by I Gordon
Joseph is one of the most striking types of
Jesus in the Old Testament. In Jewish thought, the Messiah was pictured as the
son of David, but also as the son of Joseph. As the son of David he would rule
upon David’s throne bringing glory to
Gen 37:5-8 ‘Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.” His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.’
Even from an early stage Joseph was different. Genesis 37:3 tells us that Joseph was Jacob’s most loved son. And from the dreams he had it was clear that he would one-day rule over his brothers and for this they hated him. Jesus encountered the same reaction both from those in his hometown as well as from his actual brothers. After trying to teach and minister in His hometown He was met with the following response –
Matt13:55-57 “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor.”
While the nation’s leaders called Jesus possessed, even some of those in His own family wouldn’t acknowledge Him. We read in John 7:5 that His own brothers were asking for more signs because
John 7:5 ‘…even his own brothers did not believe in him.’
Gen 37:18-19 ‘So Joseph went after his brothers and found
Because of jealousy and envy, Joseph’s
brothers conspired to kill Joseph. What they hated most were the dreams that
elevated Joseph above themselves. They also hated the fact that their father
Jacob dearly loved Joseph and their jealousy and anger led to a plan to destroy
him. In like manner the leaders of
Matt 26:3-4 ‘Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they plotted to arrest Jesus in some sly way and kill him.’
Gen 37:26-28 ‘
The anger and jealousy reached its peak and
Joseph was sold and betrayed for 20 measly pieces of silver! And note also who
it was that lead the betrayal –
Matt 26:14-16 ‘Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.’
This was of course, a fulfillment of the great prophecy in Zechariah where God himself is priced at 30 pieces of silver!
Zechariah ‘And the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the handsome price at which they priced me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD to the potter.’
While Joseph didn’t understand it, God had other plans and would use this betrayal to exalt Joseph and through him give the means by which both Gentiles and Joseph’s own Jewish family would be saved. I’m sure you see the picture of Jesus!
Gen 39:17-20 ‘Then she told him this story: “That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me. But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.” When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger. Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.’
After being betrayed by his brothers and
Mark 14:55-64 ‘The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree... Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the blessed One?” “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” They all condemned him as worthy of death.
Gen 40:4-5 ‘After they had been in custody for some time, each of the two men—the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were being held in prison—had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own.’
Joseph wasn’t alone in prison though. Two other servant of Pharaoh, the cupbearer and the baker, where shortly thrown in there with him. Each spoke to Joseph about a dream they had had which Joseph interpreted for them. This pictures Jesus in His prison, upon the cross, and the two thieves that were crucified with Him.
Matt 27:38 ‘Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.’
The result of the two prisoner’s dreams meant death for one, and release and exaltation for the other. This is a type of one of the most amazing salvations to ever happen –
Luke 23:39-43 ‘One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Like Joseph, one
prisoner with Jesus would die, but one would find real life and be released and
exalted into the greatest place –
Gen 40:39-41 ‘Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has
made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning
and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to
submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than
you.” So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole
Joseph went from being condemned in prison to being exalted to Pharaoh’s right hand in a single day. Apart from Pharaoh, there were none above Joseph! What a picture of the Lord Jesus, who through the resurrection, went from the cross to His exaltation back at the right hand of the Father. After the resurrection Jesus said ‘all authority on heaven and earth has been given to me…’ And as the Egyptians bowed at the feet of Joseph, so the entire world will one day bow down at the feet of the Lord. Philippians explains it all –
Phil 2:8-11 ‘And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.’
Gen 41:45 ‘Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah and gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, to be his wife.’
Upon his exaltation to the right hand of Pharaoh, Joseph was given a gentile bride for his wife. This is a picture of the Lord Jesus who, upon His exaltation, took a bride for Himself (the church) from among the gentile nations.
Gen 41:54 And the seven years of dearth began to come, according as Joseph had said: and the dearth was in all lands…
This is where our study moves from the
present, and into the future. Currently, the Lord Jesus Christ is taking for
Himself a bride from the gentile nations (predominantly). But scripture reveals
that God has set aside one final seven year period, after the removal of the
church, where He will again deal with the nation of
Jer 30:7 Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.
Gen 45:1-5,14 ‘So there was no
one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so
loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it.
Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his
brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his
presence. Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had
done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into
One of best pictures has got to be the
reconciliation between Joseph and his brothers who had betrayed him. The great
famine had struck the area and Joseph’s brothers had come seeking provision. On
their first visit to see Joseph they didn’t recognise him, but all was revealed
when they met the second time! There was great weeping as they realised that
the one who they had betrayed was not only alive, but ruled over the entire
land. Like Joseph’s brothers,
Zech 12:10-12 ‘I
will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of
Gen 50:18-20 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said. But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid... You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish… the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.
Joseph’s brothers, upon their reconciliation
with Joseph, were extremely repentant of the evil that they had done in plotting
and betraying Joseph. Yet Joseph didn’t hold the grievance against them but with
grace stated that 'what they meant for evil, God
intended for good, to save many lives!' What an awesome picture of Jesus! Yes,
Look also at Joseph’s kindness to his brothers. Not only did he not hold anything against them, but he assured them that he would provide for them. The millennial blessings that will come to the Jewish nation after they have returned to the Lord are the fulfilment of this type. Speaking of the blessing that will come upon that nation after their acknowledgement and acceptance of Jesus, Paul writes,
Romans But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring!
Joseph is truly one of the greatest types in the Bible of the Lord Jesus Christ. From his betrayal at the hands of his brothers, to his exaltation and authority over the Egyptian empire; from his taking of a gentile bride, to his final reconciliation with his Jewish brothers; all is a glimpse from God of past, present and even future history!
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