Matthew 2:13-15

By what means did God reveal to Joseph they should leave where they were?

An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream.

Where was Joseph told to take Mary and Jesus?

Flee to Egypt.

From where were they leaving?

Many might picture Joseph rising up from the town of Bethlehem and taking off to Egypt. But this is not likely. We know that Herod was seeking to kill children in the region of Bethlehem from two years old and under (Matthew 2:16). This means that Herod would have realized the wise men had not followed his instructions almost two years after the time of their initial meeting with Herod. Joseph and Mary stayed in the area of Bethlehem long enough to accomplish the requirements of the Law pertaining to the purification of Mary and Jesus (Luke 2:22 - the time came for their purification). This involved Mary having to be away from assemblies for forty days (eighty days for birth of female child). Within this time would have been the occasion of the circumcision of Jesus eight days after the birth (Leviticus 12:3-5). Luke says after the purification they went back to Nazareth. So, Joseph would have received word to go to Egypt while in Nazareth. In fact, Matthew states that the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph when the magi left. The angel states that Herod is about to seek the child to kill Jesus which places the magi in Nazareth. The accounts of Matthew and Luke should not be seen as contradictory. They both give different details of the early days of Jesus that actually should be understood to complement each other.

 What marked the occasion that they should receive word to leave?

Herod was seeking to kill the child.

What was the manner of their leaving?

They promptly left at night. Many understand this to be the very night the angel gave instruction which is a good example for us.

The Greek word used by Matthew in citing the angel in the dream is pheugō. This is pronounced fyoo'-go. This particular use of the word is translated by most versions as “flee”. A select few translations regard it as “escape”. Strong’s says it is by analogy, “to vanish”. In other words, to go without announcing your departure.

When did Joseph follow the command?

The emphasis here is promptness. There is immediate response to the command of the Lord.

Why would they be told to escape to Egypt?

The flight of the family to Egypt is intended to mirror the entry of Israel into the land of foreigners, namely Egypt. Necessarily, the exodus from Egypt is to be recognized in Jesus’ return to Nazareth. There are certain elements of the progress of the family of Jacob into Egypt that are foreshadowing to the purpose of the Christ. Remember, that Jacob was reassured by God at Beer-sheba concerning the move to Egypt. Apart of the assurance is the reminder of the promise made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob concerning turning his family of 12 sons into a great nation. There is a blessing in the entry to Egypt, but this is necessary for the greater blessing to be realized. The greater is the gain of the promise. The Christ brings about a great kingdom, but there is the example of an exodus from a place identified with idolatry, tyranny, and enmity toward God. Christ declares that we must exit that which alienates us from Him and brings us into bondage to sin in order to attain to the great promise and blessing.

What exactly, were they escaping?

Herod was burning with jealousy toward the King of the Jews and contempt for the word of God. He demonstrated his arrogance in his politicking amongst the Romans and in his murderous ways, even toward his family. Sometimes it is best to turn away from an engagement against sin and leave it to itself (1 Corinthians 5:5; 2 Timothy 3:2-5; Titus 3:10).

How long would they be gone according to the angel giving directions?

Until they received new instructions. Their course of action is not determined by themselves but by God. This is another great example to us. Romans 12:2, Ephesians 6:6, Hebrews 10:36, 1 Peter 2:15.

Do you reckon this took faith on the part of Joseph to follow the instruction of Lord? What about Mary?

Absolutely, in the case of both. They are leaving every thing they new as home. In similar manner to Jacob, they had to trust in the Lord. The Lord was providing every material blessing they needed. Sometimes we need to learn to be conscience of our blessings, great and small. As we mature in wisdom, or simply grow older, we might look back on what we considered great blessings, and determine in our current challenges they were the small blessings to build us up to the greater needs latter. God will provide the greater blessings in order to serve. As we know, Joseph and Mary had greater challenges to come.

The death of Herod is generally understood to have occurred on March 13, 4 BC. The reason for this date is based on the writings of Josephus which gives information concerning events that occurred between a lunar eclipse and the Passover for the same year. Josephus related the death of Herod to the events narrated along with their relative time to the eclipse and Passover.

Matthew quotes a prophet in Verse 15. Who was the prophet and what scripture is being quoted?

And he was there until the end of Herod, that might be fulfilled that spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, "Out of Egypt I have called My Son."

Hosea 11:1

When did God call a son out of Egypt?

Hosea verifies the correlation between Jesus and the Israelites. The affiliation is based on love. When Israel was young (immature) God loved tehm. God blessed them because of love. God disciplined them out of love. God rescued them, even from themselves at times, out of love. If we are willing to hear and see God’s love for us, we can be rescued out of the world in the same way that God’s son is rescued unto a greater purpose than dwelling among the idolatrous, materialistic, and worldly. It is because of God’s love for us we can learn to believe, have faith, and be saved.

Who did God call out of Egypt and when?

God calls all people out of Egypt in the same context as being called out of Babylon and being called out of the world. The relationship of Jesus-to-Israel being called out is not emphasized in what they are leaving but what they are headed for.

God made known to those whom He called out of bondage in Egypt His covenant with them. This was God’s law for them, the Law of Moses. He also promised them that if they did not keep the law they would become slaves again to the evil nations around them.

Hos. 11:5  He shall not return to the land of Egypt, but he of Assyria shall be his king, because they refused to return.

What then, is the child, Israel, a type unto Christ as revealed by Matthew?

Israel was led into Egypt by God as a blessing. They eventually needed to acknowledge God’s power and authority in a request for deliverance. While God leads us in a journey through a foreign land, like Israel and Christ, God will not leave us or abandon us while we continue in faith and trust in Him. He will lead us to that which is promised. As Hosea demonstrates, only the faithful can truly enter into the kingdom of heaven. He describes Ephraim (northern kingdom) as being judged by way of Assyria (v. 5) and not allowed the chance to go back (fall away, 1 Timothy 1:19) to Egypt. Once the wrath of God burns (v. 9) there is not an allowance to live in the world (Egypt) but the promise is death (Assyria). There are those that will answer the invitation of the gospel of Christ (Judah, v. 12) and not turn back (2 Peter 2:22) which requires a steadfastness of faith.

If the giving of the law for Israel is by Moses and the prophets like Elijah are the preachers, and Jesus represents both a law giver and preacher, then who is the receiver of the law of Christ?

Jesus is declared by the Lord as the savior of all men, Jew and Gentile alike. Reference Romans 1:16, 2:9-10, 10:12, Galatians 3:28, Colossians 3:11.

What is Israel a type unto in the case of their rejection of the law?

In this case Israel is a type unto the Christian who falls away from the faith. There are some that believe a “true” believer can not be lost from the Lord. Was Ananias and Saphira (Acts 5) not a part of the church? Did Luke not say that Simon the magician believed and was baptized into Christ (Acts 8:13)? Weren’t they judged for falling away? There are many verses in the New Testament that speak of believers losing faith and falling away. In fact, you would be challenged not to find a book in the New Testament that doesn’t at least mention this hazard. Take for instance: Galatians 5:4, John 15:5-6, Jude 5, John 17:12, Ephesians 4:14, Philippians 2:14-16. The author of Hebrews even calls out the example that Israel presents to us based on their testing of God and provocation to judgment on various occasions. Hebrews 3:8-12.