When Stephen said that Jacob went down to Egypt (v. 15), that was a type of how Christ went down to Egypt (Mt. 2:13-15). But why does Matthew quote a verse there about Israel coming out of Egypt (Hos. 11:1) and apply it to Christ?
It was because Christ was the true Israel. God parted the Red Sea for the “vine” of Israel, and brought them out of Egypt and planted them in the land to receive fruit from them (Ps. 80:8,9). But she became an “empty vine” that brought forth fruit to herself (Hos. 10:1). Of course, God only accepts perfect fruit, so Christ became the “true vine” (Jo. 15:1), and brought forth perfect fruit to God. And so did all whom He filled with His Spirit (Acts 2:4) when they were unable to sin (I Jo. 3:9; 5:18). But that only happened after the Lord died and was brought back from the dead, as we see pictured when Acts 7:15 says Jacob died and was brought out of Egypt into the land (v. 16).
God promised to multiply Abraham’s seed exceedingly (Gen. 17:2) but 200 years later he still had only 70 souls (Gen. 46:26; Ex. 1:5). But God kept His promise (Acts 7:17), and then a new king arose in Egypt that forgot how Joseph saved Egypt (Acts 7:18). He feared Israel so enslaved them, thinking hard work would diminish their numbers (Ex. 1:8-12).
When that didn’t work, he became less subtle and ordered that Hebrew baby boys be cast in the Nile (Ex. 1:22 cf. Acts 1:19). In this, Pharaoh was a type of the antichrist, who will start out subtly by being a man of peace, then will persecute and kill God’s people outright as Pharaoh did. God will send two witnesses to oppose Antichrist (Rev. 11:3), as he sent Pharaoh two witnesses (Ps. 105:23-26). Moses was another type of Christ, as Stephen goes on to say (Acts 7:20,21).
When Moses was born, Pharaoh tried to murder all the Hebrew baby boys, a type of Christ’s birth (Mt. 2:16). Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the world (Acts 7:22), as the Lord was (Mt. 16:2, 3; Lu. 4:23). When Stephen added that Moses was also “mighty in words and deeds,” that must refer to the words of Scripture, something that was also true of the Lord (Lu. 24:19; Jo. 7:46). Moses began his ministry to Israel when he was 40 (Acts 7:22) while the Lord was 30 (Lu. 3:23), but Hebrews 11:24, 27 says Moses began “when he was come to years.” The Lord came to years earlier since men in His day didn’t live to 120 like Moses did.
Moses may have lived in Pharaoh’s house, but he knew who “his brethren” in Israel were (Acts 7:23), as did the Lord (Heb. 2:11,16). Moses could have been ashamed to call those slaves his brethren, but he wasn’t. The Lord could have been ashamed to call those slaves to sin brethren, but He wasn’t.
Moses could have been the next king of Egypt, which would have made him king of the world, for Egypt ruled the world. But he “refused” to receive it from Pharaoh’s hand (Heb. 11:23, 24). The Lord could have been the next king of the world, but He too refused it at Satan’s hand (Mt. 4:8, 9).
When Moses saved one of his brethren by killing one of their enemies (Acts 7:24), he became that man’s savior. That’s a picture of how the Jews expected Christ to save them from their enemies (Lu. 1:68-71), something the Lord will do when He slays the antichrist to save them. But Moses’ brethren threatened to expose his murder and get him killed because they “understood not” that he came to save them (Acts 7:25), just as the Jews killed the Lord because they didn’t understand that He came to save them.
One of the reasons they didn’t realize Moses came to save them from the enemies they were striving with was that they were striving with one another (Acts 7:26). Similarly, one of the reasons the Lord’s brethren didn’t receive Him is that they were striving amongst themselves between the Pharisees and Sadducees and Herodians. God has always commanded that His people love one another, and if you’re not obeying Him, you limit God’s ability to teach you new truth (Psalm 119:100).
Moses’ brethren refused to receive him (Acts 17:27), a type of how the Lord’s brethren refused to receive Him (Lu. 19:14; John 1:11).
Video of this sermon is available on YouTube: Jacob Went Down to Egypt – Acts 7:15-28