Since we’ve discussed Palin’s lack of knowledge concerning Africa, this seems like a good a time as any to bring up the third of the “Matthewetic” prophecies concerning Jesus in our prophecy series. This one I call “In D-Nile”.
The story of the nativity is perhaps familiar to all. As is the story of the murder of the infants of Bethlehem by Herod in an attempt to preemptively remove competitors to the throne. As a result of a dream, Joseph, wife of Mary flees to Egypt, to escape Herod and save the infant. So, let’s pick this up at Matthew 2:14-15.
And he rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”
So, let’s track down which prophet and what he said. Behold, and lo I have found it in Hosea 11:1. Here it is.
When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. The more I called them, the more they went from me: they kept sacrificing to the Ba’als (like on Wall Street — your blogger) and burning incense to idols.
All from my Revised Standard Version again. Clearly Hosea is using “son” as a metaphor for the people of Israel. He is talking about the supposed history of the Exodus. It is not a prediction for anything. So, at the first level of this prophecy, the writer of Matthew has yet another epic failure.
Now, I know there are people who will claim that this is really a mysterious foreshadowing parallel. Israel, the nation, is supposed to be a forerunner of Jesus. Israel was in Egypt to escape death by famine and got called out. Jesus was in Egypt to escape death and got called out. This simply doesn’t work either. If we are to follow the whole prophecy, then Jesus should have been sacrificing to Ba’al or other gods as well. To further demonstrate the uselessness of this parallel idea, Israel was supposedly in Egypt for 400 years, much of it as slaves. They had to be called out by God showing his wonders to the hapless Egyptians. With Jesus, nothing of the sort. He was not a slave, but a baby, and from the story, his father simply took his family back to his own city as soon as it was convenient. Nothing dramatic, no wonders. Beyond a geographic starting point and an endpoint (which could probably be fulfilled by many if one looked hard enough), there’s simply nothing in common with the two stories. Furthermore, Hosea never gives any hint that the prophecy is meant to be taken as anything other than what he said. Everything else is interpretation used to justify preconceived notions. To me, it looks like the writer of Matthew saw something he could quote mine from the old scriptures to make up a legitimization of Jesus fulfilling those scriptures.
One argument I have heard from a few people is that since it is in the Bible, God must have had a purpose keeping it there. If only one would be more prayerful in reading the scriptures, it would be clear. If one is making that argument, than one can not turn around and use the argument that the prophetic fulfillment is any sort of proof that the Bible is the word of God. That is presupposing the conclusion and therefore a circular argument. Besides, the idea that scripture is God inspired comes from 2. Timothy 3:16-17 which states “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”. The writer was presumably Paul and therefore likely written before the gospels were known to be in existence. He was referring to the older works, mostly found by Christians now in the Old Testament.