Genesis Types: 8. The Character and Experiences of Joseph That Typify the Saviour

(Genesis 37-45) Joseph was beloved of his father; and Jesus is God’s beloved Son. "Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colors" (Genesis 37:3). Joseph was his father’s favorite son. God has many sons, because every believer is a son of God. But Jesus is Son of God in a unique sense, and therefore He is God’s well-beloved Son. God spoke at the baptism of Jesus: "And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17). Joseph was hated by his brothers; and Jesus was hated by the Jewish leaders of His day. "And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him" (Genesis 37:4). It was jealousy that caused this spirit of hate in Joseph’s brothers. In John 15:24, 25 Jesus tells us the attitude of the Jewish leaders toward Him: "If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause." These men were jealous of Jesus, even as Joseph’s brothers were jealous of him. And jealousy led to hate. God promised Joseph a place of rulership; even as the Lord promised Jesus as Messiah a place of kingship. This promise to Joseph, of course, came to him in the dreams which he had. "And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words" (Genesis 37:8). The great Messianic promise in Isaiah 9:6 contains these tremendous predictions: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." The statement, "The government shall be upon his shoulder," and the title, "Prince of Peace," both speak of rulership or kingship. At His first coming Jesus was a spiritual King; and at His second coming He will be a material Ruler over the nations. Joseph was cast into a pit, but he was delivered out of it; and Jesus descended into the pit of Hades, the abode of the dead, but came forth triumphant over death. "And I they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it" (Genesis 37:24). This pit was probably a cistern where all the water had been used up. Then in verse 28 we read: "And they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit." Joseph spent a time in this pit, but was not left there indefinitely. This stay in the pit pictures Christ’s visit to Hades. "Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave I gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things)" (Ephesians 4:8-10). When Jesus died, His body lay in the tomb, but His spirit went to Hades. After He left Hades, He took the spirits of the righteous dead from Sheol or Hades up to Heaven. Now Hades is the abode of the unrighteous dead only. Joseph was sold for twenty pieces of silver; and Jesus was sold by Judas for thirty pieces of silver. "Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt" (Genesis 37:28). How similar this was to what happened to Jesus! "And said unto them, What will you give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver" (Matthew 26:15). Joseph was falsely accused and imprisoned; and similarly Jesus was arrested and condemned by false testimony. "And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spake unto him, saying, After this manner did thy servant to me; that his wrath was kindled. And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison" (Genesis 39:19, 20). Joseph was condemned on a false charge and had to suffer imprisonment. The arrest and condemnation of Jesus was on the same basis. "For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together" (Mark 14:56). False witnesses played a large part in the trial of Jesus. In prison Joseph was placed between two prisoners; he foretold the release of the one and the destruction of the other; and this is a type of Jesus dying on the cross between two thieves, promising the one entrance into paradise, while the other one perished in his sins. Two of Pharaoh’s officers were in prison with Joseph. Joseph interpreted the dream which each one of these men had. He foretold as a result of the dreams that the chief butler would be restored to his position with the king, and that the chief baker would be executed. The story of what happened is told in Genesis 40, and is a picture of a similar experience of Jesus, although the two events were not exactly alike. John 19:18 says: "Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst." In Luke 23:39-43 is the account of these two thieves on either side of the cross of Jesus. One of them railed on Jesus, while the other one acknowledged his own sin and the righteousness of Jesus. Verse 42 tells us what he said to Jesus and Jesus’ answer: "And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise." Jesus announced the salvation of one of these thieves, and the other perished without Christ. Joseph dealt with his brethren in such a way as to bring them to repentance for their sin against him; and Christ will allow the Jews to go through great trials in order that them may be brought to repentance for their sin against Him. "And Joseph saw his brethren and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, and spake roughly unto them; and he said unto them, Whence come ye? And they said From the land of Canaan to buy food" (Genesis 42:7). Since their rejection of Christ, the Jews have been scattered oven all the world. But when they confess their sins and the sin of rejecting Messiah, then the Lord will bring them back to Palestine in blessing. "If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me . . . Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land" (Leviticus 26:40, 42). It was during the years of famine that Joseph revealed himself to his brethren; and it will be during the time of Jacob’s trouble that Christ will reveal Himself to the Jewish remnant of that day. His brothers came to Egypt for food in the time of famine, and it was then that Joseph made known his identity unto them. During the Great Tribulation period preceding the millennial rule of Christ, the Jews will in time of great persecution and deep distress seek the Lord and find Him, and Christ will be revealed unto them as their Messiah and Saviour. "I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offense, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early" (Hosea 5:15). [Old Testament Types - FHW]