What an interesting story in Luke 2:25 to 32, the story of an aged Jew by the name of Simeon, who took the Child Jesus in his arms.
Simeon was just and devout, and he was waiting for the consolation of Israel. Luke 2:25.
The Holy Spirit revealed to him that he would live to see the birth of Israel’s Messiah and Deliverer. With the Messiah in his arms, the Holy Spirit was upon him and he said, “A light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of Thy people Israel.”
Here we see the great difference between the Gentiles and God’s people. At that time the Gentiles were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel. Ephesians 2:12.
Note that Simeon took Jesus in his arms right after He was circumcised; and Mary had observed the religious purification ceremonies required by the law of Moses. Luke 2:21 to 24.
Let us note carefully the fact of Luke 2:24—“And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, and two young pigeons.”
This was an Old Testament sacrifice. Jesus Christ was born under the law. “When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law.” Galatians 4:4.
It is most interesting and significant to carefully study the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, to learn how He lived as a circumcised Jew under the law. When He was thirty years of age we learn that He had regularly attended the Jewish religious services in the Jewish synagogue at Nazareth. Luke 4:16. Jesus had just been baptized, with water, by John the Baptist. Luke 3:21.
Note why John baptized with water, “And I knew Him not; but that He should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.” John 1:31. John the Baptist was God’s messenger to the nation Israel. Luke 1:16 and 1:80.
So we see that Jesus Christ was both circumcised and baptized. We see that Jesus Christ regularly attended Jewish services in the Jewish synagogue, on the Jewish sabbath. So when we say that a Christian is one who follows Jesus Christ, we must qualify our statement. Some speak of following Christ in baptism, who do not follow Him in circumcision or in His sabbath synagogue worship. But we are circumcised with the circumcision of Christ. Colossians 2:11. Some Christians dedicate their children, following Lake 2:21 to 25, but no turtledoves or pigeons are offered for the mothers. When sprinkled, children are not always eight days old. Neither are they circumcised according to the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants. The public dedication of children may be a sweet religious ceremony, permitted under grace, but is not mentioned in God’s message and program of grace.
Some Christians use water on the head instead of circumcision in the flesh, persuading themselves that they must have some religious ceremony for the children. So their teaching is, sprinkling to take the place of circumcision. But with such teaching, no baby girls should be sprinkled, because no baby girls were circumcised. Moreover, we will learn by the study of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, that no one was baptized who had not first been circumcised. Simeon was waiting for the consolation of Israel, 1940 years ago.
STILL WAITING FOR ISRAEL’S CONSOLATION
Eighteen million Jews are today scattered among all the Gentile nations, and there Israel will remain “until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” Luke 21:24. When that time comes the consolation of Israel will be at hand. The consolation of Israel will be realized when Israel’s rejected Messiah and King returns to take David’s throne, and “He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever.” Luke 1:30 to 33. The consolation of Israel is thus stated in Luke 1:69 to 71 and 1:74 and 75.
“And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David; As He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been since the world began; That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us.”
“That He would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life.”
But something went wrong. Israel was not delivered from the hands of their enemies (Gentiles). Instead, note Luke 19:42 and 43.
“If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things, which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side.”
No consolation for Israel here.
“Behold, your house is left unto you desolate; and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see Me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Luke 13:35.
“And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”
“So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.” Luke 21:27 and 31.
The consolation of Israel, stated in Luke 1:69 to 71, was by Zacharias, filled with the Holy Spirit, right after the message of one angel to the Virgin Mary, and right before the message of another angel to the shepherds. Note the two messages “And behold, thou shall conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shalt call His name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David; and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.” Luke 1:31 to 33.
“And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid’.” “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:9, Luke 2:11, Luke 2:14.
THE KINGDOM AND THE BODY
Jesus Christ was born to occupy David’s throne, in fulfillment of Isaiah 9:6 and 7. Instead of taking David’s throne, note where He is and what He is now doing.
“And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, Which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the Head over all things to the Church, Which is His Body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.” Ephesians 1:19 to 23.
Christ is not where He now is and is not doing what He is now doing, in fulfillment of prophecy. But note II Peter 1:19—“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 arise in your hearts.”
The clock of prophecy has stopped during this parenthetical “grace” dispensation, but Jesus Christ is coming back to take David’s throne to reign over the house of Jacob, and to bring about the restitution of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets of Israel. “Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which Good hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.” Acts 3:21.
So THE CONSOLATION OF ISRAEL has been postponed.
Peace on earth will not be realized until Jesus Christ returns as Prince of Peace to occupy David’s throne. Then the government will be upon His shoulder, and of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end. Isaiah 9:6 and 7 will be fulfilled. That will be the consolation of Israel.
NO PEACE—ANOTHER BAPTISM
Note the plain words of the Lord Jesus, in Luke 12:49 to 52:
“I AM COME TO SEND FIRE ON THE EARTH; AND WHAT WILL I, IF IT BE ALREADY KINDLED? BUT I HAVE A BAPTISM TO BE BAPTIZED WITH; AND HOW AM I STRAITENED TILL IT BE ACCOMPLISHED SUPPOSE YE THAT I AM COME TO GIVE PEACE ON EARTH? I TELL YOU, NAY; BUT RATHER DIVISION; FOR FROM HENCEFORTH THERE SHALL BE FIVE IN ONE HOUSE DIVIDED, THREE AGAINST TWO, AND TWO AGAINST THREE.”
What a contrast and seeming contradiction as we compare these words with the message of the angels, in Luke 2:9 to 15. In Luke 2:14, “Peace on earth.”
Now, “No peace on earth.” Note how the Lord Jesus stated it in Matthew 10:34 to 36. Note when the Lord announced “no peace on earth,” He spoke of another baptism, His death on the cross of Calvary. His death baptism. Jesus, the Anointed King, would not go to David’s throne for “peace on earth,” but to Calvary’s tree, to make peace for individual believing sinners. Note what Jesus Christ did. “And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” Colossians 1:20.
Christ made peace for believers by His baptism on the cross. Christ’s baptism brought peace. When the sinner believes on the Lord Jesus Christ and accepts His death baptism, note what happens to that believing sinner. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1. “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:3 and 4. Christ was both circumcised and baptized, so with every member of the Body of Christ—”In Whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, Who hath raised Him from the dead, And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses.” Colossians 2:11 to 13.
“For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” Philippians 3:3.
ANOTHER JEW WAITING FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD
As we saw that the Book of Luke began with a devout Jew, waiting for the consolation of Israel, with Jesus in his arms, so we see that the Book of Luke closed with a devout Jew “waiting for the kingdom of God,” with Jesus in his arms.
“And, behold there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just; (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathea, a city of the Jews; who also himself waited for the kingdom of God. This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.” Luke 23:50 to 54.
Not only were Simeon and Joseph waiting for the kingdom of God, the consolation of Israel, but so also were all of the Lord’s most intimate and faithful apostles. Note the request of the mother of two of Christ’s apostles
“Then came to Him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping Him, and desiring a certain thing of Him. And He said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto Him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on Thy right hand, and the other on the left, in Thy kingdom. But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask, Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto Him, We are able.” Matthew 20:20 to 22.
Note the expectation and desire of all the waiting Jews:
“BUT WE TRUSTED THAT IT HAD BEEN HE WHICH SHOULD HAVE REDEEMED ISRAEL; AND BESIDE ALL THIS, TODAY IS THE THIRD DAY SINCE THESE THINGS WERE DONE.” Luke 24:21. “WHEN THEY THEREFORE WERE COME TOGETHER, THEY ASKED OF HIM, SAYING, LORD, WILT THOU AT THIS TIME RESTORE AGAIN THE KINGDOM TO ISRAEL?” Acts 1:6.
THE KINGDOM REWARD FOR THE TWELVE
“Then answered Peter and said unto Him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed Thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Matthew 19:27 and 28.
“But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another; for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not (may not) have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.” Matthew 10:23.
Note very carefully the words of the Lord Jesus, in Matthew 10:23. “Ye shall not (may not) have gone over the cities of Israel till the Son of man be come.” Note in Acts 8:1 that the twelve apostles remained in Jerusalem. They trusted it had been Christ Who should have redeemed Israel. They were promised twelve thrones when Israel was redeemed. Matthew 19:28. They didn’t know one single thing about “the dispensation of grace” of Ephesians 3:1 to 3, or “the eternal purpose of God” of Ephesians 3:11; that is, what Christ revealed to Paul.
Even during the first chapters of Acts Peter and the Eleven knew nothing and preached nothing concerning the truth of Ephesians 3:6.
“That the Gentiles should be jointheirs, and of the same (joint-) Body, and jointpartakers, of His promise in Christ by the gospel.” Ephesians 3:6.
Hence their question: Wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? The kingdom will be restored to Israel. But this is quite different from the “Joint-Body” of Ephesians 3:6, which is God’s purpose and program, while Israel’s Messianic kingdom is in abeyance.
That kingdom will be established when the King comes, and then the prophesied CONSOLATION OF ISRAEL will be realized.
Let us not confuse the Consolation of Israel with the blessed hope of the Church which is Christ’s Body. Titus 2:13.
For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.