Joseph in Egypt: Messianic Shadow

Joseph Similitude


By:  Eric Liggett

The Old Testament abounds with testimony of Jesus Christ. The lives of Old Testament prophets provide similarity and foreshadowing to the ministry of Christ.  Consider the story of Abraham offering Isaac, Moses raising the brass serpent, and the miracles performed by Elijah.


Perhaps no prophet in The Old Testament provides more of a similitude to Christ than Joseph in Egypt. Upon reading Genesis 37-50 and comparing the life of Joseph to the life of Christ, one can see numerous similarities, patterns, and types within the scriptures.


Genesis 37


Verse 2 – “and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.” Joseph seems to serve as an advocate for his brethren to his father. Christ is our advocate with our Heavenly Father as he tells us in D&C 29:5, “Lift up your hearts and be glad, for I am in your midst, and am your advocate with the Father…”


Verse 3Joseph is the most beloved of his brethren. “Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children…” Christ is the beloved of all of God’s children, “But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning…” (Moses 4:2)


Verse 4Joseph is hated by his own brethren. “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”. Isaiah prophesied of the hatred that would be directed towards Christ, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief…” (Isaiah 53:3)


Verse 7Joseph dreams that his brethren should serve him. “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.” In the millennium, everyone shall make obeisance to Christ. “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” (Romans 14:11)


Verse 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.” This verse is similar to a conversation that Christ had with the Jews about his own authority and greatness. “Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?”


Verse 9Joseph dreams “Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.” The sun, moon, and stars were created by Christ and are subject unto Him. “Which truth shineth. This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made.” (D&C 88:7)


Verses 13Joseph’s response to his father exemplifies his willingness to serve. “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.Christ’s response to His Father was the same, “And another answered and said: Here am I, send me. And the Lord said: I will send the first.” (Abr. 3:27)


Verse 16Joseph seeks after his brethren “And he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed their flocks.” As the Good Shepherd, Christ, searches for all that are lost. “As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.” (Ezek. 34:12)


Verse 18Joseph is conspired against to be slain. “And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.” The chief priests and Pharisees sought to kill Christ. “Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.” (John 11:53)


Verse 21 Reuben is reluctant for Joseph to be slain. “And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him.” This reluctance is similar to that of Pilate with Christ. “Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.” (John 18:38)


Verse 22Reuben did not want to slay Joseph, but suggested he be put in a pit instead. “And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him…” This is similar to the situation when Pilate orders Christ to be scourged to attempt to appease the mob. “Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him.” (John 19:1)


Verse 23Joseph is stripped of his coat. “And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat…” Christ was stripped of his raiment before being crucified. “And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.” (Matthew 27:28)



Verse 25Joseph taken to Egypt which will eventually preserve his life and the life of his family. “going to carry it down to Egypt”. Christ was taken to Egypt to preserve his life. “And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.” (Matthew 2:13)


Verse 28Joseph was sold for the price of a slave. “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.” Christ was also sold for the price of a slave in his time. “And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.” (Matthew 27:15)


Verse 29Joseph was not in the pit when Reuben came back to check. “And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes.” Christ was not in the tomb when His apostles checked. “And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.” (Luke 24:3)


Verse 34Jacob mourns for the death of his son. “And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.” Christ is mourned for by his brethren and the women. “And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned.” (Luke 23:48)


Genesis 39


Verse 3The Lord is with Joseph and he prospers in Egypt. “And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand.” Christ prospered through his life in a similar way, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” (Luke 2:52)


Verse 4Joseph’s master gave him all in his house. “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.” Christ received all things from the Father, “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” (Matthew 28:18)


Verses 7-9Joseph is tempted at the beginning of his ministry in Egypt by Potiphar’s wife. He fends off temptation by speaking words of scriptural merit to her.  “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?” Christ is tempted at the beginning of his ministry in the wilderness by Satan and fends off the temptations by quoting scripture. “And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.  But he answered and said, It is written, a Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:3-4)


Verses 19-20Joseph is falsely accused and cast into prison. “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.” Christ was falsely accused and bound to be taken before Pilate. “And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.” (Matthew 27:2)




Verse 22Joseph becomes captain of the prison. “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.” Before Christ’s resurrection there was a gulf in the spirit world where those that were in prison could not yet receive the truthfulness of the gospel. Christ was the keeper of the spirit prison in that nothing could happen until he caused it to happen. After Christ’s death he organized forces from the righteous and appointed messengers with power and authority to preach the gospel to those in prison. (D&C 132:30).




Genesis 40


Verse 7Joseph tries to comfort those around him. “And he asked Pharaoh’s officers that were with him in the ward of his lord’s house, saying, Wherefore look ye so sadly to day?” Christ has promised “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you”. (John 14:18)


Verse 15 Joseph had done nothing to deserve the treatment he had received throughout life. “For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon.” Christ was sinless and did nothing to deserve to suffer the pains of all men, yet he did it out of love for His Father and for us. “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth”. (1 Peter 2:22)


Verse 19Joseph predicts the death of the butler. “Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee, and shall hang thee on a tree; and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee.” Christ predicted his own death, “And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.” (Matthew 20:19)


Verse 23Joseph is shown ingratitude by the butler who fails to mention him to Pharaoh. “Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him.” Christ also was met with ingratitude throughout his ministry and still is by countless others today. One shining example would be with the ten lepers. “And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?” (Luke 17:17)


Genesis 41


Verses 25- 37Joseph interprets the dream of Pharaoh and tells of that which is to come. “Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years.” In many instances, Christ taught his apostles and everyone in general about what was to come and how they must prepare. One such instance is recorded in Matthew 24, where Christ is talking expressly to his apostles about the last days and signs of his coming. “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3)


Verse 40Pharaoh is the only one greater than Joseph in Egypt. “Thou 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.” God the Father was the only one greater than Christ. “Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28)


Genesis 42


Verse 7 Joseph doesn’t make himself known to his brethren. “And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, and spake roughly unto them…”  When Christ walked on Emmaus road with two of his disciples, His true identity was withheld. “But their eyes were holden that they should not know him”. (Luke 24:16)


Verse 8Joseph knew his brethren although they did not know him. “And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him.” In the parable of the ten virgins, the virgins approach the door and ask to be let in. The response of the Lord in the Inspired Version of the Bible is different, and I would argue better than the King James Version, “But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, Ye know me not.” The Lord knows all of us individually, the real question is do we know Him?


Verse 22Reuben felt that he and his brethren were being punished because of their sin against Joseph and that Joseph’s blood was required of them. “And Reuben answered them, saying, Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? therefore, behold, also his blood is required.” The Jews cried out “Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children” (Matthew 27:25). Also, Peter and John are brought before the high priest and the Sanhedrin and are told “…Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” (Acts 5:28)


Genesis 43


Verse 23Joseph’s brethren are told to fear not. “And he said, Peace be to you, fear not: your God, and the God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks: I had your money. And he brought Simeon out unto them.” The Lord has constantly told the Saints to fear not. “Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.” (D&C 6:36)


Genesis 45


Verses 1-4Joseph reveals his true identity to his brethren and tells them to come near him. “And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.” This instance was similar in many ways to what will happen with Christ and the Jewish people on the Mt. of Olives at the Second Coming. “And then shall the Jews look upon me and say: What are these wounds in thine hands and in thy feet? Then shall they know that I am the Lord; for I will say unto them: These wounds are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. I am he who was lifted up. I am Jesus that was crucified. I am the Son of God.” (D&C 45:1-2)



Verse 7Joseph was sent for deliverance and to preserve posterity. “And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.” Christ was sent to deliver us from sin and death and to preserve everyone that will come unto Him. “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”


Verse 9Joseph tells his brethren to go and tell their father that Joseph is alive. “Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt: come down unto me, tarry not:” after Christ was resurrected, he told Mary that he would go and ascend to His Father. “Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” (John 20:17)


Verse 26Jacob does not believe at first that Joseph is alive. “And told him, saying, Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt. And Jacob’s heart fainted, for he believed them not.” Thomas didn’t believe that Christ has been resurrected. “The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (John 20:25)

Joseph Made Ruler in Egypt Genesis 41:41-43
















Author: KFB Staff

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6 comments on Joseph in Egypt: Messianic Shadow

  1. Daniel
    / Reply

    This is excellent Eric! Such a wonderful and insightful read. Hope to see you contribute lots more just like it.

  2. Eric Anderson
    / Reply

    Wow! This article rocks my socks. I cannot believe the insight. What got you going on this? Where did you get the idea?

  3. Eric liggett
    / Reply

    Thank you both for your nice comments.

    Eric A – this was something I actually did for a project in Bro. Baron’s New Testament class

  4. Eric liggett
    / Reply

    And of course by New Testament I mean Old Testament

  5. Pugga
    / Reply

    Thanks for contributing such a finely researched article. Many great insights here – I’m opening up my Old Testament as I write this!!


  6. stephanie
    / Reply

    Mind. Blown. Your article makes me want to dissect other Old Testament stories to find Christ. Thanks for sharing!

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