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MATTHEW - Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand!
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to Matthew
PART 1 - The Preliminary Period in the Ministry of Christ (Matthew 1:1 - 4:25)
A - Birth and Childhood of Jesus (Matthew 1:1 - 2:23)

4. Herod’s Attempt to Kill Jesus (Matthew 2:12-23)

MATTHEW 2:12-15
12 Being warned in a dream that they shouldn’t return to Herod, they went back to their own country another way. 13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.” 14 He arose and took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt, 15 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.”
(Hosea 11:1)

God foiled Herod's scheme as he trusted in the wise men to find the child. Satan wants to destroy Christ and those who follow him, but God protected the chosen child until he completed his mission on the cross. No one can ever counteract or delay the saving will of God since he protects his messengers to the utmost. God warned the wise men in a dream that they should not return to wicked Herod. Most likely they all dreamed the same dream at the same time. Recognizing the hand of the Lord that worked in them, they went away in private to the Valley of Jordan. Those spiritually related to Christ through faith have the communion and correspondence with heaven which before they were strangers to.

Joseph was not comfortable. The wise men’s visit and the gifts confused him. Before he went to sleep he prayed the Lord might instruct him what to do. In his sleep the Most High warned him, through his glorious angel, of the danger that was waiting for the child and all the family because Herod would seek the young king to destroy him. God was aware of the tyrant's scheme, and Joseph was warned to flee to Egypt.

Joseph obeyed his Lord for the second time. Like Joseph, we should obey God with more faith than we obey men or their organizations. After the dream, in the middle of the night, he got up and woke the mother, and they took the child and fled amidst the darkness to Hebron. From there they moved toward the south through the desert to Egypt. Evangelist Matthew tells us nothing about the inconveniences or the perils they met in their long journey. We don't know if they had supplies, were well prepared nor whether they walked or rode. He only testified that the counsel of God is always true. It gradually comes into effect without hindrance.

Verse 14 says, "he (Joseph) took the young child and his mother." Some observe that the young child is mentioned first as the principal person, and Mary is called, not the "wife of Joseph", but "the mother of the young child" which was her greater honor. This was not the first Joseph that was driven from Canaan to Egypt for a shelter from angry brethren. So they find themselves in Egypt, in the midst of idolaters and a great distance from the temple of the Lord. Though they were far from the temple of the Lord, they had with them the Lord of the temple who "desires mercy, and not sacrifice" (Hosea 6:6). Children of God may be absent from fellowship with God’s people and live in the presence of wicked people, but this is not sin; the sin is to follow the worship of the wicked.

It is not an unthinkable thing for God’s sons to be in Egypt, a strange land and a house of bondage. God will bring him out. The family may hide in Egypt, but God will not leave them there. All of God's elect, being children of wrath by nature, are born in a spiritual Egypt, and in conversion are called out from Egypt to freedom.

God’s providence for the newborn child appeared in the gold presented by the wise men. It was God’s financing of the journey. The Lord always cares for his sons and satisfies their needs in due time.

Jesus stayed with his family in Egypt until the death of Herod in 4 BC. This historical determination shows us for the second time that Jesus was born before the date mentioned in the monk Dionysius chronology. Today, we know that Christ was born 7-8 years before the date assumed by that chronology.

Just as God called Jacob's descendants out of Egypt, he called his Son out of Egypt to go back to his original land. This verse in the Gospel of Matthew is the first time Jesus is called, "the Son of God." This testimony indicates the courage of the evangelist, for the Jews considered this title blasphemy, which deserved stoning. Christ’s sonship of God does not mean boasting and mastery. Remember, he was from the beginning a refugee, rejected and persecuted by the worlds ruling powers.

In his childhood, he experienced that frankincense (glorification) is accompanied by myrrh (suffering). However, his heavenly Father looked after him and sent him the necessary gold to enable him to live as a stranger in Egypt.

PRAYER: I worship you my Father for kings and leaders can never succeed in opposing you. You know the secrets of men’s hearts. Please search me and know me and heal me that I may not be an enemy of your Son, but trust in him. O Lord, please keep me under your protection, whenever I am subjected to persecution, rejection and hatred because of my love for your beloved Son.


  1. How did God save the child, Jesus, and his parents from the hand of Herod?


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