12. The Twelve Tribes – Joseph

By John Thiel

The one hundred and forty four thousand will go through the time of Jacobs’s trouble. Some have really sinned badly but came out and are redeemed. Joseph came out of circumstances as well but he also started beautifully. It appears he never did any great sins. Yet he had to go through a purification process. Although he did no major sin, something still had to be removed.

Their affliction is great, the flames of the furnace seem about to consume them; but the Refiner will bring them forth as gold tried in the fire. God’s love for His children during the period of their severest trial is as strong and tender as in the days of their sunniest prosperity; but it is needful for them to be placed in the furnace of fire; their earthliness must be consumed, that the image of Christ may be perfectly reflected. {GC 621.1}

The trial of faith is more precious than gold. All should learn that this is a part of the discipline in the school of Christ, which is essential to purify and refine them from the dross of earthliness. {AG 81.4}

Although we may not find any serious sin in the life of Joseph, he went through a purifying process. What had to be removed from him? Earthliness. What was the beginning of his life?

Genesis 30:22 And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.

23And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach: 24And she called his name Joseph; and said, The LORD shall add to me another son.

Rachel had no children and she was in despair. After a long period of time, she gave birth. But what happened that she could give birth? God opened her womb. God caused her to conceive. Therefore, what did Joseph become a type of? A Saviour like Jesus. Jesus was also born as a result of direct intervention from God.

Genesis 50:19 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for [am] I in the place of God?

50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; [but] God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as [it is] this day, to save much people alive.

50:21 Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.

In these texts we see it was God who sent him. It was intervention of God to make him a saviour to the people in the time of the famine. 

The life of Joseph illustrates the life of Christ. It was envy that moved the brothers of Joseph to sell him as a slave; they hoped to prevent him from becoming greater than themselves. And when he was carried to Egypt, they flattered themselves that they were to be no more troubled with his dreams, that they had removed all possibility of their fulfilment. But their own course was overruled by God to bring about the very event that they designed to hinder. So the Jewish priests and elders were jealous of Christ, fearing that He would attract the attention of the people from them. They put Him to death, to prevent Him from becoming king, but they were thus bringing about this very result. {PP 239.2}

Joseph, through his bondage in Egypt, became a savior to his father’s family; yet this fact did not lessen the guilt of his brothers. So the crucifixion of Christ by His enemies made Him the Redeemer of mankind, the Saviour of the fallen race, and Ruler over the whole world; but the crime of His murderers was just as heinous as though God’s providential hand had not controlled events for His own glory and the good of man. {PP 239.3} As Joseph was sold to the heathen by his own brothers, so Christ was sold to His bitterest enemies by one of His disciples. Joseph was falsely accused and thrust into prison because of his virtue; so Christ was despised and rejected because His righteous, self-denying life was a rebuke to sin; and though guilty of no wrong, He was condemned upon the testimony of false witnesses. And Joseph’s patience and meekness under injustice and oppression, his ready forgiveness and noble benevolence toward his unnatural brothers, represent the Saviour’s uncomplaining endurance of the malice and abuse of wicked men, and His forgiveness, not only of His murderers, but of all who have come to Him confessing their sins and seeking pardon. {PP 239.4}

What a beautiful relation of Jesus Christ and Joseph had. How did Joseph come to pre-configuration? Was he faultless to begin with? Was it sin? What was it? Observe something about him that wasn’t sin.

Genesis 37:1 And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan.

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.

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.

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.

37:5 And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told [it] his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.

37:6 And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed:

37:7 For, behold, we [were] binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.

37:8 And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.

37:9 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.

37:10 And he told [it] to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What [is] this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?

37:11 And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.

What was his fault? He told his dreams to his brethren. This was his earthliness.

 

His father, strong and tender as his love had been, had done him wrong by his partiality and indulgence. This unwise preference had angered his brothers and provoked them to the cruel deed that had separated him from his home. Its effects were manifest also in his own character. Faults had been encouraged that were now to be corrected. He was becoming self-sufficient and exacting. Accustomed to the tenderness of his father’s care, he felt that he was unprepared to cope with the difficulties before him, in the bitter, uncared-for life of a stranger and a slave. {PP 213.2}

He was becoming self sufficient and exacting. Selfishness was over coming him. In his youth he was dealt with. Although he had a genuine motive, it was expressed in earthliness. We also see he was a perfect little boy.

Pure, active, and joyous, the lad gave evidence also of moral earnestness and firmness. He listened to his father’s instructions, and loved to obey God. The qualities that afterward distinguished him in Egypt–gentleness, fidelity, and truthfulness–were already manifest in his daily life. His mother being dead, his affections clung the more closely to the father, and Jacob’s heart was bound up in this child of his old age. He loved Joseph more than all his children. {PP 209.1}

What was needed to remove this earthliness?

Genesis 37:13 And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed [the flock] in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here [am I].

37:14 And he said to him, Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and well with the flocks; and bring me word again. So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem.

Genesis 37:23 And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped Joseph out of his coat, [his] coat of [many] colours that [was] on him;

37:24 And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit [was] empty, [there was] no water in it.

37:25 And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry [it] down to Egypt.

37:26 And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit [is it] if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?

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.

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: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.

That experience was the turning point in his life.

 

One day’s experience had been the turning point in Joseph’s life. Its terrible calamity had transformed him from a petted child to a man, thoughtful, courageous, and self-possessed. {PP 214.1}

One day was all it needed. While these things were developing in his life, he felt unprepared.

Joseph believed that the God of his fathers would be his God. He then and there gave himself fully to the Lord, and he prayed that the Keeper of Israel would be with him in the land of his exile. {PP 213.3}

As a result of that resolve, we have a beautiful example that we can do just that. No matter how hard it is when we are brought into terrible circumstances.

Genesis 39:4 And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all [that] he had he put into his hand.

39:5 And it came to pass from the time [that] he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.

39:6 And he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was [a] goodly [person], and well favoured.

39:7 And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me.

39:8 But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what [is] with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand;

39:9 [There is] none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou [art] his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?

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.

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.

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.

What a perfect description of his resolve to glorify God. There you can see a resolve and determination. Here is an example of what you can do when you resolve. Because of her reaction, Joseph suffered.

Genesis 39:13 And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth,

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:

Genesis  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.

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.

39:21 But the LORD was with Joseph, and showed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.

39:22 And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that [were] in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer [of it].

39:23 The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing [that was] under his hand; because the LORD was with him, and [that] which he did, the LORD made [it] to prosper.

Joseph suffered for his integrity, for his tempter revenged herself by accusing him of a foul crime, and causing him to be thrust into prison. Had Potiphar believed his wife’s charge against Joseph, the young Hebrew would have lost his life; but the modesty and uprightness that had uniformly characterized his conduct were proof of his innocence; and yet, to save the reputation of his master’s house, he was abandoned to disgrace and bondage. {PP 218.1}

This was very unfair. We are often treated badly to save other people’s faces. How are we to react?

Joseph’s real character shines out, even in the darkness of the dungeon. He held fast his faith and patience; his years of faithful service had been most cruelly repaid, yet this did not render him morose or distrustful. He had the peace that comes from conscious innocence, and he trusted his case with God. He found a work to do, even in the prison. {CC 76.3}

Take things quietly when falsely accused. He succeeded in all those lower areas of life. In the position next to Pharaoh, how was he tested there?

Genesis 41:41 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.

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;

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.

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.

Now he was the most exalted person in the world’s empire.

Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need

Here is a revelation of what will happen to those people who will go through this fiery trial. They will be totally humble. It is the same principle as us. A pre-cursor of what we are going to be lifted to Joseph revealed this in becoming part of the one hundred and forty four thousand. A promise was made to Joseph that he would get a double blessing.

Deuteronomy 33:13 And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the LORD be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath, 14And for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon,

15And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills,

16And for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren.

17His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.

Ephraim lost his position. Joseph and his son Manasseh are part of the one hundred and forty four thousand. There were two of him. The whole blessing was a rich reward. The one hundred and forty four thousand are going to have that blessing. There are twenty four thousand to his posterity. We notice the other blessing:

Genesis 49:22 Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall:

23The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him:

24But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)

25Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb:

26The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.

What is there in it for us? If we will learn in the test of trial and severity, what are we going to have to expect to be among the one hundred and forty four thousand? We might come to the point of no more sin, but earthliness has to be removed. The one hundred and forty four thousand have to go through the time of trouble.

God has bidden you to go forward to perfection. Christianity is a religion of progress. Light from God is full and ample, waiting our demand upon it. Whatever blessings the Lord may give, He has an infinite supply beyond, an inexhaustible store from which we may draw. Scepticism may treat the sacred claims of the gospel with jests, scoffing, and denial. The spirit of worldliness may contaminate the many and control the few; the cause of God may hold its ground only by great exertion and continual sacrifice, yet it will triumph finally. {5T 71.1}

Here we have the precious example of Joseph.

Amen.

Posted on September 5, 2009, in The Twelve Tribes of the 144,000 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. this sermon is very helpful. Iwant it on my blog

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