Foundational Themes in Genesis – Study 98

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Foundational Themes in Genesis – Study 98

(Sections from Genesis chapters 41 to chapter 43)

The life of Joseph as described in the book of Genesis is our type of spiritual glorification. It is indeed through much tribulation and being sacrificed on the altar that spiritual glorification in the kingdom of God is obtained (Exo 29:36; Act 14:22; Rom 12:1; Heb 13:10; 1Pe 4; Rev 15:8). Within the theme of spiritual glorification we learn through the scriptures that God’s main objective at this time is to bring His elect to be the first to have rulership and dominion over flesh (Rom 6:1-14). This rulership is established in the revelation of who the Christ is and what the purpose and function of this Christ is in God’s plan to eventually bring all this carnal creation to spirit life in Him, even all in the first man Adam (1Co 1:13; 1Co 6:15; 1Co 12:12; 1Co 15:22; Eph 4:10-15; 1Jn 2:20-25). However, rulership in God’s kingdom is focused on totally different aspects than the focus of the carnal mind, and these aspects are what the elect learn to apply firstly in themselves and then to discern with whom they can share it:

Mat 20:25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes [Greek: “archōn” = rulers] of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
Mat 20:26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
Mat 20:27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
Mat 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom [Greek: “lutron” = redemption price/and atonement] for many.

In these words of Jesus, we see the elect of God are admonished by Jesus how to value and understand what their rulership entails. Rulership links with servanthood, and this is also how the life of Christ and His life in His elect will be “a ransom for many” and to bring atonement for all (Oba 1:21; Rom 12:1; 1Co 6:2-3; Php 2:6-7; Col 1:24; Rev 20:11-15). In this discussion we will touch on this concept of being “a ransom [or atonement] for many”, as typified in the life of Joseph.

The Paying of a Price

Under the law of Moses God introduced a few spiritual shadows of what a ransom for a soul entails. One example is seen in what is termed the ‘temple tax’:

Exo 30:11 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Exo 30:12 When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom [Hebrew: “kôpher”; Greek (ABP): “lutron= a redemption price and atonement] for his soul unto the LORD, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them.
Exo 30:13 This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) an half shekel shall be the offering of the LORD.
Exo 30:14 Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the LORD.
Exo 30:15 The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the LORD, to make an atonement [Hebrew: “kâphar” = covering] for your souls.
Exo 30:16 And you shall take the atonement money [Hebrew: “keseph” = silver] of the children of Israel, and shall appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial to the children of Israel before the LORD, to make an atonement [Hebrew: “kâphar” = covering] for your souls.

In physical terms, the ransom involves the paying of a price in the form of a sum of money or silver (“keseph”) which is required. This is such an important aspect, and we all, like king David, sometimes lose sight of this. God used Satan to tempt king David to number the people without the ransom price being paid, resulting in the death of seventy thousand people through a three day plague (2Sa 24:1-15; 1Ch 21:1-17). When David was presented with the threshingfloor to build and altar for the Lord soon after this horrible event, he knew that to be in God’s service in His temple indeed costs a price (2Ch 3:1):

2 Sa 24:24 And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver [Hebrew: “keseph” ].

1Ch 21:24 And king David said to Ornan, Nay; but I will verily buy it for the full price: for I will not take that which is thine for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings without cost.

Joseph paid the price by enduring his trials to be the one whom God has chosen to bring provision to his family and the whole world, and in that way Joseph served faithfully until the end, for our learning. This is all a type of the life of Jesus which is the only life that satisfies the Father, and through the life-given spirit of Christ, God will spiritually reconcile first the elect and then the whole world to Himself (Exo 29:36; Lev 17:11; 1Co 5:7):

1Co 15:45 (BBE) And so it is said, The first man Adam was a living soul. The last Adam is a life-giving spirit.

1Jn 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation [Greek: hilasmos = atonement] for our sins.

1Jn 2:2 And he is the propitiation [Greek: hilasmos = atonement] for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

Christ and His Elect are the True Temple – “the full Price” of God

1Co 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

This ministry of servanthood of the Christ was also symbolized when Jesus was sold for thirty pieces of silver by Judas – the price of a slave under the old covenant (Mat 27:3-5; Zec 11:13; Joh 3:17; 1Jn 2:2):

Exo 21:32 If the ox shall push a manservant or a maidservant; he shall give unto their master thirty shekels of silver [Hebrew: “keseph”], and the ox shall be stoned.

In physical terms, silver is a scarce precious metal with a very high monetary value, and this knowledge helps us to understand that spiritual atonement can only be properly valued if a life is sacrificed (Mat 10:39; 1Co 15:31). Things which are easily obtained have no value for the one who receives it. Because God’s elect know what the enduring of much tribulation and the dying of self is about, they are very selective to whom they give these precious pearls of God in this age (1Co 4:5):

Mat 7:6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

The connection between the service in the tabernacle (or the temple) and “them that are numbered” in terms of the atonement money or silver is very significant. We need to know who is measured in this age and who is at the altar of God:

Rev 11:1 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
Rev 11:2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

We read that the full shekel is made up of twenty gerahs (2 X 10) which is the sum of two half shekels:

Exo 30:13 This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) an half shekel shall be the offering of the LORD.

Knowing the number ten spiritually refers to the flesh and the number two spiritually refers to being a witness, we see how both Christ (in the flesh) and His elect (in the flesh) must be crucified before they are dragged and brought together by the Father to form this one spiritual shekel in God’s sanctuary (Dan 9:27; Joh 6:44; Joh 10:30; Joh 17:21-23; Gal 2:20; Eph 5:31-32; Col 1:24; Heb 13:13; 1Pe 2:21; Rev 11:2; Rev 13:5). Jesus also confirms this unity in terms of the temple tax at this occasion in Capernaum:

Mat 17:24 And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?
Mat 17:25 He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?
Mat 17:26 Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.
Mat 17:27 Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

This truth of the unified function of Christ and His church, in terms of being a ransom or atonement, is also foreshadowed in the command God gave to Moses about the day of atonement under the law of the holy feasts in physical Israel. Among the animals needed to be sacrificed, the two goats were very interesting in that both were used to bring the one atonement – the Lord’s goat and the scapegoat:

Lev 16:7 And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
Lev 16:8 And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat.

The goat on which the Lord’s lot fell was sacrificed, and the scapegoat was sent into the wilderness, and this typifies how the life of Christ in His elect makes the life of His elect an effectual ransom or atonement (“an atonement with him”):

Lev 16:9 And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD’S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering.
Lev 16:10 But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.

The way Joseph treated his ten brothers testifies to how he valued what he had experienced to be a ransom for them and how they will only appreciate this when their deceitful hearts are first exposed. They had no true “measure” either of themselves or others at this point in time, and could not even “measure” their own brother properly. God willing, in our next discussion we will touch on the role Benjamin played in all of this when Joseph openly favoured him in various ways, even in the sight of these ten brothers.

The covering

Exo 30:16 And you shall take the atonement money [Hebrew: “keseph” = silver] of the children of Israel, and shall appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial to the children of Israel before the LORD, to make an atonement [Hebrew: “kâphar” = covering] for your souls.

Jas 5:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

A ransom or atonement in scriptural terms is not a covering for sin in the sense that we can continue and indulge in false doctrines and continue under the dominion of flesh and its sinful pleasures. The atoning life of the Christ serves to reveal the false covering and brings separation with the old – the new cover of Christ destroys that sinful covering of flesh and all its doctrines, lusts and pride physically and spiritually (Gen 6:14; Luk 5:36-37; Mat 5:30; Rom 6:1-6; 2Co 5:1-8; 1Jn 2:15-17):

1Pe 4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;
1Pe 4:2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

The life of Joseph exposed the lives of his ten brothers, and now he is in a position to bring the true covering to them after they have gone through their time of judgment. These dealings of Joseph with his ten brothers typify the merciful judgment in the lake of fire where all death, which is deceitful carnality, will be destroyed (Rom 8:6-8):

Rev 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Our silver is indeed the dross of apostasy

In the Old Testament of the King James version of the Bible, the word “silver” is translated 287 times from the Hebrew word “keseph”, 12 times from its equivalent in Aramaic “kesaph”, and once from the Hebrew word “qeśı̂yṭâh”. This Hebrew word “keseph” appears 19 times in the interaction between Joseph and his brothers (ref: Gen 37:28; Gen 42:25; Gen 42:27-28 (2); Gen 42:35 (2); Gen 43:12 (2); Gen 43:15; Gen 43:18; Gen 43:21-23 (5); Gen 44:1-2 (3); Gen 44:8).

Isa 1:21 How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.
Isa 1:22 Thy silver is become dross [Hebrew: “sı̂yg”/“sûg” = in a state of apostacy], thy wine mixed with water:
Isa 1:23 Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.

This is how Jesus expressed this type of deceit in the natural heart of those who are convinced they are His and that they function properly in God’s temple:

Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

The first time this word “keseph” appears in this interaction between Joseph and his ten brothers is when they sold him for twenty pieces of silver:

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 [Hebrew: “keseph”]: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.

Seventeen years later they confessed to Joseph that they are “true men” when they could not even recognise him or see their own deceitful hearts:

Gen 42:11 We are all one man’s sons; we are true men, thy servants are no spies.

In its spiritual application “keseph” has therefore a very important and precious function in the heart of mankind and that is to reveal our old self-righteousness and to establish the right covering – the truth and righteousness of Christ (2Co 5:1-9; Joh 1:17). In its positive application, silver indeed brings complete and thorough atonement which is obtained through a cleansing process in our hearts, even as we can receive the truth and the pure words of God:

Psa 12:6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

Atonement is a Strong Desire in God’s Heart

The root word of the Hebrew word “keseph” is kâsaph, which is also translated in the scriptures as having a desire or longing for something (Gen 31:30; Job 14:15; Psa 84:2; Zep 2:1):

During previous discussions we already picked up that certain significant patterns are seen in these interactions between Joseph and his brothers which are repeated several times in the final chapters in Genesis. We read about specific commandments that were given at various stages which were then followed with journeys back and forth between Egypt and Canaan. Then there were also several occasions where the giving of an account was expected. Joseph had a strong desire to see his whole family, and he commanded his nine brothers (Simeon was kept in prison) to go back to Canaan to fetch their younger brother Benjamin:

Gen 42:18 And Joseph said unto them the third day, This do, and live; for I fear God:
Gen 42:19 If ye be true men, let one of your brethren be bound in the house of your prison: go ye, carry corn for the famine of your houses:
Gen 42:20 But bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die. And they did so.

When God wants our attention and things done, He will use whatever method He needs to cause His creatures to fulfill His purposes (Exo 3:1-12; Hag 1:10-15). In this case, the severe famine and hunger for corn forced Jacob to command his sons to again go back to Egypt to buy more corn for the family:

Gen 43:1 And the famine was sore in the land.
Gen 43:2 And it came to pass, when they had eaten up the corn which they had brought out of Egypt, their father said unto them, Go again, buy us a little food.

Gen 43:11 And their father Israel said unto them, If it must be so now, do this; take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spices, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds:
Gen 43:12 And take double money in your hand; and the money that was brought again in the mouth of your sacks, carry it again in your hand; peradventure it was an oversight:

After much hesitation Jacob sends Benjamin with them and to also get Simeon released from prison:

Gen 43:13 Take also your brother, and arise, go again unto the man:
Gen 43:14 And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother, and Benjamin. If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.
Gen 43:15 And the men took that present, and they took double money in their hand, and Benjamin; and rose up, and went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph.

This time they were taken to the house of Joseph for a meal, and as yet the brothers were still unable to recognise Joseph:

Gen 43:25 And they made ready the present against Joseph came at noon: for they heard that they should eat bread there.
Gen 43:26 And when Joseph came home, they brought him the present which was in their hand into the house, and bowed themselves to him to the earth.
Gen 43:27 And he asked them of their welfare, and said, Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake? Is he yet alive?
Gen 43:28 And they answered, Thy servant our father is in good health, he is yet alive. And they bowed down their heads, and made obeisance.

When Joseph saw Benjamin, his heart was filled with a strong desire to reveal himself to his brothers, but Joseph contained himself. The time was not yet ready as Benjamin will be used by Joseph to help the ten brothers accept Joseph’s choices within the next trial in which they will be placed on their return to Canaan:

Gen 43:29 And he lifted up his eyes, and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said, Is this your younger brother, of whom ye spake unto me? And he said, God be gracious unto thee, my son.
Gen 43:30 And Joseph made haste; for his bowels [Hebrew: “racham” – our affections] did yearn upon his brother: and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there.
Gen 43:31 And he washed his face, and went out, and refrained himself, and said, Set on bread.

Here in this strong desire in Joseph’s heart, we see God’s desire to reveal Him and to be reconciled with all in the Adam. This helps us to appreciate the positive application of money or silver, as it also reveals God’s love and His passion to be spiritually united with all in Adam. God’s wrath and judgment is not forever, and His mercy does reign over judgment when that process of judgment has reached its purpose and full effect (Jas 2:13). Just like the brothers of Joseph were tormented in his presence, so will all of God’s carnal creatures drink of the wrath of God through which their salvation will be obtained:

Rev 14:10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he [the carnal beast in all in the first Adam] shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.

1Th 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
1Th 5:10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
1Th 5:11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

God willing, we will continue in our next discussion with the positive application of silver in the interaction between Joseph and his brothers.

Detailed studies and emails relating to these foundational themes in Scripture are available on the website, including these topics and links:

Numbers in Scripture
The Lake of Fire in Genesis
Metals – Precious Metals, Positive-Part 1
Metals – Precious Metals, Positive-Part 2
Metals – Precious Metals, Positive-Part 3
The Biblical Overview of The Plan of God – Part 5

Other related posts