I’ve been email friends for several years with a man named Michael Roane whose spiritual maturity and love for modeling and teaching the biblical worldview has impressed me. He graciously agreed to let me share some of his insights on Christmas, stating that he has no real claim on them because they were given to him by the Holy Spirit. That’s my attitude also, but, as I said in reply “If being the Holy Spirit’s vessel didn’t confer honor, Mary, John, Paul and all the prophets wouldn’t be heroes of the faith.” That started me meditating on the theme of humans being vessels of habitation for spiritual beings separate from ourselves. I woke this morning with that theme on my mind, recognizing that Brother Michael’s influence on me is an example of the biblical metaphor: “iron sharpens iron.”
This is what he wrote:
“ How did Simeon know when to look for the Messiah in the temple? …
Bethlehem is only about eight or so miles from Jerusalem. The shepherds in that region supplied the lambs used in the daily sacrifices at the temple. When a ewe was about to give birth, she would be brought to a place called “Tower of the flock.” This place, which in Hebrew was known as Migdal Eder, was mentioned as far back as the time of Abraham (Genesis 35:21), and is also mentioned in a prophecy of the coming Messiah in the book of Micah. —
“And you, O tower of the flock, hill of the daughter of Zion, to you shall it come, the former dominion shall come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem.” — Micah 4:8 (RSV)
Once a lamb was birthed, the shepherds would wrap it in swaddling and place it in a manger to keep it from being blemished in any way. When the angel announced the birth of the Messiah to the shepherds on that night, he told them, “Here is how you will know: you will find a baby wrapped in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.” — Luke 2:12 (CJB)
This was all the information that was given to them by the angel, but based upon that, they knew exactly where to find him — at the Tower of the flock, where lambs were swaddled and placed in the manger. Some think this is the place where Mary gave birth to God’s perfect lamb when she and Joseph could find no other place to stay….
“And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.” — Luke 2:20 (RSV). Perhaps as soon as the next day or certainly within a couple of days, some of them made their way to Jerusalem, likely to deliver lambs to the temple. They would no doubt have told anyone who would listen about the angels announcement and seeing the baby Jesus. Among those in the temple was an elderly man named Simeon.
“There was in Yerushalayim [Jerusalem] a man named Shim‘on [Simeon]. This man was a tzaddik [a righteous one], he was devout, he waited eagerly for God to comfort Isra’el, and the Ruach HaKodesh [Holy Spirit] was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Ruach HaKodesh that he would not die before he had seen the Messiah of Adonai [the LORD]. — Luke 2:25-26 (CJB)
…. When Simeon caught wind of the birth of the Messiah and the accompanying visitation of the angels, I can imagine him closely questioning the shepherds about what night it took place. For you see, if he knew that, he would know on what day to be in the temple looking for the baby and His parents based upon the Torah passage in Leviticus 12:1-4. —
The Lord said to Moses, “Say to the people of Israel, If a woman conceives, and bears a male child, then she shall be unclean seven days; as at the time of her menstruation, she shall be unclean. And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised [b’rit-milah]. Then she shall continue for thirty-three days in the blood of her purifying; she shall not touch any hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying are completed.
Simeon knew to be in the temple on the fortieth day. This was the day he had waited for ever since the Holy Spirit had spoken to him. Prompted by the Spirit, he went into the Temple courts; and when the parents brought in the child Yeshua to do for him what the Torah required [i.e., redeem the first-born], Shim‘on took him in his arms, [and] made a b’rakhah [blessing or thanksgiving prayer] to God and said,
“Now, Adonai, according to your word, your servant is at peace as you let him go; for I have seen with my own eyes your yeshu‘ah [Messiah], which you prepared in the presence of all peoples —
a light that will bring revelation to the Goyim [Gentiles] and glory to your people Isra’el.”
— Luke 2:27-32 (CJB)…Simeon was the first righteous witness to the coming of the Messiah. Only moments later, Hannah a righteous widow from the tribe of Asher became the second witness (Matthew 18:16).
What a profound set of insights! Now to my meditative rabbit trail, beginning with Christ’s warning in Matthew 12:43-45 that any man without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is at risk of becoming a vessel for demons.
Years ago in my studies of the occult I encountered a belief in Theosophy of “the Akashic Record,” which it describes as “a compendium of all universal events, thoughts, words, emotions and intent ever to have occurred in the past, present, or future in terms of all entities and life forms, not just human.” These records are supposedly “imprinted on astral light” and accessible through necromancers and mediums.
Amazingly, when I went online to refresh my memory of this occult doctrine for this article I was taken to a Quora chatroom where second in line in the comments section was the very man (D.E.) who many years ago introduced me to the truth of rampant Nazi homosexuality (my inspiration for writing The Pink Swastika – which also exposes Nazi occultism). He was defending the practice of seeking necromancers and mediums – on the grounds that the word translated as necromancer could also be translated as “water bottle” as in a vessel made from the skin of a dead animal. Always a spiritual oddball (pray for him), he was obviously missing the biblical point that necromancers and mediums are vessels of demons trying to reach and influence human beings – forcefully condemned in Leviticus 19:26, Acts 19:19 and Deuteronomy 18:10.
It’s just another example of human beings worshiping created things instead of the Creator whose own memory holds everything they claim inhabits “astral light” and more – and which is all accessible to Christians through the Holy Spirit, as Michael’s insights illustrate.
The fact is that human beings ARE vessels of spiritual entities – light or dark, which brings me to my final point on this day of Christmas Eve. Only one person in all history was BOTH a spiritual vessel in the way all of us are, AND the physical habitation of the fetal Christ Child Himself: Mary, the Mother of God, not in any way a “co-redemptrix,” but nevertheless blessed above all other women, with insights implicitly unique to herself and her role — her advice to humanity metaphorically summarized in the command to the servants at Cana, “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2:5).
Tomorrow we will celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and all the eyes of creation will rightly be upon Him. But tonight our focus should be on the young woman, the spiritual ewe, Mary, sheltered in an animal stall, bearing the stress and pain of labor mixed with the anticipation of unimaginable joy – whom God chose as His vessel and channel into human form. This is her moment! Ave, Maria.