38: Numbers 24:8
365 Prophecies: Prophecy 38
The Messiah will come out of Egypt.
Old Testament Prediction:
Numbers 24:8 “God brings him out of Egypt; He has strength like a wild ox; He shall consume the nations, his enemies; He shall break their bones And pierce them with his arrows.”
New Testament Fulfillment:
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.” 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.”
The Book of Numbers Chapter 24 gives us the account of Balaam, who is acting in the capacity of a prophet of God by making a prophetic prediction about the tribe of Judah, from where the Messiah will one day come. Balaam states that God will bring him out of Egypt.
It has always amazed me that Balaam could act in the capacity of a prophet of God while doing so with evil intentions towards God’s people and his own selfish ambition and greed. The information that he passed along to the Midianites eventually led to the downfall of Israel. Later in the New Testament, Balaam is listed among those who are described as false prophets and are condemned for their actions by God.
2 Peter 2:15 They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness…
In Matthew Chapter 2:13-15, the angel of the Lord warns Joseph that Herod will seek to kill Jesus at His birth. Matthew writes that Joseph and Mary departed for Egypt, and that this action was in fulfillment of this 38th Old Testament Prophecy found in Numbers 24:8.
There are many of the 365 prophecies which are given in this book, that when read from the Old Testament, seem at first to be vague.
Numbers 24:8 “God brings him out of Egypt…”
We might never have known that this verse from the Book of Numbers was a prophecy that concerned the coming Messiah, unless the Lord revealed it to us in Matthew’s gospel. This is an important fact of Bible prophecy: We often do not know that a particular verse of scripture was written prophetically until after the event takes place. I am sure that Matthew was not aware that Numbers 24:8 or Hosea 11:1 were speaking of the Messiah, until he had learned that the angel had warned Joseph to take Jesus and flee to Egypt not long after His birth. Matthew remembered the words from Hosea 11:1 and Numbers 24:8, as the Holy Spirit brought them to his remembrance. He recorded the fulfillment of this prophecy of the Messiah for us in his gospel.
This is why we should continually read the Bible over and over and become familiar with all of the verses of Scripture. The Holy Spirit can only bring to our remembrance the words of God which we have already read and studied. There have been several occasions when I was speaking to a person about Jesus, or teaching the word of God before a group of people, and the Holy Spirit would remind me of a particular verse of Scripture. Often, it is not a verse that I had really studied extensively. Because I had placed the verse in my mind by reading the word of God, the Holy Spirit was able to bring these verses to my remembrance and allow me to use them in teaching the Bible to someone else.
John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
An important principle to consider in prophetic interpretation:
Becoming a diligent student of Bible prophecy requires that we read a verse of Scripture from the Old Testament, with the assumption that it is prophetic. The entire purpose of the scriptures is to point us to the Messiah. Therefore, all of the stories, people and events should be carefully scrutinized for their possible application to the Messiah, who is Jesus Christ.
John 5:39 (Jesus speaking) You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.
Jesus is making the assertion that the entire Bible is about Him. Therefore, it is always possible that a particular verse which does not appear at first to be predictive, may have indeed a prophetic application. No one would have believed that Joel Chapter 2 was applicable to the birth of the church in Acts Chapter 2, unless Peter revealed this to us. See Prophecy 318.
Although this verse from Numbers 24:8 does not seem to be prophetic at first glance, when we take the time to study the verse and compare it with other verses of similar context, we see that it is speaking of the future Messiah.
If we were going to look for a verse to match Matthew’s prophetic declaration that the Messiah will come out of Egypt, we would first be led to Hosea 11:1, Prophecy 315.
The verses from Matthew and Hosea are a perfect match:
Matthew 2:15 “…that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”
Hosea 11:1 “When Israel was a child, I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son.”
Notice that Hosea refers to Israel as being a child who will be called out of Egypt. If we examine Balaam’s prophecy of Israel, in Numbers Chapter 24:8, he uses similar language in describing the many blessings that God will give Israel through the Messiah. Balaam uses the same phrase in verse 24:8 in speaking of Israel being called out of Egypt, that Hosea uses of Israel.
Numbers 24:8 “God brings him out of Egypt…”
Examine the entire context of Numbers Chapter 24:
Numbers 24:8-9 God brings him out of Egypt; He has strength like a wild ox; He shall consume the nations, his enemies; He shall break their bones And pierce them with his arrows. 9 He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him?
Clearly, Balaam’s prophecy is speaking of the Messiah who will consume the nations and is also called the Lion. These are both descriptions of Jesus which are revealed in the Book of Revelation.
Revelation 19:15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
Revelation 5:5 But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”
The point of this exercise is to demonstrate that a verse of Scripture that many scholars might define as non-prophetic or non-Messianic can certainly be true on both accounts.
In all of the scholarly commentaries that I read concerning Numbers 24:8, not one found an application of this verse to the declaration of Matthew 2:15. When all of the evidence is examined, it is clear that both Hosea and Balaam are speaking of Israel who will come out of Egypt. Both prophets are using the example of Israel to speak of the future Messiah.
This careful scrutiny was necessary for several verses that are included in these 365 Old Testament Prophecies. It took a great amount of work to determine whether a particular verse should be included in this book, or excluded. Instead of trying to look for verses to put in this book, I took the opposite approach to exclude a verse until it could be proven a prophetic-Messianic verse that can be validated by a New Testament fulfillment.
In your own study of Bible prophecy, you will notice that great scholars often disagree over a particular verse. This is not only normal; it is healthy to the validation of the prophetic word.
A person might read an Old Testament verse and think: “This is not a prophecy.” I have often reached this same conclusion myself. Only after I was able to discover a New Testament fulfillment did any verse from the Old Testament become credible and a part of this book.
This 38th prophecy of the Old Testament is in parallel with several other prophecies describing this event in Matthew’s gospel. From His birth, Jesus was under the threat of death.
Jeremiah 31:15 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.”
Jeremiah’s prophecy deals with a conspiracy that satan had orchestrated against God’s desire to bring His Son into the world. Because the Lord knows all things, He was aware of the plans of satan which he would seek to carry out at the time Jesus would be born. The prophet Micah records the fact that the Son of God would be born in Bethlehem. Prophecies 321, 322, 323
Micah 5:2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”
Jeremiah’s prophecy is that when the Messiah is born in Bethlehem, an attempt will be made by satan to kill Him while He is still young and defenseless. The prophecy speaks of Lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children. See Prophecy 294.
The king of Israel was one of the most paranoid individuals of all time. Herod was said to be so afraid that someone would conspire to take his throne, that he had his wife and sons murdered. One of the common expressions of that time was: “It is safer to be Herod’s pig than to be his son.”
Herod became aware of Micah’s prophecy that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem who will be the King of Israel. When the wise men came from the east, crossing the borders of Israel, Herod sent word to their caravan to come to his palace and tell him where this new king was located so that he could “worship” him. Of course, Herod had no intention of worshipping any would-be-king who would take his throne. Herod dispatched soldiers to Bethlehem and ordered the execution of every child under the age of two. Jeremiah’s prophecy vividly records not only the vicious acts of Herod’s soldiers but also the very words of sorrow and great grief the mothers of these precious babies felt when their infants were killed before their eyes.
Matthew 2:1-8 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” 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 Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ ” 7 Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”
Jeremiah and Micah both wrote these prophecies of the Messiah about six hundred years before Jesus was born. Their predictions contain two of the most extraordinary prophecies in the Bible: In their predictions, the Lord informed us of His plans to bring His Son into the world, despite a satanic agenda that worked through the mind and heart of Herod who sought the death of the Son of God.
We learn that God had a plan to spare His Son from death and bring Him to safety before the soldiers arrived. Mary and Joseph would take Jesus to Egypt until the death of Herod.
Matthew 2:12-15 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.” 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.”
In completing His warning to Mary and Joseph that they should depart for their own country another way…, God brought to fulfillment this 38th Old Testament Prophecy that the Messiah will come out of Egypt, as predicted in the Book of Numbers 24:8 and Hosea 11:1.
Numbers 24:8 “God brings him out of Egypt…”
 Ambrosius Theodosius Macrobius c. 395-423, Saturnalia, book II, chapter IV:11: “Cum audisset inter pueros quos in Syria Herodes rex Iudaeorum intra bimatum iussit interfici filium quoque eius occisum, ait: Melius est Herodis porcum esse quam filium,”