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-FIRST PROPHET OF THE NEW TESTAMENT-
While many Jewish Religious people failed to recognize Jesus as The Messiah, notification did come from those who faithfully served God.
Anna, was the
only prophet of God to be recorded for hundreds of years, following the
Old Testament book of the prophet Malachi. Anna
gave thanks to God, for Jesus. God had raised
up this devoted prophetess from the lost tribe of Asher, to announce to
others that Christ had come, and that she had seen Him as a baby at the
The tribe of Asher was taken into captivity by the Assyrians in the year 722 B.C. when they invaded Northern Israel. Although the tribe of Asher never returned, Anna's family personally and officially returned to their homeland when they were able. To be acknowledged as a true patriot returning after exile, family documents had to be shown for proof of genealogy.
Faithful Jewish families went through three religious ceremonies after the birth of a firstborn son. Firstly, circumcision on the baby on the eighth day from his birth, which was the sign of the covenant given between God and Abraham's earthly offspring. Following the law given to Moses the firstborn son one after month after his birth, a dedication service took place to acknowledged he belonged to God, and a special offering bought the son back from God, and in His place the levitical priesthood would do his temple service unto God for him. Jesus' dedication service and Mary's purification ceremony, which was always forty days after His birth is what brought the family to Jerusalem. On this occasion, within the Temple precincts these were separate ceremonies performed.
Anna, the prophetess, was at the Temple the day this special family arrived in Jerusalem, which was five miles out of Bethlehem from where they had traveled, to fulfill the Laws of God, according to those that were given to Moses. She did have a practiced disciplined life quite apart from corporate worship, with constant prayer and fasting. To be acknowledged as a prophetess was a great honour and distinction given her among the Jewish people, especially from The High Priest and Teachers of The Law, who recorded her in their religious history. This was not an ordinary notability.
There were various rooms available for many different occasions in the Temple precinct and it is very possible, being a childless widow she would have lived in one them.
Anna went up to the Christ child and praised God giving thanksgiving for their Saviour. As she looked upon the child, The Holy Spirit quickened to her, by divine insight, that the prophecies that had been predicted would be fulfilled through this appointed offspring, for whom she and many other were conscientiously expectant.
Simeon, a devout and righteous man, was also given unique insight about this baby being The Saviour of Israel. He was used of God to assure the parents of Jesus of God's continuing plan, by way of divine knowledge, similar to Zechariah, John The Baptist's father was given, but they were not known as prophets.
The role of a prophet or prophetess does not differ in any way because of the distinction of sex, her role was comparable to a male prophet. Prophets of God are to speak The Truth of The Scriptures as well as prophesying.
Anna was of a good age, she had been married 91 years prior to this time, but had been a widow for 84 years, her marriage ending in the death of her husband, seven years after their marriage. So she must have been comforted when she saw Jesus, The Saviour of mankind at The Temple. Anna continuously lived all those many years in service faithfully to God. She stayed devoted and unweary in prayer and worship. She also joined others openly in the Temple courts. She was willing to fast as she spent her time before God and would have been grateful for his protection and provision for her.
She lived a life that was a glowing testimony to the service of God, and He always has His witnesses to proclaim His doings amongst His people and Anna was one of them.
Known to all as a prophetess, Anna was given Divine messages from God and passed them on to the people, and to her was given the knowledge from God to know even before and after they happened. One of these messages was to declare the news that the long awaited Messiah's arrival to the faithful inhabitants of Jerusalem. She went and told those who would rejoice with her, that she had seen Him and that He had arrived. This truth was observed by those who faithfully kept close to God and had been waiting for The Messiah.
Along with the shepherds of Bethlehem, Anna was amongst the first to announce the arrival of Christ.
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