All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. - 2 Timothy 3:16-17

A Redeemer Figure
Based on Genesis 50

About one-third of the book of Genesis is dedicated to the story of Joseph, and since more space is allotted to him than any other, this makes him the most important human in Genesis, according to the thinking of the ancients. His story comes at the end of the book and serves as its climax because of his redeemer role.

In ancient Hebrew thought, when one person’s life is similar to another, they would link them together. In this way the primary role of Joseph in life prefigures the role of the Messiah, who was first referred to in Genesis 3:15. Thus, Joseph’s life largely parallels and illustrates the life of Christ.

Amazing Similarities
Consider these amazing similarities (and surely there are many more):
  • Joseph was greatly beloved by his father—just as Christ was by His heavenly Father.
  • Jacob considered Joseph his firstborn—just as Christ was considered the firstborn of the Father.
  • Joseph’s dreams predicted his future exaltation—just as Christ prophesied He would be exalted.
  • Joseph’s brothers were envious of him—much as the Jewish leaders envied Christ.
  • Joseph’s brothers plotted his murder—much as the scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees did with Christ.
  • Joseph was sold for pieces of silver—just as Judas sold Jesus for pieces of silver.
  • Joseph’s brothers flattered themselves into believing they would no longer be troubled with him and his dreams, since they’d eliminated all possibility of their fulfillment. The Jewish leaders also believed they’d eliminated Jesus and the threat He represented, once they’d crucified Him.
  • Joseph’s brothers and the enemies of Christ were both overruled by God to bring about the very thing they plotted to hinder.
  • Joseph was strongly tempted in Potiphar’s house—Christ was strongly tempted in the wilderness.
  • Potiphar’s wife falsely accused Joseph—just as the Jewish leaders falsely accused Christ.
  • Joseph, the innocent, was thrown in prison with two malefactors—just as Christ, the innocent, was crucified between two thieves.
  • Joseph predicted good fortune for one malefactor, but not the other—just as Christ told one thief that he would be with Him in His kingdom, and did not say this to the other.
  • Joseph acknowledged he had received dream interpretations from God, while Christ received His knowledge of the future from His Father.
  • Joseph was exalted to his high position of prime minister, at the age of 30—just as Christ began His public ministry at the age of 30.
  • Joseph saved Egypt and the surrounding lands from the great famine—while Christ saved sinful man through His incarnation, life, death, and resurrection.
  • Pharaoh clothed Joseph in fine linen—similar to the one-piece linen robe Christ wore.
  • Joseph was given Pharaoh’s signet ring to execute his authority in Egypt—just as Christ received all authority to fulfill the will of His Father.
  • After Jacob died, Joseph’s brothers came to him asking for forgiveness. He forgave them—even as Christ forgave those who crucified Him.
  • To complete his forgiveness, Joseph restored his brothers by providing for them and their families—just as Jesus Christ forgives and restores sinners.

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