Many Christian writers drew parallels between Joseph in Genesis and our Lord Jesus Christ. While most of the ‘similarities’ were depicted between Genesis 37-42, another group of these parallels are ‘revealed’ in the last chapters (viz. 43-50). Joseph was a “type of Christ” when he saved the Israelites from the 7 years of famine. The “type of Christ” could be ending when this was over. Will there be further parallels? Are these depicted in the last few chapters of Genesis?
“Types” are often found in the scripture. For example, in Roy B Zuck’s book “Basic Bible Interpretation”, concerning “Types” in the Scripture, he stated that “Melchizedek was human, but Christ was God as well as human. Aaron had to offer sacrifices for his own sins, but Christ did not need to do that because of His sinless nature as God in the flesh. In Israel’s Passover feast animals were slain but Christ out Passover was Himself slain. The sacrifices which depict various aspects of Christ were repeated, whereas Christ’s death on the cross was a once-for-all event (p.182)”. Melchizedek was a type of Christ, so was the Passover lamb, and so was Joseph. But one must not push the “Type” concept too hard. The Scripture gave us types so that we can understand His words better, and be marveled at what turns out ‘prophetically’ many years later. The following is a discussion of some 30 parallels, mainly from Dr. W H Seto’s exposition on Genesis 43-50. Let’s have another look at these “amazing details”.
Joseph in Genesis
|01||Joseph ruled during the 7 years of great famine (43:1,15; 41:53-55)||Jesus Christ rules in heaven during the Tribulation (Revelation 5:4-5)|
|02||Joseph’s brother, Benjamin, was innocent and never suffered (43:15-16). He can be regarded as a type for the Messianic Jews to be protected under God’s care.||The 144,000 (Messianic Jews) in the Tribulation never suffered but will be sealed (Revelation 7:3-4)|
|03||Joseph fed his hungry brothers (43:31–34)||Jesus fed the hungry masses (John 6:5–13)|
|04||The brothers showed astonishment before Joseph (43:33)||The crowd showed astonishment towards Jesus’ teaching (Mark 11:18)|
|05||Joseph had special provision for Benjamin (43:34)||There will be a special hiding place for the 144,000 (Revelation 12:14)|
|06||Pressure by Joseph led to brothers’ repentance (44:4-16)||Israel’s repentance will occur in the Great Tribulation (Zechariah 12:10-14)|
|07||Innocent Benjamin’s atonement for wicked brothers (44:12; 16-17)||Jesus atonement for our sins (Isaiah 53:5-6; 2 Corinthians 5:21)|
|08||Judah showed maturity and repentance (44:18-34)||The 144,000, being the southern kingdom, are called Judah in Zechariah 12:7|
|09||Joseph was revealed as a man of Compassion (45:1-2): 7 times we read of Joseph weeping (42:24, 43:30; 45:1-2; 45:15; 46:29; 50:1; 50:15-17)||Jesus wept (John 11:35)|
|10||Joseph revealed himself to his brothers at their second coming (45:3)||Jesus is to be revealed to Israel at His second coming (Matthew 24:30-31; Revelation 1:7)|
|11||Joseph revealed himself as a ruler (45:4, 8)||Jesus will revealed Himself as the ruler of the world on His return (Revelation 19:7-9; 19:15-16)|
|12||Joseph forgave and became a Saviour to his brothers (45:4-7)||Jesus forgave and saved all sinners (Luke 23:34; Matthew 1:21; Acts 5:31)|
|13||Joseph suffered according to predetermined plan of God (45:5-7; 50:20)||Jesus suffered according to the plan of God (Acts 2:23; 3:12-18)|
|14||There were 7 years of difficult years during Joseph’s rule (45:11) and protection was in the middle||The duration of the Tribulation will be 7 years (Daniel 9:27) and protection by the two witnesses will be in the last 3.5 years (Revelation 11:2-6)|
|15||Benjamin played a key role as a special witness to Jacob, confirming Joseph was still alive (45:12-13)||Messianic Jews will play the same role witnessing for Christ as His servants in the last days (Revelation 7:3-4)|
|16||Joseph prepared a place (Goshen) for his family (45:21-25) following Pharaoh’s instruction (45:17-20)||God will lead and protect Jews to a safe place in the Tribulation (Revelation 12:14)|
|17||Jacob did not believe in the news that Joseph was alive (45:26)||The disciples did not believe Mary when she reported Jesus alive (Luke 24:10–11)|
|18||All tribes played a part in convincing Jacob that Joseph was alive (45:26-27)||The 144,000 are listed from the 12 tribes and they will bear witness for God in the Tribulation (Revelation 7:3-8; 14:1-5)|
|19||Transport and assurance provided for Jacob by the Lord (46:1-6)||God will lead the 144,000 during the Tribulation to the safe place (Revelation 12:14)|
|20||Israel will be a great nation (46:3)||In the Millennium, Jesus will be great and Jerusalem will be the capital of the world (Revelation 20:4-6; Isaiah 2:2-3)|
|21||God will bring Israel to the place prepared and bring them out again (46:4)||In the Tribulation, God will prepare a hiding place for Israelites and will bring them out and save them (Revelation 12:14; 14:1)|
|22||Israel was loathsome to the Egyptians (46:34)||The 144,000 will be attacked by non-believers in the Tribulation but protected (Revelation 11:1-6)|
|23||Joseph chose five of the best brothers (47:2)||Jesus will choose good leaders (the two witnesses) for the 144,000 (Revelation 11:3-6)|
|24||Joseph gave his father and brothers the best of the land in Egypt (47:11)||The 144,000 will get to live in the best of the land ( Isaiah 41:18)|
|25||Joseph provided for his brothers (47:12)||The 144,000 will be taken care of by our Lord (Revelation 7:3-4; 12:14))|
|26||Israel would just sojourn and temporarily live in Goshen (47:27) while the rest suffered||The 144,000 will be temporarily protected in the hiding place (Revelation 12:5-6)|
|27||Joseph prepared and summed up all things, making Pharaoh all in all (47:13-20)||Jesus will sum all things up and make God all in all (Ephesians 1:10; Colossians 1:17-20)|
|28||Joseph’s sons (Manasseh and Ephraim) came through his gentile wife and were given full tribe status (48:5,9)||Through Jesus, gentiles who believe are considered full members of God’s people (Isaiah 8:18; Acts 28:28)|
|29||Joseph comforted those who betrayed him (50:20-21)||Jesus comforted those disciples who abandoned him at the cross (John 20:19)|
Joseph continues to transpire as a type of Christ for the Tribulation that is to come:
1. The tribulation is seven years duration and so difficulties would start for Jacob or Jews right off the seven years.
2. Joseph ruled in Egypt as Christ now rules in Heaven, and Jacob did not accept it then, as Israel now do not accept Christ.
3. Joseph had a place prepared to protect a believing Jacob for second half of the Tribulation – Goshen.
4. Benjamin was a type for the Messianic Jews to be protected under God’s care. He was special witness to Jacob.
5. Joseph’s big actions on Egypt (Chapter 47) was after Jacob was placed in Goshen, just as the last three and a half years when Israel would be placed in a safe place.
6. Pharaoh provided resources for trip to Goshen, as God will protect and lead the Jews to a safe pace in the Tribulation.
The prophetic aspect in the Book of Genesis of Joseph’s life story brings to us many valuable lessons and applications; yet there is such a profound prophetic aspect to the account that foreshadows the Messiah himself. Joseph was a type of Christ. The parallels are so striking and so dramatic that this is a powerful witness of Christ in the Old Testament. While there are some 30 parallels to bedazzle the readers referring to the end-times, tribulation and the millenium, there must be more if we would dig deeper into His words. Is it not “amazing details” that Jesus Christ our Lord, the Champion in the last book of the Bible, is so incredibly foretold in Genesis, the very first book of the Story of our Redemption?
1. Roy B Suck, Basic Bible Interpretation: A Practical Guide to Discovering Biblical Truth (1st Edn, David C Cook, 1991)
4. Image Credits: Amazon.com and Prosperopedia.com.
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