Theme: Spiritual glorification (Part 3)
(Key Verses: Gen 37:3-11)
Genesis is the book of beginnings or the book of generations, and here God established certain principles which are foundational in our spiritual growth. We know that the end of a thing is better than its beginning, but the beginning initiates the process (Ecc 7:8). Through the first man Adam God focusses on the generations of certain individuals in this book – among these the names of Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob stand out before we come to the last section of Genesis. In this last section of Genesis we meet one of Jacob’s sons, namely Joseph, and all this man had to endure to reach rulership. Genesis highlights the process in us of being brought from spiritual darkness to the marvelous light of Christ of which the first chapter gives us a general overview (Jer 18:4; Joh 1:1-5; Act 26:18; 1Co 15:22; Eph 1:17-23; Eph 5:8). Here are the first five verses of chapter 1 of Genesis which introduce this whole salvation process through Christ, the beginning and end of this process (Col 1:13-17; Joh 1:1-4; Rev 1:8; Rev 3:14):
Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
Gen 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Gen 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
Gen 1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
Gen 1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
So with each of these main characters mentioned in Genesis, we see a part of our own spiritual development through the main themes connected to them. The life of Joseph connects with the theme of spiritual glorification which is the ultimate purpose of God for all in Adam. But this spiritual glorification is first reserved for God’s elect, and through Joseph we can see different aspects highlighted for our learning. The first aspect we dealt with in an earlier study was the fact that Joseph was not in accord with the evil deeds of his ten brothers, and he made that known to his father:
Gen 37:2 These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.
These evil thoughts and deeds of the brothers of Joseph point to all the false doctrines preached by our brethren in spiritual captivity in Babylon, which has a form of knowledge, but instruct in foolishness to bring insult to the holy character of our heavenly Father:
Rom 2:20 An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.
Rom 2:21 Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?
Rom 2:22 Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?
Rom 2:23 Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?
Rom 2:24 For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.
Jacob also loved Joseph more than his other children and gave him a special coat which relates to the glorious reward of the righteousness of God bestowed on His elect through the gift of the faith of Christ (Rom 1:17; Rom 3:22; Eph 2:8-10; Gal 2:16; Php 3:9):
Gen 37:3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.
Gen 37:4 And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.
God’s Word is a parable to the natural mind, and the purpose of this parable, and all written in God’s Word, is to keep the multitude away from spiritual truths:
Mat 13:1 The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.
Mat 13:2 And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.
Mat 13:3 And he spake many things unto them in parables….
Mat 13:34 All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them.
Mat 13:10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
Mat 13:11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
As with the cloud in the wilderness, all parables bring either light to the few elected ones, or darkness to the multitudes which are those with a fleshly or carnal understanding of things, typified by Egypt:
Exo 14:20 And it [the pillar of the cloud] came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.
This brings us to another important aspect which is highlighted in Joseph’s life. God indeed speaks to people in general through many parables, and dreams are but one way of doing this as seen in the life of Joseph:
Gen 37:5 And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.
Dreams are used by God to either be an obstacle (an idol of the heart) to some, or a light on our path to spiritual glorification. Dreams are therefore a spiritual tool to bring separation in order for God to work with His elect to establish His kingdom in them first of all. The theme of dreams is therefore intimately connected with the theme of spiritual glorification as seen in six instances where dreams were important catalysts in the life of Joseph to bring him to rulership. This also helps us to see how God will establish His rulership through His elect on the earth and “bring into one the whole in the Christ”:
Eph 1:9 (YLT) having made known to us the secret of His will, according to His good pleasure, that He purposed in Himself,
Eph 1:10 (YLT) in regard to the dispensation of the fulness of the times, to bring into one the whole in the Christ, both the things in the heavens, and the things upon the earth–in him.
All dreams reveal spiritual symbols which should be interpreted according to other spiritual concepts in the scriptures alone. But we all start off with understanding the spiritual principles and meanings from the things that are made in the physical creation:
Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.
Through this knowledge we develop understanding of spiritual concepts which is then used by the spirit of God to teach us how to compare and connect one spiritual thing with another spiritual aspect in Scripture to keep us safe from going beyond what is written, and preventing us from becoming entangled in carnal and temporal things (Pro 26:11; Luk 5:39; Gal 3:1-3; 2Pe 2:20-22):
1Co 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
Joh 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
1Co 4:6 And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.
This is also revealed in the progressive nature of the six dreams and their interpretations in which Joseph was involved, as written down in scripture. This first dream we see in Joseph’s life is an announcement about his superior calling to his brothers. The purpose of this initial dream was therefore not only about his election above them, but also how this calling will bring about the necessary “ingredients” to fulfill his journey to the throne. One of these “ingredients” is the hatred which was caused in the darkened hearts of his brothers will be used by God to bring Joseph to Egypt:
Gen 37:6 And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed:
Gen 37:7 For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field [Hebrew: “śâdeh” or “śâday” – country, field, ground, land, soil, the wild], and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.
This is a dream which God’s elect are given to see why we are given relationships on the earth first of all, and why the elect of God are then taken up to be seated in heaven with Christ (Eph 2:6):
Rev 12:5 And she [the woman whose place God prepared in the wilderness] brought forth a man child, who was to rule [Greek: “poimainō” – tend to/shepherd] all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
It was actually Joseph’s brothers who were used to give the meaning or interpretation of these symbols in the dream of Joseph. Spiritual Babylon has limited insight in God’s words, and that is where we all start off, although they have it all from the wrong perspective as if the elect are given to rule according to worldly models of rulership (Mat 20:25-28; 2Co 1:24; Rev 3:9):
Gen 37:8 And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.
Joseph’s second dream witnessed and confirmed his high calling:
Gen 37:9 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.
With this second dream a progression is also perceived from who interpreted these dreams. First it was his brothers and now Joseph’s father is involved in the interpretation:
Gen 37:10 And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?
The rebuke of Jacob against Joseph’s dream places Jacob in this instance as an opposer or adversary to God’s purposes for Joseph. This antagonistic position of Jacob as Joseph’s father typifies the role of our first spiritual father when the truth is resisted:
Joh 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Our spiritual, dead mother is our first church experience in Babylon, in the synagogues of Satan, where God’s true elect in His spiritual Israel is rejected at this time, but they will bow to those elected by God one day (Gal 6:16):
Rev 3:9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
The symbol of stars connects spiritually to the offspring of this evil parenthood which is the role Joseph’s ten brothers fulfilled. While there is a second witness to Joseph’s rulership, and thereby a positive progression for Joseph, envy was now added to his brothers’ hatred toward him indicating a negative spiritual growth on their side:
Gen 37:11 And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.
While the new spirit man grows in us, the importance and relevance of the old man decreases all the time (Mat 10:38-39; Mar 10:29-30; Rom 12:1-2; Rev 11:15):
Joh 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
But Joseph’s glorification was not in the knowledge of these things alone, but more in the doing or application of these dreams and words (Mat 7:24-25). Even when these dreams of Joseph applied in his life, we again see that it was not fulfilled according to the false “free” will doctrine that is also part of spiritual Babylon’s slanders. The effecting of these dreams was all done according to God’s will who directs all the steps of all creatures (Jer 10:23; Pro 20:24). Joseph’s dreams of rulership also required evil that was to be done toward him, and this evil was under God’s control from start to finish, as Joseph later also revealed to his brothers (Isa 5:20; Isa 45:7):
Gen 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it [the evil] unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
God wanted Joseph on the throne in Egypt, and He gave Joseph the dreams to initiate that desire for rulership as God also will use Joseph’s wicked brothers to fulfill their part in that process:
Pro 16:4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
Spiritual glorification will be established only through bitter trials and suffering which brings the context of spiritual maturity and rulership for God’s elect. This is also how Paul saw glorification in the elected church of God (Eph 1:17-18):
2Th 1:4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure.
Joseph’s first two dreams of rulership caused him to be almost physically killed by his envious brothers, and through much tribulation he arrived in Egypt as a slave in the house of Potiphar, an officer of the Pharaoh (Gen 39:1-6). But through the false accusations by the wife of Potiphar, Joseph was then innocently held in prison (Gen 39:7-20). Here in prison we see how dreams reappear again in the life of Joseph. The third time in the scriptures that dreams are mentioned in Joseph’s life was in connection with two other dreams which the butler and the baker of the Pharaoh had while they were also in the same ward in jail where Joseph was held. The theme of dreams in Joseph’s life has now progressed to helping others with their dreams:
Gen 40:5 And they dreamed a dream both of them, each man his dream in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, which were bound in the prison.
No one could interpret their dreams, but when they told these dreams to Joseph, he knew the meaning. First there was the dream of the butler, and here again we learn so much of how God establishes these meanings and spiritual concepts written down in the book of Genesis:
Gen 40:8 And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you.
Gen 40:9 And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, In my dream, behold, a vine was before me;
Gen 40:10 And in the vine were three branches: and it was as though it budded, and her blossoms shot forth; and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes:
Gen 40:11 And Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand: and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand.
Joseph gave the interpretation of this dream which came true precisely as Joseph said:
Gen 40:12 And Joseph said unto him [the butler], This is the interpretation of it: The three branches are three days:
Gen 40:13 Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thine head, and restore thee unto thy place: and thou shalt deliver Pharaoh’s cup into his hand, after the former manner when thou wast his butler.
In this man’s dream we also see the process of the road to the throne for God’s elect, indicated by the number three. This also brings to mind how Jesus emptied Himself to come to this prison of flesh to die and to be raised to glory again (Isa 61:1; Joh 1:14):
Joh 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
The elect are the true branches of the true Vine, Christ, and our heads will be lifted and filled with the mind of Christ to bring forth fruits of righteousness (Php 1:11). But this is done through a crushing process for us as well (Gal 2:20; Php 1:29). Even as grapes are crushed to bring forth the wine, so we are crushed through the many trials for the furtherance of the gospel and to establish spiritual atonement and glorification (Lev 16:1-34; Mat 12:40; Joh 2:19; Joh 15:5-10; Joh 17:5; Php 1:12-15). This is where the second dream which Joseph heard in the prison, that of the baker, applies and how it connects with the dream of the butler:
Gen 40:16 When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he said unto Joseph, I also was in my dream, and, behold, I had three white baskets on my head:
Gen 40:17 And in the uppermost basket there was of all manner of bakemeats for Pharaoh; and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head.
Here is Joseph’s interpretation of this dream:
Gen 40:18 And Joseph answered and said, This is the interpretation thereof: The three baskets are three days:
Gen 40:19 Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee, and shall hang thee on a tree; and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee.
As the new man is lifted up to the throne, the old man decreased and is crushed (Joh 3:30). Because this baker of the Pharaoh was killed, this dream associates with death and the negative applications of all the symbols in his dream. This includes all in our old fleshly man in “the body of death” and his carnal mind (the white baskets filled with bakemeats) being progressively influenced by evil spirits represented by the birds or fowls of the air (Mat 13:4; Mat 13:19). Although this butler for two years forgot his promise to Joseph to mention his name in front of Pharaoh, his restoration was used as a precursor to what eventually would lead to Joseph’s rise to power (Gen 40:14; Gen 41:9-14). Through all these dreams God was progressively moving towards the ultimate rulership of Joseph which again came through two dreams which the Pharaoh dreamed one night. This is the third grouping of the six dreams in Joseph’s life, written down in scripture, which also indicate the process involved in the spiritual glorification of the elect. The first dream was about corn:
Gen 41:1 And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river.
Gen 41:2 And, behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, well-favored and fat-fleshed; and they fed in the reed-grass.
Gen 41:3 And, behold, seven other kine came up after them out of the river, ill-favored and lean-fleshed, and stood by the other kine upon the brink of the river.
Gen 41:4 And the ill-favored and lean-fleshed kine did eat up the seven well-favored and fat kine. So Pharaoh awoke.
Then the second dream of the Pharaoh:
Gen 41:5 And he slept and dreamed a second time: and, behold, seven ears of grain came up upon one stalk, rank and good.
Gen 41:6 And, behold, seven ears, thin and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them.
Gen 41:7 And the thin ears swallowed up the seven rank and full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and, behold, it was a dream.
These disturbing dreams were the tools God used to bring Joseph to the butler’s remembrance as not one of the wisest men of Egypt could decipher the dreams. Through the butler, Joseph was called to the Pharaoh’s attention to give the right interpretation of these two dreams:
Gen 41:25 And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, The dream of Pharaoh is one: God hath shewed Pharaoh what he is about to do.
The second dream relates to the first dream and here the spiritual connections of these symbols are also given by Joseph:
Gen 41:26 The seven good kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the dream is one.
Gen 41:27 And the seven thin and ill favoured kine that came up after them are seven years; and the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind shall be seven years of famine.
All the symbols in these two dreams of the Pharaoh were all connected and had one meaning concerning God’s Word and its complete judgement on all to bring spiritual nourishment through His elect. These last two dreams of the Pharaoh also bring the previous two groupings of two dreams to fulfillment. God also establishes the spiritual insight in His elect to see that He uses different symbols in scripture to say the same thing albeit from different perspectives and experiences. This spiritual principle also applies to so many aspects of the one truth that all things are from the one God, the Father, and He uses His Christ to bring this all back to Him eventually. All six dreams written in the scriptures as relating to Joseph’s life were about this one truth of the glorification in spirit:
1Co 8:6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
Rom 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
Rom 11:34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?
Rom 11:35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
Rom 11:36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.