The Parable of Joseph - Part 1
January 15, 2012
Of all of the people in the Scriptures, none give a clearer prophetic picture of our Messiah, Yeshua than Joseph. In fact, throughout Jewish history, many rabbis, Jewish biblical scholars and sages, have agreed and written that the story of Joseph has many prophetic ramifications to the coming of the Messiah and of the restoration of Israel. Although of course, they do not see Yeshua as the Suffering Messiah that has come or the Reigning Messiah that is too come. There are two pictures of the Messiah in the Bible. One is the “Messiah ben David” or the “Reigning Messiah the Son of David” who is the coming King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He will sit on the throne of David and reign forever in Jerusalem as God promised to King David; conquering and vanquishing all of Israel’s enemies and bringing peace to the whole world. The Bible also shows a Messiah that is “the suffering Servant” found in the end of Isaiah, Psalm 22 and 88, and many other passages in the Old Testament - the Messiah who would be “cut off” from His people found in the prophecy of Daniel. He is called by John the Baptist in the New Testament as the Lamb of God that takes away (or upon Himself) the sins of the world.
The story of Joseph at the end of the book of Genesis is one of the great literary pinnacles of the whole Bible. Even Bible scholars who do not believe in the Divine authorship of the Scriptures are in agreement that, as a story, it has few equals. We know, however, that The Holy One, the Most High God, the “Ancient of Days” dictated the words of the Torah to Moses. It is all true and without error or fault, both historically and prophetically in its’ every detail.
Like all of Scripture, there are many layers of meaning, revelation, and applications in the story of Joseph. But, in particular, there is a parable hidden within this story that is truly amazing. The Holy Spirit shows the entire history and the future of Yeshua the Messiah of Israel through Joseph’s life experiences.
First of all, there is a long delay before Rachel stops being barren and becomes pregnant with Joseph. Then, it says that God “listened to” and “remembered” Rachel and she conceived. God “hears” everything and doesn’t “forget” anything. These are covenant words referring to a special promise and timing of God. In the same way, it is written, “In the fullness of time” Mary conceived and brought forth a Son supernaturally while still a virgin. It is also interesting that the husband of Miriam (Mary), the mother of Yeshua our Messiah, was named…Joseph!
The patriarch Joseph was the most highly favored and loved of all of Jacob’s sons. He was the son of his old age. This is a Hebrew idiom for the inheritor of the highest blessing from the father. Yeshua is “the only Begotten Son of God.” (John 3:18) In Genesis 37:2, it says that Joseph “brought a bad report of them” (his other brothers) to Jacob. Yeshua brought the bad news of his family’s sin (the nation of Israel) before the Father in heaven.
In Genesis 3:3, it says that Israel (Jacob) loved Joseph more than all his children and made a coat of many colors for him. This is another picture of Yeshua being loved by the Father above all the “sons” of the nation of Israel. The coat of many colors also has the promise of covenant (the rainbow) and the royalty of his position as Messiah King over his brothers, or the twelve tribes of Israel.
In Genesis 37:4, it is written, “And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably to him.” This is exactly how Israel treated Yeshua in His life on earth. It is written in Isaiah 53: “He is despised and rejected of men…and we hid as it were our faces from Him; he was despised, and we esteemed Him not.” In Psalm 22:7-8 it is written, “All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, saying, He trusted in the Lord to deliver him: let him deliver him seeing he delighted in him”. That is a prophecy of Yeshua on the cross. They could not speak anything but derision and hatred for Him because of jealousy of the Father’s love upon Him.
In Genesis 37:5-11, Joseph dreams two dreams and tells them to his family. They hate him even more. The first dream concerns a harvest in the natural realm: sheaves of wheat tied into bundles. They surround Joseph’s sheaf and bow to him in subservience and reverence. The second concerns the heavenly realm, or spiritual realm. The sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bow before Joseph’s star. This shows not only dominion and reigning over his brothers in their physical life, but in eternity also. Yeshua is “a dreamer” in the same way as Joseph in that he was constantly living in the visionary world of what the Heavenly Father was showing Him. According to Joseph’s dreams, he would reign over his brothers in their earthly lives and he would be worshiped by his brothers for ever. Only Yeshua the Messiah qualifies to be worshiped by Jacob, Rachel, and the twelve tribes of Israel forever.
In Genesis 37:13-14, Jacob sends Joseph to his brothers, saying: “Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and well with their flocks; and bring me word again.” In the same way, the Father in heaven sent Yeshua to his brethren into the earth or “the wilderness” to “seek and to save” those who were “the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” He is “the Good Shepherd”. (John 10:11)
In verse 18 His eleven brothers “…conspire to slay him”. The Sanhedrin and the leaders of Israel conspired to slay Yeshua the Messiah.
In verse 20, they plan to, “…cast him into some pit”. Yeshua was buried in a tomb and abandoned.
Verse 20, continues, “and we will say, Some evil beast has devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.” They made up a story about Yeshua’s body being stolen away by his followers and bribed the Roman soldiers who were guarding the tomb to lie and to say He did not rise from the dead. The “dreams” of Messiah would then never be fulfilled of salvation for Israel and the nations.
In verses 21-23, Reuben intercedes for Joseph and offers another alternative than murder. Instead, he tries to make a way to rescue Joseph in secret out of their evil plot. This is a picture showing that a remnant of Jews in Yeshua’s day would believe in Him and try to stop His being murdered. But, only a few of Israel’s leaders believed in Him, like Nicodemus, and would only acknowledge Him in secret. Nevertheless, Joseph was not rescued. Neither was Yeshua.
Verse 23: “And…they strip Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colors that was on him;” Israel stripped the Father’s glory off of Yeshua by rejecting Him as Messiah. The Romans finished the job by stripping him of his physical robe. He hung on the cross naked both spiritually and physically. He cried on the cross, quoting Psalm 22:1: “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
Verse 24: And they took him and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.” Yeshua was abandoned and went into hell…Psalm 22:6 – “Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps.” The empty pit is symbolic of being cast out from God’s presence. The lack of water is symbolic of both extreme thirst (Yeshua cried, “I thirst.” on the cross) and the total absence of blessing or provision of God. He paid the penalty of Adam’s high treason for three days and three nights – in the lowest pit of hell - before he conquered death and hell and rose from the dead.
Verse 27: “Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmelites, and let not our hand be upon him;” Yeshua was betrayed for thirty pieces of silver by Judas’ kiss, then by the leaders of Israel in His mock trial, then by the people when they shouted “crucify Him” and “let His blood be upon us and our children”, and finally “sold” to the Romans as a slave to be crucified.
Verse 27: (continued) “And his brethren were content.” The Sanhedrin and the Jewish leaders as well as the vast majority of the people of Israel were fully in agreement and content to accept Yeshua’s being sold into slavery, torture, and death to the Romans.
Verse 28: “…and they drew and lifted up Joseph…and sold Joseph to the Ishmelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.” A repeat of the above…adding the price of the betrayal…just like Judas’ “thirty pieces of silver” – only ten pieces less. Showing that the Messiah is of greater value, but not to His brothers.
Verse 29: “And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent (tore) his clothes.” Peter and John returned to the empty tomb and did not find the body of Yeshua. They did find two different cloths though. Yeshua’s burial clothes, and His head wrap. Two “torn” pieces of cloth are all that remain. “He is not here. He is risen!” (Matthew 28:6). This is a picture of the “Head”- Yeshua Himself – being separated from the rest of His body…the believers on earth - until His coming back for His Body and Bride. Then we will be together in union forever! This is also a picture of the recognition by the remnant of Israel of the Messiah at the time of His passion. One “brother” believes in Yeshua enough to try to save Him of the all sons of Israel.
Verse 30: “And he (Reuben) returned unto his brethren, and said, ‘The child is not; and I, whither shall I go?’” This is extremely meaningful on several levels. First, Israel missed her time of visitation of the Messiah, and was sent into exile among the nations for 2000 years. We did not know where to go, wandering from nation to nation in mourning. In the Talmud and other great writings of the rabbis, this phrase, “Whither shall I go?” is interpreted (and even sung!) as a lament of Jewish suffering and mourning of the Jewish people in all of our tragic history and especially while in the Diaspora. But, they do not offer the same clarity of commentary on the phrase preceding, “the child is not.” I believe that the rejection of the Suffering Servant Messiah, or “the Child” is directly connected to the suffering and mourning of the Jewish people. Of course, it is also a clear picture of the mourning and suffering of the Heavenly Father when He had to turn His back on His only Son when He became sin on the cross. Jacob is also a picture of the Heavenly Father’s grief loss when “He gave His only begotten Son” to save fallen mankind from eternal hell. It cost the Heavenly Father everything to rescue and save us from eternal death in the lake of fire.
In verses 31-35, Joseph’s brothers make up a lie and convince their father Jacob that an “evil beast” killed Joseph in the wilderness. They kill a goat “in Joseph’s place” and dip his coat of many colors in it and send it to “their father”. Jacob identifies the coat he gave to Joseph, and says, “it is my son’s coat; and evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces.” Then Jacob mourns for many days and cannot be comforted by his sons and daughters. There is a direct connection with the scapegoat here. The Torah states that once a year a goat without blemish is to be chosen to bear the sins of Israel. The High Priest lays hands on it and transfers the national sins upon the head of this animal, and it is then sent into the wilderness to die in the place of the nation. But this goes a step further with the shedding of its’ blood and the blood covering the coat of covenant promise from the Father. The whole plan of redemption is hidden in this part of the story of Joseph on several levels. Also, again, we see the enormous cost and grief that the death of Yeshua brought to the Heavenly Father. The “evil beast” is Satan and his demons that, torment Yeshua on the cross, then devour Him and drag his spirit into hell to be tormented until the price for the penalty of man’s sin has been paid in full. This is further expanded in Psalm 22: “Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: (Yeshua on the cross!) my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me; the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: THEY PIERCED MY HANDS AND MY FEET. I MAY TELL ALL MY BONES; they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.” Those demonic monsters are more terrible than our worst nightmares. Evil beasts are just that: evil demonic beasts.
Then, chapter 38 of the book of Genesis seems way out of place here. Why is the story of Joseph totally interrupted? It seems at first to be out of place because the story of Joseph continues in chapter 39 as if chapter 38 wasn’t there. Chapter 38 is the story of Judah and sexual immorality. Why is this here? I had no idea. So, I asked my Teacher, the wonderful Holy Spirit. This is what he showed me:
Judah is the one tribe that was and is the most faithful to God in all of Israel’s history. King David and the Messiah Yeshua came from this tribe. Judah is the only tribe that has kept its’ identity with God into modern times. In fact, the word “jew” comes from “Judah”. We do know the identity of some of the priestly line through Levi and some Jewish people can also claim belonging to Levi through unique DNA coding found in Aaron’s high priestly family as well as by family names like Cohen, Levine, Siegel, Levitz, Levinson, and others. The rest of the tribes are called “the lost tribes of Israel”. But, God never loses anything. He knows where they are, though their identity is not known at this time. Where are the other 10 lost tribes? I don’t know. If someone teaches you that some present or past group or nation is one of these lost tribes, they are in error. We as human beings really don’t know. The Scriptures do not give us enough information to know this. This is one of the secrets belonging to God. However, in the coming Tribulation period, as well as in the ages to come, they shall be revealed and come forth. They have been supernaturally preserved by God. They have also been hidden in the nations by God until the fullness of time comes for them to come forth.
I said all this as a backdrop to comment on this chapter in Genesis. The whole chapter is sex, sex, and more sex. It’s not only the history of the man Judah, Tamar and this family. It is also the about the spiritual condition of the tribe of Judah down through history. Sexual sin is a clear indicator of spiritual idolatry. In fact, the reason why there is ALWAYS sexual perversion and sin where there is idolatry, pagan religions, as well as in “Christian” cults, false doctrine and teaching - even among God’s people - is because that when there is spiritual adultery, there will be natural adultery. Sex for man and woman is connected to worship. Union is the law of worship. We become like what we worship and we are joined in union with whatever we worship. So, Judah goes out and joins himself in union with false gods and demons of the pagan world around him or “Canaan”…he commits idolatry from generation to generation. But, in spite of this, God still keeps His promises in covenant to Israel through Judah. The Messianic line of Yeshua is still preserved by God’s ordained, supernatural plan. I believe that is the prophetic revelation of chapter 38 in this context.
I will continue this revelation teaching in part 2 of “Joseph in Egypt” coming soon.
May the Lord continue to richly bless you in His grace and love,
In our Messiah,