Foundational Themes in Genesis – Study 96

Theme: Spiritual glorification (Part 6) 

(Key Verses: Gen 41:39-57: Gen 42:1-24)

The life of Joseph provides us with a beautiful picture of what the elect of God is to endure to eventually reach their place of rulership over their flesh and all its pride and lusts (Rom 6:14). This rulership of God’s elect will also be fulfilled in the symbolic thousand-year reign on earth and through the work of the elect being the lake of fire for all the rest of humanity (1Co 6:2-3: Rev 20:4-15). Within this theme of spiritual glorification we see that we are ordained by God to suffer at the hand of our brothers and to be placed into slavery and captivity in our Egypt, which all points to our time in bondage or prison of flesh (Exo 2:23; Exo 20:2; Pro 5:22; Rom 6:20; Rev 11:8). In the final section of Joseph’s story we see him being summoned to appear before the Pharaoh:

Gen 41:14 Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh.

Hair and the raiment connect spiritually with a covering. Shaving and having a change in raiment in this case with Joseph is God’s way of saying that a new way of living is about to be brought to Joseph. We also shave ourselves and change our raiment when we acknowledge we are inadequate to provide a proper covering for our spiritual nakedness and when we depend solely on God to cover us with Christ and His righteous mind (Gen 3:21; Lev 13:29-34; Num 6:1-21; Deu 21:11-13; Job 1:20-22; 1Co 2:14). This covering of Christ is how God ordains it for His elect to be placed in a position to rule over our Egypt (1Jn 2:16; Rom 6:1-14). After Joseph told the Pharaoh the meaning of his two dreams and revealed a plan of how Egypt will be saved from the approaching famine, Joseph was given the rulership in Egypt under the throne of the Pharaoh:

Gen 41:39 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art:
Gen 41:40 Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou.

Joseph is a type of Christ, and the way the Pharaoh appoints Joseph as a ruler under him clarifies the relationship between the Father and Jesus for us, as it also indicates the relationship between Christ and His elect (Joh 10:29; Joh 13:16; 1Co 11:3; Eph 1:22; Eph 4:15). The Pharaoh is therefore a type of the Father of Christ in these passages in Genesis:

Joh 14:28 Ye have heard how I [Jesus] said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.

Joseph’s dreams while in his father’s house back in Canaan is coming into fulfillment as he moved from being a seventeen-year old slave sold by his brothers, having to go through much tribulation to be the powerful ruler in Egypt at the age of thirty (Gen 37:2; Gen 41:46). The elect of God start off as babes in Christ under carnal dominion, but through much tribulations they are equipped to receive and handle the Godly covering and authority over their own Egypt (1Co 3:1-3; Heb 5:12-14; Heb 6:1-3; Rom 6:1-23):

Gen 41:41 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.
Gen 41:42 And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck;
Gen 41:43 And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt.
Gen 41:44 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.

After being given rulership by the Pharaoh, Joseph was also given a wife by this very Pharaoh who also gave Joseph a new name:

Gen 41:45 And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphnathpaaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt.
Gen 41:46 And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt.

As Joseph was given an Egyptian wife, so is the Father giving Jesus a bride of flesh and bone at this time (Eph 5:30-32). Jesus is not unfamiliar with flesh because He created it (Gen 2:7; Joh 1:1-3; Col 1:16-17). He indeed attached Himself to flesh as He himself came in this “body of sin” and He “took part of the same…flesh and blood” of His bride (Rom 6:6; Heb 2:14; 1Jn 4:1-2; 2Jn 1:7). Jesus experienced death in all its facets, while He never committed any sin or transgression while in this Egypt (Rom 7:24; Rev 1:8; Rev 1:11; Rev 1:18):

2Co 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Jesus came to take out a small remnant who will be the first to receive His righteousness and behold His glory through the grace and truth of the Father (Mat 22:14; Eph 1:4-12):

Joh 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt [Greek tense here is in the aorist] among us, (and we beheld[Greek tense here is also in the aorist] his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

The Greek aorist tense conveys a statement of fact which is not limited to a specific time. If we can receive these powerful words in these scriptures, then we will appreciate being the bride of Jesus while we behold His righteousness, and also how we should treasure the Christ as a precious gift from the Father (Mat 13:44-46; Joh 6:44; Joh 17:6):

Rev 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
Rev 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Rev 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
Rev 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

All former things are passing away indeed, and we also see this in the name Joseph gave to his firstborn son birthed to him by his wife, Asenath:

Gen 41:50 And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him.
Gen 41:51 And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house.

The second son was named Ephraim:

Gen 41:52 And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.

This is what the first resurrection is about – “to be fruitful in the land of [our] affliction”. The first resurrection is reserved for God’s few elect who will indeed forget the times of turmoil in the houses and prisons of flesh. They will be fruitful as they will rule on the earth in the symbolic thousand years. This is how the apostle Paul articulates the same mindset of those who are focussed on that high prize:

Php 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
Php 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

These two sons, in this case, also link to the witness of God’s blessing on Egypt within the first seven years:

Gen 41:47 And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls.
Gen 41:48 And he gathered up all the food of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities: the food of the field, which was round about every city, laid he up in the same.
Gen 41:49 And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number.

After the first resurrection, there will be a symbolic thousand year reign for God’s elect and that period on earth connects with these “plenteous years” in Egypt:

Rev 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
Rev 20:5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
Rev 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

The “second death” mentioned here points to the judgment in the lake of fire which will come to all who were not in the first resurrection. The world in Joseph’s day did not know about the famine that was coming, even as they are also unaware of their spiritual poverty in this fleshly age. That is why God ordained a judgment for them where they will come to receive the fiery words from the mouth of God’s elect. Even those in the house of Jacob (physical Israel and all those in self-righteous spiritual Babylon) will have to acknowledge that they did not have God’s spiritual food and life (Gal 4:25-26). They will acknowledge that they are “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” and they are guilty of the blood of the Christ (Rev 3:17-18; Rev 11:8):

Jer 5:11 For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have dealt very treacherously against me, saith the LORD.
Jer 5:12 They have belied the LORD, and said, It is not he; neither shall evil come upon us; neither shall we see sword nor famine:
Jer 5:13 And the prophets shall become wind, and the word is not in them: thus shall it be done unto them.
Jer 5:14 Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.

Everyone will be devoured by God’s fire from the mouth of God’s elect, even as all flesh will appear before God and His elect who will be, like Joseph, clothed in “fine linen, clean and white” (Rev 19:8; Rev 19:14):

Rev 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

In the story of Joseph we see a few important aspects mentioned in these final chapters of the book of Genesis which will help us to see how God will provide for all through this judgement process. We only learn of God’s spiritual provision and His righteousness through judgment:

Isa 26:9 With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

Joseph’s thirteen years under God’s judgment prepared him to give the Pharaoh the right advice. For Egypt, and of course the whole world, this time of provision would be impossible if Joseph did not go through that time. This is the reason why judgment is first given to the church of God, who is His elect:

1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

The question “what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” shall be answered through these final chapters in the book of Genesis, as designed by God. Joseph was exalted as a type of the spiritual exaltation of Christ through whom also “the end” is concluded:

Rev 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

“The ending” for all is to see Jesus and acknowledge Him as Lord over all things through the spirit of the Father in us (1Co 12:3):

Php 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
Php 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
Php 2:11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

What will be seen in the lives of the family of Joseph and the people of Egypt as representatives of all in the world, typifies this fiery judgment through which all will be saved, each at their appointed time (1Co 15:22-28; 1Pe 4:17; Rev 20:12-15). Judgment is the merciful process of God where our sins and self-righteous hearts are revealed to us, and God’s righteous fire burns out all of self (the “wood, hay and stubble” as per 1Co 3:12). Then we are in a position to accept His Word which enables us to experience spirit life (the “gold, silver and precious stones” as per 1Co 3:12). To the flesh this process of judgment will always appear as unloving and cruel, and it is also so if we cannot see that God’s love always chastens every son He receives to bring forth His life:

1Co 11:32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord…

Heb 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth [Greek: “paideuō” = discipline/chasten], and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

Although Joseph’s forgiving heart cannot be questioned, the way Joseph tormented his brothers to reveal their own hearts before he revealed himself to them is very significant in the way God works with us (Rev 14:10). Forgiveness and spiritual liberty is intimately linked to judgment and restitution, as it all forms an integral part of the grace and mercy of God (Exo 22:1-15; Lev 6:1-7; Jas 2:12-13). Even the way Joseph systematically brought the Egyptians to their knees and took everything they owned, gives us much spiritual insight to our own lives.

But we will first look at how Joseph dealt with his family, especially his ten brothers while they were forced to go to Egypt to buy provisions. Certain significant patterns are picked up in these stories which are repeated several times in the final chapters in Genesis. We read about specific commandments that were given at various stages which were then followed with journeys back and forth between Egypt and Canaan where interesting things are unveiled and discussed. Then there are also several occasions where the giving of an account was expected.

It all started when Jacob gave the first command to his ten sons while the famine was extreme in Canaan:

Gen 42:1 Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt, Jacob said unto his sons, Why do ye look one upon another?
Gen 42:2 And he said, Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die.
Gen 42:3 And Joseph’s ten brethren went down to buy corn in Egypt.
Gen 42:4 But Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, Jacob sent not with his brethren; for he said, Lest peradventure mischief befall him.
Gen 42:5 And the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those that came: for the famine was in the land of Canaan.

This command of Jacob was then followed by the first journey of his ten sons to Egypt:

Gen 42:6 And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph’s brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.

Here we see how Joseph’s dream in his childhood days of his brothers bowing down to him is first fulfilled without them even being aware of this:

Gen 42:7 And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, and spake roughly unto them; and he said unto them, Whence come ye? And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food.
Gen 42:8 And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him.
Gen 42:9 And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them….

The reason why it is written that Joseph deliberately “made himself strange to them, and spoke roughly to them” is to emphasize the truth that flesh (or the natural man) can never recognize or understand spiritual things and will always see God’s ways as cruel and unjust (Mat 25:24). This is also how God shows Himself to the froward:

1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Psa 18:26 With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward.

Joseph accused his brothers of being spies:

Gen 42:9 And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them, and said unto them, Ye are spies [Hebrew: râgal]; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come.

The Hebrew word “râgal” translated here as “spies” can also mean “tale bearers”, “slanders” or “backbite” (2Sa 19:27; Psa 15:3). Here is Dr Strong’s explanation of this word “râgal”:

H7270 – râgal: A primitive root; to walk along; but only in specific applications, to reconnoitre, to be a tale bearer (that is, slander); also (as denominative from H7272) to lead about: – backbite, search, slander, (e-) spy (out), teach to go, view.

And of course these ten brothers indeed committed slanders or evil things against their father and Joseph which Joseph also reported to his father at times:

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 [dibbâh = slander/defaming/evil report/infamy].

But at this stage these ten brothers could not give a truthful account of this to Joseph, even while calling themselves “true” men:

Gen 42:10 And they said unto him, Nay, my lord, but to buy food are thy servants come.
Gen 42:11 We are all one man’s sons; we are true men, thy servants are no spies.

But Joseph repeated his accusation for their attention:

Gen 42:12 And he said unto them, Nay, but to see the nakedness of the land ye are come.

With this pressure from Joseph more is revealed by them, yet not the whole truth:

Gen 42:13 And they said, Thy servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and, behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not.

Joseph repeated his accusation for a third time, but now he added a test (or trial):

Gen 42:14 And Joseph said unto them, That is it that I spake unto you, saying, Ye are spies:
Gen 42:15 Hereby ye shall be proved [Hebrew: “bâchan” = test/trial]: By the life of Pharaoh ye shall not go forth hence, except your youngest brother come hither.
Gen 42:16 Send one of you, and let him fetch your brother, and ye shall be kept in prison, that your words may be proved [Hebrew: “bâchan” = test/trial], whether there be any truth in you: or else by the life of Pharaoh surely ye arespies.

It is through testing or trials that our deceitful hearts and our deepest secrets are forced to be placed in a position where we are openly confronted with it. Joseph knew what they were hiding even as God knows our deceitful hearts more than we can acknowledge in times of darkness. But God in His loving care for us needs to reveal it for our attention and salvation. This is what He did with physical Israel for our learning:

Deu 8:1 All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers.
Deu 8:2 And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.

Joseph placed his brothers in jail for three days, as ‘three days’ also points to us that this revelation of our evil hearts takes a process (the number three spiritually indicates the process of judgment):

Gen 42:17 And he put them all together into ward three days.
Gen 42:18 And Joseph said unto them the third day, This do, and live; for I fear God:
Gen 42:19 If ye be true men, let one of your brethren be bound in the house of your prison: go ye, carry corn for the famine of your houses:
Gen 42:20 But bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die. And they did so.

This deeper and more intensified level of this trial opened up their hearts further to give an account of what they did to Joseph back in Canaan. Our sin will find us out as our own evil will correct us (Num 32:23; Jer 2:19):

Gen 42:21 And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.
Gen 42:22 And Reuben answered them, saying, Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? therefore, behold, also his blood is required.

Joseph being still unknown to them was listening to them when they thought he could not understand:

Gen 42:23 And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter.

The elect of God can hear things when others are totally unaware of what their hearts and words reveal. But the elect will never rejoice in the humiliation of others, but rather have deep love and true compassion on those who are judged to receive life (Job 31:28-30; Pro 24:17; Eze 18:23; Mat 6:12; Mat 18:21-22; Mat 5:21-24):

1Co 13:4 (CEV) Love is kind and patient, never jealous, boastful, proud, or rude.
1Co 13:5 (CEV) Love isn’t selfish or quick tempered. It doesn’t keep a record of wrongs that others do.
1Co 13:6 (CEV) Love rejoices in the truth, but not in evil.
1Co 13:7 (CEV) Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting.

Rom 11:31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.

This is what we see in the actions of Joseph:

Gen 42:24 And he turned himself about from them, and wept….

In our next discussion, God willing, we will continue with the other commands, journeys and also the occasions where the giving of an account was expected in the lives of the family of Joseph.

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Want let op julle roeping, broeders: julle is nie baie wyse na die vlees nie, nie baie magtiges, nie baie edeles nie; maar wat dwaas is by die wêreld, het God uitverkies om die wyse te beskaam; en wat swak is by die wêreld, het God uitverkies om wat sterk is, te beskaam; en wat onedel is by die wêreld en wat verag is, het God uitverkies, en wat niks is nie, om wat iets is, tot niet te maak, sodat geen vlees voor Hom sou roem nie. (1Kor 1:26-29)
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