Genesis Chapter 41 Joseph as a type of Christ

            In this chapter there are a great number of parallels between Joseph and Christ:

                        1.  When Joseph was called to come before Pharaoh, he changed his raiment: 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.”  Actually Christ had two changes of raiment.  First, he laid aside his glory to come to earth and be a servant to save his people from their sins.  Second, when he ascended back on high he was restored to the glory that he had before he came to the earth.

                        2.  Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams, which dreams are a form of prophecy.  Christ, as we have previously noted, interpreted Old Testament prophecy to us in the New Testament.

                        3.  It was said of Joseph that he had the Spirit of God in him: 38 “And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?”  Jesus was said to be full of the Spirit: Luke 4:1 “And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness…”

                        4.  Joseph was appointed to be ruler of Pharaoh’s house: 40 “Thou shalt be over my house…”  Jesus is over the house of God: Heb. 3:6 “But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.”

                        5.  The people of the land of Egypt were ruled by Joseph’s word: 40 “and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled:” Likewise, we are to be ruled by the word of God: Matt. 4:4 “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

                        6.  Joseph had the authority of Pharaoh in the land of Egypt: 42 “And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand…”  Christ had all the authority of God: John 5:27 “And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.”

                        7.  Joseph was arrayed in a vesture of fine linen: 42 “…and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen…”  On the mount of transfiguration we see Jesus in glory:

Mark 9:3 “And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.”

                        8.  No man was to lift his hand or foot without Joseph: 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.”  The Lord said in John 15:5 “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

                        9.  Joseph was 30 years old when he stood before Pharaoh: 46 “And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt.”  Jesus was thirty years old when he was baptized and went to do the work that the Father had given him: Luke 3:22 “And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. 23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,”

                        10. Joseph rode in the second chariot behind Pharaoh: 43 “And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had;” Jesus also occupies the second position in the Godhead: 1 John 5:7 “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”

                        11. Joseph was set over all the land of Egypt: 41 “And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.”  Jesus rules all nations: Rev. 12:5 “And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.”

                        12. Everyone in Egypt was to bow the knee at the presence of Joseph: 43 “and they cried before him, Bow the knee:” Every knee shall bow before Jesus: Phil. 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;”

                        13. Joseph’s wife was given to him by Pharaoh: 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.”  Jesus wife is the church: Eph. 5:23 “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it…”  The church in this passage consists of the entire elect family of God and the Father gave them unto the Son: John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. 30 I and my Father are one.”

                        14. When Joseph’s oldest son Manasseh was born he said: 51 “For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house.”  Thus, Joseph was made to forget his sufferings and the sinful actions of his father’s house.  Likewise, we read of the effects of the work of Jesus: Heb. 10:17 “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” 

                        15. When Joseph’s younger son Ephraim was born he said, 52 “For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.”  John 12:24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”  Jesus compared himself to a corn of wheat that fell into the ground and died.  Through his death he brought forth much fruit.  Jesus was fruitful in the land of his affliction.

                        16. Others were commanded by Pharaoh concerning Joseph, 55 “Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do.”  Similarly, the mother of Jesus said unto the servants: John 2:5 “His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.”

                        17. Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea… without number: 49 “And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number.”  In the morning of the resurrection Jesus will gather his elect unto him and they will be like the sand of the sea, without number: Rev. 7:9 “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.”

                        18.  All countries came unto Joseph to buy food during the years of famine: 57 “And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands.”  There was no other place to go to buy corn as Joseph had control over all the storehouse of corn.  Likewise, we must go to Jesus for spiritual blessings as all spiritual blessings are in Jesus: Eph. 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:” 

Genesis Chapter 41  The Providence of God

            The providence of God is manifest in the event described in this chapter.  God’s providence is not to be confused with God’s omniscience.  God knows all things past, present and future.  This is his omniscience.  However, God’s omniscience is not the cause of all things.  God is not the author of confusion.  The ultimate confusion is sin.  God is not the author or cause of confusion.  Some seem to think that if God knew about something beforehand then he must be the cause of it.  That just simply is not so as we have already noted that God is not the author of confusion, yet he knew about confusion beforehand. 

            The providence of God works hand in hand with his omniscience.  In previous chapters in Genesis God made promises to Abraham and to Joseph.  In Chapter 15, for instance, God revealed to Abraham: Gen. 15:13 “And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years…”  Of course, when this was revealed to Abraham he did not even possess a seed except by the promise of God.  Moreover, God promised to Joseph in two dreams (Chapter 37) that his brethren would come and do obeisance unto him.  Before either promise could come to pass certain things had to happen.  Among those things that would have to happen were the following two things:

                        1.  The promised descendants of Abraham had to come into Egypt.  They were in Canaan at the time of the beginning of Chapter 40. 

                        2.  Joseph would have to ascend into a position of authority, before his brethren would come and do obeisance unto him.

            Before those things could come to pass, God’s omniscience and his providence would work together to bring these things to pass.  Below are listed some things that God did not cause but through his omniscience he knew would come to pass:

                        1.  God did not cause the brethren of Joseph to sell him into bondage, but he knew that they would.

                        2.  God did not cause Potiphar to buy Joseph as a slave from the Ishmaelites, but he knew that he would.

                        3.  God did not cause Potiphar’s wife to lust after Joseph and then to lie about him to cover up her own wickedness, but God knew that she would. 

                        4.  God did not cause Potiphar to have Joseph committed to the prison where the king’s prisoners were kept, but he knew he would.

                        5.  God did not cause the servants of Pharaoh to offend against Pharaoh, but he knew they would and that Pharaoh would have them cast into the prison where Joseph was. 

                        6.  God did not cause the butler to forget about Joseph’s request until Pharaoh had his dreams, but he knew he would.

                        7.  God did not cause Pharaoh to appoint Joseph to his position of being over the storehouse of food, and to be second only to Pharaoh in the kingdom, but God knew that he would.

            Next, we look at some things that God did in providence to bring about his desired purpose that worked together with God’s foreknowledge:

                        1.  God gave Joseph the gift of being able to interpret dreams.

                        2.  God gave to each of the king’s prisoners a dream that troubled them. 

                        3.  God gave to Pharaoh two dreams that troubled him. 

                        4.  God gave seven years of great abundance of corn in the land of Egypt.

                        5.  Following the seven years of great abundance, God sent seven years of famine upon all the earth. 

            Through God’s foreknowledge and through his providence God worked to bring about the fulfillment of his promises to Abraham and to Joseph.  He also worked to bring about the fulfillment of the dreams of the butler, the baker, and Pharaoh.   

Genesis Chapter 41 Joseph Uses His Gift

            Joseph’s use of his gift that God had given him is an example of how that we should use the gifts that God has given us.  Joseph used his gift both in this chapter and in the previous chapter to interpret dreams that God had given to the butler, the baker, and to Pharaoh. 

            The following points can be made about Joseph’s use of his gift to interpret dreams:

                        1.  Joseph did not have the ability or gift to interpret dreams except God had given him the gift. Gen. 41:15 “And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it. 16 And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.”  God had given Joseph the ability to interpret dreams that God had given.

                        2.  Joseph gave the credit, praise, and glory to God as Joseph told Pharaoh: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.

                        3.  When opportunity from God arose, Joseph used his gift.  He did this when he interpreted the dreams of the baker and of the butler and of Pharaoh.  He did not hide his gift, but he used it. 

            Like to Joseph, we should use the gifts that God has given us.  We should recognize that the gifts come from God.  We should be ready to use them when opportunity arises.  We should also give all the praise, honor, and glory to God for his gifts and for our ability to use those gifts.

            In addition to the gift of being able to interpret dreams, God gave to Joseph wisdom: Gen. 41:32 “And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass. 33 Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. 34 Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. 35 And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. 36 And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine. 37 And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants. 38 And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? 39 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath showed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art…”

            Pharaoh recognized that the Spirit of God was dwelling in Joseph and that God had given him much wisdom in his advice to Pharaoh.  Therefore, Pharaoh promoted Joseph to be second only to Pharaoh in the kingdom and to be in charge of providing bread for the people. 

            `Like Joseph, when we manifest the wisdom that God gives us then God will bring us to the places that we need to be to better serve him.