How Joseph of Egypt Symbolizes Christ (Week 12, Part 1/7) Genesis 42–50 | Mar 14 – Mar 20 – powered by Happy Scribe
Hello, I’m Lynn Hilton Wilson, here to talk about Genesis, chapter 42 with these beautiful verses on Joseph, the Prophet of old who foretells of the Prophet who will be coming in the last days, as well as beautiful typology and an allegory of his life that typifies our Savior’s life. I want to start out with a timeline. We know that Jacob already had ten sons before Joseph’s birth, and it appears that he’s having children for at least 13 years or maybe twelve years, probably twelve, and Joseph was born. We read in Genesis, chapter 30 as the first son of his Queen wife, beloved wife. By the time he was 17.
We’re in Genesis 37, and he sold as a slave to the Ishmaelites, who then sell him as a slave in Egypt to Pharaoh. About ten years later, he’s put in prison. And the reason why I’m saying ten years is because we know he’s in prison for a couple of years, and we know he’s 30 years old when he goes before the Pharaoh. And that’s in Genesis chapter 41, and that’s when the Pharaoh calls him to become the next vice Regent to the Egyptian throne, and he carries out this great project of a food storage. We also learned that he dies at age 110 and is embalmed in Egypt and then later taken up to Israel.
As we narrow in on chapter 42, and we see Joseph in full throw of having this fabulous year supply, he’s saving two nations, not only the Egyptian people and not only his own family, but the rest of the world that can come to him. So it’s probably a lot more than two by that time. But the starvation was very serious, and it was so well known that Egypt had bread, or at least the grain to make the bread that Jacob tells his sons, Get up and go and get down there. And even though he’s an old man, he’s very resourceful. And we read similar accounts of this in the Book of Mormon.
In one Nephi Five, verse 14, Lehi is giving commentary on this story, and he says that Joseph was sent down there to be preserved by the hand of the Lord in order to feed Israel. But the story is so much more than just a good food storage to preserve them physically, even though this is a very good idea, especially in our future as the second coming it comes upon us. But I think it’s story is also fabulous to be talking about the spiritual starvation, and it has multiple levels. Not only did it represent our savior, who is going to come and feed us the bread of life and to feed us the living water that would sustain us for eternity. But Joseph also gives prophecies of his ancestor who will come, who will also be called Joseph, who will be named after his father, who will come at a time when there is not a famine in the land for food, but a famine of pure doctrine of the word of God in its purity.
Upstate New York had plenty of Bibles available, but the interpretation was incorrect. And the Prophet Joseph fulfilled these prophecies. And the Joseph Smith translation from all of the story of Joseph is filled with 20 extra verses on things that this Prophet will fulfill. And at the time that Joseph is translating these, it’s not necessarily done yet. They still had to come to pass, and it was beautiful to see them in the text at that time.
As we go back to Genesis, chapter 37, we see the ten sons coming down and having this you know the story very well as they talked to Joseph, who’s using an interpreter, so nobody can recognize that he’s their brother, even though he recognizes them as his brothers. We’re told that they come to a decision after everyone’s in prison for three days, again, a symbol of Christ. We are told that he takes Simeon out and puts him in prison. And in the Genesis text, we don’t understand exactly why it’s Simeon. But if we look at the extra text, extra biblical text and some of the apocryphal work, it says that Simeon was the one that suggested, let’s kill Joseph.
That’s possibly why. I don’t know. We’ll find out when we get to heaven, but we do know that Simeon stays in prison at least a year, if not longer, before the twelve sons are able to talk their dad into letting Benjamin come down. And you know the story, and Benjamin is able to come down in a chapter two. But I want to look more deeply at not just this wonderful bedtime story, but at the powerful symbolism that draws us to Christ like a magnetic pull.
The atonement through these stories is just one that can help us appreciate the sacrifice that our Saviors made on our behalf. And as we look at them, I want to remind you of Alma, chapter 13, verse 16. Now, these ordinances were given after this manner that thereby the people might look forward to the Son of God. It being a type of his order. And sure enough, as we look for a type of Christ, not only in his attributes but also in his priesthood power, we find him in the story of Joseph, also in the book of Moses, chapter five, verse seven.
This thing is a similitude of the sacrifice of the only begotten. And not only does that fit with Adam, but we see it also with the sacrifice that Joseph gave and in his complete obedience. So as I look at chapters 39 to 41, there are more and more types of Christ that I’d like to share with you. Each became a servant. And in John, chapter 13, the Lord says, I came not to be served, but to serve others.
And we see him at the last Supper washing the feet, which his servant child. Did we see him also earlier in his Ministry where he says, I came not to be ministered unto, but to Minister. And he takes on the role of a slave or a servant repeatedly over and over during his three years of his Ministry. Number two, each service pleased their Masters. We know that our Savior Father was very pleased by his behalf and we see this in Joseph not only in Potiphar’s house but also in prison.
He’s raised to the highest point and then again to Pharaoh raised to the highest point. In each place he goes, he’s pleasing his Masters. He is falsely accused. We learn about the Potiphar’s wife challenges and that temptation and how he overcomes. And of course our Savior was falsely accused many times in his different trials before Pilate, Ananias and Caiaphas and even Herod.
Possibly he was innocent but cast into prison. John 19 describes that experience. Verses four through six for our Savior. Each won the respect of their guards and this is beautiful as even our valiant Peter reaches out to strike off the high priest guards. Here our Savior heals that we hear also at the cross that the guards have respect for our Savior just as they did in Genesis 39.
He was numbered amongst the transgressors in Genesis 40 for Joseph and in Mark 15 and of course all the beautiful chapters in Isaiah on the suffering servant Isaiah 49 and Isaiah 50, Isaiah 52 and 53 that we have to describe our Savior at being despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from him. Continuing on, he prophesied or each prophesied and gave credit to God, each asked to be remembered by the cut bearer? Do you remember that time when Joseph is in prison and he interprets the vision or the dream of two of his prison mates? One was the Pharaoh’s Butler and one was the Pharaoh’s cut bearer.
And the cut bearer returns back to his position and Joseph says, Please remember me to the King or the Pharaoh. And it takes him two years before he remembers him. But of course our Savior does the same as he asks us to remember him in the cup. They are both delivered from prison by God’s work. Acts chapter two describes that beautifully as well as chapter ten.
Each revealed their divine secrets. Genesis 41 and John 812 17 and in the book of Revelation, of course we have many each were warned of dangers and urged preparation. As we continue looking at these stories of our Savior as a servant and as one who pleased his master, one who was falsely accused and cast into prison, I hope that we too can look at each story into the Old Testament in light of our Savior and draw closer to him through the text. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.