And it was revealed to him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)It was revealed unto him.—The Greek word is the same as that rendered “warned” in Matthew 2:12. It implies a divine oracular communication, but rests on a different idea from the “unveiling,” which lies at the root of the word “reveal.” The message in this case came clearly as an answer to prayers and yearnings.
The Lord’s Christ.—The word retains all the fulness of its meaning—the Messiah, the Anointed of Jehovah.
Not see death - Should not die. To "see" death and to "taste" of death, was a common way among the Hebrews of expressing death itself. Compare Psalm 89:48.
The Lord's Christ - Rather "the Lord's Anointed." The word "Christ" means "anointed," and it would have been better to use that word here. To an aged man who had been long waiting for the Messiah, how grateful must have been this revelation - this solemn assurance that the Messiah was near! But this revelation is now given to every man, that he need not taste of death until, by the eye of faith, he may see the Christ of God. He is offered freely. He has come. He waits to manifest himself to the world, and he is not willing that any should die forever. To us also it will be as great a privilege in our dying hours to have seen Christ by faith as it was to Simeon. It will be the only thing that can support us then - the only thing that will enable us to depart in peace.
should see not death till he had seen—"sweet antithesis!" [Bengel]. How would the one sight gild the gloom of the other! He was, probably, by this time, advanced in years.See Poole on "Luke 2:25"
that he should not see death; an Hebraism, see it in Psalm 89:48 the same with the phrase, "to taste death", elsewhere used; and the sense is, as the Ethiopic version renders it, "that he should not die"; or as the Persic version, "that his death should not be"; as yet: he should live some time longer; nor should that messenger be sent to remove him, though a man in years, out of time into eternity,
before he had seen the Lord's Christ: with his bodily eyes: for he had seen him with an eye of faith already, and in the promise, as Abraham had; and in the types and sacrifices of the law, as the rest of believers under the Old Testament. The Messiah is called the Lord's Christ, referring to Psalm 2:2 because he was anointed by Jehovah, the Father, and with Jehovah, the Spirit; with the Holy Ghost, the oil of gladness, to be prophet, priest, and king, in the Lord's house. So the Messiah is by the Targumist called, the Messiah of Jehovah, or Jehovah's Messiah; that is as here, the Lord's Christ: thus in the Targum on Isaiah 4:2 it is said,
"in that time, , "Jehovah's Messiah", shall be for joy and for glory.
And on Isaiah 28:5 the paraphrase is,
"at that time, , "the Messiah of the Lord" of hosts shall be for a crown of joy, and for a diadem of praise to the rest of his people.
Compare these paraphrases with what is said of Christ, in Luke 2:32. "The glory of thy people Israel"; Simeon's language exactly agrees with the Targumist. The Persic version adds, "and with this hope he passed his time, or age, and became very old and decrepit."And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Luke 2:26. ἦν κεχρηματισμένον, it had been revealed (for the verb vide Matthew 2:12), how long before not indicated.—μὴ ἰδεῖν: we have here an instance of the aorist infinitive referring to what is future in relation to the principal verb. In such a case the aorist is really timeless, as it can be in dependent moods, vide Burton, M. and T., § 114.—πρὶν ἢ ἂν ἴδῃ: πρὶν here and in Acts 25:16 with a finite verb, usually with the infinitive, vide Matthew 1:18; Matthew 26:34.26. it was revealed unto him] Christian legend says that he had stumbled at Isaiah 7:14, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive,” and had received a divine intimation that he should not die till he had seen it fulfilled (Nicephorus, a. d. 1450). The notion of his extreme age is not derived from Scripture but from the ‘Gospel of the Nativity of Mary,’ which says that he was 113.
the Lord’s Christ] The Anointed of Jehovah.Luke 2:26. Ἦν, it was) perhaps for a long time back: although the old age in the case of Anna is specially noticed, it is not so in the case of Simeon.—μὴ ἰδεῖν—ἢ ἴδῃ, that he should not see—before that he saw) A sweet antithesis.—πρὶν ἢ, before that) Moreover, when he had seen Him, he was immediately about to depart; as appears from Luke 2:29, according to Thy word.—τὸν Χριστὸν Κυρίου, the Lord’s Christ [Anointed]) So, the Christ [Anointed] of God, ch. Luke 9:20. It is He whom the Lord hath anointed, and in comparison with Whom God acknowledges no other as His Anointed.Verse 26. - That he should not see death. The idea of the aged Simeon comes from a notice in the apocryphal 'Gospel of the Nativity,' which speaks of him as a hundred and thirteen years old. These legendary "Gospels" are totally devoid of all authority; here and there possibly a true "memory" not preserved in any of the "four" may exist, but in general they are extravagant and improbable. The Arabic 'Gospel of the Infancy' here speaks of Simeon seeing the Babe shining like a pillar of light in his mother's arms. There is an old and striking legend which speaks of this devout Jew being long puzzled and disturbed by the Messianic prophecy (Isaiah 7:14), "A virgin shall conceive;" at length he received a supernatural intimation that he should not see dearth until he had seen the fulfillment of the strange prophecy, the menacing of which he had so long failed to see.
Lit., it was having been revealed; i.e., it stood revealed, while he waited for the fulfilment of the revelation. The verb means primarily to have dealings with; thence to consult or debate about business matters; and so of an oracle, to give a response to one consulting it. The word here implies that the revelation to Simeon had been given in answer to prayer. See on Matthew 2:12.
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