And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
Luke 2:36-38 KJV
This unknown lady known as a prophetess only appears here and disappears as much as she appears. Yet she plays a part in the revelation of Jesus to those who waited for Him.
When we consider her we must admire longevity of her waiting of prayer and fasting in the Temple. 84 years were the length of this ministering to the Lord.
When I meditate on this lady I see a different mindset at work. My minds eye focuses on her day and night in that sacred place which had fallen way below the heights of covenantal promises for it. No great conference did she attend, no prophetic conference gave her the credentials which the Bible gives her.
If you were to enter in those days you would probably miss her. Or she would be thought little of. I then begin to think about those 84 years in that place, and I begin to think into history.
What do I see in history? I see that the Temple Jesus entered into as a baby is not the same one as Zerrubabel , where the Glory of the Latter House would be greater than the former! Yet in the project of Herod, it’s greatness of glory was not measured by outer majesty than the original Temple built by Solomon. So he began to tear it down. Now in this phased tearing down, unphased by man’s projects is Ana steadfast in her prayers, worshipping, fastings.
Surely the days of this transition to Roman occupation were dark as Jewish aspirations were now curtailed by occupying forces. And other forces of ambition and Zealots arose in that time to fight against the occupants. In the political turmoil stood Ana, steadfast in a changing Temple, a changing faith, a changing world.
Yet the Bible names her as a prophetess. Yet she is not attributed any prophetic word. She is not on the circle, itinerary, or giving conferences and seminars.
And as I meditate what made God name her a prophetess has all to do what she did. She was present when the Holy Babe came in to that sanctuary. She immediately recognised Him despite the form He took. This is the culmination of waiting 84 years! So we must know that in those 84 years God brought her into a place of intimacy. And from that intimacy she was shown hidden mysteries and plans of heaven that no others saw.
We must remember that this time represents in Scripture as 400 years of prophetic silence. Once the final words of Malachi had passed God did not raise up official voices. Only when John the Baptist appeared at Jordan did the silence end.
What we think is God was totally silent, but He was not. There were a few chosen vessels who God chose to disclose His heart and plans to. Ana was one of those.
The mystery was to have come to birth a baby who would bring political consolation but a spiritual revolution.
So I begin to see God weave a tapestry of prophetic revelation in the life of Ana. She was deprived of a earthly love so early on. A widow. And being a widow so young would have left her destitute, but she exchanged the right to earthly love and keep for a heavenly love! Such was the dedication and devotion.
Her days were filled with the secrets of the Most High whispered into her spirit. He taught her to look away from the affairs from her day. He taught her to look into heaven itself and see eternal plans.
We not only see her alone, her prayers began to birth amongst residents of the city that something new was coming to birth. A sign that would confuse those who wrote Scripture itself, confuse those who would sacrifice animals, offer incense, and confuse all who had made theology their refuge.
It seems that the so called bastions of faith were bypassed so that those who took the obscurity and the longevity of preparation saw beyond the present trends, persuasions and politics, to decipher hidden and celestial processes.
She was not a prophetess to the people but to God. She spoke not, but prayed and breathed His heart. She needed no pulpit, no worship group, no name to go by. Yet she confirmed the spiritual aspirations of those who were awakened by a different sound, alerted to a different plan.
And what did sustain her? Where came her bread and keep? They came by the very “ravens” God sent to her, to keep her in that place of waiting.
As she made her house in God so God sustained her from His House!
And so to culminate her wait so came the Word to her that in the silence of the Word, the maelstrom of opinion, persuasion and written law, God was about to confound all by opening a new freedom not found by conquest, nor by influence. She saw that what God was about to do was small yet big, innocent little baby, not distinguished by natural features. Yet her spiritual eyes recognised immediately the embodiment of God’s plan. She touched and blessed, and knew that her task was finished.
It was a long dark task, it was a patience beyond endurance. Yet she was given a determination and a motivation that came from the Holy Spirit Himself.
She was not distracted when the armies of Rome oppressed the people. She was not distracted with human ambition embodied in the New Temple project that took 46 years to build.
All she saw was a King and a Kingdom of true peace. All she saw was a new Jerusalem and an
LET us see her example.