Jacob’s son, Joseph, is a prophetic forerunner or a shadow of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Jacob's family had a lot of family problems. He had major wife problems with all the fighting that went on between his wives, Leah and Rachel. Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah. When one was loved more than the other, there were always problems. In Genesis 29 it speaks about this.
Genesis 29:17-18 Leah’s eyes were delicate, but Rachel was beautiful of form and appearance. Now Jacob loved Rachel; so he said, “I will serve you seven years for Rachel your younger daughter.”
At this point in Jacob's life, I feel that Jacob was very carnal in his thinking. I think a big part of why Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah was because of how she looked. She was well favored. She was probably a very pretty girl with a very good shape. That's what “well favored” means.
Genesis 29:31 And when the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb; but Rachel was barren.
It is kind of interesting how God works. The fighting and hatred between Leah and Rachel was so severe that they both gave their maids, Bilhah and Zilpah, to Jacob. Leah thought that having children with Jacob while Rachel was barren would make Jacob love her at least as much as he loved Rachel and maybe even more. So we know that the family that Joseph was born into had many family problems. This is the family that Joseph came from.
Sixteen similarities between Joseph and Jesus Christ
Both Christ and Joseph were loved by their fathers.
John 10:17 [This is talking about Christ] “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.”
Christ, as we all know, was loved by His Father, God. Joseph was also loved and favored by his father, Jacob.
Genesis 37:3 Now Israel [or Jacob] loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age [and the son of Rachel, his favorite wife]. Also he made him a tunic of many colors.
God the Father loves His Son, Jesus Christ. But He also loves us. He has worked a great miracle in all of us. We can now understand God’s plan for salvation, for us first, then for all of mankind. Our minds have been opened to the path of eternal life, not death in the Lake of Fire. We are also much loved by our Father, God.
We are in a very enviable position, brethren. Think about that. Joseph was also in a very enviable position. Only Joseph, out of thirteen children, counting Dinah, received a gift from his father, the coat of many colors.
Both Christ and Joseph were hated by their brothers.
John 8:39-40 They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham's children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this.”
All through Christ ministry the Jews wanted to kill Him. Joseph’s brothers also wanted to kill him.
Genesis 37:18 Now when they saw him afar off, even before he came near them, they conspired against him to kill him.
Can you imagine wanting to kill your sister or your brother—a family member? How crazy is that, brethren? How crazy is that? But that is what Joseph’s brothers wanted to do to him. They hated him for what he said about his dreams and because his father favored him. Do you think that there is some hatred amongst the brethren, within the church today? God warns us about hating one another and what hatred causes within us.
Both Christ and Joseph were sent to their brothers.
Israel also sent his son Joseph to check on his brothers, to see if everything was going well with them and to see what they might need.
Genesis 37:13-14 And Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers feeding the flock in Shechem? Come, I will send you to them.” So he said to him, “Here I am.” Then he said to him, “Please go and see if it is well with your brothers and well with the flocks, and bring back word to me.” So he sent him out of the Valley of Hebron, and he went to Shechem.
Joseph's life, years before Christ’s life, was a forerunner or a shadow of our Savior's life. Now, how can the Bible be just another book written by a bunch of men when these things happen like this? It is not. It is the very Word of God. God worked a great miracle in all of us so that we can understand the Bible. We are in such an enviable position, brethren.
Both Christ and Joseph went into the earth and came back again.
Matthew 28:7 (The Living Bible [TLB]) [This is speaking of Christ.] “And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and that he is going to Galilee to meet them there. That is my message to them.”
Christ rose out of His tomb, and Joseph also came out of the earth where his brothers put him in the pit.
Genesis 37:24-26 Then they took him and cast him into a pit. And the pit was empty; there was no water in it. And they sat down to eat a meal. Then they lifted their eyes and looked, and there was a company of Ishmaelites, coming from Gilead with their camels, bearing spices, balm, and myrrh, on their way to carry them down to Egypt. So Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is there if we kill our brother and conceal his blood?”
This is what hate fosters, brethren. Think about Judah and how the apple never falls far from the tree. Judah saw an opportunity to make some money. So Judah said, “Let’s not kill Joseph. Let’s sell him into slavery and make some money, some sweet moolah on him.” The Jews, for the most part, are still to this very day all about a profit, are they not? They are all about money. They still have their father’s characteristics within them. Judah did not want to sell Joseph out of love or concern for him, but because he saw an opportunity to make some cash. That is why he said, “Let’s not kill him, let’s sell him. Let’s make a profit.”
Genesis 37:27-28 “Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother and our flesh.” And his brothers listened. Then Midianite traders passed by; so the brothers pulled Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt.
They were going to kill him in the pit. But instead they pulled him out.
Both Christ and Joseph were stripped of their tunics.
John 19:23-24 (TLB) When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they put his garments into four piles, one for each of them. But they said, “Let's not tear up his robe,” for it was seamless. “Let's throw dice to see who gets it.” This fulfilled the scripture that says, “They divided my clothes among them, and cast lots for my robe.”
Verse 23 of Genesis 37 talks about Joseph.
Genesis 37:23 So it came to pass, when Joseph had come to his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the tunic of many colors there was on him.
Joseph is a prophetic type and a shadow of Christ. There are sixteen different things that happened to Joseph that also happened to Christ.
6. Both Joseph and Christ were taken to Egypt.
Matthew 2:14-15 (AMP) And having risen he took the Child and His mother by night and withdrew to Egypt and remained there until Herod’s death. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, Out of Egypt have I called My Son.
Hosea also prophesied this in Hosea 11:1, talking about Joseph, the shadow of Christ. Even Hosea gets in on this.
We already read Genesis 37:25; it is talking about selling Joseph to Ishmael’s offspring—Uncle Ishmael’s people.
Do you think that sixteen different things just happen by circumstance to both Christ and Joseph? Not a chance. God is showing us that He is absolutely in charge of His creation and that the Bible is His Word without a shadow of a doubt. We should all take great comfort in this, brethren, as we read and study the Bible.
7. Both Christ and Joseph were sold for silver.
Matthew 26:14-15 (AMP) [Speaking about Christ here] Then one of the Twelve [apostles], who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, What are you willing to give me if I hand Him over to you? And they weighed out for and paid to him thirty pieces of silver.
Genesis 37:28 [Talking about Joseph] Then Midianite traders passed by; so the brothers pulled Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt.
8. Both Christ and Joseph were servants. Christ voluntarily gave up being fully God to serve us and all mankind—to make forgiveness possible for us—because the penalty for sin, as we know, is death.
Philippians 2:7 (AMP) [Talking again about Christ.] But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the role of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being.
This verse is quite a mouthful. Christ gave up everything, including His life, to give us grace. Do we appreciate this, brethren? As we go through life do we appreciate what He did for us?
Genesis 39:4 [Speaking of Joseph again.] So Joseph found favor in his sight [That is his master’s—Potiphar’s—sight; Joseph is in Egypt now], and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority.
Christ willingly became a servant; Joseph had no choice. He was sold into slavery by his brothers that wanted to kill him.
9. Christ and Joseph both also overcame temptation.
Now let me ask you a question. How hard is it for all of us to overcome temptation? Satan tempted Christ with food because He had fasted for forty days. Satan also tempted Christ by saying to Him, “Jump off the temple roof and prove to me that You are the Son of God, because if You are, God will protect You from harm.”
Satan also tempted Christ by saying, “I will give you all the nations and kingdoms of this world. You will rule the world and have all the glory and wealth that will bring.” What he was really saying is, “The Millennium can start right now; I'll give it to You. Just worship me and it is all Yours, Christ, for the taking.”
We will probably never be tempted like Christ was. No one is going to tempt us with all the nations of this world. But there is a really good chance that a number of us, both men and women, will be tempted like Joseph was by the opposite sex, tempted with sex by someone lacking in morals. This is very common in today's world and has probably happened to a number of us already. Temptation is around us all the time. The question is, how will we deal with it? Will we deal with it like Christ and Joseph? Or will we deal with it carnally?
Matthew 4:1-2 (TLB) [Speaking here of Christ] Then Jesus was led out into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit, to be tempted there by Satan. For forty days and forty nights he ate nothing and became very hungry.
Then Satan tempted Him to get food by changing stones into loaves of bread. “It will prove You are the Son of God,” Satan said. But Jesus told him, “No, for the scriptures tell us that bread will not feed men's souls. Obedience to every word of God is what we must do.”
Matthew 4:5-10 (TLB) Then Satan took him to Jerusalem to the roof of the Temple.”Jump off,” he said, “and prove you are the Son of God; for the Scriptures declare, ‘God will send his angels to keep you from harm,’ they will prevent you from smashing on the rocks below.” Jesus retorted, “It also says not to put the Lord your God to a foolish test!” Next Satan took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him the nations of the world and all their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will only kneel down and worship me.” “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “The Scriptures say, ‘Worship only the Lord God. Obey only him.’ ”
Christ was tested as Adam and Eve were tested and as you and I are tested from time to time. Christ passed the test on our behalf. Adam and Eve failed the test, and the whole world has never been the same since. Brethren, we have to always keep in our mind that sin has a penalty that comes with it.
Genesis 39:7-12 [Talking about Joseph] And it came to pass after these things that his master's wife cast longing eyes on Joseph, and she said, “Lie with me.” But he refused and said to his master's wife, “Look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has into my hand. There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” So it was, as she spoke to Joseph day by day [think of what Joseph was going through day by day—and who knows how she was dressed and everything that she did to him], that he did not heed her to lie with her or to be with her. [That was quite a test.] But it happened about this time, when Joseph went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the house was inside, that she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” [She was even going to try to force him to lie with her.] But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside.
10. Both Christ and Joseph were falsely accused.
Matthew 26:59-61 (TLB) [speaking of Christ] The chief priests and, in fact, the entire Jewish Supreme Court assembled there and looked for witnesses who would lie about Jesus, in order to build a case against him that would result in a death sentence. But even though they found many who agreed to be false witnesses, these always contradicted each other. Finally two men were found who declared, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the Temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’ ”
Genesis 39:17-18 [Speaking about Joseph] Then she spoke to him with words like these, saying, “The Hebrew servant whom you brought to us came in to me to mock me; so it happened, as I lifted my voice and cried out, that he left his garment with me and fled outside.”
11. Both Christ and Joseph were punished with two others.
Luke 23:32 (AMP) [Speaking of Christ] Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be executed with Him.
Genesis 40:2-4 [Speaking of Joseph] And Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief butler and the chief baker. So he put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the prison, the place where Joseph was confined. And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he served them; so they were in custody for a while.
Christ served the two criminals He was crucified with by his death and resurrection. Joseph served the chief butler and baker by taking care of them and their needs.
12. Both Christ and Joseph were exalted to sit at the right hand.
Matthew 26:64 (TLB) [Speaking of Christ] “Yes,” Jesus said, “I am. And in the future you will see me, the Messiah, sitting at the right hand of God and returning on the clouds of heaven.”
Joseph is spoken of here in Genesis 41.
Genesis 41:40-41 “You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you.” And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.”
Is it not amazing how things work out for us when we do what is right? Just like there are penalties for sin (and a lot of those penalties are really pretty severe for us), there are also great blessings for obedience. Think about that. That should also encourage us, brethren.
13. Both Christ and Joseph made great transitions or changes in their lives at age thirty.
Luke 3:23 (AMP) Jesus Himself, when He began [His ministry], was about thirty years of age, being the Son, as was supposed, of Joseph, the son of Heli.
Genesis 41:46 Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh and went throughout all the land of Egypt.
14. Both Christ and Joseph were providers of life-saving bread.
John 6:35 (TLB) [Speaking of Christ] Jesus replied, “I am the Bread of Life. No one coming to me will ever be hungry again. Those believing in me will never thirst.”
Genesis 47:12 [Speaking of Joseph] Then Joseph provided his father, his brothers, and all his father's household with bread, according to the number in their families.
So Joseph also provided life—physical life—for his family. He also provided life for the Egyptians, and for many, many other people that lived in that area of the world.
15. Both Christ and Joseph were unrecognized.
John 1:10-11 He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.
Even though the Jews knew the prophecies concerning Christ in the Old Testament, they could not recognize Him. Do you know why they could not recognize Him, brethren? Because they did not know Him.
John 12:37-38 (Paraphrased) “But despite all the miracles He had done, most of the people would not believe that He was the Messiah. Even with all the miracles that they saw Him do, they wouldn't believe that He was the Messiah. This is exactly what Isaiah the prophet had predicted, ‘Lord, who will believe us? Who will accept God's mighty miracles as proof?’” [They would not even accept that.]
Genesis 42:8 So Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him.
Joseph’s own family did not recognize him, and neither do our unconverted families recognize us. Members of the church recognize who we are, or who we serve. Our families do not recognize that in us.
16. Both Christ and Joseph provided salvation.
John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
Genesis 45:4-7 [Speaking of Joseph] And Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near to me.” So they came near. Then he said: “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. And God send me before you to preserve a posterity for you and the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.”
Now, if we do not get anything more out of Joseph’s life than his extraordinary example, think about Joseph’s attitude through all of this very severe trial. After his trial ended, and he was made second to Pharaoh, second to the leader of the most powerful nation in the Middle East, if not in the whole world. At this time he did not hold a grudge against the people that wanted to kill him, his eleven brothers who threw him into a pit and sold him into bondage and slavery, which resulted in prison time for him. Joseph forgave his brothers. Joseph did what God expects us to do.
Christ tells us in Matthew 18:22 that we have to forgive our brothers or our family members, whoever it is, not seven times, but seventy times seven, no matter who offends us, brethren. We really struggle with humbling ourselves though, do we not, and going and apologizing to one another? Some of us are so hardhearted that we will not even accept someone else's apology. We all need to understand how ridiculous we have become when it comes to being offended by others.
Joseph had something to be really offended by, and so did Christ—they killed Christ! Joseph's brothers were offended by Joseph’s dreams—by his dreams!—by the coat of many colors and by thinking that their father, Jacob, loved him more than them. They wanted to kill their brother; that is how offended they were.
We become offended by all kinds of crazy stuff. Some of us are offended by movies that others watch. How crazy is that? Some of us are offended by what other parents allow or do not allow their children to do. Some of us are offended by what is said in church, such as David's teaching on the azazel goat, or Mr. Ritenbaugh’s teaching on “born again.”
Neither of these teachings change a thing, brethren, nothing. They do not change the Sabbath. They do not change the holy days. They do not change tithing. They do not change the second great commandment to love your brother. They were both given to help us understand the Word of God better, not to offend us, or have us do something contrary to God's laws, but to help us.
Some people are even offended by what other people read, brethren. This is craziness to be offended by these things. Now let me tell you a couple of stories about how dumb we are and how ridiculous we have become with being offended by others. When you listen to these stories think of how crazy this is.
A few months ago, a woman in one of the greater churches of God was hurt, and she could not drive her car or get around and take care of herself very well for about eight weeks. Well, another family that is in the church went and served her on the Sabbath. They asked her to give them a list of the groceries that she needed. Now this family serves everybody. They are very big-hearted, they are true firstfruits, and they are very good servants to the brethren. Every Sunday they would give their time and their money and they would go and they would buy her all of her groceries, whatever she needed. Laundry detergent, cookies, steak. It did not matter; whatever she put on the list.
Now this woman has a daughter who is around thirty years old. This daughter goes over and visits her mom on Sunday. But her daughter was offended by what these people were doing for her mother, so she told her mother, “I don’t want to be around these people when they come,” even though she knew them, and she said, “I want you to call me on Sunday once they leave because they offend me. They made me look bad in your sight.”
How ridiculous is that, brethren? How ridiculous is that? These people were serving her mother. She did not thank them for it. She was not happy for it. She was offended by it. That is craziness.
Now I am going to tell you another one. This one happened to my wife. We were living in Colorado and there was a woman in the church who had fallen on hard times. She had driven up into the Rocky Mountains, and she was staying in a park. It was right after the Feast. It was cold, and it is easy to freeze up there. So, I went up there after talking to Debbie and told her that she could come and live in our basement until she got on her feet. She came lived with us for about four months.
She said to Debbie one day, “Hey, let’s me and you go to the movie.” Debbie said, “Yeah, that's a good idea.” And she said, “Let’s go out to lunch.” They agreed upon that, so they went to a movie. There were four movies playing that day, and she said, “Let’s see this one.” My wife said, “I don’t want to see that movie.” I do not remember why, and I do not remember the name of the movie, but my wife had a hard time with blood and guts movies. They would give her nightmares; she did not want to watch them, and she would not watch them with me if I watched them. She did not like movies with a lot of sex, and she did not like movies with demonism in them. Now I do not know what the movie had in it, but Debbie declined to watch the movie. She said, “We’ll go to another movie.”
This lady went completely crazy on her. She went so crazy that she said, “I’m calling the minister on you.” Can you imagine that? So she went home and called the minister. How ridiculous is that? The minister called us and apologized up and down to Debbie and me for what this lady had said. We were not mad at the lady, and the lady lived with us for four or five months after this incident and she got herself on her feet and went her way.
I want you to think of how ridiculous we have become. I wanted everything I just said to sound absurd, stupid, and ridiculous because God does not want us involved in being offended at one another or to offend one another. He wants us to act like Christ and Joseph did. They were not offended even though they had something they could be offended by. Joseph had the perfect opportunity to get offended with his brothers. Being second to Pharaoh, Joseph could have killed his brothers. He could have put them in prison, made them slaves, or sent them away with no food. But what did he do? He brought them all to Egypt, and he talked Pharaoh into giving them the land of Goshen which is in the Nile delta: a very rich land with very good soil and plenty of water.
Joseph’s family grew and prospered and became many, many, many in number, did it not? So many that the Egyptians, later on, became scared of them and made them slaves. Joseph was not offended that his brothers wanted to kill him, or by all the trials that he had to endure because of their selling him into slavery.
Here is the question, brethren, for us. Why was not Joseph offended? Why? The reason is: Joseph was not offended because he could see God working in his life.
Joseph provided salvation from starvation for thousands and thousands of people. If we could clearly see God working in our lives, we would never be offended, brethren. We would be like Christ and say, “Forgive them, Father, because they know not what they are doing,” and we would truly learn to love each other.
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