Snapshots of the Kingdom: Joseph
Issue No. 375
Abraham gave us the example of Passover faith, Isaac gave us the example of Pentecostal obedience, and Jacob gave us the example of Tabernacles agreement. The sequence culminates with Joseph, whose rule over Egypt prophesies of Christ’s Kingdom in the earth.
The feast of Passover was fulfilled when Jesus died on the cross at Passover. Pentecost was fulfilled in Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples at the start of the Pentecostal Age. That age has now ended, and we are in the transition of ages from Pentecost to Tabernacles.
The Tabernacles Age begins fully with the manifestation of the sons of God at the time of Christ’s second appearance. Christ came the first time to fulfill His “Judah” calling as the dead lion (Genesis 49:11, 12), coinciding with His call as the Passover lamb and the red heifer. But His second coming is a Joseph calling and is distinctly different.
Scepter and Birthright
When Jacob blessed his sons, he gave the scepter to Judah (Gen. 49:10) and the birthright to Joseph (Gen. 49:22-26). This is explained clearly again in 1 Chron. 5:1, 2. At the time, the priesthood of Levi was not specified, but Moses clarified this in setting up the priesthood at the tabernacle in the wilderness (Num. 1:50-53; 3:3).
Jacob distributed portions of the birthright to his sons, which resulted in the necessity for Christ to come twice. He had to come the first time to fulfill the call of Judah, and He must come a second time to fulfill the call of Joseph. That is why, when He is pictured coming the second time in Rev. 19:13, it says, “He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood.” Joseph’s robe was dipped in blood (Gen. 37:31).
By the time we get to the New Testament revelation, we find that Jesus Christ came first to die on the cross as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. His second coming is first to manifest the sons of God and then rule the earth through His sons. So Jacob’s blessing said, “Joseph is a fruitful bough” (Heb., ben, “son”). Joseph received the sonship portion of the birthright.
The birthright itself had begun with the two mandates in the first chapter of Genesis. The scepter was created in Gen. 1:26, saying, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule.” The sonship mandate was given in Gen. 1:28, “Be fruitful and multiply.”
Both mandates were packaged together originally, but they were divided by Jacob. Ultimately, they must return to their original unity under one Head, Jesus Christ. This is accomplished through two comings of Christ.
When Joseph was just 17, he had two dreams in which he saw himself ruling over his brethren and even his own parents. The first dream is given in Gen. 37:6-8,
6 And he said to them, “Please listen to this dream which I have had; 7 for behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and lo, my sheaf rose up and also stood erect; and behold, your sheaves gathered around and bowed down to my sheaf. 8 Then his brothers said to him, “Are you actually going to reign over us? Or are you really going to rule over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.
The brothers understood the meaning of the dream, but instead of rejoicing at the good fortune of their younger brother, they hated him for his insolence. It was probably not wise to tell them this dream.
The second dream is given in Gen. 37:9-11,
9 Now he had still another dream, and related it to his brothers, and said, “Lo, I have had still another dream; and behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” 10 And he related it to his father and to his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have had? Shall I and your mother and your brothers actually come to bow ourselves down before you to the ground?” 11 And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.
Joseph was too young and inexperienced to know that such a calling would require spiritual growth and maturity through pain and suffering. As with all of us, we delight in our callings but frown upon the processing required to qualify us for such callings.
Years later, Pharaoh also had two dreams, and Joseph understood that “as for the repeating of the dream to Pharaoh twice, it means that the matter is determined by God [by the double witness], and God will quickly bring it about” (Gen. 41:32). This suggests that Joseph also knew that his own two dreams established the truth, giving him hope during his years in the prison.
Joseph was not immediately given the throne, of course, but shortly thereafter, God began to move him in that direction. Joseph’s brothers sold him as a slave, and he was taken to Egypt. The book of Jasher tells us that he arrived at the border of Egypt on his 18th birthday.
At first, he was treated well by his new master. But soon he was falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife for attempted rape and was sent to prison, probably under a life sentence.
Finally, when he was 30 years of age, God had afflicted him enough to mature him sufficiently to carry out his call to rule. Only then did God give Pharaoh two dreams, which Joseph interpreted, and this event put Joseph into his calling as ruler of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh.
Joseph the World Ruler
Joseph was a type of Christ in regard to His calling to rule the Kingdom as the birthright holder. The fact that Joseph ruled over Egypt (a type of the world) shows first that the Kingdom is not in heaven but on the earth. Though it originates in heaven, the Kingdom, properly, is on earth.
Years later, Daniel interpreted King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, which spoke of four metallic empires, ending with a Stone Kingdom, which “became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.” The Stone is both Christ and His domain. In other words, Christ rules the whole earth.
This agrees with Rev. 5:10, which speaks of the sons of God, saying, “they will reign upon the earth.”
This fulfills the original promise and mandate that God gave to man in Gen. 1:26, where God delegated authority to man and told him to rule the earth, including the fish, birds, cattle, and creeping things. These are included to ensure that we do not spiritualize this and transfer this dominion to the heavenly realm, leaving the earth neglected and chaotic, if not destroyed altogether.
Judah Submits to Joseph
When Jacob blessed Judah, he gave him temporary dominion “until Shiloh comes” (Gen. 49:10). The root word from which Shiloh is derived is shalah, “to be at rest, at ease, tranquil.”
The implication is that Judah was to rule during the time of conflict or war, but that once his job was complete, the Kingdom would be turned over to “Shiloh,” which is a prophetic name for the Messiah who has received the birthright.
King David was perhaps the most prominent type of Christ in a Judah capacity. David was not allowed to build the temple, because he was “a man of war” (1 Chron. 28:3). In other words, “Shiloh” had not yet come with its rest and tranquility. David’s calling was to prepare for that future time. Likewise, Christ’s first appearance was as the Son of David, and so we see again how He suffered during the time of conflict and rejection.
Even as David prepared the way for Solomon (“peaceable”), so also did Christ, the Son of David, prepare the way for His second appearance as Shiloh, when He comes as “Joseph.”
Jacob’s blessing on Judah stated also, “and to him [Shiloh] shall be the obedience of the peoples” (Gen. 49:10). In other words, the people would rally around the one called “Shiloh” and give their allegiance to Him, instead of to Judah.
Those who fulfill their Judah calling are those who transfer their loyalty to Shiloh, even as David himself called Him “Lord” (Psalm 110:1; Matt. 22:43-45). In saying this, we see that David understood that the One coming was greater than he.
So Joseph’s dream showed that Judah, along with his brothers, would all bow to Joseph in the end. This was literally fulfilled (Gen. 42:6), and “Joseph remembered the dreams which he had about them” (Gen. 42:9).
The first time they bowed to Joseph ignorantly without knowing who he was. They later bowed before him with full knowledge of his identity. Gen. 50:18 says,
18 Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.”
The fulfillment of Joseph’s dreams tells us that the second coming of Christ supersedes His first appearance. Christ comes twice, each time representing a different person prophetically. In that way, He is both Judah (or specifically, “David”) and Joseph, but His ministry as David is temporary, while His ministry as Joseph is permanent. He died but once, but He lives forever.
Nonetheless, Christ is both Messiah ben Judah and Messiah ben Joseph. So Ezekiel could say truthfully that “David will be prince among them” (Ezekiel 34:24), even though Christ is more Joseph than David at the coming of peace, rest, and tranquility (“Shiloh”).
The Two Birds to Cleanse Lepers
The law prophesies two comings of Christ in terms of Judah and Joseph and the purpose of each. In Lev. 14:1-7 we read that cleansing lepers requires two birds. The first was to be killed in an earthen vessel over running water (Lev. 14:5); and the second was to be dipped or smeared with the blood of the first bird and then released alive into the open field (Lev. 14:7).
Leprosy is a biblical type of mortality, because leprosy is a slow death. Overcoming death/mortality is set forth in the laws of cleansing lepers. So Christ came the first time to be killed in an earthen vessel (physical body) over running water (baptism, then the cross).
Christ then comes a second time as the second bird, and his robe is dipped in blood (Rev. 19:13). Just as Joseph’s robe was dipped in the blood of a goat, so the second bird was dipped in the blood of the first. Hence, we see that Christ will return with the calling of Joseph and also to fulfill the prophetic type of the second bird to heal us from our mortality (leprosy).
Two Goats to Cover and Remove Sin
Another related law is found two chapters later in Leviticus 16, which gives us the instructions for the Day of Atonement. There we find that the priest was to take two goats, kill one and release the other into the wilderness.
The main difference between the birds and the goats is that the birds were used to deal with death/mortality, whereas the goats were used to deal with sin. These two problems are closely related, yet different.
Christ died on the cross to cover sin, that is, to atone for sin. The Day of Atonement is Yom Kippur. The verb is kaphar, which is where we get our English word “cover.” The word is used in Gen. 6:14,
14 Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms and shall cover [kaphar] it inside and out with pitch.
Hence, the first goat was killed to cover sin and thereby impute righteousness to us. The blood of Jesus covers us, but it does not yet remove the sin. It requires a second goat to remove sin.
The priest was to take the second goat and impute all sins, iniquities, and transgressions upon its head and send it alive into the wilderness (Lev. 16:21). This goat pictured the removal of sin.
We learn from this that Christ’s death on the cross did not actually make us perfect, as so many have expected. Instead, our faith in Him and in His blood has imputed righteousness to us (Rom. 4:6-8). We are called righteous, because our sin is covered, and so we are blessed:
8 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.
The biblical definition of imputation is seen in Paul’s example of Abraham, of whom it was said that God had imputed many sons to him even though he had none. Paul’s explanation is that God calls “those things which be not as though they were” (Rom. 4:17). The lesson, then, is that by faith in God’s promise, we are imputed righteous, even though we are yet imperfect. We have a legal righteousness, until the coming of the second “goat” which actually removes sin.
From Christ’s Baptism to the Cross
Jesus was born on the evening of the feast of Trumpets in 2 B.C. He turned 30 in 29 A.D. (Note: there is no year Zero; the calendar went from 1 B.C. directly to 1 A.D.)
Ten days after Jesus’ 30th birthday, He went to John to be baptized on the Day of Atonement in order to fulfill the timing that had been established in the law. When John the Baptist saw Him, He proclaimed that He was “the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29).
Thus, there is a strong link between Passover and the Day of Atonement. Each had its place in the timing of Christ’s first ministry. He was baptized on Atonement to prophesy His future death on the cross at Passover.
I believe that He was baptized at the same time that day when the high priest was killing the first goat in the temple in Jerusalem. When the designated man led the second goat into the wilderness, they had to cross the Jordan at the place where Jesus was baptized—where also the Israelites had crossed under Joshua.
I believe that Jesus accompanied the man leading the goat into the wilderness. There He was tempted by the devil forty days (Matt. 4:1, 2; Luke 4:1, 2). Thus, He was identified with both goats in different ways.
A literal rendering of Lev. 16:8 says,
8 And Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats; one lot for Yahweh and the other lot for Azazel.
Azazel is often translated “scapegoat,” but in fact, it was a “devil” figure, pictured as a satyr, or fawn—half goat and half man. The book of Enoch says that Azazel was one of the leaders in the false sonship movement in Gen. 6:2-4, who taught “every species of iniquity upon earth” (Enoch 9:5).
The second goat was “for Azazel,” which had an obscure prophetic meaning until Christ actually fulfilled the law. Jesus was baptized to identify with the first goat that was being killed in the temple and which was thus given “for Yahweh.” But Jesus went into the wilderness as the second goat “for Azazel.” What actually happened? Jesus was given into the hands of the devil to be tempted 40 days.
We can say, then, that Azazel in Lev. 16:8 is identified as “the devil” in Matt. 4:1.
At the same time, we see that while the first goat died at a moment in time, the second goat remained alive, and 40 days were ascribed to it. This was a parallel to Israel’s own 40 years in the wilderness where they were tempted or “tested” (Deut. 8:2).
The same 40 days/years prophesied of the 40 Jubilees (40 x 49 years) in which the Church has been tested in the wilderness of its own. Just as it took 40 days for Jesus to be tested, and 40 years for Israel, so also has it taken 40 Jubilee cycles for the Church to be tested.
At the end of the testing time, Jesus began His ministry, Israel entered the Promised Land, and the Church also began the transition into the time of the manifestation of the sons of God. (See The Laws of the Second Coming.)
The Kingdom of Joseph
There are many layers in the study of Joseph which give us a snapshot of the Kingdom. The main feature is that the coming of Christ as Joseph is the start of His new ministry to bring the whole earth under His feet.
The timing of this appears to coincide with the end of the 40 Jubilees of testing. During this season, we have all been tested, “to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not” (Deut. 8:2).
God has also humbled us and allowed us to be hungry and has fed us with manna (revelation of the word), “that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord” (Deut. 8:3). In other words, the test is to see if we will live by every word or just those portions that suit us or that we can understand. The goal is to live by every word.
To do this, we must have a revelation of the word, not just head knowledge. It must be revelation that comes from one’s spirit through which the Holy Spirit speaks. If it is just soulish knowledge by the mind of carnal man, it is not acceptable, nor will it transform one’s nature.
To eat Christ’s flesh is to assimilate the Truth of who He is and the teachings that He has presented (John 6:53). This is the manna given in our own wilderness, which prepares us for the ministry of Joseph, ruling in the coming Kingdom.
Knowing the snapshot of Joseph is to know the divine plan of ruling the world. This is the truth that gives us direction to live by every word of God. No one can reject any portion of the word without becoming blind in that area of revelation. We need the full revelation of God to judge the world righteously according to the mind of God.
A Sovereign Perspective
When Joseph was mature, he was able to forgive his brothers for their betrayal and hatred. So we see, when their father died, how his brothers were fearful that Joseph might turn against them and punish them for their wickedness. Gen. 50:15 says,
15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph should bear a grudge against us and pay us back in full for all the wrong which we did to him!”
The brothers then appealed to Joseph and bowed down before him. What was Joseph’s response? Gen. 50:19, 20 tells us,
19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? 20 And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”
Joseph recognized that God works all things together for good (Rom. 8:28). Even the bad things that people do to us work for our benefit, if we recognize God’s hand in it and “in everything give thanks” (1 Thess. 5:18). We are all tested by the devil, regardless of what form he takes, but in the end, the devil can only bless us. This is the “rest” of Shiloh and the basis of Christ’s Joseph calling.