Anna: The Prophetess Who Saw the Messiah

My name is Anna. During my youth I lived in Kanah, which is eight miles southeast of Tyre or twenty-five miles northwest of the Sea of Galilee. My father Phanuel and I were always very close. Oftentimes he would take me to the synagogue when no one else was there and read to me about the Jewish prophets from the scrolls. One story was about Kanah and described a leader, named Joshua, who had divided the remaining promised land into seven portions. He then cast lots to determine which tribe would get which section. The fifth lot, which included the town of Kanah, fell to the tribe of Asher, which is my family's tribe.

As a young girl, I lived in tumultuous times for the Jews. Once I shared with my father a vision I received of the Jewish people being captured by an empire from the west. Neither father nor I told anyone else, but he believed I had received foreknowledge from God, for he said, "Anna, you are a prophetess of the Lord. We shall see how Jehovah chooses to use your life."

Over the years, my father told me stories about other prophetesses: Miriam, Deborah, and Huldah. I thought to myself, "Those are famous women, but I am just a poor girl from Kanah."

At fifteen I married Abner. Our seven years together were the happiest years of my life. I was always disappointed that we were not able to have children. But maybe it was just as well, for Abner was killed during the siege when Pompey captured Judea and Syria for the Roman Empire.

After I had grieved for a year, my father asked me to go with him to Jerusalem to get my mind off the past and to encourage me to look to the future. One day soon after our arrival in Jerusalem, my father and I were seated on Solomon's porch overlooking the temple when I received a vision which was to sustain me for the rest of my life. It was a vision of the coming of the Messiah who would redeem Jerusalem.

When I told my father about what I had seen, he said, "Anna, you must remain in the temple area, praying and fasting until the Messiah comes." Of course, there were tears as my father and I parted, but I felt at peace knowing I was doing God's will.

It wasn't long after we had parted that father died. There were days that I missed him so much. Since he was a farmer of the hillsides, I had always found such comfort in walking to the outskirts of the city of Jerusalem to watch the planting. In the fall I would return to the fields to observe the harvest. The cycle of planting and harvest brought such solace to my soul and had come and gone for sixty-two years. My praying and fasting never wavered during that time, even though I had begun to wonder if I would live to see my Messiah.

The season was now winter. Daylight had been lengthening for a month and a half. The crisp air made the sky even bluer. As I finished my morning prayers in the temple, I raised my head to view a beautiful young mother accompanied by her strong husband. The woman was cradling a baby about six weeks old in her arms. As they walked toward my good friend, Simeon, the same voice that had spoken in my vision said, "It is He. The One for whom you have been waiting. You are looking upon the Messiah."

As I watched, Simeon took the child into his arms and said, "Lord, now I can die content, for I have seen the Savior as You promised me I would. He is the light that will shine upon all the nations, and He will be the glory of your people Israel." Next Simeon blessed the baby's mother and father and prophesied of the child's future.

In that instant, I lifted my thanks unto the Lord for I knew I had lived to see the Messiah. From that moment on, I told all who would listen, "This babe is the Messiah, the Savior who will redeem Jerusalem."

Based on Luke 2:22-38; Joshua 19:24-31; Leviticus 12:1-4; Exodus 15:20; Judges 4:4; II Kings 22:14.

Copyright 1997 by John C. Westervelt

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