many things as a result of the preaching of the Gospel (John 16:33, 1 Cor 7:28, 2 Tim 1:4, Heb 13:12, 13, 1 Peter 2:21), including Mary herself, "and a sword will pierce your soul as well." Mary would suffer the sight of seeing her own precious Son executed as a traitor and criminal - a very difficult trial indeed.

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