Perfect Predictions Series
Prophecies of Advent from Matthew 2
“Out of Egypt I Called My Son”
This Advent season we are looking at the four prophecies surrounding the infancy of Christ
found in Matthew chapter two. Last week we saw the Magi who had travel from the east
arriving in Jerusalem asking Herod, “Where is He who has been born Kings of the Jews. For
we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” (Mt.2.2) Herod immediately
became paranoid that his position and power could somehow be stripped from him by this
infant King, so he called together all the chief priests and scribes to inquire of them where
the Christ was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea,” (2.5) and shared with
Herod the prophecy that had been written by the Prophet Micah.
After ascertaining this information Herod sent the Magi to Bethlehem, and said, “Go and
search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may
come and worship Him.” (2.8) Of course Herod had no intentions to worship the Christ Child
but was only using the Magi to locate the Child so that he might harm Him. The Magi made
their way to Bethlehem found the Child with his mother Mary. After worshipping the Child
and offering their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh the Magi were warn by God in a
dream not to return to Herod and departed for their own country by another way. (2.11-
Hear now the word of God.
13 Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and
said, “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell
you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.” 14 So Joseph got up and took the
Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt. 15 He remained there until the
death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
“Out of Egypt I called My Son.” (Mt.2.13-15)
Comfort and Confirmation
Joseph and Mary must have been greatly comforted by the Magi’s visit and their gifts. The
Magi’s visit must have brought confirmation to all the wonderful things that had been
spoken by the angels and the shepherds about the Child.
“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has
been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name
Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Mt.1.20-21)
“Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in
your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called
the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and
He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” (Lk.1.30-33)
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy
which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you
a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Lk.2.10-11)
But the encouragement that Mary and Joseph received from the Magi’s visit vanished when
Joseph received the angel’s command to “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to
Egypt.” (Lk.2.34-35a) This must have been like a sword piercing Joseph and Mary’s soul.
The census already had taken them away from their hometown of Nazareth, to live as
strangers in Bethlehem (Lk.2.1-5), and now the young family had to live as exiles in Egypt.
Up to two years had passed since Jesus’ birth and the young couple must had thought that
their next trip would be heading back home to Nazareth instead of traveling the opposite
direction to Egypt.
I want to pause for a moment to have you consider how Jesus was homeless, a stranger,
and an exile for the first years of His life. Truly, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the
air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” (Mt.8.20)
The first leg of Joseph and Mary’s journey started when a census was declared by Caesar
Augustus requiring everyone to return to their hometown. Joseph with his pregnant
fiancée, Mary, traveled more than a hundred miles south to Bethlehem. This would have
been a long and difficult journey only to end up homeless in Bethlehem and giving birth to
the Son of God in a manger. (Lk.2.1-7) After Jesus’ birth the young family would make a
short trip to Jerusalem to present the Child to the Lord. (Lk.2.22-24) After returning to
Bethlehem the young family lived as strangers waiting for the Child to become old enough
to travel back home to Nazareth. But now Joseph is told by an angel to travel hundreds of
miles south to live as exiles in the foreign land of Egypt.
Jesus’ Nomadic Existence
I have never thought of this before but Jesus’ nomadic existence during the first years of His
life is another demonstration of His low condition, His humility, as the Son of God. Truly,
the Son of Man had nowhere to lay His head. Also, Jesus’ nomadic existence during the first
years of His life should give us compassion for the homeless, the stranger, and the exiles
living among us. Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and
feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger,
and invite You in . . . The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent
that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
Departed for Egypt
Of course, the news that Herod was going to search for the Child to destroy Him must have
shocked the young couple. To think that a person could be so evil must have blown their
minds! But everyone knew that Herod had recently executed several members of his own
family because he feared a coup d’état. So, getting out of town as quickly as possible in the
middle of the night made good sense.
So, Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt.
He remained there until the death of Herod. (2.14-15a) Walking to Egypt would have taken a
long time but each step took them further and further away from Herod’s jurisdiction. Even
though Egypt had a large Jewish population, the young family found themselves living as
exiles and aliens in a foreign land.
“Out of Egypt I Called My Son.”
It is at this point in Matthew’s gospel the Lord tells the redemptive significance behind this
whole episode. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
“Out of Egypt I called My Son.” (Mt.2.15) More than any gospel writer, Matthew goes to great
lengths to show that Jesus’ birth, life, and death, are rooted firmly in the pages of the
prophets. Guided by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Matthew dips his quill in the ink
wells of Micah, Hosea, Jeremiah, and Isaiah, to show that Jesus is truly the Christ.
To show the redemptive reason for sending the Holy Child to Egypt Matthew cites the
eight-century prophet Hosea. Matthew quotes the Prophet Hosea in verse fifteen, “Out of
Egypt I called My Son,” as the biblical reference for Jesus hiding in Egypt to avoid Herod’s
murderous plan. This phrase, “Out of Egypt I called My Son,” comes from the first verse of
Hosea chapter eleven. Hosea’s full prophecy reads, “When Israel was a youth I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called My son.” (Hosea 11.1) The Lord referring to Israel as His son goes
back to His message to Pharoah saying, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Israel is My son, My firstborn.
So, I said to you, ‘Let My son go that he may serve Me.’” (Ex. 4.22-23a)
As I have shared many times, an Old Testament prophecy can have both a particular
message for the original readers and a prophetic message that points to fulfillment in
Christ. And through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Matthew shows us that Hosea’s
prophecy, “When Israel was a youth I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son,” is one of
those prophecies that has both a particular and prophetic message. Let me explain.
The Particular Message
Let’s first consider how Hosea’s prophecy was to be understood by the original readers.
Hosea lived and ministered in the northern kingdom of Israel. Living in northern Israel
during this period of history was difficult for anyone who sought to be faithful to God. And
this was especially true for a man like Hosea, a man God had called to be His prophet. Hosea
witnessed firsthand how Israel’s leaders had turned away from the Lord and trusted in
alliances with other nations and their false gods. The priests of Israel mixed the worship of
God with drunken fertility rituals associated with idolatry. The rich grew very rich, but the
poor were so poor that they often had to devote their wives and daughters to temple
prostitution just to earn enough to eat. As Hosea faced these heartbreaking conditions in
the northern Israel, God called him to prophesy, to bring a message from Israel’s divine
King that very few wanted to hear. (ThirdMill)
But during all this darkness and difficulties the Lord inspired the Prophet Hosea to write,
“When Israel was a youth I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.” Here the Lord
reminisces about His covenant love for Israel when as a young nation they were held in the
bondage as slaves in Egypt and His faithfulness to deliver Israel out of Egypt. In Hosea
chapter eleven the Lord reaches back into the historical record to help Hosea’s readers
remember His intense love for Israel is like a father’s love for a son. Hosea is using the
Lord’s deliverance of young Israel out of Egypt to call his readers to have faith in the Lord’s
covenant love for them during these dark and difficult days.
So, Hosea’s prophecy could be translated, “When Israel was a toddler I loved him, and I
showed My love for him by calling My son out of Egypt.” The prophetic implication of
Hosea’s prophecy is that the Father will have the same covenant love for those in Hosea’s
day as He did for the children of Israel in Egypt.
The Prophetic Message
In Matthew’s gospel Matthew writes, “This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord
through the prophet: ‘Out of Egypt I called My Son.’” (Mt.2.15) What is interesting is
Matthew’s gospel shows us that the Holy Child fleeing to Egypt and waiting until Herod’s
death to return to Nazareth was not a coincidence but rather a direct fulfillment of God’s
redemptive purposes through Christ. In the same way God was faithful to call Israel out of
Egypt so God will be faithful to call His Son out of Egypt. This word “fulfill” means “to fill
up,” or “to bring to completion.” Matthew is telling us that hiding Jesus away in Egypt to
avoid Herod’s murderous plan and then calling Jesus out of Egypt after Herod’s death was
“to fill up,” “to bring to completion,” “to fulfill” God’s plan of deliverance for all His people.
It is important to understand that Matthew didn’t think that Hosea’s prophecy was a
foretelling about Jesus and His family fleeing to Egypt. I’m sure that Matthew understood
that Hosea’s prophecy had particular significance for people in Hosea’s day. But the Holy
Spirit revealed to Matthew that Jesus coming out of Egypt was the beginning to the ultimate
fulfillment to God’s redemptive purposes through Christ. The toddler, Jesus, would come
out of Egypt to fulfill what has been spoken through the mouths of the prophets concerning
the coming Messiah. The Father calls His toddler Son, Jesus, out of Egypt to fulfill His
earthly ministry to bring to completion the work of deliverance through His Messiah.
The Holy Spirit uses Herod’s scheme to destroy the baby Jesus and the family fleeing to
Egypt to underscore the fact that the Father will see to it that His Son will fulfill, bring to
completion, the plan of redemption to deliver His people out of the slavery to sin. This is
something that we would have never thought of ourselves! You just can’t make this stuff
up! Just as Pharaoh, the cruel king, had tried to destroy Israel, so another cruel king, Herod,
is attempting to destroy the Christ Child, God’s Son. Just like Israel was a helpless toddler
dependent on the Father to loving rescue them from bondage, so the helpless Christ Child is
dependent on the Father’s divine guidance to deliver Him out of harm’s way. Just like Israel
came out of Egypt to fulfill its redemptive purpose to bring forth the Messiah, so Christ
came out of Egypt to fulfill the redemptive purposes of God.
Brothers and sisters, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that
prevails.” (Pr.19.21) “The Lord nullifies the counsel of the nations; He frustrates the plans of
the peoples. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to
generation.” (Ps.33.10-11) We must come Job’s conclusion and say, “I know You can do all
things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.” (Job 42.2) The Lord says, “Surely, just
as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand.” (Is 14.24)
“My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure.” (Is.46.10)
So, what can we learn from Matthew quoting Hosea’s prophecy, “Out of Egypt I called My
First, the purposes of God being fulfilled in our life must be our primary focus. Joseph and
Mary must have been disappointed when they were told that returning to Nazareth was
going to be delayed. Fleeing to Egypt was an extreme inconvenience and a giant detour to
what they had planned. But they obeyed the word of the Lord and lived as exiles in Egypt.
So, we must focus our attention on obedience to God’s word as we face disappointments,
inconveniences, and life’s detours.
Secondly, the Lord will not allow the evil in this world, the Herod’s of this world, to disrupt
His purposes being fulfilled in my life, in your life, and in this world.
Lastly, the Father called His Son out of Egypt to accomplish all His holy will so that we can
be delivered from the slavery to sin.