The Bride in Genesis
By Arlen L. Chitwood
Joseph and Asenath
Hated by His Brethren
(In Chapter 4, Joseph was seen as the beloved son of the father but hated and rejected by his brethren, who sold him for the price of a young slave, for “twenty pieces of silver” [lit., “twenty shekels of silver,” referring to weights of silver, not coins (Genesis 37:28; cf. Leviticus 27:5)].
In the antitype it is Jesus who is seen as the beloved Son of the Father but hated and rejected by His brethren, who sold Him for the price of an adult slave, for “thirty pieces of silver” [Matthew 27:3-7; cf. Exodus 21:32; Zechariah 11:12, 13].
God moved in the affairs of man, bringing these things to pass in the life of Joseph in order that He might have these experiences to draw upon in teaching Christians the deep things of God. God made the type to provide additional light for the antitype. God brought these things to pass in order to foreshadow and help explain great spiritual truths concerning His plans and purposes surrounding both His Son and Man [cf. Psalm 81:5; Luke 24:27; John 5:39, 46; 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11].)
Following chapter thirty-seven in Genesis there is a break in the revealed chain of events covering the life of Joseph. In chapter thirty-eight God has seen fit to reveal certain things in the life of Judah before taking up the experiences of Joseph in the land of Egypt, beginning in chapter thirty-nine. On the surface, chapter thirty-eight would appear to have little connection with the life of Joseph, but such is not the case.
In this chapter, the experiences of Judah foreshadow the history of the Jewish people following their rejection and crucifixion of Jesus the Christ. This historical period — set forth in a type-antitype framework of events — which follows the events of Calvary (chapter 37), covers the entire two days (2,000 years) during which Israel’s Messiah is absent from the land of Judea (separated from His brethren according to the flesh) and leads into the Messianic Kingdom.
Two aspects of the history of Israel are seen in this chapter. One aspect provides an overall future history of the Jewish people; and the other is a continuing aspect of Israeli history, having to do with Israel’s harlotry, which had begun centuries earlier. Both aspects of this history cover the period that begins immediately following Calvary and leads into the Messianic Kingdom 2,000 years later.
Israel — From Calvary to the Kingdom (Genesis 38:1-30)
Judah married a Gentile woman, Shuah, whose name means “riches.” Out of this union three sons were born: The first son was named Er, which means “enmity”; the second son was named Onan, which means “iniquity”; the third son was named Shelah, which means “sprout.” And Shelah was born in Chezib, which means “false.”
Judah’s marriage to a Gentile — Shuah, whose name means “riches” — following the events of chapter thirty-seven sets forth in type the fact that following the rejection, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ, Israel has gone out among the Gentiles, seeking wealth, riches.
The first son, Er (meaning “enmity”), signifies that enmity against Christ is what has marked the Jewish people down through the centuries following Calvary.
The second son, Onan (meaning “iniquity”), sets forth the state in which the nation found herself following Calvary. Israel, though already unclean through harlotry, found herself in a further unclean condition — unclean through contact with the dead body of her Messiah; and the nation must remain in this unclean condition for two days (for 2,000 years).
Israel is presently separated from her temple and the sacrificial system connected with the temple, leaving the nation separated from the fulfillment of all Old Testament sacrifices — pointing to the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. Israel has slain the Lamb, but has yet to apply the blood (through belief). Israel, by sacrificing the Lamb apart from applying the blood, found herself separated from the efficacy of that sacrifice — cleansing, followed by reconciliation. And Israel cannot avail herself of cleansing, subsequently being reconciled to God, until the third day — the third one-thousand-year period following the offense (Numbers 19:11, 12).
(Actually, Israel will be cleansed of all her uncleanness at the end of two days, at the end of 2,000 years, immediately preceding the Messianic Era [Daniel 9:24].)
The third son, Shelah (meaning “sprout”), born in Chezib (meaning “false”), points to something taking place in the life of Israel when the nation is small among the nations and everything is untrue, false. This can only point to a time at the end of this age — during the last seven years of Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy — when a small nation in the Middle East, the nation of Israel, will be confronted by the false Messiah, the man of sin. The Jews rejected the true Messiah, who came in His Father’s name; but they will receive the false Messiah, who will come in his own name (John 5:43; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12).
During the Tribulation, when the man of sin is on the scene, there will be a division in the house of Israel. One segment of the nation will receive the false Messiah, but the other segment will reject him (note that “many,” not all, will receive this man [Daniel 9:27]).
The type that is dealing with this fact is set forth by the twins whom Tamar bore in Genesis 38:27-30.
At the time of birth, one twin put forth his hand from the womb and the midwife tied a scarlet thread about his hand to identify the firstborn. However, his hand was drawn back into the womb and the other child, which was named Pharez, was born first. Pharez means “breach,” and points to that segment of the nation that will climax their breach with God by receiving the man of sin.
The second son, who was named Zerah, meaning “dawn,” possessed the scarlet thread and points to that segment of the nation that will reject the man of sin, looking forward to the dawn of a new day.
“Zerah” points to the remnant that will pass through the time of Jacob’s trouble (many in a place prepared by God [Isaiah 26:20; Revelation 12:6]) and be saved out of the destruction that will come upon the world, as Rahab, who, by the display of a scarlet cord, was saved from the destruction that befell Jericho (Joshua 2:18, 19; 6:17, 25; Hebrews 11:31).
Israel — The Harlot Woman (Genesis 38:12-26)
Judah, in the type, is seen marrying a Gentile woman and later having illicit relations with his own daughter-in-law (38:2, 12ff), with far-reaching ramifications. Judah’s action foreshadows Israel in the antitype, having illicit relations with the Gentile nations, also with far-reaching ramifications. Repentance is ultimately seen by Judah in the type (Genesis 38:24-26), as it will one day occur in the camp of Israel in the antitype (Hosea 2:2, 3; 14:1, 4, 8).
Israel, the wife of Jehovah in the Old Testament theocracy, began to have forbidden relations with the Gentile nations very early in Jewish history, committing harlotry. This early beginning of Israel’s harlotry is seen particularly in the book of Judges where Israel, time after time, found herself involved with Gentile nations, with God sending a deliverer each time following the nation’s repentance.
But the day finally came when Israel’s cup of iniquity became full (cf. Genesis 15:16), and God allowed Gentile nations to uproot His people from their land and take them captive into Gentile lands (the northern ten tribes in 722 B.C. and the southern two tribes in 605 B.C.), with deliverance awaiting their repentance and Messiah’s return.
(For more information on Israel’s harlotry, refer to the author’s books, The Time of Jacob’s Trouble [the entire book deals with this subject] and The Time of the End [chapters 27, 28 — “The Beast and the Woman,” and “Judgment of the Great Whore”].)
Israel Set Aside (Genesis 39-41)
(Beginning in chapter thirty-nine, Scripture provides commentary for that which is seen in both chapters thirty-seven and thirty-eight.
A structure of this nature is something seen quite often throughout Scripture. A complete sequence of events will be given, and Scripture will then drop back and provide commentary on different things presented in the complete sequence.
This is actually the way Scripture is structured as a whole. The complete sequence of events is given in Genesis 1:1-2:3. Then, the remainder of Scripture is simply a commentary on different things previously presented in the complete sequence, with the Sabbath day, the Messianic Era, always seen as the goal toward which everything moves.)
Following the account of the experiences of Judah throughout chapter thirty-eight — which typifies an overall history of Israel extending from Calvary to the Kingdom, along with Israel’s continued harlotry throughout this time — the type of Christ from chapter thirty-seven is continued in chapter thirty-nine through Joseph’s continued experiences. The type from this point throughout the remaining chapters sets forth:
1) Jesus in the hands of the Gentiles following His rejection by Israel.
2) The Gentile aspect of the crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection.
3) The intervening 2,000-year period, during which time Jesus is separated from His brethren according to the flesh, and takes to Himself a Gentile bride.
4) The time of the Tribulation, which will come upon the entire earth.
5) The time when Jesus reveals Himself to His brethren the second time, followed by national blessings for Israel and blessings for the Gentile nations of the earth through the restored Jewish nation.
In chapter thirty-nine there is a new beginning in the type. Chapter thirty-seven sets forth the Jewish aspect of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Chapter thirty-nine begins the Gentile aspect, covering these same events once again (cf. Acts 4:25-28); and the type is continued in the following chapters through the present dispensation on into the next, into the Messianic Era.
Joseph’s brethren are noticeably absent throughout chapters thirty-nine through forty-one, and they do not reappear until that time when a famine comes upon the entire land and they are forced to go to Joseph (42:1ff).
Israel was set aside following the rejection of Christ, and the nation will not reappear in God’s national dealings until a famine (the Tribulation) is upon the entire land once again and the Jewish people (as Joseph’s brethren) are forced to turn to the One whom they rejected (cf. Hosea 5:15-6:2).
The Servitude of Joseph (Genesis 39:1-6)
1) Brought down to Egypt and became a servant in Potiphar’s house. The Lord caused all that Joseph did to prosper, and he gained favor in Potiphar’s sight (vv. 1-4)
Jesus was sent to this earth, very God of very God, “but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant . . . .” The Lord caused all that He did to prosper, and Jesus “increased . . . in favor with God and man” (Isaiah 53:10; Luke 2:52; Philippians 2:5-7).
2) Placed over all that his master possessed. Because of Joseph, the blessings of the Lord were upon all in the “house” and in the “field” (v. 5)
Jesus was born King of the Jews (born King in the “house” of Israel [Matthew 2:2; 10:6]), and He purchased those in the “field” (the world [Matthew 13:38, 45ff]) with His own blood. It is only because of Jesus, a Jew, that the blessings of the Lord extend to those in both the house and the field today (Genesis 12:3). The entire world, after a measure, enjoys the blessings of the Lord today, though not in their fullness. The time when these blessings will be manifested in their fullness will be during the Messianic Era.
3) All of the master’s possessions placed in Joseph’s hands (v. 6)
The Father has placed all that He possesses in the Son’s hands. The Son has been appointed “Heir of all things” (Hebrews. 1:2; cf. Genesis 24:10, 36), and this inheritance will be received at the end of the present age and realized during the coming age.
The Temptation of Joseph (Genesis 39:7-18)
1) Tempted, but sinned not. Joseph was alone in a strange land when he was tempted by the wife of the captain of Pharaoh’s guard (vv. 7-13)
Jesus was tempted while alone in the wilderness by the prince of this world (Matthew 4:1-11). Jesus, the eternal Son of God, sinned not because He could not sin. He possessed no inward lust (which would have necessitated a sin nature), and was thus incapable of sinning (James 1:14, 15). Jesus wasn’t tempted to sin. He couldn’t be tempted in this manner, because God cannot be tempted with evil (James 1:13). He was “in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (lit. “apart from sin” — i.e., apart from being tempted to sin).
The face to face encounter between Jesus and Satan in the wilderness was necessary because of that which occurred 4,000 years earlier in the garden in Eden.
The first man, the first Adam, through an encounter with Satan, found himself in a fallen state and no longer qualified to ascend into the position for which he had been created (Genesis 1:26-28; 3:7ff).
Jesus, the second Man, the last Adam, met Satan in the wilderness to show once and for all that He was fully qualified as the eternal, impeccable Son of God to redeem that which the first Adam had lost in the fall. Jesus then bore the sins of the world in His own body on Calvary’s Cross to both effect man’s redemption (2 Corinthians 5:21) and to place Himself in a position where the forfeited inheritance (the earth) could subsequently be redeemed as well (cf. Ruth 4:1ff; Psalm 2:1ff; Romans 8:14ff; Revelation 5:1ff).
2) Falsely accused in order to remove him from Potiphar’s house (vv. 14-18)
Jesus was falsely accused in order to remove Him from the house of Israel (Matthew 26:59, 60).
The Sentence of Joseph (Genesis 39:16-40:23)
1) Suffered the wrath of his master for sin, though he was not guilty. Potiphar’s wrath was kindled, but noticeably absent are the words, “against Joseph” (39:19, 20)
Jesus suffered the wrath of His Father for sin, though He was not guilty. The Father’s wrath was kindled against sin, not against His Son. The Son bore our sins in His own body at Calvary (Isaiah 53:5, 6; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24).
2) Offered no defense, though completely innocent (39:19, 20)
Jesus offered no defense, though completely innocent (Isaiah 53:7; Matthew 27:12-14).
3) Joseph was put in prison. It is evident that Potiphar did not believe the accusation against Joseph since he did not order him put to death (39:20)
Jesus was put in prison, in the place of death. Pilate, like Potiphar, did not believe the accusation against Jesus (Matthew 27:22-26).
4) All that were in the prison were committed into Joseph’s hands (39:22, 23)
All that are in the place of death have been committed into Jesus’ hands. Jesus possesses the “keys of Hades and of death” (Revelation 1:18). The resurrection of all individuals (saved and unsaved alike) will take place only because the Son has been raised from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:20-24). And all judgment following resurrection will take place at the hands of the Son (John 5:22).
5) Joseph was numbered with the transgressors. Two individuals are singled out who were placed in prison with Joseph. One fared well; the other did not (40:1-23)
Jesus was numbered with the transgressors. Two malefactors were crucified with Christ. Two thieves were brought in later and also crucified with Him. One of the malefactors fared well; the other did not. Neither of the thieves fared well (Isaiah 53:11; Matthew 27:33-35; Mark 15:22-37; Luke 23:26-46; John 19:16-26).
(The malefactors and the thieves, crucified with Christ, are often viewed as being the same two individuals, but this cannot be correct. In Matthew’s and Mark’s accounts of the crucifixion, the two thieves were crucified with Him after the inscription, “This is Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews,” was placed above His head. In Luke’s account, the two malefactors were crucified with Him before this inscription was placed above His head. In John’s account, the order is the same as Luke’s, but they are simply called “two others.”
The word translated “malefactor” is a broader word in the Greek text than the word translated “thief.” A malefactor can be a thief, but he can also be guilty of numerous other crimes. Different Greek words are also used to describe the manner in which the thieves and malefactors spoke to Jesus. Both thieves spoke “reproachfully”; one malefactor spoke “blasphemously”; the other malefactor — often mistakenly called the repentant thief — believed that Jesus was the Messiah of Israel, and concluded his remarks with the request, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom” [Matthew 27:44; Luke 23:39-42]).
The Deliverance of Joseph (Genesis 41:1-36)
While in prison Joseph interpreted the dreams of two individuals numbered with him. One was restored to his prior position, and the other was hanged, both as Joseph had foretold.
Later the Pharaoh of Egypt dreamed two dreams, and none of the magicians or wise men in Egypt could make known the interpretation. The Pharaoh was then told about Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams by the one who had been in prison with Joseph and had been restored to his prior position.
Joseph was then called forth from prison to make known the interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams. As in the experience of Nebuchadnezzar and his dream about the great image (Daniel 2:1ff), or the experience of Belshazzar and the handwriting on the wall (Daniel 5:5ff), the wisdom of Egypt and Babylon were of no avail in the things of God. In each instance a Jew had to be called forth to make known the message from God.
A Jewish connection with the Revelation of God after this fashion has been in effect since the time that the Hebrew people were called into existence. According to Psalm 147:19, 20,
He declares His word to Jacob, His statutes and His judgments to Israel.
He has not dealt thus with any nation [Gentile]; and as for His judgments, they have not known them. Praise the LORD!
According to Romans 3:1, 2; 9:4, the “Oracles of God” were committed to the Jews. The Word of God that we have today came through Jewish prophets, beginning with Moses. No part of the Bible, through its own internal testimony, could possibly have been given through a Gentile (as some look upon Luke, who wrote both the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts). Psalms 147:19, 20 provides God’s own statement concerning the national origin of ALL those who wrote ALL Scripture.
1) Called forth from prison to make known future events (vv. 14-28)
Jesus was called forth from the place of death and made known future events. The resurrection of Christ itself sets forth future events. The resurrection of Christ — God’s firstborn Son — took place after two days, on the third day. This sets forth the fact that all of God’s firstborn Sons — Christ, Israel, and the Church (following the adoption) — will be raised up after two days, on the third day. It will be after two days, on the third day — after two thousand years, on the third one-thousand-year period — that Christ will enter into His glory, accompanied by both restored Israel and His wife (cf. Luke 9:32; 24:26; John 11:6, 7, 43, 44).
Following His resurrection, Jesus spent forty days instructing His disciples in things pertaining to “the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3). Then, following His ascension, Jesus appeared to Paul in the Arabian Desert and personally instructed him concerning future events (Galatians 1:11, 12, 16, 17).
2) Revealed to Pharaoh that a time of plenty would be followed by a time of famine. Both of these periods were to be seven years in length (vv. 29-36)
“Seven” is one of the numbers showing completness. It signifies the completion of that which is in view. The dreams of Pharaoh, thus, set forth events transpiring within two complete periods of time.
Throughout the Word of God we are told about these two complete periods, which within their proper framework FOLLOW the resurrection of Christ. There is to be a time of plenty — the day in which we presently live; and there is to be a time of famine — the Tribulation period. And just as surely as the time of plenty ended during Joseph’s day and the time of famine followed, the time of plenty in which we now live will end, and the time of famine will follow (Matthew 24:21; Revelation 6:1-8).
The Exaltation of Joseph (Genesis 41:39-45)
1) Following his removal from prison and his making known God’s Revelation, Joseph was exalted and seated on the throne of the ruler over all Egypt. Joseph was arrayed in fine linen, a gold chain was placed about his neck, he rode in Pharaoh’s second chariot, all were required to bow their knee to Joseph, and he was placed over all the land of Egypt (vv. 39-44)
Following His resurrection and His making known God’s Revelation (Acts 1:3), Jesus was exalted and seated on the throne of the Ruler over all the earth, and the universe at large (Psalm 110:1; Revelation 3:21).
God has exalted Jesus to His right hand to be “Prince and Savior” (Acts 5:31); He has been “crowned with glory and honor” (Hebrews. 2:9); He has been clothed with garments befitting His position — a body enswathed with the glory of God (Psalm 104:1, 2); God has stated, “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth” (Philippians 2:10); “All authority . . . in heaven and on earth” has been given to Him (Matthew 28:18, ASV); and this is all with a view to the Anointed One exercising power from His own throne in the coming age (Psalm 110:1-3; Revelation 3:21).
2) During the time Joseph was seated on the throne of another, and before the time of famine, he became the savior of the world, and he took a Gentile bride (v. 45)
During the time Jesus is seated on the throne of His Father, and before the time of famine, He is the Savior of the world, and He is taking a Gentile bride (Acts 15:14; Romans 11:25; Revelation 19:7, 8).
During the present time, the world is enjoying its day of plenty. But the day of famine is just ahead. The Church, of course, will not be here. Christ will remove His bride before the time of famine (which will involve the removal of ALL Christians at that time, for the bride will not be singled out — the “called out” will not be removed from the “called” [cf. Matthew 22:14] — UNTIL events surrounding the judgment seat, where ALL Christians MUST appear [2 Corinthians 5:9-11]).
In the type, Asenath, the wife of Joseph, was not affected by the time of famine. She was noticeably absent during events surrounding the famine, which included events surrounding Joseph’s dealings with his brethren during the time of famine. Thus will it be in the antitype. The Church will have no part in events surrounding the Tribulation; nor will the Church have a part in Christ’s dealings with His brethren according to the flesh both during and immediately following this time.
In a corresponding type in the book of Exodus we find these same truths set forth. Moses took a Gentile bride during the time of his rejection by his brethren, but she had no part in his dealings with his brethren during the plagues upon Egypt and the subsequent Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. Moses’ wife, Zipporah, did not accompany Moses to Egypt when he appeared to his brethren the second time and was not present during any of his dealings with his brethren in Egypt or with the Assyrian Pharaoh ruling Egypt.
She was separated from Moses during this time and reunited with him only after the Exodus (Exodus 2:21; 4:20-26; 18:1-5).
As in the antitype of Joseph and Asenath, or in the antitype of Moses and Zipporah, Christ’s bride will have no part in the coming Tribulation, or in Christ’s dealings with His brethren according to the flesh, both during and immediately following the Tribulation.
Christ’s wife will not accompany Him to the earth when He returns to complete the judgments of the Tribulation and to deliver His brethren. She, as Asenath in relation to Joseph, or Zipporah in relation to Moses, will be separated from Christ during this time and be reunited with Him only after He concludes His dealings with Israel. Those who accompany Christ to the earth and witness concluding judgments of the Tribulation and His dealings with His brethren during this time will be angels, not Christians (Revelation 19:14; Jude 14; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 2 Thessalonians 1:7; cf. Deuteronomy 33:2; Psalm 68:17; Acts 7:53; Hebrews. 2:2).
Just as surely as night follows day, a time of famine will follow the present time of plenty. For those who dwell on the earth, many will come to realize too late that “the harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved!” (Jeremiah 8:20) — which would have to do with both the saved and the unsaved.
(Salvation for those who have already “passed from death to life” has to do with an ongoing aspect of salvation, to be realized in the future — the salvation of the soul.
Salvation for those who have not “passed from death to life” is another matter though. They have yet to possess spiritual life. Consequently, they are completely removed from all aspects of the overall scope of salvation that God, through His Son, has provided for man.)