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?
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.
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.
And yet it was only the last plague, the death of the firstborn in Egypt that finally made the Pharaoh allow Israel to leave.
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--
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
Here are parallel between Abram's and Israel's journey to and from Egypt.
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.
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!
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