Out of Egypt

After studying the books of the minor prophets, we are now starting few lessons on some key knowledge for us to understand the writings of the prophets better. One of the most common words of reference of the prophets is about Israel's link with Egypt. Rightly so since the mightiest powers of God were displayed during Israel's journey to and out of Egypt. God wanted Israel not to forget about their life of slavery in Egypt and their eventual redemption. Ever noticed that the first of the Ten Commandments mentions the nation Egypt and of the entire ten commandments there was not even a mention of the their own nation Israel? 

Ex 20:2-3
"I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. "You shall have no other gods before me."

Why would God need to immortalize the nation Egypt in the Ten Commandments? The reason is simple and clear - Egypt is the symbol of bondage, sin and slavery. Every person shall experience bondage, sin and slavery in his or her life and therefore needs a miraculous rescue that only God can do. Whether it is the life of a person, a community, a nation or the whole world, there will be always the enemy "Egypt" at a certain point. God raised the ancient nation of Egypt to serve as an example of how God rescues His people in marvellous way and to serve this very purpose of bondage, suffering and the need for freedom. Egypt will always be with us whether it is the actual physical nation of Egypt or as symbolic bondage to sin... and well also as a place of refuge as we will learn below.

Israel lived in this nation for more than four centuries and for four hundred years they were maltreated, enslaved then suffered terribly with the killings of every male born during the time when Moses was born, around 1400 BC. That had signalled that time was ripe for God to lead them out of Egypt. God's power was displayed to both the Hebrews and the Egyptians which served as a great lesson for all of them and beyond. For thousands of years after, God kept reminding His people through the prophets about those times when they were once slaves in Egypt but were set free. To be led out of Egypt is be free from bondage symbolizing sin. The words "out of Egypt" occur 143 times in the Bible. In our times, we are being delivered from the symbolic Egypt through the blood of Jesus Christ, the new covenant. That was surely more powerful emancipation than what was displayed by Moses in Egypt. However, there will come a time when those wonders displayed in Egypt will be done again but in a far larger scale. One of the purposes why it will be done again is to make known to the whole world that God is the Lord who has control over all nations. It is also to prove that the records in the Old Testament had indeed happened. People who know about the Bible will recall the days of Moses when these events will happen again in the future (Isa 63:11). Still another reason is to fulfill the rule, to confirm the covenant that biblical history should always repeat itself.

To confirm the covenant is to repeat what had happened for there is nothing new under the sun (Eccl 1:9). That has been for time and again the way God is teaching His people. Our situation, or problems, our ills today has been the same as thousands of years ago and God remains the same forever. Therefore God's solution has been the same although becoming more effective and powerful than before. He is dealing with more people, more nations and far more evil sins.

Egypt was a refuge to Israel

The people of Israel left their homeland in Canaan due to a great famine that spread even through all the land of Egypt and surrounding nations. However, God has prepared a plan way ahead, a plan that took a generation to fulfill--through Joseph, one of the sons of Jacob. Joseph had a very sad fate at the hands of his brothers that eventually led him to become slave in Egypt. But God blessed him so much that eventually, he became a high official in Egypt second only to the Pharaoh. He interpreted the Pharaoh's dream that there will be seven years of great abundance followed by seven years of severe famine throughout Egypt. So through those seven years of abundance, under the supervision of Joseph, Egypt saved some of their harvests to prepare for the coming seven years of famine which indeed came true. Nearby, Canaan was also affected by this great famine. Joseph's family, his father Jacob came to Egypt to buy food which led to their reunion. The Pharaoh was also pleased to see Joseph's "lost" family in Canaan and more than willing to welcome and settle them in the most fertile grounds north of Egypt indefinitely.

Gen 45:16-24
16 When the news reached Pharaoh's palace that Joseph's brothers had come, Pharaoh and all his officials were pleased. 17 Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Tell your brothers, 'Do this: Load your animals and return to the land of Canaan, 18 and bring your father and your families back to me. I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you can enjoy the fat of the land.'
19 "You are also directed to tell them, 'Do this: Take some carts from Egypt for your children and your wives, and get your father and come. 20 Never mind about your belongings, because the best of all Egypt will be yours.'"
21 So the sons of Israel did this. Joseph gave them carts, as Pharaoh had commanded, and he also gave them provisions for their journey. 22 To each of them he gave new clothing, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred shekels of silver and five sets of clothes. 23 And this is what he sent to his father: ten donkeys loaded with the best things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and other provisions for his journey.

Gen 47:3-6
3 Pharaoh asked the brothers, "What is your occupation?"
"Your servants are shepherds," they replied to Pharaoh, "just as our fathers were." 4 They also said to him, "We have come to live here awhile, because the famine is severe in Canaan and your servants' flocks have no pasture. So now, please let your servants settle in Goshen."
5 Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Your father and your brothers have come to you, 6 and the land of Egypt is before you; settle your father and your brothers in the best part of the land. Let them live in Goshen. And if you know of any among them with special ability, put them in charge of my own livestock."

Egypt was a prison to Israel

However, after four centuries, there rose a Pharaoh who did not know Joseph nor care about the fast multiplying immigrants occupying a good place in Egypt. He physically abused them so much fearing they are slowly outnumbering the Egyptian population thinking they may possibly rebel or side with Egypt's enemies and take over Egypt. Then he started to kill every male born of the Hebrew women. During those times, Moses was born, destined to set Israel free from the power of the Pharaoh. And the rest is the greatest display of God's power and presence before Israel and Egypt.

God unleashed ten plagues in Egypt through Moses and Aaron affecting only the Egyptians. The plagues were intended for the Pharaoh to force him to release the Israelites so that they can worship God in the desert.

Ex 7:16
16 Then say to him, 'The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you: Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the desert.

And yet it was only the last plague, the death of the firstborn in Egypt that finally made the Pharaoh allow Israel to leave.

Ex 11:1-3
1 Now the LORD had said to Moses, "I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here, and when he does, he will drive you out completely. 2 Tell the people that men and women alike are to ask their neighbours for articles of silver and gold." 3(The LORD made the Egyptians favourably disposed toward the people, and Moses himself was highly regarded in Egypt by Pharaoh's officials and by the people.)

Few people know that aside from becoming free, the Egyptians also gave them their treasures before they left Egypt. Also in Ex 12:35-36--

35 The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. 36 The LORD had made the Egyptians favourably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.

So finally Israel was free, they worshipped God in the desert and they received the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai. Had there been a history in Israel's past that was repeated for them to confirm the covenant? This is a question we don't expect to ask. We need to show that God is repeating to Israel their own past over and over.

A parallel in Abraham's journey to Egypt

Going back about five centuries before the Great Exodus, Israel was not yet a nation of around two million people. Israel was still in the body of Abram, later named Abraham, the forefather of the nation of Israel. He had a wife Sarai, later renamed Sarah. She was barren but God opened her womb. Despite her ripe old age, she bore a son Isaac. Isaac became the father of Esau and Jacob and then Jacob became Israel, the father of the twelve tribes, including Joseph.

Before Abram became Abraham, he lived in the pagan nation of Chaldea. Then his family later moved to Haran, a land named after his brother Haran. God called him to leave this land promising him to become a great nation. He obeyed God without hesitation. He left his home, his comfort zone to become a nomad wondering through strange lands and living practically in tents. He finally settled in the land of Canaan. And right there we see so many events unfold that will become a likeness of what will happen to Israel in later years. For example, Abraham was also in Egypt and had to exit with Egypt's bounty.

Abraham in Egypt

Gen 12:10-13:4
10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. 11 As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, "I know what a beautiful woman you are. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, 'This is his wife.' Then they will kill me but will let you live. 13 Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you."
14 When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that she was a very beautiful woman. 15 And when Pharaoh's officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. 16 He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, menservants and maidservants, and camels.
17 But the LORD inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram's wife Sarai. 18 So Pharaoh summoned Abram. "What have you done to me?" he said. "Why didn't you tell me she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, 'She is my sister,' so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!" 20 Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had.
13:1 So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everything he had, and Lot went with him. 2 Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold.
3 From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier 4 and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the LORD.

Here are parallel between Abram's and Israel's journey to and from Egypt.

Journey by Abram (Abraham) to and from Egypt

Journey by Israel (Abraham's children) to and from Egypt

Abram went to Egypt due to a severe famine in Canaan. Jacob and his eleven sons, their families went to Egypt due to the famine in Canaan.
The Pharaoh was pleased with Sarai, a beautiful woman. The Pharaoh was pleased to see Joseph's siblings and his father
The Pharaoh wanted to have Sarai to be his own wife. The Pharaoh gave the best land of Egypt to Joseph's family and provide for their needs and enjoy all the best of Egypt to settle there as immigrants indefinitely.
The Pharaoh was stricken by not one but many serious diseases upon his attempt to take Sarai as his wife prompting him to tell Abram and Sarai to leave Egypt. The Egyptians were were afflicted with plagues and finally the death of firstborns that finally made the Pharaoh decide to let Israel leave Egypt.
Abram and Sarai became very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold after leaving Egypt. Israel became wealthy when they left Egypt plundering the Egyptians and was given silver and gold and everything they asked the Egyptians for.
Abram went through the desert at Negev then worshipped God in Bethel. Israel journeyed through the desert (Ex 13:18) and worshipped God after crossing the Red Sea (Ex 15:1).

Jesus Christ also went in and out of Egypt

Now you see how God repeated an event in the past to show His people that He does the same thing over and over to teach them a lesson. He is not showing an unproven example but a real event in the past. However, these events have not not ended repeating in Moses' time. We can see another repetition when Jesus was born.

Matt 2:13-15
13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt . Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him."
14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt , 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son."

The prophet being spoken about was Hosea, his prophecy is found in Hos 11:1.

Moses found his way into the Pharaoh's household due to the killing of male infants. That was the same with Jesus. Joseph, Mary and the child Jesus escaped to Egypt due to Herod's plan to kill Jesus. Then there was a carnage of male babies from birth to two years old in the land of His birth (Matt 2:13-16). This is similar with the Hebrews leaving Canaan for Egypt due to the great famine in the land.

Jesus represents a different, bigger representation of bondage in Egypt. Jesus represents the whole Christianity and Israel. His travel to Egypt as a child means so much to us belonging to these last days. We have not seen yet the final repetition of history about the chosen's journey to and from Egypt. Each individual has his or her own journey to spiritual Egypt or bondage and Jesus has already set us free through His blood and symbolized by His own journey to and from Egypt. But there is another real journey that all believers will experience in the Last Days. It is not spiritual or symbolic Egypt but a real, new Egypt that is not yet revealed until now, these Last Days.

Now we understand why God had permanently written the word "Egypt" in the first of the Ten Commandments. This nation is so much involved in the lives of all the elect even to the last days in the same as the sufferings in Egypt had been a real event in the history of Israel. Soon the elect will also experience the same suffering and bondage in the hands of the last days Pharaoh in the real last days Egypt. It will be called the Great Tribulation at the hands of the supreme evil, the Antichrist, the Pharaoh in whose hands mankind will suffer the greatest genocide than all the genocides from all the nations since the beginning of time combined. At that time Egypt will not only be a symbolic bondage to sin and slavery - it will a real Egypt. But who is the nation of Egypt of our age, and who will be this Pharaoh of the last days?

To understand better the Egypt of our times we should know who the real nation of Egypt is today. Yes the last days Egypt is here with us now. Read the related articles: The Real Roots of America, The Ancient Obelisks of Egypt, The Antichrist and the Number "666".

Like the people of old, many people will soon go back to Egypt for the same reasons as before--escape a land suffering from great famine and killings. Read The Minor Prophets and the Last Days - Hosea, The Prophet Micah - Part 1 and The Last Days Exodus about our own last days version of our return to and out of Egypt.

Down the time when everyone has been rescued from the last days Egypt, from the last days Pharaoh who is the Antichrist, God will also say, "Out of Egypt I called my children."

There are so many other events in the past that will be repeated in the last seven years. Understanding all the prophecy rests on the plain knowledge that God is simply repeating history. That's why the prophet Daniel in Dan 9:27 said: "He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’" We will study more on the other examples in our next topics.

How wonderful is our God. He is worthy to be praised forever and ever!

In order for you to get saved and become a Christian please follow these simple steps.