Joseph As Christ Figure

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The story of Joseph is a two-fold demonstration of the Christian idea of anomniscient and omnipotent God with a master plan for the life of each humanbeing and for the universe as a whole. Every circumstance in Josephs life isturned around to lead to his ultimate position as an Egyptian ruler, whichallows him to save his family. In addition to the predestined events that happenwithin Josephs life, the story as a whole foreshadows Gods plan forsalvation through Jesus Christ. Joseph is a shadow who has remarkablesimilarities to Christ and the events of his life. Both Joseph and Jesus areunlikely candidates for their positions and are mocked when they tell peopleGods plan for their lives. Joseph is his fathers second-youngest son, yetGod chooses him as the savior of his older brothers and his father. When Josephtells his family his visions that he will rule over them, they ridicule him. Hisbrothers hated him even more for his dreams, and for his words. While theJews were expecting their Messiah to come as a rich and mighty king, Jesus comesas the son of a carpenter. His authority is questioned by people who areastonished at his miracles and asked, Whence hath this man this wisdom, andthese mighty works? Is not this the carpenters son? The fact that Josephand Jesus achieve the things they do from the places they start suggests amaster plan constructed and carried out by a powerful God. Both Joseph and Jesusare loved by their fathers. Joseph is given a special coat by his father becauseIsrael loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of hisold age Jacobs favoritism toward Joseph causes the jealousy in hisbrothers that starts Joseph on his destined road. God, Jesus father, declareshis love for his son upon Christs baptism, saying, This is my beloved Son,in whom I am well pleased Josephs jealous brothers sell him intoslavery to Ishme-el-ites for twenty pieces of silver. What appears to be ahorrible situation is actually an essential part of Gods plan for Josephslife. His brothers have no idea that the boy they are angrily selling will latersave their lives. Josephs betrayal by his brothers parallels Judassbetrayal of Jesus Christ for thirty pieces of silver. Joseph is a servant whobecomes exalted. He is a slave and a prisoner , and through this becomes a greatruler. Similarly Jesus Christ takes on the conduct of a servant and is exaltedbecause of it. Christ made himself of no reputation, and took upon him theform of a servant , until God also hath highly exalted him, and givenhim a name which is above every name. Josephs submission to Potiphar ispart of the road that leads to the fulfillment of Gods plan. This fulfillmentincludes Josephs promotion above Potiphar. Similarly, Jesus Christ becomesmortal, submitting to death in order to overcome it. Joseph is tempted byPotiphars wife and resists temptation just as Jesus does during his fortydays of temptation in the wilderness. The temptation illustrates that God canimplement his plan only if people are obedient. Joseph and Jesus must liverighteously in order to fulfill the dream that God has given them. AlthoughJoseph resists Potiphars wife, he is condemned and sent to prison. Josephsprison sentence parallels Jesus death and burial. Both come out of theirconfinement exalted as princes over foreign lands. Joseph becomes a prince ofEgypt, while Jesus becomes a prince over the Earth. After being exalted, Josephtakes a Gentile bride, Zapthanathpaaneah. Similarly, the church, which ispredominantly Gentile, has been espousedto one husband, that God maypresent it as a chaste virgin to Christ. Joseph saves Egypt and Israel fromstarvation during the seven-year famine, when all countries came intoEgypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in alllands. Just as Joseph provides food for many nations, Jesus Christ becomesthe bread of life for the entire world. He says, I am the bread oflife: he that cometh unto me shall never hunger God has Joseph sold intoslavery so that he can save his family. Joseph understands Gods scheme andexplains it to his brothers, saying, Now therefore be not grieved, nor angrywith yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you topreserve life. This foreshadows the sacrifice that God has Jesus make to savemankind. This sacrifice is that while we were yet sinners, Christ died forus. Much more than, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved fromwrath through him. Joseph is reunited with his brothers and forgives them,saying, but as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it untogood, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

Likewise, Jesus Christ forgives his brothers who crucified him, sayingFather, forgive them; for they know not what they do. God gave Joseph adream as a young man and Joseph lived in a way that allowed God to accomplishthat dream. God sent Joseph through a long period of tribulation, Joseph provedfaithful in every situation, and God exalted him because of his devotion andrighteousness. The similarities between the lives of Joseph and Jesus Christseem to point to an ordained plan by a Supreme Being. Josephs life is themost extraordinary of many shadows in the Old Testament of the Messiah.

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Christians often point to this shadow as confirmation that Jesus Christ is theMessiah whose incarnation was foretold by the ancient prophets.


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