Going Down to Egypt

3 So He said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there.

4 I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again and Joseph will put his hand on your eyes.”

(Genesis 46)

God is speaking to Jacob, who has found out that his son Joseph is still alive and well in Egypt. God tells Jacob not to be afraid to take his entire family to Egypt and that God will “go down” with him to Egypt but also bring him back up again.

The believer goes down as though through a spiritual battle, through which he or she grows, conquers and returns victorious in the Lord, to enjoy the heavenly Jerusalem. We should not fear “going down to Egypt,” nor confronting struggles in this world, or the battles against the evil one, the enemy against whom the Lord came down to battle. We should descend (allegorically) to Egypt, amid battles, walking the same route, to be worthy that God would not forsake us, but make us a great nation. 

It is interesting to note that this was the last time God appeared to Jacob; and not to anyone in Egypt, until he appeared to Moses in the burning bush (Exodus 3), for the sake of bringing the children of Israel out of Egypt. God appeared to Jacob before he goes down to Egypt, and appeared to Moses for the sake of bringing the children of Jacob out of Egypt; as though God cared both for his going down and his coming up out of Egypt.

– Excerpts and Summary from the Interpretation of the Book of Genesis by Father Tadros Y. Malaty

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