Joseph's Triumph
Dr. Joe Temple


Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Genesis, chapter 41. We have been following the outline of the book of Genesis placed there by the Holy Spirit. Each division in the outline is introduced by the words, “These are the generations…” We have come in our study to the last division, introduced, you will remember, by the words, “These are the generations of Jacob,” in chapter 37. Through chapter 37 on to the end of the book we will have presented to us the story of Jacob's sons. But Joseph is the most prominent of all of them, and the others are mentioned only as they are related to him. We have pointed out to you that Joseph is the subject of the last section of the book of Genesis. We could just as well say, “These are the generations of Joseph.”

The story of Joseph is a very familiar one. It is one of the most familiar in all the Word of God because it is a story that is usually told in Sunday School. It is a story of interest, and it intrigues children and young people. All of us have heard a great deal of emphasis placed upon the story of Joseph.

For that reason, we said we were going to approach these chapters from a typical and a practical standpoint. By typical standpoint we mean that Joseph is studied as he is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ. We gave you ample Scriptures for such a study.

Then we said that we were going to study the life of Joseph from a practical standpoint, because Joseph is used by the Spirit of God in the Word of God as an illustration of a faith that is tried and triumphant. We have seen Joseph tried. Now we are going to see him triumphant.


“No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” We are going to look now at the afterward of that chastening…the exaltation of Joseph. Herein he becomes again a wonderful type of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Notice, please, in chapter 41 of the book of Genesis, the statement that is made concerning Joseph's deliverance from prison. The deliverance of Joseph from prison was not a mere accident. It was due to the providence of God. It came about because of the overruling power of God:

Genesis 41:

14Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh.


So the first thing we notice about Joseph is that he was delivered from prison in due time. That becomes a perfect type of our Lord Jesus Christ. You will remember that He was held in the prison of death, but as we remember in Peter's sermon in chapter 2 of the Acts of the Apostles, it was not possible that He should be held down by death, so the Lord Jesus Christ left his prison of death.


You will notice that Joseph changed his raiment. Our Lord Jesus changed His also. You will keep in mind that the body of the Lord Jesus Christ was but the clothing of deity. The Lord Jesus Christ entered into the body which was prepared for Him. That is what he said in Psalm 40: “A body hast thou prepared for me” (Psalms 40:6; Hebrews 10:5). When He was on the earth, He needed a body that was subject to the rules of the earth for earthly affairs. When He arose to the right hand of His Father, He needed a body that was above the rules of the earth, and He changed His raiment just as Joseph did. In the case of the Savior, it was a change of body.

Joseph was delivered from prison, you will keep in mind, not by any human efforts. He could have rotted there had not God intervened. But God did intervene, and Joseph was lifted out of prison.


Here again there is a typical representation of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are reminded that the Lord Jesus Christ was raised from the dead according to promise. “I will not suffer My Holy One to see corruption,” God said, and for that reason He was delivered.

Later, when Joseph was talking to his brethren, and they were reproaching themselves for the horrible thing they did in selling him into slavery, he said in Genesis, chapter 45, verse 7:

Genesis 45:

7And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
8So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.
9Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt…

Do you remember? In verse 24 of chapter 2 of Acts we read:

Acts 2:

24Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

In verse 32 of that same chapter, Peter is preaching still and he says:

Acts 2:

32This Jesus hath God raised up…

Just as God raised Joseph out of the prison, God raised the Savior out of the prisonhouse of death.


Joseph came into Pharaoh's palace, you will remember, and when Pharaoh told him the dreams he had had, Joseph said, “I can give you the answer, not because I am anything, but because God speaks and shows the answer.”

You will notice in verse 16 of chapter 41 Joseph said:

Genesis 41:

16And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.

Down in verse 32:

Genesis 41:

32And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.

Here again we have an illustration of the Savior. Joseph did not take anything to himself by way of credit, and neither did the Savior while He was here. Do you remember what He said when He was on the earth? In chapter 17 of the Gospel of John, in that great high priestly prayer, He said, “I have given them the words which Thou gavest me.”

Think about it! The Savior said, “The words which I gave to my disciples, Father, you gave to me.” Again in chapter 8 of the Gospel of John, He said, “As the Father has taught me, I speak these things.” At another time, in chapter 12 of the Gospel of John, He said, “I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, He gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.”

Of course you do keep in mind that the Lord Jesus Christ's speaking in this manner did not indicate that He was not God. He is God. But it did indicate that in the days of His humiliation, as the Scripture puts it, He was subject to God.

Joseph said, “I am not able to speak anything of myself, but it is God who speaks through me.”


Joseph spoke so well in the presence of Pharaoh, and portrayed for him so clearly the answer of his dream, that Pharaoh was impressed by him and gave him a place of prominence. He said concerning him in verse 45, “You are no longer going to be called Joseph . (Joseph means one who adds ). You are going to be called Zaphnath-paaneah .” Zaphnath-paaneah means a revealer of secrets .

Once again we find a type of the Lord Jesus Christ, for He is the great revealer of secrets. Surely all of us can testify that He is able to take the things of God and show them to us. We would never have known God had it not been for the Lord Jesus Christ. Not only that, but He is able to reveal the secrets of the hearts of men, as someday He most certainly will in the days of Jesus Christ.


That leads us to another illustration of a type of Christ in the life of Joseph. If you notice, Joseph did not mince words when he talked with Pharaoh. He said to Pharaoh, “God is going to give you seven full years of plenty. Oh, what plenty it will be! Then He is going to give you seven lean years of famine, and you had better prepare to meet it.”

The Lord Jesus Christ gave a warning while He was on earth, did he not? He said that if you have an argument with the adversary and he overtakes you in the way, you had better settle with the adversary, lest he cast you into prison and you have to pay the uttermost farthing. The Lord Jesus Christ constantly said, “There is a place where the worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched.”

Preachers today hesitate to speak so freely about hellfire and condemnation, but the Savior did not. He spoke fully and freely about it.


The next picture we have of Joseph which is typical of the Savior is Joseph presented to us as a counselor to Pharaoh. Anything that Joseph said, Pharaoh declared the people would do. So Pharaoh said, “It is in your hands; do as you will.” In chapter 41, verse 39, he said:

Genesis 41:

39And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art:
40Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou.

Everyone had to take Joseph's advice. Do you remember how the Lord Jesus Christ is described in chapter 9 of the book of Isaiah? He is presented as Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Just as Joseph was wonderful and counselor, so has the Savior become to all of us.

We have seen Joseph in the prison. We see him now a servant on a throne. He is seated on the throne, ready to take charge of all the land of Egypt. The Lord Jesus Christ is going to be someday seated on the throne. Just as Joseph ruled over Egypt, which is typical of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ is going someday to rule the entire world. King of Kings and Lord of Lords shall be His name.


Chapter 41 of the book of Genesis, then, becomes as interesting an illustration of the life of Christ portrayed in the life of Joseph as any we can find in the Word of God. But now, some of the practical lessons that we may gain from this passage of Scripture.

You will remember that we suggested to you that the purpose of our studying the book of Genesis was not only to learn the typical lessons that illustrate the life of Christ, but to learn the practical lessons that can be applied to our own hearts and to our own lives. When we think about Pharaoh, troubled with his dreams, we think about chapter 21 of the book of Proverbs, where we read:

Proverbs 21:

1The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.


“The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord.” My, how I wish we could remember that. When we are over-worn with some of the puzzling things that we do not understand, we might be encouraged by that. God kept one king awake one night to further the purpose of his people (Esther 6:1). A whole Jewish nation was spared a massacre just because one king could not sleep. God is able to keep kings awake! In this particular instance, He put this king to sleep and caused him to dream a dream that gave him no rest, and that dream brought Joseph out of prison.

I like this particular story of Joseph because it is a wonderful illustration to me of Scriptures that indicate that the Lord orders our lives, plans our lives. Nothing happens to us by mistake. We read in Romans, chapter 8, verse 28:

Romans 8:

28…all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Think back now in the life of Joseph. What possible good could come out of Joseph's being thrown into a pit? What possible glory could God get out of Joseph's being thrown in prison? What possible good or glory could come of any of these events brought into the life of Joseph?


If Joseph had not been cast into the pit, he would not have been sold to the Ishmaelites. If he had not been sold to the Ishmaelites, he would never have gone down to Egypt. If he had never gone down to Egypt, he would never have been in Potiphar's house. Had he never been in prison, he never would have met the butler and the baker, and had he never met the butler, he would never have been ruler over the land of Egypt.

Do you see how all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose? Isolate any one of these incidents to which I have referred and you will not see any good in it. But let all these things be allied with all the other things and you see the hand of God working. When Joseph was speaking to his brethren, in chapter 45, he said that everything that had happened to him happened not by accident. It happened for a very definite purpose.


Genesis 45:

5Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.
6For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest.
7And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
8So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.

Later he was to say to his brethren, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20). That is exactly how God works, letting every little thing in our lives dovetail with other things, that a perfect pattern of His creation and His making becomes a vital part of our lives.


Joseph was exalted at the right hand of Pharaoh. There was no one higher in all the kingdom than he. Prosperity is something that does not sit well with a great many people. As a matter of fact, the Bible suggests that one of the greatest detriments to spiritual growth is prosperity. I think the reason that prosperity is a detriment is that most people try to get to the palace without first going through the prison, and when they do, they do not know how to act in the palace. When God brought Joseph out of prison and he stood before the King, he did not forget that presence that we have mentioned to you, the presence of God.

We told you that the only thing that kept Joseph going in prison was his realization of the presence of God. I want you to notice in this chapter how he never forgot the presence of God even in the palace. In chapter 41, Joseph answered:

Genesis 41:

16And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.

And in verse 25:

Genesis 41:

25…God hath shewed Pharaoh what he is about to do.

In verse 28:

Genesis 41:

28This is the thing which I have spoken unto Pharaoh: what God is about to do he sheweth unto Pharaoh.


In chapter 41 of the book of Genesis, Joseph was exalted and things began to happen. What is the very first thing that we see happening to Joseph the very moment that he was exalted to the throne? Look at verse 45:

Genesis 41:

45And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphnath-paaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt.
46And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt.

What typical significance can we find in this particular reference to Joseph? It is an intriguing one to me. What was it that Joseph had as soon as he was exalted? A bride. That is right, a bride! And if you please, a Gentile bride, which makes the type all the clearer. What is the Lord Jesus Christ doing right now? Remember, He has been released from the prisonhouse of death. He has been exalted to the right hand of the throne of God. But what is He doing now?


Turn, please, to the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 15. A glance at this chapter reveals that a church council was being held in the city of Jerusalem to discuss the place of the Gentiles in regard to the Gospel of Christ. James, who happened to be the leader of the group at that time, stood to his feet, in verse 13, and said:

Acts 15:

13…Men and brethren, hearken unto me:
14Simeon [Peter, of course] hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.
15And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,
16After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:
17That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

What is the Lord Jesus Christ doing right now? According to this passage of Scripture, He is taking out from among the Gentiles a people for His name. Just as Joseph, a Jew, was given a Gentile bride, so the Lord Jesus Christ is having a bride selected for him at the present time.


To the marriage of Joseph and the daughter of the priest of On, there were born two children, Manasseh and Ephraim. Their names are exceedingly significant. Notice, please, chapter 41, verse 50:

Genesis 41:

50And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him.
51And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house.
52And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.

One he called Manasseh and the other he called Ephraim. Manasseh, because all the toil and all the heartache faded into insignificance in the life of the glorious place of exaltation that he had. And Ephraim, because God had blessed him and fruit was forthcoming.

What characteristic of the Lord Jesus Christ is made evident by this incident in the life of Joseph? Well, a very lovely one, to my way of thinking. Will you turn, please, to the book of Isaiah, chapter 53.

Isaiah 53:

10Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied:…

Did you notice that last statement? “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.” Joseph could look into the faces of his two sons and he could say, “It has been worth it all.”

May we interrupt our typical discussion to suggest to you that that is a perfect illustration of what the Apostle Paul had in mind when he said, “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding weight of glory.” When the weight of glory rests upon us, then we will realize the lightness of the affliction.


Joseph, after his exaltation, was occupied with one thing and one thing alone. That was the dispensing of the bread of life. It was literally the bread of life. There was a famine throughout the whole land, as you well know. Without that bread, they most certainly would have died.

Will you remember, in these chapters at which we are looking, as Joseph took complete charge of all the bread of Pharaoh and the people began to want that bread, he dispensed it to them, and eventually he took everything they had. Because the bread was a necessity of life, in a very real sense Joseph became the savior of the world.

Can there be a more fitting type of the Lord Jesus Christ than Joseph…the Savior of the World? I think not. I am glad that the Lord Jesus Christ is portrayed so fully in the life of Joseph.

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