“Out of Egypt have I called My Son.”
Which prophecy is fulfilled? This text is a quotation ofHosea 11:1. We read in Hosea 11:1: “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called My son out of Egypt.” But, is this a prophecy? Does not the prophet here merely state a fact, a past incident? Where is the prophecy here?
Who is this Son of our text? One replies that this Son is the Lord Jesus Christ. This is true. Hosea 11:1, however, which is quoted here by Matthew, refers to Israel as in the land of Egypt. Hence, who is this Son? And what is the connection between Israel and the Babe that was taken into Egypt?
What does it mean that the scripture, the word of the Lord as spoken by the prophet Hosea, was now fulfilled? Does this merely mean that this prophecy was fulfilled prophetically, that that which was prophesied by Hosea, has now come to pass? Or, does this also have a more profound significance? Does it also mean that what happened in Egypt in the Old Dispensation was only a type, and that that Old Testament event is now actually fulfilled, fulfilled? And why is it fulfilled now, according to the incident as recorded in Matthew 2?
Israel is God’s son. This is surely the significance of this word in this text.
It is true that this scripture in Matthew 2 refers to our Lord Jesus Christ. However, this text is a quotation ofHosea 11:1. And we cannot doubt that “My Son” in Hosea 11:1 refers to Israel as it was delivered by the Lord out of the land of Egypt. It is true that Israel is God’s son in the sense that God is his Father, and this also refers to the love of God for His own. Fact is, we read of this love of God in Hosea 11:1. Of course, Israel is the beloved of the Lord according to election. Not all that is called Israel is Israel—see Rom. 9:6. Also the Israelites who perished in the wilderness were called out of Egypt. It is plain from Rom. 9:13, 15, and I Cor. 10:1-5that Israel is the beloved son of the Lord only as according to election. Upon that Israel the Lord had set His love.
Fundamentally, however, the expression, “My Son,” means that Israel is of the Lord: “Thou art My son; this day have I begotten thee.” Israel is indeed the begotten of the Lord, born through the power of the promise. Was not Isaac the child of the promise? Was he not born to Abraham and Sarah when both had died as far as the bringing forth of children is concerned? Did not, therefore, there spring of one and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the seashore innumerable? Heb. 11:12. Indeed, is not the Israel of God, throughout the ages and therefore also in the Old Dispensation, the son of God, begotten of the Lord, born through the power of the everlasting Spirit? Surely, they are not the people of God who are born of the flesh and by the will of the flesh, but by the Spirit and by the will of God. This is the church of God, also in the Old Dispensation, not which is from below, but that which is called into being from above. To be sure, not all that is called Israel is really Israel. There is also a carnal Israel in whom the Lord has no delight; this carnal Israel bears the name of elect Israel, even as a tomato plant is called after its essence, its fruit bearing vines; it exists for the sake of spiritual Israel, even as the chaff must serve the corn. Israel, the people of the Lord, is God’s son, born of God, through the power of divine grace and of the Holy Spirit.
This son, Israel, was called out of Egypt. This occurred, first of all, by God’s almighty power. Indeed, the Lord called His son out of Egypt. The Lord did not simply ask Israel to come out of Egypt. He called His son out of Egypt by His almighty, irresistible power. He delivered His people with a high and mighty arm. . . . Secondly, however, the Lord called Israel out of Egypt in the way of righteousness. Israel was not only delivered out of Egypt; it was also redeemed. Fact is, Israel was also saved through the blood upon the doorposts. Indeed, God loved His son and therefore called him out of Egypt. This blood upon the doorposts did not represent Israel’s righteousness which it contributed to the Lord, rendering themselves righteous before God, but it was symbolic of the Lamb of God that would presently take away the sin of the world upon the cross of Calvary. Israel was righteous only because of the blood of Christ.
This is now fulfilled as according to Matt. 2:12-15. This is not merely a prophetical fulfillment. Israel’s deliverance was only a type. Now God’s son is really called out of Egypt. Now the reality really takes place; the shadow is now replaced by its reality; the type makes way for its antitype; the actual reality now comes to light and is revealed.
How did this fulfillment occur? Egypt is a type of the bondage of, sin. It is true that Egypt also serves the preservation of God’s son, to keep the people of God alive. And it is also true that the Child, Jesus, was in Egypt until the death of Herod, and that, therefore, the young child was kept alive in Egypt. Primarily, however, Egypt is a type of the bondage of sin. There Israel is in slavery. This slavery is typical of the slavery of sin. Besides, we do well to remember that Israel’s redemption out of Egypt could be effected only through the blood upon the doorposts. Egypt might have no right upon Israel to reduce them to slaves. Israel, however, was no more entitled to deliverance than was Egypt, and would have suffered the same destruction except for the blood upon the doorposts, the blood of the Lamb.
How terrible is the bondage of sin! Sin rules over us. It is true, we understand, that we are willing slaves of sin. Sin does not reduce us to a stock and block, does not cancel out our nature, cause us to act contrary to our mind and will. We are willing slaves of sin. This, however, merely serves to emphasize all the more its awful power. We can never break these fetters of darkness and corruption. But, neither can we will or wish to be delivered. The power of sin completely dominates our heart and mind and will and all our strength. We also love these spiritual chains of darkness which we can never break. And, the wages of sin is death. Death in all its phases! Physically, death, even now, reigns over our mortal bodies. Spiritual death, too, rules over us completely, and according to the righteousness of God. Also to this death we are condemned by the Judge of all the earth. And these wages of sin also include eternal death. This is the death of hell. . . .
How terrible is the bondage of sin, also because of the righteousness of God. The sinner’s misery is really and profoundly the living God. And God is God. He is unchangeably God, unchangeably good and righteous, so unchangeable in His goodness and righteousness that He spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all because the Lord can never deny Himself.
God’s Son, now, was called out of Egypt. Indeed, He was called out of Egypt when a child. To this history Matthew calls our attention in Matt. 2. This occurred in Jesus’ infancy and early childhood. He is also called, however, out of Egypt throughout His life. Even as the Savior took upon Himself all our infirmities throughout His life whenever He performed a miracle, because in these miracles He assumed responsibility for our spiritual cure upon the cross of Calvary, so our Lord Jesus Christ was called out of Egypt throughout His life because He immediately set His face toward the cross of Calvary, upon which the word of God of Hosea 11:1 would reach its wonderful fulfillment. And finally this took place upon the cross of Calvary. Then He was called out of Egypt, the bondage of sin. Then was fulfilled, in all its reality, what had occurred typically when the Lord delivered His people out of Egypt’s house of bondage.
God called “My Son” out of Egypt. To be sure, this “Son” is our Lord Jesus Christ. As a child He was taken out of Egypt. And in our human nature He suffered and died. Nevertheless, we read emphatically: My Son. This surely refers to the eternal Son of God. It is the eternal Son of God Who took upon Himself our flesh and blood. Who else could be called out of Egypt, out of this fearful bondage of sin? Who else than the eternal Son of God, the living God Himself, could assume the burden of our sin and guilt, which is eternal and infinite, and bear it in love and as an act of perfect obedience? Indeed, My Son have I called out of Egypt.
Finally, God called His Son out of Egypt. This refers indeed to the mighty calling, the efficacious speaking of the living God. God called His Son, as He alone can call. God called Him out of Egypt, the Lord sustained Him, even in the midst of our bondage of sin upon the cross of Calvary. The Lord sustained Him by the power of His everlasting Spirit, enabled Him to endure, in perfect obedience, in perfect consciousness, the incomprehensible burden of God’s infinite and eternal wrath. And then, when all our sins had been paid, when all His terrible righteousness had been satisfied, when eternal life and heavenly immortality had been merited, then God called Him, out of the depth of hell, out of death and the grave, into glory, even at His own right hand. God glorified Him, called Him out of bondage into liberty, for Himself, and also gave Him the Spirit beyond measure, to lead all His elect captives into everlasting life and glory.
Why was this word of God thus fulfilled? Indeed, all is divinely sovereign. How obvious this is! This text, really pointing to the cross, is the fulfillment of Hosea 11:1. And Hosea points to Israel’s deliverance out of Egypt which was divinely sovereign. Sovereignly, divinely, deliberately God willed and performed this deliverance out of Egypt. Was it not already foretold to Abraham in Gen. 15? Was Israel’s sojourn in Egypt not because of a famine, divinely visited upon Canaan and the whole world? Indeed, God’s calling of His Son out of Egypt was no accident. This was God’s sovereign will and counsel. He willed our night of sin and guilt. It was our God’s good pleasure that His Son, Jesus, and in Him His church, would be called out of the bondage of sin. Why? O, we understand this. It must all be unto the praise and the glory of His grace. Egypt must serve Israel, sin must serve God’s grace, the darkness must serve the light, the reprobate must serve the elect, that it may be revealed that God alone is mighty to save, also sovereignly, that to Him may be ascribed all the praise and glory, now and even forever.