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Matthew 2:13-15: Jesus called out of Egypt

Posted by adventbiblestudy on September 14, 2011


Matthew 2:13-15 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take

Jesus in Egypt

Jesus in Egypt

the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. (14) When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: (15) And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son

Once again Joseph was warned by an angel appearing to him in a dream. Having learned from previous experience, Joseph does not hesitate, but immediately follows instructions. This time it was a matter of life and death.  

Imagine what must have been going through Joseph’s mind when he was told Herod was seeking the life of his son. Did Joseph have total faith in God, and His protection? After all, this was the second time an angel appeared to him. As priest of the family Joseph had the responsibility of taking the concerns of his family and lifting them up in prayer to the Lord. His role was much like the high priest, placed in the role as mediator. The priest could not forgive sins, but could only transfer transgressions from the sinner to the sacrifice. Joseph’s role as priest of the family was not to offer solutions to the problem they were facing, but to lift them up in prayer to God, the supreme protector, and provider. Joseph did not know Herod’s plans, but God did.

Upon receiving information concerning the birth of the new King of the Jews, king Herod sought information for his own gain from the priests. This showed his heart was set on his own desires and personal gain. He thought he had a flawless plan, which included what he did best, using others to carry out his devious plans. His plan included using the wise men to bring him information about the new born King. Herod had plans to kill the promised one. Herod specifically asked, and was told, “it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.” Matthew 2:5-6.

Instead of accepting this prophecy as a sign pointing to the Redeemer, as many people understood, Herod viewed this prophecy as a personal threat to his position. Worldly gain had blinded his eyes, and harden his heart. No matter how clearly truth would manifest itself, Herod had little hope of accepting any message from God. What was the difference between Joseph’s vision from an angel, and the message Herod was shown from God’s word? Both were the truth. Both were from God.

After king Herod finally figured out the wise men from the east were not returning with the news he was waiting for, he “was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.” Matthew 2:16.

Joseph as the head of the family was warned of the coming danger. An illustration showing the important role of the father. The father who seeks God will be warned of impeding danger, and take the appropriate actions. In this case it was a matter of life or death because, “the dragon which stood before the woman and was ready to devour her child as soon as it was born.” (Revelation 12:4)

It seems ironic, first God delivers His people from Egypt, then sends His Son into Egypt. There must have been a very good reason for God to send His Son into Egypt. Although Herod had risen against Jesus with an armed force, God did not need the military protection Egypt offered. “Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!” Isaiah 31:1.

Sending His followers to Egypt was not new to God. This may have been one reason Joseph trusted the message from the angel. He may have remembered the story of Abram’s journey to Egypt. “There was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.” The theme was repeated with Abraham’s son. “And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar. And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of:” Of course Joseph was sold into bondage in Egypt. “Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.” Later Joseph brought his father and family to join him in Egypt to escape yet another famine. “And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here am I. And he said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation: I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes.” (Genesis 12:10, Genesis 26:1, 2, Genesis 37:28, Genesis 46:2-4)

Did Joseph see this pattern? First a famine, then God sends his people into Egypt. This happened three times. God does not repeat Himself unless He is teaching an important lesson. Did Joseph understand the reason for this pattern? Did the angel explain why Jesus was added to this pattern? Was there a famine in Israel after Jesus was born, or were the famines a spiritual symbol? “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:” (Amos 8:11)

Imagine the thoughts which must have entered Joseph’s mind, and the discussions he and Mary must have had as they crossed the wilderness with their first born son. Their minds must have been continually draw to the stories about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as they passed by landmarks along the way. They must have been impressed with details of the exodus and they crossed into Egypt, knowing one day God would also call them out of Egypt. Did they remember the words God told Moses when God told him to return to Egypt and deliver God’s people? “Israel is my son, even my firstborn:” (Exodus 4:22) Now they were taking God’s one and only born Son into Egypt, following a pattern followed by Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. All of whom were blessed beyond their imaginations shown in the fact they left with more riches than when they entered Egypt.

Jesus was about to take the place of Israel as God’s first born Son to fulfill the mission Israel could not. To finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. (Daniel 9:24).

Israel as a nation could never complete God’s plan of redemption. They were an illustration of Christ. Only God’s single, obedient Son could provide the sacrifice for iniquity, bring everlasting righteousness, fulfill each and every prophecy about the Messiah, and anoint the most Holy.

Did you ever wonder if Mary recognized the obvious parallels between the exodus of Israel and Jesus’ return from Egypt?

After leaving Egypt the nation of Israel was spiritually baptized while passing through the Red Sea. “And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;” (1 Corinthians 10:2) “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.” (Matthew 3:13)

Immediately after their baptism, Israel entered in the wilderness where, “the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness:” (Exodus 16:2) Here we see another obvious parallel between Israel and Jesus when we look at the reason for their complaint. “the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” (Exodus 16:3)

Immediately after His baptism, Jesus was, “led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.” (Matthew 4:2,3)

Israel gave into the temptation of hunger, which lead to bickering, and doubt. Jesus defeated hunger. Israel fell to one temptation after another in the wilderness, while Jesus faced the devil, and remained sinless. Jesus accomplished what the nation of Israel could not.

Afterwards Israel went to the mountain to receive the law of God, the ten commandments recorded in Exodus 20. Jesus went up to the mountain to give the law back to the people, establishing His role as the Son of God. ” When Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” (Matthew 7:28,29)

If Jesus had delivered the law from Exodus 20, the minds of the people would have been drawn to the misconceptions they had bee taught. Instead, Jesus explained the spirit of the law with plain and simple examples, which were instantly accepted, because they were easily understood.

Jesus’ entrance into Egypt may not have been the beginning of His ministry, but it was the beginning of a series of parallel actions establishing Him has God’s first born, and only Son.

(Hosea 13:4) Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me.

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