In today's study Matthew 2:11-18, we look at how God used dreams and prophecies at the birth of Jesus.
Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh
v.11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. Notice the gifts that the wise men brought: gold, Frankincense, and myrrh. Each of the gifts represents some aspect of our Lord. The gold symbolizes his kingly role. The frankincense symbolizes his priestly role. The myrrh symbolizes his death.
Interestingly, Isa 60:6 speaks of a time in the future when a multitude of camels shall cover your land, The dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; All those from Sheba shall come; They shall bring gold and incense, And they shall proclaim the praises of the LORD. Notice that there is no myrrh in this future gift.
Young Child in a House
Another interesting note is that the verse tells us that Jesus was a young child and that they lived in a house by the time that they got to him. Another proof that he was around two years of age is found in Matthew 2:16 and Herod’s decree. The truth is that the only people present the night of the birth of Christ was Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds (Luke 2:8-16). So much for the Nativity Scene!
vv.12-13 Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for 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, 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." In these verses, I want us to notice dreams. Many times in the Scripture’s we find God warning and directing men through dreams. They are mentioned in v.12, 13, 19-20, and v.22. Dreams were not uncommon before the Bible was finally published because men did not have all of the words of God to direct them. Of course, some of them had the Old Testament or parts of it, which was their absolute authority. But still, it is recorded that God occasionally directed them by dreams.
There Were Good Dreams
In Gen. 20:3 when God came to Abimelech in a dream to warn him that he had another man’s wife. In Gen. 31:24 when God came to Laban to warn him not to harm Jacob. In Gen. 41:1 when Pharaoh dreamed a dream that came from the Lord to warn him to prepare for a 7-year famine by storing up food during the next 7 years of plenty. In Dan. 2:1 when Nebuchadnezzar dreamed about an image that prophesies the rise and fall of all of the important world empires leading up to the second coming of Jesus. In every case, these dreams were accurate and perfectly prophetic.
There Were Bad Dreams
However, there are a number of other cases where men professed to have had dreams from God and they were lying. In 1 Kings 13:18 when the old prophet professed to have received a word from an angel and lied to the young prophet, resulting in the young prophet’s death. In Jer. 23:16, 25-32 when the prophets prophesied lies to the people. Did you see vv.28-29? God said their dreams compared to his words were like the chaff to the wheat. The Word of God comes first. Yes, even to your dreams! A dream never takes precedence over the Word of God.
vv.14-15 Then 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." Notice that we also find prophecies in Matthew 2.
The first one is found in Matt 2:13-15 which is a fulfillment of Hosea 11:1 which says, "When Israel was a child, I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son. Historically, this prophecy records the Exodus, where Israel was called God’s firstborn son before they left Egypt. Exo 4:22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, 'Thus says the LORD: "Israel is My son, My firstborn. Prophetically though, it refers to Jesus coming up out of Egypt following the death of Herod. Actually, Moses prophesied this in Deu 18:15-18 when he said, "The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, 16 according to all you desired of the LORD your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, 'Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.' 17 "And the LORD said to me: 'What they have spoken is good. 18 I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. Thus, the fulfillment of Hos. 11:1 under Moses and Jesus was yet another proof that Jesus was their Messiah.
The second one is found in Matt. 2:17-18 which is a fulfillment of Jer. 31:15 which says, Thus says the LORD: "A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more." Again, Israel should have recognized that the baby Herod tried to kill was, in fact, their King.