Out of Egypt I called My Son

by romprakash

The Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt (paint...

Exodus from Egypt

In Matthew’s Gospel, we read that after the Magi visited Jesus and His family, Joseph was warned to flee to Egypt since Herod was coming after Jesus. In Matthew 2:14-15 we read:

14 So he got up, took the child and His mother during the night, and escaped to Egypt. 15 He stayed there until Herod’s death, so that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled: Out of Egypt I called My Son.

The verse that Matthew cites is Hosea 11:1, and Matthew’s citation of this is actually slightly problematic. This is because Hosea clearly did not write this as a prophecy (it is a reference to the Exodus) – it is a statement of fact, Israel is called God’s firstborn son in Exodus 4:22:

Then you will say to Pharaoh: This is what the Lord says: Israel is My firstborn son.

The solution to this problem is actually an easy one – because the NT authors often see things in the OT as types and shadows of the reality that is to come in the Messiah (see the book of Hebrews for an extensive example!). And in this case, Matthew sees Israel as typological of the Son of God.

We don’t really have to spend much energy proving this as we see that Jesus is called the firstborn Son of God in the New Testament in the fullest, truest sense possible (particularly, see Colossians 1:15 for His preceding any created nation).

Parallels between Israel and Jesus

In Matthew’s Gospel (in particular) we see striking parallels between Israel and Jesus. Notice that where Israel fails, Jesus triumphs. Here are some that I note [and yes, one parallel is taken from John’s Gospel!]:

Isaac, the son of promise of Abraham was conceived supernaturally of a woman whose womb had been “dried up.” Jesus was conceived supernaturally through the Holy Spirit.
Israel was called out of Egypt. We saw from Matthew’s quote of Hosea that Jesus too was called out of Egypt.
Israel was in the wilderness for 40 years, they had manna from heaven but were faithless. Jesus went without food in the wilderness for 40 days, and was tempted but faithful.When Satan tempts Jesus to turn stones to bread He quotes Deuteronomy and says, “Man must not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the word of God”. 

Incredibly the full quote in Deuteronomy 8:3 goes like this: “He humbled you by letting you go hungry; then He gave you manna to eat, which you and your fathers had not known, so that you might learn that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”

So in this statement – Jesus Himself is alluding to the parallels to the Israelites in the desert and Himself!

Israel was called to be a light to the nations  (Ps 67) and failed in this. Jesus says that He is the light of the world (John 8:12). And where Israel failed to be a light, we see that Jesus is the Light of the World and has attracted men of all nations to Him.

Where Israel failed, Jesus triumphed. It was a mere Shadow of the Reality who is, who was and is to come.

The Servant Songs (Who is the Servant?)

Most of you are probably familiar with the 4 servant songs in Isaiah (Isaiah 42-53). And it is hard to dispute that the Servant being spoken of is Jesus. However, take a look back at Isaiah 41 – and who does God call His servant? Isaiah 41:8 says:

8 But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, descendant of Abraham, My friend — 9 I brought  you from the ends of the earth and called you from its farthest corners. I said to you: You are My servant; I have chosen you and not rejected you. 10 Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.

Now it is obvious as we read on in the Servant Songs that the servant cannot possibly be National Israel, as it becomes pretty clear that the True Servant isn’t a Nation, but a single person. In addition, the Servant possess qualities that Israel never possessed (such as being without deceit, or violence, etc.).

Therefore, 700 years before Matthew writes, the Servant Songs in Isaiah also illustrate that Jesus is the fulfillment of everything Israel was meant to be.

Where Israel fails, Jesus succeeds. Jesus is the True Israel – the True Servant. Which I believe is the point that Paul will make in Galatians 3:16:

16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say “and to seeds,” as though referring to many, but and to your seed, referring to one, who is Christ.

The true seed of Abraham is Jesus Christ. The Nation of Israel was a shadow.

We too fail, yet Jesus was victorious – on our behalf

Israel wasn’t the only one to fail. We failed. We fail. We will fail. Yet Jesus was victorious where we would have failed. As the book of Hebrews says:

15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

What an amazing thing it is to know that God has experienced every temptation we have faced, yet was triumphant. Because of this He can sympathize with us, and so we have confidence to approach His throne. No ‘god’ in any man made religion can make this claim. No other god could know what it is to be tempted, to face hunger, to face rejection by his friends, to be spat upon by those whom he came to save. Only Jesus knows what it is to be a frail human being.

No words can express the amazement we should have that the Infinite Creator can sympathize with finite creatures such as ourselves. What an Awesome and Great God we have!