Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 7
JOSEPH – SOLD INTO EGYPT: PICTURE OF CHRIST
Once again, we’re going to get into the Book, starting with Genesis 36. And now, as is always the case, you look first at the natural posterity, which in this case is Esau, and the spiritual. It’s always been the case. First Cain, and then Seth, and so on down the line. Ishmael and Isaac, and then Esau and Jacob. In Chapter 36, we won’t go through all these names. They don’t mean that much to us except for one which we find in verse 12:
“And Timna was concubine to Eliphaz, Esau’s son; and she bare to Eliphaz (who?) Amalek:”
Now, who in the world is Amalek? I’ve got you thinking haven’t I? Do you remember when Israel came out of Egypt, under Moses. They were heading down to Sinai. What was the first war they had to fight? The Amalekites. And they all stemmed from these relatives of Esau And that’s what makes it so interesting. Statistically, where do most murders take place? Within the family! Because that’s where all the affiliations are, the closeness – that’s where feelings are generated the quickest. So, consequently, it’s among that environment then, that our passions and emotions seem to get the best of us. It’s the same way here. All these relatives become arch-enemies as you follow through the Old Testament history. I just wanted to make note of the fact that the Amalekites originated from one of the offspring of Esau. Now, let’s go on over to Chapter 37, where we’ll pick up once again with Jacob.
“And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan.”
Now Jacob has come back from Haran after twenty years of herding Laban’s sheep. He came back with his wives, his eleven sons, then Rachel has Benjamin and she passes off the scene. But now, we are introduced to Joseph. And Joseph almost fills the rest of the Book of Genesis. Again, this is one of those areas of Scripture that I seldom treat verse by verse because I feel that almost everyone knows the story of Joseph better than I do. You know all that he went through down there in Egypt, and everything else. But there are a few things I’d like to point out. Let’s look at verse 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 (You remember that was one of the maid servants of the girls up in Syria), and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives; and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.”
“Now Israel (Jacob) loved Joseph more than all his children…”
I’ve put a few things on the chalk board and we’re not going to take time to look at them verse by verse. But just remind yourself that in the life of Joseph, we have so many things that (what shall I say?) will be repeated almost exactly in the life of Christ. And so Joseph is that Old Testament picture of Christ.
Number one, Christ was The Son of The Father – the Beloved Son, whom the Father loved intrinsically. And so was Joseph. Joseph was given the coat of many colors. And again, it goes back to what I taught you a few lessons ago. Why was there a special cloak given to the favored, or to the eldest son? Now Christ, of course, had a special cloak. What was unique? It was seamless. It was woven of one seam from top to bottom. Then, they were both hated and rejected by their brethren.
When Joseph tells his brothers about his various dreams; and how that he sees eleven sheaves and they all bow down to his sheaf; what did his brothers pick up? “Hey, this guy is telling us we’re going to bow down and worship him!” And that really burned them up. Now, when Christ came to the nation of Israel, what did He claim? That He was their King! And what did they say? “We have no king but Caesar. Crucify Him! Away with Him!” So they were both hated and rejected by their brethren. Then, of course, for all practical purposes, so far as type is concerned, when they cast Joseph into the pit, they considered him dead.
Now, we know that the Ishmaelites came along, and there again, you have a type of resurrection. Even though he was dead, yet, he is alive and so of course was Christ. Then after they are taken for dead and they have been restored to life, both Joseph and Christ, they take what kind of a bride? A Gentile. Joseph ends up down in Egypt and takes an Egyptian bride. Christ is exiled, you might say, from His rightful throne in Jerusalem, as the King of Israel. And He went back to heaven, and you remember what God the Father said in Psalm 110:1,“…Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.” And then He’s going to return.
The same thing happened with Joseph. He was sent down into a far country. He was rejected by his brethren. He takes an Egyptian bride, but while he’s there, you recall the brothers come down the first time to get their grain. Did they ever find out it was Joseph? No! They didn’t recognize him. And yet Joseph gave them some little hints and it just blew their minds. You know what one of them was? When he set up a banquet for them, he put them all at the table according to their age, from the eldest to the youngest. And they couldn’t believe it! They said, how does he know the eldest from the youngest? And they had no idea who Joseph was.
Now, it was the same way when Jesus came on the scene. Should they have known who He was? Sure, they should have! But they didn’t. They had no idea that He was the promised Messiah. Oh, a few did, but the nation as a whole, never understood. Keep your hand here in Genesis and go forward with me to I Corinthians, Chapter 2. Let’s continue reading at verse 7. Now, Paul of course is writing to the Gentile congregation at Corinth. Look what he says:
I Corinthians 2:7,8
“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery (Or a secret), even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory.”
In other words, there was the foreknowledge of God that Paul would be where he is.
“Which NONE of the princes of this world knew (Now that meant Romans as well as Jewish): for had they known it” (Known what? Who Jesus was) they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory.”
That stands to reason, doesn’t it? Had the Romans really known who Christ was, do you think they’d have put Him on that Cross? Never! Had the high priests of Israel known that He was the very Creator, God of the Universe, would they have allowed it? No! So why did it happen? They did not know. Now, let’s go back to Genesis and this is so beautifully put there, in type – in picture form – illustrated, that these brothers of Joseph, were totally dependent on the grain that he had gathered in the seven good years to carry them through the seven lean. And yet they had no idea of who he was. And even some of the things that transpired, sent things reeling through their mind, but they couldn’t put it together. So, as you come all the way over to Genesis 37, as they have rejected Joseph and they are conspiring to put him to death, let’s look at verse 20:
“Come now therefore, and let us slay him (Joseph), and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him, and we shall see what will become of his dreams.”
Now, when they are concocting what they are going to say, what are they setting up? A deception! And who are they going to deceive? Oh, the master of deception – Jacob! Alright, let’s go on:
“And Reuben heard it (The eldest), and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him.”
“And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness (Out there in the desert) and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands….”
In other words, Reuben was conspiring by himself to have the brethren throw him into the pit, and then when they didn’t know it, he’d go back and draw him out and send him back home. So Reuben was really trying to be a benefactor here. And he doesn’t get away with it.
“And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colors that was on him;”
“And they took him, and cast him into a pit; and the pit: was empty, there was no water in it.”
And then in verse 25, underline this
“And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmaelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.”
They threw him into a pit, and for all practical purposes, they were killing him and then they did what? They sat down! Now, what does that remind you of? When Christ was put on the Cross, what does it say they did? And they sat down and they watched him there. Isn’t that beautiful? Oh, it’s such a perfect picture of what would transpire thousands of years later. And they sat down to eat their bread. Now, let’s continue on and read the rest of 25 – we can’t skip that. “…and behold a company of Ishmaelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.” Now, let’s go on:
“And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?”
“Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh, And his brethren were content.”
“…and they drew and lifted Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver:…”
They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver; (although that number is a little different, they sold Christ for how much? Thirty pieces of silver. But, nevertheless, the analogy is so close that you can’t avoid it.)
“And Reuben returned unto the pit, and behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes.”
Reuben was responsible because he is the eldest. How can he dare go back to his father and tell him what had happened. Then we’ll see in verse 31 that they all conspire together:
“And they took Joseph’s coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood;”
Now, is the bell ringing? What did Rebekah use to deceive Isaac? The kid. Previously, I said what goes around comes around. What do the brethren use to deceive old Jacob? The kid! Now, I think little tidbits like this make this great old Book so interesting. You can’t escape some of these things. It’s always going to come back, even in these old patriarchs. What goes around comes around. And so they took the kid, and they dipped the coat of many colors in it’s blood. Let’s go on:
“And they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their father; and said, ‘This have we found: know now whether it be thy son’s coat or no.'”
“And he knew it, and said, ‘It is my son’s coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces.'”
“And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.”
And, of course, we know how that Jacob went through tremendous mourning for the loss of his son, Joseph.. And then in Chapter 39, we have all that happened to Joseph and, like I said, most of you probably know the story as well, or better, than I do. All that he went through, first in the house of Potiphar, and then because of his chastity, he ends up down in prison.
Now in Chapter 49 you get to the blessings that Jacob puts on his twelve sons. The one son that was most unchaste; the one who was the most promiscuous; who did the most awful deed was Reuben, the eldest. I know that most of you are aware of what he did. But, actually, he committed adultery with one of Jacob’s wives. And evidently nothing was ever said of it – until you get to old Jacob’s deathbed.
And then, as he begins to put the blessings on these twelve sons, he starts with Reuben, and you know what he brings to mind? He said Reuben is not going to have the birthright, or the blessing. He’s not going to be esteemed as the eldest, because he committed adultery with one of his wives. And seemingly, no one else ever knew it. So how Jacob found out, the Scripture doesn’t tell. But it came back, and Reuben suffered the consequences of it.
And then Joseph, the one who maintained his chastity back here under all the pressures, he ends up with the blessings. It was passed on to his two sons, but, nevertheless, Joseph is finally elevated to the place of seniority over all the others. God keeps records, He keeps track. Now let’s go over to Chapter 45. I surely would like to finish Genesis in this program, so we’ll be ready for Exodus when we come back for the next one. In Chapter 45 the brethren have come down to Egypt to get grain. But they’re here for the second time. And I want you to keep that in your mind, because when we get into Exodus, I’m going to refer back to this, that Israel has always got to have a second time, it seems. But now in Chapter 45, as the brethren have come up again for grain, let’s start in verse 1:
“Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, ‘Cause every man to go out from me.’ And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren.”
“And he wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard.”
He wept. A weeping of what? A reunion! I’ve always got to use another Scripture verse. Turn with me to Zechariah. The next to the last book in your Old Testament. And you’re going to have much the same thing happening when Christ returns and the nation of Israel suddenly, as a nation, will realize who He is (This is speaking of Christ, of course). And then you have this great event.
“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced (Who are the ‘they?’ Oh, The Israelites, the Jews)… and they shall mourn for him.”
There’s going to be a time for weeping. A reunion that the One they rejected, the One they crucified, the One they killed, is finally their God. And that New Covenant will become a reality, and every believing Jew will suddenly know that He is their God and they are His people. Come back quickly to Genesis 45, where we see there was a session of weeping as they begin this great reunion.
“And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, ‘I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.'”
“‘Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither:…'”
Now, remember again everything that has happened to Joseph, and a lot of it was pretty miserable. Why? Because it was all in God’s sovereign plan. There are a lot of things that God does that we can’t understand. But, you see, He does things in His own way, according to His own will. Joseph knew that. But in spite of all those horrible times he had gone through, yet the years of blessing came.
“…for God did send me before you to preserve life.”
And had it not been for Joseph in Egypt, the 12 sons would have probably faded off the scene in the famine – they would have died. But God in His providence had prepared everything. Another thing I want you to see is that when the brethren hated and rejected Joseph and put him to death (so far as they were concerned), and he ends up in Egypt; remember that all of this shows us that so often, the Lord Jesus Himself, had to go through all these rejections, in order to bring about the whole plan of salvation – that He could die for us and extend salvation by grace. And yet all of this is so beautifully laid out in the life of this man, Joseph. God is Sovereign in everything He does.
“And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives a great deliverance.”
I’d like to have you come all the way down to Chapter 46. Now, the sons of course, have gone back home to Canaan and naturally, they’ve told old Jacob that Joseph is alive and is the head man in Egypt. Also that Joseph has permission from Pharaoh to bring all of the family down into the best part of Egypt, right there by the Nile River, into Goshen. As we’ve studied, God has been telling Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, not to leave the land of promise. Remember, He told Isaac back there in Chapter 26, “Sojourn in this land and I will bless you.” Now, these guys knew that. But with this invitation to come back to Egypt, Jacob is probably stammering a little bit. But God comes to his rescue.
“And Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac.”
“And God spake to Israel…..”
Now, you see we’re talking in the terms of his spiritual side. Jacob the spiritual man. Let’s go on:
“…in the visions of the night, and said Jacob, Jacob (God uses both names for Jacob right here – Israel and Jacob). and he said, Here am I.” Now, God returns and says:
“And he said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; (Underline that last statement, if you don’t mind underlining in your Bible.) for I will there (in Egypt)make of thee a great nation.”
Now, if you ever wonder where did the nation of Israel come from, there’s your answer. It was when the 12 sons and all their wives and children end up in Egypt, because Joseph has the food. But, again, another thought we’d like to bring in, is that when these brethren rejected all this, for all practical purposes, Israel now ends up in a place of out of God’s control, or in a place of death, nationally. They’re out of the land of promise. They’re down in Egypt and for all practical purposes, God has lost His Covenant People .
The reason I’m trying to make that point before we get to Exodus is because I’m going to point out that Exodus is a book of redemption. And redemption always means only one thing and what is that? You buy back that which you have lost control of. In other words, if you hock something in a pawn shop, there’s only one way you can get control of it and that is to go in a redeem it. You buy it back. And it is the same in every aspect of business: if you have lost control of something, you have to redeem it. When Adam sinned, God lost the human race. And what does He have to set up? A plan of redemption. When the brethren sold Joseph down into Egypt, and all 12 sons end up there, as a result of their sin, God loses control of His Covenant People. And He’s going to have to buy them back.
This is all in His sovereign plan, of course, but Israel is going to end up in Egypt, and while they’re in Egypt, they’re going to become a nation of people. I think the best thing we can remember is that at this point in time, when Jacob finally goes down into Egypt (as I said in one of the earlier lessons), we are now in the middle of that 430 year time span that God had foretold. 215 years have elapsed from the call of Abraham until Jacob goes down into Egypt. There’s 215 years left. As I’ve mentioned earlier, as long as Joseph is alive everything goes well with the Israelites. They have it pretty good in Goshen. It’s a productive area by the Nile River and they prospered. And as they prospered, they multiplied.
Oh, we can’t imagine how much they multiplied. But again, keep the time element in mind. We’re talking 215 years. I always have to remind people, that’s as long as America has been a nation! And we’ve gone from a few thousand people to 270 million people.