Foundational Themes in Genesis – Study 92
Foundational themes in Genesis – Study 92 (Key verses: Gen 37:1-4)
The theme of spiritual glorification in scripture, as revealed through the life of Joseph in the Old Testament, helps us to understand elected rulership in God’s kingdom (Rom 5:2; 2Co 3:18; Col 1:27; Eph 1:4-6; Rev 4:4-6). To be seated on the thrones in God’s kingdom is reserved for His elected sons whom He foreknew and predestined to rule on earth in the symbolic thousand years and also to be the judges in the lake of fire (Mat 19:28; 1Jn 3:2; Rev 20:4-15; 1Co 6:2-3):
Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Rom 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Rom 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified [Greek aorist tense].
Through God’s mercy and wisdom these sons of God are prepared in this physical age to be used by God to “turn many to righteousness” in the age to come (Oba 1:21; Rom 9:23; Rom 11:30-32):
Dan 12:3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament [heaven]; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever [Hebrew: “ôlâm” = Greek: “aiōn” (ABP+)] and ever.
God preordained His elect to be the first to be conformed to the spiritual image of Jesus Christ through a process of being changed “from glory to glory” (2Co 3:18). Everything God does and brings to us has purpose, and these sons of God know that the current sufferings in flesh is actually used by God to redeem their mortal “outward man” to manifest His glory in the immortal new man in each of His elect (1Jn 3:2-3):
Rom 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
Rom 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Rom 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
Rom 8:20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
Rom 8:21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
Rom 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
2Co 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
2Co 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
2Co 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Jacob is back in Canaan with his family after spending twenty years in Haran with his uncle Laban. Among the twelve sons whom Jacob fathered through his two wives and two concubines, bigger rifts developed all the time which were caused by Jacob himself also. Jacob was very open in his favour towards Rachel and her two sons, Joseph and Benjamin. Rachel actually died at the birth of Benjamin, the youngest of his twelve sons. Especially as far as his second youngest son, Joseph, is concerned, Jacob had no problem revealing a special relationship which did not go down well with Joseph’s other ten brothers:
Gen 37:1 And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan.
Gen 37:2 These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report [evil slanders].
Gen 37:3 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 [Hebrew: “pas” = divers colours].
This coat of many colours was the most prominent symbol of Jacob’s favour on Joseph and his special position in the family. This highlights the link between the theme of clothing and the theme of rulership in the scriptures (Jdg 8:26; Est 8:15; Eze 23:6; Dan 5:16; Dan 5:29; Joh 19:2; Rev 17:4).
(We already touched on the theme of our spiritual covering in study #22).
In scripture this special type of clothing with many or diverse colours was significant to that of the ruling class, which was also mentioned in terms of Tamar, the daughter of King David:
2Sa 13:18 And she had a garment of divers colours [Hebrew: “pas” = divers colours] upon her: for with such robes were the king’s daughters that were virgins apparelled…
This fact is further confirmed in scripture with the symbol of the multi coloured rainbow “round about” the throne of God revealing the glory of God in His cherubims, also symbolized as the four living creatures or twenty four elders in scripture (Rev 4:3-11). This is also what was revealed in a vision to the prophet Ezekiel, while in captivity in Babylon:
Eze 1:4 And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire.
Eze 1:5 Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.
Eze 1:28 As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.
Eze 10:1 Then I looked, and, behold, in the firmament that was above the head of the cherubims there appeared over them as it were a sapphire stone, as the appearance of the likeness of a throne.
These cherubims symbolize God’s special messengers (in “the likeness of a man” in this age), and these cherubims were also placed at the east of the garden of Eden with a flaming sword to “keep the way” of the Lord (Gen 3:24; Rev 1:1-3). These cherubims associate with God’s heaven and the throne of His glorious Christ (Col 1:27). They are given His spiritual light and clothed in the special garments of Christ (Psa 93:1-2; Psa 104:1-2; Rev 1:13).
Isa 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.
In spiritual terms, clothing is connected to our way of life, either under the cloak of our own righteousness…
Isa 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
…or the righteousness of Christ in His spiritual bride, His church (Gen 3:7; Gen 3:21; Rev 3:18):
Rev 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
Rev 19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
Joseph’s life is given to us as a symbol of this process of spiritual glorification in those who are God’s heaven and His throne, which is His church from where He will reveal Himself to the rest of humanity and the spiritual world (Exo 25:17-22; Eze 10:1-7; Heb 9:5):
Eph 3:10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
This coat of many colours was never Joseph’s idea or choice, but his father’s idea, as a type of God’s election of those He wants in His spiritual bride in the Christ:
Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
Eph 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
Eph 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
Joseph wore his coat of many colours with full conviction, despite the disapproval and hatred which his election caused in the hearts of his brothers:
Gen 37:4 And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.
Joseph is our type of how we should never despise our election, also as far as diligence and truthfulness are concerned. We should always “watch” and “keep” our spiritual garments undefiled from earthly deceit, worldly lusts and foolish pride (Mat 24:4-5; 2Th 2:2-3; 1Jn 2:16; 1Jn 4:1-6; Rev 16:13):
Rev 16:15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
The way we watch and keep our clothing is seen in the way we live within a crooked and perverse generation of flesh, inside and outside (Php 2:15). When we are faithful in the commandments and ways of God, then we do watch and keep our garments. But in this process of wearing God’s covering, the elect of God know that they are destined to be hated and killed by those who oppose the truth. We will, like it was with Joseph, be seen as being arrogant and conceited if we continue and abide in His Word and live in humility within our God-given calling and position in this life (Mat 23:12; Joh 8:31; Jas 4:6-10; 1Pe 5:6). Here again we see how hatred connects spiritually with murdering someone as seen in the hearts and actions of these brothers of Joseph (1Jn 3:15):
Gen 37:20 Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.
God worked through his eldest brother, Reuben, to convince his other nine brothers not to physically kill Joseph, although they already spiritually killed him in their hearts:
Gen 37:21 And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him.
Gen 37:22 And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again.
Reuben also reveals here the delusion in the carnal heart which wants us to believe that inward sins of the heart are not on the same level as outward acts of sin. (Rom 5:12-14). But Jesus said it is all the same thing as He used the example of adultery:
Mat 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
There is also this delusion that if we do not commit outward transgressions as others to whom we naturally point fingers to, then we are innocent of sin. All in Adam are guilty of all, as we were all born in a “body of sin” (Gen 2:7; Rom 6:6). But it is only the elect who receives these inward eyes to accept that they are indeed guilty of all, and confess the “chief” of sinners-status in all respects (Jas 2:10):
1Ti 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
Joseph’s brothers were fixated on stripping Joseph from his coat as if that will change anything according to his election:
Gen 37:23 And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him;
God’s plans for His faithful elect will not be thwarted by puny creatures’ evil schemes and actions. He will cause His elect to walk according to what is righteous if they have received this strong desire from God to be in that holy and blessed first resurrection:
2Ti 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
After Joseph was stripped from his outward coat, his brothers cast him in a pit with no water and food.
Gen 37:24 And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.
Joseph was totally incapacitated, and it is in this state that we will also be placed to be able to receive the provisions of God. God sent a company of traders, and caused Judah, the fourth eldest brother of Joseph, to convince his brothers to sell Joseph to these traders for a profit of twenty pieces of silver (the Ishmaelites are also called Midianites according to Gen 37:36 and Gen 39:1):
Gen 37:25 And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites [or Ishmaelites] came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.
Gen 37:26 And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?
Gen 37:27 Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content.
Gen 37:28 Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver [ref. Lev 27:5 and Exo 21:32; Mat 26:15]: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.
Reuben was not part of this transaction, and when he returned he was shocked to find that Joseph was not in the pit anymore. Here the theme of clothing is developed further when Reuben rented his own clothes after this discovery:
Gen 37:29 And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes.
Gen 37:30 And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither shall I go?
The renting of clothing is frequently mentioned in scripture, and Reuben is the first person in the scriptures to do this. Jacob did the same when the ten sons brought Joseph’s coat to him after they dipped it in blood to give the appearance of the killing of Joseph by a wild animal:
Gen 37:31 And they took Joseph’s coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood;
Gen 37:32 And they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it be thy son’s coat or no.
Gen 37:33 And he knew it, and said, It is my son’s coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces.
Gen 37:34 And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.
Gen 37:35 And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him.
Renting of clothes in the scriptures is a sign of severe grief for the loss of a well-loved and precious person or much valued thing (Num 14:6; Jos 7:1-9; Jdg 11:29-35; 1Sa 4:11-12; 2Sa 11:1-11; 2Ki 18:37; 19:1; 2Ki 21:20-28; Isa 36:22; Isa 37:1). Spiritually it relates to how we react when we receive the truth of a matter, and our fleshly response to it as flesh is not capable of handling truth, even in earthly matters (2Ki 22:11; Jer 36:23-24). Jesus also said these words to His “yet carnal” disciples before His death, and also to us before spiritual maturity comes through the spirit of God in us by whom we grow spiritually to eat the strong meat of the truth (1Co 3:1-4; Heb 5:12-14):
Joh 16:12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
Our old garment of flesh must be rented apart as a witness of spiritual glorification as that opens up a higher heaven of intimacy with God (Gen 7:11; Isa 45:8; Mat 3:16; Rev 4:1; Rev 19:11). After Elisha tore his own clothes in two pieces, he laid hold of the mantle of his predecessor Elijah to receive the “double portion” of the spirit which worked in Elijah (2Ki 2:9-14). Elisha’s ministry was much more fruitful than that of Elijah as relating to the inheritance of the “double portion” of the rulership of God’s elect when we accept and are comforted through the judgement on our own unbelief and sin (Deu 21:15-17; 1Co 6:2-3; Rev 20:4-15):
Isa 40:1 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
Isa 40:2 Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’S hand double for all her sins.
The significance of clothing is further developed in the Joseph story when he was taken to Egypt and sold as a slave to Potiphar, an officer of the Pharaoh. But even here in the house of this Egyptian the Lord prospered Joseph (Gen 39:1-2). Joseph’s garments will come into focus again in Egypt. Firstly, the wife of Potiphar wanted Joseph to sleep with her, but he rejected her continuously (Gen 39:7-9). Our fear of God as witnessed in our obedience to His commandments which provide protection against evil and seductive detractors:
Pro 14:26 In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.
Pro 14:27 The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.
Pro 22:3a A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself…
But this wife of Potiphar kept bothering Joseph to sleep with her, and one day, while they were alone in the house, she caught him by his garment. And in fleeing from her his garment got ripped off, and he left it with her in the rush of getting away from her:
Gen 39:10 And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.
Gen 39:11 And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within.
Gen 39:12 And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.
Our righteous walk in keeping God’s commandments in this life will also be used against us – even when we are innocent of false accusations, as the life of Joseph reveals to us. But the righteous in God will prevail in the end although they will suffer temporary trials and afflictions (Psa 46:10; Pro 11:9; Pro 30:5-6; Mat 5:11; Rom 12:19):
Gen 39:13 And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth,
Gen 39:14 That she called unto the men of her house, and spake unto them, saying, See, he hath brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us; he came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice:
Gen 39:15 And it came to pass, when he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled, and got him out.
Gen 39:16 And she laid up his garment by her, until his lord came home.
Gen 39:17 And she spake unto him according to these words, saying, The Hebrew servant, which thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me:
Gen 39:18 And it came to pass, as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled out.
The false witnesses against God’s elect will be believed by those who are devoid of truth themselves, as per God’s design:
Gen 39:19 And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spake unto him, saying, After this manner did thy servant to me; that his wrath was kindled.
Gen 39:20 And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.
But through this prison experience, Joseph met the Pharaoh’s butler, and through Joseph’s interpretation of the butler’s dream, he was remembered after two years by this butler when no one could interpret the dreams of the Pharaoh. When Joseph was taken from prison, his clothing was also changed again to introduce a new phase in his walk:
Gen 41:14 Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh.
Joseph’s reward for interpreting the dreams of the Pharaoh correctly yet again included clothing! Joseph was now dressed in fine royal linen to be made the ruler of all the land of Egypt which had dominion over the known world at that time:
Gen 41:39 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art:
Gen 41:40 Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou.
Gen 41:41 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.
Gen 41:42 And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck;
Gen 41:43 And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt.
Gen 41:44 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.
This is all pointing to the rulership of the Christ over all kingdoms of this world under the rulership of the Father. Through this rulership all in flesh will eventually be given “changes of raiment” – the life of the spirit of the Father. Joseph’s new role and position also caused his brothers to be given new garments, but Benjamin, his own brother from their mother Rachel, was given five changes of raiment – more than the rest:
Gen 45:22 To all of them he gave each man changes of raiment; but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver, and five changes of raiment.
Benjamin also is a type of God’s faithful elect through the faith of Jesus Christ as the number five is the spiritual meaning for grace through faith bestowed on the elect in this age (1Ki 6:24; 2Ch 3:12; Eph 2:8-10). Benjamin represents the elect who is being seated at the marriage feast arrayed in fine linen, clean and white, and to receive the double portion from God:
Rev 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
Rev 2:27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.
Rev 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
Rev 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
Rev 19:8 And to her [the church] was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
Rev 19:9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
Detailed studies and emails relating to these foundational themes in Scripture are available on the www.iswasandwillbe.com website, including these topics and links: