Today we continue with our series examining Christmas in the Old Testament.
- There are four gospels in the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
- Each gospel has a theme and a symbol.
- Matthew’s theme is that Jesus is the Messiah of which the Old Testament spoke, and because of this, Matthew uses more Old Testament verses than the others. Its symbol is a lion.
- In Mark’s gospel, Jesus is depicted as the suffering servant and its symbol is an ox.
- Luke’s theme is that Jesus is the son of Man and its symbol is a man.
- John’s gospel focuses on Jesus’ deity and its symbol is an eagle.
Today we will look at the book of the minor prophet, Hosea. Remember, a prophet is a mouthpiece of God whose job it is to pass on God’s messages to His people. Sometimes even the prophet’s very lives were part of God’s message. Hosea was one of these; God instructed him to marry a prostitute, to whom he would be faithful while she was not faithful to him. This was a metaphor for God’s faithfulness to His people while they were having spiritual relations with other gods.
What do the Gospel of Matthew and the Book of Hosea have in common?
In Matthew chapter 2, we find the story of the birth of Jesus, when wise men seek Him to worship Him and bring Him prophetic gifts (gold as a symbol that he was King, frankincense as a symbol of His priesthood, and myrrh as a symbol that He was born to die and be resurrected). At this time, King Herod heard of the birth of Jesus, and in fear for his own status as king, he ordered the death of all the babies in Egypt. But Jesus was spared from this early death:
Now when [the wise men] 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.”
When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, 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.” Matthew 2:13-15
The prophet to whom Matthew refers here is Hosea, from Hosea 11:1:
“When Israel was a child, I loved him,
And out of Egypt I called My son.”
In the Old Testament, Hosea spoke of the deliverance of God’s people Israel from their slavery in Egypt. The greatest act of God’s deliverance in the Old Testament was a metaphor for the coming greatest act of deliverance in the New Testament: Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection to deliver us from sin.
He wants us to understand that when He delivered His people from Egypt, He was giving us a glimpse of the Messiah coming to deliver us from sin.
God wants us to notice His constant message from the beginning of the Bible to the end. He wants us to understand that when He delivered His people from Egypt, He was giving us a glimpse of the Messiah coming to deliver us from sin. Here are some parallels to note:
- When the Israelites where delivered from Egypt, they were delivered from the last plague, the destruction of babies, just as Jesus was delivered from Egypt as a baby.
- God saved a baby, Moses, from death as a Jew to deliver His people, just as He saved the baby Jesus to one day deliver us from sin.
- God delivered Israel from the bondage of slavery in Egypt. The Bible says he who sins is a slave to sin. (We are in bondage to sin and can’t stop ourselves.)
- God spared the Israelites from the death of their children by the blood of the lamb on their doorposts. We are delivered from death by the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus.
- The Israelites were delivered from Egypt by God sending the Angel of death to kill the firstborn sons of the Egyptians. We are delivered from spiritual bondage by the death of Jesus, the firstborn of the Father God (Colossians 1:15).
- The Israelites were delivered by supernatural signs from God (10 miracles). God delivers us through the supernatural miracle of a virgin becoming pregnant and bearing a Son, who later supernaturally rose from the dead.
- The Jews wandered in the wilderness for 40 years, complaining that they had no bread. Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness and fasted from bread.
- Moses was given God’s law a mountain. Jesus gave the new convent law from a hilltop in the Sermon on the Mount.
God wants to deliver you just like he delivered the Israelites, a plan He has had in place for eternity!
God wants to deliver you just like he delivered the Israelites, a plan He has had in place for eternity! Like the Israelites, you have the opportunity to trust God and enter the promised land or you can live on your own and die separated from Him. God is faithful and He proves it over and over again. He delivers you from bondage, has sacrificed for you, and does amazing miracles on your behalf just to give you the opportunity to receive the deliverance that Jesus’ birth death and resurrection provide.
The question is: Do you want to be set free? We learned in the Old Testament that without bloodshed, there is no forgiveness of sin. When Jesus died on the cross as the perfect Lamb of God, He died once and for all so that you could have the opportunity to place the blood of the Lamb on your heart!