Joseph’s Birth and Early Years

March 2021

“And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more. And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf. And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.”

The Dreams
The Lord revealed the future to Joseph in a dream. While the dream definitely referred to him, with it ultimately being fulfilled, it more so referred to Christ and Israel. He told his brothers the truth, and they hated him even more. Thus it was with Joseph’s great Antitype. He bore witness to the truth, and his testimony to the truth was answered on man’s part by the cross. The mention of Joseph’s mother in verse 10 is thought by some to be a mistake in the sacred text, with Rachel already being dead. However, she was still living at the time and died shortly afterward. As stated, these accounts are not necessarily given in chronological order.

By looking at these dreams from the natural viewpoint, many have suggested that it was prideful arrogance that had Joseph to relate these dreams to his brothers. However, it was not done in pride since there is no reason to suppose that Joseph as yet understood the celestial origin of his dreams, much less what they meant.

A Type Of Christ
Concerning this, The Pulpit Commentary says: “He related this in the simplicity of his heart and in doing so he was also guided, unconsciously it may be, but still really, by an overruling providence, who made use of the very telling of the dream as a step toward its fulfillment.”

The Pulpit Commentary continues, “In the absence of information to the contrary, we are warranted in believing that there was nothing either sinful or offensive in Joseph’s spirit or manner in making known his dreams. That which appears to have excited the hostility of his brethren was not the mode of their communication, but the character of their contents.”

In fact, due to the principle of Joseph being a type of Christ and, without a doubt, the most powerful type in the Old Testament, no sin whatsoever is recorded as it regards this brother. While he very definitely did commit sins at times simply because the Scripture says that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” still, these sins were not recorded because of his place and position. To be sure, if what Joseph did in relating these dreams was wrong, the Holy Spirit would have said so or else ignored the incident.

While the dream definitely had to do with Joseph, as we shall see, Joseph’s life and experiences far more portrayed Christ. Concerning the dream, while his brothers would definitely bow down to him, the greater meaning has to do with the time that is coming when Israel will bow down to Christ. This will take place immediately after the second coming. That is by far the greater meaning and that which the Holy Spirit intends to present.

The Truth
The hatred that Joseph’s brethren exhibited toward him represents the Jews in Christ’s day. “He came to His own, and His own received Him not.” He had “no form nor comeliness” in their eyes. They would not own Him as the Son of God or as the King of Israel. Their eyes were not open to behold “His glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” They would not have Him. They hated Him.

“And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me. And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to you to the earth? And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying” (Gen. 37:9-11).

As it regards Joseph, we see that in no wise did he relax his testimony in consequence of his brothers’ refusal of his first dream. He dreamed another dream and told it, as well, to his brethren and his father.

This was simple testimony founded upon divine revelation, but it was testimony that brought Joseph down to the pit. Had he kept back his testimony or taken off part of its edge and power, he might have spared himself, but no, he told them the truth, and, therefore, they hated him even more.

The Testimony Of Christ
Concerning this, C.H. Mackintosh said: “Thus was it with Joseph’s great Antitype. He bore witness to the truth — He witnessed a good confession — He kept back nothing — He could only speak of the truth because He was Truth, and His testimony to the truth was answered, on man’s part by the cross, the vinegar, the soldier’s spear.

“The testimony of Christ too, was connected with the deepest, fullest, richest grace. He not only came as ‘The Truth,’ but also as the perfect expression of all the love of the Father’s heart: ‘grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.’ He was the full disclosure to man of what God was, and was the full disclosure to God of what man ought to have been, but was not; hence man was left entirely without excuse. He came and showed God to man, and man hated God with a perfect hatred. The fullest exhibition of divine love was answered by the fullest exhibition of human hatred. This is seen in the Cross; and we have it touchingly foreshadowed at the pit into which Joseph was cast by his brethren.”

The Sending Of Joseph
“And his brethren went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem. And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here am I. And he said to him, Go, I pray thee, see whether it is well with thy brethren, and well with the flocks; and bring me word again. So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem” (Gen. 37:12-14).

Joseph was given more revelation through another dream. Little did all of these men know, even Joseph or his father, as to how important this revelation actually was.

In these dreams, the Holy Spirit portrayed Israel’s acceptance of Christ when, in fact, at the time the dream was given, there was no Israel, at least as far as a nation was concerned.

The short phrase, “Here am I,” in reply to Jacob’s request of Joseph, foreshadows the statement of Christ, “Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me. I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart” (Ps. 40:7-8).

The conspiracy against Joseph to murder him foreshadowed the conspiracy of the religious leaders of Israel to murder Christ.

Jacob sending Joseph to his brethren in order to find out how they were doing proves that he did not understand at all the depths of their hatred for Joseph. However, all of this foreshadowed God sending His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to the nation of Israel, even as Israel was raised up for this very purpose. The difference is, whereas Jacob was ignorant of the degree of hatred evidenced against Joseph, God was not ignorant at all but knew totally of the hatred on the part of Israel that would be evidenced toward Christ. Nevertheless, this did not deter Him at all!

“Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt,
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was shed.

Sin and despair like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the Refuge, the mighty Cross.

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide,
What can avail to wash it away?
Look! there is flowing a crimson tide;
Whiter than snow you may be today.

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe;
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?

This article is an excerpt from the book, Joseph, (09-124) written by Jimmy Swaggart.

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