THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW VOLUME 1 CHAPTER 4

section 1: the early events of jesus the king
Chapter 4

The Great Escape Into Egypt
Or
Divinely Guided By God

Scripture To Consider:
“Now when they [the wise men] had departed, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, ‘Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.’ When Joseph arose, he took the young Child [Jesus] and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, ‘Out of Egypt I called My Son.'”

“Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, ‘A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted, because they were no more.'”

“But when Herod was dead, behold, and angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, ‘Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.’ Then Joseph arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel.”

“But when Joseph heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, Joseph turned aside into the region of Galilee. And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, ‘He [Jesus] shall be called a Nazarene.'” Matthew 2.13-23

Something To Consider:
In addition to the story of the wise men, Matthew records only two other incidents in the infancy of Jesus; the divinely warned of flight or great escape into Egypt occasioned by the cruel jealousy of Herod, and the return to the land of Israel made possible after the death of the murderous king. The hatred of Herod was stirred to a rage by the refusal of the wise men to report to him of the Child who they regarded as King of the Jewish people, whom Herod desired to kill.

When, therefore, Herod learned that they had departed to their own country without returning to Jerusalem, he sent forth his heartless command to slaughter all the male children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the borders thereof, from two years old and under. He wished to make sure that the rival King, a mere helpless baby, had been destroyed. Such a deed was completely in accord with the character of Herod who had recently murdered his own sons, Alexander and Aristbulus, for fear that they might usurp his throne. Thus, jealousy often appears as the cruelest of passions.

However, before the heartless edict of an evil king had been issued, Joseph, with Mary and baby Jesus had escaped Herod’s murderous plot by fleeing to Egypt after being warned in a dream. How old the Child was, or how many years were spent in exile, is quite unknown. Two facts, however, are emphasized by the writer. The story, like that of the wise men, is one of divine guidance, and secondly, all its incidents are declared to be fulfillment of inspired prophecy.

On the departure of the wise men, Joseph was warned in a dream to take the young Child and His mother and to escape into Egypt. On the death of Herod Joseph was directed in another dream to arise and to take the young Child and His mother and to return to the land of Israel. While he might have returned to Judea, Joseph was warned again by God in a dream concerning Herod’s son, and therefore, he withdrew into Galilee. Thus, by means of Joseph’s own choosing, God was and is ever guiding those who are devoted to the interests of His Son.

Something Else To Consider:
The divine element of the history is further revealed by the connection of the events with Old Testament prophecy. In this one brief portion of Scripture, three distinct quotations are made. Matthew is indeed the gospel of the Messiah, the gospel of Rejection, as well as the gospel of Fulfillment, and here all these features can be distinctly traced, while the last is made peculiarly prominent. The great escape into Egypt is declared to fulfill the words of Hosea, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”

Matthew does not quote the exact words, nor does he mean that the prophet intended them as a prediction, but that the history of Israel in being brought out of Egypt in the days of Moses was a type and an anticipation of this experience of the Messiah, the true Son of God.

The second quotation is from Jeremiah, a highly figurative passage in which Rachael, the mother of Joseph and Benjamin, is pictured rising from her grave and lamenting the destruction of her descendants as she sees the files of captives who, by order of the king of Babylon, are being driven northward from the desolated city. Her anguish is said to find its counterpart, and the picture of her agony is said to be fulfilled in the grief of the bereaved mothers of Bethlehem.

The third prophecy is less definite. It probably refers to no specific prediction but to an indirect suggestion of several writers that the Messiah was to be despised and rejected by men. This was actually the experience of Jesus; and one reason for His being despised was the fact of His long residence in the obscure and humble town of Nazareth. Yet, His dwelling there was due to divine guidance. On His return from Egypt, His family would have lived in Judea; but there Archelaus was ruling in the place of his father and had begun his reign as a true son of Herod by the murder of three thousand citizens according to the historian Josephus.

Thus, it came to pass that Joseph, being warned by God in a dream, withdrew into Galilee and dwelt in Nazareth. And as a result, Jesus was called a Nazarene. This was a term of reproach and scorn, and the prophets had foretold that the Messiah would thus bear the contempt of men. But from the despised Nazareth came forth One who finally would fulfill the prophecies of glory as He did the predictions of shame, as Jesus the Christ, the universal King.

Something More To Consider:
Joseph was indeed, as were the wise men, divinely guided by God. He was as they were, first divinely warned by God of future events, circumstances and or situations beyond his control to avoid. And once Joseph and the wise men responded rightfully to God’s warnings, they were divinely directed to their next destination in the will of God for their lives. Can we agree, it is the same in our own lives?

As 21st century wise men, wise women, and or wise young people, who have rightfully responded to the call of Christ to follow Him, to deny ourselves, to take up His cross, and who have agreed to take His yoke upon us; we too are being divinely warned and divinely guided by God! But can we be more specific in how God divinely warns us and divinely guides us? The biblical answer is of course yes and Amen!

The overwhelming majority source of our being divinely warned and divinely guided by God comes directly from the written and preserved Word of God. The Word of God is full of divine warnings and divine guidance from front to back, from Genesis to Revelation, and from the colossal moment of creation to the final predictions of this age coming to an end and all of eternity bursting onto the canvas of God’s glorious creation. Yes, the Word of God is full of divine warnings and divine guidance for anyone willing to diligently search the Scriptures.

Once we have crossed over that spiritual Jordan River from unbelief to true belief and our own human rebellion and rejection against Jesus, and once we have willingly entered into the spiritual land of promise by becoming truly born-again, thereby being granted true spiritual fellowship with Jesus, we begin reaping all of the divine guidance God has to offer in His Word. Once the above takes place in our lives, the divine extension of Jesus Christ through the person of the Holy Spirit becomes truly evidenced in our lives.

Therefore, the launching of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is the most central and influential ingredient in God’s plan for divine guidance in the lives of those who have answered His call and cry to come out from among the worldly pursuit of human wisdom and demonic deception of this world’s rebellious system.

In John’s gospel chapter 16, Jesus briefs His disciples on His human departure from this world, and that it is to their advantage that He goes away. In doing so, Jesus declared, “For if I do not go away, the helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” Jesus was and is speaking about God’s divine guidance by way of the Helper, or the Holy Spirit! Matthew in our text is writing about God’s divine guidance in the lives of those who have come and gone before us.

Jesus continued in John 16, speaking of the divine duties of the Helper, the Holy Spirit, that He was sending, proclaimed, “And when He has come, He [the Helper, the Holy Spirit] will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” The conviction of sin is the first step in the process of God’s divine guidance. Without our being convicted of our sin, there is no receiving the forgiveness of our sin and or the righteousness of Christ being received and spiritually applied to our sin. Otherwise, the judgment of God awaits us!

And so, Jesus leaves His devoted disciples with one final thought as it relates to divine guidance of the Holy Spirit when He reports in verse 13 and 14 of John chapter 16; “However, when He, the Spirit of Truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come [in the form of divine warning]. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you [in the form of divine guidance].”

A Few Final Words:
The Spirit of Truth, the coming Helper, the Holy Spirit of God, will divinely warn us of evil and deceit, and divinely guide us into all truth! That is the unbreakable promise of Jesus. Therefore, there is nothing of more spiritual importance and eternally more valuable in this adulterous generation than being divinely warned of the onslaught of evil, warned of the flood of false messages, warned of even the strong delusion promised by God, than being divinely warned and then divinely guided into all truth by the Holy Spirit of God Almighty. Nothing!

The world’s system and much of the so-called and extremely worldly compromising church, is spiritually corrupt due to the influx of evil-minded politicians, evil influenced judges, greedy worldly and so-called religious leaders, false end time prophets, secretly introduced false doctrines, and an end time over abundance of false and misleading messages of demonic deception that is being scattered across the air waves.

And all of these evil, false, and misleading messages are creating a totally false conception of right and wrong. And every single lie and false doctrine can be traced back to the father of lies and initiator of all deceit, Satan, the enemy of our souls, of who desires nothing more than to steal, kill, and to destroy our reputation and or relationship with Jesus Christ through compromise and or complacency.

And man has been all too willing to take part in the propagating of Satan’s messages of compromise and spiritual complacency especially in these most probable end times in which we live. But if we have read the end of the book, then we understand that Jesus Christ has won the overall battle! God will supernaturally overcome the world, Satan, and rebellious mankind! Right becomes victorious over wrong in the end!

Why? Because God’s Word is full of divine warnings and His Word is our final go to source of divine guidance. Therefore, God’s divine guidance within the Word of God is not something hidden, unapproachable, or even unattainable, but rather, God’s divine guidance within the pages of His holy Word is indeed available to all who ask, to all who seek, and to all who knock upon the door of understanding, and they shall find what it is they are seeking. That is God’s promise!

In Closing:
The question therefore remains, will we as true truth seekers avail ourselves of all the divine warnings and of all the divine guidance we can obtain! It is simply a matter of prayerfully reading the bible and asking God for that which we are in desperate need of obtaining, which is and remains His divine guidance while here on planet earth. For that final day is rapidly approaching when the manner in which we consider the divine guidance of God will determine our eternal destination.

Therefore, let us make sure that our decision is not clouded with a fleshly desire for all the wrong things or by the flood of false information, or by a complacent desire to put off making this all-important decision regarding God’s promised divine guidance. Are we prepared? Are you prepared? Am I prepared?

Let’s Pray:
Our Father in heaven, thank You for providing for us, a great and divine escape from the bondage of our Egyptian-like sin-filled past. Thank You for Your divine guidance and direction in our lives. Keep us considering the Word of God, of whom is Jesus, as an illuminating lamp unto our feet and a God-ordained light unto our earthly path that leads us to the foot of the old, rugged cross of Jesus. In Him Always, Amen!

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