December 27 - Escape to Egypt

Saturday, December 27, 2008

December 27 - The Escape to Egypt - Matthew 2:13-18

Matthew (who was one of Christ's disciples) believed and taught that Jesus Christ was the ultimate fulfillment of God's covenant with the Israelites. He saw the family's departure to Egypt as prophetically significant for Jesus' life. He saw the prophecy from Hosea 11:1 as a parallel between the original exodus and Jesus' experience. Jesus brought completion to these earlier events in Israel's history.

The passage from Jeremiah 31:15 that he quotes in Matthew 2:18 was used by Jeremiah to describe the passionate mourning of Israelite mothers when their children were taken from them into Babylonian exile. Daniel and his friends would have been part of that awful experience. Rachel was the favored wife of Jacob (renamed Israel) and represented all of the mothers that were in mourning for their lost children.

Moving back to Matthew 2:13, as you read the angel's words to Joseph, it is obvious that Joseph is only considered a guardian. Nowhere is he told to take his 'son' to Egypt, or bring him back. He is told to take the child and his mother.

There was already a large Jewish population living in Egypt and the young family would have been welcomed with no question.

They stayed in Egypt until Herod died. Josephus, a Jewish historian who lived from AD 37 - 100 wrote "Antiquities" which is the early Jewish history. Much of his information validates scripture and anchored many dates and events. He tells that Herod murdered his wife and children and calls him a 'man of great barbarity to all equally.' (Antiq. xvii. 8.1) Josephus also recounts that Herod died a particularly nasty death as the result of a horrible disease.

However, before he died, he realized that the Wise Men had outwitted him and he flew into a rage. He had absolutely no idea how old the child, Jesus, was, but he insisted that all boys in Bethlehem under the age of 2 would be slaughtered. His awful behavior knew no bounds.

Matthew insists that we fully comprehend the power of God's prophetic word throughout the Old Testament and the fact that this prophecy finds its fulfillment in the birth of His Son, Jesus Christ.

God's plan has been put into place, He will bring it to fruition.