Grace and Truth

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Joseph: a Type of Christ


There are many who say that Joseph and the Passover Lamb are the two clearest pictures in the Old Testament of Christ, and I would agree with them.

Remember: The New is in the Old concealed, the Old is in the New revealed.
The New Testament sheds light on the Old Testament. And the New is concealed in the shadows of the Old – it is hidden, but it is there for those who like to search for hidden treasure.

Joseph typifies Christ Jesus in many ways, but crucially his story also points to the nation of Israel and God’s dealings with them, and so we will look at both of these aspects.

Joseph as a type of Christ

1. Joseph was the beloved son of his father, Jacob Genesis 37:3

“Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children…”

Christ is the beloved Son of the Father

Matthew 3:17

“and suddenly a voice from heaven saying ‘This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”

2. Joseph was clothed in the coat of many colours signifying his Firstborn rights and inheritance of his father. Genesis 37:3 Christ is the firstborn of the Father, and the Son of His inheritance.

Hebrews Chapter 1; Ephesians 1:18

3. Joseph was envied by his brothers

“But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him…” Genesis 37:4

Christ was envied by His brethren, the Jewish Chief Priests and elders. Matthew 27: 12-18

“For he knew that they had handed him over because of envy”

4. Joseph was betrayed and rejected by his brothers and sold for 20 pieces of silver

Genesis 37:28

Christ was betrayed and rejected by his brethren and sold for 30 pieces of silver. Matthew 13:53-58; Matthew 26:15
5. Joseph was not recognized by his brothers, neither early on as he told them his dreams, nor later as the governor of Egypt. Genesis 37:8; Genesis 42:8 Christ was not recognized by His brethren, when he came preaching the Kingdom of heaven to Israel, nor is He recognised now as the risen King of the Jews. Matthew 12:22-30; Romans 11:7-8
6. Joseph was cast into a pit to die by his brothers Genesis 37:24 Christ was crucified on the cross by His brethren, then placed in a tomb Matthew 27:60
7. Joseph coming out of the pit, signifying the place of death, back in to life Genesis 37:28 Christ was raised from the dead

Matthew 28:5, 6

8. Reuben found the pit empty Genesis 37:29 Christ’s brethren find the tomb empty Matthew 28:1-6
9. Joseph was sold into slavery Genesis 37:28 Christ took the form of a bond-slave Philippians 2:7
10. Joseph is rejected by his brethren and so is sent to the Gentile world, (Egypt) Genesis 37:28 Christ was rejected by Israel and so is sent to the Gentiles Matthew 12:22-30; Romans 11:25
11. Joseph suffered much, becoming a slave, being falsely accused, going to prison Genesis 39 & 40 Christ suffered much at the hands of men, being falsely accused, betrayed and died

Matthew 26 & 27

12. There is no record of Joseph sinning, even though he was a sinner Christ never sinned, He is God in human flesh

Hebrews 4:15

13. Joseph had the Spirit of God in him Genesis 41:38 “Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?” Christ Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit

Luke 4:14

14. After a time of suffering, Joseph was exalted to a high position in Egypt by Pharoah

Genesis 41:38-44

After Christ’s sufferings God has highly exalted Him and given Him the Name which is above every name. Philippians 2:5-11
15. Joseph was given the Egyptian name of Zaphnath-Paaneah, which means the “Saviour of the World” Genesis 41:45 Christ Jesus is the Saviour of the world, and His name bears witness to that.

“…you are to name Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” Matthew 1:21

16. Joseph was 30 years old when he began his life’s work, after much preparation Genesis 41:46 Christ was 30 years old when He began His ministry, after much preparation.

Luke 3:23

17. Joseph was given a Gentile bride by Pharoah at the time of his exaltation Genesis 41:45 Christ is to be given a Gentile bride, the Church when He returns for her.

Revelation 19:7-9

18. Joseph went out from the presence of Pharoah as Zaphnath-Paaneah, to save the world from the coming famine Genesis 41:46 18. Christ Jesus went out from the presence of the Father to save the world from sin

John 3:16

19. Joseph provided grain/food to the starving masses Genesis 47:13-26 Christ Jesus is the bread of God sent from heaven to feed the world John 6:22-51
20. Joseph’s brothers, those bearing the names of the 12 tribes of Israel, go through much hardship and suffering before Joseph reveals himself to them Genesis 42- 44 Christ’s brethren the Jews will go through much trial and suffering before they recognize their King, culminating in the time of Jacob’s Trouble.

Jeremiah 30:7

21. Joseph’s brothers suffering leads them to repentance Genesis 44:18-34 The time of Jacob’s Trouble, or the Great Tribulation is to bring the nation of Israel to national repentance, as the anti-type of the Day of Atonement. Jeremiah 30:7; Romans 11
22. Joseph’s outward harshness towards his brothers conceals his inner love and tenderness towards them. Genesis 42- 44 ; Genesis 42:24; Genesis 45:2 God’s heart towards sinners and Israel alike, though He seems to deal with them harshly, is one of love and tenderness, ultimately seeking restoration and reconciliation. Romans 5:8
23. Joseph’s brothers are restored and saved

“Moreover he kissed all of his brothers and wept over them…” Genesis 45

Israel is restored and saved

Romans 11:25-27

See further on Joseph as a prophetic picture of the Church here.

If you have any further types of Joseph that I haven’t mentioned, be sure to comment them below.


Belinda 🙂


Author: GraceandTruth

bringing the gospel to life

5 thoughts on “Joseph: a Type of Christ

  1. I was attracted to your post specifically because it is an exploration of Scripture. I get jazzed when people want to actually explore the actual Bible.

    The Joseph Typology is rich and exciting. The depth and texture of the similarities in these stories is NO ACCIDENT. Rather, it’s orchestrated.

    There are important differences too, but the similarities are what tip us off, and this is one of the stories in the Bible where it surfaces almost automatically. You can’t read about Joseph and then read about Jesus without noting “I think we’ve been here before”.

    This is not the only instance of this in Scripture either. There are other typologies that point to Jesus. Certainly King David comes to mind – a savior of his people anointed by God to be King of the Jews, a shepherd of his people, one totally devoted to God. These are rather obvious connections, but when you get down to exploring with a bit of depth, you quickly note that during the time between his anointing and his coronation, David is treated like a criminal – an enemy of the state, and spends years on the DL gathering followers in the hills and countryside. Likewise, Jesus has his Herod – that OTHER King of the Jews, one who is not actually God’s chosen, but rather chosen by Rome, and who despite his one or two good features is overly corrupt, while Jesus goes from village to village on the DL gather followers until he is given a crown and a scepter that lasts forever and is said to be King of the Jews – chosen by God!

    And these typologies are most often most interesting as they relate to Jesus – the primary target for the primary typologies, but actually the Bible is full of them – even some important ones that don’t point strictly to Jesus per se (though he definitely is always standing behind them).

    I think of The Judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah which show the penalty God thinks is fitting for the corruption of those cities on the one hand, but the closing chapters of Judges depict a very similar behavior unfolding among God’s chosen people dwelling in his presence in the Promised Land. And they too face a harsh judgment, but its a mite more graceful than the folks in Sodom. There are many dimensions in that to explore too, and I don’t have them all mapped out by any stretch, but I keep finding the Bible having a conversation (after a fashion) seemingly with itself, and the more I read and meditate on it and talk about it with fellow explorers, the more involved I become in that conversation.

    There is a whole world to be accessed in those sacred pages. A world I want to inhabit.

    Thank you for opening it up on the blogs as you have done here, and I hope you will lead us to more and more and more.

    I will be back!

    • Hi Agent X, thanks for your comment. I’m with you, I love the Word of God, I love that pages of the OT are full of the typologies of Christ ! I love to explore them. I have written others on this blog about Moses and the Passover Lamb. Perhaps I should create a specific folder for this subject…

      Yes I love the fact that nothing is an accident, as you say, it’s all orchestrated so perfectly by God to point to His precious Son.

      Thank you for your great points about King David too , it really is a treasure trove to explore !
      God bless!
      Belinda 🙂

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed eading this, it scares me though, that the church suffers before Christ is revealed, I’ve been looking for a comparison like this for sometime, thank you – Roland

    • Thanks for your comment Roland, I’m glad you enjoyed my article!
      God bless,
      Belinda 🙂

    • “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

      17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words”

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