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Israel in the Plan of God: Joseph as a Type of Christ

February 20, 2014

Recently I’ve been enjoying David Baron’s Israel in the Plan of God, his exposition and commentary on several Old Testament passages (Deuteronomy 32, Psalms 105 and 106, and Isaiah 51) which relate to God and His dealings with the nation Israel.  I had read a few of Baron’s writings online, especially his work addressing the Ten Lost Tribes error.  In my current reading, I appreciate even more his writing style: easy and straightforward exposition of biblical passages, with so many interesting observations.  I highly recommend his writing, and now especially look forward to reading his lengthier commentary on the book of Zechariah after I complete this shorter collection (about 300 pages total, with commentary on four chapters from different books).

Psalm 105 and 106 are an interesting set of Psalms, as I have noticed in my regular re-readings through the Psalms:  both describe the early history of the nation, the first Psalm from the perspective of what God did for Israel, then the contrast in the next Psalm of the many ways in which Israel went astray and rejected their God.  Expositing Psalm 105 involves analysis of the lives of the patriarchs, including a close look at seven ways in which Joseph’s life parallels that of our Lord. In going through S. Lewis Johnson’s Genesis series several years ago (see this post from 2009).  I learned of several such correspondences between the two, some of which are again presented here, along with more detail from David Baron’s exposition:

1)      Joseph as the specially-beloved son of his father.  Christ:  This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

2)      Joseph, because he was beloved of Jacob (his father), was hated by his brethren.  And it was the unique and peculiar relation of our Lord Jesus also to His heavenly Father, and the fact that He loved righteousness and hated iniquity …  the chief reasons why He was hated of those who were “His own” brethren, but who, as the result of a long process of self-hardening, were estranged in their hearts from God, who they also claimed as their Father.

3)      They hated Joseph yet more because of his dreams and his words – dreams which we realize were divinely sent prophecy from God:  prophetic revelations of his future exaltation.  The parallel in Christ: one chief cause of the ever-growing opposition and hatred on the part of the Scribes and Pharisees to our Lord Jesus was His clear, full, conscious testimony concerning Himself.

4)      Joseph was not only hated by his brethren, but ill-treated and abused, sold into slavery.  Reference “Christ the Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief,” who was sold for 30 shekels of silver, sold into abuse, ill-treatment and the ultimate shame of crucifixion.

5)      For many long years, after they handed him over into the hands of the Midianites, Joseph’s brethren—indeed, Jacob’s whole family—thought and spoke of him as dead. … And even so do the Jews think of Jesus. According to them He is dead.

6)      But while his brethren thought and spoke of Joseph as no more, he was not only alive, but greatly exalted among the Gentiles, as the “Support of Life,” or “Deliverer of the World” before whom all had to “bow the knee” in humble allegiance.  Baron notes also a few possible meanings of Joseph’s Egyptian name “Zaphenath-paneah”: “the support of life,” “deliverer of the world,” or even “the revealer of secrets.” Any of these possible meanings are significant for the role that Joseph played and his similarity to Christ.   Even so is it with our Lord Jesus. Despised and rejected and counted as dead among “His own” people, He is not only alive for evermore, but exalted and extolled, having a Name which is above every name—before whom hundreds of millions in the Gentile world “bow the knee” in humble worship, because He is indeed the true “Support of Life,” being Himself the “Living Bread” which came down from heaven, of which if any man eat he shall live for ever.

7)      The separation and estrangement between Joseph and his brethren did not last forever. In the extremity of their need they were again brought face to face with him, and though at first, while yet unknown to them, he spake and dealt “roughly” with them, so as to awaken their conscience and bring home to them the sense of guilt, his heart was all the time full of yearning love and compassion for them.   Here is a great foreshadowing of what is yet to take place between Christ and the nation Israel.  In the extremity of their need, in “the time of Jacob’s trouble,” the Jewish people will yet be brought face to face with their long-rejected Messiah, and brokenheartedly confess “We are verily guilty concerning our brother”—Jesus—whom we handed over to the Romans to be crucified… And then Jesus will make Himself known to His brethren, and comfort them in their great sorrow, saying: I am Jesus, your Brother, whom you handed over to be crucified, and for so long thought to be dead; and now be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, … for God sent Me before you to preserve life.”

  1. Neil Schoch
    February 20, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    Thanks Lynda,
    While I have not read the messages you refer to, I was greatly blessed by leading a series of studies on the subject many years ago. There are so many wonderful insights of the coming Christ, and pointing to the Lord Jesus who fully fulfilled Joseph’s type of Christ.
    Maybe I should revisit the subject again and be blessed afresh.

    • February 20, 2014 at 6:19 pm

      Thanks for the comment, Neil. Yes it is a good study, looking at these Old Testament passages and the types of Christ including the interesting story of the life of Joseph.

  2. February 21, 2014 at 3:30 am

    Wow thank you for this; there are so many parallels of Joseph to Jesus, some that I never noticed before. I love studying Messianic prophecies because the more I study the more I find gold that’s there that I would have noticed before and which further reinforce my faith in the Bible as the truth. Thanks!

    • February 21, 2014 at 2:40 pm

      Yes it’s a great study, so much there that we often don’t notice, to further our understanding and strengthen our faith.

  3. Pauline
    February 24, 2014 at 6:09 am

    That is wonderful Lynda. I notice as I am going through S.Lewis Johnson series in lessons from the life of David, that he is also a type of Christ.

    • February 24, 2014 at 8:27 am

      Yes, the study of biblical types — Joseph, David, other people as well as events and Old Testament institutions — is an interesting one. David Baron and Dr. Johnson both taught a great deal concerning biblical types.

  4. February 25, 2014 at 10:50 am

    Lynda, I suppose you’ve read Jim Mcclarthy’s “Is the church Israel.”


    • February 25, 2014 at 11:18 am

      Actually I haven’t, or if I did I don’t recall the specifics. Does he say anything different than what David Baron taught?

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