Your word is a lamp
for my feet and a light
for my path.
Psalms 119:105

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Section 4

Joseph and His Brethren

In due time Joseph revealed himself to his brethren. After speaking sternly to them he made them a feast, sending them portions from his own table. They were astonished and fearful, wondering what the kindness signified. Then, sending away the Egyptian servants, Joseph made himself known to his brethren, assuring them of his forgiveness, and that God had caused all of his trying experiences to work out for his good, and that he was glad to be the saver of their lives as well as the lives of the Egyptians, under the Providential guidance which sent him to Egypt.--Genesis 45:4-8.

It is assumed by Bible scholars that if Joseph typically represented Christ and His Church, exalted to Kingdom honors, so Joseph's brethren would represent the Jews, and the Egyptians represent the remainder of mankind. If this be true, it tells us that neither Jews nor Gentiles have aught to fear from the glorious exaltation of Messiah. On the contrary, the Glorious One who was crucified, premeditates a great "feast of fat things" for the whole world, including his brethren, who sold him to be crucified.--Isaiah 25:6.

The strength of Joseph centered in his knowledge of the Divine Promise made to Abraham. Surely a knowledge of God's Plan seems indispensable. Trust in God was the secret of faithfulness in all the worthy ones of the past. The same principle still holds true. It seems true, as sometimes charged, that lawlessness is growing in proportion as Higher Criticism destroys faith in the Bible and its promises.

When later the Israelites moved into Egypt, we see the faith of Joseph manifested in his dying request. He said, "God will surely visit you and bring you out of this land [Egypt] into the land [Canaan] which He sware to Abraham." He was solicitous that his bones be carried with the Israelites into Canaan. (Genesis 50:24,25.) Joseph's various experiences seem to Bible students to typify those of Jesus and His Church--in suffering and in subsequent glory and honor.


At the Burning Bush

Moses showed himself great in every sense of the word. As an infant, Moses was placed by faithful parents where an Egyptian princess found him, amidst the bulrushes of the Nile, and adopted him. Safe in the midst of his enemies, he received an ample education in "all the learning of the Egyptians." The honors of the Egyptian Court were his, but he was too patriotic to enjoy them while his kinsmen suffered severe persecutions. Intent upon helping his brethren, he slew an Egyptian taskmaster. He was disappointed that his brethren did not appreciate his endeavors to aid them, but reported him as a traitor to Egypt.

He fled to Midian, and was gone forty years. Then God's time having come, he was sent to deliver his people Israel; but by now he was timid and feared his inability. By Divine command, Aaron became his mouthpiece, and the message was carried to Pharaoh that Israel must be let go. This commission to Moses was given at the burning bush--a bush which apparently was all aflame, yet not consumed. The Lord's messenger used this means for communicating the Divine message in an impressive manner, and to give him courage and confidence in his mission.

The truthfulness of the narrative is confirmed by Jesus. Certain Sadducees, denying the resurrection, sought to entrap Him, inquiring whose wife a woman would be if during her lifetime she had had seven husbands. Jesus in reply defended the doctrine of the resurrection. He declared that when God said to Moses, "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob," this surely meant that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were to be resurrected. The Sadducees denied the resurrection and all future life. On the contrary, God's word at the mouth of the angel proved that there is to be a resurrection of the dead. God thus spoke of things that were not as though they already were. "All live unto God" in the sense that in Christ He has provided for the reawakening of all, "in due time."


The Passover Instituted

Time and again Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh with God's message, "Let My people go!" Time and again plagues were given as a punishment for refusing to let them go. Time and again Pharaoh declared that if the plagues were stopped he would let them go, and time and again he broke his word. The Scriptures say, "And for this very purpose God raised Pharaoh up, that He might show forth His Power through him." This is interpreted to mean that God could have brought another prince to the throne of Egypt. He favored this particular Pharaoh because of his wicked self- will, obstinacy and selfishness.

The Scriptures declare that the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart. The explanation is that it was the goodness of God that hardened Pharaoh's heart. Divine goodness and generosity were shown in the removal of the various plagues as soon as Pharaoh promised to do right. This, instead of inciting him to love and obedience, led him to a greater obstinacy. He determined, as he had passed through one plague after another, that others could not be much worse. He paid dearly for his defiance.-- Exodus 4:21;7:3;14:4.

The tenth plague was the crisis. All the first-borns of Egypt died, but the first-borns of Israel under the sprinkled blood were safe. Thus God pictured the "Church of the First- borns," now being "called" out from the world. After glorification by the First Resurrection they will be the "Royal Priesthood," Spiritual Levites, for the blessing of all Israel, and through Israel, all the families of the Earth.

Bible students hold the Passover night to have typified this Gospel Age of nearly nineteen centuries, during which the spirit begotten ones, the church of the First-borns, are to be passed over, or specially saved, and made partakers of the Divine nature and associates in the Messianic Kingdom for the blessing of the later born, during Messiah's Reign. The blood sprinkled on the door-posts typed faith in the blood of Christ.


Israel's Wilderness Experiences

Israel was taught lessons of faith in the wilderness. God sent them Manna. It came in the night in very small grains. It required time and patience to gather and prepare it. Not only was it a necessity, but it corroborated the Divine sentence, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, until thou return to the ground." Labor has been one of our most valuable lessons. Without it our race would have sunken still lower. Countries in which labor has been a necessity attest this by their greater intelligence.

Jesus explains that He Himself is the antitypical Manna, or Bread from Heaven, of which we must partake if we would have everlasting life.--John 6:48-58.

The conspiracy of Korah and his associates against Moses' leadership resulted in their all going down alive into the pit (Hebrew, Sheol), the tomb. So all opponents of Messiah will perish in the Second Death.--Acts 3:23.

God sent Israel a miraculous supply of quail. Our Common Version permits the inference that quail fell around the camp several feet deep. This is pointed to by critics as absurd. The correct and reasonable thought is that quails, wearied from flight across the Red Sea, flew within a few feet of the ground, where Israel easily captured great quantities.

The lesson of the Smitten Rock is noteworthy. When the people were famished, Moses smote a rock in the name of the Lord, water gushed out and the people were refreshed. St. Paul says that this was prophetic of Christ who by His death supplies the Water of Life, which is for all--Israelites indeed.

A plague of "fiery serpents" attacked the Israelites. By Divine direction Moses made a serpent of brass and raised it up. The Israelites were directed to look to that serpent for healing. The "fiery serpents" represent Sin, inflicting death. God has provided life for the sin-bitten world through the crucifixion of Christ. He was treated as a sinner, in order that sinners might be freed from sin and death.


The Law Covenant at Mt. Sinai

Moses served as mediator between God and Israel at Mt. Sinai. The people there covenanted to keep the Divine Law. God promised that if they could do so, perfectly, they should have everlasting life. Furthermore, they could then comply with the sacrificial conditions of the Seed of Abraham, typified in the offering of Isaac, and inherit the Promise, "In thy Seed shall all the families of the Earth be blessed."-Deuteronomy 5:1-6;Genesis 22:18.

The people eagerly accepted the arrangement, saying, "All these things will we do," not realizing the full import of the Law. Jesus explained it to mean, to love God with all the heart, mind, soul and strength, and one's neighbor as one's self. Imperfect, like all mankind, the Jews could not keep this perfect Law. Unworthy of life, they could not redeem others; hence could not bless other nations.

When they became discouraged, God assured them that later He would make a New, or more favorable, Covenant with them through a greater than Moses, who would help them out of their fallen condition and fit them to be the channel for the Divine blessing to men.--Jeremiah 31:31; Malachi 3:1-3.

In due time Jesus came, the promised Messiah, not in glory as they had expected, but in a lowly condition, to die for Sin. "He came unto His own [nation] and His own received Him not"--they crucified Him. (John 1:11) Nevertheless, Jesus began His work of selecting Spiritual Israel, the Spiritual Seed of Abraham. He accepted first the loyal Jews. (Romans 11:7.) Still there were not enough to complete the foreordained number of the Elect. Consequently the Call to be the Elect Abrahamic Seed was extended to the Gentiles. For more than eighteen centuries He has been gathering the Elect Spiritual Seed of Abraham, the holy from every nation and sect. When complete, these, the "Bride," or "Body" of Christ, will be God's channel of blessing to all the families of the Earth, in harmony with the Promise made to Abraham.--Galatians 3:29.


The Typical Tabernacle

God foreknew the Israelites would be unable to fulfil the Law Covenant, and although He gave minute instructions respecting the Tabernacle, and the sacrifices to be offered therein, yet it was only for the lessons it would convey to us. The Tabernacle, in its Court, Holy and Most Holy, in its furniture, priests and sacrifices, illustrated the most important features of the Divine Plan.

St. Paul informs us that the bullock of the sin-offering on the Day of Atonement typified Jesus in the flesh. The killing of the bullock represented the sacrifice of Jesus, begun at His baptism. In His sacrificing, Jesus was also the antitypical High Priest. The offering of incense on the Golden Altar represented Jesus' heart endeavors in doing the Father's will.

Carrying the blood into the Holy represented the consecration of the antitypical priest, the veil thus symbolizing the death of his will, because of which he is accepted as a New Creature. The High Priest passing under the veil typified The Man Christ Jesus pouring out His soul on Calvary, laying down in death the body which God prepared Him.

The High Priest sprinkling the Mercy-Seat typified Jesus, in Heaven itself, offering to Justice, first His own sacrifice, and then His Church's sacrifice. Nothing could be done with the blood of the Goat (the Church) till the blood of the Bullock (Christ Jesus) had made it holy and acceptable.

The High Priest washing and dressing in the Court represented The Christ complete, changing from the "Body of humiliation" to conditions of glory and power. Clad in his robes of glory, the High Priest represented Messiah, empowered to bless mankind.--Exodus 28:2; Philippians 3:21.

Aaron blessing the people typified Messiah at His Second Advent blessing all who will become true Israelites during the Messianic Reign. The people shouting and falling on their faces represented recognition of the end of the reign of Sin and Death. Their arising represented resurrection.


Crossing the Jordan

Finally, after their wilderness journey of forty years, the Israelites were brought to the Jordan, and shown where they were to cross over under the leadership of Joshua. Moses meantime, after blessing Joshua, had died in Mt. Nebo.--Deuteronomy 4:21,22;9:1;32:48-52;34:5,9.

On this occasion, a stupendous miracle permitted the Israelites to pass through the bed of the Jordan into Canaan, the waters being cut off. Everything was so well timed by the Lord that when the Priests stepped up to the waters, bearing the Ark, and their feet touched the outer edge, the waters began to subside. The Priests advanced as the waters subsided, and stood in the midst of the river Jordan until all the hosts of Israel had passed over.--Joshua 3:3-17.

Infidelity has scoffed at this incident as an impossibility, but recent research shows that the miracle did take place, and the means which the Lord adopted for it. Be it understood that every miracle, from the Divine standpoint, is simple enough. Yet God, even in miracles, usually operates along the lines of natural means. It is now ascertained that the waters of the Jordan were cut off some miles above the place of crossing, at a place called Adam. There a great hillside slid into the river, filling its bed and causing the water to back up, forming little lakes. Gradually it cut its way through. It was then that the Israelites passed over Jordan "dry shod."

Antitypically, the crossing of Jordan would represent the fact that God's people now pass from death unto life, through faith in the blood of Jesus. The new life begun, they walk by faith, they live by faith, and by faith they fight the good fight, in the name of the Lord and under His guidance. And the name Joshua means Jesus, Savior, Deliverer.

Respecting the types and prophecies of the past the Apostles tell us that the Law was a shadow of better things coming after, and that those things were written for the special instruction of the Church.--Romans 15:4; Hebrews 10:1.


Joshua's Long Day

There was some foundation for the Bible narrative of Joshua's long day. Some Bible students claim that the language of the Hebrew text teaches that the day was dark, that the Sun did not shine at all--an extremely unusual thing for Palestine. The enemies of Joshua were Sun worshipers, and the darkness of the day foreboded that their Sun- god was eclipsed. In the narrative, the immense hailstones killing so many seems quite in line with this interpretation-- that the day was dark instead of light--that the obscurity of the Sun and the Moon was really a great phenomenon, which Joshua made use of to discomfit the foe, commanding the Sun and the Moon to stay hidden!--Joshua 10:11-14.

The other explanation is equally logical. It assumes that the Sun was visible during the day, and that heavy clouds refracted the Sun's rays unusually late in the evening--until the Moon rose, so that there was no time without light.

Either explanation is satisfactory. It is quite unnecessary that any stumble over this Bible narrative.

The triumph of Gideon's little army over a host, typified the final victory of Christ and His followers over the hosts of Sin. The broken vessels represented self-sacrifice to let the light shine out--the trumpets the Gospel Message--the sword God's Word. Of Gideon and his brethren it is written that each looked like the son of a king. Christ and His followers all are Godlike in character.--Judges 7:16-25;8:18.

Jephthah's daughter was not sacrificed in death as a fulfilment of her father's vow. She merely took the vow of perpetual virginity and figuratively became dead to the world after spending a brief season with her virgin friends. The Bible is simple and reasonable when understood.--Judges 11:30-40.

The overthrow of the Midianites by Gideon's band and Jephthah's dedication of his daughter to the Lord in perpetual virginity, belong to the period of the Judges, of whom Joshua was first.--Acts 13:19,20.


David Anointed By Samuel

The story of the selection of David, the shepherd boy, to be King over Israel, is full of interest for both old and young. The Prophet Samuel, who did the anointing, was guided specially of the Lord. Samuel himself was dedicated to the Lord in his youth. When the time came for him to anoint a successor to King Saul, all the sons of Jesse passed before him. They were a fine family, and he was expecting one after another to be the proper one, but God guided him otherwise. David, the lad who was with the sheep, was not thought of until all the others had been scanned in vain; then David was brought, and the Lord indicated that this was the one to be anointed.--1 Samuel 16:1-13.

The story of David is of special interest to us because his name signifies Beloved, and because he typified The Christ-- Jesus and His faithful brethren, the Church, God's specially beloved, the Elect, who are to inherit the Messianic Kingdom.

David was anointed long years before he became king. So Christ received the anointing of the Holy Spirit at His baptism, and the Church recieved the anointing at Pentecost--long years before the Messianic Kingdom's establishment. The trials and testings of David were to prepare him for his office as king. And likewise the trials and difficulties of The Christ, Head and Body, fit and prepare them for the Kingdom.

In typical Israel, the priestly office was kept distinctly separate from the kingly office, but in Christ the two offices combine. This was illustrated in the double office of Melchisedec, who was a priest upon his throne, or a royal priest. Similarly, The Christ, Head and Body, will be the antitypical Royal Priesthood, to reign for a thousand years. This is in harmony with St. Peter's statement, "Ye are a Royal Priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people." It agrees with the statement that those who share in the First Resurrection will be kings and priests unto God and reign with Christ a thousand years.-- Revelation 20:6;5:10; 1 Peter 2:9.


King Saul's Life Spared

King Saul was the first of Israel's kings. He was tall, head and shoulders above his brethren, and from the human standpoint was rather ideal. He had considerable wisdom, too. Indeed, that was his failure. He overlooked the fact that his Kingdom differed from all other kingdoms, and he attempted to rule after the manner of other kings. In the case of Israel, God declared Himself King, and the person upon the throne was really His representative, and should be guided by Him in everything. Because David at heart was anxious to do all these things, and very repentant whenever he learned that he was wrong, he was spoken of as "a man after God's own heart." His heart was right.

The anointing of David was kept a secret, but Saul nevertheless began to see that God's favor was with David, and that the people of Israel loved him, especially after he delivered them from Goliath, and won a number of battles. King Saul selfishly desired that his own family should be perpetuated upon the throne, and hence he was bent upon destroying David. He made him an outlaw, and on every occasion sought to kill him, and thus thwart God's purpose.

David, on the contrary, on two occasions had King Saul's life at his disposal, yet did not take it. In this he was a man after God's own heart. God had caused him to be anointed, and would give him the throne. Until God's time should come, David would wait. In sparing King Saul's life, David acted in harmony with the Lord's will: "Touch not Mine anointed, and do My Prophets no harm." King Saul was God's anointed, and it was for God to depose him and to give the throne to David in His own time. And He did.

How valuable it would be to all of us to learn this lesson of patience and waiting upon the Lord, for Him to direct in His own time and in His own way. This was the spirit of Jesus: "Not My will [as a man], but Thine [Father Divine], be done."--Luke 22:42.