Foundational Themes in Genesis – Study 103
Foundational themes in Genesis – Study 103
(Key verses: Gen 46:28-34; Gen 47:1-26)
All things in the scriptures have both a negative and positive application, and that helps us to understand that God is the sovereign Creator of both good and evil and that He works both of these to fulfill His purposes in this creation, even as we all live “by every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God” (Isa 45:5-7; Mat 4:4; Rom 11:36; Eph 1:11). This spiritual mystery is inherent in the way God uses His Word, even Jesus Christ, as revealed through the pillar of cloud during physical Israel’s wanderings in the wilderness (Col 1:15-20; Rev 1:8):
Exo 14:19 And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:
Exo 14:20 And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.
We know God is not a territorial God, and He rules over all kingdoms of humanity which He actually appoints and directs in every aspect (Pro 8:15-16; Dan 4:17; Dan 4:25; Rom 13:1-7; 1Ti 2:1-3):
Pro 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.
The physical land of Egypt, also known as “Mizraim” in the Hebrew language, is generally seen in the scriptures in its negative application in relation to the flesh and our time of imprisonment to the idols of our natural mind, being enemies to God and His elect (Gen 37:36; Gen 39:1; Gen 39:20; Exo 1:8-14; Deu 6:12; Deu 7:8; Psa 105:23; Rev 11:8):
Isa 19:1 The burden of Egypt. Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it.
Isa 19:2 And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians: and they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbour; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom.
Isa 19:3 And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst thereof; and I will destroy the counsel thereof: and they shall seek to the idols, and to the charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards.
But even Egypt has a positive application in the sense that it is used several times in scripture as a place of refuge and supply (Gen 12:10; Gen 41:56-57; Exo 2:1-11; Jer 42:7-22; Mat 2:13-15). Yet in Egypt shall the “language of Canaan” be spoken which points to the spiritual salvation through the faith and mind of Christ, even as the life of earthy man shall be saved through its destruction (Mat 10:28):
Isa 19:18 In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of Canaan, and swear to the LORD of hosts; one shall be called, The city of destruction.
Isa 19:19 In that day shall there be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the LORD.
Isa 19:20 And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the LORD because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a saviour, and a great one, and he shall deliver them.
Isa 19:21 And the LORD shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the LORD in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the LORD, and perform it.
Isa 19:22 And the LORD shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the LORD, and he shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them.
The book of Genesis beautifully encapsulates both these perspectives of Egypt and actually concludes with Egypt being the place where Joseph reunites with his family as he also used Egypt as a platform to supply the whole earth with food. It is from this perspective that we can also get a wonderful picture of the way through which God will bring all in the first man Adam to be in unity with Him through His elected Christ (Isa 11:16; Isa 19:23-25; Isa 35:1-10):
1Ti 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
1Ti 2:2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
1Ti 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
1Ti 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
1Ti 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
1Ti 2:6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
With this perspective we are given such a solid platform by God to see to it that we have the right frame of mind, utter the right words, check our own actions when we deal with this world; as this historic event in the book of Genesis also admonishes us to do. In Egypt the family of Jacob is reunited through the instructions of Joseph who is the ruler of Egypt as appointed by the Pharaoh. As Egypt is now playing a positive role in God’s plan, so does the Pharaoh in that he now typifies God, the Father of Jesus, who instructs His Christ in all things (Joh 1:1-3; Joh 12:44-50). Jesus Christ is the “highway” of God, and through Him all things came into being, and in Him will all things be brought to a conclusion (Pro 16:17; Isa 40:3; Joh 14:6; Rom 11:36). The theme of restitution is central to the message of scripture as God will indeed bring all things together in and through the Christ (1Co 15:22-28):
Act 3:18 But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.
Act 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
Act 3:20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
Act 3:21 Whom the heaven [His elect] must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
Eph 1:9 (YLT) having made known to us the secret of His will, according to His good pleasure, that He purposed in Himself,
Eph 1:10 (YLT) in regard to the dispensation of the fulness of the times, to bring into one the whole in the Christ, both the things in the heavens, and the things upon the earth–in him.
On the arrival of the whole family of Jacob into Egypt, they went to live in the land of Goshen in Egypt:
Gen 46:28 And he [Jacob] sent Judah before him unto Joseph, to direct his face unto Goshen; and they came into the land of Goshen.
This word “Goshen” means “drawing near” (according to the Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Definitions), and it is also here in Goshen where Joseph drew his family nearer to him:
Gen 46:29 And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen, and presented himself unto him; and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while.
Through the supply of food which Joseph gathered in the seven years of “great plenty”, Joseph is the saviour of not only Egypt, but of the whole world, foreshadowing the work of Christ as appointed by the Father (1Ti 2:3-6; 1Ti 4:10; 1Jn 2:1-2):
Gen 41:55 And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do.
Gen 41:56 And the famine was over all the face of the earth: And Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians; and the famine waxed sore in the land of Egypt.
Gen 41:57 And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands.
Joseph consulted and confirmed the place where his family should live in the boundaries of Egypt with the Pharaoh:
Gen 46:31 And Joseph said to his brethren, and to his father’s house, I will go up, and show Pharaoh, and say to him, My brethren, and my father’s house, which were in the land of Canaan, are come unto me;
Gen 46:32 And the men are shepherds, for their trade has been to feed cattle; and they have brought their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have.
Gen 46:33 And it shall come to pass, when Pharaoh shall call you, and shall say, What is your occupation?
Gen 46:34 That ye shall say, Thy servants’ trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers: that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd [two Hebrew words are used to translate “shepherd”: “râ‛âh” which means “to pasture, tend, graze, feed”; and “tsô’n” which means “to migrate”] is an abomination unto the Egyptians.
The reason why the Egyptians found the life of a shepherd an abomination links to the idea that the flesh is always in need of cities and towers of its own standards in which it feels safe and secure, which then reflects in outward actions:
Gen 11:4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
To be scattered and living by faith is what typifies the life of a sojourner on the earth, even the life of a shepherd. The family of Abraham, Isaac, and now also Jacob, was called by God to a life by faith which is typified by a life of migration and dwelling in tents and trusting in God all the time. Our Egyptian flesh despises a lifestyle based on the faith of Christ and the things of the spirit:
Heb 11:9 By faith he [Abraham] sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
Heb 11:10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Joseph lived a lifestyle of faith as also witnessed when he took five brothers with him to the Pharaoh. The number five spiritually points to how one receives grace through faith, even to enter through the five pillars at the entrance to the tabernacle of God (Exo 26:36-37; Eph 2:8-10; Gal 2:16). As God is only pleased when we come to Him by the faith of Christ, so Joseph is also in need of the Pharaoh’s full agreement with the whereabouts of his family within his land (Heb 11:6):
Gen 47:1 Then Joseph came and told Pharaoh, and said, My father and my brethren, and their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have, are come out of the land of Canaan; and, behold, they are in the land of Goshen.
Gen 47:2 And he took some of his brethren, even five men, and presented them unto Pharaoh.
The brothers of Joseph made it clear to the Pharaoh that they are shepherds and sojourners with no permanent dwelling on this earth:
Gen 47:3 And Pharaoh said unto his brethren, What is your occupation? And they said unto Pharaoh, Thy servants are shepherds, both we, and also our fathers.
Gen 47:4 They said moreover unto Pharaoh, For to sojourn in the land are we come; for thy servants have no pasture for their flocks; for the famine is sore in the land of Canaan: now therefore, we pray thee, let thy servants dwell in the land of Goshen.
Pharaoh gave the best of the land to Joseph to give to his family, and he could even appoint men from his family who are virtuous to serve as “rulers over [Pharaoh’s] cattle”. This again has a spiritual application in the appointment of leaders even in God’s church by Christ (Act 14:23; Act 20:28; 1Co 12:28; Eph 4:11-12):
Gen 47:5 And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, saying, Thy father and thy brethren are come unto thee:
Gen 47:6 The land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell: and if thou knowest any men of activity [Hebrew: “chayil” = ability/virtue/efficient] among them, then make them rulers over my cattle.
God will always reward those who are “diligent in [God’s] business” with the gift of service to others, even spiritual rulership as the life of Joseph reveals:
Pro 22:29 Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.
Joseph also presented his father separately to the Pharaoh, and in this conversation Jacob confirms to the Pharaoh that life on earth is for sure a temporary evil existence in which we learn a total dependence on God:
Gen 47:7 And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh: and Jacob blessed Pharaoh.
Gen 47:8 And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old art thou?
Gen 47:9 And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage [Hebrew: “mâgûr” – sojourning/stranger] are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage [Hebrew: “mâgûr” – sojourning/stranger].
Gen 47:10 And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before Pharaoh.
This earthy life of flesh was designed by God to be temporary, which is also called an “experience of evil” in the scriptures in which God humbles the sons of humanity to learn that God is our only true Source of life:
Ecc 1:13 (CLV) I applied my heart to inquiring and exploring by wisdom concerning all that is done under the heavens: it is an experience of evil Elohim has given to the sons of humanity to humble them by it.
Joseph supplied his family with whatever was needed for them in the land of Goshen in Egypt:
Gen 47:11 And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded.
Gen 47:12 And Joseph nourished his father, and his brethren, and all his father’s household, with bread, according to their families.
But in the same period of time Joseph’s attention was also on the Egyptians within the seven year famine as he also supplied them with food:
Gen 47:13 And there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very sore, so that the land of Egypt and all the land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine.
Joseph used a specific method to supply food to the Egyptians which points out how Christ works to get our full attention to eventually see that God is the sovereign Ruler over our whole life and His will is done in every aspect of our lives (Mat 6:9-13). God supplies us with everything, and then we naturally abuse His gifts. But in the end He requires an accounting and in that process we learn so much of ourselves and His will for us. In the first year Joseph gathered all the money or silver that was in the possession of the Egyptians:
Gen 47:14 And Joseph gathered up all the money [Hebrew: “keseph” – silver] that was found in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they bought: and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house.
Money or silver in our own hands reveals our self-righteous heart which is witnessed in our thoughts, words and actions. The ‘silver’ of the natural heart is dross, and these impurities need to be purged from us through a fiery process and much humiliation. God will gather all the pollutions of all natural hearts, and His purging fire will establish His throne and rulership in all, even as Joseph is doing to these Egyptians (Deu 7:21; Jos 7:21; Psa 119:119; Isa 2:20; Isa 30:22; Eze 22:17-22; Zec 14:14; Mat 13:30):
Pro 25:4 Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.
Pro 25:5 Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness.
After all the money was removed from the people, then Joseph targeted their cattle within that first year of the famine:
Gen 47:15 And when money failed in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came unto Joseph, and said, Give us bread: for why should we die in thy presence? for the money faileth.
Gen 47:16 And Joseph said, Give your cattle; and I will give you for your cattle, if money fail.
When our self-righteous heart is exposed, we see that we are nothing more than a beast, created on the sixth day along with all the other earthly creatures. This gives all of mankind the same spiritual mark of being corrupt and subjected to vanity (Gen 1:24-31; Ecc 3:18; Jer 18:4; Rom 8:20). With this mark humanity can do nothing else but to buy and sell in the lusts of flesh and the pride of earthly life through the spirit of the world with all its false doctrines. This is what we all buy and sell until the new mind is established when we reject this mark of flesh and die daily to these lusts and pride – not like Cain who could not be killed because of this very mark of the beast given to Him by God (Gen 4:15; 1Co 15:31; 1Jn 2:16; Rev 13:15-18). This is what is typified when we, like these Egyptians, exchange our natural falsities for the truth:
Gen 47:17 And they brought their cattle to Joseph: and Joseph gave them bread in exchange for horses [typifying our earthly strength], and for the flocks [our straying after false shepherds], and for the cattle of the herds [our labour and sacrificing in vanity], and for the asses [carrying our burdens alone]: and he fed them with bread for all their cattle for that year.
In the second year of the famine Joseph bought the lands from the Egyptians in exchange for food:
Gen 47:18 When that year was ended, they came unto him the second year, and said unto him, We will not hide it from my lord, how that our money is spent; my lord also hath our herds of cattle; there is not ought left in the sight of my lord, but our bodies, and our lands:
Gen 47:19 Wherefore shall we die before thine eyes, both we and our land? buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants unto Pharaoh: and give us seed, that we may live, and not die, that the land be not desolate.
Here we see the spiritual connection between the physical land and our physical bodies:
Gen 47:20 And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them: so the land became Pharaoh’s.
Gen 47:21 And as for the people, he removed them to cities from one end of the borders of Egypt even to the other end thereof.
To receive our spiritual “land”, our “promised land”, we must “sell” our physical land as no flesh will have any glory in God’s presence (Rom 12:1):
1Co 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
1Co 15:44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
It was only the priests who were not under this procedure at this point in time as they typified the elect who already endured this whole process of judgment and redemption:
Gen 47:22 Only the land of the priests bought he not; for the priests had a portion assigned them of Pharaoh, and did eat their portion which Pharaoh gave them: wherefore they sold not their lands.
Now Joseph commanded the people to do their own sowing to provide for themselves and for others – this is an important principle in God’s kingdom (1Co 4:12; Php 2:12; 1Th 4:11):
Gen 47:23 Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh: lo, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land.
In the process of sowing in the land spiritually, we also present our bodies as a living sacrifice in service to God and others – the land of God:
Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
In the time of harvest the Egyptians were required by Joseph to add “the fifth part unto Pharaoh” and four parts of the harvest were kept for themselves:
Gen 47:24 And it shall come to pass in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth part unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own, for seed of the field, and for your food, and for them of your households, and for food for your little ones.
Gen 47:25 And they said, Thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s servants.
Gen 47:26 And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt unto this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth part; except the land of the priests only, which became not Pharaoh’s.
The numbers that feature here are the numbers five and four. We can now see how this number five, which indicates grace through faith, confirms the judgment on these Egyptians. As Pharaoh typifies the Father here, this again helps us to see that all in the fleshly Adam shall be brought to see that they were all God’s work from start to finish. God works all things in every creature’s life, and all will be given God’s spirit in full. We are indeed bought with a price, which is the life of Christ, and when that life is in us, we glorify Him and the Father now in our time of flesh and more so when the fullness of our spiritual life is given (Col 3:17-24):
1Co 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
1Co 7:23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.
Four of the five parts of the harvest went to the Egyptians to use. The number four relates spiritually to the whole of the matter at hand, which confirms the truth that we can only serve God with our whole heart when we received the gift of grace through faith (Mat 22:37-38):
Psa 111:1 Praise ye the LORD. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation.
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Detailed studies and emails relating to these foundational themes in Scripture are available on the www.iswasandwillbe.com website, including these topics and links:
The Mark of The Beast
The Lake of Fire In Genesis
Metals – Precious Metals, Silver – Negative, Part 1
Animals in Scripture
The Fifth Part and Tithing
The Priests of Egypt
Numbers in Scripture
Other related posts
- God's Four Sore Judgments - Part 3, Famine - A (May 9, 2015)
- Foundational Themes in Genesis - Study 103 (July 30, 2015)
- Children's Study - Joseph, Part 5 Joseph Becomes Ruler of Egypt (January 7, 2017)
- Children's Study - Joseph, Part 4 Joseph Interprets Pharaoh's Dreams (December 19, 2016)
- Children's Study - Isaac, Part 2 (August 1, 2016)
- Children's Study - Abraham, Part 9 (February 15, 2016)
- Awesome Hands - part 35: "The fame thereof was heard in Pharaohs house" (August 17, 2013)
- Amos Part 12 – Prepare to Meet Thy God (March 9, 2017)
- Abraham And Isaac Denying Their Wives (November 18, 2009)