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S. Lewis Johnson and Genesis: The Joseph Section

October 28, 2009

In my Genesis study (S. Lewis Johnson series) I’m up to Genesis 41 and the great story of Joseph’s life and rise to power in Egypt.  I look forward to completing the series, and starting the next MP3 CD, already queued up, with SLJ’s Exodus Wilderness Wanderings, Typology in Leviticus, and various topical studies of OT characters such as Gideon, Samson, David and Elijah.  I’m preparing a third MP3 CD with SLJ’s 40-message series “Lessons from the Life of David,” plus other messages to fill up a CD–his series on God’s plan for the Jews (mainly from Zechariah), plus a few of his miscellaneous messages from various Psalms.

The Joseph section of Genesis brings out some really great Bible truths concerning God’s purposes and His providence.  In SLJ’s teaching through Genesis 37, it was nice to hear his references to the prophetic aspects.  He mentioned the connection between Joseph’s dream and the interpretation of the woman in Revelation 12.  Later in that same message, he described Joseph as a type of Christ, in that both were rejected and yet later delivered their people.  S. Lewis Johnson here noted Jesus Christ’s future deliverance of His people Israel, to bring them to repentance so that “they will look on Him whom they have pierced.”  A few chapters later, Genesis 40 shows God’s amazing providence, and that God truly is interested in the “little things”–not just the big events.  After all, the whole chain of events that leads to Joseph’s exaltation in Egypt, began with a small incident:  Joseph noticing the sad looks upon the faces of the two Egyptian officials in the jail.  For really there are no such differences between “big” and “small” events, in God’s view.  The big events really come about from a series of small events, and God orchestrates those events all the way through to their end.

In Genesis 41, S. Lewis Johnson again parallels the life experiences of Joseph with Jesus Christ, mentioning some of the same parallels (from his Genesis 37 message), but adding a few more:  Joseph gets a gentile bride, the Egyptian Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On.  Here SLJ notes the parallel:  a Gentile bride for Joseph, and a Gentile bride for Jesus Christ:

And it is interesting too that while Joseph was in Egypt as the exalted Prime Minister, he obtained  a Gentile bride.  I don’t want to make too much of this, but you will remember that the church of Jesus Christ today is primarily a Gentile bride.  Now the church of Jesus Christ today arose out of the Jewish people who were on the day of Pentecost, it was first of all Jewish in its character and has always had Jewish people in it down through the centuries.  There is a [indistinct] that according to the election of grace forming part of the church of Jesus Christ all through the ages.   But this is the  time  of the fullness of the  Gentiles and  when the time of the fullness of the Gentiles comes to an end the Apostle Paul says then all Israel shall be seen.  Our Lord Jesus acquiring a  Gentile bride in the present day is very close to that which Joseph did in illustration in his day.

I’m also going through a Matthew study, from John MacArthur’s sermons (preached from 1978 -1984), in Matthew 3 currently.  As much as I have come to enjoy MacArthur, I now often feel that I learn more from S. Lewis Johnson.  Perhaps it is the subject matter:  Genesis is less familiar, in terms of sermon material, whereas Matthew is a more familiar book.  I enjoyed MacArthur’s Revelation series (from the early to mid 1990s), and there too the subject matter was less familiar.  Also, MacArthur’s delivery improved over the years; in these early Matthew messages he really did talk pretty fast, especially in rattling off all the “five Cs” of the John the Baptist section in Matthew 3 — and with more variation in his speech (volume).  But after completing Matthew 3, I plan to start listening to S. Lewis Johnson’s Acts series.

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