Tag Archives: Genesis

Jesus in the Joseph narrative

29 Jun

There are so many aspects of the life of Joseph that foreshadow the life of Jesus Christ as a type, or scarlet thread.

In chapter 37, we see that both Joseph and Jesus had an exceptional birth (30:22/ Isa. 7:14, Lu. 1:27,34,35). He was born to Jacob when he was old, like a root out of dry ground (37:3). Jesus was born of obscurity, like a root out of dry ground (Isa. 53:2). They both foresaw their exalted position (37:5-9/Matt. 24:30,31). The first dream related to exaltation on earth, the second in heaven (37:6-10). Jesus dominion will be over heaven and earth (Phil. 2:9-11). His brothers rejected his claim to pre-eminence (37:8/John 7:5, Lu. 19:14). Joseph and Jesus were both beloved of their father (Gen. 37:3/ Matt. 3:17), They were shepherds of their father’s sheep (37:2/ John 10:11,27). He was given a special robe that represented who he was (37:3/Matt. 27:28) He brought back a bad report of his brothers (37:2). Jesus testified that people hated Him (John 15:18). Both were sent on a mission to his brothers (37:13,14/John 3:16, 17, 5:37, 6:39, 8:29, 17:25, 20:21, Heb. 2:11). He willingly obeyed his father (37:13/Heb. 10:9). He left his father’s home of comfort (37:13/2 Cor. 8:9, Phil. 2:5-7). Joseph sought and found his brothers (37:16,17). Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Lu. 15:4-7, 19:10, John 6:37,39, 10:11). Joseph was thought to be a dreamer (37:19). Jesus was thought to be mad by His brothers (Mk. 3:21). They thought they could prevent his exaltation by killing him, but it would be the means of his exaltation (37:19,20, 42:6, 1 Cor. 2:8, Col. 2:15). Both Joseph and Jesus were envied, hated by their brothers, rejected and condemned to die (37:4,11,18/ Matt. 13:54-57, 27:18, Mark 15:10, John 1:11, John 15:25b, 19:16, Lu. 23:23, Mk. 15:15). Others plotted to harm them (37:20/ Matt. 26:3,4, John 11:53, 7:19, 8:37,40). Both had their robes taken from them (37:23/ John 19:23). Joseph was thrown into a pit (37:24). Jesus would be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights (Matt. 12:40). Judah wanted to profit from his death (37:26). Judas (the Greek version of the Hebrew name Judah) wanted to profit from Jesus’ death (Matt. 27:3-10). One brother didn’t want to see him harmed, but could do nothing to stop it (37:22,29,30). Some Jews, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, didn’t want to see Jesus harmed, but could do nothing to stop it (John 7:50,51, Matt. 27:57, Mk. 15:43, John 19:38). Joseph was raised from the pit (37:28). Jesus was raised from the grave (1 Cor. 15:4). Both were handed over to Gentiles (37:28/ Mk. 10:33,34, Lu. 18:32). Joseph was sold for twenty pieces of silver, the price of a slave (37:28). Jesus was sold for thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave who was killed (Ex. 21:32, Zech. 11:12,13, Matt. 26:14-16). His brother looked for Joseph in the pit but couldn’t find him (37:29 His friends looked for Him in His grave but couldn’t find Him; it was empty (John 20:2,4-8). Joseph’s empty coat given as proof he was no longer there (37:32,33). Jesus’ empty grave clothes given as proof He was no longer there (John 20:5). Joseph’s brothers covered their sin of selling him by the blood of a substitute to cover their guilt (37:31) Jesus, like the Passover lamb, died as a substitute to cover the sins of His people (Ex. 12:13, Rom. 8:3, 1 Cor. 5:7). News of his death caused great grief to those who loved him (37:34,35/Lu. 24:17-21, Mk. 16:10, John 16:22). He was taken to Egypt for his survival (37:36/ Matt. 2:14,15).
In chapter 38, Judah, who would become the head of one of the tribes of Israel, bore a son named Perez (38:29). Jesus would be descended from the tribe of Judah through Perez, on both Mary and Joseph’s sides of the family (Matt.1:1-3, Lu. 3:23,33).
In chapter 39, Joseph and Jesus both became servants (39:1,2/Lu. 22:27, Matt. 12:18, Mk. 10:45, Phil.2:7). Everything they did prospered (39:2,3,5,21,23/ Isa. 53:10, Lu. 2:52). Both were tempted (39:7/ Matt. 4:1, Heb. 2:18, 4:15). Both resisted temptation (39:7-12/ Heb. 4:15, 7:26, Matt. 4:4,7,10,11). Both Joseph and Jesus were falsely accused (39:16-18/Matt. 26:59-61). Both were bound (39:30/ Matt. 27:2).

In chapter 40, both Joseph and Jesus were “numbered with the transgressors” (Isa. 53:12), or thrown in with criminals (Gen. 39:20/Luke 23:33, Matt. 27:38). Both foretold the future accurately (Gen. 40:21, 41:13/John 13:19). Both promised deliverance to one of the criminals (Gen. 40:13/Lu. 23:43). In both cases, the other prisoner was lost (Gen. 40:21/Lu. 23:39). The chief butler would be restored by the king to his former position of honor after three days; Jesus was raised from the dead by God after three days (Gen. 40:13/John 1:1, Heb. 12:2, Lu. 24:7,46, 1 Cor. 15:4). Joseph asked the chief butler to remember him in prison and not leave him there; Jesus, through Psalm 16:10 foresaw He would not be left to decompose in the grave (Gen. 40:14/Psalm 16:10, Acts 2:26-31). Both Joseph and Jesus were forgotten by those they helped (Gen. 40:23/Lu. 17:14-17).
In chapter 41, both were abandoned; (Joseph, after correctly interpreting dream was still imprisoned 2 more years (40:23,41:1) Jesus, abandoned by the disciples at the cross (Matt. 26:56). Both Joseph and Jesus began their life’s work at the age of 30 (Gen. 41:46/ Lu. 3:23). Joseph was taken from the dungeon, a place of death and raised by the king to a place of glory (41:14,39-41); Jesus was raised from the grave and seated at the right hand of God in the heavenly places (Eph. 1:19,20, Phil. 2:8-11)). Joseph was regarded as a great counsellor (41:39). Jesus was a wonderful counsellor (Isa. 9:6, John 7:46, Lu. 4:22). Both were exalted by God to worldwide dominion and thus were instruments of saving Gentiles and Jews (Gen. 41:41-43/ Phil 2:9-11). Joseph was given a new name; Jesus will be given a new name that He alone will know (Gen. 41:45/Rev. 19:12). He was given a Gentile bride (41:45) Jesus’ bride is the church, which includes many Gentiles (Rev. 19:7,8, 5:9,7:9,21:9, Eph. 5:23-35, Psa. 2:7,8). Joseph was given authority over the whole land (41:41), Jesus has authority in heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18, John 17:2). Both sat at the right hand of the most powerful ruler when exalted (41:40/Psa. 110:1, Heb. 1:3,8:1). All people were commanded to bow before him (41:43); all will bow before Jesus (Phil. 2:10). The whole world had to get their bread from Joseph, there was no other way to be saved (41:57); Jesus is the bread of life. There is no other name that saves (John 6:35, Acts 4:12). It was said of Joseph, “Do whatever he tells you.” (41:55); it was said of Jesus, “Do whatever He tells you.” (John 2:5). Both saved Jews and Gentiles (41:7, 45:7,25, Eph. 2:11-22). Once we learn where to find the bread of life, we should search for it without delay. Why should we starve while we see others getting food? Once we’ve been fed, we need to share where it can be found, like the Samaritan beggars who looted the Syrian tents until their consciences bothered them (2 Ki. 7:8,9).There’s a quote by D.T. Niles that evangelism is just “one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.”
In chapter 42, Joseph’s brothers didn’t recognize him (42:8), Jesus’ disciples didn’t realize who He really was for a long time (John 14:9) and the Jews of His time definitely didn’t realize who He was (2 Cor. 3:14, 1 Cor. 2:8). Joseph knew all about his brothers’ past sins and could hear and understand everything they said (43:33) Jesus knows all about our past and even now knows not just what we say, but what we think (John 2:24,25). Joseph was kind and gracious and generous to his brothers, even though they didn’t deserve it (42:25); even when we were His enemies, Jesus graciously provided for us out of His common grace, giving us more than we deserved, freely and then saved us (2 Cor. 8:9, Rom. 5:8, Mt. 5:45, 1 Tim. 6:17). Joseph’s brothers bowed down to him (42:6), Jesus was worshipped (Mk. 5:22,33, 7:25, John 12:3, 9:38) and will be worshipped by all (Phil. 2:9-11, Rom.14:11, Rev.1:17, 5:8).Joseph’s brothers’ consciences were pricked even all this time after the event (42:21,22); after Jesus’ ascension, when He poured out the Holy Spirit, the consciences of those who crucified him were convicted (Acts 2:37). Jacob thought everything was against him (42:36), but behind the scenes it was actually working out for their good, (45:5, 50:20) just as it is for believers (Rom. 8:28).
In chapter 43, just as Judah promised to be a surety for Benjamin, and bring him safely to his father, (43:8,9) so Jesus Christ, because of His work on the cross, can guarantee that He’ll bring us safely to the Father. We will not be lost (John 10:27-30, 3:16, Heb. 5:9,7:22). Joseph is gracious and kind to his brothers even though they don’t deserve it (43:16,23,24,27,29,34), Jesus is gracious and kind to sinners even though we don’t deserve it (Rom. 5:8, Titus 3:5, 1 Pet. 1:3,2:10, Heb. 4:16). The brothers were afraid, but Joseph’s servant comforted them (43:23), when we fear punishment from God, His servants should offer words of comfort on His behalf (2 Cor. 5:18-20).

In chapter 44, just as God sovereignly used insignificant things to prick the brothers’ consciences (44:12), so God draws us (John 6:44, Rom. 2:15, Heb.10:22,Acts 2:37). Just as the brothers were still tested after they’ve been recipients of Joseph’s kindness and favor (44:4,15) so we are tested even though we are saved (1 Pet. 1:6,7) to bring us to repentance, to prove the genuineness of our faith, and to remind us how much we owe to Jesus’ mercy (Js.1:2,3,Rom.2:4,9:22). Joseph’s brothers again bowed down to him; this time all eleven, as in his dream (37:6,9,10) All people will bow before Jesus (Phil. 2:9-11, Rev.5:8,14,7:11,19:14,22:8). Judah was a surety or guarantor for Benjamin, so he’d be brought safely to his father ( 44:43) Jesus is our surety, guaranteeing we will be brought safely to our Heavenly Father (Heb. 7:20-22, John 6:37,39). Judah offered to be a substitute for his brother (44:33) Jesus was the substitute, first for the guilty Barabbas, (Matt. 27:26, Mk. 15:11,15, Lu. 23:18) then for all His people (John 10:11,15,15:13, 1 Pet. 3:18, Mk. 10:45). Just as Judah did not want to go to his father without ‘the boy’ (44:34), so we should desire the salvation of our children (33:5, 1 Cor. 4:14, 2 Cor. 6:13,Gal. 3:26,4:19,28,1 Thess. 2:11, Heb. 2:13, 1 John 3:1,2). Just as Judah now clings to Benjamin, so the tribe of Benjamin will remain united to the tribe of Judah when the nation divides (1 Ki. 11:31,32,35,2 Chron.11:1). Also, the Apostle Paul, who was from the tribe of Benjamin, is faithful to Jesus, from the tribe of Judah (Rom. 11:1, Heb. 7:14).
in chapter 45, both Joseph and Jesus were conscious of God’s sovereign plan for their lives and patiently waited on God’s timing to fulfill His word (45:5,7,8,9/Lu.2:49, John 2:4,10:27,17:1,19:11, Lu.22:53,Gal.4:4). Joseph’s brothers didn’t recognize him until the second time, causing them to be troubled (42:8,45:3,4,14,15). Jesus’ brothers (the Jews) did not recognize who He really was at His first advent (John 5:46, 14:9 1 Cor. 2:8, 2 Cor. 3:14-16), but they will at His second coming, causing them to weep (Zech. 12:10, Rev.1:7). Joseph wept over his brothers (45:2). Jesus wept over Jerusalem (Lu. 19:41-44). Joseph revealed himself to his brothers privately (45:1) Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, works to regenerate a person privately, silently (John 3:8). After Joseph revealed who he was, he comforted them (45:3-5) After Jesus was raised from the dead, and showed Himself to the disciples, He told them not to be afraid (Lu.24:36-39). Joseph invited his brothers to come close to him (45:4). Jesus invites us to come to Him. Because of the cross, we who are far off have been brought near (Matt.11:28, Eph.2:13). Joseph knew God had sent him so many people could be saved (45:5,7,11) Jesus knew God had sent Him so many people could be saved (Mk. 10:45, John 3:16). Both forgave those who wronged them, and provided for them (45:1-15/Lu.23:34, 2 Cor.8:9,1 Tim. 6:17,Eph.2:6,7). Joseph kissed his brothers (45:15). Jesus kissed us with the cross; mercy and peace have kissed each other (Ps.85:10). After they were reconciled to Joseph, they talked with him (45:15) After believers are saved, they enjoy fellowship and sweet communion with Jesus (John 14:23, 15:14,15). The men were told not to worry about leaving their things behind, because they were going to greater riches (45:20). We can leave our worldly goods, knowing we are going to something much greater (Matt.19:29,16:26, Heb.10:34,35). Joseph’s brothers were blessed by Pharaoh because of their connection to Joseph (45:16-23). Believers are blessed by God because of their connection to Jesus through faith (Rom.8:17, Gal.3:29, Eph.3:6, Titus 3:7, 1 Pet.3:7). Benjamin was given more gifts because of his special relationship to Joseph (45:22). Jesus gives gifts and rewards to believers according to His relationship with them (Matt. 20:20-23,1 Cor. 3:11-15). They were told not to quarrel with one another (45:24). Believers should not quarrel with one another, but should be forgiving, for we have the same Father (Phil. 2:2, 4:2). Jacob couldn’t believe Joseph was alive, until he saw the evidence (45:26). The disciples didn’t believe Jesus was alive again, until they saw the empty tomb and the grave clothes (Matt. 28:5,6, Mk. 16:11,13, John 20:5-8). Knowing that he was going to see Joseph, Jacob was content to die (45:28). Knowing that we will see Jesus when we die, we can be content to leave this world (2 Cor. 5:1-8).

In chapter 46, God promised Jacob (Israel) He’d be with him when he went down to Egypt, and He would surely bring him back to the Promised Land (46:4) Jesus, the true Israel went down to Egypt, and returned safely to the land of Israel (Matt. 2:13-15) but He also left Heaven to come down to earth and returned safely to the Heavenly Promised Land (Isa. 9:6, John 3:16, 10:36, 13:3, 10:17, 13:36, 14:2,3, 14:12,16:10, 1 John 4:14). Jacob was taken to Egypt by others (46:5). Jesus was taken to Egypt by Joseph (Matt. 2:14). All the family of God were named and counted, not one was missing (46:7-27). All that the Father gives to Jesus will come to Him, none will be lost (John 6:37, 39, 40, Phil. 4:3, Rev. 3:5). Jacob and Joseph had a tearful, joyful reunion (46:29). We will have a tearful, joyful reunion with Jesus (John 16:22, 2 Cor. 5:8, Rev. 7:17, 21:4). Joseph’s father received his son ‘back from the dead’ (45:28). God the Father received His Son back from the dead (John 20:17, Lu.23:43, Heb.6:19, 20). Jacob knew Joseph was really alive when he saw him for himself (46:30). Thomas didn’t believe Jesus was back from the dead until he saw Him for himself (John 20:24-29). Joseph’s brothers could be brought before Pharaoh only because of Joseph’s intercession and based on his favor with the King, otherwise they would be seen as enemies (46:31-34). We can only approach God the Father because of Jesus’ intercession on our behalf; otherwise we would be seen as enemies (Rom. 5:1, 2, 9-11).
In chapter 47, Joseph was first a servant, counted as a criminal, although innocent, then exalted to the right hand of the king, and ruled over all the people in righteousness (chap. 39-47). Jesus came to earth as a servant, was treated as a criminal, although innocent, then He was exalted to the right hand of God, and rules over all people in righteousness (Phil. 2:5-11, Isa. 53:9, Lu. 23:32,33,41, Psa. 2:6-12, 9:8, 110:1, Heb. 1:3,13, 10:12, 12:2, 2 Pet. 3:13, Rev. 19:1,6,11). Though Joseph was powerful, he was not ashamed of his family (47:1,2,7). Jesus is not ashamed to be associated with us (Heb. 2:11, 11:16, Matt. 28:10, John 15:12-15, 20:17). The people gave themselves and their possessions to Joseph willingly (47:14, 17-19) Believers also give themselves and their possessions, because of what Jesus did (2 Cor. 8:2-5, 9). The people became servants of Pharaoh and Joseph (47:19-23, 25). We are servants of God and Jesus Christ (Rom. 6:16-22, 2 Pet. 1:1, Rom. 1:1, 1 Cor. 3:5, 4:1, 2 Cor. 4:5, Phil. 1:1, Col. 4:12, Rev. 22:3). Joseph collected the people’s offering and presented it to Pharaoh (47:24, 25). Jesus will one day deliver the kingdom over to the Father (1 Cor. 15:24-28). Joseph charged people for the bread that sustained them (47:14,16,17,20,23,24,26). (Lesser to Greater) But Jesus gave Himself willingly; the gospel is free (Isa. 55:1, John 6:32-35, Heb. 10:7, John 4:10,13,14, Rev. 22:17). Both expect us to give all we have (47: 14,16,20/Lu. 14:25-33, 9:62, Matt. 19:27-29). Both provide us with all we need to be fruitful (47:23,24/John 15:4-8,16, Titus 2:14, Eph. 2:10, Phil. 2:13, Matt. 5:16). Joseph saved the lives of Jews and Gentiles. He was acknowledged as savior and ruler (47:25). Jesus has saved Jews and Gentiles. He is the Savior and Lord of the world (Eph. 2:11-22, Phil. 2:10,11, 2 Pet. 3:18, Rev. 5:9, 7:9).

In chapter 48, Jacob gave a good testimony at the end of his life (48:3,4,11,15,16,21). Jesus gave a good testimony at the end of His life before Pilate (1 Tim. 6:13, John 18:35-38, 19:10,11). Jacob brings Joseph’s sons (outsiders) into the family of faith by adoption (48:5,6). Jesus brings outsiders (Gentiles) into the family of faith by adoption (Rom. 8:15-17, Gal. 4:3-7, Eph. 1:3-6). Jacob spoke by prophecy (48:14,19-21). Jesus spoke prophetically (Mk. 10:33,34,13:2, Matt. 16:4, 20:18,19, 26:31,32, Lu. 23:28-31, John 2:19-22, 3:14). Even when dying he was aware of what he was doing and saying (48:10,14-17). Even when Jesus was dying on the cross, He was aware of what was happening and what He was saying (John 19:26-30, Matt.27:46, Mk. 15:34, Lu. 23:32-46). Jacob received his son back from the dead, and saw his offspring (48:11). God the Father received His Son back from the dead and saw His spiritual offspring (Isa. 53:10, John 16:10, 17:24,20:17,Heb. 2:13, 8:1, Eph. 1:20,21). Joseph didn’t understand what his father was doing and it troubled him (48:17-20). The disciples didn’t understand much of what Jesus did at the time, but only after He was raised from the dead (John 13:7, 2:19-22). Jacob dug a well and gave it to Joseph (48:22). Jesus, who is greater than Jacob sat there and offered living water (John 4:4-6).
In chapter 49, Judah would be praised by his brothers (49:8). Jesus will be praised by the whole earth (Rev. 5:8-14). Judah is blessed to be the tribe through whom kings would come, culminating with the Messiah Himself (49:10). David, Solomon, and others were from the tribe of Judah (1 Chron. 28:10,11). Jesus would come through the tribe of Judah (Matt. 1:2,3,16, Lu. 3:23-33, Heb. 7:14, Rev. 5:5). Judah is associated with a lion (49:9). This is where the phrase the Lion of Judah comes from, and will be applied to Jesus, who is from the tribe of Judah (Rev. 5:5). The obedience of the nations would belong to this future king (49:10). People from all nations would submit to the rule of Jesus, the Messiah. This points to the worldwide gospel (Ps. 2:7,8,Rev. 5:9, 7:9, Matt. 28:19, Gal. 3:8). Knowing the promised Offspring of the woman (3:15) would come through his family in the future, gave Jacob comfort in his death (Heb. 11:13). We look back on the promise fulfilled in Jesus, and knowing God always keeps His promises, gives us comfort in death, because He will come again (Rom. 5:2, 8:23-25, 1 Cor. 15:57,58, 2 Cor. 1:10, 3:4,12, Eph. 1:18-21, Col. 1:5,27, 1 Thess. 4:13-17, 2 Thess. 2:16, 1 Tim. 1:1, Titus 1:1, 2:13, 3:7, 1 Pet. 1:3,13). The blessings ascribed to Judah of health and wine (49:11,12) are given to us in Christ, the true vine, as we abide in Him (John 15:1, 4,5). The reason the tribe of Issachar were willing to work hard is because they saw the land of promise was pleasant (49:15) Likewise we should look with the eye of faith to our heavenly Promised Land and be willing to labor (Heb. 12:1-3). Even though they were harmful to the cause of the nation, Jacob longed for deliverance to come to Dan (49:18). In this life we will likely be disappointed by people, but our hope is in God and His salvation (John 16:32, 2 Tim. 4:16,17). The tribe of Gad were valiant fighters (49:19). The Christian life is seen as a conflict (1 Tim. 6:12), the weapons of our warfare are not weapons of the world (1 Cor. 10:4) and we are soldiers (2 Tim. 2:3,4) in the Church Militant and we are to don the armor of God (Eph. 6:10-18), knowing the victory is sure (Rom. 8:37, John 16:33, Rev. 19:11). Both Joseph and Jesus suffered greatly yet were faithful to the end because God was with them (49:23,24/Rev. 3:14,19:11, Isa. 53:11, Heb. 2:9,10,18,5:8,13:12). Likewise, any strength we have to withstand temptation comes from God (1 Cor. 10:13, 2 Cor. 12:9). Joseph was called a prince among his brothers (49:26). Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isa.9:6, 5:31). Jacob wanted to rest in the Promised Land of Canaan (49:29-32). Jesus went to Paradise when He died (Lu. 23:43). We long for our rest in the Promised Land, Heaven, of which Canaan is a type.
In chapter 50, the mourning of the Egyptians as Israel departed prefigures the Exodus when they will be mourning as Israel leaves for Canaan (50:10,11/Ex. 121:29,30). The glory of Egypt that goes with them hints at the gifts and plunder that the Egyptians will give to the children of Israel as they leave (50:7,9/Ex.11:2,3,12:35,36). Joseph’s brothers recognized they had sinned against him and knew any punishment would be just (50:15-18). Sinners acknowledge their sin is against God and any punishment would be just (Ps. 51:4, 130:3, Acts 2:23, 1 Tim. 1:15). Joseph is a model of forgiveness without bitterness towards those who have hurt them, one who comforts the fearful sinner who recognizes his guilt (50:19-21). Jesus is the greater Joseph who does this to all who come to Him by faith (John 6:37,Matt. 11:28). Joseph, like a shepherd provided for his family (50:21). Jesus provides for His spiritual family (2 Pet. 1:3, Matt. 5:45). Joseph was faithful till the end of his life/Jesus is faithful to the end of time (50:24,25/Matt. 28:18-20,Rev. 3:14,19:11). There is no record of sin in Joseph’s life, unlike other Bible characters, so he prefigures Jesus in a lesser to greater sense. Jesus truly was sinless (Heb. 4:15, 7:26,). Joseph had a virtual death, resurrection, and exaltation. Jesus had a real death, a real resurrection, and has been exalted to the right hand of God (Heb. 1:3,13,10:12,12:2,1 Pet. 3:21,22). Joseph’s life story is summed up in the verse, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (50:20) This is a theologically sound statement about the sovereignty of God that is demonstrated time and again in the pages of Scripture; most notably in reference to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, which was a far greater travesty of justice than the sale of Joseph into Egypt. Acts 2:23 says, “This Man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross.” Joseph’s bones would be brought to the Promised Land; (50:25). Jesus went to the heavenly Canaan (Heb. 6:19,20, Lu.23:43). Both used their power for good/both returned good for evil. Joseph’s earlier claims to future greatness came true; Jesus predicted His future glory, which will happen (see the Book of Revelation). Both forgave those who wronged them (50:19-21/Lu.23:34). Joseph went ahead of his brothers and prepared a place for them, brought them to himself, and they saw his glory, and couldn’t believe he was the same humble person they had known previously (45:5,7,8). They had joy and shared his blessings. Jesus has gone ahead to prepare a place for us and will return for us (John 14:2,3). We will see His glory, and He will be so unlike the humble Man He was on earth. We will have joy and share His blessings (John 16:22, Rev.21:4, 22:3).

Christ as the Seed of the Woman

4 Nov

eve
Read Genesis 3

Genesis 3:15
And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.

Effects of the Fall
Immediately after they ate the fruit, the lights went on, or should I say, out. (Gen.3:7) The loss of innocence led to a feeling of shame. Their guilt is expressed in the awareness of nakedness. This is in contrast to before the fall when they were naked and unashamed.

Redemption is linked to God providing a covering, or Atonement for sin. Gen.3:21 Even the mercy seat is a covering of the ark, which contained the law, which we broke. It was the place where estranged parties were reconciled. Ex. 25:7

They were also now afraid of God. Whereas before, they had fellowship with God, now they saw Him as their Judge. “I was afraid,” Adam admits in Gen. 3:10

There was a change in their relationship; blame and lack of trust; Gen.3:12

They realized they were naked, and went about trying to make themselves presentable, covering themselves with fig leaves. We often do this, too. Many people won’t come to God until they feel they’ve cleaned up their act. They try to cover themselves with the fig leaves of good works, hoping God won’t see that they’re spiritually naked.

The Blame Game
As the head of the family, Adam must give an account of what has been done. He is questioned first, even though God knew Eve ate first. As I said, it’s forever referred to as Adam’s sin, not Eve’s, although they are equally guilty, and equally fallen. He was the representative for all mankind yet to be born, and the head of the family.

“They show their allegiance to Satan by distorting the truth, accusing one another, and accusing God. Their efforts to conceal their sin only expose it.” Geneva Study Bible notes.

Imagine Eve’s shock when he blames her, as if he wasn’t responsible for his own actions. I can imagine her standing there staring at him with her mouth hanging open. Notice he doesn’t try to say he was deceived; that much at least is true. She handed it to him and he ate it. He also subtly blames God, “the woman You gave me.” Gen. 3:12 He implies it was God’s fault for giving Eve to him in the first place.

The Sentence
The Supreme Court of the Universe is now in session. The Judge has heard the testimonies (i.e. excuses), and He is ready to pass sentence. There is no question as to whether He can do this; it is His right as Creator.
For Satan, God doesn’t even ask for his side of the story, but just assigns judgment on him. God knows his motives and what he has done. The first part of the sentence is on the serpent itself, which is a symbol of Satan (Gen. 3:14). The second part is on the Devil, himself.

“Humanity is now divided into two camps: the redeemed who love God, and the reprobate, who love self. This is seen as soon as the next generation in the hostility of Cain against Abel.” Geneva Study Bible notes.

But see the grace of God. Even as He is passing judgment, He is giving us the first promise of a Redeemer. He does not leave them without hope. The woman’s Seed will gain the victory. As sin entered the world through the agency of a woman, so the Saviour of sinners enters the world by way of a woman. Jesus is Mary’s son. He had no human father. The reference to “her Seed” is a clue, as biology teaches us that men have seed, women; an egg. Yet this future Redeemer is “her Seed”, which is contrary to nature. This hints at the Virgin Birth, or rather, the Virginal Conception. It was a normal birth, but a unique conception.

This verse in Gen. 3:15 is referred to as the Protevangelium, or first gospel. We understand it by later revelations, as they unfold and God’s plan of salvation becomes clearer as history unfolds. Yet we know that the theme of redemption is the Bible’s main story line. Even Jesus said as much after His resurrection, when it’s said on the road to Emmaus, “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Luke 24:27

It’s been understood that the Seed of the woman is the Redeemer, and crushing the serpent’s head is His ultimate triumph over Satan and his kingdom. We see hints of His human nature as the Seed of the woman, and yet because He is able to defeat Satan, He must be God. He must participate in the nature of those He will redeem, while at the same time he must have the power to subdue all evil. From Genesis to Revelation, this God-man Redeemer is held up as the object of worship. Without this beautiful, life-giving promise, Scripture would be a dull record of historical facts and laws.

This Seed of the woman is more than just a way of saying that mankind will triumph over sin. It’s a particular person, her Seed. Later we’ll also learn He is the Seed of Abraham, (Gal. 3:16) again referring to an individual, but now hinting that He’d come through the Jewish line. Then later we learn it’s in the line of Judah, and later in the family of David.

This promise of the Redeemer was repeated and amplified until He came, so they’d recognize Him.

In Genesis, Jesus is the Word Who Creates

3 Nov
sky earth galaxy universe

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light, and there was light.” Genesis 1:1-3
Because Christ is eternal, we don’t have to wait long to be introduced to Him. Although the first promise of the gospel is in Genesis 3:15, He is already present in the first chapter of the Bible. God creates through His Word.
‘The Word’ is one of the names John uses for Jesus.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” John 1:1-3
“…and His name is called the Word of God.” Rev.19:13
Jesus is also present in the heavenly council when God decides to make something unique in creation.
“Let us make man in Our image, according to our likeness…” Gen. 1:26
Have you ever wondered who God was talking to? Not the angels, since we are not made in their image. This is not just the majestic language of the royal ‘we’ because in the next verse it reverts back to a singular pronoun.
“So God made man in His image: in the image of God He created him; male and female, He created them.” Genesis 1:27
We also see in other parts of Scripture that Christ is the Creator; His life did not begin in Bethlehem. We also see the way Jesus talks about Himself. He says “for this reason I came into the world”. You and I would talk about when we were born. His language suggests He came from another world. His enemies pick up on this. Notice Pilate, when he was told Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, came back in and asked Jesus, not, “Who are you?”, but “Where do you come from?”
Also, Jesus said, “…before Abraham was, I am.” Jesus referred to His pre-existence and used the divine name, I AM when His opponents challenged His assertion that Abraham had seen His day and was glad.
“You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” John 8:57
In order to prove His pre-existence, He could have answered, “Before Abraham was, I was.” But instead He made the startling assertion, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” Grudem says He combined two assertions whose sequence seemed to make no sense; “Before something in the past happened, (Abraham was), something in the present happened (I AM).” The Jews understood His meaning right away; first from the divine name, ‘I am’, and then because He claimed to precede Abraham and to have seen him; so much so that they picked up stones to stone Him.
The fact that Christ is the Creator was proved when He was on earth. While all of His miracles established His deity, I find His control over nature to be astounding.
When He calmed the storm that had the disciples quaking in fear, by His word, “Peace, be still,” that was when the disciples really began to fear. (Mark 4:35-40)
“And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, ‘Who can this be, that even the wind and sea obey Him?’” Mark 4:41
Another example was when Jesus walked on the water. To many, this is the very definition of impossible. But they don’t know my Jesus! See Mark 6:48-51
This same God Who created the world by speaking also speaks into our hearts, effectually calling us to Himself.

“And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” John 10:4
We first hear His voice and wake from spiritual death. At the Resurrection, His voice will wake us from physical death.

“Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in their graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” John 5:28,29

As God, His voice wakes the dead.” For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son.” John 5:22

Prayer: Thank You, Jesus that You are our Creator. Thank You that Your voice brought this world into existence. Thank You that we heard Your voice calling us to salvation, and that Your voice will call us from our graves.

Questions: Do you see the trinity in the Old Testament? Do you realize Jesus is the Creator?

Response: Study the creation/evolution issues at a reputable site like answersingenesis.org

Jesus as Jacob’s Ladder in Genesis

23 Dec

Jacobs-Ladder-Meditation
“Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven, and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.” Gen. 28:12

“And He said to him, ‘Most assuredly I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’” John 1:51

Read Genesis 28: 10-22 and John 1:43-51

In Genesis we see that man was created with the intent of communication with his Creator. Adam walked with God in the cool of the day. There was nothing to hinder their relationship. What must that have been like? Yet, when sin entered the world, that communication was altered. Adam could not just approach God at any time and in any way.

Fast forward a few thousand years. God has made a covenant with Noah, with Abraham and with Isaac. Now He comes to Jacob in a dream. He dreams of a ladder between Heaven and earth, with angelic beings travelling up and down on it. The ladder was NOT symbolizing the commandments of God, that if we were able to keep them, we could get to Heaven. The tower of Babel was man’s attempt to reach God with their works. God put an end to that idea pretty quick.

It is a beautiful symbol of mediation and reconciliation. It re-establishes communication. Jacob is able to communicate with God. The messengers pass on errands of mercy. Martin Luther says, “The dear angels take our prayers to heaven and bring back the answers.”

This ladder was a means of communication between Heaven and earth. Heaven and earth have been separated by sin. The LORD is above, and Jacob, the object of His mercy, is beneath.

The ladder points to the God-Man who reunites Heaven and earth. Matthew Henry says, “We have no way of getting to Heaven but by Christ.” He also says that the ladder represents the two natures of Christ. The top of the ladder His divine nature, and the bottom rung, His human nature.

In John 1: 51 Jesus presents Himself as the reality to which the stairway pointed. Jacob saw the dream of a union between Heaven and earth; Christ made it a reality. He also compares Jacob the deceiver, also called Israel, to Nathaniel, “an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit. “ What Nathaniel would witness in the fulfillment of this symbol would be far superior to Jacob’s vision. He would witness the true ladder, the true communication from Heaven, the true Mediator between God and man, and as a believer he would be part of the true Israel, the family of believers throughout history.

Through Christ, the only Mediator between God and men (1 Tim. 2:5) we have access to the Father (Eph.2:8). Matthew Henry says, “Christ is the Way all God’s favours come to us, and all our services go to Him.”

Prayer-“Lord, thank You for not leaving us as we were, unable to approach You, unable to communicate with You or hear what You had to say to us. Thank You for being the ladder between Heaven and earth, so that we could approach you by faith and be welcomed into the family of God; the true Israel.”

Questions-How did you understand Jacob’s ladder? Did you think it was works or representative of Christ?

Response-In prayer, we communicate with God. In reading and hearing God’s word, He communicates with us. How has your communication been lately? Do you avail yourself of this incredible privilege of communicating with the God of the Universe Who has loved you with an everlasting love? Spend time with Him today.

Christ as the Blood of Abel in Genesis

29 Sep

Read Genesis 4:1-15

Sadly, we see the effects of the fall of Adam and Eve already in the next generation, where the first murder is recorded. Poor Abel is mentioned in this chapter only for his birth, his offering and his death. His birth is recorded in verse two and his murder in verse eight. He is mentioned in several other places in Scripture, though. It’s there that we get a commentary of what went on here in Chapter Four.

“By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.” Heb. 11:4

Jesus also referred to him as “righteous Abel”.

“…that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.” Matt.23:35

Abel is both a type of the true believer and a shadow of Christ.

He is a type of the true believer because of his offering and his faith. He brings an offering of “the firstborn of his flock, and their fat.” This represents the first and best, as fat was considered the best part of an animal. We also know the animal was slain, or else they could not get the fat. So a blood sacrifice is implied. Abel did this in faith, seeing the lamb as his substitute before God, until the Promised Seed would come.

Cain, by contrast, brought “an offering”. He came with neither his firstfruits nor his best. He came with the work of his hands, thinking he could approach God his own way, rather than the way God prescribed. Cain and Abel would have learned from the example and teaching of their parents, that God must be approached by faith and with blood. This was their first expression of faith and dependence on God as adults.

God sees the heart. It wasn’t just the type of sacrifice that was a problem, but the attitude. The offering and the worshipper are inseparable. When God appeals to Cain in mercy, Cain gets angry. He had no reason to be angry, and he could still make it right. Cain was envious. He takes his brother out to a field where he thinks no one will see them, and kills him. He should have loved him because he was his brother, and even more so, protected him as a younger brother. Instead we see,

“…not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.” 1 John 3:12

God asks, “Where is Abel, your brother?”  I find this interesting; as if there was any other Abel in town. God does this to emphasize the heinous nature of the crime and to strike at Cain’s conscience.  Cain lies. “I do not know,” as if he could conceal his crime. Then he goes further with a surly response which questions the right of the Almighty to even ask. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” His response reveals his hard heart and a lack of any natural brotherly affection.

“And He said, ‘What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.’” Gen. 4:10

This shows God’s outrage. Remember, God never asks a question to get information. He knows all things. He asks, as a parent would, to see if Cain will confess and repent. Just as earlier, He asked, “Adam, where are you?”

Cain complains that his punishment is greater than he can bear. He is not sorry for his sin, only sorry he got caught. He fears a violent death, like his brother. Even so, God again shows mercy to him by delaying the sentence of death already over his head because of the disobedience of his parents.

Matthew Henry says, “It shows great hardness of heart to be more concerned about our sufferings than our sins.”

Abel is also a shadow of Christ because Abel’s sacrifice is imperfect, whereas Christ’s is perfect. “Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the most holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” Heb. 9:12

He is also a shadow because of the contrast between the intent of the blood of Abel vs. the blood of Christ. Abel’s blood cries for vengeance, but Christ’s blood cries for forgiveness.

“…to Jesus the Mediator of a new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.” Heb. 12:24

Because of Christ’s death, we can enter the presence of God, from which our first parents were banished. “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus…” Heb. 10:19

“Jesus is the true and better Abel who, though innocently slain, has blood now that cries out, not for our condemnation, but for acquittal.”
Timothy Keller

Prayer-“Lord, forgive me for trying to approach You my way, with the works of my hands, as if that would be acceptable. You have provided the best way through Your Son. Thank you that His blood covers my sin and cleanses me from guilt. Thank You for Your great forgiveness.”

Questions-Do you feel envious of someone else’s ministry? Why do you think you have that attitude?

Response-Thank God for the sufficiency of His sacrifice that allows you to enter His presence with boldness.

Jesus as the Ark of Safety in the Book of Genesis

30 Apr

Read Genesis 6-10

One of the earliest Bible stories I recall hearing is the story of Noah and the ark. Unfortunately, by that time, I had already seen images of a small, round bottomed boat, stuffed to the rafters with giant elephants, and two giraffe’s heads sticking out the window, so that was the image in  my mind as I pictured the story.

The actual ship God instructed Noah to build was roughly the size of a modern battleship.  Its  dimensions were 450 by 75 by 45 feet. It was a large, sea-worthy vessel, not a tippy little boat.  It had three decks; a top deck for people, a middle deck for animals and a lower deck for food.  Of course, the animals would have been small. God’s requirement was for a male and female  of each kind of animal. He didn’t specify the age. Younger creatures would eat less and take up less space. Even the largest dinosaurs were hatched from eggs. And yes, there were dinosaurs  on the ark.

The ship had no rudder. They weren’t going anywhere in particular, because there was nowhere to go. God would choose the place where they would settle. The ark had one window and one door.  The ark represented safety, security, separation and provision. They were safe from the judgment going on outside. They were secure because once they were in the ark they didn’t need to fear being thrown off the boat. They were separated from unbelievers once God closed the door. They had everything necessary for survival in the ark of safety.

The ark was spacious. There was room for many more, even though only eight souls among the many alive at that time had faith in God. The ark was welcoming. As Noah was building it for a hundred years (see Gen. 5:32 and Gen. 7:6), he warned his generation about the wrath to come.

“…who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.” 1 Pet. 3:20

It might have looked something like this:

“Whatcha doing, Noah?”
“I’m building an ark.”
“What’s an ark?”
“It’s a vessel that will float on the water.”
“But we’re not anywhere near water.”
“No, but God is going to judge the world with a flood.”
“What’s a flood, Noah?”
“It’s a lot of water and rain.”
“What’s rain, Noah?”

“…before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had ground. For the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground, but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground.”  Gen. 2:5,6

You get the idea. Judgment was the last thing on their minds. In fact, “the thoughts of their hearts were only evil continually.”  Gen.6:5  They were going about their lives as usual when the flood came.

“But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming                 of the Son of Man be.”  Matt. 24:37-39
It’s a commentary on the character of Noah that his family believed him. If you compare him to Lot, just a few generations later, his family thinks he’s crazy when he warns them of the coming judgment. (Gen. 19:14).

The ark represented safety for those in the ark when the deluge began. How terrifying it must have been to go into the ark and hear the first ever drops of rain, to hear the thunder, to feel the earthquakes and surges of water from tsunamis. To think that the Indian Ocean tsunami and all the death, destruction and devastation it caused was the result of one earthquake out at sea, it helps you imagine what happened when “the fountains of the deep were opened up.” Gen. 7:11,12 Also, the “windows of heaven”,  the water canopy surrounding the earth, also known as the “waters above the firmament” were emptied  onto the earth. Gen.1:6,7
The ark represented separation. Those in the ark would have heard the cries of the people outside the ark. They didn’t suddenly have faith in God; they just didn’t want to face judgment. Noah and his family didn’t have to agonize over whether to let them in or not. God made the call by shutting Noah and his family in  from the outside. He knew their heart. The day of grace was over. God Himself shut the door; irrevocably separating the saved from the unsaved.

“By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” Heb. 11:7

“So those that entered, male and female of all flesh went in as God commanded him; and the Lord shut him in.” Gen.7:16

Christ is our Ark of Safety. He is our only hope. All others are useless rafts. They will not stand in the deluge of God’s Judgment. Just as there was only one door in the ark, so Jesus is the only way to God.

“Jesus said to him, ’I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’”  John 14:6
Once we are “in Christ”, we are secure and will not lose our salvation.

“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will in no wise cast out.” John 6:37

When we are in Christ, we are provided with all we need, in this life and the next. We have no need of a rudder, for Christ is our Pilot and leads us where we need to go.

As Noah preached and pointed to the Ark of Safety, so we also warn others and point to Christ as their only hope.

“Therefore knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men…” 2 Cor. 5:11

Prayer-“Father, thank you for providing safety from judgment, in Your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank you that He is the Only Way, the only door to safety. Your way is best. We are guilty. When we are “in Christ” we are safe and secure. You won’t throw us overboard. You also pilot us and guide us where we need to go. We have everything we need in Christ. Thank You also for the promise You made to never again destroy the earth with a flood. You always keep your promises. The rainbow reminds us of that.”

Questions- The rainbow symbol meant God keeps His promises. He would never again destroy the earth with a flood. Sharon James says, “The Hebrew word, ‘bow’ (the weapon), is the same word for rainbow. God was hanging up His weapon of war and making peace. The flood was God’s war; this was the treaty of peace and preservation. The regularity of the days, months, seasons and years would all signal God’s faithfulness to this covenant. Gen. 8:22, 9:12-17 Now this symbol has been hijacked to mean “anything goes” sexually. We need to reclaim it.

How comfortable are you with your stand on the events of the early chapters of Genesis? Do you feel ready to give an answer to those who ask why you believe what you do? Do you know where to turn for help in this?

Response- Research Answers in Genesis. They’re a great organization that is Bible based and answers  many questions about Creation science from a Biblical perspective. They also have a great book called, The Answers Book. Highly recommended.

%d bloggers like this: