“And she called his name Joseph and said; Yehovah shall add to me another son” (Gen. 30:24).
At last the time had come. Nine months of joyful anticipation had breezed by without incident and finally the child was born. Imagine the elation of the moment as in the midst of the pain of the delivery, Rachel finally has a son. This was not just another child in the fold of Jacob, this was his first born of his wife. All the siblings that preceded Joseph were of Leah, Bilhah and Zilpah and, although they were deeply loved and well cared for by Jacob, they were not the same as the first-born son of the first-loved wife.
There is no record given of Rachel’s jubilation or the celebration that ensued after the successful delivery of this healthy baby boy. In light of the previous activity it would not be inappropriate to conclude that Rachel was not only delighted with this wonderful event but that she enjoyed the fact that she could finally show her gloating sister that she was not a failure and realized that God had not judged her barren. However, conjectures and suppositions, like these, of unrecorded events, feelings or antics are not a proper testimony to the church of Jesus Christ. What is recorded and therefore must be, “Profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, furnished throughout unto all good works” (II Tim. 3:16), is Rachel’s response.
The doctrine of Adam is an all-encompassing travesty in it’s teachings of the relationship between man and God. It begins with an essential denigration of the nature and characteristics of the Almighty Sovereign ruler of the universe into an impotent, confused old man. As Adam desires to ascend to the throne of the Most high and be like God, the arrogance of his understanding and the blindness of his pride bring the concept of God down to a level, equal to and ultimately, beneath man himself. Here he and his children may dissect and study God for their amusement and satisfaction. The eternal immutable Godhead is segregated and quarantined into scientific postulates and theorems to be dismissed as myth and legion. The Works which He has performed have been compartmentalized into dispensations wherein His purpose, procedure and will are confusingly set in opposition one to the other and their veracity is called into question. According to the carnal logic of the creatures of the dust, law is restrictive and oppressive while the justice of His Law is called ‘cruel and unusual punishment’. The account of His creation is considered dubious, His authority as Lord is challenged and His power to perform His will is taught as being controlled by the liberty granted unto Him by the permission of the creatures. Boons are entertained according to the lusts of the flesh as long as the throne of God is pelted with continuous recitations and supplications with tears. Grace is taught as reward and mercy as a divine obligation to ‘whosoever will’ demands it of the Lord.
But the quintessence of arrogance is demonstrated in the teachings that the blessings of God are His obligation to mankind. Adam is not thankful by nature. If he were then there would be no need for a ‘sacrifice of thanksgiving’ in the Law of Moses (Lev. 7:13), no reason for the apostle to admonish the church of the Thessalonians to “in every thing give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (I Thes. 5:18) and no purpose in teaching little children to say ‘thank you’. These actions and instructions are necessary because, by nature, Adam and his children are not ‘full of thanks’ and Rachel was no exception.
Having dreamed her entire life for this moment to arrive and having been made to wait through twenty years of barrenness, it should be expected that she would be overwhelmed with thanks and praise unto her God. Yet, if this indeed was the case, the record of the scriptures does not indicate it, and thus it remains speculation and conjecture. Rachel’s conduct is dubious at best as she calls the child’s name ‘Joseph’ in anticipation of another son. The indication is that she was neither content in the station of life that she had been appointed nor that she was now satisfied that God had heard her cry and removed her rebuke. She immediately looks beyond this ‘shower of blessing’ sent from above, and presumptuously, insinuating that this was owed to her from God, acts as if she deserves yet another. The many years of heartache and contention with her sister had not made one bit of difference to the Adamic nature that Rachel possessed. There is no indication that she is thankful, there is no ‘magnificat’ unto her Lord and there is no indication of resolution to the lot that she had been given.
Being content is not part of the inherent nature of Adam. He was created in the beginning with the instinct and ability to be occupied by work. The first commandment of the Creator to Adam was to “be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it”. He was given dominion over the things of the earth (Gen. 1:28) and placed in the garden which Yehovah had prepared specifically for him to “dress it and to keep it” (2:16). Then God gave him “every beast of the field and every fowl of the air and brought them to Adam to see (observe) what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle and to the fowl of the air and to every beast of the field” (19). God added then unto these duties, an help meet for him, who was bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh whom he called woman. “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother and shall cleave unto his wife and they shall be one flesh” (24).
Now after the serpent had accomplished all which he was ordained to do by the eternal decree of Almighty God, that is, to beguile Eve through his subtlety, and after she did eat of the tree and gave to her husband there with her and he did eat, then the eyes of both the man and woman were opened (and their sin remained – John 9:41). After sin had entered into the world by this one act of one man, then they knew good and evil. Accordingly, armed with this knowledge, they followed the wisdom and logic of their nature to go forth and work in sewing fig leaves together, because they knew that they were naked (3:7). This was God’s revelation to mankind that He had established a continual labour which the sons of man should live under all the days of their lives. And God “said unto Adam, because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife and hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded you saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed be the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat thy bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken, for dust thou art and unto the dust thou shalt return” (3:17ff).
The character of the nature of man and his station in life, as designed and created by the Wise Masterful builder, is unceasing labour. He must work to eat his daily bread. If he will not labour he shall not eat, but the irony of this life long occupation is that after he has finished eating the bread and herbs of the day, perhaps to his satisfaction, as the reward of the labour of his hands and the sweat of his brow, the very next day he must begin this quest all over again. The world, wherein man was created, was fashioned in the exact same manner. There is a continuous re-occurrence of all things which follow the ordained path of God’s creation and yet they never cease. The sun appears to rise in the morning and then set in the evening according to the rotation of the earth only to return the next morning in its perpetual trek across the sky. The wind blows according to courses set for it but it never arrives at a location where it may rest from all its labour. The rivers flow continually to the sea, yet the sea is never full. The water then returns by mysterious course to the source which keeps the rivers flowing. Thus “all things are full of labour”. The eye of man is not satisfied with seeing nor the ear filled with hearing because the thing that is has already been, the thing which is done is also that which shall be done and there is nothing new under the sun (Ecc. 1:5-9).
The existence of man and the environment in which he dwells can never satisfy the needs of the flesh or abate the carnal lusts. Esau dwells in the fatness of the earth and of the dew of the heaven from above (Gen. 27:39) yet he will never be content or satisfied with what he has been given in this world. He is obligated to the labour which he willingly performs for the preservation of his life yet that labour can not alter the station in life he has been assigned, the time of his habitation nor the limitations thereof.
Though the philosophers of the world preach that these labours can dictate the ‘quality of life’ the Apostles’ question still remains, “For who makes you to differ and what do you have that you have not received?” (I Cor. 4:7). Though the logic of Edom concludes that a proper diet and exercise can make one ‘feel better’ and extend the life of man, yet it still remains that, “to everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven; a time to be born and a time to die” (Ecc. 3:1). Adam and his children, each one in particular, dutifully performs the labours that has been set before them and finishes the course assigned unto them, yet none find rest or contentment in that labour. Therefore the natural man with his mortal body, finite mind and carnal appetites can never be thankful for what God has given them.
God has also fashioned man so that he cannot learn from passed experiences and history; “there is no remembrance of the former thing, neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after” (11). He has devised a completely closed system, controlled by the good pleasure of His will, which man cannot comprehend, enhancing or altering in any way as “that which is crooked cannot be made straight and that which is wanting cannot be numbered” (15). Further He has placed the things of this world in the hearts and minds of man; “so that man cannot find out the work that God has accomplished from the beginning to the end” (3:11). This He has done for the express purpose of preventing man from finding out the work which He has fashioned and accomplished from the beginning to the end (3:11). So it should be no wonder that Rachel was not content with what she had as her eyes looked to continue her labour in pursuit of the next child.
“Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor yet for your body what you shall put on. Is not life more than meat and the body more than raiment?” (Matt. 6:25)
Jesus addressed the vanity of the flesh that His people have been made subject to, not willingly, but by reason of Him who has subjected in hope (Rms. 8:20). Man did not choose this lifestyle it was appointed unto him and neither the environment nor many levels of education can alter his way of thinking or conduct. He was created for this purpose and assigned his labours to be humbled, afflicted and occupied with (Ecc. 3:10) so that no flesh shall ever glory in the sight of Almighty God. Jesus never praised the flesh for its abilities, intentions or endeavours. Rather He instructed His disciples to consider the creation of God as a demonstration of “His eternal power and Godhead” (Rms.1:20) wherein He has provided all that is needful and good.
The labours of God’s creation are inseparable from the His eternal decree. He ordained that the fowl of the heavens neither sow, reap nor gather into barns yet He provides their needs after the nature and instincts that He has given them. They do not sit in the trees as He hands them the worm from the ground nor are the rivers of water diverted into the tree tops for them to drink. They fly their assigned flight paths to the point where God has prepared the necessary food waiting for them. He calls the ravenous bird from the east to the point where the dead carcass lies, which of course has died in the appointed time, for the sustenance and continuance of the bird and his family. The fowl of the air are content with what the Master has provided, they perform the instinctive labours of their nature and when these tasks are completed and the time of their habitation is over, they die. Thus Jesus asked His disciples, “Are you not much better than they?”
God formed Adam from the dust of the earth. He fashioned his body specifically for him. He did not derive it from the other animals or evolve into the present state from a lower form of life. God breathed into man and made him a living being. This was distinct to man as there is no record of the Creator performing this action to any of the beasts of the field, the fowl of the air or the fish of the sea. He made man after His image, male and female created He them, and placed him in an environment specifically prepared for him and God called it ‘exceedingly good’ (Gen. 1:31). Nothing needed to be added to man to make him better than what Yehovah God had made as he assumed his position and harmoniously coalesced with the whole of creation. “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?”
“And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not neither do they spin and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore since God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you? O ye of little faith!” (Matt. 6:30).
The absence of faith is made evident in the constant care and anxiety for the desires of the natural man. The instinctive concern with self-preservation, protection and continuance causes Adam to concentrate on the carnal necessities of the body. God created Adam naked but he knew it not. When God took Eve from the rib of the man and “closed up the flesh instead thereof”, she was just as he was, yet they “were not ashamed” (Gen. 2:25). When the eyes of Adam and Eve were opened and they knew good and evil, they realized that they were naked and they hid themselves. They immediately set about to cover their nakedness by fashioning aprons, sewn together from the figs leaves. This was not only an attempt to cover their bodies but was an attempt to cover (hide) their sin. This atonement, of course, was unacceptable before God who could not entertain the works of the polluted hands of man as a satisfaction of His exacting standard of absolute holiness. Therefore, “unto Adam and to his wife did Yehovah God fashioned skins and clothed them” (3:21). In the beginning, God formed the shape and size of man from the dust of the earth. When sin entered into the world by the one action of one man, He covered them and clothed them as a type of the atonement of the sacrifice of the Lamb, which stood as He had been slain from the foundation of the world.
The Lamb perfectly satisfied the Law of God and He clothed His people in fine linen clean and white, which is the righteousness of the saints. Yehovah has properly adorned all of His creation and His people without the help or advice of man or anyone else. But natural man cannot understand this work of God. He toils and spins his entire life in a futile attempt to feed himself and clothe his mortal body. He looks upon the outward appearances and does all he is enabled to do to make the body of this death pleasing to the sight of his fellow inhabitants of the earth. He does the same in his attempt to make himself presentable before the Holiness of God.
Solomon, being a child of grace and a chosen vessel unto God, was not immune from the addiction of this potent narcotic. He was given to surround himself with great possessions in his quest to “behold what was that good for the sons of man” (Ecc. 2:3). He was arrayed in the most elaborate and ostentatious wardrobe that money could buy and man could create, yet he found it all worthless. The Spirit of Wisdom within taught him that the acquisition of great wealth and the possession of the most valuable treasures of this existence could never satisfy the innate hunger in the nature of man. Jesus instructs His disciples to meditate upon this principle when He compares the grass of the field, which the Father has adorned in more splendour than the richest man in the world, to the glory of man which fades with the sunlight and the daily cares of life which choke and restrain. The world’s best fashion designers and seamstresses cannot devise or create any garments that could rival that which the Creator has covered His creations. Nor can the devices and designs of natural man adorn the flesh to be acceptable in the sight of God; “And He said unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment?”
“He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, you say, fair weather because the sky is red; and in the morning, foul weather today because the sky is red and lowing. Hypocrites, you can discern the face of the sky but can you not discern the signs of the times?” (Matt. 16:2f).
The sons of Adam have an insatiable desire for knowledge. It does not matter whether it is true or pertinent, to the natural man, knowledge is power. He searches the heavens in attempt to predict the future, dabbles in divinations to gain the advantage over his fellow man and relentlessly gazes at the sky to prognosticate the weather. He is afforded great respect, from those about him, as he ignorantly speculates in conjecture and hypotheses, with no apparent consequences for frequent inaccuracies. He is esteemed as an essential part of society as he amasses great monetary gain for his vague and lofty pontifications which fill the wanting ears of the populous.
This need for information and ‘science falsely called’ has been placed in the hearts of man as a diversion from the reality of sin and wickedness. It is an exercise in futility that occupies the thoughts and dreams of the inhabitants of this world and it diverts the attention of man away from the Creator, the cause and effect of his existence. There has never been the time when the morning weatherman has told the audience, ‘The Lord has granted us another day, let us be content and thankful’. They find acceptance in gloom, doom and impending catastrophes and have become masterful artisans at stirring the emotions of the listeners into a frenzy of anxiety and fear. The depressing news of the day is insufficient for the people who presumptuously believe they have a ‘right to know’. The speculations of tomorrow in anticipations of better time, financial gains, global stability and world peace are equally soothing to the itching ears of man.
The theology of Adam is resplendent with the carnal cravings that look past what has been given in expectation of what is to come. Modern religious hawkers have rewritten the text to read, ‘This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it’ in attempt to rally their listeners and spur them on in the obligation of the ‘duty faith’. This is the same subtlety of the serpent as in the garden when he twisted, perverted and impugned the Word of God to Eve, saying, “Ye shall not surely die” (Gen. 3:4). The ignorance of the creature is stimulated by aspirations of self-worth. Adam and Eve saw the fruit and desired to be wise. Man’s religion has forever presented the same ‘fruit’ in every admonition and exhortation for the motivation and activation of the arm of the flesh.
The child of grace, as taught by the Spirit of God rejoices because, “This the day Yehovah has made, WE WILL REJOICE AND BE GLAD IN IT” (Ps. 118:24). These are made to praise His name for the sufficiency of the evils of the day, as ordained of the Sovereign God, the grace of Almighty God, and His love which He richly bestows upon His Beloved. It is no wonder that the religious houses of the land are so well attended when the self-appointed messengers, who call themselves ‘Prophet’, ‘Apostle’, ‘Evangelist’ and the sort, offer up ‘end time knowledge’ coupled together with a daily dose of ‘conditional duty work’ whereby the blessings of God may be secured for tomorrow, for the preaching of the cross is foolishness unto them. Herein is that Wicked One revealed, that evil beast who is “given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies” (Rev. 13:5). His coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, because they do not receive the truth that they might be saved. And for this cause God has sent and continues to send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie; that they all might be damned who believe not the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness (II Thes. 2:8ff).
God has not only equipped man with these qualities but amply supplied the nutrients and fertilizer to perpetuate the festering corruption. He has covered the mouth of the wicked with this corruption that the name of the wicked should rot and the prating fool should fall. He has given the wicked expectations of grandeur and power that shall perish and has brought destruction upon them which work iniquity (Pro. 10:7ff). He has sent forth prophets to prophesy falsely and priests to bear rule by their means and He has made these desirable and pleasurable to those people who draw nigh unto Him with their lips but their heart is far away.
These teachings of man are diametrically opposed to the Word of God as taught by the Spirit of Holiness who has said, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow because the marrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matt. 6:34). They are incompatible with the simple truth as the Apostle Paul said, “Not that I speak in respect of want, for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, to be content. I know both how to be abased and I know how to abound. Every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me” (Phil. 4:11ff). And again, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. Because we brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out; and having food and raiment let us therewith be content” (I Tim. 6:8).
The eternal Father has ordained the needs of His precious seed as they sojourn here in the weakness and corruption of the flesh. He knows the frame of dust He has prepared for each of His little ones, He knows the thoughts and intents of the hearts and the desires of the flesh and has been touched with the feelings of their infirmities. Therefore He has, from the foundation of the world, answered their cries before they have been made. The master of the cattle of a thousand hills provides the daily bread for His children. He has prepared the table and called the feast. “He brought me to the banqueting house and His banner over me is love. He stayed me with flagons, comfort me with apples for I am sick of love. His left hand is under my head and His right hand embraces me” (Song 2:4f).
Yehovah God had made Himself of no reputation and took upon Himself the form of a servant, in the likeness of sinful man. He became flesh and dwelt among the people of the land of Israel. He performed wonders and miracles without number. He healed sick, cleansed lepers, gave sight to the blind and made the lame walk yet John sent his disciples to ask Jesus if He was the Messiah or should they be looking for another (Luke 7:19). The disciples of John were not content with that which was before them as they looked for something better. Yehovah God was in the midst of the nation of Israel. He proclaimed the words which the Father had given Him to say, He preached the day of Yehovah and the manifestation of His kingdom, which He plainly said was not of this world, and yet the disciples asked, “Lord will you at this time restore again the kingdom of Israel?” (Acts 1:6) The kingdom of God was at hand but the disciples of Christ, who had themselves performed many mighty works in His name, could not decipher the sign of the fig tree as it budded before them. The natural man is not content in anything that pertains to the structure and economy of the kingdom of Messiah. He looks for that which is tangible wherein he may excel.
The words of Jesus were too numerous for books to contain them all and His works were marvelous to behold (John 21:25). These testified to the glory of Yehovah and the completion of His work, yet He has blinded the eyes of all men so that they could not see the signs of the times (Is. 6:10). The nation of Israel did not know that the kingdom was in them in the types and foreshadows of the law and the prophets. They expected an earthly kingdom where the nation of Israel would once again rule the earth and all nations would bow before them. They were not content with the grace, mercy and long-suffering of Yehovah God, they looked for another. They could not see that Holy city coming down from heaven wherein Messiah tabernacles among His people and still today speak of His immanent return. The carnal man cannot see and therefore he is not satisfied with the goodness and blessings which the Creator has given. His eyes are to the future in prospects and hopes, ever learning but never coming to the truth, being filled with the foolishness of the wisdom of Adam. He labours to satisfy his cravings but, as with all of creation, he is never full.
Rachel earnestly desired to be a mother and have a child of her own. Yet after being caused to wait many years until the appointed time when the Lord opened her womb and granted the desire of her heart, she was not satisfied, nor was she thankful. This is not a condemnation of Rachel; it is a testimony to the weakness and corruption of the Adamic nature. She did not understand nor could she believe the promise of God. She did not appreciate the wonder that God had graciously given to her, for the “natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit neither can he know them”. Although she had been provided for and protected by the hand of the Almighty her entire life and was now blessed with the inheritance of Yehovah as her womb had received the reward (Ps. 127:3), yet her eyes were immediately fixated on what was next to come. The hopes and dreams of her adult life lay before her in her arms and nursed at her breasts. The sound of his name would forever serve as a reminder of the anticipation of what was yet to come. No doubt Rachel was elated with her first born son yet she was completely ignorant of the future which she anticipated as she began a seventeen year hiatus before Yehovah would once again open her womb.
“And it came to pass, when Rachel had born Joseph, that Jacob said to Laban, send me away that I may go unto my own place and my country” (25).
The birth of Joseph marked a new beginning for both Jacob and Rachel. It signified a dramatic change in the house of Laban and a major shift in power and wealth as Jacob completes his obligations and demands his just wages. Jacob was a faithful servant to Laban. His possessions were Laban’s possessions. He defended the honour of his house and that of his daughters. He gave him grand-children and laboured to increase his wealth. Jacob served seven years for the deception of Leah, seven years for his wife Rachel and six years for the cattle. Through the years Laban continued his abuse and oppression him as he changed Jacob’s wages ten times. Jacob further acknowledged that if it were not for the grace and will of Almighty God that Laban would have sent him away empty handed (Gen. 31:41ff).
The time had come when every element needful in the next chapter of the lives of Laban and his house and Jacob and his family were in proper alignment. The birth of Joseph was the point where the compatibility between Laban and Jacob had dissipated and their coexistence ended. Jacob was to be separated from the house of Laban in such a dramatic and demonstrative manner, of such magnitude, that the two would swear an oath, employing Yehovah to watch over each other as they were ‘concealed’ one from the other (Gen. 31:49).
Jacob, after serving Laban for 14 years, began to make plans to depart, Laban, acknowledging the blessing of God upon his house for Jacob’s sake, demanded that Jacob “appoint me thy wages and I will give” (Gen. 30:28). Jacob’s demands for his wages were all the marked, patched, banded and none white animals of Laban’s flocks. These animals were undesirable because they were not of consistent colour and were therefore considered inferior. The removal of these from Laban’s herds would make the presentation of the beauty of perfection to him while at the same time giving the appearance of inferiority to Jacob. Of course Laban agreed to these stipulations and granted Jacob his hire. He permitted his son-in-law the right to enter his flocks and remove all the unwanted and undesirable animals. Jacob served Laban in this capacity for yet another six years as Yehovah God caused these unacceptable animals to flourish and multiply. Jacob removed the young lambs, the males and their strength, the females, ‘of the flock’ (cattle) which by the ignorant superstitions of the customs of the people of the land had been made detestable in their sight. God made Laban willing to have this ‘scourge’ removed from his presence as he said, “Behold I would that it might be according to your word” (30:34) as He enlarged Jacob’s wealth in those things which were disallowed by man as inadequate for his needs; “And the man increased exceedingly and had much cattle and maidservants and men servants and camels and asses” (43).
Laban was left with cattle of a uniformed and appreciated colour, that is, their outward appearance was pleasing to the eyes, but they were feeble and did not conceive. Jacob’s flock of unwanted and rejected sheep flourished before the rods in the watering troughs but the rods were not upon Laban’s cattle which drank of the same water. These branches were from green poplar, almond and chestnut trees and when Jacob set them before the watering gutters of his flock, each reproduced after his kind, speckled, spotted, ring-straked and dark coloured animals. They represented a ‘new whiteness’, not according to the house of Laban, the ‘watchfulness’ of Yehovah God over his people and the ‘wisdom’ and ‘discerning’ of the Spirit so that the house of the child of promise were; “wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matt. 10:16). No longer did the house of Jacob need the care and protection of Laban as the time had come for he and his family to leave the schoolmaster and walk by faith. He not only left the house of Laban but he was dismissed by Laban as he took with him those things which were unprofitable to Laban. Now that Joseph was born it was time to leave.
Because of the circumstances and conditions produced in these six years of service to Laban, precisely orchestrated by the hand of God, it became absolutely necessary for Jacob to instruct his sons in care of these animals. Their daily lives revolved around tending to their flocks as they became herdsmen and shepherds, an essential element for their preservation and exaltation in Egypt some 39 years hence.
“Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children because he was the son of his old age and he made him a coat of many colours, and when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him and could not speak peaceably unto him” (Gen. 37:3).
For seventeen years the attention of Jacob had been focused on this child as he grew from an infant into young man. He was, by every account, the epitome of the profile of the youngest child in a large family. There was a sizable gap between the oldest sibling, Rueben, and Joseph (approx. 20 years) and yet the youngest had his father and mother’s complete and undivided attention.
The amazing wonder of the mystery of the work of Almighty God had once again given a child in an older age. Abraham was ninety years of age when Ishmael was born of Hagar and one hundred when Isaac, the child of promise, was born of Sarah. Isaac was forty years of age when he married Rebekah and he entreated the Lord for she was barren. Esau, the elder, was forty years old when he took Judith the daughter of Beer-i the Hittite and Bash-e-math the daughter of Elon who was also a son of Heth. Jacob was sent away from his father’s house when Esau married into the house of ‘terror’ lest he should also marry a daughter of Heth. This would mean that when he met Rachel, he was about forty years old and when his son Joseph was born, he would have been sixty years of age. Now seventeen years later, he is seventy seven years of age and Joseph is his pride and joy.
Joseph becomes the household spy who returns to Jacob from feeding the flock with evil reports concerning four of his brothers. These were not the sons of Leah, Jacob’s first betrothed, they were Dan and Naphtali, the sons of the handmaid Bilhah, and Gad and Asher, the sons of the handmaid Zilpah. This may have been sufficient to turn these four against Joseph but when father Jacob at this old age, fashioned a coat of many colours for him, the remainder of the family flew into a rage of hatred against him.
Joseph’s antics did not set well with the rest of the family but they were essential elements of the interwoven means that God had ordained to deliver Joseph into Egypt. These characteristics begin with Adam in the garden of Eden as the head of the human family. It is here that Yehovah God demonstrates the wonders of His ways as He caused all things to come to pass after the good pleasure of His will. The tracing of this matter from Adam to Joseph would be very lengthy but it would clearly set forth the immutability of the work which God has made from the beginning. And so, for this subject, the consideration of the matter begins with Isaac and his children.
Esau and Jacob struggled together while in the stages of development in Rebekah’s womb. This was not simply the kicking or turning that is normally experienced as the babies grow and mature. Such normal twinges and pains would not cause a young wife “to inquire of Yehovah”. She calls upon her God with the question, ‘If everything is all right, why am I this way?’ Something gave her such concern that she concluded that those things which were happening to her were not correct. Yet what was happening? God had separated these two people from before the foundation of the world and had established the controversy between them long before these two children were made manifest upon this earth. Before the time of their habitations or the performance by either one of any good or any evil, that the purpose of God might stand according to election, there existed in the womb of Rebekah a child of grace and a child of damnation. These were not simply two different children who would walk separate pathways and grow up to be people of opposite life-styles and preferences; they were two nations and two manner of people.
The one was hated with an everlasting hatred of God upon him, yet he was manifested first, covered with hair like a garment and red. His name was Esau. The second came forth already in full possession of the eternal love and eternal unity of God the Father and His incorruptible seed. They struggled together because they were not agreed; therefore they could not dwell together nor walk together. He who was first was a man of the field and a cunning hunter which pleased his father but the second was to be elevated above him and to serve in the place of the first-born. God set this distinction between them before they were born. He separated them in the womb, at birth, in life and to the point of bitter hatred where Esau sought to kill his brother. God humbled the elder and exalted the younger through a course of events that He had devised. There is no attempt here to justify Jacob and Rebekah for their devious behavior or to excuse the lies but there is the fullest of intentions to demonstrate that through these events and by the sovereign control and command of every thought, word and deed, Yehovah God facilitated His perfect will.
Jacob left his father’s house at the insistence of his mother because of the death threats that Esau had made. She also sent him away so he would not marry a daughter of ‘terror’ (Heth) and so Jacob is brought by the director of the steps of man (Jer. 10:23) to the house of Laban. Here he is exalted at the well and humbled by his contract with Laban for the hand of Rachel. He is subjugated by the deception of Laban and the customs of the land to serve for twenty years yet because of these ever changing contractual agreements, he is made exceedingly wealthy. He was humiliated when he awoke to find he had consummated his marriage vows with Leah but she was fruitful and bore him many children. He was scorned as he recommended to Laban that he take the unwanted and despised cattle, yet he increased exceedingly and had much cattle as the ordained will of God came to pass. He was separated from Laban after the conclusion of the contractual agreement though not without controversy. The animosity between the house of Laban and Jacob grew to such intensity that accusations of theft, betrayal and deception were insinuated and Laban’s sons took great offense at the blessings of Yehovah. When it was discovered that the venerated images were missing and that Jacob had fled, Laban mustered his forces and ‘pursued after him seven days and they overtook him in Mt. Gilead’. Laban accused Jacob of stealing his daughters and holding them against their will at the point of a sword. He attempted to intimidate him by saying it was in his power to do him hurt, but Yehovah God spoke unto him and advised him otherwise. Then after a lengthy search of the tents and the belongings, even though Rachel did actually steal the idols and then lied about not having them, the two men swore an oath before God as their witness that He would keep careful watch over them, while they were concealed one from the other (Gen. 31:49). Then the messengers of Yehovah met Jacob in the way of the ‘two camps’ (Mahanaim) and he declared, “this is God’s host”. Separation because of fear, wealth by means of subterfuge and capricious lies left Jacob and his family as wanderers in the wilderness. These events were necessary to bring Jacob to the place where he would meet the messengers of Yehovah in preparation for a confrontation with his brother Esau. As he waited for the impending and much feared meeting, Yehovah God met Jacob and changed his name to Israel, ‘he who has power with God’, yet even after the hand of the Almighty was clearly manifested before the eyes of Jacob and his family by the transformation of angry, vengeful Esau to one weeping with joy at the sight of his brother, the lies and deception continued. This was the house where young Joseph was raised.
The newest member of the family was special and he was treated that way. He was separated from his brothers by age. He was separate by birth since he was the first and only child of Rachel and he was loved more than the other ten brothers and one sister. His father gave him a token of his love and an outward evidence of his separation from his brothers when he made him the coat of many colours. He was separate and it was obvious to anyone who merely looked upon him or heard his father speak of him. God further separated him in giving him a special gift in a vision. Now, coupled together with these signs and wonders, God gave his brothers hatred for him. Not just sibling rivalry or the general annoyance of a young child in the presence of older, more mature, people, they “could not speak peaceable unto him”.
The same God who gave these men this animosity against their youngest brother and caused this ‘angry wave’ to rise up in fury also protected his chosen vessel by limiting the magnitude, extent and impact of that wave. God had already ordained a severe drought to come to pass in about 20 years. He had also decreed that this boy was to be the one to save Egypt and her surrounding countries during the drought. This seventeen year old ‘dreamer’ was destined to be the provider and protector of the house of Israel. His brothers did not have the power to kill him. Their anger was assuaged when Reuben heard of their intent and delivered Joseph out of their hands, saying, “let us not kill him”. They were not permitted to do him harm or to misuse him in anyway that was not in complete harmony with the will of God. The heart of Reuben was prepared and his lips were caused to speak unto them, “Shed no blood, cast him into the pit that is in the wilderness and lay no hand upon him”. He was also given the intention to rid Joseph out of their hands and deliver him to his father but at that very point Judah was given an idea.
The other eight brothers had stripped Joseph of the coat that Jacob had made for him and cast him into a pit with no water. At that very moment, not before Joseph was properly prepared by being cast into the pit and not a moment to late after he had perished in the pit, according to the exquisite choreography of the ballet of creation, God caused the caravan of Ishmaelites from Gilead to be passing by. They did not happen by nor did they stumble upon this family feud, they were sent to this location at this time with their camels fully laden with spicery, balm and myrrh, going to carry down to Egypt. This company coupled together with the events that were transpiring in the house of Israel initiated the progress of the thought that was given to Judah as he blurted out, “What profit is there is we slay our brother. Come let us sell him to the Ishmaelites and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother and our flesh”.
“I form the light and create darkness. I make peace and create evil. I Yehovah do all these” (Is. 45:7).
The skeptics and learned professors of Adamic theology will begrudgingly admit to a carnal explanation of predestination and the sovereignty of God. They fashion fanciful words to play their semantical games with sayings like ‘intelligent design’ and ‘permissive will’ but they cannot acknowledge the absolute sovereignty of God over all things. They may attempt to coddle the children of promise with phrases like ‘God has determined the beginning and the destination, but it is up to you to chart the course’ and ‘God does not concern himself with the small things; after all He is not concerned with what color tie I wear to work”. Such stupidity provides glaring evidence of the number of man (cp. Rev. 13:18) for to Adam, the ways of God are unknown and accounted foolish.
Almighty God had purposed that Joseph be separated from his family so that he could be exalted to be the second in command in the government of Egypt. He ordered the time of his birth, his dream, his brother’s animosity, the pit (without water), the protection of Reuben, the greed of Judah, the traveling company of merchants and now the hand of Yehovah God provided the necessary ‘travel arrangements’ to deliver His chosen vessel to Pharaoh’s doorstep. The Midianite merchantmen (men of strife) lifted Joseph out of the pit and sold him to the Ishmaelites. The families of the two sons born unto father Abraham were now helping the children of the middle son, Isaac, to deliver their hated brother to his appointed destination. Behold how all things work together for good!
Nothing more is ever revealed about these merchantmen after they purchased Joseph for twenty pieces of silver and bring him to Egypt. Their import in the purpose of God to deliver His people is here documented and then they vanish into ambiguity yet the same all inclusive sovereign will of God meticulously ordered and directed everything about their lives to cause them to appear at this crucial junction, be willing to accept Judah’s offer and then continue on to the destination appointed unto them. They were not aware of the hand of the Almighty as He drew them along, insuring that every thought, word and deed was in complete conformance with the intent of His heart, yet they were made willing and therefore obedient to His will (Gen. 37:28).
“...twenty pieces of silver...”
The Holy Spirit of God inspired the men of old to write those things which are necessary for the learning and for the comfort of hope to the believer (Rms. 15:4), therefore, these twenty pieces of silver must have a relevant and important meaning. These are two groups of ten (Heb. –‘esreem’) composed of something ‘longed for’ and ‘desirous’ (silver). They represent the two witnesses of God upon the earth, the mystery of the gospel and the preciousness of the remnant according to grace. They also represent the condemnation of man, the limitation of his ignorance and the vanity of the glory or worth of man.
That which is desired to the natural man is of the earth. Adam is drawn after the glitter and value of rocks, trees, and that which comes from the land. He aspires to accumulate vast amount of these weak and beggarly elements for the presumed prestige and honour they afford. According to the ignorant limitations of his feeble mind, he will cut down a tree to build an house, take a portion of the same to warm himself and cook his meals and then fashion the residue thereof for an image to worship (Is. 44:15ff). Pursuant to the imaginations of his restricted intellect, he devotes his life to the dreams of discovering the unknown. This is an instinct that God created in man and in the superstitions of his fears, he gazes into the heavens, digs into the earth and speculates about his alleged ‘finding’. He proceeds from a false pretense with an ulterior motive to uncover the mysteries of the universe when in fact he is demonstrating his rebellion and enmity against God. He looks into the night sky and pontificates about wondrous findings. He names the lights of the heavens and draws imaginary connecting lines that depict animals, objects and man himself. He makes cakes, burns incense and pours out drink offerings to the ‘queen of heaven’ to help him in his quests (Jer. 44:17). He then looks to the power and magnitude of the sea and theorizes that life crawled out of those murky waters to evolve into modern man. He esteems the dust of the ground as ‘mother earth’ and is drawn into a reverent awe of his creator and provider. He prays to the wind, the sun, the moon, dead ancestors and unknown gods. These venerated objects are the idolatry of Adam’s heart. This is his silver, he is a sentient created being of the earth and these are his gods.
His condemnation is that when he knew God he glorified Him not as God, neither was he thankful, but rather, he became vain in his imagination and his foolish heart was darkened (Rms. 1:12). He loves the darkness, because his deeds are evil (John 3:19). He cannot comprehend the light, he despises and rejects the light and hates the truth. His two-fold condemnation is his inability to hit the mark of perfection before God (sin) and his continual attempts to try to hit the mark of excellence (rebellion).
Adam is separated from God in this rebellion and inability (trespasses and sin) and daily he returns with the labours of his hands striving to demonstrate his worth before the throne of God. Thus the fool has concluded in his heart that there is no God (Ps. 14:1) yet Edom (which is Esau and Adam), exalts himself like the eagle and sets his nest among the stars (Ob. 4). He denies the masterful creator and sovereign ruler of all things and labours to better himself, improve society and save the planet. He ascribes the wonders of the universe to absurd theories, which he teaches as irrefutable axioms, based upon the power, wisdom and force of luck, chance and the fates in a futile attempt to ‘find his place in the universe’ and the ‘meaning of life’.
His glory is as the grass of the field which fades away when the glory of God shines upon it. He reveres his fore-fathers for their super-human abilities and accomplishments. These tales of folk ‘lure’ are told from generation to generation, being revised as suits the social climate of the moment, to entertain and educate. They are the oral laws from which the written history of mankind is derived and like any good ‘fish’ story, they grow with the telling and the teller. The itching ears of Adam’s children are soothed with tales of men who have braved the elements and survived by the sweat of their brow, which is the curse of the garden. They pass on the traditions of working the ground and tilling the field that they may provide for themselves by the labours of their hands just like the champions of the family, Cain (4:2), Ishmael (16:12) and Esau (25:27). They revere the men who built the cities, led the conquering armies and increased their wealth by their ‘own two hands’. Thus his confidence is in the temporal dust of the earth, his passion is for the gain of that which does not satisfy and his legacy is in that which fades away.
These men of strife took the payment of shinny metals to deliver an innocent man into bondage just as Judas was afore ordained to do 1500 years later to the Messiah. His being delivered up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God into wicked hands to be slain was in accord with the testimony of the two witnesses of God, the law and the prophets. These are the two great lights which God set in the heavens, one to rule the day and the other to rule the night (Gen. 1:16). They are the “two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves”. These, being anointed, “stand by the Lord of the whole earth” (Zech. 4:13f). They are the two witnesses which are the “two olive trees and two candle sticks standing before the God of the earth” (Rev. 11:3). These two were sent into the world to testify to the justice of God against all unrighteousness and the manifestation of the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world. These two, the law and the prophets, were until the coming of John and his preaching of repentance from sin (Luke 16:16) as that voice of one crying in the wilderness; “Make straight the way of the Lord” (Is. 40:3). These two were crucified with Christ by the beast that ascended out of the bottomless pit when they had finished their testimony in the last days (Heb. 1:1; Rev. 11:2-11). They were manifested as the finished work in the days of vengeance when all things written were fulfilled (Luke 21:22). These are the days when Yehovah shewed forth His salvation and all the nations saw the glory of His power (Ps. 98:2).
This salvation is not a dispensational alteration from the provision of salvation offered to Israel through the righteousness of the law for, “by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in His sight” (Rms. 3:20). It is not an open invitation for ‘whosoever wills’ to have a part in the deliverance or an earnest plea from Jesus standing at the door of the heart knocking in hope that someone will open and let Him in. It is the mystery of the power of God unto salvation. This is that mystery which was hid from the beginning of the world (Rms. 16:25). It is the hidden wisdom of God (I Cor. 2:7), the fellowship of the great mystery of the gospel, that the nations, of every kindred, tribe, tongue and people, should be partakers of the same Spirit of God dwelling within them (Eph. 3:6). This is not because of a blood line to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob but because they are children of the Everlasting Father, chosen in Him before the foundation of the world.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus and if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed and heirs according to promise” (Gal. 3:28).
The eternal unity of the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah and His seed precludes all nationalities, every social status and any physical differences of man. The redeemed of the Lord are according to the election of grace unto the chosen vessels of mercy. These earthen vessels have been afore-prepared of God to be the temples of the Holy Spirit and tabernacles of the Godhead. Into these vessels, fashioned from the same lump of clay as all other children of Adam, is born, not of the will of man but born from above of God, that incorruptible seed. They are one with Him as He is one, their brilliance is the glory of God and their worth or value is the precious shed blood of the Lamb of God.
This is that treasure hidden in the field of the dust of the earth which when the man, Jesus, found it (for indeed He came to seek and save that which was lost) He sold all He had and bought the field (Matt. 13:44). He did have to buy the treasure for that was His Beloved Bride, but He paid the price for the sin of the body in which she dwells. He also came as a merchantman seeking those goodly pearls (Gk. – ‘margeretas’ – a word of great price) and when He found that one pearl of great price, He sold all He had and bought it, the truth (“Buy the truth and sell it not, wisdom, instruction and understanding” (Prov. 23:23).
He is that lively stone cut out of the mountain without hands (Dan. 2:34) and therefore His people are precious ‘lively stones built up a spiritual house, an Holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ’ (I Pt. 2:5). They are the walls of salvation (Is. 60:18) of the New Jerusalem which are forever before the face of God (49:16). They are the stones of the foundation and the stones most precious of the great city, descending out of heaven from God. She has the glory of God and the excellent brilliance as clear as crystal with gold so pure, “as it were transparent glass” ( Rev. 21:10-21).
These two rivers flow side by side in the land of Shinar, proceeding from the throne of God, as the will of Almighty God is performed in the earth as it is in heaven. None can stay His hand or say unto Him, “What doest thou?” The wrath of the brothers of Joseph were praise unto God (Ps. 76:10) as His perfect design and wondrous plan included every action and intention of all participants and any element involved, necessary for the facilitation of His will.
Time and chance happens to all men but the Master commands the winds and the waves and they obey His voice. His people are made willing in the day of His power (Ps. 110:3) and He has put His Spirit in the heart of flesh of His people, causing them to walk according to His statutes and keep His judgments (Ezk. 36:27). He turns the heart of the evil king as He turns the rivers of waters (Pro. 21:1), calling him His shepherd to “perform all My pleasure, even saying to Jerusalem; Thou shalt be built and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid” (Is. 44:28). He raised Pharaoh up to be His servant that He might shew forth His great power and that His name might be declared throughout the earth (Rms. 9:17) and He has put it in the hearts of man to fulfill His will and give the kingdoms of this world unto the beast (Rev. 17:17), that piercing serpent which He created, commands and controls (Job 41). He planned, purposed and performed His will in the development of this situation in the house of Jacob, the twenty pieces of silver and the southern excursion into Egypt.
“And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaph-nath-pa-aneath and he gave him to wife, Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On and Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt” (Gen. 41:45)
Yehovah God elevated this lowly son of Jacob from a spoiled young upstart, hated by his brothers to the second to the throne of Pharaoh of Egypt. He separated him from his beloved father at the age of seventeen. He separated him from his family as his kin cast him into a pit, wherein, he was totally unsure about his future and filled with doubts and fears. He delivered him from certain harm by the hands of strangers into a foreign land where he was educated in the University of Ambiguity. Here he majored in rejection, accusation and imprisonment and minored as a slave in the house of Potiphar, and officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard. The Lord assigned him strenuous curriculum of studies in his master’s house wherein He made him a prosperous man. His clinical lab work elevated him to the position of ‘overseer over his house’ because his master “saw that Yehovah was with him” yet the same Lord God Almighty had prepared the wife of Potiphar to lust after Joseph. According to the same purpose of God, which cannot change, the master of the house, in whose eyes Joseph had found favour, now was blinded to the truth and “took him and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound and there he was in prison” (Gen. 39). This blindness was part of the interwoven means that God had prescribed to move Joseph from the house of Potiphar into the prison.
Amazingly, though consistent with the nature and work of God, there was a specific prison prepared for Joseph to languish in, wherein special prisoners were housed. This place was also manned with highly trained guards and attendance who gave special attention to the king’s prisoners. These guards knew that for any reason, Pharaoh may banish a man to these ‘hallowed’ halls and in the twinkling of an eye, return the same man to his former position. They were extremely careful not to abuse or misuse these detainees in any manner that may be returned upon their own heads when these regained their former estate. Therefore Joseph must have been considered a special prisoner to have been banished to the confines of this ‘Correctional Facility’ and the jailors knew this.
What they did not know is that Yehovah God had afore prepared them for this special guest to their facility. Nor did they know that He was demonstrating ‘mercy’ to His chosen vessel and that their hearts and minds were to be so influenced and turned as for them to have favour for Joseph. This was a slave who was an Israelite. It was an abomination for an Egyptian to soil himself with the company of such an one, especially if he had been accused of disgracing one of the prominent women in the land (Gen. 43:32). With such an accusation against him, he surely was in the wrong place and, being socially unclean, the keepers of the prison had no reason to treat him with any kind of respect or kindness. Yet the Ruler of the Universe put into in their heart to fulfill His will and “the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the (king’s) prisoners that were in the prison and whatsoever they did there, he (Joseph) was the doer of it” (39:22).
The recognition of the hand of God upon this young man, the trust these keepers put in him and the daily social activities of that special prison (as well as this honour guest) were all interwoven means of the purpose of God as He continued to work all things after the counsel of His will (Eph. 1:11). How unimaginably catastrophic the result would have been if something were to have gone awry, in this most delicate and diplomatic of circumstances, and it was discovered that the men entrusted to this assignment by the King, had relinquished that responsibility to an Hebrew slave accused of rape. How thankful it is that the way of man is not in himself and it is not of the one walking to direct his own steps (Jer. 10:23). Yehovah God had this matter under complete and absolute command from before time began.
Joseph’s internship and ‘prison ministry’ lasted two years until the appointed hour when his final examination took place in the presence of a troubled King. His mid term examination involved the dreams of two prominent recent residence of this prestigious domain. The chief of the butlers and the chief of the bakers both were given dreams in the same night which they both remembered and were both troubled. Joseph was not given any advance notice of the examinations. There were no facilities where he might consult written materials and cross-references on the subjects, there was no ‘case law’ to be sighted or opinions to consult and there was no ‘oral history of the traditions and customs of the fathers’. He came into the room one morning and looked upon these respected men of Pharaoh’s court and they were sad. He did not have time to meditate upon what he might say, he had no psychology courses to fall back on and he certainly was in no position, socially, to advise on this most difficult predicament. But God, who is rich in mercy to them that love Him, provided the mouth of the Spirit of truth in this child of grace such that these learned men could not refute or dispute his insights (Mark 13:11).
And it came to pass that the time had come for the final examination. This bearded and filthy twenty seven year old man was hastily shaven and given a change of raiment as he “came in before Pharaoh”. He stood before a very distraught and angry King of Egypt who had called all the magicians and wise men of the land, told them his dream and expected an interpretation. They could tell him nothing for this dream and the consternation of the King were of the Lord God of Israel. The soothsayers, diviners and religious hucksters could not understand the dream because the Spirit of the Most High did not dwell in them.
Joseph, however, was a chosen vessel in whom dwelled the fullness of the Godhead. He had the testimony of the Spirit of God with his spirit that he was a child of God. Although he had petitioned the chief butler not to forget him when he was returned unto his former estate because he had been “stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon” (40:15), this man forgot about the lowly Hebrew. It was not until the situation was correct according to the time and purpose of God that the chief of the butlers remembered that when he was imprisoned by Pharaoh, “there with us a young man, an Hebrew, servant to the guard; we told him and he interpreted to us our dreams” (41:12). Joseph never expected that this remembrance would come in the form of a recommendation to Pharaoh in such a crucial situation.
Immediately Pharaoh was impressed and caused to move on the matter. He was made willing to act upon this news and he sent for Joseph. The course of the life of the King of Egypt had arrived at the cross-roads where he, being in a dire need for clarity and hearing of an isolated incident two years prior, commanded that this abomination be brought before him in hopes that he could tell Pharaoh’s dream. Joseph arrived at that same cross-road and proclaimed to the High Potentate of his imprisonment, “The dream of Pharaoh is one. God has shewed Pharaoh what He is about to do” (25). In complete deference to the doctors of theology and impressive prestidigitators who stood in awe at the words which came forth from the mouth of this undesirable wretch, Joseph announced that the God of heaven and earth who, “Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand and I will do all My pleasure” (Is. 46:10), had disclosed the future in the form of a dream.
Not only had He revealed His intentions and the course of the history of the land in the coming years, but He did it twice, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall all things be established (Deut. 19:15). The coming of the dream twice was the first and second witness and Joseph was the third “because this thing is established by God and God will shortly bring it to pass” (32). This was not the god of the sun which the Egyptians worshiped as the source of all life (Ra) nor was it the god of strength and vigour (Horus or On) who enabled them to live and prosper all the days of their lives. This was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who created all things by the power of His will and causes all things to come to pass. The Egyptians did not know this God nor did they worship Him yet He knew them. He had formed them in the womb and made them into a people as the descendants of the house of Ham the son of Noah (Gen. 10:6). He sent them to the south to become a people and to grow into a nation, essential to the good pleasure of His will, and now He caused the words of Joseph to be “good in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of his servants” (41:37). He brought the mighty mountain down and exalted the lowly valley. He abased Egypt and made them all willing to do His will by following the plan that His elect servant had proposed.
This plan was not devised in the deepest regions of the dungeon, where Joseph languished those many years. It was the Word of God according to the intent of His heart for the purpose of delivering His people Israel, from an ordained famine that was yet seven years in the future. The will of the Egyptian people was set at liberty to ignore the abomination of the Israelite, their hands were empowered to labour according to the manner the God shewed Joseph and the result was the grace of God upon the just and the unjust.
The name which the King assigned to Joseph means the “revealer of Truth” or “The Savior of the Age”. In this brief encounter, the hand of Almighty God had lifted His afflicted servant from the depths and placed him at the right hand of the throne of Egypt. He severely altered the mindset of the Pharaoh to make him receptive to the words of Joseph, in complete agreement with his proposals and gave him an understanding of the existence of the One True God. Yet the carnal mind cannot receive the things of God and thus Pharaoh ascribes the glory and praise unto Joseph rather than Yehovah God. Like Daniel in the presence of Nebuchadnezzar many years later, when God revealed the secret thoughts of the mind of the King, Joseph’s name was changed to as he began to dictate policy and enact social mandates to a people that once held him captive.
“And unto Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah, priest of On, bare him” (Gen. 46:20).
The intention of Pharaoh is demonstrated in this marital arrangement. He sought to join Asenath (one who “belongs to Neith” - the goddess of war, hunting and wisdom), the daughter of Potipherah (one “given of Ra”, the sun god), the priest of On (the god of “strength and vigour” also known as Horus), with this one in whom the Spirit of the Most high God dwelt. It would appear that he believed that a natural union might produce a wise and skillful off-spring. He did not understand the difference between that which is of the flesh and that which is of the Spirit or the specific design that Almighty God has given to every earthen vessel. Joseph, the man, was the son of Jacob and the last of twelve children. This was his identification after the flesh and, although his earthen vessel housed that incorruptible seed born from above, nothing that he did in the flesh could control or transfer that Spirit within to another. Pharaoh thought that the combination of these two people would yield a magnificent oracle, diviner or magician that may possess the ability to communicate with the gods. However, only the eternal seed can communicate with the eternal Father and that by groanings and utterances which the tongue of the flesh cannot form nor the ear of man hear.
The product of the union of these two individuals included the manifestation of the mystery of the gospel hidden from the wise men from the foundation of the world. These two sons also demonstrated the blessing and cursing of nation Israel with regards to the obedience to the law. They are received as members of the house of Israel and portray the type of the church. Yet in all this neither Manasseh nor Ephraim is to be praised for their works, their righteousness or their worth before God. The Adamic nature and the proclivity for sin are clearly and continually manifested in every child of man for “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rms. 3:23)
The mystery of the gospel is set forth in types and foreshadows of the pattern of heavenly things. Yet in the fullness of time that mystery was made known as the power of God was revealed in the nations of the world. These gentiles, who were not of the preferred blood line or the proper pedigree, were declared to be partakers of the same Spirit of God as the faithful of old through signs and wonders and the gift of the Holy Ghost. The two children stand as the witness of the elect, hidden in the nation of Israel, and the elect, hidden in nations of the world (Rev. 7:4 & 9), yet in Messiah these distinctions have never existed. He is not a Jew who is one born of the flesh and exhibiting the outward passions for the ceremonies and rituals of the handwriting of ordinances given in the mount. Neither is one heathen because he is not born of Jacob and therefore, nationally, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel. He is of ‘praise’ unto our God (Judah) who is one born from above, elect from before the foundation of the world and redeemed by the precious blood of the Lamb. He is the Israel of our God who is a child of promise, delivered from the weak and beggarly elements of the world and who walks in the foot steps of the flock (Song 1:8). These children, born of God, are one in the same, members in particular, yet one as He is One. They are chosen of God and justified by the faith of the Son of God who loved them with an everlasting love. They have the eternal covenant of peace with God. His Spirit causes them to keep the commandment of God and to impeccably walk in His statutes.
“And I will set up one shepherd over them, even My servant David; He shall feed them and He shall be their shepherd” (Ez. 34:23).
These children were born of a foreign mother, in a foreign land and raised according to the customs and traditions of the land of ‘the siege’ or ‘entrenchments’, Egypt. They were alienated, geographically, from their father’s house in Canaan. They were the sons of a dead man and did not know their family heritage. They appeared to be separated from God as the sons of Egypt and without hope in this world. They stand in type as children of promise because it is not by works of righteousness which they had done, but according to His mercy, He delivered them by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost, which He shed upon them through the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah their deliverer; that, being justified by His faith, they should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:5f).
Joseph introduced Jacob to his grandsons and Israel rejoiced. He told Joseph that Almighty God had appeared unto him in Canaan and blessed him, saying, “Behold I will make you fruitful and multiply you and make of you a multitude of people” (48:4). He did not know, at that time, that Joseph was still alive. He could not have imagined that he was a powerful man who was married and now had two sons. The excitement and jubilation of the revelation that Joseph was alive and that he was to be the saviour of his people was multiplied when Jacob met his children.
Reuben and Simeon were the beginning of the family of Jacob. Israel proclaimed that these two strange sons would be his, just as Reuben and Simeon (48:5). He did not make them heirs, Israel, “he who has power with God”, he proclaimed them to be ‘seed’ and therefore heirs. He said that ‘fruitful’ (Ephraim) and ‘casing to forget’ (Manasseh) were his and that they were the same as ‘behold a son’ (Reuben) and ‘heard’ (Simeon).
The redeemed of the Lord of every kindred, nation, tribe and tongue of this world are His. They are fruitful unto every good work they have been created in Christ Jesus unto. He has redeemed them by His precious blood and their sins have been removed, never to be remembered again. They are the sons of God and they hear the voice of the Shepherd and follow Him. His Spirit, Himself, bears witness with their spirit, that they are the sons of God and since they are sons, they are heirs of God and joint-heirs with the Anointed’ (Rms. 8:16).
“But as for you, ye thought evil against me, God meant it unto good to bring to pass, as this day, to save much people alive (Gen. 50:20).
The grace of God is once again manifested as the heart of Joseph was not set upon revenge for what his brothers had done to him. When the house of Jacob was come unto Egypt, Pharaoh commanded Joseph, saying, “The land of Egypt is before you; in the best of the land make your father and brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell” (47:6). The heart of the King of Egypt was instructed of the purpose and will of God to grant the children of Jacob to ‘draw near’ (Goshen) to the people of the land but, at the same time, to be separate. Here they would continue to be the herdsmen and shepherds that Yehovah intended them to be as He separated the spotted, ring straked and unwanted cattle of Laban many years earlier. Here they would ‘forget’ (Manasseh) the privation and hardships of the famine and be ‘fruitful’ (Ephraim) and multiply.
The seed born by the Spirit from above is not limited by the nationality of the earthen vessel. It is not restricted from the vessel born unto Moab and neither is there a special dispensation to a vessel born unto Solomon, for God is not a respecter of man. He bears the seed to the appointed vessel in the time of his habitation just as the wind blows where it is resolved and determined to blow. He causes the child to be born neither by the will of man nor by the works of the flesh. He set these two children in this strange land as evidence that He is the King over all the earth and the arrogant prejudices of man as to race, creed or colour are inconsequential to the purpose of the Almighty. His Bride is forever in Him and nothing can separate Her from Him. She is One in Him in the fellowship of His sufferings and the power of His resurrection. He cannot deny Himself, therefore, He can never leave nor forsake Her.
This does not exclude the flesh from the eternal purpose and effectual will of God. His irresistible power rules over the will of man causing Adam to act, think and live in complete harmony with the designs of the Creator. Joseph had every right to be enraged at the conduct of his older brothers and not a court in the world would hold him guilty for passing the sentence of death upon them, but this was not the will of God. He fashioned the mind and will of this man He had elevated to power and prominence to love his brothers. No matter what they had done, were doing or ever should do could separate them from this love. “Set me as a seal upon thine heart as a seal upon thine arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy cruel as the grave. The coals thereof are coals of fire a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it; if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned” (Song 8:6f).
Though the course of this world seems to be out of control and wickedness appears to be rampant, yet Yehovah God sits in heaven and rules over the kingdoms of this world. He alone knows the ways of man and the congruence of the universe. He prevented Joseph from seeking vengeance and placed him as the mediator of peace. He enabled Joseph to love and comfort his brethren after the death of Jacob and shaped his tongue to speak kindly unto them.
It is very interesting that when Jacob died and Pharaoh granted Joseph and his brothers, permission to return to the land of Canaan to bury him in the cave of the double field (Mach-pe-lah ) that no one tried to remain there. They all were given a mind and desire to return to the very place that God had assigned to be unto them to be a place of torments and servitude for many years to come. The land of their inheritance, Canaan, was undesirable to them as they journeyed back to Egypt, where their little ones and flocks waited for them. The time was not yet come for them to be in the land of Canaan, they were not yet properly prepared and Egypt had not yet relinquished all the benefits God had required from that land for His people and His nation. Once again, the way of man is not in himself, it is not in him that walks to direct his steps (Jer. 10:23).
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
April 1, 2014
Banner of Hope
Volume 8, No. 1
April 4, 2014