Saturday, June 5, 2021

Joseph in Genesis: A Type of Christ

    One of the most fascinating studies in all of the Bible is seeing the Lord Jesus Christ prophetically shadowed in certain figures of the Old Testament.  One captivating such figure is the historical account of Joseph in Genesis.  There are several parallels we'll examine to make the case that Joseph's life parallels prophetically to what would come over a thousand years later through the life of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.  Joseph is a historical figure, who's life would prophetically represent spiritual truths found in the life of Christ.

  Just as Jesus was beloved and begotten of the Father (Matthew 3:17), Joseph was special and unique in his father Jacob's eyes, as he was the son of his old age (Genesis 37:3). Jesus was the firstborn of Mary (Matthew 1:25), Joseph was the firstborn of Rachel (Genesis 30:22-24).   Early on we see Joseph receiving prophetic dreams and as he describes them to his brothers he is despised and rejected (Genesis 37:5). Jesus came unto his own people prophesying to his brothers of the House of Israel and he is despised and rejected (John 1:11). Joseph was a shepherd for sheep (Genesis 37:2), Christ was a shepherd of men (John 10:11).   Joseph was given a special robe from his father that was stripped from him by his own people (Genesis 37:23), Jesus' robe was stripped from him after being rejected by his own people (Matthew 27:28). Joseph was sold into the slave trade in Egypt (Genesis 37:28), Jesus was sold out by Judas for 30 pieces of silver (Matthew 26:15). Both were falsely accused (Genesis 39:14-19; Mark 14:57-58). Both resisted temptation as Joseph resisted Potipher's wife's advances (Genesis 39-7-12), Jesus resisted all temptations of the devil (Matthew 4:1-11).   Joseph was exalted at the right hand of Pharoah and interceded for his people (Genesis 41), Christ sits at the right hand of the Father and intercedes for us (Romans 8:34). Joseph was the hope of a world in famine (Genesis 41:49), Christ is the hope for a world in spiritual famine (Romans 10:12). Joseph is given a Gentile (Non-Jew) bride (Genesis 41:45), the bride of Christ (the church) is a Gentile bride (Ephesians 5:25-33; 2nd Corinthians 11:2). Joseph was not recognized by his brothers (Genesis 42:7-8), Jesus was not recognized by his own (John 1:10). Joseph reveals who he really is to his brothers (Genesis 45:1-3), Christ revealed who he truly was to the world (John 8:21-30). Joseph forgives and restores his brothers (Genesis 45:4-5; Genesis 50:20), Christ forgives and restores all who come to Him.  (John 21:15-17). All knees were bowed to Joseph (Genesis 41:43), all knees will bow down Christ and confess Him as Lord (Phillipians 2:10). 

    One particular similarity that has stood out to me in Joseph and Jesus' lives is in both their relations to two companions that received punishment. Joseph's companions in prison were the butler and the baker (Genesis 40), Christ's two companions were the two thieves on the cross (Luke 23:32; 39-43).  Joseph interprets the dreams of his fellow prisoners in that one would live, and the other would die by hanging.  When Jesus was on the cross, one of the thieves tested Jesus by asking him to save them from physical death.  In humility, the other thief rebukes him and then asks Christ to remember him when he enters into his kingdom (Luke 23:39-43).   Christ responds by saying, "Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise." The thief placed his faith in Jesus just hours before his death.  Notice that the thief did not live a righteous life, but rather his righteousness was accounted to him by faith only in his redeemer (Romans 4:3). He was granted a place with Christ after death.   May all come to discover that Christ expects nothing from us but our trust in Him when it comes to our salvation (John 3:15-17).  Just as the famous hymn Rock of Ages espouses:

♪ Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to thy cross I cling
Naked, come to thee for dress, Helpless, look to thee for grace 

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