Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

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.

Jesus is the King of Glory in the book of Psalms

6 Apr

glory

“Who is this King of Glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory.” Psalm 24:10

Glory is a word often heard in Christian circles. It’s everywhere in Scripture. Every time we hear the Christmas account, we hear about the message to the shepherds, “And behold, an angel of the LORD stood before them, and the glory of the LORD shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.” Luke 2: 9 and soon after the heavenly host were praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Luke 2:14 We even hear the word in catechisms, which are a question and answer form in which to learn doctrine. “What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”

We think we understand it based on its context, but most of us would be hard put to give it a dictionary definition. Marino Vereecke says of it, “Glory is one of those things better illustrated than defined; better experienced than explained.”

That’s because, like other theological words such as justification and sanctification, they carry a different sense or meaning depending on the context.

There are two senses of the word glory—radiance and honour.

We see the idea of radiance in the verse about the glory of God shining on the shepherds. This blinding light is seen in the effect on Moses’ face when he descends from the mountain after having seen God (Ex. 34:29), and in the transfiguration of Jesus on the mountain (Matt. 17:2), to the bright light that blinded Paul for three days on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3, 9) to the description of Jesus in Rev.1:16 “His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.” Also, heaven has no created light. Rev. 21:23 says,“The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.”

Glory also carries the idea of honour, weightiness or significance. We see this in the command to the shepherds to give, “Glory to God in the highest.” Here we see it could not mean we are to give radiance to God, but that we should hold Him in the highest esteem because of Who He is and what He has done.

There is an incidence in both the Old and New Testaments which show us both aspects of the word, glory in a narrative.

In the New Testament account of the transfiguration, these two ideas are linked. The disciples see His glory, as the veil of His flesh is pulled back to reveal Who He really is. This follows with a command to, “Hear Him,” because He is the Beloved Son with Whom the Father is well pleased. To hear also gives the idea of hearing and obeying. We are to obey the words of Jesus over all others by nature of Who He is. This was to correct Peter’s mistaken notion that demoted Jesus to the same level as Moses and Elijah. See Matt. 17, and Luke 9 to read about the transfiguration.

John recalls this event as he is writing his gospel. Not only is he an eye-witness of Jesus’ ministry, he says, in John 1:14, “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.”

In the Old Testament, in Exodus 33:12 to 34:8, we have another event recorded which also carries both senses of the word, glory. Thus far in the Exodus from Egypt, God revealed His glory through miracles. Now Moses makes a bold request; he wants to see God’s glory. But God tells him he cannot see His face and live. Our mortal bodies were not meant for that. He provides a way to give Moses a glimpse, as He passes by, while Moses is in a safe place, provided by God Himself, and sheltered by God Himself. The interesting thing is that not only does Moses see the radiance of God’s glory, but He is shown the glory of the LORD, in His character. He reveals His name:

“And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and fourth generation.’” Ex. 34:6, 7

So we see in both the transfiguration account and this account of the glory of God revealed to Moses that the word can relate to either radiance, honour, or both.

There are instances in Scripture where glory does not relate to God, but to lesser things, such as the creation itself, (Psalm 19:1), a woman’s hair (1 Cor. 11: 15) or even our spiritual children, who have believed because of our teaching. “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His Coming? For you are our glory and joy.” 1 Thess. 2:19, 20 But we are here referring to the instances that refer to the glory of God.

Read Psalm 24
This Psalm begins with the assertion that everything on earth, including its inhabitants, belong to the LORD by reason of His creation of it. He reminds us of the creation account by saying it was founded on the seas and established on the waters.

God created the world and sustains it. (Col. 1:17) Likewise, whatever I make is mine. If I write something, and then decide it’s not worthwhile, I can delete the whole document, or, in the old days, crumple it up and throw it in the garbage. From the lesser example to the greater, God can do what He wills with His own. We see this in the account in Exodus, where He says, “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” He doesn’t owe us mercy. If He did, it would no longer be mercy.

Further, in the parable of the workers in the vineyard, he says with regard to rewards, “Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?” Matt. 20:15

To return to our text in Psalm 24:10 about the identity of the King of Glory, one could argue that Jesus, as the Son of God, is this King of Glory. The verse says this King of Glory is the LORD of hosts. The Hebrew name is Jehovah Sabaoth. The hosts refer to multitudes in the service of God, usually in reference to the angels. They are arranged in a hierarchy, with Michael as the Archangel, and Gabriel a notable named Messenger. As a warrior, the LORD leads his angels out to battle. He is their Captain and they are the foot soldiers.

In this Psalm, someone asks, “Who is this King of Glory?” The angels could well have asked the question, or the prophets and believers in the old covenant, or even those in the time leading up to Christ. Until He appeared they didn’t know what He would be like.

The angels must have been amazed, first when the Son was given and sent to earth as a baby, then again when He was crucified by His own creatures. Even the prophets of old grappled with this concept. 1 Peter 1:10-12 talks about this and ends with the phrase, “…things which angels desire to look into.”

We also see a beautiful image of this in the Old Testament. The Ark of the Covenant has a mercy seat, or covering of gold, with two cherubim on its cover. The wings of the angels are outstretched, covering the ark, and they are looking down on it in wonder and awe. For it is on the mercy seat that the blood of the unblemished sacrifice is poured. “…above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat…” Heb. 9:5 “And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings above, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and they shall face one another; the faces of the cherubim shall be toward the mercy seat.” Ex. 25:20

We believe, based on many other texts, that Jesus is Himself the Creator, and therefore is the LORD of hosts. (Gen. 1:1-2, John 1: 1-3, Col. 1:16, 17, Heb. 1: 1-3, 10, and Rev. 4: 11)

The Psalmist then asks who may ascend into God’s presence? The answer is, “one who has clean hands and a pure heart.” This refers to righteous actions and motives. If we know ourselves at all, we know that we are not worthy, in and of ourselves. Any goodness we have is imputed to us by our Saviour. The Psalmist says “He shall receive blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” Psalm 24:5

How does God provide righteousness and salvation?

He accomplished this on the cross, when He died as a substitute for His people.

The image in this Psalm is one of a mighty conqueror returning from battle. The city itself is personified, and the gates are told to lift up their heads, and the doors are to be lifted up to welcome their conquering King. Christ has gone out to battle, He has conquered death, hell and the grave, and has entered the heavenly Jerusalem as Victor. After His ascension to Heaven, He gave gifts to men, the idea here being a distribution of the spoils.

“When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.”Eph. 4:8

Another example is that of the temple of Solomon. 1 Kings 8:6, 10 When the ark is brought in, the glory of the LORD descends on the place in the form of a cloud, which is one of the Old Testament images of God. He led His people by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Also, as we learned in the sacrifice of David after his unlawful census, the LORD answered by fire. This was the future site of the temple that Solomon his son would build. 1 Chron. 21:26, 2 Chron. 3:1

Again, the heavenly city has no temple. “But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” Rev. 21:22 The temples of earth are copies and shadows of the heavenly things, as Heb. 4:5 tells us. Jesus entered with His own blood.

“But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 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. 9:11, 12

Not only does Christ enter Heaven on our behalf, but He also enters the souls of men, in order for us to be His temple. 1 Cor. 6:19 says, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?”

Rev. 3:20 says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and dine with him, and he with Me.” We are told to be like faithful servants awaiting their Master’s return, “…and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately.” Luke 12:36 Matthew Henry says, “The gates and doors of our hearts are to be opened to Him, as possession is delivered to the rightful owner.”

Further, we long for the day when we see our Saviour in Glory, a word also synonymous with Heaven itself. As believers we long to see the wrongs made right, Satan finally cast into Hell, and the first seconds of Eternity begin to tick. (That’s just an image, since Heaven is outside of time). We want to see the King of Glory come in. Imagine the cheering! Imagine the joy!

Jesus desires this as well. “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” John 17:24 Isn’t that beautiful? That should have the word Selah after it, to remind you to just stop reading and think about it.

So, “Who is this King of Glory?”

Jesus existed before He was born. He is the second Person of the Trinity. He often talked of His pre-existence and the glory that was due to Him as God.

“And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” John 17:5

We see in Hebrews 1:3 that Jesus is “…the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person,” meaning He is a perfect representation of the Father.

“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” Heb. 1:1-4

He even asked his disciple, Phillip, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” John 14:9

“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Cor. 4:6

We see the glory of God now when we know Jesus personally. The glory of God is found in the face of Jesus Christ.

Who is this King of Glory? Jesus Christ is the King of Glory!

Jesus as the Judge of All the Earth in Revelation

20 Oct

Read Revelation 20:11-15

Maybe I have an overly sensitive conscience, but I feel nervous around police and judges. Once, when I was called for potential jury duty, I took the stand to be asked a simple question. My heart was racing. I was sooooo  nervous! If I tremble before a human judge even though I’m innocent, what would it be like to stand before the Judge of all the earth, guilty?

The images of the end of the age are awesome, with horrible judgments poured out on the earth, and a vision of God on His throne so terrible, it says the earth and heaven fled away, and there was no place for them. (Rev. 20:11) People will be so terrified, they will prefer to hide in caves and ask the mountains to fall on them and hide them from the wrath of the Lamb. “For the day of His wrath has come, and who can stand?” Rev.6:14-17

One doesn’t usually associate wrath with a lamb. Lambs are docile, sweet and helpless. But this Lamb, who “as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” Isa.53:7, was also, “Christ, our Passover, slain for us.” 1 Cor.5:7 The Lamb of God came to earth the first time to handle the sin problem. Now He is coming to Judge the earth.

In Matt. 25:31-46, Jesus tells a parable about the Sheep and the Goats. It is set at the Last Judgment. Jesus is on the throne. We know this because the One on the throne refers to His Father. Also, we know that all judgment has been committed to the Son. John 5:22, Rom.2:16, Eph. 5:10, john 5:22

The sheep and goats are separated, with the sheep on the right and the goats at His left hand. Jesus here rewards His people for doing things out of love for Him. They are so unaware of their actions being commendable, that they are surprised to hear that He likens their good works to His brethren as good works toward Him, personally.

Also notice, He rewards His people first, in order to vindicate them before the unbelieving world. It’s amazing to me that He would equip us for good works, Eph.2:10, and then reward us for them. 1 Cor. 3:14,15 Good reason to cast our crowns before Him. Rev.4:10

Then He assigns the unbelievers to eternal torment using almost the same words He uses to praise the sheep. They also protest, claiming innocence that it was Jesus they failed to care for when they failed to care for “the least of these”. They were looking to get off on a technicality, but God knows their hearts.

The images in the last few chapters of Revelation are sobering. Read Rev. 20:11-15 again. You see the awesomeness of the One on the Great white throne, the reanimation of the dead from the sea and the graves, all standing now before the Judge. Books will be opened, and people will be judged “from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.” Rev. 20:12

The most important book seems to be the Book of Life. “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” Rev. 20:15

I know everyone has a different story to tell about how they were saved. Some see the beauty of the gospel, some see the reasonableness of it, some see the awesome sacrifice of Christ. I feared judgment. I recognized, even as a child, that I was guilty, and that God would be just in condemning me to hell. When I heard the good news, that He had also provided a way to escape the judgment, I ran for it.

That’s not a bad thing. It’s one approach to preaching the gospel. “…some save with fear…” Jude 1:23 The good news isn’t good news unless we first hear the bad news. How can we have assurance of our salvation and confidence that we can stand before the throne of this Awesome One without fear? The answer definitely doesn’t rest in us. I can’t “keep” myself in the faith, any more than I got myself into it. Salvation is God’s work from start to finish. He is the “Author and Finisher of our faith.”  Heb. 12:2 He chose me, so He keeps me. (Rom. 8:29). They are links of the salvation chain, we are secure because of Christ.

There are many theological terms we read in our Bibles, without really understanding them: justification, sanctification and propitiation come to mind. Most believers get the general idea of those words, but couldn’t give a clear definition.

We’ll focus on justification for a moment. I’ve heard that it means God looks on you “just-as-if-you-had-never-sinned”. While it might be a helpful way to remember, I think it’s a weak definition. Justification is actually a legal term. Since we’re dealing with the Supreme Court of the Universe, it’s helpful to speak legal-ease. Justification, as it is used in the Bible, primarily means to be declared righteous. That is exclusively the idea that the Apostle Paul means. James uses the term, but he uses it in reference to how our works validate our faith in the eyes of men, not how we stand or fall before God.

Justification differs from sanctification, which is the process by which God progressively makes us holy. The first thing we need is to have the death sentence removed from over our heads. When we believe in Jesus Christ; repenting of our sin and resting in the finished work of Christ as our Substitute, God declares us “NOT GUILTY”. We are free! “And Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Gen.  15:6 and Rom.5:1,2, Rom.8:1

As the Judge of the earth, He has the right to do that; to let a guilty person go free. But as a holy and just God, He could not do that without going contrary to His nature, which He cannot do. “He cannot deny Himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13 If only there was a way……….There is a way! His name is Jesus. Because Jesus was our Substitute, who paid in full for our sin, God can legitimately justify us.

So when we flee to Jesus for safety, we are hidden in Him, and in that sense, God now looks on us “just-as-if-we-had-never-sinned”. When God the Father sees us hidden in Christ, He sees only the perfect righteousness of His son. Col.3:3 A great exchange has taken place. Our sins on Christ, Christ’s righteousness imputed, or made over, to our account. O sweet exchange!

Justification by faith alone is a beautiful, life-changing, uplifting, soul-assuring doctrine. Never tire of praising God for justifying you. Because you are justified, you will not be condemned on that awful day. The worst words anyone will ever hear will be, “Depart from Me. I never knew you.” Matt.7:23

Yet, “there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ…” Rom.8:1

“It is in the substitutionary death of Christ that sin is overcome and wrath is averted, so that God can look upon man with pleasure, and man can look upon God without fear. Sin is expiated and God’s wrath is propitiated.” John Stott

Prayer– “Lord, how awesome You are. You are our Creator and our Saviour. The truth of a future judgement would be terrifying, if we weren’t secure in Christ. ‘Thank you’ is so inadequate to express our feelings about saving us from hell and promising us Heaven. +Help us to share the gospel so that others won’t have to face the wrath of the Lamb.”

Questions– When we stand before Jesus, will He be our Saviour or our Judge? If you are unsure, spend some time in prayer, asking God to save you, or if you are saved, to give you assurance of your salvation, so you don’t need to fear death and judgement. –Was fear of judgement a factor in your conversion?

Response– How familiar are you with theological terms? Look up the meaning of the following terms: justification, sanctification, adoption, redemption, propitiation.

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