7 True Stories Of Animals Rescuing People From Certain Death Discover the Amazing Parallels Between Joseph and Jesus – Were They Just Coincidence?

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Discover the Amazing Parallels Between Joseph and Jesus – Were They Just Coincidence?

There are many spiritual parallels between Joseph and Jesus. Many of the things Joseph did in the physical realm foreshadow what Jesus has done or will do on a much greater scale in the spiritual realm. Let’s take a look at some of these. (If you are not really familiar with the story of Joseph, you may want to read the article titled Joseph and the economy First).

Before we start looking at their lives, let’s look at their names. The Hebrew name for Joseph is Yowceph, which means “let him add”. His full name was Jesus Yeshua ben Yowceph; Jesus, son of Joseph. Jesus’ purpose for His sinless life, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection was to add souls to God’s kingdom, which he is doing every day.

Early years

When we consider the birth of the two men, they were both born through miracles. Rachel, Jacob’s wife, could not bear children. It was only after Jacob had ten sons by other women that God opened Rachel’s barren womb and Joseph was born (Gen. 30:22-24). Likewise, the birth of Jesus was an even greater miracle since he was brought into the world through the Virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit.

In their youth, they both went to Egypt. After the Magi came to visit Jesus, an angel appeared to Joseph (Jesus’ earthly father) in a dream and told him to take his family to Egypt. Herod, the king of the Jews, had devised a wicked plan to kill all the boys two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi that Jesus might have been born. Joseph, on the other hand, was sold into slavery by his brothers and taken to Egypt when he was about seventeen.

Dreams were an important part of the lives of Joseph and Jesus. Joseph had dreams in his youth that showed God’s purpose for him. He also interpreted the dreams of the Cupbearer, the Baker, and the Pharaoh that led to a change in the entire lifestyle of the nation of Egypt. Interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams resulted in saving misery and death for many people. Jesus’ earthly father had a dream in which he was told to remove his family from Israel to save their lives. Jesus also had visions of the future, as recorded in Matthew 24. Through His life, the course of all mankind will change and a great majority of people’s lives will be spared from misery and suffering.

When Joseph was about seventeen years old, he was told to go and look for his brothers who were tending the sheep and see if all was well. Jesus asks for all those who are willing to accept Him and receive salvation.

Joseph’s own brothers conspired to kill him. In Genesis 37:18-34 we read how they threw him into a cistern and said that a wild animal swallowed him. In the same way, the religious leaders hated Jesus. Jesus’ statements such as “before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58) caused hatred and awe that cannot be compared. Other Jews, relatives of Jesus, plotted to kill him as well.

Their works, their Ministry

God sent Joseph and Jesus to save people. Joseph saved the Egyptians as well as his family from starvation – physical life. Jesus offers eternal life to people of all genealogies. Both became servants. Joseph became the servant of Potiphar and in a sense the servant of all Egypt and Israel later in his life. Jesus made himself nothing. The Lord and Creator Himself became man and took the nature of a servant. Jesus told us that the greatest of us would be our servant.

Both Joseph and Jesus began their intensive ministry or life’s work at the age of thirty. Both were despised because of their righteousness. Joseph’s brothers responded very harshly when he told them his dreams about the sheaves of wheat and the stars. When Jesus came to His hometown, the people’s response to Him was not kind either:

“Then they laughed, he is only the carpenter’s son, and we know Mary his mother and his brothers – James, Joseph, Simon and Judas. All his sisters live here among us. Where did he learn all this things? And They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him. Then Jesus said to them, “A prophet is honored everywhere, except in his own country and in his own family.” And so he did only a few miracles there because of their unbelief” (Mat. 13:55-57).

Joseph, through his wise advice saved the crowd from hunger and suffering. Jesus miraculously fed five thousand people. Joseph stored the grains used to make bread products. Jesus told the crowd that it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven, but His Father who gives the true bread of life. “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me will never go hungry” (John 6:35 NIV). They both remained humble and unspoiled by the glamor and wealth that could be theirs. They showed love and compassion to both Jews and Gentiles.

Both Joseph and Jesus were persecuted by false witnesses and overcame great temptations. Potiphar’s wife, who laid an intriguing adultery trap in front of Joseph, was denied without question. She also made malicious false allegations against him which resulted in his imprisonment. All of this was part of God’s plan for Joseph, Egypt, and Israel, and it worked out for the best. After fasting for forty days, when Jesus was at His weakest point physically, He had the strength to resist and overcome the wiles and temptations of the devil. Jesus was falsely accused by the chief priests and elders. Both, though persecuted and hated by some, turned evil into good.

If the ministry and works of Joseph and Jesus could be summed up in two words, they would be forgiveness and reconciliation. When the eleven brothers were standing before Joseph in Egypt, fearing for their lives, Joseph told them not to worry or be angry with themselves. He forgave them realizing that everything was according to God’s purpose. Despite the suffering he had to go through, he forgave. Jesus, while hanging on the cross near death, cried out, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34 NIV). Joseph married an Egyptian woman. Jesus’ bride is His church, which is made up mostly of Gentiles.

Jesus and Joseph both prophesied freedom. Joseph told his brothers that God would come to their aid and take their descendants out of Egypt to the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jesus also prophesied freedom for His people. In John 8:32 He told them “you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (NIV) and “I will pray the Father and he will give you another Counselor, that he may be with you forever” (John 14:16 NIV). Jesus also prophesied that His followers would be taken to a better land.

While being persecuted, both Jesus and Joseph were stripped of their clothes. His brothers took away Joseph’s beautiful robe of many colors that his father had made. The governor’s soldiers stripped Jesus, put a red robe on him, and twisted a crown of thorns to place on his head. Both were placed in a pit for three days. Joseph was thrown into an empty cistern and Jesus was placed in a tomb. Joseph’s brothers smeared his robe with the blood of a goat to blame wild animals for Joseph’s death. Jesus’ death was on Passover. A goat is sacrificed for the atonement of sins at Easter.

During the period of Joseph’s imprisonment, he was placed in close proximity to two other prisoners, the Cupbearer and the Baker. The butler’s life was spared and the baker lost (Gen. 40:1-18). When Jesus was hanging on the cross, there were two criminals with him, one on the right side and the other on the left. One of the criminals shouted insults at Jesus, while the other repented. Jesus said that he who repented was forgiven and would live with Him in heaven.

Although both were mocked and criticized, in the end, Joseph and Jesus achieved great positions of power and greatness. They both inspired confidence in those around them and in those who read about them. They both became god (God). Joseph became second in command and sat at Pharaoh’s right hand. Jesus sits at the right hand of God the Father.

Latter Days

Jesus was betrayed for thirty pieces of silver. Joseph was sold for twenty. Both were surrendered for the price of a slave. The lives of Joseph and Jesus are both examples of a “rags to riches” story. Joseph was taken out of the pit, from the empty cistern; sold into slavery and degraded in prison. Yet God the Father brought him through it all to one of the highest positions on earth. Jesus was certainly not born into wealth. He moved to Egypt as a baby to stay alive. He was admired by some and hated by others. At the end of His physical life, He was scourged, beaten, cursed, spat on, and crucified. The lowest form of death. Yet God “raised him to the highest place of honor and gave him the name above every other name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).

When Joseph’s brothers told Jacob that he was still alive, Jacob was stunned and did not believe him. Joseph was as good as dead for Jacob. When Mary announced the resurrection of Jesus to the disciples, they did not believe it either, “they [the apostles] they did not believe the women, because their words seemed meaningless to them” (Luke 24:11).

Joseph and Jesus were unknown to their family and friends. Joseph, after being promoted to Egypt and Jesus, after being resurrected. After everything was done, from punishment and ridicule to the joy of saving people’s lives to personal relationships with God, they both went on to become royalty.

Conclusion

Joseph lived the life of a servant. A servant of Potiphar, of the citizens of Egypt, of his family, and of God. He preserved the nation of Israel and the bloodline of Jesus. There are indeed many striking parallels between the lives of Joseph and Jesus. Joseph predicted Jesus Christ. Many of the things that Joseph did for Egypt and Israel in the physical point to what Jesus has done or will do on a much grander, spiritual scale for all mankind.

The parallels in the lives of Joseph and Jesus are not merely a matter of coincidence for the purposes of speculation. God the Father has a plan for mankind that He is working out in intricate and precise detail. The Tanakh (Old Testament) points directly to Jesus Christ and the life of Joseph is a prime example. Joseph was a true servant of God.

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