The Bride in Genesis
By Arlen L. Chitwood
Joseph and Asenath
Beloved Son of the Father
(Chapters four through six will cover the overall scope of events in Genesis 37-45. This section in Genesis is mainly about Joseph and his brethren, who typify Christ and the nation of Israel. The correct position that Christ’s bride occupies in relation to His dealings with Israel is set forth in that which is revealed about the position that Joseph’s bride, Asenath, occupied in relation to his dealings with his brethren.)
This is the history of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brothers. And the lad was with the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives; and Joseph brought a bad report of them to his father.
Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age. Also he made him a tunic of many colors.
But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him.
Now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more.
So he said to them, “Please hear this dream that I have dreamed:
“There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Then behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright; and indeed your sheaves stood all around and bowed down to my sheaf.”
And his brothers said to him, “Shall you indeed reign over us? Or shall you indeed have dominion over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words. (Genesis 37:2-8)
The life of Joseph forms one of the most complete, overall types of Christ to be found in Scripture. Joseph sets forth in type the beloved son of the father who was sent to his brethren, the son who was hated by his brethren, and the son who eventually found himself exalted over all Egypt. And, being exalted over all Egypt, his brethren are seen coming into his presence and bowing before him.
Things pertaining to Christ, from His pre-incarnate existence with the Father to His future appearance in glory, are depicted in the experiences of Joseph. In this respect, the life and times of Joseph in Genesis 37-45 set forth in type three main divisions pertaining to things foreshadowing Christ in the antitype:
1) Past History (with the Father in the beginning, and sent to His brethren about 2,000 years ago).
2) Present Position (exalted to the right hand of Power, with His brethren removed from the scene, during which time He takes a Gentile bride).
3) Future Glory (following His dealings with His brethren once again, His revelation to them, their bowing before Him).
Joseph — A Type
Some have questioned the authenticity of viewing Joseph as a type of Christ. It is sometimes stated that Joseph should not be viewed in any special way as a type of Christ because nowhere in Scripture is it specifically recorded that Joseph is a type. This though is not true at all. There are at least three separate references that, when viewed in conjunction with related Scriptures, leave no room to question the validity of typological teachings drawn from the life and times of Joseph.
1) Beginning at Moses
When Christ, following His resurrection, met the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, He began at “Moses and ALL the Prophets” and “expounded to them in ALL the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27, 44; cf. John 1:45; 5:46). The specific reference is made that ALL of the Old Testament Scriptures are about Christ, about different facets of His person and work.
The life and times of Joseph can only be about one thing. They can only be about the life and times of Jesus the Christ, forming an integral part of the Word that was made Flesh (John 1:1, 2, 14).
But how are the life and times of Joseph about the life and times of Christ? How can the account of Joseph be part of that which was made Flesh in the person of God’s Son?
(That which these questions reflect upon will form the main subject matter of not only the remainder of this chapter but the two chapters that follow as well [chapters 5, 6].
Also, refer back to the introduction to this book, along with that which has been dealt with in the previous chapters [chapters 1-3].)
2) All These Things
The apostle Paul called attention to the fact that all of the things that happened to the children of Israel under Moses “happened to them as examples [lit., ‘happened to them as types’]” (1 Corinthians 10:6, 11 [the Greek word tupoi, “types,” appears in both verses]). The reference is to a number of events beginning following the death of the firstborn in Egypt (Exodus 12) and extending to the overthrow of an entire unbelieving generation in the wilderness (through Deuteronomy).
However, the reference, of necessity, by comparing Scripture with Scripture, would include far more than just these particular events. It would have to include the entire panorama of events beginning in Exodus chapter twelve and continuing through Deuteronomy.
(For example, note that the author of Hebrews drew heavily from this section of Scripture [chapters 3, 4, 8-10] — Moses [type], Christ [antitype]; that which happened to unfaithful Israelites under Moses [type], that which would happen to unfaithful Christians under Christ [antitype]; the ministry of the Levitical priests in the earthly tabernacle [type], Christ’s present ministry in the heavenly sanctuary [antitype].
Also note that chapters 3, 4 [forming the second of the five major warnings in the book] form the basis for an understanding of the third major warning in chapter 6 [vv. 4-6]. It is not possible to properly understand this third major warning in the book apart from placing the warning in its contextual setting and viewing the overall type from which the warning draws.)
But what about the remainder of Old Testament history? Should it also be considered highly typical in nature? In the light of Christ’s statements in Luke 24:25-27, 44; John 5:45-47, along with the evident structure of Old Testament history, one could come to only one conclusion: The entirety of Old Testament history, through divine design, could only be viewed one way in this respect — the same way Paul described that section of Old Testament history detailing the experiences of the Israelites under Moses, as highly typical.
The experiences of Joseph constitute a type (actually, one overall type that forms numerous individual types). And if not a type (or, types) of Christ, then who? However, we’re not left to our own imagination to ascertain the answer. The passage itself (Genesis 37:1ff) and related Scripture (e.g., Luke 24:27, 44) determine the issue for us.
3) A Testimony
Joseph was a testimony (Psalm 81:5) among his brethren concerning not only the promise that God would one day deliver them from Egypt, but also the promise that God would one day visit them in the person of His Son. The same Hebrew word translated testimony in Psalm 81:5 is used elsewhere in Scripture referring to the ark of the covenant (Exodus 31:7), the two tables of stone upon which the law was given (Exodus 31:18), and the entire tabernacle itself (Exodus 38:21).
Since everything in the tabernacle (a testimony) reflects on some aspect of the person and work of Christ in a type-antitype relationship (Hebrews 9:1ff; 1 John 1:6-2:2), the same could only be said about Joseph (a testimony), particularly in the light of Luke 24:25-27, 44; John 5:45-47. Not only does everything about the tabernacle typify some aspect of the person and work of Christ, but everything about the life of Joseph also typifies some aspect of the person and work of Christ. The fact that certain things occurred in the life of Joseph, forming the type, sets forth, in no uncertain terms, the fact that these same things will also occur in the experiences of God’s Son in the antitype.
Christians who desire to know about the past history, present position, and future glory of God’s Son can find innumerable truths concerning these things in the life and times of Joseph.
Then, even in death Joseph remained a testimony among his brethren. When Joseph died he was placed in a coffin in Egypt. This coffin remained in the camp of Israel, UNBURIED, for about two hundred years (about one hundred forty years in Egypt, forty more years during the wilderness journey under Moses, and the subsequent years in the land under Joshua until Joseph was eventually buried [about twenty-five additional years]). Joseph had known that God would one day visit his brethren, lead them out of Egypt, and place them back in the land of Canaan. And he had specifically instructed the Israelites that His bones were to be carried out of Egypt with them at the time of the Exodus (Genesis 50:24-26).
The Israelites possessed no written Revelation during their stay in Egypt. Today we can turn to the Word of God and read the promises of God, but this was not the case before the Exodus and subsequent Revelation given through Moses. The Israelites, however, had a coffin during this time that contained the bones of Joseph; and within these bones in that coffin they possessed God’s promise of deliverance from Egypt.
Thus, this coffin containing Joseph’s bones, in one respect, was Israel’s Bible in Egypt for about one hundred and forty years. This coffin in their midst was the only tangible revelation which they possessed.
It is conceivable that during this time an Israelite father could take his son to a certain place in the camp of Israel, point to the coffin of Joseph, and instruct his son concerning the coming deliverance from Egypt, which itself is a type of the future deliverance from a worldwide dispersion by the One greater than Moses.
In this future deliverance, Old Testament saints will be raised from the dead and accompany the living back to the land. This fact is set forth in biblical typology in the person of Joseph — the dead returned with the living.
When Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, the coffin containing the bones of Joseph was carried out with them (Exodus 13:19). This coffin remained UNBURIED in the camp of Israel throughout the forty-year wilderness journey, and continued as a testimony during this time that God would ultimately lead His people into the land of Canaan. The bones of Joseph were buried only AFTER the Israelites entered into and possessed the land of Canaan, five generations later, about two hundred years after his death in Egypt (Joshua 24:32).
The record of Joseph continues today as one of God’s great testimonies concerning His Son and His promises. Joseph, like Daniel later in Babylon, was faithful to God in a strange land, and God always rewards faithfulness. Consider for a moment where Joseph would be in the annals of biblical history if he had been unfaithful in Potiphar’s house (39:1-19), in prison (39:20-41:36), or on the throne (41:37ff). But such was not the case. Joseph was faithful in every recorded experience God brought to pass in his life, and God has set him forth as a testimony in things relating to His Son.
Thus, in life, Joseph’s experiences were a testimony for the Israelites by forming a type of subsequent things that Christ would experience in the antitype. And, in death, Joseph’s bones remained a testimony to the Israelites for generations that God would visit and deliver His people.
Then there is a future aspect, seen not only in that which will follow deliverance (blessings for the Israelites), but in the person of Joseph himself, apart from typology. Joseph is going to one day be raised from the dead, live on this earth again, and see with his own eyes that to which his experiences pointed. Joseph is going to see God’s Son exalted in fulfillment of the things which were typified by his experiences millennia ago.
Joseph is going to one day stand again in the land of Canaan among his brethren, and see for himself — with his own eyes, and not those of another — the glory of the One whom his experiences have stood as a type for millennia (cf. Job 19:25-27). He is going to see Christ exalted over the entire world (as he was exalted over all Egypt); he is going to see Christ’s brethren (who hated Christ, as they had hated him) come and bow before Christ (as they had done in his presence); and he is going to see Christ’s brethren going forth with the same message that Joseph’s brethren went forth proclaiming in his day:
. . . Joseph is still alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt . . . . (Genesis 45:26)
“Jesus is yet alive, and He is Governor over all the earth” (cf. Psalm 24; Isaiah 52:6-9; 53:1ff).
A. W. Pink in his incomparable commentary on Genesis lists no less than one hundred and one specific analogies in the type-antitype relationship existing between Joseph and Jesus. Other great Bible scholars of past years who possessed an appreciation for types, such as F. B. Meyer and Andrew Jukes, list additional analogies in books written on this section of Genesis. And there are far, far more analogies that can be gleaned from Scripture by one who has a mind for the study of types.
The words of A. T. Robertson relative to the Greek New Testament would equally apply to the field of biblical typology in this respect:
“The Greek New Testament has a message for each mind. Some of the truth in it has never yet been seen by anyone else. It is waiting like a virgin forest to be explored. It is fresh for every mind that explores it, for those who have passed this way before have left it all here. It still has on it the dew of the morning and is ready to refresh the newcomer.”
In the remainder of this chapter and the two subsequent chapters on Joseph, a number of these analogies will be listed and briefly discussed. The reader can then conduct his own study concerning Joseph, which, in itself, is an inexhaustible study concerning Christ.
Joseph, the Beloved Son of the Father (Genesis 37:3-11)
1) The son of his father’s old age (v. 3)
“Old age” in typology speaks of eternity, Jesus has been God’s Son from eternity. He has no “beginning of days nor end of life” (John 1:1; Hebrews 7:3).
2) Loved more than any of Jacob’s other sons (v. 3)
God has many Sons. Because of creation, all “angels” are sons of God (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7); through creation and adoption, “Israel” is God’s son, His firstborn (Exodus 4:22; Isaiah 43:1; Romans 9:4); and Christians, presently looked upon in the sense of both “children” and “sons” (because of creation [2 Corinthians 5:17; cf. Romans 8:14; Galatians 3:26; 4:5, 6; Hebrews 12:5-8]), will one day be adopted (as Israel) and constitute a firstborn son as well (Romans 8:14-23; Hebrews 12:23).
But Jesus has always been God’s Son. He has been, and remains, God’s Son from eternity. All other sons have come into their standing during time (not eternity), and all these sons occupy their position through either creation (sons) or creation and adoption (firstborn sons).
Jesus though is God’s “ONLY BEGOTTEN SON” (John 3:16), providing Him with the firstborn standing (Hebrews 1:6) that adoption has provided for Israel and will, yet future, provide for Christians.
3) Received a coat from his father (v. 3)
The words “many colors” (KJV, NKJV) are not found in the Hebrew text. This was a long-sleeved cloak — possibly solid white — which extended not only to the wrists but also to the ankles. This was not a garment designed for work, but rather a garment designed to set the individual forth as an overseer or a superior, a garment designed to distinguish him from a laborer, or a servant.
“This sort of robe was worn by the opulent and noble, by kings’ sons, and by those who had no need to toil for their living.”
— F. B. Meyer
Just as Jacob placed his elder son born of Rachel in this position, God has placed His eldest Son — His only begotten Son — in this position. Jesus is the “appointed Heir of all things” (Hebrews 1:2). He has been “highly exalted” by the father and “given a name which is above every name” (Philippians 2:9-11). And following His return, He will not only rule over His brethren, the Israelites, but also over the Gentile nations of the earth as well (Daniel 2:35, 44; Luke 1:32, 33).
4) Hated by his brethren (vv. 4, 7-9)
Joseph was hated because of his father’s special love, and because of his dreams and words. They thus hated him because of who he was, the position in which his dreams placed him, and what he said.
Joseph had two dreams (vv. 7, 9). Both dreams pertained to his dominion over his brethren. The first dream was about sheaves in a field and had to do with an earthly dominion. The second dream was about the sun, moon, and stars and had to do with a heavenly dominion.
Jesus was hated by His brethren because of who He was, the position in which His message placed Him, and what He said (Matthew 26:59-68; 27:17, 18; John 5:18; 7:7).
During the Messianic Era, Jesus will have an earthly dominion and a heavenly dominion. All authority in heaven and on earth has already been given to Christ, though He will not exercise this authority until that future day when He takes the scepter and ascends the throne (Matthew 28:18; cf. Genesis 22:17; 26:4; 28:14).
Joseph Sent to His Brethren (Genesis 37:13-16)
1) Sent out from the vale of Hebron to seek and to find his brethren (vv. 13, 14)
Jacob, concerned about the welfare of his other sons, sent Joseph to find them. Joseph willingly accepted the commission of his father to go to his brethren.
Joseph was sent from “the vale of Hebron.” “Hebron” means fellowship, or communion; and the “vale” suggests the place of peace and quiet in this fellowship and communion with the father.
God is concerned about the welfare of His son, Israel. He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, to His created and adopted son, Israel, in time past; and Jesus will be sent back to Israel once again at a time yet future in order to bring to pass that which could not be brought to pass at His first coming.
Jesus, in time past, willingly laid aside His glory and face to face fellowship and communion with the Father in heaven and accepted the commission to go to His brethren (John 17:5, 18; Hebrews 10:7). At a time yet future, Jesus will appear to His brethren once again; but this time He will appear in their presence in all His power and glory.
2) Sent to and sought only his brethren (vv. 13-16)
Jesus, likewise, was sent to and sought only His brethren. Jesus “came to His own [neuter pl. in the Greek text — lit., ‘His own things,’ having to do with regality], and his own [masculine pl. in the Greek text — lit., ‘His own people,’ the Jewish people] did not receive Him” (John 1:11). When commissioning the twelve disciples Jesus specifically commanded them: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:5, 6).
Jesus declared in Matthew 15:24, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” The Gentiles could have no part in the Father’s purpose for sending His Son until Israel had been dealt with first.
3) Wandered about in the field seeking his brethren (v. 15)
“The field” (as “Egypt”) signifies the world (Matthew 13:38). Jesus became a Wanderer, a Man without a home in the world, while seeking His brethren: “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Luke 9:58). Note John 7:53-8:1: “And every man went unto his own house,” but “Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.”
Joseph Finds His Brethren (Genesis 37:16-19)
1) Sought his brethren until he found them (vv. 16, 17)
For three and one-half years Jesus went about seeking His brethren, proclaiming the same message that Joseph had proclaimed, which had to do with regality. And this, as when Joseph had proclaimed this message, resulted in His brethren hating Him:
Now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more.
So he said to them, “Please hear this dream which I have dreamed:
There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Then behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright; and indeed your sheaves stood all around and bowed down to my sheaf.”
And his brothers said to him, “Shall you indeed reign over us? Or shall you indeed have dominion over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words. (Genesis 37:5-8).
2) Found his brethren in Dothan (v. 17)
Some Hebrew scholars understand Dothan to mean “law,” or “custom”; others understand the word to mean “two wells.”
Jesus found His brethren dwelling under the bondage of the law and bound by the customs and rituals of the religious leaders of that day (Matthew 15:1-3; 16:6). He also found them dwelling by two wells. Note Jeremiah 2:13:
For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns-broken cisterns that can hold no water.
The Jews had deserted the Well of Living Water and were drawing from a well that had no water.
The Response of Joseph’s Brethren (Genesis 37:18-36)
1) Refused to receive him and conspired against him. His words concerning his dreams were not believed (vv. 5-9, 18-20)
The Jews rejected Jesus and conspired against Him. They attributed His miraculous signs — which bore visible witness to the nation of Israel concerning the message being proclaimed — to the power of Satan (Matthew 9:34; 12:24). The Pharisees “plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him” (Matthew 12:14). And immediately before and during His crucifixion the religious leaders in Israel spat upon, beat, and mocked their Messiah (Matthew 26:63-67; 27:39-43). They, like the brethren of Joseph, did not believe His words.
2) Sold by his brethren to the Gentiles for twenty pieces of silver. Judah is the one who conceived this thought (vv. 26-28)
Jesus was betrayed and sold by Judas, one of His brethren, for thirty pieces of silver (John 13:21-27; Matthew 26:14, 15). The name Judas comes from the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew name “Judah.” The One who had been born King, from the tribe of Judah, was then delivered into the hands of the Gentiles by His brethren.
3) Stripped of his coat and cast into a pit (vv. 23, 24)
Jesus was stripped of His garments and arrayed as a mock King, wearing a scarlet robe, a crown of thorns, and holding a reed in His right hand (Matthew 27:28, 29). And the Roman soldiers who had ridiculed Christ in this manner then crucified Him and cast lots for His garments (Matthew 27:35).
Following His death, Jesus descended into the pit. And He was in the heart of the earth — in Hades, the place of the dead — for “three days and three nights” (Matthew 12:40; Acts 2:27-31).
4) Taken out of the pit alive (v. 28)
Jesus was also taken out of the pit, out of Hades, alive. He was raised from the dead on the third day, and, like Joseph, in a body of flesh and bones, stood among His brethren (Matthew 28:6, 9; Luke 24:36-39).
5) Thought to be dead by one of his brethren (vv. 20, 21, 29)
The brethren of Jesus, the Jews, today likewise believe that He is dead. Only those whose eyes have been opened know and understand the truth about Jesus (Luke 24:31; Romans 11:25).
6) His coat dipped in the blood of a slain ram (vv. 31-35)
The ram died in Joseph’s place. This coat with the blood was then presented to Jacob, and he accepted this as evidence of Joseph’s death.
Jesus has presented His own blood to the Father. He Himself is our Substitute, and the Father has accepted His blood (showing death) as evidence of our death (a vicarious death). Thus, those who have placed their trust in Jesus Christ have already kept the appointment with death (Hebrews 9:27, 28).
Joseph Rejected — Jesus Rejected
Individuals often wonder why the nation of Israel rejected her Messiah when He appeared the first time.
Israel was in possession of the Word of God, which, in its entirety, was about the person and work of the One they rejected. This Revelation presented innumerable types of the coming Messiah, along with information giving the place of His appearance, the approximate time of His appearance, and that which would happen following His appearance (Micah 5:2; Daniel 9:24-27; Isaiah 53:1-12).
Why were Herod the king and the inhabitants of Jerusalem troubled when the wise men from the East appeared in the capital of Jewry saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him” (Matthew 2:2, 3). This Star (His star) was apparently identified by the wise men as the “Star out of Jacob” (Numbers 24:17), which would signal the birth of Israel’s Messiah. The wise men knew that the Messiah was present; Herod knew; and the truth of the matter is that the religious leaders in Israel also knew.
It is understandable why Herod was troubled. His position on the throne was endangered by the arrival of the Jewish King.
But why were the Jews in “all Jerusalem” troubled? This should have been good news for them. They were under Roman rule, and the Deliverer promised time after time throughout the past 4,000 years of human history was at last present. The Messianic Era — wherein Gentile rule would end and Israel would be established at the head of the nations — could shortly be ushered in. But, instead of joy among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, they were troubled.
Over the years preceding Christ’s appearance, many false Messiahs had appeared to the nation of Israel. But the Jewish people had largely ignored these individuals. They knew that they were false. But when Jesus appeared, things were different. The Jewish people could only have known that it was about time for their Messiah to appear (cf. Daniel 9:24-27), and when He did appear, they were troubled. They were not ready for His appearance, and would not have this Man to reign over them (John 19:15).
Herod, who was only a Jew indirectly (an Edomite who had embraced Judaism), tried to kill Jesus shortly after His birth; and the religious leaders in Israel later spent three and one-half years trying to do away with Jesus.
The same situation that existed in Israel 2,000 years ago exists, as well, in Christendom today. The Jewish people were in possession of the Word and could know the things that God had revealed about the Messiah’s first appearance. Christians today are in possession of the Word and can know the things that God has revealed about the Messiah’s reappearance. The Jewish people sought to put the day of Messiah’s appearance far from them. And Christians today, concerning Messiah’s reappearance, are little different.
An apostate Judaism marked the closing days of that dispensation, and an apostate Christianity marks the closing days of this present dispensation (Matthew 23:1ff; 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:3). The condition of the Church at the end of the present dispensation is set forth in the degenerate condition of the Laodicean Church in Revelation 3:14-21, and the reason for this can be seen in the first four parables of Matthew chapter thirteen.
Why are Christians troubled when the coming of the Lord is mentioned? Why is this message, so prevalent throughout Scripture, seldom proclaimed in the majority of pulpits throughout the land? The answer is the same in Christendom today as it was in the camp of Israel 2,000 years ago. The Jewish people were not ready for the Messiah’s appearance then, and Christians are not ready for the Messiah’s reappearance today.
Instead of joy among Christians, as should exist when the return of the Lord is proclaimed, trouble reigns supreme. Christians are unprepared for the intervention of the Messiah in the affairs of man once again, and they don’t want to hear about it. The return of the Lord will put an end to all of man’s plans, hopes, aims, ambitions, and aspirations performed apart from the power and leadership of the Holy Spirit.
The religious leaders in Israel should have been preparing the people to meet their Messiah. But they were not, and, consequently, the people were not ready.
Religious leaders today should be preparing the people to meet their Messiah. But they are not, and, consequently, the people will not be ready.
Joseph was mocked by his brethren because of his dreams concerning dominion over them, and they tried to do away with him (Genesis 37:8, 20-36).
The chief priests, scribes, and elders in Israel, in like manner, mocked Christ concerning His prophesied dominion over them, and they tried to do away with Him (Matthew 26:59; 27:20-22, 39-43).
And the situation is no different in Christendom today. Many are openly belittling truths concerning the coming reign of Christ over the earth. They, like the Jews in time past, will have nothing to do with the Kingship of Jesus.
But, as will be shown in the subsequent two chapters, the type (the history of Joseph in Egypt) places Joseph and his brethren in exactly the position set forth in his dreams — Joseph exalted (over all Egypt), with his brethren bowing down before him. And this alone necessitates a future fulfillment in the antitype in the person of Christ and the nation of Israel.