This is a tribe where everyone may be familiar with. He is one of those few characters of whom the Scriptures has recorded of having no faults. That is why he is like a type of Christ.
He was the 11th son of Jacob, the first-born of Rachel, the wife that Jacob loved. Rachel’s first blessing with Jacob and what a wonderful blessing he has become for us all to have the privilege to learn of and understand as a type of Christ. May we all become like Christ, Christ-like in all things.
Genesis 30:22-25, "And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach: And she called his name Joseph; and said, The LORD shall add to me another son."
Back to our past sermons, particularly about the first tribe of Reuben. Remember that he lost the birthright because he committed adultery with his father's wife and so because of this, his birthrights were transferred. The temporal birthright was transferred to Joseph, the priesthood to Levi and being the progenitor of Christ was transferred to Judah.
So, Joseph received one of the portions of the birthright. So, the question is why of all the 12, Joseph, Judah and Levi were the ones who received these birthrights?
We have learned in the past that Judah perfected his character and because of this, being the ancestor of Christ was bestowed upon him and before the throne of God in heaven, there were holy beings pointing to Christ and say,
"...the Lion of the tribe of Judah." Revelation 5:5.
And what about Levi? Levi triumphed in the time of a great crisis in the cause of God, and he perfected a character that made him qualified to receive the priesthood. This work or office of a priesthood is a shadow of that work of Christ in heaven as High Priest. Hebrews 8:1-5. He stands as mediator between the Father and man.
And what about Joseph? We know the story how Joseph's brothers threw him into a pit, and he was sold to Egypt as a slave. He was brought into a land of idolatry. It was a strange land and everywhere around him were idolaters. He was separated from his brethren. But amidst of this, he gained a victory which entitled him to the double portion of the inheritance. Two portions of the promised land were given to the family of Joseph. And Joseph's faithfulness will be manifested again by the two divisions of the 144,000 which will bear his name, one of Joseph and one of his son Manasseh. Revelation 7:6, 8.
Jacob's prophetic words to Joseph:
Genesis 49:26, "The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren."
Joseph spent his first 17 years of his life with his father's household.Genesis 37:2 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, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.
There were major points of Joseph's life where we can see that he was greatly loved by Jacob.
Coat of many colors
Genesis 37:3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he [was] the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.
When Jacob gave the coat, Joseph was not a child but a young man of 17 years. And since Reuben had forfeited his birthright to officiate as priest of the household and as he closely watched the godly life of Joseph, it would only be natural that he should select him as the one worthy to fill the holy office. It is also possible that in vision, Jacob may have been permitted to see the Heavenly Priest and that is the reason why he made a coat as a faint representation of the priestly robe to be worn by his descendants.
Also, Israel or Jacob unwisely expressed his love to Joseph by giving him a coat of many colors. This increased the hatred of Joseph's brother towards him because they thought that Joseph stole the love of their father.
Genesis 37:4 And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.
They thought that they were deprived of their father's confidence and love. They did not realize that their own wicked ways were a constant shame and disgrace to the gray hairs of Jacob, but Joseph was a noble man with pure and excellent traits of character and so Jacob's affection was centered on him.
This is the dream where he saw that his family will bow down before him. And this dream is too much for his brothers; their hatred towards him became intense
Genesis 37:5 And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.
Genesis 37:7 For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.
When his brethren heard the dream, they got all upset. But this dream came to pass. His brothers bowed with their faces to the earth before Joseph.
Genesis 42:6 And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph's brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.
This fulfillment happened in Egypt when the great famine hit every land and the brothers of Joseph had no choice but to go to Egypt to secure food. And the story went on...
3. Sold to Egypt
All things work together for the purpose of God. The wicked act of Joseph's brothers was not the reason why Joseph was sent to Egypt. It was the Lord who sent him there.
Genesis 45:8 So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.
If anyone would give thanks to the brothers of Joseph for their evils because if it would have not been for them doing this to their brother, they would have not had food, they are sadly mistaken. God would have used other means and ways to get Joseph to Egypt. We are to only give thanks unto the Lord for placing Joseph into Egypt. We are to give all glory and honor to Elohim and not to those who do wrong. God can turn the evils of others into good. He does not need us to do evil to serve His purpose. If everyone would do good, God would still accomplish His purpose. So, there is to be no praises for our sins or our mistakes as to say that if this or that would have not happened, then this good would have not been. God's purpose will always be accomplished no matter what we do or don't do.
Genesis 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
God meant good for what evil things they had in their heart. God had a purpose. All that Joseph saw was the hands of God in everything. When he was sold as a slave, he saw that He was in God's hands. His faith was anchored in God and while he was serving the king of Egypt,
But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel: Genesis 49:24
So, you can see that the hand of the Almighty One was in all these things that Joseph had to go through. David in the book of Psalms wrote about Joseph.
Psalms 105:19, "Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him."
Joseph was being taught from childhood about the word of God. He believed in it and it was those words that kept him courageous in prison but humble when he became ruler of Egypt. His strength in adversity and prosperity came from the mighty God of Jacob. Genesis 49:24.Brethren, the God that we serve is Mighty and Powerful. We cannot for once complain and murmur for the things the He allowed in our life. Who among us was thrown into a pit and sold as a slave? The trials that God allowed to come in our ways are for the purpose of God. And let us allow Him to do His purpose and let us cooperate and overcome our trials so that we will come off victorious as a refined and smooth precious jewel for the Lord. The Lord is purifying us. He is the refiner. Allow Him to do His job so that we can come out as a precious jewel.
Malachi 3:3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.
Let us not jump off or out of the fire because it's too much to bear. Let us submissively allow the fire to purify us. And we cannot accomplish this by complaining and murmuring. This grieves the Holy Spirit. We need to be persevering and develop more patience and when God sees that we have overcome, then we will be worthy to be entrusted with more responsibilities and so on until we will fully overcome everything and we can be found faithful and hopefully in the 144,000 living saints that will never taste death but will endure the time of trouble and will see the coming of Christ without tasting death. They will walk through the flames, the wickedness of the world, the attacks, the trials, the tests, the burdens, the difficulties of life, they will learn to deal with life's little annoyances, they will reflect Christ in love patients, kindness, tender care for the sick, sinners, so on and so forth unto the perfection and Character of Christ. Let us be found worthy to walk in the 144,000 to glorify the Great and most powerful God of the universe.
There is a most noted character in the Bible that is a type of Joseph's character. His name is Job.
When Job was severely tested, when the devil was permitted by God to take away all his earthly possessions which included his family, this is what he said.
Job 1:21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
We never heard Job murmur or complain. He lost pretty much everything but never he cursed God for any of this. This same spirit if cherished today will make a man great in all the ways of the Lord. The test of Job perfected his character unto a notable character to learn from.
Now, let us go back to Joseph's life in Egypt. The first years of his life was serving in the house of Potiphar.
Genesis 39:4-6 And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. And it came to pass from the time [that] he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field. And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured.
Joseph was made overseer over the house of Potiphar. He was faithful in his duties.
Genesis 39:3, "And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand.
Brethren, Joseph was faithful in His duties just as we should be today. The littlest things matter to Jesus. If we are faithful in our duties no matter how humble it is, the Lord will bless us and make us a living witness even unto the unbelievers of this dying world and before the eyes of the universe. We will become a witness unto them that God is with us, that we know and serve the Living God.
One of Joseph's greatest temptations:
When the wife of Potiphar tried to entrap him
Genesis 39:6, "...And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured."
Joseph was spoken of as goodly in personal appearance and he was well favoured. The wife of Potiphar desired to entice Joseph to transgress to the law of God.
Genesis 39:7, "And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me."
The enemy was working with Potiphar's wife to entice Joseph to commit adultery. But let us hear the response of God's servant.
Genesis 39:9, "...how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?"
Brethren, Joseph feared the God of heaven. He knows about the inspecting eye of God and the holy angels who are taking record of everything that we do. He remained untainted from the temptations in this heathen land. He knew what will happen if he resists but he did not care. He did not want to betray the confidence of his earthly master Potiphar and he would be true to his Master in heaven as well.
But how many people today think that they can do things in secret because they are not seen by any human eyes? If we would cultivate a habit that God sees and hears all that we do and say and keeps a faithful record of our words and actions and that one day we will meet it all, we all would fear to sin like Joseph too, wouldn't we?
But in the case of Joseph, we can see the power of religious principles. He did not want to sin against God. He showed strict integrity. He knew what it will cost him to resist. He knew he would lose his position from being in a place of honor to being cast into prison. And as a result of his resistance, he was put to prison, but we can see that even in prison God vindicated His child, because Joseph was eventually placed in charge of all the prisoners.
Genesis 39:20-23 "And Joseph's master took him, and put him into the prison... But the LORD was with Joseph, and showed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the LORD was with him, and that which he did, the LORD made it to prosper."
So, we can see that even in prison, the Lord's hand was with Joseph. Brethren, when we are severely tried, are we going to continue to stand true to principle or bow before Satan in disobedience to the Creator of the universe? Shall we fear the prison and transgress the law of God? Or shall we be like Joseph, like Christ who will stand true to principle and keep the Commandments of God? We need to be like Christ who stood the tests of this world perfectly and remained untainted by the temptation of the enemy. You and I can both do this. We just have to decide. Let us decide NOW for the right, stand true to the cause of God, glorify Him before the universe in all that we do under the sun and prepare to meet thy God O house of Israel.
Continuing on, so while Joseph was in prison, the king of Egypt had a dream. His wise men could not interpret the dream like in the time of Daniel which is a later period. And so, Joseph was sent to stand before the king Pharaoh to interpret the dream. To make a long story short, Joseph was able to interpret the dream not because of his abilities but because God revealed to Joseph what the dream was about. And he gave credit to the Lord and not to himself.
Genesis 41:46, "And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt."
The king was very happy and exalted Joseph to the second place in the kingdom. Absolutely amazing!
Genesis 41:43, "And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt."
During this time, we can read in Genesis 41:50-52 that Joseph got married in Egypt. During this time, he had two sons who were named Manasseh and Ephraim.
Joseph did become the chief ruler in Egypt for 9 years and during the great famine, the brethren of Joseph came to Egypt to buy food. The family of Joseph and his brethren were sustained during this crisis because of what the Lord did for His child who loved Him. Joseph was placed in a position to glorify God and take care of Jacob and his family. God was glorified by Joseph's love for His maker which he was in obedience to Him. The sons of Jacob did fulfill the dream of Joseph that made them mad when Joseph had said, "For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance (28:44) to my sheaf." They learned that the ruler in Egypt was their little brother they were upset with and had dispensed of. When they learned that Joseph was the ruler who had helped them with their needs, they were amazed to see that even though they did wrong to Joseph, he still loved and cared for them. He remained in loving loyalty to the works of righteousness and showed the fruits of Christ. It is interesting to learn that the life of Joseph was a type of the life of Christ. His life illustrates the life of Christ.
The brothers of Joseph were envious of him and so they sold him to be a slave in hopes that he will not become greater than themselves.
The Jewish priests and elders were jealous of Christ, fearing that He would draw more attention to Himself than to them. And so, they put Him to death to prevent Him from becoming king.
Through Joseph's bondage in Egypt, he became the saviour to his father's family. During the famine, his father's family came to Egypt to buy food and they all were sustained.
The crucifixion of Christ by His enemies made Him the Redeemer and Saviour of mankind, the Saviour of the fallen race, and Ruler over the whole world.
Even though Joseph became the saviour of his brethren, their guilt was not lessened.
And so, the crime of Christ's murderers was just not lessened as well even though Christ died for them that they will believe and be saved from their sins.
Joseph was sold to the heathen by his own brothers
So Christ was also sold to His bitterest enemies by one of His own disciples.
Joseph was falsely accused and was put into prison because of his integrity of character.
So Christ was despised and rejected because His righteous life was a constant rebuke to sin, and though He was not guilty of any wrong, He was condemned upon the testimony of false witnesses.
Amidst injustice and oppression, Joseph remained meek and patient, ready to forgive his brothers.
So Christ did not murmur but endured the malice and abuse of wicked men. He was spitted and mocked, but He remained meek and was forgiving not only to His murderers but to all who come to Him confessing their sins and seeking pardon.
Brethren, there are great lessons to learn from the life of Joseph and it is my prayer that through the power of the Son of God, we will also come off victorious in this probationary time and fulfill the fruits of our King of Heaven...and just maybe we will enter into the 144,000. And as Christ our Perfect Pattern who is leading us up this narrow road to His Kingdom, may we be able to walk on this path unwavering. This is not an easy road to travel, but it is worth fighting for a crown unto eternal life. We have everything to lose by doing nothing. Let us be victors, let us not be slothful workers in the Lord's vineyard, let us prepare a wonderful harvest for the Lord's return. Keep fighting brothers and sisters all the way to the Lord's second coming so we may hear the Words come from the mouth of our King, "Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord." Matthew 25:23.