a Bible study about Anna
by Alrinda Mulder
'Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.'
- Luke 2:36-38
Here in Luke 2:36 -38, we read about an extraordinary woman. Everything we know about this woman is described in only 3 verses, but that is more than enough to know exactly the kind of woman she is. This for me is the true image of a God-fearing woman and has inspired me to walk in a deeper way with my Bridegroom. Out of all the woman I have studied in the Bible, Anna left the most lasting impression on me for a couple of reasons, but most of all when it comes to my own walk with Jesus Christ.
Anna means: favor or grace
I want to share the deeper meaning of grace:
- favor or kindness shown without regard to the worth or merit of the one who receives it and in spite of what that person deserves. Grace is one of the key attributes of God. The Lord God is “merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abounding in goodness and truth” (Exo 34:6).
Therefore, grace is almost always associated with mercy, love, compassion, and patience.
In the Old Testament, the supreme example of grace was the redemption of the Hebrew people from Egypt and their establishment in the Promised Land. This did not happen because of any merit on Israel’s part, but in spite of their unrighteousness (Deu 7:7-8; Deu 9:5-6).
Although the grace of God is always free and undeserved, it must not be taken for granted. Grace is only enjoyed within the Covenant—the gift is given by God, and the gift is received by people through repentance and faith (Amo 5:15). Grace is to be humbly sought through the prayer of faith (Mal 1:9).
The grace of God was supremely revealed and given in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Jesus was not only the beneficiary of God’s grace (Luk 2:40), but was also its very embodiment (Joh 1:14), bringing it to humankind for salvation (Tit 2:11). By His death and resurrection, Jesus restored the broken fellowship between God and His people, both Jew and Gentile. The only way of salvation for any person is “through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ” (Act 15:11).
The grace of God revealed in Jesus Christ is applied to human beings for their salvation by the Holy Spirit, who is called “the Spirit of grace” (Heb 10:29).
The Spirit is the One who binds Christ to His people so that they receive forgiveness, adoption to sonship, and newness of life, as well as every spiritual gift or grace (Eph 4:7).
The theme of grace is especially prominent in the letters of Paul.
The law of Moses revealed the righteous will of God in the midst of pagan darkness; it was God’s gracious gift to Israel (Deu 4:8). But His will was made complete when Jesus brought the gospel of grace into the world (Joh 1:17).
Anna was known as the faithful and devote witness because she bore witness of the Messiah, Jesus Christ in the temple as we clearly read in Luke 2. This is absolutely extraordinary if you think about it! Jesus Christ as a baby being blessed in the temple by Simeon and knowing He is the Messiah, the Redeemer and Savior of the world.
We also read that Anna was a prophetess. This means that she was a woman who preached and spoke the Word of God, YAHWEH. *Any preacher who faithfully proclaims the Word of God would be a prophet in a general Biblical sense.
So this means that Anna preached the Word of God to other women in the temple (woman do not preach to men).
The gift of Anna, proclaiming God's truth, played a very important role in her ministry and that is exactly what she is remembered for. This is definitely the reason that she had the honour of being mentioned here in the Book of Luke.
Luke gives us another significant detail about Anna's live here in verse 37:
"who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day."
It is highly believed that Anna stayed right there on the temple grounds. At the site of the temple, there were outer courts and it had rooms or something like apartments as we read in Neh.13:7-9.
Perhaps because of Anna's long life of faithfulness and dedication to the Word of God, but also her obvious spiritual gifts and constant commitment to ministry she was given a place of accommodation at the temple's outer courts.
Secondly, we read she served Yahweh with fasting and prayer.
We read quite a lot about fasting in Scripture and it was something they practised and kept. Many important events in Scripture, we see true Biblical fastings such as with Yeshua and Moses who has gone without any type of drink (including water) and no food for 40 days and nights. Also when we read in the Book of Esther they fasted for 3 days and nights without any type of drink and food = consuming nothing excepts the living water of Yeshua.
There is much happening in the Spirit when we enter into Biblical fasting and prayer.
I want to share that there is no such thing as a "Daniel fast".
The popular fast that became the ultimate way of fasting in our Christian society today, was never even called a fast in Scripture.
The "Daniel fast" that everyone is referring to and partaking in is the one we read about in Daniel chapter 10, but the problem here is that not even Daniel called this a fast.
It was clearly only a lifestyle change in the way he ate for a short period of time, because he was in severe mourning.
Daniel did fast but in Daniel chapter 9.
Daniel clearly understood fasting and prayer and that's exactly why he did not call it fasting in Daniel 10.
If we call this fasting then we can call all vegans 'permanent fasters' and I do not see any of them getting any kind of spiritual breakthroughs all the time. Then they must surely be on some kind of spiritual high all the time, right? I am sorry, but there is absolutely no crucifying the flesh in any shape or form partaking in this so-called "Daniel fast".
Fasting is about self-denial, submitting wholly and crucifying the flesh, relying only on God and nothing else. That's why prayer and fasting go hand in hand. We cannot separate the two. Fasting with prayer reveals a heart so consumed with Yahweh and our desperate need for HIM, so eager to receive the anointing and blessing of Yahweh. Partaking in a true Biblical fast will be difficult and that's when we will need to go on our knees and pray and ask Abba Father for His help and His strength and His living water to sustain us in this time.
John 3:30 tells us the following:
'He must increase, but I must decrease. '
There is a lot wrong when we start looking deeper into the "Daniel Fast", because nowhere in scripture have we ever read about partial fastings.
If you are only doing the "Daniel Fast" because it is easier than a Biblical Fast, you have already lost the whole meaning and idea of fasting in the first place.
Do remember that only the Holy Spirit can reveal the truth to you. I can only share this information with you, but it is your responsibility to go and test everything according to the Word of God and then pray about everything.
Another thing dear sisters in Christ, as we look at Anna, we see she was deeply rooted in Yahweh and in Scripture and she chose to walk in this way. But do not forget that you also have been called in such a way, because Scripture tells us so:
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them
- Ephesians 2:10.
But it still and always will remain our choice, how we walk our journey, and with who we walk our journey here on earth. Worldly or Heavenly.
Yeshua longs for a daily walk with His beloved.
So ladies, do not go about your day forgetting about Abba Father, your Creator. And whatever you do ladies, do all to the glory of God, your words, thought life, choices, behaviour, deeds etc.
Let all be done in the will of God to glorify Him. Heed, listen and obey as our Father is desiring an intimate relationship with each and everyone of us. As you go about your day to day responsibilities, remember to share your day with Abba Father, open yourself up, invite Him in and give Him control of your day.
“Instead of fitting God into your schedule, plan your schedule around God. Make Him your life, and everything else will be put into perspective.”
- A. Marie
As Anna spend her days in the temple of God, we ought to spend our days in the
presence of God - let's tabernacle with Abba Father...
A study guide on Anna:
by John MacArthur
1.) What is your initial impression of Anna?
2.) Anna had hopes and dreams that were rooted in her understanding of Scriptures, she was spiritually focused. In what are your hopes and dreams rooted? What is your primary focus?
3.) Anna was a prophetess proclaiming God's word to others. How are you proclaiming the Word of God to others?
4.) Anna dedicated her life to Yahweh and serving Him through fasting and prayer for many, many years. How do you think she felt when she realized that Jesus was the Messiah?
5.) What life principles did you learn from Anna's life and how will you apply these principles to your own life?
- The Word of God, Bible
- Nelson's Bible Dictionary
To God be the glory forever and ever,