Sermon #25                    Series: Pictures of Grace in Genesis

          Title:            Joseph - A Type of Christ - A Picture of Grace

          Text:            Genesis 37:1-11


          Subject:       Joseph as a type of Christ

          Date:            Tuesday Evening - January 21, 1992

          Tape #        



          Most every Sunday School child has heard the story of Joseph and his brothers many, many times. You are all familiar with the instructive narrative. You know about Joseph’s coat of many colors. You know how his brothers hated him and sold him into slavery. There are numerous moral lessons and warnings to be drawn from the story. Joseph, in his character and conduct, shows us how we ought to live in this world for the glory of God and how that God honors those that honor him. Joseph’s wicked brothers, in their character and conduct, represent everything that is base, vile, and malicious. They were wicked, covetous, self-centered, self-serving men. Obviously, Joseph represents all that we should be and do. His brothers represent all that we should avoid. But if that is all we learn from the story of Joseph and his brothers, we have never yet understood the last fourteen chapters of Genesis. Those lessons might be readily perceived by any natural moralist.


          This story, like everything else in the Old Testament Scriptures, is intended by the Spirit of God to be a revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ in type and picture.


·        Adam typified Christ as our Covenant Head.

·        Abel showed forth the death of Christ as our sacrifice.

·        Noah represented Christ in the saving of his household.

·        Abraham and Isaac portrayed the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ on Mount Moriah.

·        Melchizedek revealed Christ as our great High Priest.

·        Isaac pictured Christ the promised seed, in whom all the nations of the earth are blessed.

·        Jacob saw Christ as a Ladder, the only Mediator between God and men.


          But the fullest, most complete and striking type of Christ to be seen in the Book of Genesis is Joseph.


A. W. Pink, in his Gleanings From Genesis, shows 100 points in which Joseph is a picture of our Savior. Obviously, I cannot give you all of those tonight. But I do want to pick out some highlights of Joseph’s life and show you how that…




          Joseph is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ.


          Truly, this is a picture of grace. In the Book of Beginnings, God revealed his purpose of grace in the salvation of sinners, and showed fallen men how he would save his elect by the sacrifice of his own dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.




          Joseph is a type of Christ…


1.    In his name.

2.    In his dearness to his father.

3.    In his occupation.

4.    In his coat of many colors.

5.    In his character.

6.    In his actions.

7.    In his exaltation.




          Joseph was given two names - Joseph and Zaphnathpaaneah (41:45). Zaphnathpaaneah is the name which Pharoah gave him when he made him Lord over all of Egypt. In this he was like our Savior who has two names given to him, a divine name and a human name.


·        His divine name is Christ, which means “Anointed of God.”

·        His human name is Jesus, which means “Savior.”


He has two names given to him because he is both the Son of God and the Son of Man.


          The names given to Joseph are very significant as the type of our Savior.


A.  Joseph means “Adding” (30:24).


          Adam was a subtracter. We lost everything in Adam. But Christ, the Second Adam, is the Adder. Christ is the One who adds to heaven the sons of God. To this end, he came into this world, lived in righteousness, and died upon the cursed tree (John 12:24; 14:3).


B.  Joseph’s second name, Zephnathpaaneah, has a twofold meaning.


1.    In means Revealer - Christ is the Revealer of God (John 1:18).

2.    It also means Provider - And Christ is our great Provider! He is Jehovah-jireh, the Lord who provides. He provides his people with all things.

·        All things temporal and physical.

·        All things eternal and spiritual.




          “Israel loved Joseph more than all his children” (v. 3). How Jacob loved Joseph. His happiness all his life long was wrapped up in Joseph.


·        He rejoiced when Joseph was born.

·        He distinguished Joseph from the sons of Leah, making for him a coat of many colors.

·        His heart broke when he thought Joseph was dead.

·        He took a long journey in his old age to see Joseph’s face.]

·        He committed himself to Joseph (47:29-31).


A.  As Joseph was the object of his father’s love, so the Lord Jesus Christ is the object of His Father’s love (John 3:35).

1.    The Lord God delights in his Son (Prov. 8:22, 30; Matt. 3:17; 17:5).

2.    God has given all things into the hands of his Son.

3.    Christ, the Son of God, has pre-eminence over all things and in all things (Col. 1:18).

B.  Joseph was the object of Israel’s love, because he was the child of Israel’s old age (v. 3).


          Here again is a picture of Christ. He is the Son of God’s eternally. From all eternity, he is the Son of God. He was not born in time. He is the eternally begotten Son of the eternal Father, very God of very God, equal with and of the same substance as the Father (John 1:1-3).


          The Lord Jesus Christ is not a creature of God. He is God the Creator. He is not a mere emanation of God. He is God, the One in whom all the fulness of the Godhead dwells (Col. 2:9). He is infinitely more than a manifestation of God. He is “God manifest in the flesh” (1 Tim. 3:16).




          He was a shepherd, “feeding the flock” (v. 3). No representation of Christ is more beautiful than that of a Shepherd. “The Lord is my Shepherd” (Psa. 23).


·        The Good Shepherd in His sin-atoning death (John 10:11-16; 1 Pet. 2:21-25).

·        The Great Shepherd in His resurrection (Heb. 13:20-21).

·        The Chief Shepherd in His glorious second advent (1 Pet. 5:4).


          What can be more beautiful than the comparison of Christ to a Shepherd? The figure suggests his tender care, his unceasing devotion, his constant provision, his watchful protection, his blessed patience, his peaceful presence, and his matchless love. Our Joseph is our Shepherd!




          There has been much debate about this coat of many colors. Some find fault with Jacob for making it, and some find fault with Joesph for wearing it. But this coat was providentially and prophetically significant. It was not, as Dolly Parton’s song a few years ago implied, a coat of many rags. This coat was made with great care and given to Joseph by his father as a mark of distinction and honor. It separated Joseph, the son of Rachel, from his brothers, his half brothers, the sons of Leah. It identified Joseph as one of noble birth, distinct from all others (Judges 5:30; 2 Sam. 13:18).


          Did not the Lord God so distinguish his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, from all other men?


A.  At his birth the angels sang and a star appeared. Never was there such a birth.

B.  At his baptism heaven opened, God spoke, and the Holy Spirit appeared in the form of a dove. This never happened before or since.

C. Our Lord washed his disciples feet with water; but his feet were anointed with precious ointment.

D. When he died upon the cross, the Lord God made it apparent to all that he was no ordinary man.


·        The three hours darkness.

·        The earth quake.

·        The rent vail.

·        The resurrected saints.

·        “Truly, this man was the Son of God!”


          Throughout his life, God the Father put on his Son a coat of many colors.




          As Joseph excelled his brothers in every feature of his character, so Christ excels all the sons of men in the infinite excellence of his character.


A.  Joseph was obedient to his Father.

B.  Joseph was righteous in his behavior.

C. Joseph was faithful to God.

D. Joseph was kind to men.

E.  Joseph was patient in suffering.




          As you read the life of Joseph, if you simply changed his name to Christ, you would think you were reading one of the four Gospels.


A.  Joseph was sent by his father into the wilderness to visit his brothers who treated him contemptuously.


          So the Lord Jesus Christ came into this dark wilderness, being sent by his Father, to visit and redeem his people. When he came here, our Savior, like Joseph, was hated without a cause. His own kinsmen conspired and plotted to kill him.


B.  Joseph secretly fed and cared for his brothers in their time of need, though they knew him not.


          So the Lord Jesus secretly cared for, fed, and protected us when we knew him not (Hos. 2:8).


C. Joseph, being innocent, suffered much by the hands of his brothers.


·        His brothers betrayed him.

·        His brothers sold him.

·        His brothers imprisoned him.

·        His brothers delivered him up to die. So far as they knew, Joseph was dead!


D. Joseph did nothing but good for his brothers, though they fully deserved his wrath.


          So Christ, who was and is no greatly abused by us, does nothing but good for his elect.


·        Past

·        Present

·        Future


E.  In the time of love, Joseph revealed himself to his brothers (45:1-3).


          So Christ, at the time of love, reveals himself to God’s elect. “Behold, thy time was the time of love!”


F.  Joseph forgave his brothers of all their crimes against him and assured them that he was in the place of God for the salvation of his household (Gen. 50:19-21).


          So Christ forgives us and assures us of God’s purpose of grace. Though we killed the Lord of glory, he is in the place of God to save his people.


G. Joseph taught his brothers to love one another. “See that ye fall not out by the way” (Gen. 45:24).


          So the Lord Jesus, above all else, teaches his disciples to love one another.




·        His two dreams (37:5-11).

·        Lord of the earth (5-8).

·        Lord of heaven (9-11).

·        His exaltation by Pharaoh (Gen. 41:39-41, 53-57).


A.  Joseph was raised to highest honor.

B.  Joseph was given unreserved dominion.

C. Every man in Egypt was required to bow before Joseph (Phil. 2:9-11).

D. Anyone who wanted anything from Pharaoh’s bountiful store was required to “go to Joseph.”


          What do you stand in need of? What is it that you want from God?


·        Forgiveness?

·        Righteousness?

·        Peace?

·        Eternal life?

·        Strength?

·        Comfort?

·        Direction?


“Go to Christ!” Christ is all! Christ has all! Christ gives all!




          This is our Joseph, the Lord Jesus Christ.


1.     He is in the place of God.

2.     He rules all things.

3.     He possesses all things.

4.     If you would live, you must “go to Joseph!” You must go to Christ!