The story of Joseph, as narrated in the book of Genesis, presents a remarkable foreshadowing of Jesus Christ. The typological connections between Joseph and Jesus are manifold and significant, highlighting God's meticulous providence in ordaining events and individuals in redemptive history. These typological connections serve to deepen the understanding of God's unfolding plan and offer encouragement to believers.
Genesis 45:7-8 records Joseph's revelation to his brothers: "And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt." In this passage, Joseph acknowledges God's sovereign hand in his suffering, betrayal, and eventual exaltation. This strikingly parallels the narrative of Jesus, who, as recorded in Acts 2:23 and Acts 4:28, was betrayed and crucified according to God's predetermined plan.
In both cases, God's providence ordained the evil intentions of men to bring about the deliverance of His people. Joseph, like Jesus, suffered unjustly at the hands of his brethren, yet ultimately saved many of those who initially sought to harm him. The Genesis account of Joseph reveals numerous typological connections with Jesus:
1. Betrayal and hatred: Joseph was betrayed and hated by his brothers (Genesis 37), foreshadowing Jesus' betrayal by His own people.
2. Temptation and sinlessness: Joseph resisted temptation and remained sinless (Genesis 39), reflecting Jesus' sinless nature.
3. False accusation and condemnation: Joseph was falsely accused and condemned (Genesis 39), mirroring Jesus' unjust trial and crucifixion.
4. Exaltation and salvation: Joseph was raised to a position of authority beside Pharaoh, becoming the savior of many (Genesis 41:37-56), prefiguring Jesus' resurrection and ascension as the ultimate Savior.
Pastor Nick Batzig aptly summarizes these connections, stating, "Undergoing a series of deaths and resurrections, Joseph typified the “sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow” (1 Peter 1:10-11). He was envied and hated by his brothers, suffered at their hands and was exalted to a place of power over the most powerful nation of the world. Jesus, the greater Joseph, was envied and hated by His countrymen and brethren, murdered by them and then exalted to the highest place of power and honor to save the world by feeding them with the rich granaries of heaven."
Furthermore, Joseph's role as the provider of bread during a time of famine serves as a profound typological connection to Jesus, the "Bread of Life." In Genesis 41:37-56, Joseph is elevated to a position of authority under Pharaoh, overseeing the collection and distribution of grain throughout Egypt and beyond during the years of plenty and subsequent famine. This narrative depicts Joseph as a life-sustaining figure, ensuring the survival of countless individuals during a period of extreme hardship.
This imagery of Joseph as a provider of physical sustenance is a powerful prefiguration of Jesus Christ, who offers spiritual nourishment to all people, transcending geographical and cultural boundaries. In John 6:35, Jesus declares, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst." Jesus, as the "Bread of Life," provides spiritual sustenance and everlasting life to those who believe in Him, fulfilling their deepest needs and longings.
The typological connection between Joseph and Jesus is further emphasized when we consider that just as Joseph fed the nations during the time of famine, Jesus, through His redemptive work, spiritually nourishes people from every tribe, language, people, and nation (Revelation 5:9). This universal aspect of Jesus' redemptive work highlights the all-encompassing nature of His spiritual nourishment, which is not limited to a specific nation or group of people but is accessible to everyone.
By examining the roles of Joseph and Jesus as providers of nourishment, we gain a deeper understanding of God's redemptive plan for humanity. Joseph's life-sustaining actions during the famine foreshadow Jesus' provision of spiritual sustenance, revealing the divine orchestration of events and individuals in history to fulfill God's ultimate purpose. The connection between Joseph and Jesus highlights the continuity between the Old and New Testaments and serves as a testament to God's unchanging love and provision for His people.
The exploration of typological connections between Joseph and Jesus not only contributes to a deeper understanding of God's providence but also offers assurance and encouragement to believers. The uncanny nature of these connections underscores the divine orchestration of events and individuals throughout history, revealing God's unfolding plan of redemption.
To delve further into the study of Joseph as a type of Christ and the broader concept of typology, it is essential to explore additional resources and scholarly works that illuminate the intricate connections between the Old and New Testaments. These studies can provide invaluable insights into God's redemptive plan and the fulfillment of His promises through the life and work of Jesus Christ. Engaging with these resources will deepen our understanding of Scripture and inspire a greater appreciation for the divine orchestration of history and the unity of God's Word.
Joseph, a Type of Christ
Joseph and Jesus (.pdf)
by A. W. Pink
Joseph as a Type of Christ
by John Piper
by Andrew Bernhardt
by Bill MacDonald
from Bible Lives
"One day God would send another Prince, a young Prince whose heart would break. Like Joseph, he would leave his home and his Father. His brothers would hate him and want him dead. He would be sold for pieces of silver. He would be punished even though he had done nothing wrong.But God would use everything that happened to this young Prince – even the bad things – to do something good: to forgive the sins of the whole world."
- Sally Lloyd-Jones, The Jesus Story Book Bible
Typology in General
The Typology of Scripture (eBook)
by Patrick Fairbairn
Christ in the Old Testament:: Biblical Metaphor & Typology (MP3)
by Edmund P Clowney
Tropologia: A Key To Open Scripture Metaphors (eBook)
by Benjamin Keach
Grace and Truth: The Glory and Fulness of the Redeemer Displayed
by William M’Ewen
by Jonathan Edwards
More on Typology at Monergism.