Tag Archives: Israel

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).

Solomon’s Life as a Type of Christ in 1 Kings

17 Nov

Read 1 Kings 1-11

In the glory days of Israel, King Solomon stood out. Although his father, David was revered as the best king, unlike David’s reign, Solomon’s reign knew mostly peace. He was also the wealthiest king, and the wisest man who ever lived, apart from Christ. We will look at the ways that the whole life of Solomon pre-figured Christ, both by similarities and contrasts.

Solomon was the King of Israel. Then Solomon sat on the throne of his father David; and his kingdom was firmly established.” 1 Kings 2:12

Jesus Christ is the King of Kings. “And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” Rev. 19:16

Solomon’s kingdom knew a time of unprecedented peace. This peaceful reign foreshadowed the time of peace that will never end.1 Kings 4:24,25

This time of peace eventually ended. See 1 Kings 11:14,23,26 but Christ’s reign will know no end. Christ is the Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6,7

Solomon was rich, with yearly tax revenue equalling 39,960 pounds of gold. 1 Kings 10:14 (See all of 1 Kings 10 ) He had an opulent palace and many building projects, the pinnacle of which was Solomon’s temple. Read 1 Kings 6:14-22

But Jesus Christ is rich, without taxing His people. “For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills.” Psalm 50:9-11 Psalm 50:11-13

He is the maker and owner of all things. Thus says the LORD: Isa. 66:1-3 And He owns the gold and silver in every mine.Hagg.2:8

Yet, Jesus laid aside His glory and riches for our sake. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” 2 Cor. 8:8-10 In what sense did He become poor? On earth, He was homeless, had only one piece of clothing worth anything, and had no possessions. He owned no property and carried no cash. He even paid His taxes in an unusual way.  “Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you.”Matthew 17:27

When the Queen of Sheba came to investigate the rumours about Solomon’s wisdom and wealth, she exclaimed,   “It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom. However I did not believe the words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which I heard! 1 Kings 10:6,7” We cannot begin to imagine how amazing Heaven will be.

She said his servants were blessed to see his face and hear his righteous judgments. “Happy are your men and happy are these your servants, who stand continually before you and hear your wisdom! Blessed be the Lord your God, who delighted in you, setting you on the throne of Israel! Because the Lord has loved Israel forever, therefore He made you king, to do justice and righteousness.” 1 Kings 10:8,9

Even more so, the servants of Christ are blessed to read His words and serve Him. God is praised because He delighted in His Son and was pleased to set Him on the throne of the universe, to do justice and righteousness. One day, we will see Him face to face, hear His voice, and serve Him without weariness or sin.  And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.” Rev.22:3.4

Solomon received wisdom from God so that he could lead Israel. One case in particular stands out. Read 1 Kings 3:16-28 Two women and one live baby that they both claimed was theirs. Solomon’s decision revealed the true mother.  And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had rendered; and they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice.” 1 Kings 3:28

Jesus teaching was unlike any other. He spoke with authorityAnd so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”Matt.7:28,29 He forgave sin. He passed judgment. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her,’Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?’She said, ‘No one, Lord.’And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.’” Matt. 8:10,11

When questioned about paying taxes, And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ And they marveled at Him.” Mark 12:17

When Solomon ascended to the throne, he destroyed his enemies; Adonijah, Abiathar, Joab and Shimei.

Adonijah, his brother, for his attempted coup. 1 Kings 1:5 The King would not tolerate rivals.

Abiathar, the priest, was exiled, because he supported Adonijah’s grab for the throne. 1 Kings 1:7  1 Kings 2:26,27

Joab was executed for his support of Adonijah  (1 Kings 1:7) and for his peacetime murder of two generals.1 Kings 2:5,6 1 Kings 2:31-33

Shimei was exiled, and later executed for breaking the terms of his exile. His crime is found in 2 Samuel 16:5-131 Kings 2:44-46

In relation to Shimei, Solomon showed mercy by not destroying him right away and by warning him. Christ, in relation to sinners does not always punish right away, and shows mercy by warning them of coming punishment.

Thus Solomon’s kingdom was established when he put away his mortal enemies. Likewise, when we acknowledge the Kingship of Jesus Christ, we put him first. There is nothing we want more. We seek His kingdom first.But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

Christ also ascended to Heaven, and is seated at the right hand of Majesty on high, having destroyed the power of the grave and hell forever.

 “ ‘O Death, where is your sting?]O Hades, where is your victory?’[The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor. 15:55-57

For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.” 1 Cor. 15:25,26

“He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8

“I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” Rev. 1:18

Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,  and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Heb. 2:14,15

By destroying his enemies, Solomon did not tolerate threats to his reign or false claims to his throne. Likewise, Our God is a jealous God and He will not give His glory to another. He is the Only One worthy to sit on the throne and judge the nations.

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: ’Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!’” Rev.5:12,13

Solomon built a magnificent temple, seven years in the making, with many objects made of marble and overlaid with gold. It was one of the wonders of the ancient world.

Jesus Christ has been preparing a place for us in Heaven for 2,000 years! How awesome will that be? We will walk through gates of pearl, stroll on streets of gold, and live in a city whose foundations are made of precious stones.  Rev.21 and 22

In My Father’s house are many mansions if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:2,3

After Solomon finished building the temple, during the dedication, God Himself came to dwell in it. “And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord,  so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.” 1 Kings 8:10,11

Likewise, God ‘tabernacled’, or pitched His tent among us, when Christ took on flesh and lived among us. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

But even more glorious, will be the day when we will be in the presence of God in Heaven, seeing His face, enjoying unbroken fellowship with Him.“”And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’” Rev. 21:3, 4

In the book of Song of Solomon, the king is a lover. Christ is the lover of our souls. The king is the fairest of ten thousand. Jesus is the name above every name.

“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,  and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11

The lover sees his bride as perfect and beautiful. “You are all fair, my love, And there is no spot in you.” Song of Solomon 4:7 Christ sees His bride that way as well. “…that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:27

Solomon had a legitimate claim to the throne as the son of David. Also, it is significant that he was a child conceived after David married Bathsheba, so no one could say Solomon was illegitimate. Adonijah was the eldest, so he assumed  he was next in line for the throne. However, God had promised that David’s son, Solomon would sit on the throne. “Behold, a son shall be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies all around. His name shall be Solomon,for I will give peace and quietness to Israel in his days.  He shall build a house for My name, and he shall be My son, and I will be his Father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’” 1 Chronicles 22:9,10

Jesus Christ also has a legitimate claim to the throne of David and the throne of the universe. If you look at the genealogies you’ll see He is in the family line of David. But as the Son of God He has the right to sit on the throne of Heaven.“For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself:‘The Lord said to my Lord,‘Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’” Acts 2:34,35

Solomon did not remain true to the end. For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not fully follow the Lord, as did his father David.Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon.And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.”1 Kings 11:4-8 A true tragedy. It started early with his political marriages to unbelievers. Spiritual change always happens little by little. Mark Dever says, “A small difference in trajectory can make a big difference in destination.”

Yet Christ is called “Faithful and True” Rev.19:11 He is also, “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” John 14:6 He finished the work the Father gave him to do and did not shrink back from it.

Solomon’s house and temple were magnificent, but they were eventually ransacked, rebuilt and eventually destroyed. His glory was temporary. He reigned only 40 years, then went the way of all the earth. 1 Kings 11:42,43

But Christ’s glory is eternal and His reign will know no end. “And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: ‘Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!’”
Rev.5:13

Epitaph

So what happened to Solomon? Can we expect to see him in Heaven one day?

I believe there is reason to be hopeful for several reasons.

First, God showed mercy in the midst of judgment. Divine judgement was deferred.“Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, “Because you have done this, and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant.Nevertheless I will not do it in your days, for the sake of your father David; I will tear it out of the hand of your son.However I will not tear away the whole kingdom; I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.” 1 Kings 11:11-13 However I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand, because I have made him ruler all the days of his life for the sake of My servant David, whom I chose because he kept My commandments and My statutes.” 1 Kings 11:34

God promised that He would discipline David’s son but not cast him off forever, as he did Saul.

 “’When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men.But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.’”2 Sam 7:12-16

If the book of Ecclesiastes is any indication of his mindset, he seemed to “get it” in the end.

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.”
Ecc. 12:13,14

In the book, King Solomon: The Temptations of Money, Sex and Power, Phillip Graham Ryken concludes, “Solomon was one of the greatest men who ever lived. He came from noble birth, heir to the world’s most famous dynasty. He was the king of Israel. He had a powerful army and cavalry, but never needed to use it as he ruled during a golden age of peace. During Solomon’s reign the kingdom grew to its widest expanse.  He had riches beyond compare. He was a famous builder. His temple in Jerusalem was one of the wonders of the ancient world. He was an accomplished naturalist and a learned scholar, a brilliant poet and philosopher. He was a man of prayer. (See his prayer at the dedication of the temple in 1 Kings 8:22-53). Above all he was a man of wisdom. His kingdom reveals a pattern for the kingdom of Jesus Christ.”

The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here. Luke 11:31

Prayer: “Thank  you, Lord, for the life of King Solomon. You blessed him beyond measure and gave us a glimpse of the future glory of your kingdom. You are wiser, more glorious, richer, more merciful than he was. We are blessed as your servants to hear Your words and learn from You. One day we will see you face to face in the home You’ve been preparing for two thousand years. We will serve and worship You forever.”

Questions: Solomon took seven years to build the temple of God and thirteen years to build his own house? What does that reveal about his heart? What is the ratio of time/money spent on kingdom work vs. our own homes? What does that reveal about the state of our hearts? What were some of the small choices that Solomon made that ended in tragedy? Do you feel more hopeful that we will see Solomon in Heaven, after this study?

Response: The Queen of Sheba gave full honour to Solomon, and he wasn’t half the king Jesus is. Do we honour Him as we ought?

Christ as the Kinsman-Redeemer in the Book of Ruth

15 Sep

Read Ruth 1-4.

The Bible has a bit of everything in it. There is history, biography, poetry, prose, apocalyptic, and even romance. The book of Ruth is a romance novella which plays an important part in redemptive history. God could have just thrown a couple together in an arranged marriage and the family line of Christ would have continued on. Yet he chose to give us a glimpse into the character of a young Gentile woman, in order to give hope to those of us outside of the nation of Israel.

Boaz was a wealthy businessman in Bethlehem; he was powerful and important in society. He was older than Ruth by at least twenty years. He is impressed by Ruth as she works in the field, hearing a good report of her by his foreman. He has heard of her actions in following Naomi to a strange country. He may have thought of his ancestor, Rahab, who was also a stranger in Israel.
Although he is impressed by her and may even be attracted to her, he doesn’t pursue her as, undoubtedly, he feels their age difference is too great. If it were not for Naomi’s meddling and Ruth’s willingness to do as Naomi instructed her, Boaz may never have made a move. When Ruth approaches him the night on the threshing floor and basically proposes to him, he is very humble, not even acknowledging that he is quite an eligible bachelor. Instead, he commends her for not running after the young men. He guards her reputation the night on the threshing floor by sending her away while it is still dark, lest someone assume something happened between them, and then he gives her grain to take with her in case someone was to inquire where she was at that hour.

The Scarlet Thread in this story is Boaz as a kinsman-redeemer. The idea of the Kinsman-Redeemer is that a near relative can redeem, or buy back the property of a relative who had been forced to sell their land for some reason, and now they cannot buy it back themselves because they are impoverished . These laws were in place to ensure that family members are looked after and the land stays in the family. See Deut. 25:5-10 and Mark 12:18-25

The two main requirements of a Kinsman-Redeemer are that he must be 1) qualified to redeem, (a close relative who could afford to buy the land) and 2) willing/able to redeem (not already married). It was voluntary. There was a way out, although it was frowned upon. (See Deut. 25:7-10) He was spit upon and lost his sandal. It was scandalous/he was sandal-less!
Boaz is a wonderful example of a Kinsman-Redeemer who is both qualified and willing. He has a nature that is unselfish and nurturing. He comes to the rescue. He shows great kindness to Ruth. He protects her and provides for her.

He remembers there is another relative who was closer than he who could end up married to Ruth instead of him, was qualified to be a kinsman-redeemer. This is the conflict, or complicating factor you see in all great romances. How will they overcome it? Will our hero and heroine find true love? Thankfully, he was unwilling. He was too selfish. He didn’t mind inheriting Elimelech’s property, he just hadn’t counted on a wife in the deal. As well, their first son would not bear his name. He would also share the inheritance. It was all too much trouble. Boaz tells Ruth he’ll approach the other relative, so she doesn’t have to humble herself by proposing to someone else. He also indirectly promises to care for Naomi as well.
This transaction, done at the “city gates” where all business was transacted before witnesses, was done properly, so there would be no question as to the legitimacy of Boaz’s claim to Ruth and the inheritance of Elimelech. Although it sounds like Ruth is ‘purchased’ in a business transaction, you see from the interaction between them, that Ruth and Boaz do really love each other.

When he first met Ruth one of the things he said to her was, “The LORD repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.” Ruth 2:12 When she approaches him about marriage, she uses his own words and images back to him to show how he can help her practically and bless her and be the answer to her prayer. “Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative.” Ruth 3:9

This reminds us of the idea of Eve being made from Adam’s rib. Matthew Henry has a great quote that’s nice for weddings.

“The woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam;
not made out of his head, to rule over him;
nor out of his feet, to be trampled upon by him;
but out of his side to be equal with him;
under his arm to be protected,
and near his heart, to be beloved.”

To draw out the Scarlet Thread in this narrative, we see Christ as our Kinsman-Redeemer. He is like Boaz because he “owns the field” and marries one who was formerly a stranger and foreigner who puts her trust in Him and becomes His bride. Christ is even better than Boaz as a Kinsman-Redeemer. We are destitute spiritually, with no way to get out of debt and no way to provide for our eternal well-being. Christ steps up. He is our kinsman, one who is like us, who is our friend, who sticks closer than a brother. He is qualified. He is able to redeem.

He sees our situation and is moved with compassion. Compassion has the idea of suffering together. But he did more than that. He doesn’t merely feel a sad situation and feel pity for us. He does something about it. This is AGAPE love; love in action.

He set aside His royal robes and willingly condescended to become one of us. Then He lived a perfect life that we could not, died a sacrificial death to pay a debt He did not owe and we could never repay. Having accomplished our Redemption, our ‘purchase’, He ratified it by rising from the dead. He has purchased His people. Like Boaz’s official transaction at the gates of the city, so Christ purchased His bride publicly when He died on the cross. “This thing was not done in a corner.” Acts 26:26 By purchasing us and bringing us into His family, He saved us from destruction.

We are no longer destitute. We are heirs, co-heirs with Christ, and He owns all things. He is our Bridegroom. He has purchased His Bride, “…knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1 Pet. 1:18,19

“Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed;
Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame;
For you will forget the shame of your youth,
And will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore.
For your Maker is your husband,
The LORD of hosts is His name;
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel;
He is called the God of the whole earth.” Isaiah 54:4,5
This story is another example of a situation where we wonder if people are going to mess up the plan of God, like Judah could have by going to Canaan and marrying a Canaanite woman, or like Elimelech and Naomi could have by moving to Moab for an extended length of time and having their sons marry Moabite women. Yet, in both cases God overruled the situation and brought them back to Israel, both times with foreign women.
The characters in this story take turns blessing each other. For a short book, there’s a whole lot of blessing going on, nine in fact.
First Naomi blesses Ruth following the death of her husband and sons, “And Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, ‘Go, return each to her mother’s house. The LORD deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The LORD grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.’” Ruth 1:8,9
Boaz and his reapers exchange blessings with each other. “Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to the reapers, ‘The LORD be with you!’ And they answered him, ‘The LORD bless you!’” Ruth 2:4
Naomi blesses Boaz. “And her mother-in-law said to her, ‘Where have you gleaned today? And where did you work? Blessed be the one who took notice of you.’ So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked, and said, ‘The man’s name with whom I worked today is Boaz.’ Then Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, ‘Blessed be he of the LORD, who has not forsaken His kindness to the living and the dead!’ And Naomi said to her, ‘This man is a relation of ours, one of our close relatives.’” Ruth 2:10-20
Then Boaz blesses Ruth in response to her self-sacrificing care of her mother-in-law, “And Boaz answered and said to her, ‘It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. The LORD repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.’” Ruth 2:11,12
Boaz blesses Ruth after her ‘proposal.’ “Then he said, ‘Blessed are you of the LORD, my daughter! For you have shown more kindness at the end than at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich.’” Ruth 3:10
Then the leadership of Bethlehem bless them on their marriage. “And all the people who were at the gate, and the elders, said, ‘We are witnesses. The LORD make the woman who is coming to your house like Rachel and Leah, the two who built the house of Israel; and may you prosper in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. May your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring which the LORD will give you from this young woman.’” Ruth 4:11-12
Then finally, the women of the town bless the LORD on behalf of Naomi on the birth of Obed. They also bless Obed. “Then the women said to Naomi, ‘Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a close relative; and may his name be famous in Israel! And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him.’” Ruth 4:14-15

Prayer-“Thank you for seeing me in my distress and rising up to do something to relieve it. Thank you for being qualified to save by being rich so that you could redeem me, and yet becoming poor, so you could be like me, and a human, so you could be related to me. Thank you for being able to  save and willing to save. Thank you for your tender care and loving kindness.” Amen.

Questions-How do you feel about the poor? Do you have poor relatives who need help? Did you ever feel stigmatized because of a relative? How did you deal with it? Have you ever felt like an outsider?

Response-Sometimes we can be kinder to strangers than we are to our own relatives. I know that to be the case with me. Pray that God would show you a way to minister to the needs of a near relative. Show them love in a tangible way because you are willing and able and because you care about them as family members.

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