We concluded the last article with the life of Jacob. Now we progress to the life of Joseph. Dreams play a pivotal role in the life of Joseph. Each dream acts as a turning point in his life. When he was young, he saw two dreams. In his first dream, he saw himself in a field along with his brothers. His sheaf stood up and the sheaves of his brothers bowed to his sheaf. In the second dream, he saw sun, moon and stars bowing to him. His brothers, therefore, started envying him. One day they try to kill him. Eventually, they throw him in a pit. Later they sell him into hands of Ishmaelite. Ishmaelite, in turn, sells him to Egyptian master. His Egyptian master’s wife tempts him to sin. She accuses him falsely and he is sent to prison.
Inside the prison, he met the king’s “cupbearer” and “baker.” They both happen to see a dream. Joseph interprets their dreams. His interpretation comes true. The Baker is hanged while the cupbearer gets restored with former dignity.
Two years later, the Pharaoh sees a dream. He sees seven fat cows and seven lean cows. Joseph then interprets Pharaoh’s dream also. He tells Pharaoh, that there will be seven years of plenty of food and seven years of famine. Joseph is then exalted next to the king. He feeds people of all nations during the famine. His brothers arrive in Egypt to collect food. He forgives them and invites his family to his palace in Egypt. He gives them the land of Goshen to dwell. We are told that Jacob (his Father) dies in Egypt. Finally, Joseph also dies at the age of 110. Israel – “a nation coming out of 12 sons of Jacob” is born in Egypt.
Ministry of Testifying against the Hypocrites
One of the earliest things we read about Joseph is how he used to report the evil deeds of his brothers.
….and Joseph brought unto his father their evil reportGen 37:2
This is how the Bible introduces Joseph to its readers. His work was to pronounce woe unto the evil works of his hypocritical brothers. The fact that Joseph was able to give evil reports about his brothers to his father indicates that they must be doing something evil. It appears that they used to say one thing before the face of their father, and used to do quite opposite behind his back.
Their double standard is evident from a few chapters earlier to the story of Joseph. In Genesis 34 we told that they were greatly zealous to protect their life of separation from heathen. They refused to get their sister married to uncircumcised men (Gen 34:14). They had great pride in their consecrated circumcision (see Gen 34:14). They used to despise others as vile sinful men (see Gen 34:7, Romans 2:3, Luke 18:9). But when trials tested them, to test how rotten was their hearts from within, then murder and anger erupted from beneath their hearts.
All external show of religious zeal faded into thin air. They eventually killed those men, who had accepted Jewish faith and had got themselves circumcised (Gen 34:24-25). Their boasting in the superiority of their race/group, and in the life of separation, proved vain under trying circumstances. They committed more blunders than from which they had determined not to commit. They stand as a type of the Pharisees of Jesus’ days. We can, of course, extend this behaviour to our TPM White Clads. All are possessed by the same spirit.
|Joseph's Brothers||Pharisees in Jesus Time||TPM Ministers|
|Zealous for keeping themselves separate from uncircumcised people.||Zealous for life of separation against gentiles (uncircumcised men)||Zealous for life of separation from other Christians|
|Took pride in their circumcision (Gen 34:14)||Took pride in their circumcision||Took pride in their consecrated dedicated ministry|
|Despised others (Gen 34:7)||Despised others (Luke 18:9)||Despise and look down upon other churches and their ministers|
|Had outward demonstration of religion; Trying times revealed the inner state of heart||Had outward demonstration of religion; Trying times revealed the inner state of heart||Wear white and proclaim holiness from outside. Inside the white walls they do many sins.|
|Killed people who converted to Jewish faith||Persecuted Christians (Gentiles) who who understood the Jewish faith differently||Cause trouble to Christian (believers) by their rules regulations|
As Joseph testified their evil works, Jesus also exposed the evil works of the Pharisees.
Jesus said “The world hates me because I testify of it that their works are evilJohn 7:7, Matt 21:45-46
As they hated Joseph so did Pharisees hated Jesus. Therefore we can conclude that the ministry of Joseph, to witness the works of the evil of his hypocrite brothers, was a type of ministry of Christ.
Next thing we read about Joseph is that Israel loved Joseph more than all his children. He made him a coat of many colours (Gen 37:3). The mentioning of the multi-coloured coat has always intrigued me. I used to often wonder, what is so special about the coat, that it was specially mentioned in the story of Joseph. It is now, after so many years, I realize, that coat of many colours was a sign of royalty and nobility in those former days. Only rich people like kings and rulers could have afforded clothes made up of many colours. The psalmist mentions that the bride of the king will be arrayed in robes of many colours (Psalms 45:14 ESV).
Another thing to be noted is that multi-colour coat is mentioned in conjunction with the dreams which Joseph saw. Hence the multi-coloured coat of Joseph (as a sign of royalty), coupled together with the description of his dreams which spoke about his future exaltation as ruler. It was a prophecy about his becoming king and ruling nations. It spoke that he was destined to be foreshadowing of Jesus, as ruler over many nations. Matthew, Mark, and John mention, that they stripped Jesus and put on robes of different colours (to mock him as King of Jew (Matt 27:28, Mark 15:17, John 19:2-5)). Matthew mentions it was a scarlet robe, and Mark and John mentions, it was a purple robe. Luke mentions, it was a gorgeous robe (Luke 23:11). Thus mentioning of two distinct colours is indicative of multi-coloured robes of Christ (reminding us of robes of Joseph). Like Joseph was stripped of his royal robes (before being thrown into the pit), so was Jesus stripped off the multi-coloured robe (before the crucifixion).
Dreams of the Baker and the Cupbearer
The two dreams which Joseph saw (when he was 17), about his brothers’ sheaf bowing to his sheaf, and about the dream of sun, moon, & stars bowing before him, were dual prophetic in nature. By dual prophetic, it meant that it had dual fulfilment. On the immediate note, they were an indication of God’s plan for future for Joseph; but on longer time scale they were a prophecy of Christ’s ruling over nations. Therefore the dreams of Joseph were dual in nature.
Similarly, we read of two more dreams in the story of Joseph. This time, dreams are shown to the baker and the cupbearer of the king, (who were bound with Joseph in the prison) (Gen 40:5). The Cupbearer saw a vine tree. It had three branches. Soon it blossomed and grapes became ripe. Cupbearer then gave wine from it to the king. This was the dream of cupbearer.
Then there was a dream of the king’s baker. The baker saw three baskets filled with bread, kept over his head, stacked one upon another. The top basket had bread for the king, but the birds came and began eating from it. These dreams also were dual prophetic in nature. One hand they spoke about the baker and wine bearer of the king. On the other hand, they were prophetic in the gospel sense. Let us see how. We see that Joseph interpreted “three branches” and “three baskets” to be three days. He said, the cupbearer shall be restored and the baker will be killed after three days. Three days, (three branches and three baskets) point to three days for which, Christ would stay in the belly of the earth. Joseph in prison with two other persons speaks of Jesus crucified on the cross, along with the two thieves. As one of the prisoners (baker) perished, and the other was restored to life; so did one of the thieves perish and the other was promised to be with Christ in the paradise of God. One was saved to gain eternal life and the other perished. As Joseph preached God’s name to the two prisoners with him (see Gen 40:8), so did Christ preach the gospel to souls in prison (1 Pet 3:19). Also,, the use of the bread and wine, (bread baker and wine cupbearer) is to help us notice the resemblance to the story of Jesus who gives us bread and wine.
Summary of Joseph’s life in brief
Joseph’s life has striking similarities with the life of Jesus. Like Joseph, Jesus was the beloved of his father. Like Joseph, Jesus testified of evil works of his religious brothers, who took great pride in their religion. Like Joseph, Jesus was hated by his own brethren. Like Joseph was sold for 20 pieces of silver, so was Jesus sold by Isaac Iscariot for 30 pieces of silver. Like Joseph, Jesus was stripped of his royal coat. Like Joseph brought blessings and goodness for the house of Potiphar, so did Christ brought healing and miracles for Jews and gentiles. As Joseph was tempted for sin, so was Jesus tempted in the wilderness and came out with flying colours.
As Joseph was falsely accused, so did false witness rise against Jesus! As Joseph went into prison, so did Christ preached to spirits in prison (1 Pet 3:19). As one of the prisoners perished and one gained life, so was with thieves who were crucified with Jesus. As Joseph was exalted to be next to Pharaoh, so was Jesus exalted to sit on the right hand of the Father. As Joseph gave food to gentiles from many nations, so does Jesus give the bread of eternal life to gentiles. After gentiles, Joseph gave food for his family and brothers. After gentiles, Jesus will save Jews (Rom 11). As Joseph went before his brothers, to prepare a place for them in the land of Goshen, so did Jesus enter heaven to prepare a place for us! There is a list of 70 plus similarities given in this link (click here to read).
May the Lord give you wisdom, to read scriptures, for sake of glorifying Jesus and not for looking your own glories and benefits in it! May you not read scriptures as merely a law book (yes it is there, but it is not merely for reproof and correction). All religious books in the world are enough for mankind to tell them what is right and wrong. As atheists say, we do not need any religious book to tell us right and wrong. We don’t need another cult-like TPM, to tell us rules of right and wrong. God has ingrained the knowledge of it, deep inside our conscience. Bible, therefore, should be primarily used for the primary reason for which it is written, which is to show the way of salvation to mankind (2 Tim 3:15), by means of Messiah, who is written on its every page (John 5:39, Gal 3:8), written in law (John 5:46, Gal 3:24), and customs of Old testament (Col 2:16), in stories and parables (Hosea 12:10, Gal 4:24), in psalms (Luke 24:44), and in prophecies (Luke 10:24, John 1:45, 1 Pet 1:10-11). May God bless you!