Matt 2:15 Out of Egypt Have I Called My Son 12/24/2006 ßà
#1. God Called Him Out of Egypt (Matt 2:1-15, Matt 7:6)
#2. This How We Must Understand the Bible (Matt 10:6, 15:24, 31, 27:42, John 1:49)
#3. In the Fullness of Time (Gal 4:4-5)
Please open your Bibles to the Epistle to the Galatians, Gal 3:28 (2X). Galatians comes right after Second Corinthians. Today we have the 7th installment in the series of “The Simplicity of the Gospel”.
Here is one of the nuggets you must have in place in your mind before you continue to read and study the Scriptures. Perhaps you remember that in last week’s sermon I focused on The Rent Veil, which had as one of the consequences that when Christ died the nation of Israel was no longer the preferred nation on this earth. The ground is level at the foot of the cross. All nations have an equal standing before Christ, which is stated so clearly in Gal 3:28, where we read,
Ga 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
Ga 3:29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
There is now no more any distinction between those who were born as Jews and those who were born as Gentiles. God divorced Himself from being a husband to the nation of Israel. The physical descendants of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob are no longer considered a special people in the sight of God. After the cross God implemented what He had said all along in the OT about the seed of Abraham. God did not consider every descendant of Abraham a member of Abraham’s seed. “They which are the children of the flesh, these are NOT the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed”. And that is why we read in Gal 3:29 that if we belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, then are WE Abraham’s seed. Please turn to the page on your left, to Gal 3:16. What is so special about belonging to Abraham’s seed? Well, God does not give this title to everyone. He says in:
Ga 3:16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy Seed, which is Christ.
It means that the primary beneficiary of the promises to Abraham were promises to Christ. When you check in your concordance the occurrence of the word “seed” in Genesis, you find that the Bible always uses the word “seed”, and never the word “descendants”. God says in Gal 3:16 that the primary meaning of the word “seed” is Christ, who is the Seed of Abraham. And in Gal 3:29 God says that all those who are in Christ are also called Abraham’s seed. And so, when we read the Bible and see the word “seed”, we should let the context define if it means Christ, or if it means those who are in Christ, or if it means physical descendants. Always let the context define the meaning. The same procedure should also be applied to the name “Israel”, because the veil in the temple was rent and God no longer dwells in temples made with hands. Please turn to the Gospel according to Matthew, Matt 2:1 (2X).
#1. God Called Him Out of Egypt (Matt 2:1-15, Matt 7:6)
Here is a nugget of truth that flows out of the visit of the Magi to Jesus. We read here in Matt 2 about the “wise men from the east”. The wise men are in the Greek text called “Magi”, which means they were astrologers. And since they were looking for a King of the Jews, we must infer that they also had some information from the OT scrolls of the Bible, and they believed what they read there. The outward sign of their faith was their desire to worship this King of the Jews. And since no one worships another human being, we must infer that they believed that the King of the Jews was Divine.
Mt 2:1-2 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
Mt 2:3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
Mt 2:4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
Mt 2:5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
Mt 2:6-7 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. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
Mt 2:8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
Mt 2:9 ¶ When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
Mt 2:10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
Mt 2:11-12 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
Mt 2:13 ¶ And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take 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.
Mt 2:14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:
Mt 2:15 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.
I am not going to discuss all that we see here, for I want to go quickly to verse 15. But what do we see here in this story? How many Magi were visiting the Lord Jesus? Some say three, because they see the three gifts: gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. But nowhere in the Bible do we read that there were only three Magi. Moreover, when people begin to give these three Magi names, you know for sure that they have another gospel than the Bible, for they have added to the Word of God. But they are not the only ones who have perverted the Gospel. We read here in verse 3 that king Herod was troubled, and all Jerusalem was troubled with him. Old king Herod did not want any competition for the throne, and all Jerusalem agreed with him that there should not be any other king than this Edomite. Even the Messiah should not replace king Herod. This is how low they have sunk. They have read the Scriptures over and over, and they could find even an obscure passage, like is stated in verse 6, but they did not believe that the coming of Messiah was more important than keeping this Edomite on the throne. Can you see how low they have sunk? Not one of them accompanied the Magi to Bethlehem. But when the Magi departed from the wicked city Jerusalem they saw again the star. What star were the wise men following? Certainly it was not a conjunction of all the planets, as some have interpreted it, for we read in verse 9 that the star went before them to lead them to Bethlehem, until it stood still over the house where the Lord Jesus was. This was not a star that was millions of miles up in outer space. This was a star that was only a few hundred feet up in the air, for it led the wise men exactly to the house where the Lord Jesus was. Can we see that God miraculously led these wise men to the Lord Jesus? Can we see that if anyone becomes saved, it is a miracle from God which leads that person to the Lord Jesus? This then is the spiritual message that God brings to us concerning the visit of the Magi. Then they were miraculously informed by God not to give king Herod the information he wanted. Likewise, it is a miracle from God that He gives us discernment of who the enemies of Christ are, and what information to withhold from them. God says to us in Matt 7:6, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you”. This tells us that we must always be on our guard to recognize who the dogs and swine are in the eyes of God. But now I want to focus on the last words of verse 15, “Out of Egypt Have I Called My Son”. And this is also the title of this sermon, “Out of Egypt Have I Called My Son”. You know that in this story of Matt 2 the Son who is called out of Egypt is the Lord Jesus Christ. But He is not the only one who was called out of Egypt. The entire nation of Israel was called out of Egypt in 1447 BC. Please turn in your Bibles to the prophecy of Hosea, Hos 11:1 (2X).
Put a sticker in Matt 2, for we will go there again. You find the prophecy of Hosea right after Daniel. The sequence is Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea. Hosea is listed as the last of the Major Prophets, although Hosea lived long before the prophet Daniel. At the same time that Isaiah preached in the southern kingdom of Judah, Hosea preached in the northern kingdom of Israel. We read here in Hos 11:1,
Ho 11:1 ¶ When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.
God refers here to the Exodus of the children of Israel out of Egypt. This is the only reference we can find in the entire Bible that corresponds to the statement in Matt 2:15, “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son”. When you combine those two passages, Matt 2:15 and Hos 11:1, what is the result? Obviously, the result is that the Lord Jesus Christ is called Israel. Hos 11:1 vaguely refers to the Exodus of the children of Israel out of Egypt, but more directly it speaks of the Lord Jesus being called out of Egypt. The Lord Jesus is here given the name Israel. And this is not the only place where the Lord Jesus is called Israel, for we read in Isa 49:3 also that Christ is called Israel. Now, let us follow this up with the same methodology that we used in the case of Christ as the Seed of Abraham. The Lord Jesus is called the Christ, which means the Anointed One, and WE who are in Christ are called Christians, because He has anointed us as “kings and priests unto God and His Father”, according to Rev 1:6. The Lord Jesus is called the Seed of Abraham, and WE who are who are in Christ are also called “Abraham’s seed” according to Gal 3:29, because we have received a faith like that of Abraham. The Lord Jesus is called “Israel”, as we have seen by comparing Matt 2:15 and Hos 11:1, and therefore WE who are in Christ are also called “Israel”. We can see that clearly in Matt 2:6. Please turn again to the Gospel according to Matt, Matt 2:6 (2X). The chief priests and scribes found in Mic 5:2 this verse that is listed here in Matt 2:6,
Mt 2:6 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.
“My people Israel”. Who does that refer to? Let us examine who God refers to when He uses the name Israel. #1. Jacob received the name Israel in Gen 35. #2. All those who were in Jacob, the 13 tribes coming out of Egypt, were also called Israel. #3. Upon the division of the kingdom of Solomon, 10 tribes to the north separated themselves and called the northern kingdom “Israel”. #4. After the northern kingdom was destroyed by the kingdom of Assyria the southern kingdom of Judah was also sometimes called “Israel”. #5. The Lord Jesus Christ is called Israel. #6. All those who are in Christ are called Israel. And so, when we read the Bible and we come across the name Israel, we must let the context determine which Israel God has in view. This we must do, for we are obligated to harmonize all the verses of the Bible, for God is not a liar. Therefore, when we consider Matt 2:6 we must ask, Does “My people Israel” refer to the blood descendants of Jacob, or does it refer to those whom God chose from before the foundation of the world to be in Christ? Look at the words of this verse carefully. If the Lord Jesus Christ has become the Governor who shall rule the blood descendants of Jacob, then how does that differ from His rule of the blood descendants of Jacob in all the OT days? There is no difference. The Lord Jesus Christ is God the Son, and as such He is and always was fully God, like Mic 5:2 says, He is “from everlasting”. All during the OT days He had been the ruler of the nation of Israel. But in Matt 2:6 God says that He is going to do something new. The Lord Jesus Christ, who is both fully God and fully man, shall come out of Bethlehem. It refers to a future event. And He shall rule “My people Israel”. That refers to a future action. And we know already that the future event and the future action God refers to is the new rule of the Lord Jesus Christ in the hearts or souls of those whom He came to save: His elect people, not only in the NT age, but His elect from the OT as well as from the NT dispensation. For on the cross He must also pay for the sins of all those whom He chose to save who lived from Adam to the cross in AD 33. This is how we arrive at an interpretation of the word “Israel” in Matt 2:6. And does this harmonize with the context? It surely does, for God gave us the combination “My people Israel”. He emphasizes that they are His people. And we know that this cannot refer to the nation of Israel that came out of Egypt, or to the nation of Israel or of Judah throughout centuries of the OT dispensation, for we know that of those nations at any time only a small fraction was truly saved; only a small fraction could truly be called “My people”. We read in Heb 3 that most of them died in the wilderness in unbelief. And when we read the accounts of the kings of Judah and of Israel we are struck with the wickedness that was prevailing all the way through the period of the Kings. And when we read about the situation of Jerusalem in Matt 2 we are struck with the unbelief of most of the people in those days. Clearly these were not whom God called “My people”. And thus we see that in Matt 2:6 “Israel” refers to those who were in Christ from before the foundation of the world. But now we can understand those mysterious words which God spoke in Rom 9:6 where He said, “For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel”. That is a rather cryptic statement. Who are these people?
Please turn for a moment to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 9:6 (2X). You find Romans right after the Acts of the Apostles. In Rom 9 God addresses the question of whom He considers to be “the children of the promise”. That is the code wherewith God identifies those whom He chose from before the foundation of the world, “the children of the promise”, His elect people. We read in Rom 9:6-8,
Ro 9:6-8 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.
And then down to the end of this chapter God follows up this cryptic statement with 7 examples of who the children of the promise are. But look now at the words of verse 6. What is God saying there? Paraphrased God says here that in His eyes there are a people that He calls “Israel”. But those who are of the nation called Israel do not all belong to whom God calls Israel. Those whom man has labeled Israel are not all who in God’s eyes belong to Israel. Likewise, those whom man has labeled Christians are not all who in God’s eyes belong to the family of Christ. Those whom man has labeled Jews are not all who in God’s eyes belong to His collection of Jews. Those whom man has labeled the seed of Abraham are not all who in God’s eyes belong to the Seed of Abraham. And God follows this up in Rom 9:7, where He says paraphrased, “Neither, because they are the descendants of Abraham, are they all considered children of Abraham: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called, for Isaac was the child of promise”. Abraham had 8 children, but Isaac was the only child of the promise; which is the promise that the seed of Abraham would be as numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sand which is upon the seashore, and his seed shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in his seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. Of course this is not all man’s doing, “for it is God which worketh in us, both to will and to do of His good pleasure”. And thus, not all the descendants of Abraham are called children of God, for only those who are children of the promise are counted as children of God. And in case you still did not get it, God says it more bluntly in verse 8, where He emphasizes, “They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God”. You can also see it clearly in the history of the nation of Israel. For example, Midian was one of the children of Abraham and Keturah. Midian was one of Abraham’s children of the flesh. But the Midianites were certainly not called children of Abraham. The Midianites were enemies of Israel. From the story of Gideon we know that the Midianites did evil to Israel for seven years. And thus we see that in the statement of verse 6, “they are not all Israel, which are of Israel”, the name “Israel” refers to the children of the promise, or the children of Abraham according to God’s promise, or the elect children of God. This concept of the name Israel occurs to a far greater extent than most churches are willing to admit. But:
#2. This How We Must Understand the Bible (Matt 10:6, 15:24, 31, 27:42, John 1:49)
Please turn again to the Gospel according to Matthew, Matt 10:6 (2X). If we for simplicity’s sake limit ourselves to the Gospel according to Matthew we find easily a number of verses that clearly identify the name Israel with the elect of God. In each case the context should define the meaning of the name Israel. In Matt 10 the Lord Jesus sent out His disciples two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits, and to heal all manner of diseases. This was as it were a practice run to prepare them for future evangelism excursions. But here in the Gospel of Matthew the Lord said to His disciples that they should remain within the nation of Israel. They should not go to the Gentiles and they should not go to the Samaritans. This is understandable. For example, when we need a practice run of evangelism, we would choose to practice among our fellow church members. Then the Lord said in:
Mt 10:6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Who are meant by “the lost sheep of the house of Israel”? Well, the context indicates that they should remain among the people of their own nation of the Jews, both in Judea as well in Galilee. And who are the lost sheep? They are the sheep that will be found, which means that they should preach to the nation of the Jews, so that God would save out of that nation the remnant that was to be saved by grace, His elect out of the nation of the Jews. In this verse “Israel” means the nation of the Jews, which is what the context defines. Please drop down to Matt 15:24 (2X). In this chapter the Lord Jesus ventured into the regions of Tyre and Sidon, and there He encounters a Syrophenician woman who begs Him to heal her daughter from a demon. She is the only person recorded to have met Him here.
Mt 15:24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Who are meant by “the lost sheep of the house of Israel”? Is it true that the Lord Jesus healed only those from the nation of the Jews? No! He healed the Gadarene Demoniac, and He went to the region of Decapolis, and He preached the Gospel to the Samaritans, and later the Lord Jesus withdrew Himself into the region of Perea beyond the Jordan. If the Lord Jesus was only sent to heal the sick of the nation of the Jews, then what was He doing in this region of Tyre and Sidon? As it is recorded in the accounts of Matthew and Mark, the only reason that Jesus went into the region of Tyre and Sidon was to meet this Syrophenician woman. He went there to meet this woman whom He considered “one of the lost sheep of the house of Israel”. Well, if that is so, then this context defines that the house of Israel that is mentioned here refers to the house of Christ. This “Israel” refers to the Lord Jesus Christ. Please drop down to verse 31. Immediately after His encounter with the Syrophenician woman the Lord Jesus went to a mountain in Galilee where He healed many that were sick. Then we read in:
Mt 15:31 Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel.
Whom did they glorify? They glorified the God of Israel. No, they did not glorify the god of the nation of the Jews, for the majority of them were worshipping another god than the God of the Bible. Only a small fraction of them were really saved, but the majority of the nation of the Jews worshipped a works-gospel. And thus, “the God of Israel” in Matt 15:31 refers to the God of the Bible, who is the God whom the elect of God worship. This “Israel” cannot refer to the nation of the Jews. Please turn now to Matt 27:42 (2X). The Lord Jesus is here on the cross. The chief priests and the scribes and the elders were mocking Him, and they challenged Him to come down from the cross. We read in Matt 27:42 (2X),
Mt 27:42 He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.
The Lord Jesus is here called the King of Israel. Nathanael said to Jesus in John 1:49, “Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel”. Which Israel does God have in view in both verses? If this Israel refers to the nation of Israel that was in existence for hundreds of years, then the Lord Jesus was already ruling over them before He came to earth. But now God indicates that He is doing some-thing new. The Lord Jesus said to Pilate, “My Kingdom is not of this world”. His Kingdom is in the hearts or souls of those who are the elect of God, whom God irresistibly will save or has already saved. This is where Christ’s Kingdom exists for all eternity. And thus, this Israel refers to the elect of God. Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Isaiah, Isa 43:3 (2X).Let us now see if we can take this information from the NT and reinterpret the verses we have read in the OT. Are we allowed to apply this same methodology to verses in the OT? Indeed we are obligated to do this, for we must harmonize all the Scriptures, and here is a principle that is of great benefit: “The later revelation carries the greater weight”. We will take those things that we have learned from the NT and use these to interpret the OT.
Isa 43:3 For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.
Who is “Israel” in the term “the Holy One of Israel”? Well, this answer can be short and sweet. God uses the words, “Thy Saviour”, which means that this Israel is the group of people of whom Christ is their Savior. He is not the Savior of the majority of the nation of the Jews. He is only the Savior of the remnant chosen by grace. And thus “Israel” in this verse refers to the combined elect people of God, both from the OT as well as from the NT dispensation. Drop down to verse 15, Isa 43:15 (2X),
Isa 43:15 I am the LORD, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King.
The creator of Israel is your King. Which Israel does God have in view? For this answer we need to back up one verse, and there we read in verse 14, “Thus saith the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel”. When the Lord says that He is our Redeemer, it means that the Lord Jesus died for us on the cross. This is the way in which He is our Redeemer. But He is not the Redeemer for all the non-elect, for they will be hardened and remain in their sins. Christ is the Redeemer of only His elect. And thus, this Israel is the elect of God who will be saved, or who already is saved. And thus paraphrased verse 15 says, “I am Jehovah, your Holy One, I have made you and I have called you Israel, for I am your Redeemer and your King”. And since He is our Redeemer He is no one else than the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the creator of the Israel of God. Please turn to the next chapter, Isa 44:5 (2X). In verses 3 and 4 of this chapter God shows us a beautiful parable that pictures the growth of the Gospel after the day of Pentecost. Then God says in verse 5,
Isa 44:5 One shall say, I am the LORD’S; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the LORD, and surname himself by the name of Israel.
Which Israel is in view in this verse? Three groups of people are in view here. The first says that he belongs to Jehovah. The second says that he belongs to Jacob. The third one shall write with his hand that he belongs to Jehovah and be named by the name of Israel. This cannot refer to the Israel who is identified with Jacob, for that was already the second group of people. And thus the Israel that is in view here is Christ. The third group wants to be named after the Lord Jesus Christ, whose name is Israel. Let us now go on to the next verse. We read in Isa 44:6,
Isa 44:6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his Redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.
The first Person is Jehovah, the King of Israel; the second Person is Israel’s Redeemer, Jehovah of the armies. We see here clearly two of the three Persons of the triune God. And since Christ is the Redeemer of Israel, the only Israel that fits this description is the Israel of God, the assembly of all the elect of God. There are many more examples that can be given from both the OT and the NT portions of the Scriptures. And thus, to summarize, we have seen that the Lord Jesus Christ is called Israel, and all those that are in Christ, all the elect of God, all His people, are also called Israel. We should keep our eyes open to this truth when we read and interpret the Scriptures. Please turn now to the Epistle to the Galatians, Gal 4:4 (2X). You find Galatians right after 2Cor.
#3. In the Fullness of Time (Gal 4:4-5)
The Lord Jesus Christ was called out of Egypt. But WE have also been called out of Egypt. We have been called out of the house of bondage where we were spiritually dead, and in bondage to sin and Satan. Just like Lazarus was dead in the tomb, so we were dead to God, unable to do anything that was pleasing to God. Just like the children of Israel were in bondage to Pharaoh, so we were enslaved to sins that were the enticements of Satan. Only an act of God could get us out of this bondage to sin. But then, in the fulness of time, God sent forth His Son. When the Gospel call came God made us alive so that we could hear the Gospel call, and we believed because God so inclined our heart that we would believe. And God did that because 2000 years earlier Christ paid for all our sins on the cross, so that He made us ready to be adopted as sons of God. This then is what we read:
Ga 4:4-5 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Many people take this for a Christmas passage, but it is not. This passage speaks of redemption, which occurred at the cross, and this passage speaks of adoption, which occurred at the time that God the Holy Spirit made us born from above. It was the fulness of time for the world when Christ came. It was also in the fulness of time when Christ Redeemed us, bought us back, out of the hands of Satan, and it was in the fulness of time when God made us born from above and translated us out of Satan’s kingdom and into the glorious Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. Where is this Kingdom? Where is the Kingdom of Christ? Where is the Kingdom of Israel? It is here on earth in the souls where Christ reigns as King. This world is still polluted with sin. But some locations in this world are so rich and so pure that God Himself delights to dwell there. These locations are the souls of those who have become saved. This is the residence of God throughout eternity. What a glorious salvation He has designed for us.
Egypt is a picture of this world. The prince of this world is the prince of the power of the air. But thanks be to God, we are delivered from this world. Or in a picture, we are delivered out of Egypt. We who are in Christ are called the sons of God. That is why God says to us, “Out of Egypt have I called My son”. AMEN. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.