32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
1901 ASV Translation:
32 A light for revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of thy people Israel.
Textual Issues:There are no textual variations in 2:32 between the Textus Receptus and the Nestle/Aland 26.
I. The Issue: the Incarnation as a Light of Revelation for Gentiles and a Glory of God's People, Israel.
A. Simeon is claiming that "the Lord's Christ, incarnate" is the fundamental answer to the longing of every human heart for real significance.
1. The search by the Gentiles for "wisdom" (in opposition to the concept of a "given" revelation) is nothing more or less than an attempt by the Gentiles to establish their significance and security through intellectualism.
2. The search by the Jews for "signs" (in opposition to the pursuit of "wisdom") is nothing more or less than an attempt by the Jews to establish their significance and security through demonstrations of divine favoritism.
B. Simeon's claim that "incarnation" resolves both of these "fixations" is fundamental.
1. The "incarnation" of the "Son of God" is a "light of revelation" for "intellectuals" because it cuts through the fog of myriads and myriads of "possible" meanings of the gazillion details that any "search for wisdom" will unearth.
a. Paul, Luke's long-term mentor, succinctly summarized the "Gentile" heart/mind fixation in 1 Corinthians 1:22 as "a seeking after wisdom". It is impossible to think that Luke did not share this understanding of the human, Gentile, heart/mind. Thus, his inclusion of Simeon's words regarding the need Gentiles have for "a light of revelation" makes a great deal of sense.
b. The problem for "intellectuals" is also given in the 1 Corinthians 1:19-21 text: God is set in opposition to the underlying issues in the Gentile relegation of the Cross to "foolishness" (1 Corinthians 1:23) in order to sustain their pursuit of wisdom.
c. The issue, as noted above, is that the Gentiles seek to make themselves both safe and significant by means of "wisdom". This search makes two badly founded assumptions: first, that one needs protection from a good God; and, second, that one canobtain it by human intellectual prowess in antagonism toward that good God.
1) Are there, then, no "dangers" in this universe?
a) There is only one danger: that a person might consider God "dangerous". Once this lie is "bought", there is no safety (how can anyone escape the omnipotence of a dangerous God?), nor is there any significance (how can one be important on the basis of "skills" that have no effectiveness in a war against an omnipotent foe?). Thus, the danger is real.
i. In a created universe, the problem that seems to be inherent to the issue of "creation" is that God cannot reproduce Himself; all that is created will be less than God. This means that if "persons" is an entity that will be created, those persons will, of creation-necessity, be less "wise", less "loving", less "powerful", less "just", less "merciful", less "everything" than God Himself.
ii. Herein is the danger -- that created "persons" might reject the only provision for "less-ness" (timely and sufficient revelation for the present situation) in a cause/effect universe [where thoughts lead to choices and choices lead to actions and actions lead to consequences] and opt for the blindness of self-sufficiency.
iii. Even if the "rejection" itself were not evil, it would immediately lead to such because all thought and action must spring from wisdom or it will spring from ignorance and if it springs from ignorance it is impossible that it will spring from "love" because "love" requires the delicate balance of wisdom and power that ignorance cannot provide.
iv. History shows that "less-ness" bolstered by blind ignorance is invariably selfish -- i.e., sinful.
b) But, Paul pointedly taught that there is no final danger in anything if one has the right attitude about God.
i. He said that the good God causes everything to work together for good for those who have the right attitude about Him (Romans 8:28).
ii. He said that there was nothing that could separate those who have the right attitude about God from Him (Romans 8:37-39).
2) Is there, then, no use in all of the details of knowledge?
a) Knowledge is only of benefit if it is rooted in a relationship with the good God and if its fruit is an enhancement of that relationship. All knowledge has both this root and this fruit.
b) When "knowledge" is cut loose from this root/fruit reality, it becomes a hopeless maze of data that is far beyond the ability of human rationality to organize it into "helpful" information -- i.e., "wisdom".
d. The "incarnation" of the "Son of God", the "Lord's Christ", is a brilliant "light" of "revelation" that God is good and not "dangerous" to those who have not already buried themselves in the "God is dangerous" lie.
1) There is no rationale for the "God is dangerous" lie in the face of the incarnation. To what point is the incarnation under the "God is dangerous" thesis?
2) The incarnation makes this brilliantly clear: God desires our true "best interests".
3) But, the incarnation also makes this brilliantly clear: God will not be found to be "not dangerous" to those who reject the brilliance of the light of revelation. God did not send His Son into our world to permit the unabated continuation of the lies. He sent Him for a "light" of "revelation". If men, in spite of the light and revelation, persist in antagonism toward Him, they will find that their greatest fears will come to pass [Note Matthew 25:14-30].
a) By what kind of reason does a "creature" have a "right" to determine that the Creator should be subjected to an "examination as to His morality"?
b) Is it not "animosity" toward God that subjects God to this "examination"?
c) Can there be any resolution of the animosity if the creature will not accept the Creator's actions as evidence of the illegitimacy of the animosity? And, if the question is posed, "Which evidences shall be considered?", shall not the incarnation be fundamental?
d) Will the Creator forever permit those whose obstinacy disallows the resolution of the animosity to corrupt "Life" for everyone else?
2. The "incarnation" of the "Son of God" is a "a glory" for Israel.