MATTHEW’S INTERPRETATION OF HOSEA 11:1?
Taken from the course by Sunset International Bible Institute Online Studies:
A Alleged Discrepancy: Matthew 2:13-15 Now when they had departed, behold, 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.” 14 When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for 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.”(NKJV)
1 Joseph and Mary took Jesus to Egypt to escape Herod’s attempt to kill Jesus.
2 After Herod’s death, Joseph and Mary left Egypt and returned to Judea
3 Matthew says that Jesus’ return from Egypt fulfilled the prophecy: “Out of Egypt I call my son” (Hosea 11:1)
4 Hosea 11:1 is not a prediction but a statement of Israel’s past history and spiritual depravity in the time of Hosea: “When Israel was a child, I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son. Hosea 11:1 (NKJV)
5 Many scholars believe Matthew misinterpreted Hosea 11:1 when he applied it to Jesus.
B Solution: Different Kinds of Fulfillment of Prophecies
1 Direct Prophecy: Matthew 2: 3-6 is a good example of “Direct Prophecy.”
3:When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: 6 ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Matt 2:3-6 (NKJV)
a Herod asked the chief priests and rabbis where the promised Messiah (Christ) was to be born.
b The Jewish leaders answered that the prophet Micah had predicted that the Christ would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)
c Micah predicted that this future ruler of Israel would be preexistent from ancient times, yet born in the tiny town of Bethlehem.
d Micah 5:2 is a direct prophecy of Jesus’ birth.
2 Figurative/Typological Prophecy
a In the Old Testament God prepared the Jews for the coming of Jesus Christ and His New Testament through shadows, symbols and types of Christ’s perfect priesthood and His superior sacrifice on the cross. Hebrews 8 – 10.
b Ezekiel 37:24 predicts the coming of the Messiah under the type or figure of Jesus, as the Messiah who would rule Israel and the world. Ezekiel 37:24 “David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them.(NKJV)
(a) David, the friend of God, was a type or figure of Jesus, as the messiah who would rule Israel and the world.
(b) Jesus did not fulfill Ezekiel 37:24 directly, but figuratively.
3 The topological prophecy of Hosea 11:1 and its fulfillment in Matthew 2:13-15
a Hosea 11:1 reports that God previously called His son Israel out of Egypt.
b Israel as “God’s son” is a type of God’s only begotten Son, Jesus. Notice below the similarities of the two Israel’s
c Joseph brought his father, Jacob, to Egypt to save his family from the famine in Canaan (Genesis 43-47). Joseph, the husband of Mary, was also the son of Jacob (Matthew 1:16); he brought Jesus, God’s Son, to Egypt to save Him from assassination by Herod.
d Joseph used the money of a King (Pharaoh) to provide for Israel (God’s son) while in Egypt. Joseph used the money from the kings (wise men) from the East, to provide for Jesus (God’s Son: in Egypt.
e God called Israel (God’s son) out of Egypt in a vision to Moses: God called Jesus (God’s Son) out of Egypt in a vision to Joseph.
f God called Israel (God’s son) to return to Canaan to serve Him; God called Jesus (God’s son) to return to Canaan to serve Him.
g Ancient Israel failed to obey God (Hosea 11:1-2 “When Israel was a child, I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son. 2 As they called them, So they went from them; They sacrificed to the Baals, And burned incense to carved images. (NKJV)), but Jesus obeyed His Father’s will, fulfilling what ancient Israel failed to do.
h Israel was originally Jacob, but Israel became all of Jacob’s descendants who were incorporated into national Israel, Jacob (Israel) is a type of figure of the New Israel, Jesus, and those incorporated into Jesus through faith and baptism (Galatians 3: 26-28 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.(NKJV))
i Matthew 2:11-15 is a fulfillment not of a prophetical prediction, but of a prophetical type or figure.