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In Matthew 2:13-18, we see the amazing fact that God having brought Israel, like a national son to Him, out of Egypt in the days of the Exodus, and having said in Hosea 11:1 that OUT OF EGYPT I CALLED MY SON, was not content to let it rest there. It was a signal. The name 'Son' was far too precious and instructive to be limited to what failed; indeed,  it must secure its rightful occupant for its depiction.


If Israel was unable to find anyone to deliver it from its encrusted sins, steadfast rebellions and wayward paths (Isaiah 41:28-29, 43:21, 51:18ff.), then the One who would,  had to be AN ISRAEL  in whom HE WOULD BE GLORIFIED (Isaiah 49:3). Israel means ‘prince with God’ (one prevailing  - Genesis 32:28), and this is He who was sent (Isaiah 9:7).


Where was one to be found, to be IN Israel and in nationality, OF Israel, and yet BEYOND Israel and able for all Israel, to cover the case ? Only in the Messiah, AN ISRAEL in whom God the Father would be glorified, who would prevail with the Father by His action in satisfying judgment in Himself, for the recipient sinner. This famous son – For unto us a son is given, a child is born – as in Isaiah 9:6-7, was He, God with us, Immanuel. Since, therefore, God had said that He had called His SON out of Egypt, and since the ordinary national exhibit, Israel was not good enough, or anywhere near it, in whole or in part, there being NONE (cf. Psalm 49:7,15) able to cope with the content of pardon required, direction to be given and help even to the least: then it had to be His OWN SON, in whom He was and is well pleased (Isaiah 42:1ff.).


This is the 'DEFAULT' AND FAULTLESS SON on whom all must fall back! It is He contrasted in glory with the incapacitated Israel the nation, in its failure. Displaced Israel in this, yields to One who is the Son indeed, who deserves the name, with which He is illimitably honoured (Isaiah 9:7) by His Father.


Why then, if Israel the nation, that inadequate ‘son’ were to fail, and it was to be a case of the mode of reconciliation of God and man (as shown in Hosea 13:14, Isaiah 7,9,52-53), which GOD HIMSELF would perform, becoming IN HIMSELF the plague of death: then the SON OF GOD to whom the name could aptly and adequately be applied, to do this would have to come out of Egypt. Thus the Effective One, the Son who really counted, the One symbolised in the Passover of the Lamb, which sealed the Egyptian deliverance, and continued thereafter, would so move. Then would preliminary symbol turn into historical fact.


This he did.


So, like the Passover people, would their personal Saviour move to the site appointed for the Temple, where all symbols coalesced (cf. SMR p. 823).


How in history was it organised ? Herod’s bloodthirsty temperament, himself evidently a sort of pre-Gentile Age Saddam Hussein, who had one son killed shortly before his death and engaged in massive evils, was the stimulus. God warned Joseph to remove himself and family to Egypt while Herod as we now know, engaged in the Massacre of the Innocents, rather like some of the Arab work in Moslem jihad, indiscriminate against children, today as it was then. In fact, in Revelation 12, we see in symbolic dress, Satan waiting to swallow up Christ, death in his heart, but he fails because of the transcendent, ascendant power of God, to break the celestial circuit of Christ, heaven to earth, earth to heaven AFTER His triumphant breaching of death in resurrection and sin's guilt in sacrifice (Hosea 13:14 one of the great summary statements of the plan of salvation). All was fulfilled with lordly grandeur and glorious humility alike, for nothing can obliterate the majesty of the Lord.


SO now do nations seek to swallow up the residual Israel, indeed as a nation unbelieving, but appointed to a different destiny, as recipient of divine promises, unconditional and to the honour of the very name of God (Galloping Events Ch. 4, SMR Appendix A), who acts in His own time, when all is ready, now as then! (cf. Micah 7, Deuteronomy 32).


The attempts on the word and will of God never succeed, though at times all seems so lost that only a miracle could deliver, so teaching the people of the Lord to wait on Him ONLY (Palm 56:11, 4:8, 62:2,5-6). Thus are they enabled jointly to fulfil His work, by life or death, and to testify of His power.





This divine plan Joseph followed, a wisdom which all the Lord's people should seek to emulate. Staying in Egypt until God directed His Son's return, Joseph was obedient. Avoiding another Herod in Judea, he went to the more northern region and settled in Nazareth, or sprout city, with overtones of Isaiah 11:1, where the Messiah is to be called ‘SPROUT’, as most seem to render it, the root nzr, a word found in Nazareth’s name.  The same letters are in the term 'sprout' used in Isaiah 11:1’s reference to the coming Messiah. There would salvation sprout in its final format, past all picture and resemblance, in matrix and reality. It was He who was to die in Jerusalem, the new and everlasting Temple for the people of God (Luke 9:44,53), the temple veil being rent as He died in signification that symbols past  reality was now wrought (Matthew 27:51), the way to the innermost being freely open by His blood (Hebrews 7:25-27, 10:6-14, 9:12, Isaiah 53, Zechariah 3:9, Colossians 1:21-22, Ephesians 1:7). Such was the everlasting redemption which Jesus Christ accomplished.


Matthew notes these two fulfillments of God’s word, concerning Egypt and Nazareth,  in 2:15 and 2:23, just as he shows for Christ Jesus our Lord, the word of God performed in Matthew 2:6, where Bethlehem is exposed by the prophet Micah (5:1-3), as the Jewish base for the birth of the One to come. As Micah declared, the Messiah was to be stricken by man, but remained Judge of Israel for all that, One whose “goings have been from everlasting”, the great "I am" (Exodus 3:14) beyond all time,  of John 8:58 (cf. John 5:19-23).


In the very next chapter, at 3:2, Matthew notes John the Baptist fulfilling Isaiah’s forecast from Isaiah 40, the one who as a voice crying in the wilderness, was to prepare the way of the Lord.  Indeed, in 2:18, Matthew has occasion to note the tragically accurate fulfilment of Jeremiah 31:15, where a vast national mourning is foreseen, showing the Lord well aware of Herod’s foul wild slaughter of infants, in a bid to rub out, as the Mafia might put it, the coming King.





How rich is the Biblical heritage, as well it might be, for here was the most important event in the history of the universe, the birth to become the power and the manifestation of the glory of God, leading to the atonement at Calvary and the resurrection duly fulfilling God’s undertaking personally to disrupt death, as found in Hosea where the Son comes from Egypt and pardon from the God of salvation by His own atonement.


But why might it well be so surrounded with predictions ? It is because the Christ is the ONLY WAY home, the ONLY ATONEMENT made, the ONLY breach of the stern judgment of death and the assignments hereafter, the ONLY conductor who never leads to hell, the ONLY prize without price, who pays for all, and loves His own, even all who come to Him (Hebrews 7:25).


It is in this season that enormous emphasis, as a symbol of a fact, is placed on the BIRTH of this Mighty God into the form of man on earth (Isaiah 9:6), this prince of peace. For how many centuries have men ignored His word, disdained His wisdom, mocked or worse, misused His cross, fouled the streams of water and washed their dirt into the delight of the way of God, even using some churches as pollutants! But now we recall what it is all about! Soon we shall recall it more vividly when He returns, an event that is “near” (cf. Luke 21:24ff.).


Let us then consider.


  1. FLIGHT TO EGYPT Matthew 2:13-15

    is a time for all things. . . One may evacuate the front-line to fight when the time is ready, better, longer, effectually; but never leave the plan of the King!

  2. GUIDANCE BACK Matthew 2:19-22

    Strategy includes boldness, fearlessness of enterprise, wisdom and insight (Isaiah 33:5, James 1:5-6). It is not about
    éclat, nor slackness, but salient when the time is ready. The worst of perils is readily faced when the best of Kings is beside one.


    and to perform those tasks
    depicted by angels (Luke 2:9-11),
    announced by Simeon (Luke
    What was wrought in the word of God,
    was taught in the work in history,
    in holy completeness and complete holiness  (Luke 22:37ff.).

    "For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And He said to them, It is enough.

    "And He came out, and went, as He was accustomed, to the mount of Olives; and His disciples also followed him. And when He was at the place, He said unto them, Pray that you do not enter into temptation.

    "And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if You be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done. And there appeared to Him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground."


Such was the suffering part of it, which indeed had an end, before the glory which should follow, death unable to hold Him (Acts 2:24-31, Luke 24:40-43, John 20:27ff., Matthew 28:10). Now resurrected from a death which was unable to hold Him, just as flesh from the first in His birth into this earth, was unable to prevent Him, He continued His universal mission to men, to as many as receive Him.

Just as Simeon showed from Isaiah, when the babe appeared in the Temple (Luke 2:29ff.),
what He was to be is what He is, for He came 

              to BE the light of salvation to the Gentiles,
Himself both that salvation and that light
(Isaiah 42:6, 49:6, 9:2, 6-7, John 8:12, 9:4 cf. Comfort Ye, My People Ch. 7),
personal focus and object of faith, God as man,
effectual and final Saviour in the unending Kingdom of God,
who neither gives His glory to another,
nor names ANY OTHER SAVIOUR BUT HIMSELF (Isaiah 42:8, 43:10-11) ...

 -- to REVEAL the thoughts of many hearts,
while a sword would pierce through Mary’s soul and Jesus’ side.
Truth has no options for play, it is mercy which draws kindly to its side;
truth does not lie, does not falter, neither wavers nor wanders:

            what the heart is, it is, and the only comfort is all comfort, in
the revelation of the truth which by mercy balms, in grace purges.

THIS is the One whose praise is often heard in the world,
whose life far more seldom lived; as if one disdained the ocean
and insisted on a muddy pool. He lived, borne a babe, and He grew.

The young plant was beautiful, and narrowly avoided uprooting
time an again (cf. Luke 4), it proceeded until its timber of truth
produced the immovable building of the house of faith
in which all dwell, whom He so covers (Isaiah 4:5-6) -

”For over all the glory there will be a covering. And there will be a tabernacle for shade in the daytime from the heat, for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain.”


Thus do we need to apply these things and consider ...





 This covering is shown more fully in Isaiah 32:


      A man will be as a hiding place from the wind,

And a cover from the tempest,

As rivers of water in a dry place,

As the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.

          The eyes of those who see will not be dim,

And the ears of those who hear will listen.

           Also the heart of the rash will understand knowledge …”

The MAN, as whom the Lord came (Philippians 2), had beginning as a babe,
And knows all the intimacies of our challenges,
the answers to our queries, in peace…

Our task is to receive both Him and His words in simple faith,
and by His Spirit, thus regenerated into reality (John 3),
 now born of the Spirit and no more confined to the generation of flesh (John 3:6),
to find the power for living in the very presence
of our Father and our Redeemer (Ephesians


What comfort is in this company,

what cordiality is in this companionship,

what communion is with such a comrade,

not the proletariat, not the commissar, not the political theory, not the vagrancies of carnal dynamic, but the presence in peace of the Prince of peace,


whose peace passes all understanding,

whose love passes all heights and depths,

whose shield is better than iron,

whose life endless,

whose joy full of glory,

whose crown rights are double, as Creator and Saviour,

whose goodness and mercy are for evermore in endless scope,

just as they are NOW (Psalm 86:17), in current action (cf. Isaiah 64:5).


It is He who was in the beginning who endures with His flock,
every one of them (Psalm 84:7,11, 17:15, 145:1, Romans 5:1-11, 9:29ff., John 10:9,27-28).


HE ? He has done all things well, always does, the Lord of love and truth,
donor of eternal life starting in the faith of the new-born SPIRITUAL babe (I John 1:1-4, 3:16, 6:50ff.) and knowing no term or limit to its continuance;
for each of His is sustained by the glory of God, whose word and work (Philippians 1:6)
is imperishable (I Peter 1:5,23-25, John 4:14, Ephesians 1:11, I Thessalonians 5:23-24, II Timothy 1:9).


 He who came as a babe to this furrowed world, insists that all likewise, not in flesh but in spirit, become spiritual babes, His condescension our obligation, and our obligation His gift of grace.